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You might’ve thought that shopping for a snorkel is as easy as choosing a color.

Unfortunately… It’s not that simple.

Whether you’re planning to do do some diving, snorkeling, freediving or even spearfishing, you’re gonna want the right snorkel for the job.

In this guide, we’ll help you understand:

  • Different styles of snorkels
  • Best snorkels for each activity
  • Best models out there right now

Ultimately, making your snorkel shopping decision easier.

Types Of Snorkels

Classic Snorkel

classic snorkel

The classic snorkel has the traditional ‘J-style’ appearance. It’s a curved plastic tube with a mouthpiece.

Some classic snorkels can be maneuvered fit better. Classic snorkels are usually the cheapest style.

You can use them for all activities, from scuba diving to snorkeling, and they’re the preferred style for freediving and spearfishing. Modern classic snorkels have been modified and adapted for freediving and spearfishing.

The classic snorkel is more rigid than most other styles, so it can be less comfortable.

The simplicity of the design also means that the only way to expel water from the snorkel if it becomes submerged is to blow out a full breath of air with force.

However, this style is a great option for beginners, as it’s easy and cheap.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use & pack
  • Low drag
  • Rigid material = Less comfort
  • Hard to clear water
  • Lets water in easily

Best Classic Snorkels

cressi snorkel

This snorkel is one of the best classic snorkels on the market. It’s made from modern materials, so it’s super adapted to freediving and spearfishing.

The tube is made from special polymers with shape memory, allowing it to bend and return to its original position.

This makes it super comfortable to wear. The mouthpiece was also designed with the user in mind.

It has an ergonomic shape to minimize discomfort to users even during prolonged use. It’s a specially designed, durable, and easy-to-use piece of equipment.

  • Great value
  • Designed for freediving and spearfishing
  • Flexible and comfortable
  • Generic to classic snorkel style

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cressi snorkel

It’s made from high-quality materials but doesn’t have the high price tag.

It’s only real disadvantages are that it has a small mouthpiece, which is hard clamp down on and keep in the mouth.

This is only an issue for those with wider mouths.

It isn’t fitted particularly well around the face which combined with the small mouthpiece could make it hard to keep in.

  • Travel-friendly
  • Low priced but made of high-quality material
  • Great for beginner snorkeling, freediving, and spearfishing
  • Small mouthpiece
  • Not flexible/fitted around the face

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aqualung snorkel

This classic snorkel is a little different as it’s foldable.

Although it’s marketed as a travel snorkel, it’s also great for scuba divers who don’t like to dive with a snorkel attached to their masks.

Its packable feature means it fits easily into a BCD pocket in case of choppy conditions or emergencies!

  • Can get soft in very warm temperatures

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Dry Snorkel

Dry snorkel

Dry snorkels are named so because they keep the breathing tube completely dry.

This is thanks to the valve at the top of the snorkel, which blocks water once submerged. Dry snorkels have a purge valve at their base, so it’s easy to remove water from the tube once you’re at the surface.

This is especially great for skin divers.

For scuba divers, the dry snorkel can save you energy due to the easy purge feature. The only concern with this style for scuba divers is the buoyancy of the snorkel.

The top valve mechanism means it constantly has air inside the tube. Scuba divers have to adjust their weight accordingly, and it can also cause drag.

The snorkel can be frustrating if the valve at the top of the snorkel gets stuck. The valve shuts if the snorkel is too far forward or backward, closing before it’s submerged underwater. This can make it unnecessarily hard to breathe.

  • Breathing tube stays dry
  • Makes skin diving easy
  • Purge valve = easy clearing
  • Expensive
  • Can be harder to breathe
  • Buoyancy effects scuba divers

Best Dry Snorkels

cressi dry snorkel

The Alpha Ultra has a float mechanism that closes instantly when submerged in water.

It has a flexible lower portion to help reduce jaw fatigue and the mouthpiece is made of comfortable, durable silicone.

Its best feature compared with other models is probably its price tag! Perhaps this comes at a cost though as some users have reviewed it as being stiff and uncomfortable.

  • Very affordable as dry snorkels go
  • Comes in a range of fun colors
  • Quite stiff so uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods
  • The dry valve can stick

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tusa hyperdry snorkel

This snorkel is an upgraded dry-top snorkel that has all the best features of Tusa’s snorkel range. It has a low profile dry top without the bulk of conventional dry snorkels.

Its splash guard is effective and the integrated float blocks the snorkel top when submerged so you can’t get a drop of water in your breathing tube. It has one of the most comfortable mouthpieces on the market.

  • It stays very dry
  • Super comfortable design
  • Soft mouthpiece
  • It comes in nearly 20 different color choices
  • Hydrodynamic shape
  • Thin tube difficult for heavy breathers
  • It’s a more expensive model

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cressi supernova snorkel

This snorkel has a very flexible tube which means you can see all the fish without too much jaw fatigue.

It’s great for travel or for scuba divers to keep in their BCD as it folds up.

It’s also a pretty stylish option compared to other options on the list.

  • Fits in BCD pocket
  • 19 different color choices
  • Flexible mouthpiece and tube
  • On the expensive end of the scale

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Flexible Snorkels

flexible snorkel example

Flexible snorkels have a rigid tube and a flexible portion, and usually a one-way purge valve at the bottom.

This means only a little breath is required to expel water from the snorkel.

It suits scuba divers who value comfort and a good fit around their faces.

The flexible portion means that when the snorkel is removed from the mouth, it drops away from the face, which gives users a better view. It’s a great style for both scuba divers and snorkelers.

  • Easy to pack for travel
  • Flexible and comfortable
  • Purge valve = easy clearing
  • When not in use it sits away from the face for better viewing


  • The valve can become clogged with sand and dirt
  • Open top of snorkel so it lets water in easily

Best Flexible Snorkels

mares ergo snorkel

It’s in the name – this snorkel is ergonomically designed for your comfort and effortless breathing!

The hydrodynamic nature of the snorkel reduces drag and its flexibility means you always have the best view.

It’s a well-designed piece of equipment which makes snorkeling the most comfortable it can be.

  • Low water resistance
  • Ergonomic comfortable mouthpiece
  • Generic flexible snorkel disadvantages

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aqualungflex snorkel

This is Aqua Lung’s most streamlined snorkel with a super-efficient dual-valve system.

It also has the Comfo-Bite (very cool) mouthpiece design which makes snorkeling even more comfortable.

  • Low water resistance
  • Ergonomic comfortable mouthpiece
  • A tendency to become clogged with sand and dirt

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genesis surf snorkel

This is a great model for all experience levels.

It has all the usual benefits and has received good user reviews across the board.

  • Contoured barrel reduces water resistance
  • Easily replaceable mouthpiece
  • A tendency to become clogged with sand and dirt

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Semi-Dry Snorkel

Best Semi-Dry Snorkels

aqualungflex snorkel

It’s ergonomic like it’s flexible sister, but with the benefits of a splash-proof snorkel top. It’s a great design for scuba divers and snorkelers.

It fits the face and makes breathing easy, and it’s hydrodynamic so it has limited drag. It’s good quality and long-lasting so it’s a win-win.

  • Low water resistance
  • Ergonomic comfortable mouthpiece
  • Long-lasting and great value
  • Generic semi-dry snorkel disadvantages

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aqualungflex snorkel

This Aquabionic model is high-quality and well designed.

It has a wide tube for easy breathing and is available in a range of colors to match the rest of your dive gear.

  • High quality
  • Easy breathing
  • Generic semi-dry snorkel disadvantages

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Full Face Snorkel

Diver waiting on surface

The full face snorkel does what it says on the tin, and covers the full face of the wearer.

It’s a combination of mask and snorkel, so there is no mouthpiece, arguably making it the easiest to use.

The mask style means the lens extends behind your eye, giving you a 180-degree view, which is quite epic.

Beginners sometimes prefer the model as they don’t have to bite on a mouthpiece. It also means you can breathe naturally, in and out through your mouth or nose.

Some beginners find this calming. This can cause fogging but some models have compensating mechanisms for this.

It also has the benefit of not leaking when you smile. This, of course, happens often when you’re checking out what’s going on in the ocean!

This style can be used for snorkeling, only at the surface of the water.

It can’t be used for skin diving, to go under the water, or by freedivers. There is no way for the user to equalize the air in the mask. It also can’t be used by scuba divers.

  • Easy to use so good for beginners
  • Natural breathing
  • Smiling doesn’t make it leak
  • Allows relaxation of the jaw
  • Larger mask lens so better view
  • You cannot equalize the mask so it can’t be used for skin diving, freediving, spearfishing, or scuba
  • Not easy to pack for travel
  • Fogs up
  • Snorkel positioning can be difficult in choppy conditions

There you have it – now you know about all the possible snorkel styles and what activities they’re good for!

Best Full Face Snorkels

seabeast snorkel

First of all – the name is awesome. This model also has a smart design. The snorkel folds down into the mask so it’s easier to travel with compared with other full-face models.

It also means its harder to lose the snorkel and break it in case you drop it.

One pretty cool feature is the GoPro mount which snaps over the buckle for the snorkel.

Perfect for anyone who wants to capture all those priceless underwater moments! And it has a fog-proof viewing pane so you can see what’s going on in real-time as well as afterward on your GoPro!

  • Fold-down snorkel
  • GoPro mount
  • Fog proof
  • There aren’t many bad things to say about this one!

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aqualungflex snorkel

This is one of the more advanced full face snorkel masks out there. Some full-face masks have a lack of airflow through their narrow snorkel tubes.

This causes too much CO2 but the Seaview 180° has compensated for this.

Its breathing tube is in a more natural side position, and it has one-way valves to the breathing chamber keeping more fresh air in your mask. It also minimizes fogging.

  • Designed to keep as much fresh air for breathing
  • Less fogging
  • Hard to pack for travel
  • Much more expensive than traditional snorkels

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aqualungflex snorkel

The Ocean Reef Aria has great airflow and anti-fog properties, as it has four valves in the mask’s interior chamber.

It also has a wide breathing tube so you can always get enough air in.

Even if you’re swimming lots and breathing hard, you shouldn’t get out of breath with this model.

  • Good airflow
  • Anti-fog properties
  • Easy breathing
  • Flimsy straps

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Snorkel Activity Guide

Pure Snorkeling

Diver waiting on surface

For pure snorkeling, a more rigid snorkel is good. A purge valve assists with water expulsion.

A splash guard prevents water from getting into your breathing tube due to splashes or waves. Skin divers may prefer a more flexible tube for reduced drag when ducking underwater.

If you’re a beginner, then you’re in the market for something that’s easy to use. Avoid snorkels with gimmicky add-ons. They tend to be more expensive and have unnecessary functions.

More advanced users who use their equipment more frequently may need something of better quality. In this case, go for something more flexible that fits around your face comfortably.

Scuba Diving Snorkels

For scuba divers, snorkels are vital, especially if you’re diving in locations that experience choppy seas and more difficult conditions.

Using a snorkel before and after a dive is essential when the waves are choppy, especially if you’re unfortunate to end up in an out of air situation. It can be the difference between being able to breathe and not!

Freediving and Spearfishing Snorkels

Diver waiting on surface

If you’re freediving or spearfishing, you’ll need a simple, classic ‘J-style’ snorkel. There’s no need for valves and extra features.

If you’re keeping your snorkel attached to your mask rather than attaching it to your buoy, a simple snorkel with a flexible tube is best suited.

These are more lightweight and cause the least drag.


Did you ever think there could be so much to know about snorkels?! We hope our homework has made your life easier.

Now you can choose the style and model that are best for you and the activities you’ll be doing, and spend more time saying hi to sharks instead of shopping for snorkels!

Choosing the right mask, fins, and dive computer is important too. Fear not – we can help you with those as well!

Check out our gear reviews.

Happy bubbles.

Tash Editor

Tash is a Divemaster, marine conservationist and digital marketer. She loves animals, adventures, the ocean, and chasing an endless summer! She was born in Canada, grew up in the UK, and is currently living in Aussie where the waters are (sometimes!) warmer.

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