See Underwater Sea Life With The Best Snorkels for Beginners (Guide & Reviews)

snorkels on beach

Say summer and your mind immediately jumps to the beach. For most, the beach conjures up the tempting, leisurely thought of lying sprawled about on the sand, letting the sun work on your fabulous tan. For the adventurous folks however, a seaside holiday means a chance to make the most of the water, be it scuba diving or snorkeling.

Snorkeling enthusiasts, divers and lovers of the underwater world have been increasingly discovering exotic destinations around the globe that are nothing short of a snorkeler’s paradise.

Some, in fact, plan their vacations so as to include at least one destination that allows them to experience the enthralling beauty of the underwater, be it some light snorkeling, or the deep sea stuff.

Best Snorkels For The Money (2017 – 2018)

Last update on 2019-07-21 at 18:38 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Irrespective of whether you’re planning to dive or swim underwater, having the right gear is absolutely essential, if you want to enjoy to the fullest.

Talk of diving or some serious underwater swimming, and the first thing you think of is a snorkel. In fact, many places that offer recreational diving have snorkels listed as mandatory equipment and for good reason. Snorkels make your diving experience smoother and safer, by allowing you to breathe efficiently – not only does this mean that you save on both, air and energy while your head is above the water’s surface, but also that you are guaranteed a lot of safety, especially when your surfacing point is far off from where you dived in, making sure you can swim back the distance without getting drained of energy.

Obviously, by now you’ve realized how absolutely crucial it is to pick the right kind of snorkel, and are probably contemplating buying one right away. Before you do so, spend a few minutes reading a few important tips on buying the right kind of snorkel. Once you’ve figured that out, take your pick from any of the top-quality products reviewed below in the section on top snorkel reviews.

Choosing the Right Snorkel

First, let’s take a look at what a snorkel is and how it works. Simply put, a snorkel is a curved tube that has a mouthpiece on one end and is open on the other in order to let you breathe underwater. The mouthpiece is what keeps water out, allowing only air to enter and it is attached to the side of your diving mask, which is another snorkeling essential.

Now there are a whole lot of different kinds of snorkels available in the market, as well as online. From the really simple J-kinds, to those that come with handy features like splash guards on top, dry valves or purge valves on the bottom. Most snorkels fall under one of the following categories of snorkels:

J-Shaped Snorkels

These are the most basic and durable kind of snorkels, perfect for beginners. While they do not come with any additional features or valves, they are sturdy and compact since they have no movable pieces, minimizing the chances of being knocked aside while underwater.

Open Top Snorkels with Purge Valves

These are snorkels that come with a purge valve at the bottom, which opens instantly so that any water that might have entered the snorkel can be easily cleared. Some snorkels allow you to clear the water even when you’re underwater, minimizing your need to resurface every now and then.

Splash Guard Top Snorkels

Some snorkels have a splash guard at the top to keep water from splashing into the snorkel, and eventually making its way to your mouth, which can not only cause great discomfort, but also be a bit of a safety hazard.

Dry Top Snorkels

Probably the most efficient snorkel when it comes to keeping water out, this type has a top that closes automatically when you swim underwater submerging the snorkel, making absolutely sure no water enters in.

Apart from differing in their purge valves and kinds of tops, snorkels also have different types of mouthpieces, depending on the material they are crafted from. These could be anything from rigid PVC to flexible silicone and are available in different sizes to make them comfortable. There are also snorkels that come with an extra wide tube to maximize air inhalation. Also, most snorkel manufacturers will make the same model in a variety of colors, mostly bright hues that make one easy to spot in the water.

Snorkel Buying Tips

The key to buying a good snorkel is to look for three things: comfort, water clearance and air supply, along with ease of storage. Too many enthusiasts have bought expensive, fancy-looking snorkels, only to discover that they don’t fit as well, causing stiffness and discomfort in their joy or that they need to breathe particularly harder to allow enough air in for swimming underwater.

With a little experience and understanding, you’ll never have to experience this – all you need to do is check if the quality of your chosen snorkel matches the criteria below, and you’re set to dive right in!

While simpler models with fewer moving parts are safer and easier to handle, a purge valve of some sort is always a great idea since it makes it easy for you to swim without stopping to clear water. There are, of course, manufacturers that promote special kinds of snorkels labeled “high volume” or “streamlined”, but users are advised to resist the temptation. The former, while they take longer for water to collect, prove to be extremely difficult to clean, and the latter have proven to be too narrow, often making it difficult for the user to breathe effectively through them.

The next important thing to look out for while buying a snorkel is to find one with a soft, comfortable and most importantly easily replaceable mouthpiece. Look for those made with 100% silicone, as it can be easily cleaned after use, making it more hygienic and also more long-lasting.

A snorkel’s effectiveness also depends on its length – ideally, a good snorkel, when attached to your mask and in position, should be placed about 5 cm above your head, so as to ensure that there is minimum dead air space around it.

Lastly, look out for a snorkel that’s flexible and sturdy at the same time. A PVC snorkel may give you the latter, but you’ll need something that won’t move about if you bump into something while snorkeling, in which case you’ll be left adjusting your snorkel in the water, which could get risky if the impact also moves your mask away from your face.

To check if a snorkel is flexible enough, gently (unless you want to damage it before you buy it) bend the snorkel in half, and if it quickly springs back without distorting, it is good enough for you.

In addition, a flexible snorkel, like the kind made with 100% silicone, will be less prone to damage from falling or rough handling, as well as well as from water impact. Plus, the flexibility allows you to fold and store it in minimal space, unlike a rigid, upright snorkel made from hard plastic. Seasoned divers, who often make frequent trips to far-off places can’t stop emphasising on the flexibility of a snorkel, some even storing it wedged into their shoe for easy travel.

Editor Top Picks: Best Snorkel Reviews

Kraken Aquatics Dry Snorkel Review

This dry snorkel from Kraken Aquatics comes with a host of features that make diving or swimming with this a delightful experience. Focused on optimum water clearance, this product is a great mid-range option for those willing to spend the money for a snorkel.

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Kraken Aquatics Dry Snorkel with Comfortable Silicone Mouthpiece and Purge Valve for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving | Black
  • Keep salt water out of your mouth while snorkeling: Our dry snorkel uses a floating ball system at the opening of the dry snorkel to keep water out. This system closes the opening at the top of the snorkel while submerged under the water and reopens when the snorkel reaches the surface.
  • Comfortable to use silicone mouthpiece: Enjoy a dry snorkel that has a comfortable, soft and form fitting silicone mouthpiece allowing for prolonged use without any discomfort while snorkeling, scuba diving or spearfishing. Forget about those cheap mouthpieces that leave your mouth hurting.
  • Corrugated silicone hose for easy flexibility: The corrugated silicone hose allows the dry snorkel to have more of a natural curve around the face which helps make it easier to keep in your mouth. Also helps the mouthpiece to fall out of the way when the mouthpiece is not being used.
  • Easily clear any water out of the dry snorkel with the one way purge valve: There may be times when water gets into your dry snorkel but it can easily be cleared out with the one way purge valve. Water can even be cleared out of the dry snorkel while under water.
  • Connect or disconnect your mask with ease using the quick release clip: The easy to use quick release clip makes it very easy to connect and disconnect your mask to the dry snorkel. The quick release clips also easily adjusts up and down for better fitment with your snorkel mask.

Last update on 2019-07-21 at 18:38 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features

  • Floating ball system is designed to close the opening at the top of the snorkel while it is submerged under the water and automatically reopen as it resurfaces.
  • A comfortable, soft mouthpiece designed to fit perfectly without the slightest hint of discomfort.
  • Corrugated silicone hose makes it easier for the snorkel to stay in place, keeping the mouthpiece out of the way when it is not in use.
  • One-way purge valve allows you to clear water from the snorkel whenever required, even underwater.
  • Quick release clip makes it easy to connect or disconnect your mask easily from the snorkel.

Pros

  • 100% dry, water-free experience, both on the surface and underwater.
  • Comfortable, well-fitting mouthpiece minimizes the need for adjustment.
  • Ergonomically designed silicone hose forms a natural curve around your face preventing the mouthpiece from coming in your way when not in use.
  • Sturdy design, easy to clean after use.

Cons

  • If we had to be picky, the price is slightly on the higher side.

Verdict

Honestly, with a product as great as this, there are practically no cons, other than the price, which may seem a little on the higher side, especially if you’re a beginner who has explored simpler, more basic models. While you can always opt for one of those, but if you want to take your diving seriously, you’ll soon find that this is totally worth the price, especially when you realize how often you’re going diving, just because you finally have a snorkel that provides you with a smooth, hassle-free experience.

Phantom Aquatics Dry Snorkel Review

Like its name suggests, this product from Phantom Aquatics is a great budget buy, if you are new to the world of snorkeling and are still a few trips away from becoming an expert, regular diver. The reason to absolutely love this product is that a cheap price, it gives you what a good snorkel should – comfort, ease of use and a water-free diving/swimming experience.

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Phantom Aquatics Dry Snorkel, Aqua
  • Dry Top Tube Seals Tube while Underwater, Virtually Eliminates Water Intake
  • Quick release buckle detaches with single-handed action
  • Easy purge system with extra large self draining chamber
  • Streamlined oval-shaped bore, Angled Mouthpiece for Comfort
  • Replaceable Mouthpiece, Excellent Flex Tube Snorkel

Last update on 2019-07-21 at 18:38 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features

  • Specially designed Dry Top tube.
  • Quick release buckle detaches with single-handed action.
  • Easy purge system with extra large self-draining chamber.
  • Streamlined oval-shaped bore.
  • Angled, comfortable mouthpiece.

Pros

  • Cheaper as compared to other dry-top snorkels.
  • Comfortable and sturdy.
  • Top tube closes as soon as snorkel is submerged, giving extra protection.
  • Easy to drain.

Cons

  • Narrow chamber as compared to other snorkels.
  • May require harder, more forceful breathing causing water intake.

Verdict

Overall, this is a great product, but the narrow, streamlined shape of the snorkel may take some getting used to. In turn, if you breathe too hard because of the narrow shape, you may end up drawing in water despite the top-dry tube, as reported by some users.

Cressi Alpha Ultra-Dry Snorkel Review

This is definitely a product handpicked for those who are seasoned snorkelers and diving enthusiasts. For starters, it is designed to be suitable for snorkeling as well as scuba diving, with its extra-wide, elliptical bore that maximizes air flow. The manufacturers, Cressi, are a reliable Italian brand that have been around since 1946, giving snorkelers and divers some well-designed products for over seven decades now. Priced at a mid-level ranage, this is certainly more expensive than the other snorkels on this list, but our editoris think that its price is totally worth the stellar features it comes with.

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Cressi Alpha Ultra Dry, Black/Black/Yellow
  • Cressi is a REAL diving, snorkeling and swimming Italian brand, since 1946.
  • Features a float mechanism which close instantly to prevent water from entering the snorkel whether accidentally or purposely submerged.
  • The snorkel has a highly flexible tube that reduces jaw fatigue and folds compactly for storing in a BC pocket or travel pack.
  • A wider elliptical bore shape increases air flow capacity for more comfortable breathing and a purge valve enables instant clearing when needed.
  • Is made in Italy in 100% high quality silicone, a better material and longer lasting than plastic PVC.

Last update on 2019-07-21 at 18:38 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features

  • 100% Made In Italy!
  • Float mechanism closes instantly to prevent water from entering the snorkel.
  • Highly flexible tube that folds compactly.
  • Wider elliptical bore shape increases air flow capacity.
  • Purge valve for instant water clearing.
  • Made with 100% high-quality silicone.

Pros

  • 100% protection against water, even when the snorkel is accidentally submerged.
  • Maximized air capacity makes it ideal for scuba and deep diving.
  • Easy to store and carry.
  • Ergonomically designed mouthpiece causes zero jaw fatigue and discomfort.
  • 100% silicone makes it sturdier as compared to snorkels made of PVC.

Cons

  • More expensive as compared to other snorkels we tested.

Verdict

As mentioned before, there’s no denying that this is a snorkel on the expensive side, but if you truly love diving, you’re going to need a sturdier, wider snorkel, unlike one meant only for swimming or snorkeling. If take your snorkeling seriously, then you’ll love this one!

Mares Ergo Dry Snorkel Review

For those looking to buy a product that works equally well with snorkeling as well as scuba diving, this snorkel from Mares Ego is another great product. With a mouthpiece designed to fit comfortably on most people, it is also great at keeping water out, with its combination of a super-efficient purge valve and dry top.

Sale
Mares Italian Design Premium Collection Ergo Dry Snorkel - Comfortable Silicone Mouthpiece and Purge Valve for Snorkeling and Scuba, Blue
  • Top prevents water from entering
  • One-way purge valve for effortless clearing
  • Perfect for the novice to the experienced snorkeler
  • Comfortable curved mouthpiece
  • Purge valve allows easy clearing of snorkel

Last update on 2019-07-21 at 18:38 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features

  • Dry top and one-way purge valve keep water out, at all times.
  • Flexible mouthpiece made of soft rubber for comfort and durability.
  • Corrugated flex hose made of 100% quality silicone.

Pros

  • 100% dry, water-free experience.
  • Comfortable, well-fitting mouthpiece minimises need for adjustment.
  • Can be used by anyone, from novice to an expert.
  • Provides a prolonged underwater experience.

Cons

  • More expensive as compared to some snorkels.
  • Heavier in comparison to other models.
  • Narrow bore may make it difficult to breathe.

Verdict

Overall, this product is on the more expensive side, but promises to give you an underwater experience that is smooth. Based on popular reviews, it may take some getting used to, both in the water and while carrying it around, since the snorkel itself has a narrow bore, and is heavier than other models.

Cressi Dry Snorkel Review

It was impossible to resist including another Cressi product on this list, particularly because it is an absolute value buy at it’s low price, and this certainly makes an important point – that budget snorkels can be high-quality too if they come from a reliable brand. While Cressi certainly has more expensive models, this one is a no-fuss, streamlined, basic snorkel, which gives you the quality assurance of a reliable brand for the price of any other budget snorkel.

Cressi Supernova Dry, clear/cobalt
  • This snorkel is the best choice if you want a quality product well designed that has all the features that make you happy. Don't worry about the entry of water: choose an easy-to-use dry snorkel and enjoy your diving.
  • It features a float mechanism which close instantly to prevent water from entering the snorkel whether accidentally or purposely submerged.
  • At the end of the tube, there is a small reservoir that collects water, which is very easy to expel thanks to the purge valve, simply by blowing without effort.
  • The quick-release keeper allows you to join easily the snorkel to the mask strap by a simple clicking. Push the button for unjoin the snorkel from the mask without removing the keeper from the mask strap.
  • A wider elliptical bore shape increases air flow capacity for more comfortable breathing and a purge valve enables instant clearing when needed.

Last update on 2019-07-21 at 18:38 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features

  • Water-free even when fully submerged.
  • Dry top keeps out every last drop of water.
  • Soft, 100% silicone mouthpiece and flexible tube provide comfort and durability.
  • Purge valve at the bottom lets you clear water in an instant.

Pros

  • Cost-effective, value for money product.
  • Comfortable, well-fitting mouthpiece minimizes need for adjustment.
  • Sturdy, lightweight design, easy to clean after use.

Cons

  • Narrow bore as compared to the other Cressi models.
  • May not work well with scuba diving.

Verdict

If you want to go all in and pick a snorkel that works equally well with swimming, snorkeling and diving, there’s another, more heavy-duty model by Cressi on this list. But if you’re just starting out and all you need is a simple, no-frills snorkel that does its job of keeping water out while you indulge in some casual snorkeling, this is the one for you. Essentially, it has the most basic of Cressi’s features, at a price that’ll make you smile, even when you have the mouthpiece on.

That is pretty much all that there is to buying a new snorkel, honestly. At the end of the day, whether you’re a professional diver or a budding enthusiast, you deserve an experience that keeps you coming back to the wonders of the underwater. That’s where a good snorkel can, and will make all the difference. After all, you could be surrounded by the most exotic flora and fauna, but if you’re going to spend all your time fidgeting around with your mouthpiece, not only are you going to miss out on some spectacular sights, but you will also get tired out really soon.

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