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Snorkeling is rapidly growing in popularity at ocean destinations. More and more people are interested in experiencing sea life and getting to know what’s living below the ocean’s surface. There are many snorkel companies that offer tours and excursions to give people an unforgettable ocean experience.

What’s the key to an unbeatable snorkeling trip? Good gear, of course. Good snorkeling gear is the most important factor when it comes a snorkeling trip, as it ensures a comfortable and safe experience.

There’s nothing worse than putting your face in the water or diving down a little and having your mask get foggy or start leaking. While most snorkeling tour companies provide complimentary or rental gear for the day, we recommend always bringing your own gear.

Our Picks for Best Snorkel Gear

Already know what you’re looking for? Click the links below to go straight to our specific snorkel gear recommendations. Otherwise, keep scrolling below to learn more about choosing the best snorkel gear for you.

snorkel gear on beachWhy Buy Instead of Rent Snorkel Gear

There are several reasons why you should buy your own snorkeling gear instead of using what’s provided by tour companies.

The gear that these companies provide tends to be low quality. Think scratched masks that leak water or fog up when in use and snorkels that let water in. If you have your own gear, you know what you’re getting instead of being surprised in the water.

You never know who was using the snorkel before you. Because you also don’t know the sanitation process tour companies use, it’s better to be safe with your own equipment than take your chances with unsanitary gear.

If it’s your first time snorkeling, owning your gear allows you to practice before heading out into the wide open ocean. Throw on your mask and fins and hop in a pool to get used to the feeling of everything on your body.

You can (and should) adjust your gear to make sure it’s as comfortable as possible so that you aren’t stuck doing this floating in the ocean when the time comes.

Snorkeling Gear Basics

There are three main components when it comes to snorkeling gear: mask, snorkel and fins.

There are different variations of each of the components, so it’s important to find what works best for you and your needs.

Mask

It’s extremely important to have a snug-fitting, clear and comfortable mask to ensure you have the best visual experience possible. When going underwater, your mask shouldn’t leak or fog, but rather stay suctioned to your face to keep water out.

What to Look for in a Mask:

  • Impact-resistant (tempered) glass lens rather than plastic. Plastic lenses scratch easily, while glass masks are high quality and durable
  • Fog-treated lens. This way your mask won’t fog up if you dive deep or experience temperature variations.
  • Silicon skirt. The skirt is the piece that hangs below the lens and suctions to your face. It’s best to get a mask with a silicon skirt as they create a more airtight suction than plastic skirts. Plastic skirts also rip more easily and are more likely to let water into your mask than silicon.
View Snorkeling Masks

Snorkel

There are three different types of snorkels: classic, dry and semi-dry.

The main difference between these is the opening at the top that either allows or blocks water from getting in. Experience level should help you determine which type of snorkel is best for you and your adventures.

Classic Snorkel

Classic snorkels have a full opening at the top that allows you to breathe in and out clearly if you’re floating on top of the water. This is the type of snorkel that most companies hand out as a part of their gear.

The downside to a classic snorkel is if you go below the water or are hit by a wave, you’ll end up with a mouthful of saltwater. This type of snorkel is not ideal for beginners because it can be challenging to clear the snorkel to make way for airflow.

Dry-top Snorkel

Dry-top snorkels have a valve at the top that closes when you go underwater. This stops water from coming in, but also stops airflow.

It’s a good choice if you plan on submerging often, but be sure you know how to properly use it so that when you resurface, you can get the valve back open and start breathing again.

Semi-dry Snorkel

A semi-dry snorkel is partly closed at the top due to a slanted valve which keeps water from coming into the tube while still allowing you to breathe. Semi-dry snorkels also tend to feature a one-way purge valve to get water out of your snorkel without interrupting your breathing.

View Snorkels

Fins

Fins are a great piece of snorkeling gear that allow you to travel through the water quickly and reduce fatigue. Besides their benefits, fins greatly vary in style and size.

Besides choosing between an open or closed heel, you also need to decide whether you’d like your fins to be short or long.

Closed Heel vs Adjustable Heel

Closed heel fins completely cover the foot to make sure that it’s protected. However, this type of fin is not adjustable, so it’s extremely important to get a comfortable size to make sure that your foot isn’t sliding around while you’re exploring.

On the other hand, adjustable heel fins leave the heel exposed, but have an adjustable strap to make sure you have a comfortable and secure fit.

Short Fins vs Long Fins

Short fins are practical if you plan on traveling around with your gear. They’re easier to pack and fit in more places than a pair of giant fins. Short fins are not as powerful as longer fins, but are better for shallow water.

Longer fins can be a bit of a hassle to travel with but they’re much more powerful in the water and good for diving deep.

View Fins

snorkeling blue waters

How to Choose the Right Snorkel Gear

Choosing the right snorkeling gear is important to make sure you have the best underwater experience possible.

There are several factors to consider when thinking about making the purchase and we’ve laid them all out for you to make your decision easier.

Choose Between a Set or Buying Individually

When buying snorkeling gear, you can either purchase a set or each component individually. Sets can include all three pieces (mask, snorkel and fins) or just a mask and snorkel, with fins being purchased separately.

There are many advantages to purchasing snorkel sets rather than buying piece buy piece.

The biggest reason to purchase a set is value. Buying a set, even a very high-quality one, tends to be much less expensive than buying each piece of gear individually. In addition to good value, sets generally have gear that is meant to go together, meaning the pieces are designed to fit together seamlessly without any problems.

However, sets aren’t a good option if you are looking for something specific, like a mask fit or certain types of fins. Sets tend to be generic, one-size fits all, so they aren’t practical if you are looking for a mask designed for a specific face shape or other gear specifications.

What’s Your Budget?

Snorkeling gear can range from pretty inexpensive to super high priced. Deciding how much money you’re willing to spend will help narrow down your choices.

As mentioned above, buying a set is the best in terms of value, but lower-priced sets may only come with a mask and snorkel, leaving the fins to be purchased separately.

Price also tends to be an indicator of quality. A lower price oftentimes signals lower quality. The lower-price sets or pieces tend to come from China and are made from cheaper material, while higher priced gear oftentimes comes from Europe and tend to be more durable and reliable.

Lastly, how much you’re willing to pay will determine the kind of snorkel you get.

Dry-top snorkels tend to be more expensive as they let you fully submerge without letting water in. If you’re paying less, you’ll likely end up with a snorkel that has a semi-dry valve that keeps water out on surface level but will fill with water when you dive below.

Do You Want Durability?

If you plan on using your snorkel equipment more than once, I highly recommend purchasing durable gear.

As mentioned above, less expensive gear typically isn’t as lon- lasting as gear you pay a higher price for. If you’re an avid snorkeler or even plan to take a long trip on the water, it’s worth investing in gear that will last you through your trip and beyond.

The most durable snorkel gear is made of silicon. Stay away from pieces made from plastic or PVC as they’re less reliable and more prone to breakage. This applies not only to the snorkel, but to your mask as well.

You can also determine the durability (or at least dependability) of snorkel gear by checking the warranty. Many high quality, reputable brands will offer 1 to 2 years coverage, while the more fault-prone gear may not have any coverage at all.

A last tip on durability is to check where the gear is coming from. If it’s coming from China, you can bet that isn’t going to last you as long as gear from Europe or America.

Find the Right Fit

Another consideration when choosing your snorkel gear is to find pieces that fit you and your needs.

Masks, snorkels and fins all come in a variety of shapes, materials and fits so it’s important to pick the one that’s best for you.

When choosing a snorkel, find one that fits your jaw shape. A smaller jaw requires a smaller snorkel, and vice versa with a larger jaw.

If you choose a snorkel that’s too small for you, you’ll have some difficulty keeping it in your mouth and experience jaw fatigue. A snorkel that’s too large for you will also be difficult and uncomfortable to keep in your mouth. Look for one that’s just right and you should have a pleasant experience.

If you aren’t sure what snorkel to choose, have no fear. You’ll be able to swap out the mouthpiece for one that fits right without having to replace the whole snorkel.

You should also have a good idea of your face shape when purchasing a mask. If you have a narrower face, you may want a smaller mask, while wider faces require something a bit larger.

The most important thing is that your mask fits snugly on your face, otherwise you’ll have leakage and an unpleasant experience.

Finally, you’ll want to choose a pair of fins in your correct size so that you don’t spend your snorkeling adventure constantly readjusting them.

Snorkeling fins are generally sized like shoes, making them fairly straightforward to choose. If you aren’t sure what size to get or are only offered a S/M/L selection, opt for a pair with an adjustable heel so that you can create a fit that’s right for your foot.

Now that you know how to choose snorkeling gear that’s right for you, it’s time to start exploring your options.

Best Snorkeling Sets: Comparison Table

As mentioned above, snorkeling sets are an economical way to get started when purchasing gear. We’ve checked out different sets, and these are the ones we love.

Scroll down for full reviews of the five different snorkeling sets to help you determine which one is best for you.

Brand
Price
Features
Where to Buy


Cressi Palau Snorkel Set
$$- Two Lens Mask
- Dry-top Snorkel
- Adjustable Short Fins
Check Amazon

Seavenger Adult and Junior Diving Snorkel Set
$- Panoramic Lens Mask
- Dry-top Snorkel
- Adjustable Short Fins
Check Amazon

U.S. Divers Adult Cozumel Snorkel Gear
$$$- Two Lens mask
- Semi-dry Snorkel
- Fitted Fins
Check Amazon

Phantom Aquatics Sport Snorkel Set
$$- Two Lens Mask
- Semi-dry Snorkel
- Adjustable Short Fins
Check Amazon

Phantom Aquatics Ultra Panoramic View Set
$- Panoramic Lens
- Dry Snorkel
Check Amazon

Best Snorkeling Sets to Buy

Cressi Palau Snorkel Set

Price: $$
What We Love:

  • Tight fitting two lens mask
  • Open and adjustable fins with large foot pocket
  • Good beginner’s set

Cressi is a reputable snorkel brand known for making high quality, dependable gear.

The mask in this set has two lenses separated by a nose piece, complete with adjustable straps to make getting the right fit easy. It has a conforming silicon skirt that keeps water out and your face comfortable while in the water.

The Palau set has a dry snorkel to keep water out, as well as a purge valve to clear your tube if any water does happen to get in. The fins have an open heel and adjustable back, as well as a large foot pocket making them suitable for different sized feet. The fins are also small making them convenient for traveling and moving around in (think walking on the beach).

This set comes in different sizes and colors, making it suitable for a wide variety of people. It’s a great starter pack if you’re a beginner looking for some gear.

View on Amazon

 

Seavenger Adult and Junior Diving Snorkel Set

Price: $
What We Love:

  • Panoramic lens
  • Flexible snorkel
  • Trek fins which are powerful with minimal drag in water

This set comes in three sizes and is a complete gear set.

The mask features a single lens made from tempered glass ensuring strength and durability. The single lens gives a panoramic view of the ocean with silicon skirting to prevent leaks. The set comes with a dry snorkel with a flexible tube, which allows you to adjust it to fit your face comfortably.

The fins in the Seavenger set are trek fins which are short and powerful. These fins are ideal for snorkeling, especially if you’re a beginner, and have an open, adjustable back.

If you’re into other water sports, these fins are great for bodyboarding as well because they have minimal drag in the water.

This set is a great value, and gets you everything you need at a low price without compromising quality.

View on Amazon

 

U.S. Divers Adult Cozumel Snorkel Gear

Price: $$$
What We Love:

  • Semi-dry snorkel with splash guard
  • Fins that hug your feet
  • Carrying bag with shoulder strap

The U.S. Divers gear comes with a two-lens mask with a 100% silicon skirting which creates an firm fit and keeps water out. The snorkel is semi-dry, meaning there’s a splash guard but it doesn’t entirely keep water out.

The fins that come with this set have a closed heel that hug your feet and keep you comfortable throughout. Just make sure that you are ordering the right size because you can’t adjust them. The carrying bag has a shoulder strap and mesh pockets to air out wet gear.

This is a good set if you’re more experienced, especially because of the snorkel.

View on Amazon

 

Phantom Aquatics Sport Snorkel Set

Price: $$
What We Love:

  • Durable mask
  • Splash guard on semi-dry snorkel
  • Heavy duty fins

The Phantom Sport set comes with a two-lens mask made from tempered glass that sits close to the face due to the design. It’s a comfortable mask with a liquid silicon skirt which creates a watertight fit.

The snorkel in this set has a semi-dry top valve, so water stays out when you’re floating on the surface.

The fins that come in this set are short, but powerful. They’re considered “heavy duty” and highly efficient, letting you go faster and further with minimal effort.

This set is light but good quality and ready to be used time and time again.

View on Amazon

 

Phantom Aquatics Ultra Panoramic View Set

Price: $
What We Love:

  • Panoramic mask with window lenses
  • Effective dry snorkel
  • Can purchase fins separately

Phantom Aquatics also offers a set without fins, but with single-lens mask. The mask is made from tempered glass and has a panoramic lens, as well as window lenses to give a good view of the periphery. It has a silicon rubber skirt that is soft on the face while creating a tight seal and keeping water out.

Unlike the Phantom set above, this snorkel is a dry snorkel with a valve on the top to keep water out if you go underwater. This set doesn’t come with fins or a carrying pouch; just the mask and snorkel.

View on Amazon

Best Masks: Comparison Table

A good mask is key to a quality snorkeling experience. Check out the table to compare prices of three different masks we like, and keep scrolling to read full reviews of  features.

Brand
Price
Where to Buy

Cressi F1, Sucba Diving Snorkeling Frameless Mask
$Check Amazon

Kraken Aquatics Snorkel Dive Mask
$$Check Amazon

Tusa M1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask
$$$Check Amazon

Best Masks for Snorkeling

Cressi F1, Scuba Diving Snorkeling Frameless Mask

Price: $
What We Love:

  • Single lens
  • Easy to adjust buckles
  • Tight-fitting silicon

As mentioned, Cressi is a reputable and super dependable brand when it comes to scuba and snorkeling gear.

This mask has a single lens made from tempered glass and a frameless design giving users an uninterrupted visual experience. It has silicon skirting which is durable and creates a tight seal on the users face.

The straps are easily adjustable with buckles on the side so you won’t have a hard time getting the mask to fit right.

View on Amazon

 

Kraken Aquatics Snorkel Dive Mask

Price: $$
What We Love:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Strong tempered glass
  • Fan favorite among snorkelers and free divers alike

This mask is a fan favorite of snorkelers and divers alike. It’s a lightweight mask with a single tempered glass lens. The silicon skirt molds to your face for maximum comfort and the straps are fully adjustable.

People love this mask because it’s durable and suitable for rugged activities. If you’re a diver in addition to a snorkeler, try this mask out.

View on Amazon

 

Tusa M1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask

Price: $$$
What We Love:

  • HUGE lens!
  • Good for variety of face shapes
  • Extremely durable

If you’re looking for a larger field of vision and willing to pay the price, check out this mask.

It features one huge lens that reaches beyond your nose, allowing you to see more than you would with regular snorkeling or scuba masks. It fits almost all face shapes well and has adjustable straps for that perfect fit.

While this mask is on the pricier side, it’s great quality with a durable lens and rave reviews.

View on Amazon

Best Snorkels: Comparison Table

Because there are three different types of snorkels, it’s important to pick one that works best for you.

Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an advanced snorkeler, compare different snorkels in the table below and continue reading for full reviews.

Brand
Price
Where to Buy

Cressi Standard Bore Tube Snorkel
$Check Amazon

Phantom Aquatics Dry Snorkel
$$Check Amazon

Scubapro Escape Semi-Dry Snorkel
$$Check Amazon

Cressi Alpha Ultra Dry Snorkel
$$$Check Amazon

Best Snorkels to Buy

Cressi Standard Bore Tube Snorkel

Price: $
What We Love:

  • Classic snorkel
  • Wide tube
  • Comfortable silicon mouthpiece

If you’re looking for a classic snorkel without a top, check out Cressi’s standard bore tube snorkel. It has a wide tube for maximum airflow and a super soft and comfortable silicon mouthpiece to keep you going for a long time.

View on Amazon

 

Phantom Aquatics Dry Snorkel

Price: $$
What We Love

  • Flexible, soft mouthpiece
  • Easy-to-use clip to attach to masks
  • 30-day money back guarantee

The Phantom Aquatics dry snorkel is a dependable, top selling piece of equipment.

It’s flexible with a silicon mouthpiece and a clip that makes attaching it to any mask extremely easy. The snorkel has a dry-top to keep water from getting into your mouth while you’re exploring, but has a purge valve just in case.

Phantom is so sure of their product that they offer a 30-day money back guarantee to ensure complete customer satisfaction.

View on Amazon

 

Scubapro Escape Semi-Dry Snorkel

Price: $$
What We Love:

  • Removable mouthpiece
  • Good for snorkeling and scuba
  • Effective splashguard

This snorkel is a classic semi-dry with a splash-proof guard at the top to keep water from coming into the tube. The mouthpiece is flexible for maximum comfort and is able to be removed and replaced as needed.

The snorkel attaches to any mask with ease, and it’s designed for both snorkeling and scuba diving.

View on Amazon

 

Cressi Alpha Ultra Dry Snorkel

Price: $$$
What We Love:

  • Fold it up to be compact
  • Dry top with effective purge valve
  • Wider tube for greater airflow

A huge perk of this snorkel is in the name: it’s foldable.

This snorkel is not only high quality but can easily fit anywhere it needs to be packed without being damaged. It has a dry top to keep water from getting in if submerged and has a purge valve for clearing. It also has a slightly wider tube to increase airflow while in the water.

View on Amazon

Best Fins: Comparison Table

Fins can make a huge difference in your snorkeling experience. Be sure you’re buying the right pair by comparing different brands and styles in the table below.

Need some extra information? There are full fin reviews below.

Brand
Price
Where to Buy

U.S. Divers Proflex II Snorkel Fins
$Check Amazon

Cressi Palau Short Snorkeling Swim Fins
$$Check Amazon

Atomic Aquatics Lightweight High Energy Compound Full Foot Splitfins
$$$Check Amazon

Best Fins to Buy

U.S. Divers Proflex II Snorkel Fins

Price: $
What We Love:

  • Long, powerful fin
  • Side vents for longer strides
  • Good price

This fin from U.S. divers is a long fin that’s guaranteed to give you some extra power in the water. This fin is also has vents on the sides which allows swimmers to take longer strides.

There is a wide range of sizes and the closed heel gives a nice comfy fit.

View on Amazon

 

Cressi Palau Short Snorkeling Swim Fins

Price: $$
What We Love:

  • Short but powerful
  • Able to accommodate different foot sizes
  • Small enough for a carry-on bag

This is a great pick if you’re looking for a dependable short fin that’s small but powerful.

Cressi’s Palau features an open heel with adjustable straps, allowing them to accommodate 3 – 4 different sizes. They’re lightweight and small enough to fit in a carry-on suitcase, so they’re perfect for your next adventure.

If you’re a beginner, give these a try.

View on Amazon

 

Atomic Aquatics Lightweight High Energy Compound Full Foot Splitfins

Price: $$$
What We Love:

  • Long split fin
  • Full foot pocket
  • Extremely lightweight

If you’re really trying to up your fin game and don’t mind spending the money, try out these from Atomic Aquatics. They’re a long, streamlined fin with a split up to the toes.

It’s a full foot pocket with a closed heel, so be sure you know what size to get before ordering! Best of all, they’re extremely lightweight making them great for travel.

View on Amazon

Other Snorkel Gear to Buy

Besides a mask, snorkel and fins, there is other gear available to enhance your snorkeling experiences.

Snorkel Vest

A snorkel vest is a great tool for beginners to help with buoyancy and flotation.

It’s also a good piece of equipment for people planning on snorkeling for a long time as it keeps you from having to tread water and getting tired out.

Antifog Mask Spray

If your mask doesn’t have anti-fog lenses, this spray is a must.

It’s used for treating your mask lens to make sure that even if you dive deep or experience great variation in temperature, your mask stays fog free.

Mask Strap Cover

Good for both girls and guys, a neoprene mask strap cover creates a more comfortable mask experience.

This cover goes over the mask strap to stop any unpleasant tugging or pulling that comes with readjustment. It’s especially good for if you have long hair that’s prone to getting tangled in the strap, but it’s also suitable for men in terms of increasing comfort.

Dry Bag

It’s practical to take a dry bag with you on any water adventure, snorkeling included!

A dry bag seals to keep everything inside dry, no matter how wet your surroundings are. I never go out on the water without one of these!


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