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The world’s oceans remain some of the most exciting yet under-explored destinations on this planet, which is quite a shame because they are even fewer places quite as serene and as beautiful as underwater.
From colorful schools of fish to amazing coral reefs, seagrass, turtles, stingrays…you name it, the ocean is an entirely different world. Thankfully, all you need to experience this world is the best snorkel gear.
What’s even better is the fact that the best snorkel set won’t cost you all that much. Let’s take a quick look at some of the different types of snorkel gear and snorkel sets available in the market today and see what you need to know to make the right choice.
Note: This review will cover all the different types of snorkel gear or sets that you might need, including masks, snorkels, fins, and so on.
The very first thing you will notice here is the brand. Cressi is well-known for manufacturing high-quality products, and this Cressi Palau Snorkel Set doesn’t fall short of that reputation.
One of the greatest features here is that the mask features a highly comfortable and durable silicone skirt that ensures you don’t get any leaks as the mask adapts to the contours on your face. This means that it can be effectively worn by people of different face sizes when snorkeling thanks to the skirt, as well as the adjustable strap that ensures a snug fit.
Furthermore, it has a Supernova Dry Snorkel that has a dry-top valve and a curved design. The dry-top valve ensures that you don’t gulp down a mouthful of saltwater should you get accidentally submerged or hit by a wave. The curved design, on the other hand, ensures that it fits comfortably into your mouth without tiring out your jaw.
The full set comes with short blade fins (open heel) that you can comfortably use with your bare feet or even with booties. The fins can easily accommodate a wider range of feet size, ensuring a good fit in the process.
Coming to you complete with a mesh bag, this snorkel set is highly portable thanks to the short fins that not only help you maneuver through the water, especially when exploring corals but also fits snugly in the bag for easy transportation.
• Complete set with mask, short-fins, and carry bag
• 100% dry snorkel
• A skirt edge to keep your mask leakproof
• Rapid action buckle to adjust mask for a snug fit
• The fins aren’t as wide as they should be, which means you need to order at least a size bigger than you normally need
Best Budget Choice
2. U.S. Divers Cozumel Seabreeze Dry Proflex II Mask, Fins and Snorkel Set (The Best Easy-Clear Purge Snorkel Mask)
While the materials used in making this set is sturdy and the carry bag is an added advantage, the truth is that this particular set doesn’t come that close to the kind of quality that products from companies such as Cressi offer. That is not to say that this set isn’t up to the task – because it is and then some!
For starters, it comes with a two-pane mask design that provides you with excellent visibility. That mask is accompanied by straps which have a 3-way buckle for a snug fit and easy use. Thanks to the one-size-fits-all face skirt on the mask, you can expect the mask to do its job well and keep the seawater from leaking into the visor.
Furthermore, the set includes a pair of fins which feature a closed-foot design. That particular design makes it easier for you to propel yourself through the water without expending too much energy. While the snorkel that comes with this set is “splash proof,” it isn’t exactly a dry-top snorkel like the ones you would expect to find with a bigger brand name.
What this means is that the snorkel does a good job of keeping most of the water out should you get submerged or hit by a wave, but it won’t exactly be completely dry, which means you might get some seawater in your mouth.
• Easy to use face mask
• One-size-fits-all skirt that keeps the mask dry
• Comes with a pair of closed-foot fins which are great for propulsion
• You need to be careful to choose the right size snorkel fin because they aren’t adjustable
• The snorkel is splash-proof as opposed to being the much better dry top option
Best Premium Choice
3. WildHorn Outfitters Seaview 180° V2 Full Face Snorkel Mask (The Best Full-Face Snorkel Mask)
For starters, the snorkel itself features WildHorn Outfitters’ innovative Flowtech air intake system, which allows you to breathe just as you normally would without fogging up the mask.
The mask itself has a number of chambers (2) as well as intake valves (4) which all go a long way in ensuring that there is adequate circulation of air, thus greatly improving your snorkeling experience; the fresher air and less fog you have in your mask the greater the snorkeling experience.
There are also a number of additional features that make this snorkel mask outstanding: the viewing area is 20% larger than that of its predecessors, which makes it perfect for people who want to see all they can see when underwater. It’s also attached to an angled snorkel, which makes it easier and more comfortable to breathe underwater.
Another stand out feature is the fact that this mask has a camera mount on the bottom of it as opposed to on the top. This makes it so much easier for you to keep the camera underwater and get all those wonderful shots.
• 20% more viewing area, which makes for better visibility
• Features the iconic Flowtech air intake system, which significantly reduces the chances of the mask fogging up
• The mask has 2 chambers and 4 intake valves which promote excellent air circulation for a better experience
• The camera mount is on the bottom of the mask
• Made out of excellent quality material
• The sizing can be problematic to get just right
4. SUBEA Tribord EasyBreath Full Face (The Best Hypoallergenic Silicone Lining Mask)
Do you remember how difficult it was for you to learn how to breathe through your mouth the very first time you went snorkeling? It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that this is a common problem with most snorkelers, both experienced and novices.
Breathing exclusively through our mouths isn’t natural, and it takes some getting used to. Thankfully, SUBEA realized this and decided to design the SUBEA Tribord EasyBreath Full Face. Now you can breathe normally through your nose even when underwater.
While this isn’t the first full-face snorkel to offer that option (the best ones have this feature too), this one, in particular, goes a step further by also ensuring that the mask comes with panoramic views for a better viewing experience as well as anti-fogging capabilities.
Yes, the 180-degree panoramic mask offers you an incredible field of vision, but that is not all it’s good for. Thanks to the shatterproof window used in making it, you have an added layer of safety should you accidentally bump into any rocks while you are down there. The anti-fogging capabilities are thanks to the fact that the mask has a double chamber air vent valve, which allows for continuous fresh airflow.
Finally, it comes with a “dry top” snorkel that ensures absolutely no water gets into your mouth even when you get submerged or hit by a big wave. Couple all this with a 2-year warranty, and you have a perfectly excellent product in your hands.
• Waterproof dry top snorkel
• 180-degree panoramic mask
• Shatterproof glass
• Easybreath concept which allows for breathing through the nose
• Easy to use
• You might have to replace the straps after a while
5. U.S. Divers Admiral Snorkeling Set (The Best Tempered Glass Snorkel Set)
U.S Divers are a trusted brand when it comes to the production of high-quality yet affordable snorkel gear (that is why there are two of their products on this list). This U.S. Divers Admiral Snorkeling Set is every bit as good as the prestigious “Admiral” part of its name would suggest.
For starters, it features tempered glass, which is very difficult to break even in the roughest of waters or during an accident. That glass is surrounded by a silicone skirt that ensures you don’t get any leaks into your mask, fogging up your view.
The mask itself has two windows, which give you a broad view of your surrounding as you swim. Couple that with the fact that it has a 3-way adjustable buckle that features the pro-glide mechanism, which ensures a snug fit with very little effort.
The outstanding feature, however, is the snorkel itself. It has a contoured shape, which makes it so comfortable to wear, it won’t tire out your jaw or mouth even on long snorkeling sessions.
Furthermore, the snorkel features the interesting “Pivot Dry Technology.” This allows it to offer you a splash guard for when you are snorkeling on the surface, meaning that you won’t get much water into the snorkel. The awesomeness comes in when you decide to dive, the Pivot Dry technology aspect kicks into gear, and your snorkel automatically shuts off the top making sure that absolutely no water gets in.
To finish off the set, you have a pair of Trek fins, which come in a wide variety of sizes, have dual-composite fin blades that make gliding through the water so efficient. The fins also feature a soft foot pocket, which ensures your utmost comfort while you are snorkeling.
• Comes with a convenient carry bag
• The Trek Fins are very comfortable
• The Pivot Dry Technology used in the snorkel allows you to dive without taking in a mouthful of seawater
• Hypoallergenic silicone face skirt for a good and comfortable fit
• The mask has expanded top to bottom viewing for a wider field of sight
• Some people prefer a full-face mask that allows for natural breathing through the nose
6. Promate Snorkeling Fins Panoramic Purge Mask Dry Snorkel Set (The Best Purge Mask Set)
Unlike most other non-full-face masks on this list, this Promate Snorkeling Fins Panoramic Purge Mask Dry Snorkel Set has a unique Edgeless design which allows for a much wider field of view when compared to its counterparts. However, it’s not just about the width of the field of view; although that is an important advantage, it’s also about the kind of comfort you get from wearing this mask.
This patented mask has a purge feature that directs the bubbles away from your view, thus making sure that you have a wonderful viewing experience throughout. Made out of tempered glass that isn’t easy to break, this mask not only offers you a wider than usual field of view and comfort, but it also works to keep your eyes and face safe as well.
Apart from the mask, the set comes with a pair of Promate Wave Snorkeling Fins. These open heel fins have an adjustable strap for an easy fit and operation, as well as a swivel buckle for your convenience. You can choose to go barefoot in these fins or wear them with socks or even diving shoes.
The snorkel itself features a special design and has its own way of keeping out water should you get submerged. For starters, it has a splash guard as well as a silicone purge valve, which allows for easy draining of any water that does get in.
Couple all that with a built-in whistle housing that allows for an adequate airflow as well as a curved mouthpiece made out of soft silicone, and you have a snorkel set that is not only easy to use but also comfortable and effective.
• Quite affordable
• Edgeless, tempered glass on the mask allows for better viewing and safety
• Simple yet effective purge mechanism
• Easy to adjust mask for a good fit
• Adequate airflow thanks to the built-in whistle housing
• Comes with a convenient mesh bag
• Fins can be worn with socks, shoes, or used barefoot
• The fins feel like a stiff plastic
7. Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Scuba Set (The Best Simple Mask Set)
All these other snorkel sets and gear are wonderful, but what if all you want is something simple enough to enjoy on your next trip out to the beach? What if you don’t want anything with all those gimmicks? If that’s the case, then you should definitely take a closer look at this Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Scuba Set.
Phantom Aquatics has done an excellent job of bringing you nothing but the basics of snorkeling. The one stand out feature about this set is the fact that it features a panoramic mask made out of tempered glass. For starters, the fact that it’s made out of tempered glass means that the mask is safe to use even with kids. The idea behind the panoramic mask, although not new nor unique to Phantom Aquatics, is a highly welcome alternative as it gives you a much wider field of view even when you are underwater.
This snorkel gear set also goes above and beyond as far as comfort is concerned. The huge panoramic lens is encased in a polycarbonate frame, which is not only soft, thus offering you the utmost comfort but also a double-sealed silicone rubber skirt that ensures that no water leaks into the lens while you are down there. These features make this snorkel set not only durable but quite practical for people who don’t have that much experience snorkeling.
Furthermore, the mask features an EZ Equalize nose pocket, which is a highly helpful feature that allows you to better adjust to the pressure that comes with being underwater snorkeling by simply breathing out. Couple all this with the easy to use buckle system, and you have a mask that is comfortable, efficient, and effective even for the most novice of snorkelers to use.
Finally, it features a dry top snorkel that is not just easy to use but also ensures that you don’t get a mouthful of seawater in your mouth should you get submerged accidentally or should you get hit by a big wave while snorkeling. The fact that it doesn’t feature a purge system makes it very easy and comfortable for most people to use as well.
• Easy to use
• Panoramic lens offers you a wide field of view
• Comfortable EZ Equalize nose pocket feature
• Easy buckle system
• Soft silicone rubber skirt for leaks
• Soft polycarbonate frame for comfort
• Dry top snorkel
• Doesn’t come with fins
The Best Snorkel Set Buyer’s Guide
The fundamentals that go into choosing the right snorkel gear are the same that go into choosing any piece of equipment that is supposed to help make your life better. Imagine heading out into the water and finding a rare sighting or Manta Rays only to miss it because your snorkel gear was either fogging up or leaking?
Do you see how a mediocre snorkel set can quickly ruin what should have been an amazingly memorable trip? You shouldn’t have to struggle to keep your scuba fins on or your mask from taking on water – the best snorkel gear is designed tofu inherently do that and so much more, but you have to choose the right one.
Before we even take a look at the factors you need to consider when choosing the best snorkel gear for your specific needs, let’s see what a complete snorkel set consist of first:
Mask: This is one of the biggest pieces of gear in a snorkel set. The mask, also commonly referred to as “goggles,” is often a clear face cover that allows you to see underwater. Ideally, your mask should fit you snuggly without being too tight. It should also remain clear throughout your snorkeling adventures. That means that it shouldn’t let in any water or fog up on you.
Snorkel: This is the tube that you breathe through and is typically attached to your mask. One end of the snorkel will be in your mouth while the other will be above the water. That is how you get your oxygen. The best snorkels have a valve that ensures water can’t enter the tube in the event of accidental submersion on your part or when you get splashed by a big wave from above.
Snorkel Fins: Truth be told, these aren’t entirely necessary, especially when you are going for a leisurely snorkeling adventure just off the beach. They are, however, a good addition to your snorkeling set because they make swimming so much easier and more efficient. The best snorkel fins will ensure that your legs don’t get too tired when you propel yourself through the water, looking for more adventure. You can choose between long and short fins, but if you are going to be exploring coral reefs, then short fins are better, especially for shallow water exploration.
Snorkeling Vest: A snorkel vest is very much like a life jacket, and it gives you a bit more buoyancy. While it might not be extremely necessary, if you intend to go snorkeling for long periods of time, you will find that it’s a good idea to put one on just in case you get tired of staying afloat.
Full-Face Snorkeling Mask:Full-face snorkeling masks have recently become very popular. This is mostly because they combine the mask and the snorkel into one convenient piece of gear.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for the Best Snorkel Gear
Here are some factors that you need to consider when choosing the best snorkel set to buy:
Considering the fact that snorkeling is a leisure activity, it would only make sense that the gear you choose to take part in this activity be comfortable. The mask should be snug and not too tight, the snorkel should fit comfortably into your mouth, and if you go for snorkel fins, then they should be a good fit too.
As shallow as it might sound, buying from well-known brands is more often than not the right choice. Not only do these brands have a reputation to protect, but they actually have the budget to put into R&D, which means that they have a better chance to manufacture research and data-backed products that suit their consumers.
Besides, their public image means that you will find enough reviews on their products to actually make an informed decision as opposed to purchasing them blindly and hoping for the best.
Quality of the Product
This ties into the previous point – great brands, more often than not, produce high-quality products. When it comes to snorkel gear, you don’t want to go cheap. You need equipment that can do the job when you are underwater, and that ties directly into the quality of the materials used as well as the workmanship.
For the most part, the standard materials used in snorkeling sets happen to be tempered glass for the masks and 100% silicone for the rest of the gear. It is, however, not uncommon to find cheap snorkels made out of plastic.
The Type of Snorkel Gear You Want
While most people prefer to buy their snorkeling gear as a set, some would rather have the option of buying them separately. This allows them to choose the kind of fin they prefer as opposed to settling for what comes with the set.
Of course, things like budget have to come into play despite this being a highly subjective factor. The idea is to find the best quality snorkel that suits your specific needs to the fullest. Once you achieve that, the price won’t be as painful as spending money on something that you wouldn’t enjoy using.
These are just some of the most important factors that come into play when you are trying to find and buy the best snorkel gear. The producers on this list include not only the best snorkel gear but also the best snorkel sets for almost every user. All you have to do now is simply pick one, buy it and start enjoying your snorkeling adventures the next time you head out to sea.
Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.