Few things in life compare to the joy and serenity of a quiet time-out with mother-nature and observing, unobtrusively, other inhabitants of this planet in their own habitats. For some people, they achieve this peace by birdwatching with a telescope
while others are more at home with wildlife.
Other nature aficionados would rather spend long hours hanging out under the sea with all the beauty and colors associated with underwater. Unlike other, land-based nature pastimes, exploring underwater immerses you in a feeling of oneness with nature, with no outside noise intruding on the scene.
If you’re in love with life underwater and want to start exploring its stunning beauty, there’s no better way to start than snorkeling. Snorkeling is often seen as the younger brother to scuba diving with the only difference being that you can decide not to go so deep into the ocean and yet have a clear view of what’s going on down there. All you need for successful snorkeling is your diving fins
, diving mask
The snorkel is a mouthpiece with a long tube that periscopes to the top of the water, allowing you to breath in surface oxygen while submerged in the water. With the snorkel, there’s no need for a cumbersome oxygen cylinder and its accessories for an adventure underwater. This means less stress and risk, and therefore can be done without supervision in the case of an amateur.
So, if you just want to have some soothing time underwater without so many preparations and precautions, or you need a form of preparative step for some serious, deep scuba diving, you should be thinking about snorkeling.
Although the snorkel is a relatively uncomplicated piece of equipment, one still needs to be extremely careful when shopping for one. There are some important factors to consider before investing in one, like the type of snorkel, its comfort and fit, features, dimensions and of course, the price. Stay with us as we delve deeper into these factors.
Just so you know, almost all types of snorkels can get you breathing just fine but the difference is in how efficiently the equipment gets the job done, and that’s where price variations come in. The common J-shape open-end snorkel is more affordable compared to the dry snorkel and depending on how deep you intend to go, both are good at what they do. If you’re going to swim farther out into the ocean depth, it’s recommended to go for the more expensive dry snorkel.
Generally, snorkels can be gotten for between $15 and $50, depending on the type and the accessories included. The snorkels we’ve featured cover the price range above so you can get a basic or high-end snorkel at a price that is agreeable with your budget. Our featured products are guaranteed to give you top notch performance, unlike some cheap snorkels we came across that looked like you could barely get a breath through them.
Shopping for a good snorkel need not be tedious and that’s why we’re discussing important features you need to consider before investing in one. These features include:
- Type of snorkel
- Comfort and fit
Construction and Design
A snorkel is made of 2 distinct parts – the snorkel barrel and the mouthpiece. The barrel is mostly made of a combination of silicone and plastic although some can be made from either silicone or plastic. A snorkel barrel determines the shape of the snorkel which can be the rigid J-shape of most classic snorkels or a flexible tube that contours round the head of the snorkeler.
There are three types of snorkels available in the market and they are the classic, dry and semi-dry snorkels. The classic snorkel is the least expensive of the three and comes with little or no frills. It’s basically a J-shaped rigid tube with a circular opening at the end that allows free passage of air down to the submerged snorkeler. The open end is designed to stay right above the water level to prevent salt water from getting in and giving the wearer a choking mouthful. This type can be used effectively by experienced snorkelers as they’ll be better at expelling water from the barrel which is sure to take on water at some point, either from being submerged unknowingly or from splashes or waves.
The dry snorkel, on the other hand, has a float valve that seals off the barrel as it is submerged, thus preventing water from getting inside. It’s ideal for deep snorkeling or scuba diving but some people have complained that it restricts their breathing.
A semi-dry snorkel has several vents and slits that divert water and prevent it from entering the barrel without totally closing off the air supply. This type is quite popular with snorkelers as it combines the best features of both the classic and dry snorkel into one.
The other part of a snorkel is the mouthpiece that attaches directly to the mouth of the snorkeler to facilitate breathing through the mouth. For best fit, ensure it’s made from silicone so there won’t be any leakage that causes water to flood into your mouth. The bite piece you have to suck or bite on to hold the mouthpiece firmly in your mouth should not require too much pressure just to hold it in.
Performance and Ease of Use
A snorkel is a pretty straightforward piece of equipment and doesn’t normally require any lengthy setup before you can use it. Most of them don’t come with too many bells and whistles and this is a good thing because it means less bulk and drag and a reduced chance of it getting caught on something that might end up ripping it apart or even right out of your mouth.
There are several ways to clear the barrel of a snorkel but the most efficient way is by making use of the purge valve. A purge valve allows a one-way flow of water out from the barrel without any effort from the snorkeler.
In the absence of a purge valve, like on most classic snorkels, you’ll either have to remove the mouthpiece from your mouth and clear the barrel or you can tilt your head backwards and blow out forcefully to expel water from the open end.
Snorkels come in different lengths and diameters as there’s no one-size-fits-all model. By rule of thumb, a snorkel barrel should not be too long or too short. Too long, and it may be difficult to pass air through. Too short, and it will get flooded time and again. Generally, a snorkel barrel between 15 and 17 inches is a great choice for most people and gives the best performance.
In terms of diameter, you might be tempted to think a wide barrel will make breathing easier. While this may seem to be true, a wide snorkel will have bigger dead spaces that makes it doubly hard to remove the water from the tube while an extremely narrow diameter will naturally make it difficult to inhale and exhale.
If you’re concerned about portability, there are snorkels that are extremely flexible and can fold up into a small pocket friendly size you can easily carry around with you. You might want to check those types out as well.
Having read through our detailed buying guide on the various snorkel options and the important features to look out for while shopping for one, we’re sure you’re ready to make your choice. Head to our individual product review section and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it will be for you to identify the snorkel that best suits your needs.
Company founder Pablo Morales won an Olympic gold medal in 1993. Working with coaches and swimmers to develop products that enhance the development of swim skills, Finis products improve efficiency and comfort while in the water.
One of the greatest skills a person can obtain in life is swimming. After all, the planet is made mostly of water, and being able to navigate water with skill is not only ideal, it can be a life saver. This Finis snorkel is designed to improve a swimmer’s posture under water when it is attached to swim goggles.
It can take months and sometimes years to develop proper swim technique. Take the struggle for air out of the mix, and you are better able to work single-mindedly on your form and strokes. Designed to stay in place during all competition level swimming techniques, even during flip turns, it’s a great performance enhancer.
This snorkel comes with a silicone neck and purge valve. To ensure your snorkel stays in good condition, always check for a good seal on the silicone lip that covers the purge valve, and clean your purge valve after each use. Comes in two color options: yellow or pink.
Cressi takes their scuba gear seriously. A family owned business in Italy, they have expanded out from their roots in diving gear to four different major divisions which manufacture equipment that includes snorkeling, diving, spearfishing, and swimming.
This snorkel has an elliptical shape for improved oxygen flow and a valve to stop water from entering the pipeline while submerged. Purging is improved with a small collection well and elliptic valve to expel water efficiently. Hypoallergenic silicone that is soft on the jaw reduces jaw fatigue.
This snorkel is particularly suitable for freediving and spearfishing. You can even express your personal tastes, as it comes in lots of colors and styles to choose from, including clear/black, black/black, black/blue, clear/light blue, black/red, white, black/yellow, black/green, pink, black/brown, purple, clear/orange, clear, black/orange, clear/red, clear/yellow, clear/dark blue, clear/lilac.
Phantom Aquatics offers a full line of snorkeling gear, including fins, masks, snorkels, wetsuits, and accessories for people of all sizes. They are ready to fully equip you on your snorkeling or diving expedition.
The Phantom Aquatics Dry Snorkel is a good choice for anyone who is frustrated by water entry into the tube when submerged. It has a specially designed top to significantly decrease downward water flow.
The mouthpiece is angled to improve comfort, and the purging system has a generous drainage feature. You can disengage the snorkel easily with one hand with the Quick Release Buckle, making it a good choice for instructors or photographers who juggle a lot at once and need one hand to be free.
Color choices include aqua, black, blue, clear, red, yellow, pink, purple, all black, black/red and titanium.
We’re glad you’ve read to the end. Now, go ahead and place the order for the snorkel of your choice so you can get on with the important task of communing with nature underwater…