There’s nothing quite like peeking into a mesmerizing underwater world while snorkeling. Diving beneath the waves to discover the wonders of sea life below is an unforgettable experience, but still you’ll only be able to enjoy your underwater adventure fully if you have a great snorkeling set.
High quality gear is essential for a safe and comfortable snorkeling trip. Though many beachside resorts and tour companies can rent you a mask, snorkel, and fins for the day, it’s best to bring your own snorkel gear that fits well so you can breathe easily and avoid any leaks.
Buying snorkel gear can be tricky if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, so we recommend grabbing a snorkel set that takes all the guesswork out of choosing - it’ll save you a good bit of money, too!
Here, we’ll take a deep dive into 12 of the best snorkel sets you can buy, no matter your budget or experience level. Let’s kick off the list with the top 3 snorkel sets that earned the GILI seal of approval:
How To Choose Snorkeling Gear That’s Right for You
When choosing the ideal snorkeling equipment, there are 5 key factors to look for that will optimize your snorkeling experience:
Easy to Use - For beginners especially, easy-to-use gear is essential for safety. Ensure that the mask and snorkel will be easy to put on and take off, so you won’t be fumbling with wet hands to make tricky adjustments. Look for snorkel features like dry top valves that prevent water from entering the tube and giving you a mouth full of seawater, and quick-drain purge valves that make it easy to clear any water that does sneak in.
Find a Comfortable Fit - You’ll want to focus on the underwater beauty instead of fussing with an uncomfortable mask that pinches your face, and fins that don’t fit your feet! Prioritize a correct fit in your snorkel set for the most enjoyable snorkeling experience.
Quality Craftsmanship - Little details really do make all the difference to your snorkel set, specifically high quality materials and design features. Seek out snorkels with ergonomic mouthpieces to prevent jaw fatigue, masks with a soft silicone skirt for a leak-free fit, and fins that are adjustable so you can get the most power and efficiency out of each kick.
Compact and Lightweight - Chances are, you’ll be traveling with your snorkeling equipment. Whether you’re simply carrying it all down to the water’s edge or jetting off to a faraway tropical destination, a lightweight snorkel set that packs down small will make the journey to your snorkel spot less cumbersome.
Long-Lasting and Sturdy - To get the most value out of your snorkeling equipment, make sure it’s designed with durable features that will see you through many years of use.
The 3 Components of Snorkeling Gear
Most snorkel sets come with either 2 or 3 pieces in the kit. Here’s what you need to get started with your snorkeling adventure:
Mask - A snorkel mask is a specially designed set of eye goggles with an integrated nose pocket. Their wide lenses allow clear vision of the underwater world whilst covering up your nose so you can breathe more naturally through the snorkel mouthpiece. The best snorkel mask should have a snug fit without feeling uncomfortably tight, use fog-free lenses, and be finished with a soft silicone mask skirt to prevent leaks.
Snorkel- The snorkel itself consists of a breathing tube with a mouthpiece attached, which allows you to breathe air from the surface while your face is underwater. There are 3 main types to choose from, depending on your preferences:
Classic - Traditional J-shaped snorkels are simple in design, with a lightweight construction that doesn’t create much drag in the water, making them ideal for free diving. However, less experienced snorkelers may not prefer this classic design: Their open top allows water to enter the tube if a wave crashes overhead, so you must learn quickly how to clear the snorkel to avoid a mouthful of seawater.
Dry-Top - These innovative snorkels come with a special valve on top that completely seals the tube if it’s submerged. Ideal for beginners or those who want to stay close to the surface, a dry top snorkel keeps the tube free of any water so you can start breathing without clearing the tube when you surface.
Semi-Dry - Equipped with a splash guard, semi-dry snorkels protect against waves on the surface pouring into the top of the breathing tube. They will, however, fill up with water if submerged. This makes them the best choice for scuba divers, as it’s easier to dive down without any air trapped in the tube.
Fins- Snorkeling fins make swimming easier, helping to propel you through the water efficiently with the least amount of effort possible. There are a few different styles, with some key differences:
Closed Heel - Traditional closed heel or “full foot” fins completely cover the foot, offering more protection. While they’re usually more affordable, correct sizing for a snug fit is necessary, so they don’t slip off or cause blisters to bare feet.
Adjustable Heel - Open heel fins have adjustable straps on the back so you can customize a perfect fit. Their roomy foot pocket accommodates wider feet, and allows neoprene socks to be worn over bare feet if extra warmth or protection from rough surfaces is necessary.
Short Fins - Short fins are great for shallow water snorkeling and are easier to pack for travel.
Long Fins - Long snorkel fins provide more power with each kick, making them a better choice for deeper snorkel dives and scuba divers.
How Much Does A Good Snorkel Mask Cost?
You can find quality and value in all price ranges, but a good snorkel mask generally ranges in price from $30 to $100+.
Don’t be fooled by its budget-friendly price tag: The Phantom Aquatics Velocity Mask and Snorkel Set excel in comfort and functionality without cutting corners on important features. The masks liquid silicone skirt, split strap, and revolutionary push-button release makes it easy to achieve a perfect seal over all kinds of face shapes and sizes. When combined with the snorkel’s patented airflow system, this comprehensive set gives beginners the confidence they need for a hassle-free introduction to snorkeling without breaking the bank.
Spotted some fascinating sea life way below the surface? The versatile US Divers’ Cozumel Snorkel Set lets you dive down deep to take a peek! Its semi-dry snorkel top and innovative vented fin blades are perfectly suited to snorkeling below the surface and scuba diving alike. The intuitive snorkel has an easy-to-clear drain chamber for when you surface, the mask ensures a watertight seal for higher pressure deep dives, and the fins provide plenty of maneuvering power below the waves despite their compact size for traveling.
Pack your bags for your most streamlined snorkel trip ever with the Seaview 180° Kradan Mask Snorkel Set. This travel-friendly collapsible snorkel twists off into two parts to save suitcase space, then re-assembles quickly at the water’s edge. Take in uninterrupted views with the panoramic lens and enjoy all day comfort thanks to the soft silicone bite valve that eliminates jaw fatigue.
For ergonomic features without the luxury price tag, look no further than the PRODIVE Premium Snorkel Set. Packed with professional details like fog-resistant goggles, a waterproof carry bag, and a very good snorkel with a dry top. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more well-rounded starter set.
When your snorkeling hobby gets serious, the US Divers Admiral Snorkel Set effortlessly takes you to new places for hours on end. Versatile enough to double up as dive gear, the incredible seal on the dive mask handles the pressure of diving deep without springing a leak. Paired with its patented pivot-dry snorkel and foot fins designed for power. This snorkel set means business.
Fly to exotic destinations while keeping plenty of souvenir space in your luggage with the Seavenger Aviator Snorkel Set. A complete kit weighs in at only two pounds, this travel-friendly option doesn’t skimp on design elements, while giving you the best vacation snorkeling experience. It features a teardrop mask to bring the lens closer to your eyes, and easy-kicking fin blades, so you’ll see more than ever before with this quality snorkel set.
For a full face snorkel set that won’t fog up, Cozia Design brings a breath of fresh air. With its huge panoramic window panel and integrated GoPro mount, you’ll enjoy jaw dropping views while capturing all the action. Without the hassle of a traditional mouthpiece, this snorkel set provides a truly relaxing and immersive snorkeling experience for beginners and experts alike.
This highly maneuverable snorkel set from ZEEPORTE lets you skilfully navigate underwater worlds, explore coral reefs, and glide through schools of fish with ease. Its mask has a four-window design to withstand higher pressures in deeper water, making it a suitable addition to scuba gear. The long fins provide effortless and smooth underwater maneuvering.
The Cressi Palau Snorkel Set raised the bar, becoming a standard in premium quality while maintaining an affordable price point. This snorkel set features three of Cressi’s best-selling items, each prized for their durability, functionality, and ease of use. For a seamless, comfortable snorkel trip, the Cressi Palau is some of the best snorkeling gear we’ve encountered.
Want to feel as though you were born in Atlantis? The easy comfort of this snorkeling set brings you an unparalleled oneness with the ocean, and you might even forget you weren’t born with gills. The mask even accommodates prescription lenses for snorkelers who wear glasses!
Experience the ultimate in comfort and technology with this innovative full face mask from Ocean Reef. It starts with a superlative design and then builds on its already impressive features with intelligent details, such as GoPro and Snorkie Talkie functionality. The craftsmanship can be seen in every design feature, allowing hours of fogless, uninterrupted snorkeling for a truly premium experience.
Open up the wonders of pristine, panoramic vision with this professional quality Cressi snorkel set. With its clever flat-lens design, the mask avoids any fish-eye effect many other wraparound masks create, and the skirt edge is double-feathered to create a watertight seal on all face shapes.
The snorkel is loaded with intuitive details for comfortable use, allowing divers to take every breath with confidence and enjoy the views below instead of having to constantly clear the tube. This snorkel set is rounded out with powerful fins that allow fluid, effortless kicks, and can be adjusted to fit every possible foot size and shape.
Wrap around mask offers unobstructed peripheral view
Double-edged mask seal can handle the pressure of scuba diving or deeper snorkel dives
Responsive fins offer fluid power with each kick
Available in 12 different colors
What we don't love:
Mask requires anti-fog treatment application to maintain pristine clarity
Bonus: The Best Kids Snorkel Set
The clear winner in snorkel sets for kids is the Cressi Junior Snorkeling Kit. Featuring mini versions of the same mask, snorkel, and fins as the Cressi Palau Snorkel Set for adults, this kids version is downsized to suit young snorkelers of all ages.
What Is the Best Snorkel Mask to Buy?
If you’re looking to buy a snorkel mask separately without the fins, you can’t go wrong with the Greatever Dry Snorkel Set. This #1 bestseller is packed with features at an affordable price, and with almost 3,500 5-star reviews, it gets our pick as overall best snorkel mask set.
What Is the Best Brand of Snorkeling Gear?
Outshining its competitors across the board for over 75 years, Cressi rises to the top as best snorkel gear for all budgets. This reputable brand has been producing reliable, high quality gear at an affordable price since 1946, and continues to be a favorite of all who try it.
Snorkel Gear Care and Maintenance
Snorkel sets are easy to look after, and only require some basic maintenance to keep them in working order for years to come. Rinse your gear with fresh water as soon as you finish snorkeling, air dry it away from direct sunlight, and always store it in a well-ventilated, dry place.
Optimally, follow these instructions:
Soak gear in warm water and dish soap
Rinse to ensure there’s no sand or salt buildup under any seals, cracks, or valves. (Avoid scrubbing the mask to prevent scratches)
Wipe dry with soft towel and store in a dry place out of direct sunlight
Other Things to Consider
Along with your snorkel set, there are some other accessories you can add to your gear to enhance the experience:
Snorkel Vest - An inflatable flotation device specially designed for snorkeling. It allows different levels of buoyancy so you can dive down deeper or stay on the surface, and also helps balance your body in the water, so it’s easier to stay floating face-down.
Fin Socks or Snorkel Booties - Achieve an ideal fit and extra comfort while wearing full foot fins. Just like wearing a pair of socks inside your shoes, dive socks are made from neoprene or lycra and slide on before your fins to provide a snug fit.
Wetsuit - A wetsuit is a great addition for chillier waters, or when you want a bit of extra buoyancy. They also provide your skin with a layer of protection when snorkeling near sharp coral.
Rashguard - It’s a good idea to wear a rash guard when snorkeling to stay sun safe, as your back will be right on the surface and exposed to UV rays for a lot of the day.
Dry Bag - If you’re snorkeling from a boat, be sure to keep all your valuables safe and dry. Pack your phone, wallet, and keys in a GILI Dry Bag to avoid any splashes and guarantee that they’ll float if they accidentally get tipped overboard!
Sunscreen - Don’t forget the sunscreen on the back of your body! When you’re snorkeling face-down, be sure to avoid sunburn on the backs of your arms, legs, and neck while exposed to the sun on the surface.
Anti-fog Mask Spray - Snorkeling masks naturally tend to fog up as you breathe, collecting condensation on the lenses as your warm breath hits the cold glass. Luckily, foggy masks can be avoided by using a special treatment spray that coats your lenses with a thin film. This non-water soluble residue cuts any surface tension so the water molecules evenly spread out in a transparent layer you can see through.
The Wrap Up
When choosing a snorkel set for any level of experience, it’s worth looking for important details that won’t interrupt your relaxed flow. Seek out panoramic fog-free masks with smooth-fitting skirts, compact fins you can adjust for a snug fit, and dry top snorkels that let you breathe easier so you can stay in the wondrous moment as much as possible.
Finding your ideal snorkel set is worth every bit of the investment. You’ll feel at one with the ocean environment, breathing easy and drifting blissfully, so you can soak up every enchanting moment in wonder and awe.
🏆 What snorkel gear is best for a beginner?
First starting out with snorkeling can be a steep learning curve! To guarantee a smooth and fun introduction, invest in the best snorkeling gear you can afford. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your own gear at first, but do ensure it all fits properly so you can focus on perfecting your skills instead of clearing a leaky mask or purging your snorkel constantly.
👍 Should you buy your own snorkeling gear?
We definitely recommend bringing your own equipment as opposed to renting or borrowing a snorkel set from a tour company or resort. By buying snorkeling gear yourself, you’ll ensure every piece of your kit is functional, hygienically clean, and fits properly so you’ll have the best time possible.
🏝️ How long should my snorkeling gear last?
If you buy a quality snorkeling set and take proper care of it, you should be looking at a good 3-5 years of adventures together! When stored correctly, you can even get up to 10 years of use, but keep an eye out for any deterioration in the masks silicone face skirt from regular exposure to saltwater, sand, and UV rays.
❓ How do I know what size snorkel gear I should order?
Always reference the manufacturer’s size chart, and take some measurements to ensure a perfect fit. For mask sizing, measure from the bridge of your nose down to the point of your chin. For snorkeling fins, compare your normal shoe size to the chart to see if the specific brand you want has a suitable option.
📦 Are full face snorkel masks better?
Full face snorkel masks have great advantages for casual surface snorkeling. They provide a wider field of unobstructed vision and the ability to breathe naturally without a mouthpiece. They’re great for beginners, people who struggle with traditional bite valves, and for snorkeling close to the surface. However, they’re not ideal for diving deep underwater due to their added buoyancy. For an in-depth look at these innovative masks, check out our article, The Best Full Face Snorkel Masks.
Chief Paddler - Jay has been surfing and paddling for over 5 years. When he's not dreaming up new stuff at GILI, he's writing articles about paddling, out paddling, or often traveling.