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HomeAdventureBest Snorkeling Gear: Ultimate Comparison Guide 2022

Best Snorkeling Gear: Ultimate Comparison Guide 2022

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Click here to see our round up of best dry bags to take on your snorkeling adventures.

Why Buy Instead of Rent Snorkeling 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 Buying Tips

In case you need more help on how to choose the right snorkeling gear, here are a few tips on how to choose each component. Choosing the right snorkeling gear is important to make sure you have the best underwater experience possible.


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


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

Snorkeling 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

Other Things to Consider When Buying Snorkeling Gear

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.

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