Scuba Snorkels

How To Buy A Snorkel

Whether you want to play around in a lake or pool or dive amidst coral reefs, your snorkel will allow you to do so while breathing underwater. There are numerous options to consider when selecting a snorkel to meet your needs and ability level.

What to Consider in Snorkels

  • Snorkels are used for two purposes:
    • Enable you to surface swim and breathe when you just want to play in the water without fully submerging
    • When scuba diving, they allow you to conserve air in your tank when you surface


  • Snorkels with smooth, continuous lines rather than unwieldy turns in the path of airflow will enhance breathing
  • Larger diameter snorkels also make breathing easier but the downside is it's tougher to clear them of water
  • Longer or curved snorkels let in less water from splashing but create more dead air space
  • Snorkels with flexible tubing at the turn of the snorkel tube fit better and allow you to switch more easily from your regulator to your snorkel
  • Bigger snorkels often have more features, keep out water better, and may increase comfort and fit
  • The disadvantage usually runs from increased dead air space and greater difficulty in clearing any water

Dry comfort

  • The dryer the snorkel, the easier it is to breathe and lesser the need to clear it of water
  • Longer snorkels provide this built-in advantage. There are some other features available as well:
    • Dry airways are a modern, sophisticated version of the ping-pong ball, which provides a seal until air is expelled, to keep water out until you blow. However, these do add bulk.
    • Some manufacturers compromise by using splash guards or water deflectors, which are simpler and therefore less bulky and expensive
    • The drawback of these is that it is more difficult to clear the snorkel when it fills with water
    • Some models offer these as an add-on, which gives you the option to use them for your different types of diving
  • Reservoirs
    • Some models of snorkels come with reservoirs to trap the water you couldn't clear or minimal splash
    • These add to the bulk and work best when combined with purge valves, and one-way, non-return drains built-in to some snorkels
    • Purge valves are especially useful for surface swimming since they can drain any water above the waterline, making it far easier to clear any remaining water
    • Small baffles or plastic or silicone, internal deflectors are positioned near the reservoir and purge valve to make it easier to clear a snorkel and to keep them drier


  • Most snorkels are made with plastic and silicone to increase durability
  • Those that come in parts or sections offer the option of replacing a damaged piece vs. the whole snorkel
  • A removable mouthpiece is a nice option since it allows you to change to meet your needs or when it becomes worn


  • Most snorkels offer adjustments that enable it to be attached to the mask securely
  • Those that slide, lock and swivel make the attachment and adjustment process far easier