The ocean is full of mysteries and wonders just waiting to be seen! But what if you’re not comfortable deep-diving beneath the waves, or you don’t like to hold your breath just to see exotic fish?
Snorkeling gear allows you to enjoy the great views that exist just under the ocean surface without having to worry about bottled oxygen. You can continue to see underwater for as long as you like, breathing and relaxing, and moving freely throughout the water thanks to mobile, comfortable fins that go on your feet like boots. Snorkeling gear sets are great for anyone who wants to spend more time enjoying the ocean, so let’s take a look at some of the best snorkels and masks currently available.
What is Snorkel Gear Used For? Is it Right for Me?
Snorkeling gear is used by surface-level divers who like to view the ocean beneath the waves, but without having to rely on bottled oxygen or their own lungs. Snorkeling gear relies on a mask and attached or separate snorkeling tube which draws oxygen from above the water down a short distance to your mouth, where you then breathe it in. The mask allows unobstructed vision since your eyes are sealed in a pressurized chamber.
Snorkeling gear can be a great purchase if you’re interested in seeing the wondrous beauty and mystery of the ocean but aren’t comfortable with diving very deep or if you aren’t good at holding your breath for long periods of time. It can be a very fun activity when visiting the beach or a resort, and many vacation hotspots have snorkeling excursions where you can view colorful schools of exotic fish or interesting colonies of coral.
Overall, snorkeling is a safe, affordable activity for anyone who enjoys experiencing the ocean and its many interesting features.
Should I get a Snorkel Gear Set or Individual Pieces?
Entire sets of snorkeling gear are great for those who don’t have any pieces already or who are looking to dedicate serious time and attention to the activity as a hobby. High-quality sets are always available and oftentimes are designed to work together rather than separately or with cobbled-together sets mixed from various brands.
Beginners will also benefit from buying entire snorkeling sets because they can be assured that they’re getting everything they need in one purchase, rather than having to worry about forgetting something essential. They also don’t need to worry that each piece will fit together properly; if it’s in the same set, after all, it’s been designed to function together.
On the other hand, if you’re already experienced or you just need a piece to replace something you lost, buying single pieces of snorkeling gear can be affordable and easy. Some brands of snorkeling gear sell individual pieces that then go along with other sets. The good thing is that for most snorkeling sets, the basic concept between the pieces is the same.
You need a mask, snorkel, and fins to complete the essential activities inherent in snorkeling at the ocean surface. Some sets come with extra accessories, like bags or anti-fogging spray, so full sets could be financially-smart due to the bonuses that are often included in a purchase.
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The Cressi Palau Mask Fin Snorkel Set with Snorkeling Gear Bag is one of the best full snorkel sets on the market today. It comes with the full assortment of gear you’ll need to dive right in and start snorkeling: mask, snorkel, fins, and a bag to store everything inside.
The mask is made from soft, hypoallergenic, 100% silicone, keeping it easy to clean and tough to break in the event that it’s ever dropped. The snorkel, too, is made from the same material and is designed with a purge valve that’s located right at the angle of the piece. It’s quite large and easy to grasp onto in case you need to quickly get water out of the snorkel’s tube.
The snorkel also has another valve that can prevent water from entering the tube at all. This valve is quite handy; it works by sealing the top of the snorkel whenever you see a wave coming or want to dive under the water. Simply twist the valve and the air hole will close, sealing away water until you need to breathe once again. This prevents you from ever having to need to use the emergency purge valve in the first place and having both present in the same snorkel proves the fantastic value of this set.
Another important part of this set is the fin design. Each fin is durably-molded so that they can be used for a long time, and the heel is cut open to allow for many different sizes of feet to effectively slip into the fins. They’re molded for use with bare feet and are extremely comfortable and soft to the touch once wet.
The fins are the short variety, allowing for easy packing and transportation. Most importantly, the shorter fin design allows for maneuverability and easier walking on land. The fins’ comfortable, short-blade design is the best for casual snorkelers who are going to be entering and exiting the water frequently, rather than spending an extended session in deeper waters farther from shore.
The bag which comes with the set is mesh and meant for carrying through the water or storage in wet places. It’s very light and closes tightly to prevent gear inside from being washed away by a wave.
- Mask and snorkel made with tough but hypoallergenic silicon
- Snorkel possesses an emergency valve and preventative valve, allowing easy underwater diving
- Fin size allows for maneuverability and portability
- Fins are shaped for many foot sizes and shapes
- Short fin design is not the best for longer snorkeling sessions
- Bad is not very large
Overall, the Cressi Palau Mask Fin Snorkel Set with Snorkeling Gear Bag has some of the best snorkeling gear for beginners, particularly Fthose who have trouble snorkeling due to a fear of water getting into the snorkel tube. The safety features and overall comfort cement this set as a versatile, effective gear collection that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone.
The U.S. Divers Cozumel Snorkeling Set is another great set that’s perfect for couples traveling or enjoying snorkeling excursions or for those who like to carry their gear from place to place. It’s got short fins and a mesh carrying bag to allow your gear to easily dry when it’s not in use, and out of the top-rated snorkel sets its got best budget snorkel mask.
Starting with the fins, these are another short-fin design that’s best for maneuverability and shorter excursions in the water. They have a full-foot pocket that’s snug and is perfect for certain sizes of feet: around a size 7 for men and a size 5 for women. The snugness of the pocket ensures that you won’t accidentally kick the fins off as you’re swimming around, but the lack of an open back also means that these fins won’t fit everyone.
The fins have holes in their sides to allow water to filter through fluidly, keeping your movements and motions smooth and easy. They’re made from solid polymers and synthetic plastics that will last a long time and are not susceptible to damage from casual use or walking on the beach. The fins are quite firm, so they’ll keep their shape for some time to come.
The mask is a two-window piece made with tempered glass, with silicone skirts around the lenses to keep contact with your skin smooth and soft. The seal is quite wide, reaching all the way around the eyes and nose, so it’s great for those with wider or larger faces but might be too large for those with smaller faces. Either way, those who fit in the mask will find that the seal is secure and silky. The two-window design allows for better pressure control for the skirt, so it keeps water out more easily than one-window masks. It also has 3-way adjustable buckles to make sure that your fit is snug and perfect before you dive under the water.
The snorkel itself is a simple design with a blue sheath and a splash-top that prevents water from entering the tube in the event of a wave or large splash crashing over your head. The mouthpiece is made from soft, durable silicone to allow for extended use without tiring your lips or mouth.
Finally, the bag that comes with this set is meshed to allow the gear that you store inside to be air or sundried while you’re lugging everything around. It’s got a simple zipper and is the perfect size to fit every piece in this set.
- Short fins make for easy land movement and in-water maneuverability
- Mask is two-window, allowing for a better seal against water leaks
- Bag is open to air-dry gear inside
- Snug, secure fitting to fins
- Fins may not fit everyone
- Short fins require more energy expenditure in the water versus long fins
The U.S. Divers Cozumel Snorkeling Set is a great pick for those who like to travel or who are going to dip in and out of the water. It’s a great choice for a gift or a pre-vacation snorkeling set that can be used by someone casually and taken from excursion to excursion.
Cressi Palau makes our list once again with another fantastic snorkeling set. This is the Cressi Palau LAF Set, and unlike the previous snorkeling set its fins are long and optimized for power and extended trips deeper into the water.
Long fins are excellent are propulsion and energy conservation; the shape and size of these fins mean that you have to spend less energy to move fluidly through the water. Longer fins can effectively extend the duration of a snorkeling voyage thanks to preserving your energy reserves, allowing you to enjoy your experience for a much lengthier time. The heels of these fins are also openable and adjustable, allowing a variety of different foot sizes to be placed inside them.
The fin blades are made from polypropylene, which allows the blades to be extra-flexible in the water. Again, this translates to increased movement for anyone enjoying the fins, without expending extra muscle power.
The LAF Set mask is constructed with tempered glass lenses and a silicone skirt that makes wearing the mask comfortable and secure, keeping out water without irritating the skin on your face. The glass lens is one single piece that offers a wide field of vision: perfect for enjoying an unobstructed view of the ocean. The mask is also designed with a wide-fit strap that evenly distributes pressure around the face; this keeps your experience comfortable yet tight as you dip under and over the water.
Like the previous Cressi Palau snorkel, this one also has a valve at the top which can be closed to allow for easy underwater diving without having to worry about flooding the snorkel tube with water. Instead of a valve, it has a reservoir at the bottom of its tube which can evacuate any water that does enter the tube from the top, allowing emergency air to be accessed should the need arise.
Furthermore, this set comes with a zip-up bag that can be carried on the shoulder. This is the perfect size for storing the longer fins that come included, so you don’t have to find a packing solution for your gear. The bad is transparent on the outside so you can easily check to see that everything’s where it should be.
- Long fins translate to easier movement in the water
- Fins can fit many foot sizes
- Mask is made from one tempered glass piece, offering wide field-of-view
- Zip-up bag included
- Emergency valve and reservoirs included in snorkel design to prevent water inhalation
- Longer fin design hampers surface travel
The Cressi Palau LAF Set is a great collection for avid snorkelers who are looking to spend extended time in the water or who like to dive with their snorkeling gear. It’s ideal for those who find packing their long fins difficult, or for families that like to share a few different sets between members.
For snorkeling sets that prioritize the view, it doesn’t get much better than the Cozia Design Snorkel Set with Snorkel Mask. This set’s biggest draw is the wide, panoramic visor for its mask, which provides an unparalleled look at the watery world just beneath the ocean surface.
The mask’s window is one single piece of equipment which includes the snorkel, attached to the top of the mask rather than the side. The mask allows for comfortable fitting with a skirt that’s made of comfortable silicone and which equalizes the pressure within the mask to ensure that seals remain for longer periods of time. All of these factors combine to make this the best full-face snorkeling mask on our list.
The window showcases a 180-degree field-of-view when underwater; this is a view that’s not topped by any other mask out there. Vents at the bottom of the mask expel air into the water without blasting it back int the mask’s air pocket, preventing fogging from occurring and blocking the exceptional view. The mask comes in a few different sizes, and when ordering one should consult the size chart to make sure they get the right fit. The nylon straps on the back are adjustable before tightening to ensure the perfect seal.
The snorkel that’s attached is connected right to the mask, channeling fresh air without having to put something in your mouth. The top of the snorkel is protected by a top seal that prevents splash water from entering the snorkel tube. There’s also a drain valve at the mask chin which allows you to dump any water that somehow made its way into the mask’s chamber. Because of this design, even if water does enter the snorkel somehow, there’s no risk of accidental inhalation since there’s no mouthpiece right between your lips.
Next are the fins. These are two of the compact, shorter variety which can be easily adjusted via the straps located on each fin’s side. They come with padding at their bottom which, if it makes the fit too tight, can be removed for your personal comfort.These fins are secure fits without open backs, so choosing the right size for this set is more important than with other snorkeling sets.
These fins, while the shorter size, provide greater mobility in the water than other short fins due to their split-toe design. This small incision in the middle allows the fins to churn the water more efficiently, allowing the avid snorkeler to walk on land more easily than with long fins but without missing the in-water advantage that longer fins often provide.
- Short but split-toe fins give great mobility on land and in the water
- Mask is one, 180-degree field-of-view piece
- Snorkel and mask are attached
- Snorkel does not require a mouthpiece
- Snorkel possesses anti-water seal at the top, emergency drain in mask chin
- Mask expels water from chin, preventing fogging
- Silicone skirt around mask ensures a comfortable seal and fit
- Pricier than other sets
- No carrying bag included
- Sizes must be accurate before purchase
The Cozia Design Snorkel Set with Snorkel Mask is the best snorkel gear set for avid snorkelers who are going to spend a long time in the water. The ultimate comfort and utility of the snorkel/mask design is top-notch and promotes lengthy stays enjoying the wide ocean view provided by the open-face mask.
The SNORKELSTAR Snorkel Set comes with everything you could possibly need: fins, mask, anti-fog spray, and carrying bag. It’s the perfect set for kids or adults, or for family trips down to the coast to explore the ocean floor.
Just like the previous snorkeling set, this mask offers an unobstructed 180-degree view beneath the surface of the waves. The mask is made from polycarbonate, giving it a tough, damage-resistant quality that will survive years of use or play from kids, who can be a bit rough with snorkeling gear at times. The mask’s skirt is secure and comfortable, and straps at the back are adjustable to ensure a great fit no matter the size of the user’s head.
An anti-fog spray that comes included with the purchase should be applied before diving but will keep fog from appearing on the surface of the mask no matter the length of your snorkeling voyage. Expelled carbon dioxide is released through a vent at the bottom of the mask, keeping you from blowing air back into the mask chamber and causing a buildup of fog.
The snorkel is attached to this mask as well, keeping you from having to breath into a mouthpiece and instead delivering oxygen right into the mask’s chamber. An emergency vent at the chin allows you to expel any water that managed to leak into the chamber, so you can keep your mask on and continue enjoying the view instead of having to cut your experience short.
The fins are another pair of short-style fins, and their foot pockets are adjustable to work with a variety of foot sizes. The adjusting is performed through buckles at the fins’ backs. These fins are molded with a tough, durable synthetic polymer that makes them ideal for short swims or for walking to and from the diving spot. They’re small enough to be easily packed and won’t soon lose their shape, no matter how much they’re flopped around or squished together.
In addition, a carrying bag that can fit 10 liters of material is included with your purchase. It’s got a tight seal at the top to prevent water from entering the bag, so it’s great for either transporting something into the water with your or for carrying your gear to and from the ocean.
Most interestingly, there’s a GoPro or camera mount atop the mask that’s ideal for taking photos of the breathtaking views beneath the ocean surface. Simply mount your waterproof camera to the top of your mask and start snapping!
- Short, durable fin design for surface and in-water movement
- GoPro or camera mount on mask head
- Anti-water seal and emergency vent in snorkel
- Comfortable mask skirt
- Wide, 180-degree field-of-view window
- Tempered glass window design
- 10L carrying bag and anti-fog spray included
- Short fin design not ideal for long swims
- Somewhat pricey
- Fins will not fit everyone
This is an ideal set for a family or casual snorkeler who prefers comfort and picture-taking. In particular, the camera mount allows for great memory-making and later appreciation of the views afforded by the wide, 180-degree mask window. This is the best snorkeling gear package.
Recommended Snorkeling Accessories
Sometimes snorkeling fins can be hard on the feet, especially if their foot pockets are made with harder material to keep the fin snug as you kick and swim. These anti-slip dive boots are designed to protect the skin of your feet as they move around in their fins, allowing you to enjoy your snorkeling experience without feeling foot irritation. If your fins cause abrasions on your feet or you want to avoid slipping near a pool, grab these fins to eliminate those problems entirely.
The ocean can often be cold, especially if you snorkel in the Pacific! This bodysuit can help keep you warm and dry throughout a snorkeling experience. It’s made of luxurious spandex and is lightweight and easy to slip in and out of. Those who need a great wetsuit for a variety of ocean activities should pick this up before it’s gone.
Adults aren’t the only ones who need protection from the cold. In fact, kids often need it even more! The Realon Kids Wetsuit is a great accessory for the beginning snorkeler or surfer. It’s made of high-grade neoprene and is waterproof; it also protects from UV radiation that can accumulate from a long day in the sun. Grab this wetsuit if your kid plans on spending the day at the beach or in the water!
Sometimes, relaxing with the ocean view afforded by a snorkeling mask is the best. But maybe you just want to kick back and enjoy the sights without having to tread water and expend energy. In that case, grab this snorkeling vest, which allows you to float effortlessly at surface level and dip your head down to see beneath the waves. It’s fully adjustable and can support up to 220 lbs. Pick this vest up if your snorkeling experience is best when you’re relaxing.
Snorkel masks are not always designed with comfort in mind, so this mask strap allows you to get rid of the irritating, thin band pressed to the back of your head. Covering the strap which creates the seal around the mask with this mask strap cover creates a much more comfortable experience and allows you to extend your ocean voyage for even longer periods. Add this if your choice mask has a thin or frustratingly-tight strap at the back.
It’s no secret that water sports can be a bit slippery. You can use these gloves, which are made from neoprene and textured to increase abrasion and grip tension, to keep a solid hold on your watery tools, from surfboards to snorkeling gear to beach balls. These are excellent gloves for anyone who’s tired of their gear slipping away from their fingers.
Those awesome videos of the seafloor aren’t going to capture themselves. This camera is fully-waterproof, ideal for exploring the great views beneath the ocean surface. It’s got a touch screen for easy use in the water and takes 4K HD video, and is programmed with stabilization features to prevent motion blur while you’re recording. This camera is a must-buy if you plan to record your snorkeling adventures.
Important Considerations Before Purchasing a Snorkeling Set
♦ Renting or Buying?
A huge consideration to keep in mind is whether you’re looking to rent or buy your equipment. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, renting equipment can be cheaper in some scenarios, as you can afford higher-priced, higher-quality sets for a short period of time, although you’ll have to pay extra if you lose anything. However, buying your own equipment may be worthwhile in the long run, particularly if you plan to snorkel often. This also gives you greater control over the type of gear you buy; you get to pick what kinds of fins you like, accessories, etc.
♦ Snorkel Types
There are two main types of snorkels: attached or separate. A few sets have attached snorkels that go right into the mask’s air chamber. These don’t require you to put anything into your mouth and channel air straight into the viewing window through which you view the sea. These are great because your mouth doesn’t have to remain open for a long period of time and water has no chance of accidentally being inhaled.
Separate pieces are lighter and easier to store, but they require you to hold the snorkel mouthpiece in your mouth for the entire time your head is underwater. These models are often a little cheaper than the first type.
Masks can come in a few different variations, largely relating to the types of their windows. Masks with more windows will have an easier time maintaining a seal since each pocket of air is generally relegated to the section around one’s eye.
Masks usually have “skirts” – the area around the mask which presses against the face – made of silicone to keep the mask fit comfortable and to create a tight seal, preventing water from leaking into the viewing chamber. Check to see what the skirt is made of if comfort during long snorkeling sessions is important to you.
♦ Lens Quality and Visibility
Lenses are usually made with silicone, polycarbonate, or tempered glass. In general, these will all be tough enough to survive drops, but silicone or polycarbonate are tougher than glass, which can rarely shatter if it’s hit hard enough. Glass is one of the best materials for anti-fogging properties, however, so this trade-off is something to consider when selected your set of snorkeling gear.
Lenses come in a few different types, too: two-window or one-window, and occasionally wide, full-face 180-degree views. One window lenses provide more visibility than two windows, and full-face windows offer the best fields-of-view on the market.
Some lenses have defogging properties already built into their design or chemically-added after forging. Others come with anti-fogging sprays that are supposed to be applied before the mask touches the water. Other masks actually recommend that you wet the mask before you fully dive in. Whatever the case it for your particular snorkeling set, check to see how your mask intends to solve the fogging problem so that you can fully enjoy your session without having to remove your mask every few minutes due to fog buildup.
♦ Fin Types
Fins come in two types:
Long fins are better for extended swims, as you don’t have to kick as much to go farther than short fins. These fins are clunkier on land, however, and are often more susceptible to bending or warping if they’re packed in strange formations.
♦ Sizes and Fittings
Finally, make sure that you consider the sizes of pieces in your set before you make a final purchase. Some things, like fins, only fit very particular sizes of feet, while some sets have adjustable boots to allow for a wide variety of foot sizes. It’s oftentimes important to measure your face and nose for some of the larger masks, particularly those which have wider viewing windows.
Whatever your measurements, make sure you have them if they are an important factor for the snorkeling set you’ve got your eye on.
What is the best brand of snorkel gear to buy? Top 9 Snorkel Gear Brands
Cressi’s been in the snorkeling and water-gear business for decades, and the value of their products reflects this experience. They primarily produce high-quality, professional snorkeling gear that can be used by beginners and experienced divers, although those who have an eye out for hardcore snorkeling gear will appreciate their efforts much more than someone just getting started. Some of their higher-end sets can be pretty pricey, but they’re always worth it.
This is a more recent snorkeling-gear company that produces all kinds of water-gear for scuba-diving, snorkeling, and other activities. Their gear tends to be affordable and practical, without many extra features or technological advances that will ratchet prices up. Much of their gear also comes in varied colors, so they’re a great choice for kids or for those who like to have a personal touch with all their snorkeling purchases.
Seavenger is another high-quality company that produces exceptional, long-lasting products. Their masks and snorkeling tubes tend to be tough and shaped in interesting designs. They produce gear of all types, so you could potentially get an entire set of ocean gear ranging from surfing to scuba-diving to snorkeling all from the same company.
Cozia Design offers premium snorkeling gear made from excellent manufacturers. They offer money-back guarantees on their products, which speaks to their quality and devotion to customer service. Overall, Cozia Design makes top-of-the-line, advanced snorkeling gear that has an emphasis on modern design and practical solutions to snorkeling concerns.
SnorkelStar is another high-quality brand that is newer than some of its contemporaries, but which is already making a mark in the business thanks to its affordable, modern snorkeling sets. It offers a wide variety of products in both single pieces and packages, making them a great choice for avid snorkelers looking to get a bunch of gear.
Promate is the brand for kids, hands down. It’s got excellent products for the younger snorkelers out there, building high-quality masks, fins, and complete sets that hold up very well underwater. They’re not the best pick for longer, more professional snorkeling, but they’re great for families or more casual snorkelers.
This company excels at creating themed wetsuits and gear which complement each other. A lot of their gear is stylish and designed to visually-impress, and the actual results of their snorkeling equipment leave nothing to be desired. Their snorkeling sets are functional and affordable, and they deliver very quickly, too!
Sealbuddy sells a lot of sets that come with accessories like bags. Their equipment is designed well and functions for lengthy periods of time underwater, but also tends to be a bit bulky. Much of its product line is geared toward heavier-duty snorkeling or those who don’t need to travel a lot with their set.
Prodive makes affordable snorkeling sets or single pieces of equipment, so they’re great if you’ve already got some working pieces of an entire collection and don’t need to buy an entirely new set. Their equipment works well under water but isn’t as high-quality or heavy duty as some other brands, which is reflected in their affordable asking prices.
Overall, the best snorkeling equipment is going to depend on the individual. There are sets that are better for different purposes, after all, but no matter your exact needs there’s certainly a perfect set just waiting to be taken out to the ocean. What are you waiting for? Grab your best gear for snorkeling, hop into the ocean and enjoy the view!