Snorkel Buyer’s Guide

Snorkels

The most important feature to consider when choosing a snorkel is the material of the mouthpiece. You definitely want the mouthpiece to be made of silicon to provide the most comfort. Rubber mouth pieces will cause blisters, gum bleeding, and other discomfort after extended use.

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Flexible “standard” snorkels (click picture for details) There are three main categories of snorkels to choose from. Standard snorkels, semi-dry snorkels, and dry snorkels.

  • Standard snorkels are either straight “j-tubes” or slightly curved / angled and they do not come with valves.
  • Semi-dry snorkels have a water deviator on the top of the tube which helps minimize the amount of water that can enter a snorkel while at the surface. They also have a valve near the mouthpiece that assists in expelling water making it much easier to “clear” the snorkel.
  • Dry snorkels are fairly new to the market. These snorkels have a valve on the top of the tube which attempts to prevent the entry of any water into the snorkel tube. They also generally have a valve near the mouthpiece that assists in expelling water in the event that any water has managed to make its way past the dry valve.

Standard snorkels are the preferred snorkel choice among free divers since they have minimal drag and movement during the ascent. The addition of semi-dry and dry valves, as well as purge valves, cause additional undesired drag as well as points of failure that are otherwise non-existent on standard snorkels.

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Dry snorkels (click picture for details) There are two popular types of fasteners for snorkels. Rigid plastic with quick disconnect and simple silicon fasteners with loops at each end (similar in shape to the number 8). The later, silicon fasteners, are more popular among free divers again due to the reduced drag. The plastic quick disconnect versions are more popular among SCUBA divers do to the ability to simply attach/detach the snorkel from a mask.

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Left: Silicon snorkel fastner Right: Rigid quick disconnect fastner
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