The Best Snorkel Gear: How to Choose the Right Set

The Best Snorkel Gear Sets for Travel

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      This seriously comprehensive mega guide will help you decide on the best snorkel gear for your needs.

      Starting a snorkel adventure from scratch with no gear whatsoever? No worries, every adventure needs to start somewhere, and that’s exactly why I cooked up this article for you! I understand how branching into snorkeling can be a little daunting; there’s always more to buying gear than you think. You’ve got your snorkel, of course, but throw in a mask on top of that – and don’t forget fins!

      We’re going to take this one step at a time and work our way from top to bottom to cover what the best snorkel gear offers and what to be on the lookout for. But just knowing what gear you need is only half the battle, right? You still need to know the brands and specific packages that offer everything we’re about to cover!

      Firstly, this is my pick of best snorkel gear, and why I think this snorkel set is so good. 

      OUR TOP PICK

      THE BEST SNORKEL SET: Cressi Palau

      Don’t have time to read the entire snorkel gear guide? My pick for the best snorkel gear overall is the Cressi Palau. Cressi is the only snorkel mask I have used that is super comfortable on my face and doesn’t leak! 

      The fins are small and adjustable which makes it perfect for travel and this set has a dry-top snorkel which is one of the best on the market, with most customers getting no water inside the snorkel at all. It is also one of the lightest sets, weighing in at 1.3 pounds (590 grams), making it perfect for people who want to take this snorkel set traveling.

      The Cressi Palau snorkel set is a really good price for how well-made it is, placing it in the top for value for money and quality.

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Now, let’s take a close look at some of the best snorkel gear sets on the market, their pros and cons, and where you can buy them. This will give you all the information you need to make a big splash in your snorkeling endeavors!

      The Best Snorkel Gear Comparison Chart

      In a rush for the nitty-gritty details? No worries, just run an eye over the table below to see the cheat sheet for the best snorkel sets on the market!

      SNORKEL SETNAMEFIN SIZEDRY-TOP SNORKELWEIGHTRATINGPRICE
      Cressi PalauSmallYes1.3 lbs
      (590 g)
      Best for Travel
      U.S. Divers CozumelLarge No3.95 lbs
      (1.8 kg)
      Best for Beginners
      Innovative Scuba ConceptsLargeNo3.1 lbs
      (1.4 kg)
      PromateMediumYes7 lbs
      (3.2 kg)
      Best Budget Set
      SeavengerSmallYes4 lbs
      (1.8 kg)
      SealBuddy MauiSmallYes1.4 lbs
      (635 g)
      U.S. Divers Lux PlatinumLarge Yes4.6 lbs
      (2.1 kg)
      Best For Pros
      Phantom Aquatics LegendaryMediumYes5 lbs
      (2.3 kg)

      What to Consider when Looking for the Best Snorkel Gear

      👀 The Mask

      Starting at the top, we have your snorkeling mask. Now, as we all know, masks tend to be at their best when they keep the moisture on the outside and give you a clear view of the water, but you’d be surprised at how many different variations exist to accomplish that!

      You’ll find different sealing skirts around the perimeter, different lens types, and even variations with the snorkel built into a full-face mask! But don’t worry, the core pieces you should keep in mind are easy enough – just remember Clear Comfort with a Silicone Seal!

      Your mask should incorporate some form of anti-fogging technology to provide a Clear view of the ocean. The fit itself should be nice and Comfortable so you’re not fighting back tears of pain while snorkeling. The Sealing skirt should provide a uniform seal that prevents any water intrusion, and the skirts made of high-grade Silicone work the best for this.

      Remember those few basics, and you’re all set to get a prime mask!

      🌬 The Snorkel

      Next item as we work our way down? The snorkel! Thankfully, this item is a little more straightforward than the mask and has only one feature that I will beg you – on my hands and knees if needed – to make sure is included in your snorkel if you’re planning on submerging while snorkeling. The dry-top!

      As you know, the snorkel is essentially just a tube that goes from your mouth to above and behind your head so that, as you’re swimming on your belly, the tube will stick out the water and you can breathe without taking your eyes off the incredible views. But, what if a wave rolls over you just as your trying to take a breath, or you submerge a little bit? Well, I’ll tell ya what happens. You breathe in water that has the same feeling as sucking in a lungful of fire as your throat and lungs feel that they’ve been set aflame. You gag, cough up a lung or two, and perhaps think fleetingly about whether your will is in order – and that’s the best case scenario! This is, in fact, a dangerous occurrence – especially out in open water – that you should try to avoid at all costs!

      Enter the dry-top snorkel. These snorkels have a mechanism built into the top of the snorkel that automatically closes the tube as soon as it is submerged. Meaning that if a wave decides to roll over you, or you decide to take a closer look at some stunning coral a little deeper down, no water will work its way into your snorkel, or your lungs, ta-da! So please, make sure your snorkel includes a dry-top mechanism if you think there’s a chance of choppy water or submerging!

      Another handy feature that I like is a valve located towards the bottom of the snorkel, right in front of your mouth. If you accidentally get some water in your mouth by readjusting your snorkel mouthpiece or inadvertently cracking a smile at your friend’s underwater antics (I’m guilty of this!), you can simply forcibly exhale into your snorkel and the water will be blown out this valve, no problem at all!

      🐟 The Fins

      Lastly, we have your snorkel fin selection. While some packages don’t even include fins, the best snorkel gear sets out there will and I highly recommend you aim for these. I personally believe that fins are just as important to snorkeling as your mask, and I never go without ‘em!

      When it comes to fins, you once again have quite a few variations to pick from, so I’m going to breeze through them pretty quickly here, and highly recommend you check out my fins centric article for more details.

      First off, you have the foot design as either an open hole with a heel strap or a fully enclosed slip-on design. The open design is best if you’re going to be wearing neoprene booties for protection from cold or rocks, whereas the closed design is ideal for bare feet. Both work very well, so you can pick your preference here.

      Next is the split-fin vs solid design. The split design has a slit running down the middle of the fin, whereas the solid version does not; this once again often comes down to personal preference. If you prefer to swim with a steady, and quick, ‘flutter’ kick, then the spilt-fins are for you. If, on the other hand, you prefer slower but more forceful strokes, I’d push you towards the solid fin design.

      The last point I have for you is your fin size. Just remember, the larger fins provide more power and weigh more, while the smaller one provides a lot less power and are very lightweight. Pretty straightforward, right? But what does it mean for your selection process? Well, if you’re looking for a pair of fins for regular use in open water, especially with potential currents, I’d recommend full-sized fins. But if you’re looking for a snorkel set for travel, where you have to worry about packing a suitcase, the smaller and more portable fins may be a better option.

      🛀 Your Comfort

      My final point for you is to please remember to focus on gear that will be comfortable for you! You’d be amazed by how many folks I meet whose face looks like it barely survived an octopus attack when they pop off their masks, and I hear, ‘yeah the mask really hurts and I hate wearing it, but it really seals my face well’. No! If you’re going to be in pain using your gear, then I definitely think you made the wrong choice!

      So, pick the gear that will be comfortable to wear for several hours in the water. Do this, and I guarantee you’ll have much more fun on your adventure!

      Snorkellers looking at turtle for The Best Snorkel Gear Sets for Travel

      Should You Buy as a Set or Individually?

      Now here’s an interesting question: should you even take the time to look for the best snorkel sets out there, or should you be focusing on each piece of gear individually? Well, I personally think that’s a tough call and totally down to your priorities and needs.

      I’m sure the professional, die-hard snorkelers and divers out there would say that we’re just putzing around by looking at complete sets. They want to pick every piece of their gear individually to make sure they have the exact fit and features they want and need. I totally understand this; it’s certainly not wrong to make sure you get what you want, especially if this is going to be a full-time hobby, but let’s take a look at the flip side, shall we?

      Primary incentive to get the best snorkel gear as a set? Cost! Buying these different components together in a package can undoubtedly save you a pant-load as opposed to buying them individually. Talking about savings, you’ll also save yourself a lot of time and shopping around by getting all your gear together in one fell swoop.

      If you’re looking for gear for an upcoming trip or one-off adventure, then I’d definitely point you straight towards the best snorkel sets. This also holds true if you’re just breaking into the snorkeling world and aren’t yet sure of your gear preferences. Much better to start out cheaper and slowly discover what works best for you!

      But if you’re looking to get into snorkeling in a big way, or perhaps work your way towards scuba diving, I recommend you check out my other snorkeling gear articles to consider each piece of gear individually.

      The Best Snorkel Gear Reviews

      Now that we’ve covered the specifics of what to look for, it’s time to put it into action and take a look at a few of the best snorkel sets on the market, and find the one that will suit you best!

      BEST SNORKEL SET FOR TRAVEL

      Cressi Palau Set

      For you travelers out there, Cressi may very well have crafted the best snorkel set for your on-the-go adventures!

      The shorter Palau fins are much more compact and packable than their full-sized cousins but still deliver excellent power in the water to keep you in the driver’s seat. They are also an open-heel design for water boots, giving you even more versatility.

      The snorkel features both an anti-splash guard and a closing valve. These work in tandem to prevent water from trickling down your snorkel during regular use and seals completely when you take your adventure under the waves.

      We have a very low-profile mask included in this set that makes for easy clearing in the unlikely event of water intrusion and sits very comfortably across most facial shapes. The mask adequately protects against fog build up to make sure you don’t miss a second of the scenery around you.

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Perfect for travel
      • Dry-top snorkel

      Cons

      • Smaller fins provide less power

      Tech & Specs

      Size: XS/S, S/M, M/L, L/XL

      Weight: 1.3 lbs (590 g)

      Portability: Reusable carrying mesh bag to carry and store gear

      Scuba Diving: Mask can be used, but not the fins

      Color: Blue, Lilac, Pink, Titanium, Red, Yellow

      Easy adjustable buckles on mask and fins

      Fin blade extends from foot pocket allowing easy, effortless kicks

      Paired with a Dry Snorkel with ergonomic shape for maximum comfort

      Mask has a skirt edge that adapts to most faces and a small inner volume

      Made in Italy

      BEST SNORKEL GEAR FOR BEGINNERS

      U.S. Divers Cozumel Snorkel Set

      U.S. Divers provides an excellent starter package for folks just branching into the world of snorkeling.

      You’ll get an adjustable face mask with an excellent seal and anti-fogging technology that works very well for most folks. The mask is designed as a one-size-fits-most and combined with the adjustable straps, this mostly holds true.

      The snorkel itself includes a splash guard to help prevent water intrusion, but it is not the dry-top snorkel we discussed earlier. You’ll, therefore, have to be careful in wavy situations and when you want to dive under.

      The Proflex fins included in this package feature a vented design that pretty much straddles the fence between split and full fins, providing excellent power and control but reducing strain on your feet and legs at the same time.

      This is easily some of the best snorkel gear for beginners. You’re getting quality gear, but no extra frills that you probably don’t need – all at a very reasonable price.

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Great for beginners
      • Reasonably priced

      Cons

      • Not a dry-top snorkel
      • Neoprene footwear not compatible with fins

      Tech & Specs

      Size: Small (5-6.5), Medium (6.5-8), Medium/Large (8-9.5), Large (9.5-11.5), X-Large (11.5-13)

      Weight: 3.95 lbs (1.8 kg)

      Portability: Gear bag with mesh panel for easy drying and storage

      Scuba Diving: No

      Color: Black, Electric Blue, Titanium, Red, Yellow

      2-Window mask

      3-Way Adjust buckles

      Splash top with Hydro-Adhesion technology

      Fins with full foot pocket

      Innovative Scuba Concepts REEF Snorkel Set

      This snorkel set is very similar to the U.S. Divers product above in that you get similarly sized fins, a comparable snorkel, and a nice high-quality mask.

      This snorkel also features a ‘semi-dry’ top, which helps prevent water intrusion but is not infallible in choppy conditions. This also means you’d have to clear the snorkel with a strong exhale upon surfacing after full submersion.

      The fins are nearly identical to the U.S. Divers fins above, with the exception that these feature an open-heel design. This means they are more versatile for diving with neoprene booties – a definite plus in cold water!

      The mask rounds off the ensemble with an excellent silicone sealing skirt and anti-fogging technology, making a strong case to be included amongst the best snorkel sets.

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Travel-friendly
      • Compact fins

      Cons

      • Not a dry-top snorkel

      Tech & Specs

      Size: Small/Medium, Large/X-Large

      Weight: 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg)

      Portability: Durable, easy to open and close mesh bag included makes for easy and convenient carrying and drying

      Scuba Diving: Mask can be used, but not the fins

      Color: Black, Blue, Pink

      Adjustable open-heel fins

      Anti-fog mask

      Comfortable snorkel that maximizes air flow

      A neoprene mask strap hair protector makes sliding the mask on and off pain-free

      USA based operation since 1989

      BEST BUDGET SNORKEL GEAR

      Promate Snorkeling Set

      Promate offers yet another compelling entry for the best snorkel gear sets with this combination of high-efficiency fins and a dry-top snorkel.

      The fins themselves are again similar to the fins included in the past two entries, with a vented design for streamlined power and use. This drastically improves their overall efficiency to give you complete control in the water, while not tiring you out.

      I’m particularly fond of the dry-top snorkel included in this set that completely blocks out any unintended water intrusion. This allows you to swoop under the surface at any time for a closer inspection of anything that catches your fancy, and not have to worry about clearing your snorkel when you resurface.

      The mask included here is a standard silicone seal version, for optimal comfort and sealing. They also feature a single lens design to optimize your field of view and make sure you don’t miss anything under those waves!

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Budget-friendly
      • Dry-top snorkel

      Cons

      • Can be a little bulky/heavy for travel

      Tech & Specs

      Size: SM – Size 5 to 8.5, MLXL – Size 9 to 13, 

      Weight: 7 lbs (3.2 kg)

      Portability: Come with carry mesh bag

      Scuba Diving: No

      Color: Black, Blue, Pink, Yellow

      Open Heel Fins: Drag reducing jet vented design with easy adjust strap and release buttons

      Single Lens Mask: The panoramic view you are looking for in a snorkel mask, with adjust buckle attaching skirt and double-edge comfort seal

      Pre-curved silicone mouthpiece prevents jaw fatigue

      Seavenger Adult Snorkel Set

      This snorkel gear set is geared towards you folks who are just trying out snorkeling for the first time. The components included make for an excellent experience, are small and easy to travel with, and won’t break the bank.

      The mask features a single lens that transitions into a tear-drop shape in front of each eye. This greatly improves your downward visibility while snorkeling, which is great, as you’re normally passing over and above the things you want to watch.

      The Seavenger Trek fin is built on the smaller side to maximize the ability to travel and minimize their heft. This, unfortunately, means that you’ll have less thrust with every kick, but it’s still enough to keep you going.

      The snorkel is a desirable dry-top design and includes a purge valve to help you expel any water that happens to creep in.

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Travel-friendly
      • Dry-top snorkel
      • Reasonably price

      Cons

      • Smaller fins provide less power

      Tech & Specs

      Size: XS/XXS, S/M, L-XL

      Weight: 4 lbs (1.8 kg)

      Portability: Gear Bag: The whole Snorkel Set fits into a convenient, compact, fast-drying plastic mesh bag.

      Scuba Diving: No

      Color: Green, Blue, Orange, Dodger Blue, Pink, Titanium, Red, Neon Yellow, Lavender

      Water locking snorkel top with fast, easy water clearing and soft, comfortable, ortho-conscious mouthpiece

      Trek Fin is ideal for snorkeling. A short, powerful fin, agile enough to be also used as a bodyboarding fin

      Single Lens Mask with a panoramic view

      SealBuddy Maui Mask Set

      This combo is another one of the best snorkel gear sets for travel out there, and you get a handy travel mesh bag to store it in!

      The fins are again in the mid-range size like the Seavenger Trek and offer adequate propulsion to get you from A to B. The open heel design accommodates any additional footwear you may be planning on.

      The dry top snorkel will support diving down to check out the sights and is flexible enough to conform to the shape that suits you the most. The hypoallergenic mouthpiece material also eliminates the plastic-like taste that sometimes accompanies snorkels.

      The mask features all the usual refinements that we expect, with tempered lenses and an efficient silicone skirt. It also has the added benefit of a purge valve located just below the nose. So, if water somehow makes its way into your mask, all you need is a good snort of air out your nose and it will force the water out. This is very helpful and keeps you from needing to clear your mask for just a little bit of water!

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Travel-friendly
      • Dry-top snorkel
      • Great for beginners

      Cons

      • Smaller fins provide less power
      • Better suited for one-off trips
      • Hard nose bridge makes equalizing difficult

      Tech & Specs

      Size: S/M Size 4 to 7.5, Large/XL Size 8 to 12

      Weight: 1.4 lbs (635 g)

      Portability: Carrying bag accommodates the complete set, with mesh openings for quick drying and ventilation, adjustable padded shoulder strap, extra zipper pouch for accessories, made of high-quality material

      Scuba Diving: No

      Color: Black, Aqua, Blue, Pink, Red, Yellow, Transparent

      Panoramic snorkel mask: 4 window panoramic adult diving mask, enhanced concave nose piece for ear pressure balance optimization, silicone face skirt, easy fit pinch buckles, featuring the ability to insert myopic and presbyopia glasses. Clear, high quality and tested anti-impact safety tempered glass lenses

      Bendable Dry Top snorkel: Fully submersible patented Dry Top ball design keeps water out, one-way sealed purge valve for easy leak free air release with hypoallergenic mouthpiece

      Traveller Snorkel Fins: Open heal quick adjust strap to fit a range of foot widths and sizes, dual composite streamlined blades with minimum thrust fatigue

      BEST SNORKEL SET FOR ADVANCED SNORKELERS

      U.S. Divers Lux Platinum

      If the smaller fins in the previous few sets aren’t looking too appealing to you and you want to give your swimming kick a boost, then take a close look at this snorkel set from U.S. Divers.

      The fins are nice and large and embody U.S Divers’ Pivot-Flex technology. This means that there is a distinct pivot joint located at the end of the foot section to allow the fin to move more naturally while you swim, and give each kick a little more snap.

      The submersible snorkel allows you to utilize this extra foot power to its greatest potential. So, go ahead, dive on down to take a closer look at those subsea wonders, and don’t worry at all about getting water in your snorkel! What’s more, you can record these adventures very easily and hands-free by using the built-in GoPro camera mount that’s included on the snorkel.

      They have a four-window design with the mask in this set, the two forward facing lenses and two smaller side lenses to improve your total field of view. The tempered glass also inhibits any fog build up while the silicone skirt is very comfortable and performs its sealing duty perfectly.

      This is a phenomenal pack that I would classify as the best snorkel set on my list, and also one of the most expensive. You have very high-quality materials, excellent construction, and are sure of a solid snorkeling adventure. This set also comes with an awesome heavy-duty gear bag to store all the equipment.

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Large, powerful, fins with open-heel
      • Dry-top snorkel

      Cons

      • Fins take up more space
      • More expensive than most
      • Quite heavy and bulky

      Tech & Specs

      Size: LG / XL (Men 9-13, Women 10-14), SM / MD (Men 4-8.5, Women 5-9.5)

      Weight: 4.6 lbs (2.1 kg)

      Portability: Gear bag designed with heavy-duty nylon durability

      Scuba Diving: Yes this set is scuba compatible

      Color: Black, Electric Blue, Gun Metal, Gun Metal Pink, Pink, Raspberry, Titanium, Red, White, Yellow, Aqua

      Four-window design for panoramic view with tempered glass lens and hypoallergenic silicone skirt for ultimate comfort

      Easy equalization nose pocket with patented soft purge for effortless purging and equalization

      Submersible dry top snorkel, designed to keep water out of the breathing tube with an ergonomic silicone mouthpiece for mazximized comfort, and GoPro ready camera mount for hands-free recording

      Dual composite vented fin blades for excellent power and energy saving efficiency

      Phantom Aquatics Legendary Set

      This is yet another solid snorkel set that I would put forward for the lightweight, minimal clutter, traveler snorkelers out there.

      The fins fall into the medium range, where they won’t take up as much space as their larger counterparts – or weigh as much – but they will still provide significantly more power than the very small versions. The open heel design gives you the flexibility you need for traveling to hot or cold environments, where perhaps you’ll use a neoprene boot occasionally, but not always.

      The snorkel features the dry-top design that I love so much for submerging, along with the water purge valve near the mouth. The mask provides a decent field of view and can be very comfortable once properly adjusted.

      Due to the price, I wouldn’t say this is one of the best snorkel gear for beginners, but if you’re planning on lots of use and getting your money’s worth, then I can definitely recommend it.

      CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

      Pros

      • Travel-friendly
      • Dry-top snorkel

      Cons

      • Adjusting straps for mask and fins a little weak

      Tech & Specs

      Size: S/M, 5-8, X/S, 3-5, M/L, 9-12

      Weight: 5 lbs (2.3 kg)

      Portability: Mesh carry bag included

      Scuba Diving: Mask can be used, but not the fins

      Color: Black, Aqua, Blue, Pink, Red, Silver

      The snorkeling fins are easy to get on and off your feet for a quick-release strap system. Angle of blade is optimized for maximum thrust with minimal effort. Center groove on each fin channels water to enhance glide

      Mask features beveled sides that provide a wide field of vision and an adjustable head strap with quick-release buckles

      Specialized Dry Top prevents water from entering snorkel even if submerged, ensuring you won’t be surprised by inhaling a wave

      There you go, everyone! We’ve covered the basics of snorkel set searching and what to look out for in fins, masks, and snorkels. I then tossed my 8 best snorkel gear sets on the table for you to take a look at and get you rolling, go enjoy your snorkel adventures!

      Have fun and stay safe, eh?

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      HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT ANY OF THESE SNORKEL SETS?

      If you have a question about the products just let me know and I’ll try my best to answer them! I totally get that it can be difficult to find the best snorkel gear for your specific needs.

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      Crystal Egan

      Passionate baby goat cuddler and part-time adventurer, Crystal can often be found doing headstands on the edges of cliffs, taking photos of abandoned buildings or sleeping on deserted islands with dangerous criminals. She has too many awesome stories and helpful tips to keep them all to herself so follow along and in return she will bring you inspiring pictures, travel videos and a whole load of fun!

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