Whether you will snorkel for the first time or you are simply tired of renting gear that doesn’t quite fit right, investing in your own snorkel gear is a great way to guarantee a more exciting adventure.
Renting gear is fine when you don’t have other options, but not all rental locations will have the gear that you want or even gear that fits you properly.
You may even have trouble with the durability of the gear if you get really unlucky.
Why leave something like your enjoyment in the hands of fate when you could take control?
Rather than hoping that you can find the best snorkel gear at a rental location, buy your own snorkel gear.
The upfront investment isn’t higher than renting, and you are more likely to be able to get a mask and snorkel that fits and works perfectly for you.
Today, familiarize yourself with the top five options on the market to find which snorkel option will help you have the best experience ever!
Best Snorkel Gear Reviews
1. Cressi Reaction EBS Adjustable Mask Set
The first set we will cover today is the Cressi Reaction EBS Adjustable Mask Set, a high-quality set from a reliable brand.
Cressi has been making snorkeling and diving gear for decades, but does that mean this set lives up to the hype?
This set put together by Cressi is a four-piece product that includes the Cressi Reaction EBS Adjustable Open Heel Fins, Cressi Frameless Silicone Mask, Cressi Mesh Bag, and Cressi Dry Snorkel.
Each of these items is one of Cressi’s most well-reviewed items, and they have bundled them together at a great price in this amazing set.
The set is available in four different colors and sizes, so you can choose the setup that will fit your needs the best.
Each piece in this set is made from very high-quality materials, so the durability is worth paying attention to.
The fins are the most standout part of this set, and that’s not to say that the mask and snorkel aren’t great!
The fins, though, are a huge upgrade compared to other setups released by Cressi in the past.
The Reaction EBS fins are made from a polypropylene blade that is flexible and thin, making it very lightweight, adaptable, and easy to use in the water.
The lightweight blade creates more thrust with less effort than ever, and that’s worth paying attention to.
The biggest problem you might encounter when you buy the Cressi Reaction EBS Adjustable Mask Set is that the sizing is for all of the pieces, but you might want to get a different sized mask and fins.
Thankfully, each of these pieces is available from Cressi directly, so you can create your own set if you don’t like the sizing that you find for this particular set.
2. SEAC Frameless Scuba Mask Fin Snorkel Set
Next up is the SEAC Frameless Scuba Mask Fin Snorkel Set, a high-end snorkel set that offers a frameless mask option for getting in as much of the view as possible while snorkeling.
This set from SEAC includes a few different products:
- SEAC f1-s open heel fins with bungee straps
- SEAC frameless mask with quick-adjust features
- SEAC Vortex dry snorkel
- SEAC carry-all bag
The bungee heel fins are very easy to put on and keep in place thanks to their high-quality design, and they also have a dual layer of material that gives them a very high durability rating.
The frameless mask and dry top Vortex snorkel are both high-end options that provide great features that are expected at their price point.
The SEAC Frameless Scuba Mask Fin Snorkel Set is available in three different size options as well as five different colorways.
The mask is one of the most loved parts of this set because it has a great tempered glass, frameless design.
This design gives a full panoramic view without any dividers to block your view.
The mask can be adjusted easily and has a low volume so that it can be purged easily.
When using the dry top Vortex to snorkel, you might find that the valve on the top of the snorkel often stays shut when you resurface.
While this only happens when you go underwater, it can be frustrating to deal with.
Thankfully, it’s easy to fix by simply reaching up and pushing down on the valve.
3. Mares Volo Race Scuba Snorkeling Set
Will this set make sense for your snorkeling needs?
The Mares Volo Race Scuba Snorkeling Set includes the Head Calypso mask and dry snorkel as well as a great set of full foot fins that have a great blade on them.
The design of the Mares Volo Race fins includes soft material for your feet as well as an excellent rubber thermoplastic that can easily flex to propel you through the water.
The Calypso mask is a single lens tempered glass mask that has low volume, a soft feathered skirt, and easy-to-adjust buckles on each side.
The Calypso dry top snorkel has one of the best purge valves among snorkels so it can be cleared easily, and the mouthpiece is designed to be comfortable.
The Mares Volo Race Scuba Fins are one of the most popular products from Mares, and it is easy to see why once you try these fins.
The long length, lightweight, and great flexibility make these fins some of the easiest to use while snorkeling.
They are particularly great for those that have any achy spots or stiff knees as the motion of using these fins doesn’t strain those areas.
The sizing options can be confusing for some, as there are nine different size options listed, but there are actually only five different sizes available.
The confusion comes from whether the sizing is in US or UK sizing, but thankfully this can be cleared up by either messaging the seller or paying close attention to the listing details when choosing your size.
Having five different size options is still great for this type of set!
4. Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Set
Now, let’s take a closer look at the Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Set, a high-end set that includes four essential pieces for your next snorkeling adventure.
While most four-piece sets include a mask, snorkel, fins, and a bag, the Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Set includes neoprene boots instead of a bag, which is more useful when dealing with fins for snorkeling.
The set includes the following equipment:
- Promate Pro Blade Open Heel Fins
- Promate 5mm Pacifica Zipper Boots
- Promate Sea Slender Mask
- Promate Cobra 100% Dry Snorkel
The overall production quality of each item is great, and the sizing is offered in three different variations for both men and women.
The mask is ideal for medium-sized faces, and the boots offer 5mm of neoprene protection and warmth within the fins when in use.
The Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Set is easily one of the best, and most high-quality all-in-one sets that you can find for snorkeling.
While many sets include full foot fins, a lot of people find the warmth and security of the open heel design to be preferable.
This set includes an open-heel design and booties to wear with them, and that sets you up to snorkel without needing to buy anything else.
The quality of each piece is great, and each piece also has useful features that ensure they are functional for snorkeling as well as scuba diving in a variety of conditions.
The mask included with the Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Set is the same regardless of which size fins you base your set on, and that means it might not be an excellent fit for everyone.
While it is great to get a bundle deal, you can avoid this issue by shopping for each desired piece individually.
5. HEAD Italian Design Full Face Snorkeling Set
The last set is the HEAD Italian Design Full Face Snorkeling Set, the only full-face setup that can be considered one of the top options on the market today.
For those interested in trying a full-face snorkeling setup, the Head Italian Design set is a great option.
Available at a mid-range price for snorkeling gear, this setup has passed all of the necessary breathing tests to ensure that it is truly a safe product.
The full-face design incorporates the dry top snorkel into the mask design itself, and this makes it easy to breathe naturally without needing to hold onto a mouthpiece.
The included fins in the HEAD Italian Design Full Face Snorkeling Set have what is known as OPB Hinge Technology to make kicking and controlling movement very simple.
The mask is the standout feature of this set since it enables people to get a wide, clear view of the world around them without needing to hold onto a mouthpiece while exploring underwater.
While adapting to using this type of snorkel mask takes time, it creates an excellent seal without fog when used properly and can help you to have a pleasant experience.
While the fins are adjustable, some people have found that the adjustable straps dig into their feet.
To avoid this problem, be careful when selecting your size to ensure that you won’t be on the outer limits of the sizing.
If you are, that could lead to some discomfort.
When you are shopping around for the right snorkel gear, there can be a lot of different options to choose from.
So many potential gear choices can make it very difficult to know which one is going to be the best for you.
You can make your decision-making process a bit easier by learning a bit about what to look for.
Once you can identify what makes good snorkel gear as well as what you need to prioritize in your gear, you will find it easier to make these selections.
As such, we’ve put together a lot of different content about how to choose the best snorkel mask and fins.
Today, we will just cover those areas briefly and include a link to extensive guides that you can use to supplement your decision-making process.
Mask: Type, Comfort, Lens
There are three main factors that you will want to keep in mind when looking at different mask options: type, comfort, and lens.
For a complete mask buyer’s guide, check out this article.
Masks come in many different types:
- Full-face snorkel masks
- Snorkel masks with no purge
- Snorkel masks with purge
- Frameless masks
- Framed masks
Each of these mask types has its own benefits, limitations, and uses.
Depending on your personal snorkel style as well as how your face fits into the mask types, you might find that only one or two of these types really make sense for you.
Unfortunately, the only way to really know which of these types of snorkel masks you will like best is to try them yourself.
Mask comfort is incredibly important, so you want to be sure that you select a mask that can fit your face completely and comfortably for long periods.
The silicone skirt should be soft; it should not dig into your skin.
It should also stay in place with minimal adjusting once you have it on.
Another factor to consider is the type of lens on the mask; lens refers to the actual part of the mask that you see out of.
Some lenses have no dividers, while other lenses are double-paned for higher durability, and some lenses have built-in prescriptions so that you can see clearly without the need for contacts or glasses.
Fins: Size, Length, Type
Just as the mask is essential while you are snorkeling, the fins are also important!
Different fin types, sizes, and lengths will enable different experiences, so you want to be sure that you select gear with fins that will work for your needs.
This complete buyer’s guide highlights why size, length, and type are so important.
Let’s briefly cover these areas here.
Fins come in different sizes; fins should fit your feet snugly enough that they will not come loose while swimming without being so tight that they are painful.
Longer fins are more efficient for long-term use and can help you spend more time in the water, but shorter fins are easier to use for beginners and work well in crowded areas.
Fins can be open- or close-heeled, and they can also have either a split or paddle design.
Open heeled boots require that you wear your own neoprene boots underneath, but they work well for open water and can get a better fit.
On the other hand, close heeled tend to be more affordable but don’t provide as much warmth or as good of a fit for most people.
Lastly, split fins are easier to control and require less energy, but paddle fins can create more propulsion.
Another factor to consider about your snorkel gear is the quality of the manufacturing and craftsmanship of the items.
Even if you only plan on using the gear one or two times, you want to be sure that the gear will function properly throughout those experiences.
Quality is even more important if you want to be able to use the snorkel gear for months or years to come.
Gear made with the best materials and good manufacturing techniques will stand up to snorkeling conditions better than cheap options, so keep this in mind as you are browsing through the different options that are available to you.
Color and Size Options
Other things that you will want to pay attention to while shopping through different snorkel gear options are the sizes and colors available for each set.
Size is essential when choosing gear; you want to be sure that the mask, snorkel, and fins are all sized appropriately for your body.
If not appropriately sized, they may not function well for you and may even need to be replaced down the line.
Color is also an important factor for some people; others might not care what color their gear ends up being.
If you want to buy gear in a particular color, though, you will want to narrow down your options by this first because most gear items are only available in a limited range of colors.
Choosing gear first and then looking for it in a certain color may prove to be disappointing, so focus on color first if this is a major concern for you.
Finally, check if the snorkel gear sets that you are considering come with any extra, unexpected gear.
Most snorkel gear comes with a mesh carry bag to keep your gear together.
Some sets may also come with extra snorkels, valves, or other add-ons.
While these add-ons might not be a primary concern for you, accessories might help make your final decision between a few good options a little bit easier in the end.
Snorkel Gear FAQs
1. Is It Better to Buy or Rent Snorkeling Gear?
In most cases, it is better to buy your own gear rather than rent gear for several reasons.
First, renting gear from a resort location is often just as expensive as it is to buy your own gear.
Snorkel gear doesn’t have to be expensive, and the gear you are renting from these locations typically isn’t any better than the affordable gear that you would choose to buy for yourself!
Additionally, buying gear yourself means that you can ensure you get the right fit and test out the gear before you actually plan to use it.
Testing gear for fit and use is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a great experience while snorkeling, especially if it is your first time doing this activity.
While you can often trade in ill-fitting gear while renting, this will take time away from your adventure.
It is better to have gear that fits well from the very beginning.
Of course, there are going to be some cases where renting gear makes sense.
If you cannot, for example, fit snorkel gear in your luggage due to packing restrictions, renting from your final destination is an OK option.
If you decide to rent, though, make sure you choose gear that is in good shape and don’t be afraid to ask for a better fitting mask if you are having problems with leaks or breathing through the snorkel.
Many people will suffer through disappointing rental gear because they assume they won’t be able to get anything better, but that isn’t always going to be the case!
2. Are Full Face Snorkeling Masks Dangerous?
There are a lot of misconceptions and mixed opinions out there about whether or not full face masks are dangerous.
Full face snorkeling masks, and any snorkeling setup, can be dangerous in certain conditions.
Full face masks have been linked to many scary accidents, and this is largely because they are a bit different to use than traditional snorkels.
Many people who try to use them are not familiar with the differences, and that can create dangerous situations.
Full face snorkeling masks, though, can be used safely!
Let’s address the main risks of using a full face snorkeling mask over a traditional mask and how you can avoid these problems.
The number one concern of using full-face snorkeling masks is CO2 buildup, which can lead to fainting or nausea.
This primarily happens when the snorkeler is not aware of how to breathe properly in the mask, or they are using a low-quality mask that hadn’t been properly tested.
The best way to avoid this issue is to make sure that you only use full-face masks that are well tested for quality and breathability.
Surface Water Only
Full face snorkeling masks are especially dangerous if you plan to be fully submerged or you want to dive down into the water.
The pressure of the water can make the full face seal very hard to break if breathing becomes difficult.
Additionally, it can cause the snorkel valve not to work properly, leaving you stuck in a compromising position.
Full face masks are safest when used for surface snorkeling so that you can easily surface and remove the mask if necessary.
3. What Is a Dry Top Snorkel?
There are different types of snorkels out there, but one of the most popular types of the snorkel to use is the dry top snorkel.
A dry top snorkel is a snorkel that has a one-way valve in the tube that prevents water from going into the snorkel whenever it is submerged in water or splashed by waves.
Any water that enters the tube is filtered by the way valve set up so that you do not have any trouble breathing.
Essentially, the tube has a float valve that closes whenever it is underwater and opens when it is above water.
Dry top snorkels make it so that you never have to take time or energy to clear your snorkel of water; you can go underwater and surface again while snorkeling with ease.
The most significant benefit of using a dry top snorkel is that you won’t end up with any water in your snorkel, but you also save a lot of energy by not needing to worry about this.
Some people find that dry top snorkels can still get blocked and may need adjustment during snorkel trips, but usually, this just involves reaching your hand up and pushing on the valve to make sure it reopens when you come above water level.
In many ways, using dry top snorkels is the new normal for snorkeling.
4. What Are the Important Things to Remember While Snorkeling?
Many different advice points could be made about snorkeling, but it’s best not to feel overwhelmed when you first go snorkeling.
As important as it is to be educated, you also don’t want to overwhelm yourself with scary information.
Rather than becoming overwhelmed, focus on these eight important points to remember while you are preparing for your first snorkeling adventure:
- Make sure that you are comfortable swimming and floating in the water before you try snorkeling.
- Learn how to use your gear before you go out on a big adventure; you’ll be glad you did!
- Buy high-quality gear that will last through your adventure and keep you safe.
- Never snorkel alone; always have a buddy.
- Wear sunscreen and drink water to stay hydrated; being under the sun for a few hours is no joke!
- Stay in safe areas while snorkeling.
- Keep an eye on the ocean and the weather.
- Do not touch reefs or animals, and never break anything off to take home with you.
By following all of these guidelines while you are snorkeling, you’re sure to have a great time that you will never forget while also being safe.
Safety and fun are equally important when snorkeling, so keep that in mind while you adventure!
5. Is It Hard to Learn to Snorkel?
Snorkeling is not hard to learn as long as you come into the experience with the right attitude and knowledge.
The key things to remember are that you should try snorkeling for the first time in a calm, saltwater location where it is easier to float and that you need to focus on slow, calm breathing.
The biggest issues you will face are confusion and anxiety while you are trying to get used to the breathing technique, but remember that you can always sit upright and regain control of your breathing if you feel out of control at any time.
For many people, they have a better experience snorkeling for the first time if they practice their breathing technique in a swimming pool first.
Once you have that technique down, you’ll be good to go!
Snorkeling is an enjoyable experience, and having the best snorkel gear can make it even more enjoyable!
Among all of these options, the Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Set stands out as the best option for those who want an all-around excellent snorkeling experience without needing to buy any additional items before they hit the water.
Another great option is the Cressi Reaction EBS Adjustable Mask Set, which has great fins to supplement a high-quality mask for your next adventure.
Snorkeling can be fun in any gear, but it will be even more safe and enjoyable if you take the time to choose gear that really fits your needs.
Take some time to browse these top options of 2020, and you’ll find that you have a much better experience in the long run.