Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Snorkels allow us humans to swim on the surface of the water while breathing underwater. It is an important part of both snorkelling and diving.

With our snorkel test 2021 we want to help you find your perfect snorkel. To make your purchase decision easier, we have taken the time to summarise the most important facts. After all, you should feel safe and comfortable during your adventures under the water surface.




Summary

  • The snorkel, assembled from a plastic tube and a silicone mouthpiece, ensures free breathing underwater.
  • A basic distinction is made between the classic snorkel and the newer models, such as the dry snorkel and the full-face mask. All of which are available in different colours, combinations and price ranges.
  • Snorkelling is suitable for anyone who has learned to swim and has studied snorkelling.

The Best Snorkel: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for snorkels

In this section, we will show you how to make your snorkel purchase easier and what you should consider before making your decision.

The most important criteria to help you find your perfect snorkel:

In the following paragraphs you will find out what the individual criteria are.

Construction / Material

A snorkel is made up of several components:

  • Mouthpiece: It is made of soft silicone with bite warts and should fit comfortably between your teeth. The mouthpiece is already fitted to most snorkels. If you experience uncomfortable pressure points while snorkelling, you should look for another one.
  • Tube: A flexible tube gives you a comfortable snorkelling experience. The flexibility of the tube and a corrugated tube at the end of the snorkel allow it to adapt very well to the shape of your head.
  • Blow-out valve: Can be located at the top or directly on the mouthpiece. If the blow-out valve is attached to the bottom, the water that has flowed in can be collected and most of it can be released through the valve again. It also makes it easier to blow out the remaining water. The valve is practical but not absolutely necessary if you know the correct blow-out technique.
  • Mask holder: This is used to attach the snorkel to the diving mask.
  • Tip water guard: This is usually found on high quality snorkels, at the end of the tube. It makes it more difficult for water to penetrate in choppy waters or in high waves.

Size / Length

When buying your snorkel, pay attention to the length and diameter. If certain dimensions are exceeded, this makes breathing underwater more difficult. It can lead to pendulum breathing, which means that the exhaled air is inhaled again and again.

A snorkel should have a maximum diameter of about 2 centimetres and not exceed a length of 35 centimetres!

Of course, the right size should also be considered for children. There are special snorkels for children, as their lungs are smaller and would keep breathing in used air with a normal snorkel. The mouthpiece and the cross-section of the tube are smaller in a child's snorkel.

Transport

To protect your snorkelling equipment you should have suitable storage facilities. When you buy a diving mask or snorkel, a small transport box is usually included. To avoid damage to the snorkel, the tube should be prevented from being pushed in. Some snorkels can be disassembled for easier transport.

Colour

Snorkels come in many different colours, from black to green to yellow. However, the end of the tube should always stand out in colour, so that you can be seen in time by boats and other watercraft

Decision: What types of snorkels are there and which one is right for me?

Before you decide on a snorkel, you should know the different alternatives.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Classic snorkel Low price

Breathe underwater

Only suitable for calm waters
Dry snorkel Undisturbed snorkelling

Valve prevents water from entering

Clunky
Snorkel mask No mouthpiece

free breathing without goggle fogging

Clunky

If this information is not enough, you can read more about the different types of snorkels in the following three paragraphs.

Klassischer Schnorchel

Classic snorkel

The classic snorkel consists of a simple, hard plastic tube and a plastic mouthpiece. They are often lent out on snorkelling trips because they are very light and inexpensive.

Advantages
  • Low price
  • Breathe underwater
Disadvantages
  • Inflexible
  • Only in calm waters

The inflexible tube makes this type of snorkel suitable for surface swimming only. Diving down can lead to difficulties due to the tube being full, as a very high amount of force is needed to blow it out. This type of snorkel is therefore not suitable for use in high waves.

Trockenschnorchel

Dry snorkel

The dry snorkel has a special valve that prevents water from entering, either through splashing or while diving. A valve at the end of the tube prevents water from entering. By specifically excluding air and water, the tube needs to be blown out less often than usual after surfacing.

The valve is attached to the upper end of the snorkel and closes as soon as water wants to flow into the snorkel. If water does get into the breathing tube through the mouthpiece or through damage, all dry snorkels are equipped with a blow-out valve. Sometimes it can happen that the valve closes without any imminent danger. In this case, tap the valve lightly and it will open again.

Advantages
  • Valve prevents water from running in
  • No interruption while snorkelling
  • Infrequent blow-out
Disadvantages
  • Clunky
Schnorchelmaske

Snorkel mask

The snorkel mask is a combination of snorkel and goggles. Since many find breathing through the typical mouthpiece uncomfortable, it is a good alternative to the typical snorkel. It allows you to breathe underwater through both the mouth and the nose.

Advantages
  • No mouthpiece
  • free breathing without goggle fitting
Disadvantages
  • Clunky
  • Shapeless

Due to the flexibility of the material, the mask fits watertight and airtight, and its silicone rim covers the entire face. Because the full-face mask is split in two, you can breathe freely without fogging up the snorkel mask.

In addition, this snorkel mask offers the same advantages as a dry snorkel, as water cannot penetrate the mask or snorkel while diving. Diving down is not recommended with this type of snorkel, as no pressure compensation can be exerted.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about snorkelling answered in detail

We have then answered the most important questions about snorkelling in brief.

Who is a snorkel suitable for?

Snorkelling is suitable for anyone who wants to combine swimming and diving. There is no specific age limit, as each person develops at a different pace. However, it should be noted that children should only ever go snorkelling under the supervision of an adult.

Schnorchel-1

Adults are also advised to snorkel in a group. Friends should not be missing on an exciting snorkelling trip.
(Image source: Chotikapakorn / 123rf.com)

Snorkelling alone is not recommended for adults either. Before snorkelling, the ability to swim should be present and the correct handling of a snorkel should be clear.

How does a snorkel work?

A snorkel is used as a connection to the water surface and is therefore part of the basic equipment. It helps you to breathe underwater and observe the beauty of the marine world undisturbed for a longer period of time.

Snorkelling is possible in the sea, in lakes and in suitable rivers.

Briefly blow out the rest of the water: surface so that the top of the snorkel is above the water. Now blow briefly and forcefully into the mouthpiece.

Make sure you have enough air left when you surface. The high air pressure will force the remaining water out of the blow-out valve.

What is included in snorkelling equipment?

The following elements are part of the basic equipment:

ABC equipment utility
Diving goggles / mask Good underwater visibility
Snorkel Breathing underwater
Fins Faster and easier swimming

The basic or ABC equipment for snorkelling consists of a snorkel, mask and fins. The snorkel is for breathing underwater, while the goggles give our eyes a sharper view underwater. Fins help the snorkeller to swim faster, to focus more on their breathing and things underwater.

Which snorkels are suitable for diving?

These snorkels are suitable for diving:

  • Flexible snorkel
  • Dry snorkel

You can dive with almost any type of snorkel. However, you must expect the tube to fill with water immediately. The best snorkels for this are the dry snorkels. These models have a device that prevents water from entering while diving.

How much does a snorkel cost?

There is a wide price range between the different types of snorkels. Depending on the type and additional extras, the price of a snorkel can cost between about 10 and 100 euros.

Type Price range
Classic snorkel approx. 10-20 €
Dry snorkel approx. 20-100 €
Snorkel mask approx. 10-80 €

The classic snorkel is one of the cheaper models and is available from around 10 euros.

Dry snorkels and snorkel masks are more expensive because of their special extras. Their special features make snorkelling much easier and seem to us to be reasonably priced.

What are the alternatives to a snorkel?

If there are complications or dissatisfactions with snorkelling, the underwater world can be explored with the help of scuba diving, submarines or glass-bottomed boats.

What do people who wear glasses need to bear in mind when snorkelling?

Nowadays, there are diving masks that can be individually adapted to the person wearing them and are available with different visual acuities. By simply exchanging the lenses when the visual impairment changes, the purchase of new glasses can be avoided.

Schnorchel-2

There are also ways to explore the underwater world without a snorkel.
(Image source: Bawah Reserve / unsplash)

Contact lens wearers, may not need an optical diving mask, but should make sure it is absolutely tight.

Which areas are suitable for snorkelling?

Popular places to go snorkelling include reefs and various underwater attractions, such as a sunken shipwreck. As there can be dangerous animals or currents in any area, it is always a good idea to get the most important information.

How do I use my snorkel properly?

Before snorkelling, the ability to swim and the correct handling should be clear. As a beginner, it is important to get used to breathing. For this, practice should be done on land. Before snorkelling, UV protection should be applied or suitable clothing put on and plenty of water should be drunk.

The most important behaviour is to breathe evenly and stay calm.

The snorkel is attached to the strap of the diving goggles using the mask holder provided. Rubbing the goggle lenses with an anti-fogging agent can prevent the lenses from tarnishing and thus disturbing the snorkelling. Put on your fins - and let's go!

How does diving with a snorkel work?

Diving while snorkelling gives you a better view of things on the bottom or in the reef. Get enough air before diving down to blow it out after surfacing. Be prepared for the snorkel to fill up with water quickly.

During the descent, avoid uncomfortable pressure in your ears and possible injury. Equalise the pressure by holding your nose and exhaling against it. The deeper it gets, the more pressure equalisation is necessary.

How do I clean my snorkel?

The snorkel should be cleaned with fresh water after every stay in the sea to remove salt water residues and thus prevent holes in the equipment. Cleaning agents containing alcohol should be avoided as they can damage the snorkel equipment.

Once the equipment has dried, it should be stored at room temperature and in the storage boxes provided.

Image source: dmosreg/ 123rf.com

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