Skip to main content
x

Best Snorkels of 2023

ScubaLab reviews 17 new dry, semi-dry and open-top snorkels

Share This Article :

Best Snorkels of 2023

HEAD TO-HEAD TESTING

How We Test

To evaluate the performance of each snorkel in open-water conditions, the ScubaLab team snorkeled off James H. Nance Park on Florida’s Atlantic Coast in seas of about 1 foot, with a crossshore breeze of about 2 knots. Using waterproof test sheets and slates, testersrated each of the snorkels in seven performance categories, with 1 being poor performance and 5 being excellent.

Testers also recorded comments about their experience using each snorkel and ranked their top three favorites in each category to find the best snorkeling gear.

A test diver takes notes on a snorkel.

A diver tests a snorkel and takes notes on a clipboard

Kristin Paterakis

The ergonomic performance categories were:

  • Security, adjustability, convenience and ruggedness of the mask attachment
  • Dryness and effectiveness in blocking water entry
  • Air delivery and ability to supply sufficient air
  • Operating without excessive noise, such as gurgling or rattling
  • Weight, dimensions, stability (wobbling) or other factors affecting overall comfort

Q: What if I don’t want to wear a snorkel?

A: I typically hear two main reasons from divers why they choose to forgo a snorkel. The first is that snorkels are uncomfortable to wear and get in the way while diving. The second is that snorkels are an entanglement hazard. To the first set of divers, I recommend you try snorkels with a flexible lower tube, which puts less strain on the mouth and allows the snorkel to hang out of the way while diving. For divers concerned with entanglements, pocket snorkels such as the XS Scuba Cargo are small, flexible and can be rolled or folded for easy stowage in a pocket, so you can always have access to a snorkel without carrying it on your mask strap.

XS SCUBA

Passage

XSScuba_Passage_2023

MSRP $49.95

CONTACT xsscuba.com

MONICA MEDINA

Scored excellent and very good by testers across the board, this dry snorkel took some of the top scores in its category. It also earned the only excellent score in the test for air delivery. Test divers liked the sliding, rotating strap attachment, which they rated very good for ease of operation and security. It clips over the mask strap with ease and lets the snorkel sit in a natural, comfortable position. “Slides on strap very well and easy swivel. Easy to find a comfortable spot,” one test diver commented.

The quick-disconnect uses a large, ergonomic release. It can easily be activated with the thumb and can be removed without taking off the mask. Testers scored the snorkel excellent for dryness and clearing. “No water entry whatsoever” and “will not get wet!” were typical test diver comments.

The large mouthpiece is tough and sturdy, but not all test divers appreciated how the upper bridge of the mouthpiece felt against the roof of their mouth. Fortunately, the design allows for easy replacement of the mouthpiece. A favorite of test divers, with outstanding performance, the Passage is our Testers Choice for dry snorkels.

Related Reading: What Is a Full Face Mask Diver Course?

MONICA MEDINA

AKONA

Kalahari

Akona_Kalahari_2023

MSRP $46

CONTACT akona.com

MONICA MEDINA

Scored good by test divers, this snorkel’s attachment is easy to set up and holds firmly and securely to the mask strap. It also features a quick-disconnect, but the system on our sample was a little stiff, making it difficult to operate. Outfitted with a long, flexible corrugated tube and an extended, angled mouthpiece, the snorkel is comfortable to use for extended periods of time. “Very comfy in mouth, doesn’t pull at all,” one test diver commented.

Testers scored the Kalahari very good for air delivery, dryness and clearing. The bottom purge valve is recessed for protection without blocking access to the diaphragm. This makes it very easy to access and clear if debris gets lodged inside. Offering solid performance with a below average cost, the Kalahari is a great dry-top option for scuba divers and snorkelers alike.

MONICA MEDINA

CRESSI

Itaca Ultra Dry

Cressi_Itaca_2023

MSRP $54.50

CONTACT cressiusa.com

MONICA MEDINA

This snorkel’s dry guard top features three movement joints to facilitate immediate opening and closing of the valve when exiting and entering the water. Test divers scored it excellent for staying dry. They also scored it very good for ease of clearing and good for air delivery. The mask attachment was a sticking point for several test divers. It offers a narrow fit and can be difficult to latch onto the mask strap.

It features a low-profile quick-disconnect. Operation is simple, but a bit awkward for those unfamiliar with it. “Hard to unclip then release,” one tester noted. The attachment slides vertically to automatically adjust to the optimalheight. The angled mouthpiece rotates a full 360 degrees around the bore of the long-corrugated tube for enhanced fit. The bite guard offers a secure, comfortable grip for users with smaller mouths.

MONICA MEDINA

FOURTH ELEMENT

Dry

FourthElement_Dry_2023

MSRP $45

CONTACT fourthelement.com

MONICA MEDINA

This snorkel earned a very good score for air delivery, along with test diver comments such as “very easy breathing” and “good airflow.” It also scored excellent for dryness and ease of clearing. The generous width of the snorkel’s attachment provides plenty of room for the mask strap. It features a low-profile quick-disconnect like the one adorning the Itaca Ultra Dry.

It is similarly awkward for unfamiliar users to operate, but it’s easy enough to remove. Unlike the Itaca’s attachment, however, this snorkel’s attachment allows the snorkel to swing forward or backward for additional comfort. The snorkel is very stable, with very little drag. “Stays put even underwater,” is how one test diver described its stability. This snorkel earned the top score in its category for mouthpiece comfort, and a very good score for overall comfort.

Related Reading: Face-Off: ScubaLab Tests 9 Full Face Masks

MONICA MEDINA

TUSA

Hyperdry Elite II

Tusa_HyperdryMax_2023

MSRP $65

CONTACT tusa.com

MONICA MEDINA

Rated very good overall, this snorkel’s attachment is very secure but can be difficult to install. Several testers found it easier to simply remove the strap from the mask buckle. Once attached, however, it features a handy quick-disconnect tab that can be used to easily remove the snorkel for travel and storage. The attachment has a bit of play, allowing the snorkel to swing forward or backward for an optimal angle.

The snorkel tube is slightly narrower than the other snorkels in our test and has a thinner, elongated dry top. Test divers scored it excellent for dryness and clearing. “Stays dry,” one tester said. They scored the snorkel good for air delivery. “OK, but not great,” is how one test diver described it. Comfort was rated very good overall and for the mouthpiece. The HyperDry Elite II was a favorite of several testers.

MONICA MEDINA

AKONA

Capri

Akona_Capri_2023

MSRP $35

CONTACT akona.com

MONICA MEDINA

Slightly longer than the other snorkels in its category, this snorkel’s tall tube keeps the semi-dry top far from the chop but can take more force to clear. It scored good for both air delivery and ease of clearing. The simple one-piece mask attachment is secure and straightforward to operate. It readily slides up and down to adjust the snorkel to the appropriate height.

The flexible lower tube eliminates uncomfortable pulling and is outfi tted with a purge valve. The easy-sliding attachment and floppy, flexible construction of the lower tube add a great deal of comfort but can make the snorkel more unstable while swimming. Testers felt the angled mouthpiece was better suited for smaller mouths, but otherwise scored it good. The Capri combines solid all-around performance with a good mix of features and overall comfort.

MONICA MEDINA

FOURTH ELEMENT

Splash

FourthElement_Splash__2023

MSRP $42

CONTACT fourthelement.com

MONICA MEDINA

This semi-dry snorkel features a swinging two-piece mask attachment and a flexible corrugated lower section for enhanced comfort. The mouthpiece wasn’t the best fit for those with smaller mouths, but even so, the mouthpiece took the top score in its category. The mask attachment can be a bit stiff during installation. It features a low-profile quick-disconnect buckle that allows for quick and easy removal and replacement once installed. The snorkel is held firmly in place, with little to no wobbling or shaking. It scored very good for overall comfort and stability. Testers scored the snorkel very good for air delivery and ease of clearing. The Splash earned the top score for dryness in its category, and tester comments such as, “Stays dry so well I thought it had a [dry] valve.” It is our Best Buy for semi-dry snorkels.

MONICA MEDINA

GULL

Canal Dry SP

Gull_CanalSuperdry_2023

MSRP $55

CONTACT gull.kinugawa-net.com

MONICA MEDINA

Test divers loved this semi-dry snorkel’s hinged clip attachment and scored it very good overall. It swings open to catch over the mask strap and secures with a pinch-release buckle. It is very secure and can be removed using a single hand. “Love the attachment. So easy,” one test diver said.

The semi-rigid snorkel tube features a streamlined shape for low drag. It tied the top scores for dryness and ease of clearing. “Super easy airflow,” was how one test diver described it. The small mouthpiece has equally small bite tabs. The single curved piece encompassing both the mouthpiece and purge valve causes a slight pull, despite the use of a rotating joint and a flexible corrugated neck. Simple and effective, with a clever, convenient strap attachment, the Canal Dry SP was a favorite of several testers.

MONICA MEDINA

RIFFE

Stable

Riffe_Stable_2023

MSRP $52.50

CONTACT riffeinternational.com

MONICA MEDINA

Picked overwhelmingly as a favorite by testers, this low-profile, semi-rigid snorkel was described by testers as convenient and comfortable. The attachment secures with a pinch-release clasp that can be operated with a single hand. Described as “great” by multiple testers, it opens wide for easy removal and replacement and doesn’t require any loose parts.

The large lower cavity keeps any residual water clear of the airway and features a purge valve for easy expulsion. “Clears exceptionally well,” one tester said. The only sore spot was the mouthpiece—which can easily be removed and replaced. Testers complained the lip guard was too tall, the bite too narrow or the mouthpiece too bulky overall.

The Stable scored highly in all other categories, including dryness, air delivery and ease of clearing. It is our Testers Choice.

MONICA MEDINA

TUSA

Imprex II Hyperdry

Tusa_Hyperdry2023

MSRP $38

CONTACT tusa.com

MONICA MEDINA

Comfortable and capable, this unassuming semi-dry snorkel offers great performance across the board. Its oversize splash guard helped it tie the top score for dryness in its category. It offers what one test diver described as “simple, solid breathing.” Others agreed, scoring it very good for air delivery. The oversize strap attachment is basic, but secure. The mouthpiece, scored good by test divers, is small and short. It is offset at a slight angle from the main body of the snorkel and utilizes a flexible bottom tube to eliminate pulling at the mouth. It features a lower purge valve.

Testers scored it very good for clearing and air delivery. The Imprex II is a simple, well-roundedsnorkel. It may not have garnered much attention from test divers, but it offers very good, dependable performance where it counts.

MONICA MEDINA

TUSA

Platina Hyperdry II

Tusa_HyperdryEvolutionIII_2023

MSRP $54

CONTACT tusa.com

MONICA MEDINA

This snorkel’s mask attachment is very secure, but it takes some doing to get in place as you’ll likely end up undoing the mask strap. However, once it is installed, users can quickly attach and detach the snorkel using the low-profile quick-release tab. It pivots slightly to provide a more comfortable angle while in use. Test divers scored the mouthpiece good for comfort and felt it was sized to suit a wide range of divers.

The mouthpiece is combined with a flexible corrugated tube for maximum comfort. Scored very good for ease of clearing, test divers reported that this snorkel “clears with minimal air and effort.” It also tied the top score for dryness in its category, inspiring test diver comments such as, “Very dry at surface. Submerged [it is] very slow to flood.” The Platina was a favorite of multiple test divers.

MONICA MEDINA

CHECKOUT DIVE

While not fully tested, we did have a chance to try this snorkel

XS SCUBA

Cargo

XSScuba_Flow_2023

MSRP $34.95

CONTACT xsscuba.com

MONICA MEDINA

Designed for easy stowage in a BC pocket, this soft silicone snorkel rolls up into a tight, compact package secured by the special customized mask attachment. The soft silicone construction is flexible enough to roll but retains its original shape when deployed. An integrated hood at the snorkel opening keeps splashes at bay.

The tiny low-profile mask attachment can be finicky to work when wearing gloves.However, it does feature a quick-disconnect for quick deployment in the field. The mouthpiece is on the small side, which makes sense given its pocket-friendly design. This flexy, compact J-shaped snorkel offers an effective solution for divers who don’t like to wear a snorkel, but prefer to keep one while diving, just in case.

AKONA

Jakarta

Akona_Jakarta_2023

MSRP $35

CONTACT akona.com

MONICA MEDINA

Featuring a classic J-shape design, this snorkel features an easy-to-use attachment and an elongated mouthpiece equipped with a purge valve. The tall, semi-rigid tube rides high out of the water and took the top score in its category for dryness. In the words of one test diver, the snorkel was a “pinch to clear.” Testersscored the Jakarta very good for ease of clearing.

The one-piece strap attachment is simple and easy to install. A special tab helps it open wide for easy strap insertion. “Fast and easy to attach,” is how one test diver described it. The snorkel is very comfortable and stable in the water.

The mouthpiece was scored good overall, but test divers were divided on whether it was too wide or too small. “Simple, but does everything you need it to,” is how one test diver summarized this open-top snorkel.

MONICA MEDINA

FOURTH ELEMENT

Float

FourthElement_Float_2023

MSRP $39.20

CONTACT fourthelement.com

MONICA MEDINA

This lightweight, low-profile snorkel is simple and effective. Test divers scored the wide semi-rigid J-style tube very good for air delivery. The simple elastic snorkel keeper requires more time and effort to install but is incredibly secure. The only way to accidentally lose the snorkel is if you rip the attachment apart. It scored fair for ease of operation. Test divers scored the snorkel good for dryness and ease of clearing.

The inflexible mouthpiece can pull at the corners of the mouth, and test divers weren’t fans of the small, squared-off bite tabs. Otherwise, the streamlined snorkel scored good for overall comfort and stability in the water. “Don’t even feel it,” and, “Like how small it is,” were typical test diver comments. The Float’s simplicity is its greatest asset, making it a good option for those looking for a bare-bones snorkel.

MONICA MEDINA

GULL

Super Bullet

Gull_CanalBullet_2023

MSRP $85

CONTACT gull.kinugawa-net.com

MONICA MEDINA

This snorkel has an extra-wide tube and an open top for easy, smooth inhalation. Testers noticed the effect, scorngit very good for air delivery and referring to the snorkel as an “easy breather.” The attachment uses a secure,ergonomic pinch-buckle release.

There are two purge valves and an angled, rotating mouthpiece. Not all our testers cared for the angle of attack, but the mouthpiece was described multiple times as “very comfy and smooth.” Testers also appreciated the included mouthpiece guard.

The big snorkel does feel bulkier overall, but its hydrodynamic shape reduces drag in the water, scoring good for overall comfort and stability. This snorkel provides a great option for those who prefer an easy-breathing, open-top snorkel but want the conveniences typically associated with semi-dry and dry snorkels.

MONICA MEDINA

TUSA

Reef Tourer

Tusa_Reef_2023

MSRP $20

CONTACT tusa.com

MONICA MEDINA

With very good scores almost across the board, this simple snorkel impressed test divers with its overall performance and comfort. Its soft, flexible construction allows it to fold for easy stowage in a BC pocket, making it an attractive option for a backup snorkel. The large attachment slides easily along the length of the snorkel and is “super easy to attach,” according to multiple test divers.

The mouthpiece can be rotated around the bore of the tube to fine-tune fit. It scored very good for comfort, but some testers felt it was a little small, especially the bite tabs. The snorkel scored very good for dryness and air delivery, and good for ease of clearing. Simple, effective and comfortable, this unassuming snorkel was a favorite of test divers, with great performance. The Reef Tourer is our Testers Choice for open-top snorkels.

MONICA MEDINA

XS SCUBA

Flo

XSScuba_Cargo_2023

MSRP $29.95

CONTACT xsscuba.com

MONICA MEDINA

This simple J-style snorkel features an easy-to-use mask attachment that has a tab to provide leverage when widening the opening to insert the mask strap. “Easy and secure,” was how one test diver described the installation process. Others agreed, scoring the attachment very good for security and ease of operation. The two-piece design has a bit of flexibility in the lower section, which reduces discomfort and pulling.

Test divers noted that the mouthpiece seemed a bit wide for smaller mouths, but otherwise scored it good for comfort. An open top with a smooth internal bore facilitates gas exchange and prevents residual water.

Test divers scored the Flo very good for both dryness and ease of clearing. They also appreciated its slim, lightweight design, which was stable and comfortable both in and out of the water.


MONICA MEDINA

Attachment Issues

Security of attachment and ease of operation are two seemingly conflicting sides of the same coin. However, these two traits aren’t as diametrically opposed as one might think.

MONICA MEDINA

The two-piece mask attachment that adorns the Hyper Dry Elite II is very secure—secure enough that most testers opted to remove the strap from the mask buckle during installation. Initial setup can be time-consuming, but once in place, the quick-disconnect allows the snorkel to be attached and unattached instantly.

MONICA MEDINA

The Canal Bullet uses a clever hinged clasp secured by a pinch-button release. Easy to clip on, the low-profile attachment surrounds the strap for maximum security and provides enough clearance that the diver can easily adjust the snorkel. The easy-to-reach pinch buckle can be accessed while wearing the mask, making it a snap to remove post-dive.