For initiates into the world of snorkeling, you might be surprised to discover the origins of the modern hobby. In previous decades, devices known as dry snorkels were often directly attached to bulky masks. These rudimentary devices, while crude, provided novice snorkelers with a great sense of confidence when submerged.
Modern incarnations of these devices are, in most cases, not attached to a mask unit itself. They are the most predominant piece of snorkeling technology in the world today, used in virtually all countries and cultures.
Rather than providing a basic seal with something like a ping pong ball, like mechanisms I’ve seen in retro snorkeling devices, 21st-century dry snorkeling units automatically seal the breathing tube once the user is submerged, which prevents water from entering the tubing.
Learn more about the best dry snorkels available on the market today in this buyer’s guide below!
My First Time Using A Dry Top Snorkel
I still vividly remember the first time I actually gave snorkeling a chance. Ever since that fateful day, I’ve become something of a snorkeling fanatic! As can be told by this website, I’ve snorkeled all over the world, and I can now call myself an expert on the hobby (I’d like to think!) From Cancun to the eastern coast of Australia, I’ve been all over the place on my quest to find the best snorkeling spots on the planet.
The first time I used modern dry snorkel gear, I was blown away by the confidence it provided me underwater. Growing up as a kid, I only used the cheap, unsealed snorkel pipes found in cheap snorkel kits at toy stores, and I had no idea that dry varieties even existed. Naturally, I was blown away by some of the modern offerings out there.
I’ve helped everyone from the elderly to the very young enjoy snorkeling as a hobby, and your typical dry snorkel set is by far the most popular item I’ve seen people carrying to snorkeling classes and tours.
The Key Differences Between Dry Snorkel Sets & Regular Snorkels
It’s important to make a distinction between the two primary types of snorkels on the market. Conventional snorkels are unsealed, allowing water to enter the pipe, which doesn’t prevent the swimmer from getting a surprise in the form of a mouthful of water if they draw a breath in when submerged.
Dry variants, on the other hand, are secured by a floating seal which prevents water from entering the pipe while the swimmer is submerged. While you can expect these sealed snorkels to be a little more expensive than conventional units, the price difference is negligible at best.
For safety and maximum enjoyment, we recommend dry snorkel gear over conventional snorkel gear. Kids, the elderly, and inexperienced snorkelers may also benefit from using dry varieties exclusively, since there is no risk that water will be swallowed through the sealed pipe.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, the first kits featured incredibly rudimentary technology and contained something akin to a ping pong ball. Modern kits work similarly but are constructed with hybridized materials and work more consistently (in varying conditions) than the original designs they were based on from earlier in the 20th century.
Generally speaking, the more money you’re willing to shell out, the better features you’ll get; this is not always the case, as some low and mid-range models provide robust features without costing an arm and a leg.
Below, I provide an overview of some of the best kits and individual snorkels I’ve found on the market.
- Inexpensive & super high quality
- Quick release clip
- Suitable for beginners and intermediate snorkelers
As one of the most frequently-purchased snorkels on Amazon, the Supernova deserves a mention. I had an opportunity to try it out during one of my snorkeling trips out to Mexico, and I was impressed. It is one of the most inexpensive quality snorkel options. With a purge valve and completely dry top, it is one of the best entry-level snorkel devices on the market.
Constructed of 100% silicone, the build quality was superb for the price. I still have this one in my collection of snorkels, even though it isn’t the one I use primarily.
I readily recommend this snorkel for beginners and intermediate snorkelers who want a great snorkel that doesn’t break the bank. You won’t have to shell out more than 30 USD for this snorkel on Amazon, and it frequently goes on sale. Perhaps the only downside to the snorkel I could find was mild jaw fatigue after a few hours of continuous use. Frequent breaks should prevent jaw fatigue with the Cressi Supernova.
The quick release clip makes it easy to attach and detach the Supernova from your mask. New snorkelers should be conscious of the fact that it is possible for the float to become stuck if you continually suck in air while you’re below the waves; in this case, stop sucking until airflow returns.
This is an easy snorkel to use, it is inexpensive, and has quality parts for the low price you pay. I’d say it is a good investment for any first-timers or people who want a great deal.
- Entry to intermediate level snorkel
- Great choice for kids
- Great price point
With a similar price point and host of features to the Cressi Supernova, the Phantom Aquatics snorkel is another popular choice for an entry to intermediate level snorkel. Compared to the Supernova, I had an easier time purging the tube of excess water. One problem I did have was that the lower part of the snorkel was a little bit too flexible, which took some getting used to.
Since I am more experienced with similar models that use firmer materials, I had to get used to the high level of flexion provided by this model in particular.
I took it on one of my diving trips to Florida for my son to try, and he loved it. This is a great one for kids and those who are brand new to the world of snorkeling, as it is intuitive to use and provides excellent airflow, blocking all water from coming in with a well-made seal.
My son, who obviously doesn’t have as much experience as I do when it comes to snorkeling, noticed no water leaking into his mouth while he snorkeled, and he’s had problems with some of the other models I tested for the site.
Overall, this is one of the better options I’ve seen. At a slightly lower price point than the Cressi Supernova with virtually identical features, give this model some serious consideration if you’re buying your first snorkel. It will serve you well in a wide variety of different situations.
Cressi Snorkeling Mask & Snorkel Set
- Rounded low profile tip
- Mind blowing 180 Degree field of view
- Comfortable mouthpiece
Cressi offers buyers a bundled freediving mask and snorkel set at a great price point. The value here is excellent, and it frequently goes on sale on Amazon for the same price as an individual snorkel model. I cannot emphasize how amazing the visibility is with this mask. The shape of the lens provides an excellent field of view, which allows for full enjoyment of underwater scenes.
Out of all of the snorkeling goggles I’ve had the chance to dry, this still remains one of my favorite models, especially at this incredibly low price. It is lightweight and is constructed with the latest hybrid materials.
This dry snorkel set is advisable for beginners all the way up to expert snorkelers. If you manage to get it during a sale on Amazon, you’ll end up benefitting from massive savings. The only negative thing I have to say about this kit is that the mask has the tendency to fog up in some situations.
An easy, at-home fix for this problem is to use baby shampoo. Before you dive, wash the mask out thoroughly with baby shampoo, and this should provide you with three or four hours of free diving without fog. Even when you consider this one minor design setback, the Cressi Scuba set is an excellent value and will be perfect for most divers.
I still use this one to this day, even though I have far more expensive models in my collection. Similarly-priced masks can be quite cumbersome, but this one is very sleek. Great value and awesome features.
Phantom Aquatics Signature Mask & Snorkel Set
- Rounded low profile tip
- Mind blowing 180 Degree field of view
- Comfortable mouthpiece
The Phantom Aquatics Signature Mask Dry Snorkel Set is comparable to the Cressi Scuba Diving Snorkeling Freediving Mask Snorkel Set in features offered, but it slightly less expensive. The fact that it provides similar features for a lower price may entice some snorkelers into purchasing it.
As always, I gave the Phantom Aquatics set my usual rugged test, and no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to get water to bleed into the mask or snorkel. If it passes my test, it will most certainly work for you in almost any snorkel or free diving situation.
With “high-grade silicone” materials comprising the mask, water doesn’t leak into the mask, unless you were to take it off underwater. The dual lens provides superior underwater visibility with an uncompromising near-180 degree of view. The rounded-out, low-profile tip of the snorkel doesn’t get caught on the mask and provides an excellent seal against the waves.
One thing in particular that I liked about the Phantom Aquatics snorkel in this kit is that the mouthpiece was exceptionally comfortable compared to other snorkels in this class. The purge valve worked effectively and without issue, and the mask and snorkel didn’t give me any mouth or jaw fatigue, tension headaches, or general discomfort after four to five hours of continuous use.
I’d venture to say that I enjoyed this kit a little more than the Cressi offering, although the Cressi goggles were still a bit more comfortable with their lightweight construction.
Aqua Lung Snorkel
- Beginner piece of gear
- Great price point
- Perfect for light use on holidays
The Aqua Lung is less expensive than any of the other offerings listed in this article and provides good value for the amount of money you pay. While it doesn’t feel as comfortable as some of the others, and it may not be as visually appealing, beginners will get a lot of use out of it.
I wouldn’t recommend this snorkel for intermediate to expert divers (when there are so many other models out there that provide a little bit more for more money), but anyone doing light snorkeling activities can save money by opting for this model. It’s hard to argue with the price, and after testing it out pretty thoroughly underwater, it worked very efficiently for me.
This isn’t the Cadillac of snorkels, but it should get excellent mileage. I’ve kept it in my collection as a backup snorkel just in case any of my friends or family members come along on a snorkeling trip and didn’t bring their own.
I did notice some light mouth fatigue after using it for around three or four hours, but this was remedied by taking a break in between diving sessions. For the price, it is hard to argue with the Aqua Lung snorkel, which is less expensive than similar offerings and provides around the same number of features.
With many positive reviews on Amazon and other websites, the masses seem to agree that the Aqua Lung is both appealing and cost-effective. If you’re snorkeling for the first time, it is hard to pass this one up as an impulse buy.
Did Any Of These Dry snorkel Reviews Help You Out?
I hope this buying guide provided you with a diverse array of different snorkels for divers and snorkelers of all levels of expertise.
In my experience, these dry snorkels and snorkeling kits provided the best value and all of them contributed to a quality snorkeling experience under the water.