How to Find the Best Snorkel Sets – Editor’s Picks for 2019
If you haven’t tried to snorkel in the ocean, then you have missed out on one of the most amazing recreational activities there is. It’s one of those activities where you don’t have to be in perfect shape or in a specific age range to enjoy it.
Being able to view the world underwater is eye-opening. You can see the aquatic life that’s just breathtaking. Many people snorkel for the first time when they are on vacation. Great places to try are when you are in the Caribbean, California, or anywhere there’s clear water and underwater life!
If you want to snorkel regularly, there’s one drawback. That is that you, in that case, should get your snorkel gear. At a minimum, you should get a mask and snorkel and fins. For convenience, you should consider a full-face snorkel mask and snorkel fins which are shorter than scuba diving fins.
- 1 What are the benefits of snorkel packages vs. individual gear?
- 2 What Sets to look at?
- 2.1 Cressi Palau Snorkel Set – Best Overall
- 2.2 U.S. Divers Lux LX Purge Snorkeling Set – Best Set with Panoramic Mask
- 2.3 Innovative Scuba Concepts Reef Snorkel Set – Best Budget
- 2.4 Promate Snorkeling Gear Set – Best for beginners
- 2.5 SealBuddy Maui Panoramic Snorkel Set – Best Snorkel Gear For Travel
- 2.6 Phantom Aquatics Speed Sport Set – Best Mask
- 2.7 Seavenger Snorkel Set – Best For Children and Youths!
- 3 What to buy?
If you want to go out even more, then you can get even more gear. It can be of help to have a watertight container to have valuables with you instead of having to leave them behind on the beach. Should you like to go on long snorkeling excursions that might last a few hours, then it can be tremendously helpful to use a snorkel vest. It helps you to stay afloat effortlessly.
The choices for masks, snorkels, and fins alone can be overwhelming. You can find cheap items and costly ones, and it can be hard to figure out which one you require.
A word up front. The snorkel gear you can sometimes find in the seasonal section of your supermarket or drugstore is usually not worth the money. Even at those ultra-low prices you often won’t get anything that is useful or safe. However, that does not mean that you have to look at the most costly items to get a good set of gear for your snorkeling needs!
The gear shown in this guide concentrates of complete sets that you can purchase. These sets usually are an excellent choice for beginners and occasional snorkelers. If you gain experience and snorkel regularly, then you want to switch to get a full-face snorkel mask instead of the traditional goggles and snorkel. Combine this with a pair of snorkel fins and you end up with the best options for yourself. However, if you don’t have a lot of experience, then it’s easier to get a good-quality package until you get more acquainted with your requirements and needs with regards to the best gear for snorkeling.
If you want our take on the top snorkel sets then here’s a quick overview to pick the best set for your needs:
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- Dual Lens Mask
- Dry Snorkel with splashguard
- Compact fins for travel
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- Panoramic lenses
- GoPro adapter on snorkel
- Fins with Pivot system
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- Low Volume mask
- Semi Dry Snorkel
- Easy to adjust fins
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- Single Lens Mask
- Dry Top Snorkel
- Drag reducing fins
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- Wide view mask
- Dry Snorkel
- Short Fins
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- Best overall mask
- Semi Dry Top Snorkel
- Low Energy Fins
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- Wide view mask
- Dry Snorkel
- Short Fins
What are the benefits of snorkel packages vs. individual gear?
There are benefits and arguments for either snorkel sets or individual pieces. For enthusiasts that occasionally go snorkeling, like when on vacation, a set usually makes more sense.
The pieces in the set match and work perfectly together. If you have to pick a mask and snorkel yourself, then you might end up with gear that is not matching up that well. Many of the sets also include a pair of fins. The least you get are a snorkel and goggles.
Besides knowing that the items in a set fit together perfectly, there’s also another good reason to look at those sets. That reason is merely the lower cost compared to purchasing separate pieces of equipment.
The sets you can buy are typically cheaper compared to purchasing the goggles and snorkel separately. You might not get the top-of-the-line gear, but for beginners or occasional snorkelers, the equipment is plenty good. It’s an overall convenient and safe method to purchase your gear.
The higher quality sets you can buy will have gear that works with each other. The components will be selected to match similar skill levels and budget considerations. The downside can undoubtedly be that you get all gear from a single manufacturer. If you have more experience in equipment and snorkeling itself, you will realize that certain manufacturers have for example good fins but their snorkels are not the best.
As a beginner or when you’re only going to snorkel a few times a year, you won’t have to worry about this much. The gear you get through those sets is more than sufficient, and it is very cost-effective.
If you have some experience and know for example that you like to snorkel in areas with somewhat stronger currents, then get a set for the mask and snorkel. You are then free to pick a set of fins that are stiffer or even larger to help you to snorkel in stronger currents.
With more experience and the desire to use your gear more often, it typically turns out to be a better choice to purchase your equipment individually. The reason is that you can get gear that is better suited to your specific needs. Sets cater to the average male or female. If you are very tall, then you might require equipment that is built to fit large people and not average ones.
Without having a good idea what you want and need though it’s easier to go with a set and then, later on, replace specific items or all with individually purchase gear. Most people today will pick a full-face mask instead of traditional goggles and snorkel when they go snorkeling often. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t consider such a mask from the beginning!
When you start out, you will have no idea whether you would, for example, prefer a stiff vs. a soft fin. Gaining more experience will allow you to pinpoint the best gear for your style and at that point, it starts to make sense to purchase specific and individual pieces of equipment. Until you reach that point, it does make more sense to stick with the packages you can get. They will provide you with middle-of-the-road gear and you will advance to the point that you understand what kind of equipment you prefer.
One exception is if you are an experienced scuba diver. In that case, you might have a good idea what gear you want and should be able to purchase all items individually from the start.
What Sets to look at?
To make things easier for you we had a closer look at someof different sets that are excellent choices for different needs and reasons. Have a look at the various options below, and we’re sure you can find a pick that works for your needs!
Cressi Palau Snorkel Set – Best Overall
There’s not much that you wouldn’t like about the Cressi Palau snorkel set. It’s built from top-of-the-line material and the overall design is excellent.
The outstanding elements are that it provides a comfortable fit, has a flawless finish and it’s built tough, so you can be sure it’ll last a while. You can rest assured that this set will be yours to use for years to come if you take care of it.
The set consists of the goggles, snorkel, fins and a fitted nylon bag. The mask in the set is Cressi’s Onda mask. It’s an entry-level snorkel mask that is made from the highest quality material. It’s a proven mask that has been used for literally decades.
The mask consists of two tempered glass lenses. These are durable and safe to use. It’s not a mask that provides panoramic views, but the clear glass allows for excellent visibility underwater. The mask does not easily fog. Should you end up with fogging issues, then a quick spit into the mask will take care of that.
The lenses connect to a skirt that is made from soft silicone. This provides an excellent seal with your face while being comfortable to wear and durable. The silicone skirt is transparent which can let some more light into the mask.
The straps connect securely to the frame of the mask and provide comfortable and convenient adjustment possibilities. You will typically be able to get a tight and waterproof seal with pretty much any face shape and size.
On the side of the face strap is a clip to connect the Cressi Supernova snorkel to the mask. The snorkel is a dry snorkel and is easily the best part of this set. Cressi has it down when it comes to dry snorkels. On average they are drier than other snorkels from other brands. This is a great benefit when you’re snorkeling in rough waters as you get way less water into your snorkel and eventually your mouth.
The snorkel can be attached to either the left or the right side of the mask. The mouth-piece is sturdy and comfortable to use even when you snorkel for extended periods of time. The size and material are unobtrusive in your mouth and won’t cause jaw fatigue for a long time.
There’s a small purge valve on the bottom of the snorkel. You can clear out any water in the snorkel by using the valve. The top of the snorkel consists of Cressi’s splash guard and the mechanism to make this a dry snorkel. This dry valve mechanism prevents water from entering the snorkel and makes it a lot more fun to snorkel in the waves.
The fins in the set are what give the package the name. They are Palau fins and you can either get them in short or long. Typically, for snorkeling, you will prefer the short fins. They provide plenty of propulsion for snorkeling and are easy to transport.
No matter whether you go for short or long fins, you get open-heeled fins. These are typically preferred as they provide a better fit and more adjustment capabilities. The Palau fins offer a great balance between rigidity and flexibility and are comfortable to wear.
The fins are comfortable to wear. The foot pocket is made from soft rubber so you can wear the fins with thin booties or barefoot for hours without rubbing or chafing. The straps on the fins allow for proper adjustment and a tight fit.
The straps are also where some snorkelers have a problem with the fins. The heel strap is functional, but on some higher end fins, you find better mechanisms that last a lot longer. Such straps have loops that allow to pull them even when you just used sunscreen and your fingers are slippery. The Palau fins don’t have these and you better have non-slippery fingers when you try to tighten them.
The last piece of equipment in this set is the bag. And that’s probably where the most criticism comes from our side. While the bag itself is sturdy and has a shoulder strap that makes it easy to carry, it’s not made from mesh which would allow you to rinse out the gear while it’s in the bag.
There’s a drain opening at the bottom of the bag which is sufficiently large to let water out. A mesh bag would be nice as you could also rinse the whole set after use.
Anyhow, the bag has its good sides also. It’s a perfect fit for the gear in the set. You can even squeeze a few other essentials like sunscreen or even a camera into the bag for easy transport. The sturdy build of the bag does allow for an excellent way to use it for travel.
Overall, the combination of the pieces and the quality they are built to make this a great set. It’s our choice for the best overall snorkel set.
U.S. Divers Lux LX Purge Snorkeling Set – Best Set with Panoramic Mask
Another option that we think is an excellent choice is the U.S. Divers Lux LX Purge snorkeling kit. A significant difference to the Cressi Palau set is that the mask has a panoramic lens which allows having better visibility to the sides.
This can be comforting for some and reduce anxiety. It can be a little claustrophobic to some snorkeling beginners to have a mask that is dark all around. A panoramic mask that offers more visibility towards the sides can be helpful in preventing that feeling.
The panoramic glass does for snorkeling also have a downside. As there’s so much more light being able to get into the mask, the glare of the sun can be somewhat disturbing. Having a black skirt around the mask can help as it does reduce some of the glare.
The mask in the Lux LX set has four glass panes. They all consist of tempered glass. The seams at the junction of the angled windows on the side to the lens you’re looking through straight through are non-obtrusive when you look out through the sides.
The Lux LX mask has a low profile which helps when you want to dive down to look at something a few feet underwater. The lower the profile, the less air is trapped in the mask, and that means that it’s easier to dive down.
The skirt around the mask is available in black or in semi-transparent. If you go snorkeling in very sunny regions, then it might be better to have the type with the black skirt to reduce glare. The skirt is made from hypoallergenic silicone and provides a tight and waterproof seal with your face while making it comfortable to wear the mask for extended times. Additionally, the mask has a purge valve at the bottom to let you get water out of the mask if any enters.
The straps easily adjust even if you use only one hand. They are made from silicone and they connect to the mask on the skirt and not the frame. The adjustments are made through a locking mechanism with a push-button release. It can be somewhat less reliable to have the straps connect to the skirt, but the advantage is that the mask is more comfortable to wear.
The snorkel in the set is designed to provide the highest airflow possible. It does beat the Cressi Supernova in that. It also has a great option to come with a GoPro mount. This way you can mount your GoPro camera to the snorkel to make videos of your underwater views. The mount is on the base of the snorkel, so it is not in your way and does not produce any drag in the water. All you have to do is to switch the camera into the mode where it switches the video on its head to make videos.
The dry valve on the top of the snorkel is overall good but does not work as well as Cressi’s version. Its rare that water will get into the snorkel, but it can in rare instances happen that you want to breathe in but the dry valve keeps the snorkel sealed and you won’t get air. A quick blow out will resolve the issue, but it can be annoying when it happens.
The fins that are included in the set provide good propulsion. The pivot system needs a little getting used to. They are not as rigid and stable as Cressi’s. They are overall great fins but not quite up to the Palau fins.
The foot pockets are comfortable and don’t rub. The straps work great and have rings at the end which makes it easy to adjust them even with sunscreen greased fingers.
The bag that comes with the Lux LX set has a single strap so you can carry it over your shoulder. It’s made from durable nylon and has various compartments. There’s a section that is designed for your wet gear and it features a mesh bottom so you can rinse your equipment out through the bag. Besides, there’s also a dry compartment to store keys, camera, sunscreen, etc. In our opinion, the bag is better than Cressi’s. It allows for rinsing your gear which is a significant advantage.
Innovative Scuba Concepts Reef Snorkel Set – Best Budget
Looking at sets that are cheap you’ll quickly find that there’s not many that offer good quality. In our opinion, the best budget snorkel set you can get is the Innovative Scuba Concepts Reef package.
The set contains all the same items you get with the more expensive choices above. You get the goggles, a snorkel, fins and a bag. It’s just that each of these pieces is a tad bit worse with regards to quality. That doesn’t mean they are bad quality at all though!
The mask in the set is a solid snorkel mask. It has a black skirt (if you pick the black colored set) or comes with a semi-transparent skirt if you choose any of the other two colors.
It has two tempered glass lenses that keep you secure behind the glass. The skirt is soft silicone and it’s comfortable against the face. The seal is tight and you won’t run the risk of the mask leaking easily.
The straps connect to the lens frame and are easy to adjust. There are no uncomfortable pressure points on your face from the mask.
The mask is easy to adjust, but you do need two hands for any adjustments. You also won’t get a purge valve with goggles in that price range, but that is nothing you should be surprised about.
The snorkel allows to get lots of air through, and it sits comfortably. It is a semi-dry snorkel which means that it has a splash guard on the end. Water will come into the snorkel and you will have to blow it out before taking a deep breath of air.
Additionally, there’s a purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel that does its job to allow you to get water out. The clip to connect the snorkel to the mask is sturdy and won’t break easily.
The fins are pretty short yet sufficient to propel you through the water when you snorkel. The short size makes it easy to travel with them.
The fins are comfortable to wear and they do their job. Nothing special about them to say except maybe that the foot pocket is a little wide. You might slip around inside the pocket and that can lead to them being uncomfortable after a while. In that case, consider wearing booties to reduce the slipping.
The straps have finger loops, so it’s easy to adjust them even when you have sunscreen on your fingers. The rings are large enough to get a finger in so you can customize with the use of a single finger.
The bag coming with this set is a mesh bag. It’s a straightforward bag that has a drawstring to close the bag. You put your gear in and you can rinse it right in the bag. On the flipside, there’s not much space to put anything else into the bag.
This set comes with some essential pieces of gear. They do their job, but if you go snorkeling regularly or want equipment to last for a long time then you’re better off with the Cressi set above!
Promate Snorkeling Gear Set – Best for beginners
The snorkel set from Promate comes with a single lens mask, a dry snorkel, standard length fins and a mesh bag. It’s affordable and everything is straightforward to use which is why in our opinion it’s an excellent set for novice snorkelers.
The set comes in various colors and sizes. Depending on the color the skirt around the lens is either black or semi-transparent. The lens is a single piece which makes it somewhat more comfortable for beginners as there’s glass between the eyes. The field of view feels larger when you look to the left or right.
The skirt is made from good quality silicone and provides a tight seal between the mask and your face. The straps on the mask are easy to adjust. They connect to the frame which provides a robust construction that will last a long time.
The snorkel coming with this set is a dry snorkel. It has a splash guard and the dry valve on top and does a reasonably good job to keep the water out of the snorkel. In our opinion, it’s not as good as the Cressi snorkel, but it does keep most water out.
The fins are standard length fins that you’d also use for scuba diving. They are not as easy to travel with as the shorter fins on some of the previous sets. You typically also will not need the added propulsion capacity from such long fins when you only go snorkeling.
The adjustment strap on the fins has a robust buckle system to keep the strap in place. The strap ends also have a ring to fit a finger through providing a good grip even with sunscreen on your fingers.
The bag coming with the set is a simple mesh bag with a drawstring to close it. The good thing is that you can rinse your gear while it’s in the bag. The downside is that there’s no additional storage in the bag that would be waterproof.
One thing we didn’t like very much is the sizing of the set. You can only get two sizes which seems insufficient for many folks that don’t know whether they are S/M or M/L/XL. It would be good to get some better ideas on sizing to pick the right one.
SealBuddy Maui Panoramic Snorkel Set – Best Snorkel Gear For Travel
The SealBuddy Maui snorkel set combines a panoramic mask with a dry top snorkel, short fins and a bag. This combination makes it in our opinion an excellent set for traveling.
The set comes in many different colors which then makes it easy to identify who has which mask, snorkel and fins if you and your partner have different colors. The skirt around the mask is either semi-transparent for most colors or black for the black set.
The mask has a panoramic lens which provides excellent visibility underwater. You will have no trouble seeing aquatic life out of the sides which offers a magnificent view when you’re snorkeling.
The goggles are well made and sturdy. The skirt is made from hypoallergenic silicone and provides a good seal with your skin to prevent any water from entering while you’re underwater.
The straps on the mask attach to the frame and are easy to adjust. You shouldn’t have an issue fitting the goggles to a large variety of facial shapes.
The snorkel in this set is a dry top snorkel. It has a valve to keep water out when it is submerged. The valve works reasonably well to keep the water out. You will not stay as dry as with some of the higher end sets, but it does overall a decent job.
The mouthpiece is also made from hypoallergenic silicone and is comfortable to have in your mouth. You do have to bite down on it so you will have to expect some jaw fatigue during long snorkeling excursions.
The fins are short and provide proper handling and reasonable propulsion in the water. They are specially made to reduce the amount of energy that is needed when you kick while snorkeling.
The open heel fins are easy to adjust. Unfortunately, they do not have a ring at each end that allows to securely pull the strap tight even with sunscreen greased fingers and hands. You will have to dry your hands before trying to pull the strap tight.
The foot pocket is reasonably comfortable, but with really large feet you might run into some issues. The toe box is also not as wide as in other fins which can make it less comfortable to wear when you have wide feet.
The bag that comes with this set is excellent. It has mesh openings so your gear can dry when it’s wet. The mesh is even large enough that you can rinse the equipment while it’s in the bag.
Compared to other mesh bags this one provides structure. This is a great benefit when you want to use this set for travel as you can place the gear into the bag and it keeps it all in place. There are even additional compartments to store other small accessories and things like keys or wallet.
Phantom Aquatics Speed Sport Set – Best Mask
The Phantom Aquatics Speed Sport is another excellent snorkel set. The set consists of the goggles, dry snorkel, fins and a mesh bag.
To come right to the point, the best part by far about this set is the mask. Of all the sets, this probably is the best set of snorkel goggles that you can find if you’re looking for the traditional style.
The set comes in different colors and depending on your choice you either get a black or a semi-transparent skirt. The skirt is made with liquid silicone which is super comfortable against the skin and produces a tight seal.
The straps connect to the frame of the mask. The connection is to the top and bottom of the frame which makes an even distribution of the strap pulling the goggles against your face. This produces an even seal and is comfortable to wear as you won’t have pressure points against your skin.
Another great benefit of this mask is that has a very low volume that is trapped behind the tempered glass lenses. If you decide to dive down a few feet, then it’s easier to do that with less air being trapped inside the mask.
The snorkel in this set is a semi-dry variant. It’s not completely dry and if you submerge underwater with the snorkel, then you will have to expect water to come into the snorkel. It’s easy to blow out when you breathe out, but it can still be a surprise when you suddenly have water coming down the tube.
The fins are rather short which makes the set overall an excellent choice for traveling. They have an open heel and also an open toe pocket.
The strap on the fins is easy to adjust. We do miss a ring though to pull the strap tight securely with a finger without the risk of slipping off. There’s a variety of sizes to choose from, so you’ll be able to find a pair that fits your feet perfectly.
The bag coming with the set is a simple drawstring mesh bag. The benefit is that you can rinse the whole set while it is in the bag. The water will run off and the gear will dry.
The mask is the best part of this set. It’s solidly built and will last you a long time. If you snorkel regularly, then you might miss a dry snorkel and fins that are adjustable with a single finger.
Seavenger Snorkel Set – Best For Children and Youths!
No matter what size you need, the Seavenger snorkel set has the right size for you. That is precisely true when you’re looking for a set for your kids. The XS/XXS version is specially made to fit children which makes it our top pick as the snorkel set for kids!
The set contains a single lens mask, dry top snorkel, short snorkel fins and a mesh bag. There’s also another set by Seavenger, the Voyager set which is pretty much the same but it comes with a sturdy bag that also offers space for additional accessories.
The set is available in a broad range of different colors. Depending on which color combination you pick the skirt of the mask is either black or semi-transparent.
The lens in the mask is a single piece of tempered glass. This makes it a safe choice for you or your children as the glass won’t break easily and also won’t splinter if it breaks. Having a single lens can be helpful for children as they feel like there’s more space in the mask.
The straps connect to the frame and are easy to adjust. The skirt is made from soft silicone and is comfortable to wear.
The snorkel in the set is a dry top snorkel. It works pretty well to keep water out when you are snorkeling. If you dive down with it, you might end up with a few drops of water in the snorkel but nothing that would be a problem.
The fins are typical snorkel fins as they are short. They are designed to let you snorkel for extended periods without the risk of leg cramps from the continuous kicking.
The propulsion produced by them is indeed enough for a relaxing snorkel trip in reasonably calm waters. In stronger currents, you will end up working harder to get going.
The bag in this set is a mesh back with a top drawstring. It fits all of the components of this set but doesn’t have space for much else. The great thing about it being a mesh bag is that you can rinse the gear while it’s in the bag and leave it in there to let it dry.
Based on the different sizing and color options, this is our top pick for a snorkel set for children and youths!
What to buy?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to snorkel sets. The Cressi Palau set is probably the overall best set in our opinion. Depending on your specific needs you might have a set that fits your needs better.
We’d love to hear your experiences with any of the above-listed sets or any set you use that we haven’t looked at. Please leave a comment below and let us and your fellow readers know what your thoughts are!