Snorkel Anatomy: How to Choose a Snorkel Based on Design

Snorkel Anatomy: How to Choose a Snorkel Based on Design

Snorkel Anatomy: How to Choose a Snorkel Based on Design 

Ever wondered what you should be looking out for when choosing a snorkel? And want to find out more about them so that it helps you to find the right snorkel for your snorkelling needs?

Now it’s time to become a snorkel pro because by the end of this blog you’ll discover the different parts of a snorkel and what you should look out for so that it helps you to find the right snorkel for your diving, snorkelling or freediving needs. 

Basic Features of The Snorkel

  • Comfortable mouthpiece. When choosing a snorkel, you should find a mouthpiece that fits you – not too small or big. Too big and it can become uncomfortable, too small and you could breathe water in. 
  • A plastic tube with the proper diameter, length and shape to extend above your head and with smooth, rounded bends to avoid breathing resistance.
  • Attachment system to your mask strap that’s adjustable for comfort.

Snorkel Anatomy - Mike's Dive Store

Purge Valve 

Many snorkels now have purge valves at the bottom that consist of a one-way valve that pushes water inside the snorkel out every time you breathe out. This way even if a small amount of water gets inside the snorkel it is trapped away from your airway so you can still breathe past it. Then every time you breathe out, it pushes any water collected out the bottom instead of having to push it out of the top of the snorkel.

Snorkel Anatomy - Mike's Dive Store

Splash Guards and Dry Valves

At the top of the snorkel, you will find either a splash guard or dry valve. A splash guard simply deflects splashing waves or water from entering the airway the best it can but the snorkel will still fill up if submerged or a big enough wave splashes over. A dry valve will have a small float at the top on a hinge that will block the top of the snorkel if submerged. These help by closing the top of the snorkel if any wave comes close and works well. Gravity or a little puff of air will open the valve again and no water is in your snorkel.

Dry valves are great for beginner snorkelers who don’t want to worry about water coming into their snorkel during choppy conditions and when duck diving. 

Snorkel Anatomy - Mike's Dive Store

How to Choose The Right Snorkel For You

When choosing a snorkel, it really comes down to how confident you are when using a snorkel, the types of ocean adventures that you want to do and the level of exertion required for your activities.

Here are some features that you may want to consider when choosing a snorkel: 

  • Self-draining (purge) valve below the mouthpiece that assists in clearing water from the snorkel.
  • Flexible corrugated bottom portion or a swivel that allows the snorkel mouthpiece to swing out of your way when using a scuba regulator.
  • Water-blocking devices that close off the snorkel when you dive down (dry valves and splash guards).
  • Folding or collapsing snorkels become compact enough to fit in your BCD or wetsuit pocket.
  • A quick-connect attachment to attach and detach your snorkel from your mask strap.

So, how can you find the perfect snorkel for you? Here are a few of our top tips: 

  1. Start by placing the snorkel in your mouth with the snorkel barrel against your left ear.
  2. Evaluate how the mouthpiece feels – comfortable bite with relaxed jaw, lips seal against it without effort. If it's rubbing, move on to the next design. 
  3. Attach the snorkel to your mask. Put the mask on and then try the snorkel in your mouth. Adjust the snorkel angle and attachment as necessary for a comfortable fit.
  4. Try several snorkels and make the final decision based on colour, optional features and personal preference. Remember that fit and comfort are most important.

We’re Here to Help

If you have any questions about snorkels or their features, please email us at where we have a team of snorkelling professionals here to help you with any questions that you may have. Or if you live locally or in the surrounding areas of London, pop in and come visit us in-store where you can try out different snorkels for yourself and get a feel to find the snorkel that you’re looking for.