Top 5 Snorkeling Brands
Before heading out on a Key West snorkeling adventure, you’ll need to buy or rent some snorkeling equipment, including a good snorkel. There are many manufacturers and types of snorkels, and it’s important to choose the brand and fit that’s right for you. Following are some basics on snorkel types and five of the most popular snorkels.
There are many different types of snorkels, and all include a breathing tube and mouthpiece and are designed to clip onto the strap of your mask or goggles. The classic snorkel consists of a rigid tube and mouthpiece; these are usually cheapest but tend to be less comfortable. Open tube snorkels are the least expensive, but don’t keep water from splashing into the tube. A semi-dry snorkel will deflect splashed water, but will not shut it out completely if you dive underwater. Consequently, many snorkelers prefer the convenience of a dry snorkel, which has a flapper or float valve, or both, to completely seal out water. Some snorkels also have a purge valve to collect any water that gets into the snorkel.
Top manufacturer Oceanic puts out a super model called the Oceanic Ultra Dry, which also comes in a Mini version for kids and people with smaller mouths. Its unique dry valve is weighted and uses a silicone seal, which has several benefits over the traditional Styrofoam seals. Non-weighted valves can sometimes get sucked shut, closing off air intake, and the foam doesn’t last that long compared to silicone. The Ultra Dry also has an oversized purge valve, drop-away smooth bore mouthpiece and replaceable liquid silicone mouthpiece.
Diving product manufacturer Tusa puts out the Hyperdry MAX snorkel, often recommended for Key West snorkeling adventures. It features an extremely comfortable mouthpiece, water-ergonomic purge valve area and very-highly rated quick release and position adjustments. Two independent high-buoyancy floats give superior dryness. For a step up to a more streamlined version of this model, try the Hyperdry Elite Dry Top, designed to stay completely free of water.
Manufacturer of an extensive selection of diving equipment, Cressi’s Supernova Dry snorkel is a favorite among snorkeling fans. With a price on the lower end, the Supernova delivers features and performance as good as or better than many higher priced models. With a highly efficient purge valve, comfortable mouthpiece and quick release mechanism, the lightweight Supernova delivers dry breathing and easy water clearing.
For an amazing snorkel value, choose Aqua Lung’s Flex Impulse 2 snorkel. A snorkeler favorite for years, this model has a purge valve, flexible tubing and famously efficient upper valve system. With a streamlined ergonomic design, replaceable silicone mouthpiece and special two-way drain system, this snorkel delivers superior performance for a very reasonable price.
For a dry snorkel, one of the top contenders is the Aeris Cuda Dry 2 snorkel. Ultra-comfortable and resistant to flooding, this mid-range, lightweight snorkel has a good purge valve, nicely fitting mouthpiece and streamlined ergonomic design.