The 7 Best Snorkel Masks For Your Next Underwater Adventure

When you think of snorkeling, you might assume it’s an activity that’s only done around coral reefs or in the sparkling waters of the Caribbean. And while saltwater offers plenty of opportunity for underwater adventures, snorkeling is something you can do in the ocean, a lake, or even a swimming pool.

Unlike its more specialized cousin—scuba diving—snorkeling requires minimal equipment and no technical training. (However, it’s important that you know how to swim.) When snorkeling, you swim face-down along the surface of the water. A mask and snorkel enable you to see what’s underwater while still being able to comfortably breathe.

The only gear you really need is a mask and a snorkel. Though if you want to swim faster and more easily, fins are worth considering too.


Here’s a quick rundown of what you need before heading to the water.

Mask and snorkel: Often sold in a set, the standard snorkel mask is made to cover the upper part of the face including eyes and nose. (Although full-face snorkel masks are becoming more popular.) The best masks are made with anti-fog glass and a plastic or rubber frame that should fit snugly against the face. Masks usually have a loop to attach the snorkel, a long, flexible tube that allows you to breathe fresh air through your mouth.

Fins: Fins aren’t absolutely necessary but they tend to make snorkeling a lot more fun because you can swim faster and farther when you wear them.

Wetsuit: If you’re swimming in fairly warm water on a hot day, you won’t need a wetsuit. It’s nice to have, however, when the water temp is cool or it’s not a hot, sunny day.

How to Snorkel

1. Choose equipment that fits and test it before you head far from shore. Snorkel masks come in different sizes so make sure the one you purchase fits your face. To test this, press the snorkel against your face and breathe in. If it’s the correct fit, the mask will suction to your face and create a seal. (Don’t worry, it’ll still be easy to remove the mask.) The mask strap should stretch over the back of your head at the widest part.

2. Before you enter the water, practice. Put your mask on and place the snorkel’s mouthpiece in your mouth. Practice breathing a few times so you get used to it. Breathing only through your mouth might seem strange at first.

3. Start in shallow water where you can float comfortably. (Wearing a life jacket can help you float on the surface.) Put your face in the water and practice breathing and floating while wearing your mask and snorkel. If water gets in the snorkel, simply surface. Or, you can also usually clear the water with one big exhale. There are also snorkels that come a splash guard that will prevent water from getting in.

4. Explore! Once you’re used to breathing underwater and floating, start to swim and explore.

7 Best Snorkeling Masks

Whether you’re looking for a traditional mask, full-face snorkel mask, or one made just for kids, we’ve got you covered:

Classic Masks

Full-Face Masks

Snorkel Masks for Kids