Snorkeling is an incredibly easy way to experience all sorts of the magic of the undersea world from sea turtles to coral to dolphins to tropical fish to whale sharks — the list goes on and on. The experiences someone can have snorkeling and interacting with nature in such a unique way really are truly priceless.
However, the same doesn’t go for snorkel masks and equipment — those things definitely do have prices. If you’re here, you’re probably wondering what exactly that means. The good news is that, as far as water sports go, snorkeling is very much a relatively cheap way to get in the water and only a fraction of the cost of something like scuba diving.
So, let’s get to answering the question at hand: how much do snorkel masks (and other essential gear) cost?
|Snorkel Mask/Gear Type||Average Cost|
|Basic Snorkel Mask||$20-40|
|Intermediate Snorkel Mask||$40-110|
|Advanced Snorkel Mask||$110-200|
|Full-Face Snorkel Mask||$50-175|
|Snorkel Set (Mask + Tube)||$50-150|
The table above shows that, like with most sports, there’s a spectrum of price ranges depending on your needs and desired level of performance. Amazingly, you can get started snorkeling for as little as $20. But, is spending so little on something like snorkel gear safe or a good idea? You can also easily spend $200 on a high-end snorkel mask. Is something like that worth the money?
Let’s look at your options and let me provide examples and recommendations along the way.
How Much Do Snorkel Masks Cost?
There are two main types of snorkel masks: traditional snorkel masks, which cover your eyes and nose and which rely on a separate snorkel tube to let you breathe through your mouth to the surface, and full-face snorkel masks which cover your entire face and have an integrated snorkel valve built into the top for breathing.
Full-face snorkel masks are more uniform in form and function (but there is huge importance in which manufacturer you choose, which we’ll get into below), but there are more differences in terms of features, materials, etc. for traditional snorkel masks that make up more basic masks, intermediate masks, and advanced snorkel masks.
(For more information on how traditional and full-face snorkel masks compare, check out Full-Face vs. Traditional Snorkel Masks: Which is Best? 6 Important Differences.)
Let’s take a look at each one.
Basic Snorkel Mask Prices
Basic snorkel masks are going to be your no-frills, entry-level mask whose sole aim is really just to keep water out of your eyes and nose. They’ll be made of pretty basic materials (likely a plastic lens instead of tempered glass, and a basic-grade silicone throughout the edge skirt) and probably aren’t going to stand up to a lot of use over the years.
Though, while basic masks pretty well constitute the bare minimum when it comes to snorkel masks, they do still have their place while falling in a pretty typical price range of $20-40.
If you’re planning on snorkeling regularly or if you want to be able to dive underwater or want to snorkel in more advanced conditions, it’s well worth spending a few extra bucks to upgrade to an intermediate snorkel mask in the name of safety, comfort and performance.
But, if you only plan on snorkeling maybe a couple of times a year in shallow-water situations (like just hopping in the water from the beach and swimming around a bit to see what’s there), a basic snorkel mask may well be your best value since higher-performance (and higher-cost) options like tempered-glass lenses or purge valves (through which you can blow out any water that happens to leak into your mask) may not have high-value use for you.
If a basic snorkel mask sounds like something that would work for your plans, our recommendation would be the Cressi F1 (on Amazon). Despite falling squarely in the basic category, it does actually give you a nice upgrade to tempered glass for the lens, it’s strap is super solid and reliable (really helpful for newer snorkelers), and it performs well for those who are using it for the type of simple snorkeling scenarios we just mentioned.
The F1 is from a respected Italian snorkel manufacturer, Cressi, so you don’t have to wonder about questionable manufacturing. And, at about $30, it’s a great buy if it will let you get your feet wet (ahem) with snorkeling on your next vacation.
Intermediate Snorkel Mask Prices
If you plan on snorkeling more than couple of times a year or want to venture out further from the shore, we would definitely recommend at least an intermediate-level snorkel mask. The primary reason for that is safety since these masks will perform noticeably better in terms of keeping water out of your mask, reliably holding your adjustment on your head strap, giving you a better field of view, and other things that you just don’t want to have to think about while you’re gliding through the ocean.
At the intermediate level, you should definitely expect the mask lens to be made of tempered glass (safer, more durable and scratch-resistant), and you’ll start to see better and lighter designs, good frameless options (which instead of being built on a rigid frame are instead built on flexible silicone, which really helps to create a water-tight mask seal and increase comfort), purge valves, and better components in the straps and edge skirts.
Your exact choice of mask at this level will depend a bit on your choice of which options are most important to you (it’s tough to get everything until you go to the more advanced masks). But, really, it’s often tough to go wrong with a mask at this level.
If you can find a mask that meets your requirements (say, a frameless design for a better seal with a really good purge valve) that has good ratings from other reviewers, it’s OK to feel pretty comfortable buying it. This isn’t going to be a pro-level mask that needs rigorous expert review from brutal conditions, so with good references from other enthusiasts that the mask does what it’s supposed to do, you’re more than likely going to have a good time.
Prices can vary a bit in the intermediate category. For example, the SEAC Fox mask which has the expected tempered glass lenses and a quality integrated frame goes for about $44, while the SEAC Sub Touch mask (a step up over the Fox) with a unified lens and a frameless design prices out at about $80. Neither is entirely bank-breaking for a solid snorkel mask, and if you see yourself snorkeling more often and more adventurously, the upgrade into intermediate masks will definitely be worthwhile. So, it’s going to largely come down to preference and intention.
Our recommended go-to intermediate mask is the SCUBAPRO Solo (on Amazon), though. It’s our favorite because of the generous features with a huge unified lens (which can let you see a lot more around you), a double silicone skirt, and a sleek low-volume design.
And, SCUBAPRO gear has proven to be really dang durable. It’s been really water tight for me (which is probably number one on my list of must-haves), comfortable and really easy to tote around with its frameless design. Plus, it just looks so dang cool. The SCUBAPRO Solo (Amazon) retails for about $110, and it’s worth every penny as far as I’m concerned.
Advanced Snorkel Mask Prices
Let’s say you’re planning on snorkeling more regularly. Maybe you’ve moved to the tropics and want to get out in the water every day (if so, congratulations to you). Or, let’s say you’ve become really good at diving underwater. Maybe you just want the best type of mask you can find because a fantastic snorkel experience is what matters most to you (hey, welcome to the club!)
In any of these cases, an advanced snorkel mask could really benefit you. At this level, you’re going to find really solid construction that’s still light enough that you can forget you’re wearing it, highly-tuned purge valves, excellent water-tightness with extra edge skirt technology (it’s a thing), ultra-clear lenses, etc. They’re meant to perform highly and last a long time, especially important if you’re doing a lot of snorkeling or putting the mask through more demanding paces.
Now, obviously, advanced snorkel masks are going to add a few bucks, and you’re likely going to be in the $110-200 range. The Atomic Aquatics Subframe snorkel mask (on Amazon), an excellent foray into advanced masks, will cost about $130. That investment will get you a highly-rated framed mask with an intro into their ultra-clear glass, super strong buckles and straps, a nice low-volume design and something that comes from Atomic, a really well-respected snorkel manufacturer.
On the higher end of the spectrum, you can opt for the $200 TUSA Paragon mask (Amazon) if you want every feature available, plus some. You’ll pretty well get everything you could ever ask for in a snorkel mask — high comfort, multi-layered frame construction, pro-level skirt technology — plus treated lenses that block UV light and let you see things closer to true color.
For our best bang for the buck, though, we love, love, love the Atomic Venom Frameless (look on Amazon). The super high-level performance of the ultra-clear glass, insane comfort and lightweight construction puts it in the same stratosphere as the TUSA Paragon, but it looks and feels better and will save you about $30 after retailing for about $170. You sacrifice a bit in terms of the UV glass, but for me, that’s not a deal breaker in any sense and the performance you can pull while saving a few extra bucks to go towards other equipment rates this mask at the top of my list of advanced snorkel masks.
Full-Face Snorkel Mask Prices
Now, let’s change directions a little and talk about a completely different snorkel mask format: full-face snorkel masks.
These masks cover your entire face and have an integrated one-way snorkel valve at the top which allows you to breathe normally through your nose and mouth while keeping water out of your mask. The idea is that you’ll have a much more comfortable time breathing, be able to see more (the face dome is huge), have less water leak into your mask, and just have a better time in the water.
Full-face snorkel masks have become a bit controversial in the last few years because of reports of some people experiencing distress or injury while using them, thought to be from the integrated snorkel valve not releasing enough exhaled CO2 through the top, and not taking in enough inhaled fresh air.
However, I’ve also had a full-face mask as part of my gear collection for years and love it for basic surface snorkeling. You definitely end up breathing a little harder since by nature you have to activate the one-way snorkel valve with deep, even breaths, but I’ve personally never had a problem with any sort of air exchange issues. So, I initially found the reports of breathing issues strange.
However, after listening to the stories of people who did have air-exchange issues, hearing anecdotes from snorkel rental shops, and my own personal trials and tests, it seems like there’s one key factor to consider above all else.
As with any new technology that people love when it first hits the scene, you eventually find knock-offs being produced. And, in the case of full-face snorkel masks, it sounds like these knock-offs may not have the best one-way snorkel valves installed and they aren’t letting enough CO2 escape the mask along with not pulling in enough fresh air. That’s definitely a recipe for trouble.
Now, even with a good full-face mask, you’ll definitely want to be in good physical shape to use one (which is really true for snorkeling in general — it can be fantastic exercise) since you may naturally work a little harder, and you need to test it out for yourself before you get in the water and make your own decision on if you are able to breathe comfortably (it may sound dumb, but put the mask on and run around a little — if you feel lightheaded, avoid that mask). This is especially important if you’re thinking about renting a full-face snorkel mask and don’t know everything about where it came from.
Ultimately, the jury is still out on whether or not someone can officially call these masks safe or not. But, the emerging consensus seems to be that if you pick a full-face mask from a quality manufacturer that’s reputable in the snorkel community, the risk of breathing issues can be greatly reduced.
Our favorite manufacturers (which we have found are shared by many other snorkel enthusiasts) are Tribord and Mares/Seaview. Each manufacturer’s offering is pretty similar and it’s tough to go wrong between Tribord’s Subea Easybreath (on Amazon) and the Head by Mares Seaview (on Amazon). Each beautifully encapsulates all of the benefits of a full-face snorkel mask, and the first-hand customer reviews on each are really positive.
The full-face snorkel mask I’ve personally used for years is the Tribord Subea Easybreath (Amazon). I love the snorkel valve (I breathe well through it, and it does a great job of keeping water out, typically only allowing a few drops to trickle in even if I happen to unexpectedly swim into a bit of a wave), the various sizes (my wife has one as well in a smaller size), and the extra colors are bonus.
(If you’re curious about more of the background and safety discussion around full-face snorkel masks, head over to Are Full-Face Snorkel Masks Safe? 5 Big Truths & Lies.)
How Much Do Snorkel Tubes Cost?
What good is a snorkel mask without a snorkel tube? Well, in that case, you’d just call it a dive mask and use it to swim around holding your breath. But, we’re here to snorkel, so let’s talk about snorkel tubes.
Snorkel tubes used to be pretty simple; more or less just a mouthpiece with a regular old tube that stuck up out of the water. Now, though, there’s another option: dry snorkels. These snorkels have the same basic set-up as a traditional snorkel tube, but now include a one-way valve at the top that aims to keep sea water out while letting fresh air in.
And, to keep things interesting, there’s kind of a hybrid between the traditional and dry snorkels known as semi-dry snorkels that work much like traditional snorkels but also have a unique splash guard at the top of the tube that does work to keep as much water out as possible (but not quite to the level of the dry snorkel valves).
Let’s look at each of these three snorkel types.
Traditional snorkels are still plentiful and plenty cheap, typically ringing in at around $25-35. However, we’d probably only really recommend these to more advanced snorkelers who are already used to them. They can help with diving underwater since the snorkel tube fills up with water (which you forcefully blow out once you return to the surface) so it doesn’t add any buoyancy from trapped air which might create a bit of drag.
But, with the advent of dry snorkels, we really don’t feel that there’s much of a case for these if you are a beginner or more safety-minded intermediate snorkeler. The added safety benefits of a dry snorkel are just too compelling.
If you are indeed a more advanced snorkeler and know how traditional snorkels work and how they benefit you, our favorite is the Aqua Lung Impulse 3 (here on Amazon) at about $50 on Amazon. Its system for keeping any unwanted water away from your mouth with a lower reservoir and sort of automatic purge valve that only needs a small puff of air is pretty incredible for a traditional snorkel, it feels nice in the mouth, and its flexible tube makes it travel easy and work well in a variety of set-ups.
As we mentioned, semi-dry snorkels work to split the difference between traditional snorkels and dry snorkels by providing some of the benefits that an open tube provides for those who like to dive underwater while trying to keep as much water as possible out of your mouth while at the surface. They do each task fairly well and are good for more intermediate to advanced snorkelers who are comfortable with underwater diving and tube clearing (and who don’t like big unexpected mouths of water at the surface).
It’s possible to find a semi-dry snorkel for as little as $15 and on up to $70. But, when we’re talking about anything that’s supposed to keep sea water away from where you breathe (not only for comfort, but also safety), we don’t like to skimp.
Our preferred semi-dry snorkel is the Atomic SV2 (on Amazon) at $70. It’s at the higher end of the range, but its leak reservoir and easy purge valve (similar to that in the Aqua Lung Impulse 3 (Amazon) traditional snorkel) works great, which gives a lot of confidence to snorkelers. And, coming from Atomic (they’re fantastic), we have confidence in the construction and performance of the snorkel on every trip.
Dry snorkels can be a beautiful thing for those learning to snorkel or who are already comfortable, but might like a little added security.
Like full-face snorkel masks, there’s a one-way valve that closes when hit with water and opens when you breathe, but the anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that the valves are easier to activate and breathing problems are much more uncommon than with full-face masks. Still, you’ll want to choose a vetted manufacturer and test one of these out for yourself, similarly to a full-face mask, to make sure that you can breathe well and then make your own decision.
Like semi-dry snorkels, you can find a dry snorkel for as little as $15 all the way up to about $70. With something so important to both your safety and fun out on the water, we like to invest a little. Our favorite dry snorkel is the Oceanic Ultra-Dry 2 (over on Amazon) at about $60. It’s light, comfortable in your mouth, and has an excellent purge valve system that people really stand behind.
As a dry snorkel honorable mention, we also really like the Cressi Supernova Dry (Amazon). It’s really inexpensive at about $20, but simply a ton of people report having a good time with it. The Supernova Dry isn’t going to quite have the fine-tuned performance of the Oceanic Ultra-Dry 2 (Amazon), but if you’re a beginning snorkeler who isn’t quite ready to drop $60 on a snorkel tube, the Supernova Dry should be an appealing option.
How Much Do Snorkel Sets Cost?
One way to expertly save a few bucks is to buy both your snorkel mask and snorkel tube in a set together. Typically, these masks and tubes will tend to fall into the more beginner and maybe intermediate categories, but if those categories meet your needs, you can find some nice deals.
Right now, our favorite snorkel set is the Cressi Pano 4 and Supernova Dry kit (here on Amazon). The included Pano 4 mask ranks solidly in our intermediate category and has a great expanded field of vision with lightweight and comfortable polycarbonate framed design with a flexible silicone skirt, while the Supernova Dry snorkel has a great reputation among active snorkelers (plus it’s our honorable mention for best dry snorkel on a budget).
The Cressi Pano 4/Supernova Dry set will be great for beginners and intermediates alike who want to get rolling with snorkeling without shelling out too much dough, and you can easily pick this one up on Amazon for about $60.
What Do Prescription Snorkel Masks Cost?
Some of us aren’t necessarily blessed with eagle-eye vision and need some sort of corrective eyewear to see well. That can make figuring out how to snorkel while seeing clearly a little tricky.
But, fortunately, there are actually a lot of options; snorkel mask lens inserts, drop-in lenses, bonded lenses, installed integrated lenses, etc. These different methods of seeing while snorkeling vary widely by their typical cost (anywhere from $30 to $300), and they really deserve their own article to sort out the diverse benefits and trade-offs. So, check out our article on prescription snorkel masks, Can You Snorkel With Glasses? 7 Great Ways to See Underwater.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent Snorkel Gear?
If you’d just like to test out snorkeling to see if it’s something that you want to get into, renting gear is a solid option since it will let you try out the sport without having to invest much money. Fortunately, snorkel rental gear is pretty easy to find.
Typically, if you’re paying to go on a snorkel tour with a guide, they will have a mask and snorkel available for you included in the price that you already paid for the tour itself. However, 9 times out of 10, this will be basic-level gear.
If you’d like to bump your gear up a bit in terms of safety, performance, etc. dive shops will have a lot more options for you to choose from. Nearly every dive shop on the planet that I’ve found rents gear, and they’ll also be able to provide some additional expertise if you have specific questions.
It’s most common to rent a mask and snorkel for a day (from a dive shop near the water) and prices will typically run somewhere in the neighborhood of $8-15 per day in developed nations like the U.S. (but often considerably less if you’re visiting a country with a more inexpensive cost of living) for a mask, snorkel, and often fins as well.
You can also rent for longer terms (like a week) if you want to pick one up for your whole trip and gain a little flexibility with when, where and how often you snorkel. You can certainly do this at a dive shop near where you’ll be snorkeling, but it’s also incredibly useful if you want to grab a snorkel set before you leave on a trip (even lots of landlocked cities have dive shops) and don’t want to bother with tracking down a dive shop once you’re on vacation.
A week’s rental from a dive shop should cost somewhere in the ballpark of $30-40, but can vary from location to location. Custom rental time frames are also usually not a problem, and your best bet on these is just to call a dive shop and ask them about what you need.
(For more details on renting snorkel gear around the world, read How Much Does it Cost to Rent Snorkel Gear? Prices & Problems.)
The Deep Dive
Snorkeling is fantastic because it lets people of all different skill levels experience our incredible underwater world, and it’s pretty inexpensive relative to something like scuba diving or many other water sports.
The level of snorkel gear (basic, intermediate or advanced) that you choose will differ a bit in terms of performance, but everything will get you out in the water. Typically, you can expect to be able to dive in with a basic mask and snorkel for about $40-60, intermediate for around $60-150, and an advanced-level setup for $150-250.
I’ve never regretted a single cent I’ve spent on snorkel gear since it’s given me such incredible experiences and memories in the ocean, and I don’t think you will either.
Check out more info and reviews on the gear listed in this guide on Amazon:
- Cressi F1 Frameless (the best snorkel mask for beginners)
- SCUBAPRO Solo (the best snorkel mask for intermediates)
- Atomic Venom Frameless (the best snorkel mask for advanced snorkelers)
- Tribord Subea Easybreath (the best full-face snorkel mask)
- Aqua Lung Impulse 3 (the best traditional wet snorkel)
- Atomic SV2 (the best semi-dry snorkel)
- Oceanic Ultra-Dry 2 (the best dry snorkel)
- Cressi Pano 4 and Supernova Dry set (the best snorkel set for beginners and intermediates on a budget)
Or, looking to learn more about snorkel gear? Our helpful gear guides below are where it’s at: