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The Ultimate Guide to 6 Types of Snorkel Tubes

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An underwater adventure is akin to stepping into a mesmerizing realm teeming with vibrant marine life and hidden wonders. At the heart of this exploration lies a crucial piece of equipment: the snorkel tube. Picture yourself floating effortlessly on the water’s surface, surrounded by the gentle lull of the waves, with only your trusty snorkel tube allowing you to immerse yourself in the enchanting underwater world below. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll navigate 6 types of snorkel tubes, unraveling their mysteries and empowering you to choose the perfect companion for your aquatic escapades.

6 types of snorkel tubes

What is Snorkel Tubes?

A snorkel tube is a vital piece of snorkeling equipment that allows you to breathe while floating face down on the water’s surface. It consists of a mouthpiece, a flexible tube, and a purge valve, each serving a unique function:

  • The mouthpiece is placed between the lips, providing a comfortable seal to prevent water from entering the snorkeler’s mouth.
  • The flexible tube extends from the mouthpiece, allowing air to travel from the surface to the snorkeler’s lungs.
  • The purge valve, often found at the bottom of the snorkel, enables easy clearing of water that may enter the tube.
snorkel tube

Besides, it is typically divided into 6 popular styles, and now we will further take an overview of them:

  1. dry snorkel tubes
  2. semi-dry snorkel tubes
  3. full face snorkel tubes
  4. flexible snorkel tubes
  5. foldable snorkel tubes
  6. purge valve snorkel tubes

Dry Snorkel Tubes

Dry snorkel tubes are designed with special features to prevent water from entering the tube during submersion. These tubes typically incorporate a splash guard or valve mechanism at the top of the snorkel to keep water out.

Top Features

  • Splash guard or valve at the top to block water entry
  • Purge the valve at the bottom for easy clearing
  • Comfortable and ergonomic mouthpiece
  • Flexible and durable tube material

Reasons to Buy

  • Ideal for beginners and recreational snorkelers
  • Provides hassle-free breathing without water interruption

Semi-Dry Snorkel Tubes

Semi-dry snorkel tubes offer a compromise between dry and traditional snorkel tubes. While they may not completely prevent water from entering, they feature enhanced splash guards or valves to minimize water intrusion.

Top Features

  • Improved splash guard design for better water resistance
  • Comfortable mouthpiece with an ergonomic shape
  • Flexible tube material for ease of movement
  • Purge valve for quick water clearance

Reasons to Buy

  • Suitable for intermediate snorkelers
  • Offers improved water protection compared to traditional snorkels

Full Face Dry Snorkel Tubes

Full face snorkel tubes provide a unique design that covers the entire face, combining the snorkel tube and mask into one integrated unit. These tubes offer a panoramic view and may include a built-in breathing chamber for enhanced comfort.

When you use it, please take the following safety considerations:

  • Ensure proper fit to prevent leakage and fogging
  • Practice breathing through the tube before venturing into deep waters
  • Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings while snorkeling

Top Features

  • Wide field of vision for optimal visibility
  • Integrated breathing chamber for a natural breathing experience
  • Anti-fogging technology to maintain clear vision
  • Secure straps for a snug and comfortable fit

Reasons to Buy

  • Provides a comfortable and immersive snorkeling experience
  • Ideal for beginners and those uncomfortable with traditional snorkel masks

Flexible Snorkel Tubes

Flexible snorkel tubes are constructed with bendable materials, allowing for easy storage and transport. These tubes offer versatility and are suitable for snorkelers who prioritize convenience.

Top Features

  • Bendable design for compact storage
  • Durable and resilient materials for long-lasting use
  • Comfortable mouthpiece with ergonomic design
  • Efficient purge valve for clearing water

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect for travelers and snorkelers on the go
  • Offers flexibility without compromising performance

Foldable Snorkel Tubes

Foldable snorkel tubes feature a collapsible design that can be easily folded or rolled up for compact storage. These tubes are ideal for snorkelers seeking a portable and space-saving option.

Top Features

  • Foldable design for effortless storage and transport
  • High-quality materials for durability
  • Secure locking mechanism to prevent accidental unfolding
  • Comfortable mouthpiece for extended use

Reasons to Buy

  • Ideal for backpackers and space-conscious snorkelers
  • Provides convenience without sacrificing functionality

Purge Valve Snorkel Tubes

Purge valve snorkel tubes feature a one-way valve mechanism at the bottom of the tube, allowing for quick and efficient water clearance. These tubes are favored by snorkelers who value ease of use and convenience.

Top Features

  • One-way valve for effortless water expulsion
  • Comfortable mouthpiece for extended wear
  • Flexible tube material for freedom of movement
  • Durable construction for long-term reliability

Reasons to Buy

  • Simplifies water clearance for uninterrupted snorkeling
  • Ideal for snorkelers of all skill levels

What Is the Difference Between Dry and Semi-dry Snorkel?

Dry snorkels are designed with a top valve that seals shut when submerged, preventing water from entering the tube entirely. This feature makes them ideal for rough waters or choppy conditions, as they offer maximum protection against water entry. Dry snorkels are especially convenient for snorkelers who want to dive underwater without having to clear out water from the snorkel upon resurfacing.

On the other hand, semi-dry snorkels are equipped with a splash guard or valve at the top of the tube to help prevent water from entering while on the surface. While they do not completely seal off the tube like dry snorkels, semi-dry snorkels reduce the amount of water entering the tube, making them suitable for calm waters or light surface waves.

Here is the chart about the differences between dry and semi-dry snorkel

TypeDry SnorkelsSemi-dry Snorkels
Water ProtectionComplete protection with a sealing top valvePartial Protection with a splash guard or valve
Suitable forRough waters or choppy watersCalmer waters or light surface waves.
The chart about the differences between dry and semi-dry snorkel

What Is the Difference between Basic Snorkel and J Type Snorkel?

The terms “basic snorkel” and “J snorkel” are often used interchangeably to refer to the traditional J-shaped snorkel design. The J-shaped snorkel typically features a curved tube with a mouthpiece at one end and a snorkel clip for attachment to the mask strap. Therefore, there is no significant difference between a basic snorkel and a J snorkel as they both refer to the same classic design.

Recreational vs. Professional Snorkel Tubes: What’s the Difference

Snorkeling, whether pursued for leisure or as a serious endeavor, demands equipment tailored to the diver’s skill level, preferences, and intended use. The distinction between recreational and professional snorkel tubes lies not only in their design but also in their performance capabilities and intended application.

Recreational Snorkel Tubes

Recreational snorkel tubes are designed for casual snorkelers and beginners, featuring simple yet functional designs aimed at providing comfort and ease of use. These tubes are ideal for leisurely exploration in calm waters and shallow dives, offering an affordable and accessible option for enjoying the underwater world.

They typically include:

  • basic J-shaped snorkels
  • semi-dry snorkels
  • flexible snorkels

Professional Snorkel Tubes

Professional snorkel tubes are designed for experienced snorkelers, diving enthusiasts, and professionals who require advanced features and superior performance. These tubes often incorporate specialized technologies and materials, such as hydrodynamic shapes and reinforced construction, to withstand rigorous use in challenging environments. Professional tubes may include innovative purge valve systems for rapid water clearance and ergonomic mouthpieces for enhanced comfort during prolonged dives.

They typically include:

  • dry snorkels with purge valves
  • specialized freediving snorkels
  • snorkels with advanced water-blocking technology

The Chart of Difference between Recreational and Professional Snorkel Tubes

TypesRecreational Snorkel TubesProfessional Snorkel Tubes
DesignBasic, straightforward designAdvanced features, hydrodynamic shapes
FunctionalitySimple purge valves, comfortable mouthpiecesInnovative purge valve systems, ergonomic mouthpieces
Intended UseCasual snorkeling, leisurely explorationDeep dives, challenging conditions
PerformanceSuitable for calm waters and shallow divesOptimal performance in turbulent waters
Price RangeAffordable, budget-friendly optionsHigher-end, investment-worthy options
The chart of differences between recreational and professional snorkel tubes

How to Choose the Right One?

When selecting a snorkel tube, it’s essential to consider your skill level, diving environment, and intended use.

  • Recreational snorkel tubes are ideal for beginners and casual snorkelers seeking affordability and simplicity.
  • Professional snorkel tubes are better suited for experienced divers and enthusiasts who demand high performance and durability.

What Snorkel to Buy?

When choosing a snorkel, several factors should be considered to ensure you find the best one for your needs. Here are some key points to keep in mind when selecting a snorkel:

  • Comfort: Look for a snorkel that is comfortable to wear for extended periods. Features like a silicone mouthpiece, flexible tube, and adjustable strap can enhance comfort.
  • Quality: Opt for a snorkel made from high-quality materials such as silicone, tempered glass, and durable plastic. A well-made snorkel will be more durable and reliable in the water.
  • Purge Valve: Consider a snorkel with a purge valve at the bottom of the mouthpiece. This feature makes it easier to clear water from the snorkel without having to remove it from your mouth.
  • Splash Guard: A splash guard helps prevent water from entering the snorkel tube, especially in choppy or rough waters. This feature can make your snorkeling experience more enjoyable.
  • Flexibility: Look for a snorkel with a flexible tube that can be easily adjusted to fit your face shape and size. A flexible snorkel provides a comfortable fit and allows for better movement underwater.
  • Dry-Top Design: A snorkel with a dry-top design prevents water from entering the tube when submerged, keeping your breathing passage clear and dry.
  • Reputation: Consider brands with a good reputation for producing quality snorkeling gear. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from experienced snorkelers can help you choose a reliable snorkel.

By considering these factors, you can select a snorkel that meets your needs and enhances your snorkeling experience. Remember to try on different options and test them out in the water to ensure a proper fit and functionality before making a final purchase.

How to Snorkel with A Snorkel Tube?

Snorkeling with a snorkel tube allows you to breathe effortlessly while exploring the underwater world. Follow these steps to make the most of your snorkeling experience:

Step 1: Prepare Your Equipment

Ensure your snorkel tube is properly fitted with a comfortable mouthpiece and a secure attachment to your mask. Adjust the strap of your mask to ensure a snug fit, and check that your fins are securely fastened.

Step 2: Enter the Water

Wade into the water until it’s deep enough to comfortably swim. Put on your fins and position your mask over your eyes, ensuring a watertight seal. Place the snorkel tube in your mouth, with the mouthpiece comfortably between your lips.

Step 3: Practice Breathing

Take a few practice breaths through the snorkel tube while floating on the surface of the water. Inhale slowly and steadily through your mouth, using your diaphragm to fill your lungs with air. Exhale gently, releasing the air through the snorkel tube.

Step 4: Submerge and Explore

When you’re ready, gently kick your fins to propel yourself forward and submerge your face below the water’s surface. Keep your head down and your body horizontal, allowing the snorkel tube to remain above the waterline.

Step 5: Breathe Comfortably

Continue breathing through the snorkel tube as you explore the underwater scenery. Take slow, steady breaths to conserve energy and maintain a relaxed pace. Keep your movements fluid and graceful to avoid disturbing marine life.

Step 6: Clear the Snorkel

If water enters the snorkel tube, clear it by exhaling forcefully through the tube. Use the purge valve, if available, to expel water efficiently. Practice this technique until you feel confident in your ability to clear the snorkel while underwater.

Step 7: Surface Regularly

Surface periodically to check your position and reorient yourself if necessary. Take breaks as needed to rest and rehydrate, especially in warm or strenuous conditions. Enjoy the tranquility of floating on the surface between dives.

Step 8: Exit the Water Safely

When you’re ready to finish your snorkeling session, carefully remove your fins and exit the water. Rinse your equipment with fresh water to remove salt and debris, and store it properly for your next adventure.

How to Maintain The Snorkel Tube?

Proper maintenance of your snorkel tube is essential to ensure its longevity and performance. Follow these steps to keep your snorkel tube in top condition:

Step 1: Rinse After Each Use

After each snorkeling session, rinse your snorkel tube thoroughly with fresh water to remove salt, sand, and debris. Pay special attention to the mouthpiece and purge valve, ensuring that all parts are clean and free of residue.

Step 2: Soak in Mild Detergent

Periodically, soak your snorkel tube in a solution of mild detergent and water to remove stubborn dirt and bacteria. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the interior and exterior surfaces, being careful not to damage any delicate components.

Step 3: Dry Thoroughly

Allow your snorkel tube to air dry completely before storing it away. Ensure that all parts are fully dry, including the mouthpiece, purge valve, and tube interior. Avoid exposing your snorkel tube to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as this can cause damage to the materials.

Step 4: Inspect for Damage

Regularly inspect your snorkel tube for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, tears, or loose fittings. Pay attention to the condition of the mouthpiece, purge valve, and tube material, and replace any worn-out components as needed.

Step 5: Store Properly

Store your snorkel tube in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Avoid folding or bending the tube, as this can cause damage to the materials. Consider using a dedicated storage bag or case to protect your snorkel tube from dust and debris.

Step 6: Replace as Needed

If your snorkel tube shows signs of significant wear or damage, such as persistent leaks or deteriorating materials, it may be time to replace it. Invest in a high-quality replacement tube to ensure continued enjoyment of your snorkeling adventures.

By following these maintenance steps, you can prolong the life of your snorkel tube and enjoy many more underwater adventures in the years to come.


In conclusion, the different types of snorkel tubes available cater to a variety of preferences and requirements for snorkeling enthusiasts. Whether you lean towards the straightforward design of a dry snorkel or the versatility of a collapsible tube, choosing the perfect fit can enhance your exploration beneath the surface. When deciding on a snorkel tube, prioritize safety, comfort, and functionality to ensure an enjoyable and hassle-free experience underwater. Approach your aquatic escapades with enthusiasm and confidence, embracing the wonders of the underwater world. Happy snorkeling, and may your adventures be filled with awe-inspiring discoveries!


What are the three types of snorkels?

The three main types of snorkel are the basic J-shaped snorkel, the semi-dry snorkel, and the dry snorkel.

  • The basic J-shaped snorkel is the simplest and most traditional design, consisting of a curved tube with a mouthpiece at one end and a snorkel clip to attach to your mask strap.
  • The semi-dry snorkel has a splash guard or valve at the top to help prevent water from entering the tube while still allowing for easy breathing.
  • The dry snorkel is equipped with a top valve that seals shut when submerged, preventing water from entering the tube entirely. This type is ideal for beginners or those who prefer to keep water out of their snorkel.

How do I choose a snorkel tube?

Dry snorkel tubes feature a dry top that prevents water entry, making them ideal for freediving. The float at the top allows easy breathing at the surface. On the other hand, flexible snorkel tubes are preferred by some snorkelers for their ability to bend as needed.

Why does my snorkel tube fill with water?

There are several reasons why your snorkel tube may fill with water while snorkeling:

  • Improper fit: If your snorkel mask is leaking or the mouthpiece is not positioned correctly in your mouth, water may enter the tube.
  • Submersion: When you dive underwater or if a wave washes over you, water can enter the snorkel tube.
  • Splashing: Excessive splashing or waves hitting the snorkel opening can cause water to enter the tube.
  • Breathing technique: Inhaling sharply or forcefully through the snorkel tube may draw water into the snorkel.
  • Flooding: Water may accumulate and flood the tube if the purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel fails to function properly.

Can you dive with a dry snorkel?

Yes, you can dive with a dry snorkel. Dry snorkels are designed with a top valve that seals shut when submerged, preventing water from entering the tube. This feature allows you to dive underwater without worrying about clearing out water from the snorkel upon resurfacing. Dry snorkels are especially useful for snorkelers who want to transition easily between surface snorkeling and diving underwater.

Can you snorkel without a snorkel?

Technically, snorkeling refers to swimming on the surface of the water while using a snorkel tube to breathe underwater. However, if you are swimming or diving underwater without a snorkel, it is possible but may be more challenging as you should come up to the surface periodically to breathe. Some people practice breath-holding techniques and free diving to explore underwater without the use of a snorkel.

How to snorkel without swallowing water?

First, make sure your snorkel mask fits properly and doesn’t leak. Practice proper breathing techniques, taking slow and deep breaths through your mouth. Keep your head in a neutral position and avoid tilting it too far up or down. Clear out any water that may enter your snorkel tube by exhaling forcefully. Lastly, stay relaxed and avoid sudden movements that may cause water to enter your mouth.

Why are snorkels not allowed in swimming pools?

The main concern is that snorkels restrict a swimmer’s field of vision, making it difficult to see other pool users, especially in crowded or busy pool environments. This limited visibility can increase the risk of collisions and accidents in the water. Additionally, the use of snorkels may pose a drowning hazard if a swimmer were to accidentally inhale water through the snorkel tube. For these reasons, many swimming pools have policies prohibiting the use of snorkels to ensure the safety of all pool users.


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