The 6 Best Swim Snorkels

Alongside swim fins, paddles, kickboards, and pull buoys, swim snorkels are seeing a great surge in popularity as one of the most important training tools for competitive and recreational swimmers alike. In fact, they’re so common that if you walked into an age group practice today, most swimmers would probably own a snorkel. Alongside them, the masters swimmer chugging through laps might also be sporting one too.

Swim snorkels are useful because the swimmer no longer needs to breathe to the side, and can focus on technique, making sure that each side is balanced. Not only that, but by keeping your head down, it improves your head position. This is especially important for swimmers that tend to lift their head as they swim, which can increase drag and slow you down. It’s even better for swimmers with neck problems; snorkels allow you to enjoy a pain-free freestyle workout once more. With a snorkel, head and body position is better maintained, which will be reflected in your races.

With these benefits in mind, adding a swim snorkel to your training gear seems like a pretty great idea. But which one to buy? With so many models out there, we’ve made your life easier by judging each snorkel on its comfort, ease of use, durability, and more so you can pick the perfect snorkel for you.

Swim SnorkelCheck Price
Zionor Lap Swimming SnorkelAmazon
FINIS Glide Swim SnorkelSwimOutlet
Speedo Bullet Head Swim SnorkelSwimOutlet
TYR Ultralite Swim Snorkel 2.0SwimOutlet
FINIS Swimmer’s Swim SnorkelSwimOutlet
MP FOCUS Swim SnorkelSwimOutlet

1. Zionor Lap Swimming Snorkel

Zionor Lap Swimming Snorkel

Pros
– inexpensive
– durable
– comfortable

Cons
– moving head bracket

Zionor is a lesser-known brand in the swim world than the other snorkel makers on this list, but the price point of the Zionor lap swimming snorkel is unbeatable, and its quality is no slouch. In fact, picking up the Zionor snorkel, I would hardly pinpoint it as the “budget pick” in these rankings. It features a comfortable head-pad and a leak-less mouthpiece featuring a purge valve, which works really well. It doesn’t take too much force and there isn’t much residual water in the mouthpiece for the next breath. The snorkel is well designed, experiencing little side-to-side wobble and water never gets in the top. Furthermore, durability is a non-issue.

In fact, the only downside I noticed with the Zionor snorkel is that the adjustable head bracket (connecting the straps to the tube) slides a little more freely than ideal. Thus, during intense workouts or aggressive flip-turns, the plastic can occasionally wobble up and down, which may annoy the experienced swimmer. If this is not a major concern for you, the Zionor snorkel can definitely satisfy your workout needs.

2. FINIS Glide Swim Snorkel

FINIS Glide Swim Snorkel

Pros
– inexpensive
– comfortable
– no wobble

Cons
– no purge valve
– durability concerns

Next on the list is the FINIS Glide swim snorkel, the slightly cheaper of the two FINIS models on this list, and one of the most popular snorkels out there. FINIS has made a name for itself in the swim snorkel market, and with good reason. The Glide snorkel is quite comfortable to wear, with a rubbery mouthpiece and effective head bracket that doesn’t slide as you swim or flip. For most swimmers, the FINIS Glide snorkel works very well for practice.

Now for the downsides. The first thing a swimmer notices when seeing this snorkel is the lack of a purge valve. How am I going to get water out, you ask? Well, using a snorkel without a purge valve is actually less of an issue than you might think. If you don’t do turns, water usually won’t enter the snorkel at all. If it does, with a decent exhale, the water can exit the top of the snorkel, even following a flip turn. However, this method is still not quite as effective as a purge valve, so keep this in mind when considering the FINIS Glide snorkel. Also consider that a small – but not insignificant – portion of users complain that their snorkel broke after little usage.

3. Speedo Bullet Head Swim Snorkel

Speedo Bullet Head Swim Snorkel

Pros
– comfortable
– very stable

Cons
– no purge valve

Big-name Speedo makes its appearance on the list with their Bullet Head snorkel. The Bullet Head is designed pretty similarly to FINIS’s models, but does offer a few advantages. In my experience, Speedo’s snorkel is one of the most stable in the water. Sometimes, positioned at a slant going into a flip turn, other snorkels will be pushed to the side. However, the Bullet Head is quite resistant to any movement, so readjustment is never an issue. This may seem insignificant, but during a workout you’ll really notice the extra comfort in wearing this snorkel.

The only con I notice with the Speedo Bullet Head snorkel is that it joins the FINIS Glide as the other snorkel on the list lacking a purge valve. Remember that this can make clearing the snorkel of water slightly more difficult, but you also won’t have to worry about leaking mouthpieces – it’s a trade-off you’ll have to consider. Aside from this, the Bullet Head comes with all the features of a great snorkel for your next workout.

4. TYR Ultralite Swim Snorkel 2.0

TYR Ultralite Swim Snorkel 2.0

Pros
– comfortable
– light
– stable
– accessories

Cons
– none!

The TYR Ultralite 2.0 swim snorkel enters the list at a fairly mid-range price and has a special perk, the origin of its name: the snorkel weights just 175 grams. Where other snorkels can feel a bit bulky at times, the TYR Ultralite 2.0 is the epitome of comfort and stability. Among all the snorkels I’ve ever worn, this is the one where I was really able to forget that I was even wearing it. It’s a high-quality product with no leak or durability issues, and of course it features a great purge valve that lets you easily exhale pooled up water.

Furthermore, TYR surprises you more with two air-restricting caps to give you a better cardio workout and helping to build your lung capacity, as well as a storage mesh bag. The training caps are somewhat like drag suits; they force you to work harder, which is especially great for competitive swimmers. TYR really impressed me not only with the snorkel but also with its useful accessories. Downsides? I was hard-pressed to find any at all. The TYR Ultralite 2.0 is a phenomenal all-around snorkel choice.

5. FINIS Swimmer’s Swim Snorkel

FINIS Swimmer's Swim Snorkel

Pros
– very durable
– stable
– popular choice

Cons
– residual water

Next on the list is the FINIS Swimmer’s swim snorkel, the second and more advanced of the two FINIS models and my personal snorkel for about 5 years during my age group days (yes, the one snorkel I owned never broke). Thus, this snorkel I have the most experience with using. The first thing I can say is that the build quality and durability are excellent, given the fact that it survived the beating that it went through from almost daily usage, and never leaked. Also, it’s fairly comfortable. There’s pretty much no wobbling when you swim. I will say that coming out of flip turns, a poorly-angled push-off will hurt, but this isn’t unusual.

The purge valve is pretty well-engineered. Ridding the snorkel of water is fairly easy, but once in a while residual water does remain if I don’t exhale hard enough. Overall, I had no major complaints with this snorkel. Nor did my swim team, apparently, because the FINIS Swimmer’s snorkel seemed to be the most popular amongst the swimmers on the team. You can’t go wrong with this snorkel for competitive and recreational swimmers alike.

6. Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel

MP Focus Swim Snorkel

Pros
– comfortable
– stable
– deeper mouthpiece

Cons
– pricey
– less airflow
– mouthpiece annoys some

Aqua Sphere teamed up once again with Michael Phelps to create the Phelps Focus swim snorkel. The Focus features a pretty unique curved design and a triangular pipe, but where it really separates itself from the competitors is the stability. The snorkel just doesn’t move, no matter how fast you’re going, or even if you’re doing a flip turn. The head bracket is also super comfortable. Further, I have an easier time with purging water with the Focus than with the FINIS Swimmer’s snorkel – the purge valve is top-tier. So, in the comfort aspect, the Phelps Focus snorkel is right up there with the TYR Ultralite 2.0.

One thing to note is that the Focus restricts airflow slightly more than the FINIS snorkel. This offers a better workout, but may annoy the lap swimmer who wants to breathe freely. Another potential issue for the Focus snorkel (aside from it’s price, which is up there) is the unique mouthpiece. Most swimmers I know LOVE the mouthpiece, saying that it’s the most comfortable and the least leaky on any snorkel they’ve tried. The mouthpiece on the Focus is bigger and fits deeper into the mouth compared to other snorkels. This keeps the jaw relaxed as you swim, so you never have to clench to hold on to the mouthpiece. However, other swimmers call it “invasive.” As someone who can’t stand having those molds in my mouth at the dentist, I’m not a big fan of the Phelps Focus snorkel’s mouthpiece. But, you make the decision – it’s very much a love it/hate it feature.

Conclusion

Snorkels were a really vital part of my swim workouts and can help any swimmer in their training as well. Hopefully, we’ve helped pick out the right swim snorkel for you. If it’s your first time getting a snorkel, considering picking up a nose clip as well – some people really struggle with only breathing in and out of their mouth (and not snorting in water from the nose). Of course, remember to take care of your snorkel so it lasts as long as possible. Once you’ve got the hang of it, a snorkel can truly add a new dimension to the swimming experience, regardless of which one you pick.