When paired with a good mask, a snorkel is a key piece of spearfishing equipment. While you can spearfish and hunt without a snorkel, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Your target acquisition is significantly worse, your safety is cut back with a very limited breath up period, and you’re just downright uncomfortable in the water. No snorkel, no dive.
There are a lot of options on the market, and some gimmicky products that might seem interesting, but we’ve compiled a small list of the best spearfishing snorkels available today for you as well as characteristics to look for and avoid (purge valves, anyone?).
We hope this makes your search for the best snorkel for spearfishing a little clearer.
Our Top Picks
3 Best Spearfishing Snorkels
- Best for Beginners – SEAC Jet Snorkel
- Best for Portability – Kraken Aquatics Freediving Snorkel
- Best for Spearos – Cressi Corsica
Best for Beginners
- Contoured J-shape diving snorkel ideal for free diving and…
- Durable, flexible preformed corrugated PVC tube with an…
- Snorkel Tube: PVC Material for Long Life and Reliability
The SEAC Jet is a good spearfishing snorkel that has minimal frills and solid construction. SEAC is a known and reputable spearfishing and freediving brand, in business since 1971. The hallmarks of their products are value and reliability – and the Jet is no different.
- A simple J-tube contoured snorkel free of gimmicks
- Corrugated PVC tube with shape memory – helpful if the snorkel gets bent on accident in a gear bag or while tethered on the reef
- A comfortable mouthpiece with silicone construction
- Easy to use strap clip
Best for Portability
- SIMPLE DESIGN for FLEXIBILITY and DURABILITY: You’ll never…
- STORAGE CASE COMES INCLUDED: This compact snorkel quickly…
- ESSENTIAL SCUBA GEAR: Perfect foldable snorkel gear for…
Kraken Aquatics’ snorkel is a solid choice for anyone who has space considerations in mind. It comes with its own compact carrying case which the snorkel fits into after rolling up.
This is of particular use to scuba divers who may want to store the compact case into a BCD pocket, or as a belt or float attachment as a backup snorkel in the rare case of a primary snorkel failure.
The snorkel has:
- Simple J-tube shape without any add-ons
- Full silicone construction for flexibility and roll-up capability
- Easy to use and compact storage/carrying case
- An ergonomically shaped silicone mouthpiece that’s comfortable for long durations
Best for Spearos
- Perfect snorkel for freediving and spearfishing
- Flexible tube folds for easy storage
- Designed And Created Using Innovative and Patented…
Cressi has been a household name in the freediving and spearfishing world for as long as it’s been a commercially viable hobby.
They are known for simple, safe, and reliable products with long use life designed for the most hardcore of spearfishermen.
Their Corsica flexible snorkel is a great example of this ethos with its features:
- Specially designed U-tube contoured snorkel for easy snorkel clearing
- Larger diameter snorkel to allow for more efficient oxygen transfer and better breath ups on the surface
- Soft tube construction for shape retention if struck against underwater structure
- Foldable storage option for compact storage
- Comfortable silicone mouthpiece fit designed with a spearfisherman’s endurance in mind
Snorkeling, scuba diving, spearfishing, and freediving snorkels. What’s the difference?
You might see different products online pushing four different types of snorkels, all for different activities in the water.
As such, terms like “the best snorkels” differ depending on the application. Though the differences between them aren’t too significant, they are enough to warrant a look.
Snorkeling and scuba snorkels are made for reef viewing from the surface as well as tank oxygen preservation. They’re not designed for long periods of submersion, as snorkelers stay at the surface and tank divers use their regulators at depth.
They tend to have cheaper material that’s more uncomfortable in the mouth with extended use, and often have a flexible tube that can increase drag and make retrieval difficult.
There are variations of these like dry snorkels or snorkels with purge systems.
They usually have functions like a purge valve, or a dry snorkel cap on the intake of the snorkel that prevents water from getting in if it happens to dip under the surface.
For spearos, a purge valve, dry snorkel caps, and other such features are actually dangerous. Because spearfishermen submerge for minutes at a time, we subject our snorkels to a completely different environment than snorkeling snorkels are designed for.
A purge valve may end up damaged at depth when knocked against the reef or when sand gets in their seal, and allow water to enter your airways on the surface.
Dry snorkel caps may get stuck with sand clogging their switch, or with even just slight choppy water movement at the surface, causing you to be unable to breathe through them.
As a general rule, simpler is better for spearos, and snorkeling/scuba snorkels should be avoided.
Full face snorkel mask
In the last five years, full face snorkel masks have risen dramatically in popularity for snorkelers. This is because they’re quite easy to use and offer great panoramic visibility.
However, similar to snorkeling masks and snorkels, they aren’t designed to go to depth. Neither the face canopy/chamber nor the snorkel will function as designed under three feet of water, and neither will its purge valves or splash guard.
With so much air volume in the chamber, you will experience an uncomfortable amount of pressure at depth compared to the specialized low volume masks popular with freedivers and spearos – even potentially causing blood vessel ruptures.
Improper use of any snorkel, but especially a full face snorkel mask, is dangerous and has associated fatalities. For this reason, I’d stay fully clear of any and all full face snorkel masks as a spearfisherman.
Free diving (and spearfishing)
Freediving and spearfishing snorkels are, in general, the same. As both freedivers and spearfishermen go to depth without tank assistance for minutes at a time with repetition, they are subjected to the same environment and therefore designed in the same way.
Freediving/spearfishing snorkels are usually J-tubes, named for their simple shape. They have little to no added mechanisms and are usually of sturdier construction.
They typically use rigid stems and have a softer rubber construction at the mouth and neck for comfort with a mouth hold and slight flexibility (though much less than a typical scuba snorkel).
The differences between snorkels are slight but worth looking into if you’re trying to get every part of your gear dialed. Our best spearfishing snorkels list has narrowed it down to three great options for every diver.
What should you be looking for as a spearo?
As a general rule, you want a simple J-tube design free of gimmicks or additional features like a purge valve or dry snorkels (splash guards).
Said features may be helpful but are essentially a crutch to help alleviate the discomfort of poor floating form.
These features also add another layer of maintenance to an already extensive gear list – for example, a purge valve doesn’t work at all with any sand introduced to the system, which can easily get in if spearos use dusting techniques.
Between rinsing down your gear (which you are doing, right?) and keeping your hunting devices dialed, the last thing you’re going to want is to wonder if you’ve done enough upkeep on your snorkel to be able to breathe the next session.
Snorkel keepers and storage cases are up to the spearo. Flexible snorkels are designed to be folded and stowed away.
If you’re hurting for space and storage in transfer, you may want to consider the Kraken Aquatics roll-up snorkel.
You also may want to consider construction quality. Spearos who hunt on reefs, especially clear water reefs such as in Hawaii, often needs to hide behind structures.
This opens up the possibility of your snorkel knocking against said reefs and structure, so consider staying away from rigid plastic which may crack and scratch with small collisions.
With so many different specializations of snorkels and a wide variety of brands and products to choose from, the critical decision of picking a snorkel can be needlessly complicated.
Though there isn’t one definitive best spearfishing snorkel, we’ve created this list to both help you find a specific product as well as give you some ideas on what to look for.
Again, keep it simple, and keep it sturdy. Happy hunting!