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  • Sep

    Top Swim Snorkels Compared - The Stupp Training Review

    by Julie Stupp, NCAA & Olympic Trials Finalist

    Snorkels are a very useful piece of training equipment. Pool swimmers, triathletes and open water enthusiasts can all benefit from training with a snorkel because it gives a much better view and perspective of what is happening under the water with your strokes. I was excited to have the opportunity to review the latest and greatest snorkels on and found that there have been some major advances and common trends that have caught on since my original review in 2014. Snorkels continue to improve lung capacity and technique but now more than ever they can greatly improve your speed and cardiovascular strength.

    Learning to train with a snorkel takes practice and should be done under the supervision of a coach, lifeguard or adult. Most snorkels have a singular spout that allows a swimmer to inhale O2 from above the water line and exhale CO2 through the spout, their nose or both. Things can get tricky if a swimmer doesn’t use enough force to clear the spout while swimming, especially after a flipturn. If you have a hard time remembering not to breathe in through your nose you can always purchase a nose plug to get more comfortable. Training with a snorkel in the pool or the ocean takes just a bit of practice but in no time, you will swim and breathe through the snorkel effortlessly.

    Now let’s dive into the 8 different snorkel options I reviewed this month.



    The Arena Swim Snorkel Pro is an upgrade from the previous Arena Snorkel I reviewed in 2014 because it comes with several "build your own" options. There are two different sized mouth pieces to choose from and 3 different spout options. The snorkel without any spout caps on allows 100% oxygen to breathe while swimming and the other two options give you the choice of 70% and 50% oxygen allowance. It was a bit hard to put together at first, but once I had the snorkel on in the pool it was a great training tool. This snorkel is the perfect option for a sprinter because it allows you to maximize speed training while swimming with minimal oxygen.


    TYR ULTRALITE SNORKEL 2.0 ($34.99)

    The TYR Ultralight Snorkel 2.0 has some small but significant upgrades from the original Ultralight snorkel I previously reviewed. It has a sleek hydrodynamic build that allows you to swim effortlessly with minimal resistance. The padded head piece and durable strap construction are ideal for comfort and eliminate movement during flip turns. The Ultralight 2.0 also comes with different spout caps that allow for moderate and advanced airflow. This gives the swimmer or coach the power to decide on how much oxygen to train with. The Ultralight 2.0’s minimalistic design is great for long distance swimmers who are looking to build their lung capacity and aerobic endurance.



    The Finis Glide Snorkel looks similar to the original swim snorkel model but comes in four fantastic colors. This introductory snorkel is great for beginners, triathletes, kids and adults because it allows for a healthy amount of oxygen to flow through the spout while also increasing your aerobic capacity. It will not put you into too much of an oxygen debt which is the perfect way to learn how to train with a snorkel. The Finis Glide snorkel sits firmly on your head which makes it a great option for swimming all four strokes.



    The MP Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel has the most unique spout shape of all the snorkels I reviewed. Its robust mouthpiece and triangular shaped spout makes the snorkel look like it is a force to be reckoned with. It is very sturdy and doesn’t move at all while swimming or flipturing at high speeds making it a great option for sprinters. The mouth piece is built with an extra flap that sits on the roof of your mouth. This helps the snorkel to stay in place and you don’t have to think about clenching your jaw every time you turn to keep the snorkel from moving. The downside is that it occasionally traps some water in the mouthpiece making it harder to breath. Once I got used to clearing the MP Focus Swim Snorkel with a bit more force, I felt like I could have trained with it for hours.



    The Ameo Powerbreather is unlike any snorkel I have used or seen before. It is a horseshoe shaped snorkel that wraps around the sides of your face and head with two spouts. The Ameo Powerbreather comes with several spout and spout cap options for pool and open water training. This is the perfect snorkel for triathletes and open water swimmers. It is very important to read the manual in order build the Ameo Powerbreather correctly and to learn how to swim with it easily. It took me some time to figure out how to flipturn and clear the snorkel fully because there is a delay between oxygen retrieval and oxygen release. This snorkel is quite the lung buster and will significantly improve your cardiovascular strength, but please not that it is not for beginner swimmers.



    The A3 Performance Training Snorkel was easy to build and comes with a one size fits all mouth piece and spout. This snorkel is the most lightweight and has the skinniest spout of the bunch. It has a basic snorkel build that is excellent for technique work and sculling. Since the snorkel tube is so narrow it offers great visibility while swimming. This is the perfect snorkel for beginners because it allows for training at an oxygen debt while encouraging you to focus on your technique.





    By Julie Stupp, Olympic Trials Finalist

    Swimming with a snorkel can be very beneficial to pool and open water swimmers of all ages and abilities, as well as triathletes. has quite a few different snorkel options and products to choose from.

    In order to help you hone in on the right snorkel for your holiday shopping, I have reviewed five different brands and they have all left me with very little air to train!

    The three major benefits of training with a snorkel are: 1) an increased lung capacity; 2) an improved technique with the ability to monitor your own strokes and; 3) being able to enjoy the underwater view for extended periods of time.

    Breathing through a snorkel forces you to work harder for each breath, while only allowing a certain amount of air through the spout. Using a snorkel forces you to keep your head in line and looking down this allows you to clearly see what your arms are doing on each pull or stroke. Some long-course triathletes and open water swimmers are required to train for longer periods of time. With a snorkel, these athletes can enjoy the ocean, lake or river views, while outside the pool.

    I’ve reviewed them in alphabetical order.

    1. Arena Swim Snorkel

    This snorkel has quite a few adjustment options on the headpiece, straps and tube, giving it a very sturdy and hydrodynamic feel. The snorkel doesn’t move around on your head while flip turning or swimming at speed. The comfort combined with adjustable headpiece features makes the Arena snorkel a great option for a long distance swimmer or triathlete, who has to have their face in the water for longer periods of time.


    2. Finis Swimmers Snorkel

    This is the perfect open water snorkel for either a triathlete or an open water swimmer. The long tube lends itself to easily blocking larger waves or open water disturbances, which is one of its best attributes. The FINIS snorkel comes in several different bright colors, which make it a “fun” accessory. But they have another purpose: the highlighted colors can help a swimmer stand out in the ocean, lake or river making it a great safety feature, too.


    3. Speedo Bullet Head Snorkel

    The Speedo Bullet is a super lightweight snorkel that has a very comfortable headpiece with extra cushioning. Those features combined with a smaller spout and shorter tube make it a perfect option for a younger swimmer just learning to swim with a snorkel, or for a more experienced snorkel user looking for an especially hard workout.


    4. TYR Ultralight Snorkel

    This snorkel is unique because it allows a swimmer to choose one of three adjustable spout sizes. The TYR snorkel comes with two different oxygen restrictor caps. One cap limits oxygen to 30% airflow into the tube and the other 60% airflow into the tube. This snorkel is perfect for a sprinter because of the different hypoxic options available. It will definitely improve your lung capacity, while making your workout very challenging.


    5. ylon-a YSTA Snorkel

    The ylon-a YSTA snorkel is small, lightweight and has a very minimalist design. These three features make it a very stable snorkel that seems almost nonexistent to you, while you are swimming. I like that characteristic. The snorkel comes unassembled, which is advantageous because you can size and fit it exactly to your own head. This snorkel is perfect for a stroke specialist, because of its tube size and length, its “build your own” fit and its stability while training. 

    Win a FINIS Glide Snorkel!

    Tell us what drill you like to do using a snorkel in the comments below and you will be entered for a random drawing to win a FINIS Glide Snorkel. (All entries must be received by 11:59pm on Friday, December 12. One entry per person.)


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    1 year ago.
    I am now getting BPPV (vertigo) while swimming freestyle laps. To stop turning my head to breathe, I want to try a snorkel. The finis looks like the best choice, but I really don’t want restricted airflow. Any suggestions?
    1 year ago.
    I'm a 45-year-old amateur swimmer who does 2000 yards in a pool three times a week. I only swim with a snorkel. My lack of breathing skills always put me off swimming as exercise, but the snorkel has changed everything. I recommended to use to everyone!
    Susan Smylie
    1 year ago.
    I am not a good side breather, so this swimmer’s snorkel allows me to swim laps continuously without having to worry about breathing.
    Paul B.
    2 years ago.
    Is there a snorkel that would work for the backstroke? I do get water in my mouth doing the backstroke.
    Paul B.
    2 years ago.
    I am 55 years of age and very athletic. I learned to lap swim doing the the freestyle but it hurt my lower back.
    Before my lower back hurt, I used a freestyle snorkel for 5 laps, especially in the early months. Now, my lower
    Back is fine, and I want to learn the backstroke, but water gets in my mouth alot doing the backstroke in a pool for lap swimming. Is there ANY swm snorkle that would work for backstroke?
    2 years ago.
    A snorkel should be in any swimmers bag of training aides. I am a triathlete and train long distance and LOTS of drills. The snorkel helps me keep correct body alignment especially when doing sculling and kicking drills.
    3 years ago.
    I don't understand how you use a swim snorkel without a face mask that covers your nose. How do you prevent water from coming into your nose, if you keep your head in the water? I am a recreational swimmer with neck problems.

    thanks for an explantation.
    3 years ago.
    i just inhale and exhale with the snorkle and i have not had a issue of water going up in my nose. I think its because your head is in such a neutral position. If you are are worried about it, wear nose plugs. I have arthritis in my neck and that swim snorkel has been a life saver.
    2 years ago.
    I breath in through snorkle and breath out through nose. Eventually you get used to slight water up your nose, but you learn to hold water level in your nose with diaphragme.
    3 years ago.
    I coach Masters. I like to use a snorkel for:
    1. Swimmers with multiple stroke errors, so I can isolate the breathing and let themf focus on their arm stroke.
    2. For pull sets where good swimmers "get in the zone."
    3. For swimmers who are learning to swim with a lower head position
    4 years ago.
    I just started swimming and haven't yet used a snorkel!
    4 years ago.
    I do a drill where I progress from kick to catch-up to full freestyle stroke to help focus on kicking with each arm extension.
    Sharon Baldoni
    4 years ago.
    I have been using a snorkel for the last year as it keeps my head in the water and allows me to exert more effort on my kick and strokes- I am ordering a center swim snorkel instead of the side snorkel and mask, as now I feel it can totally enhance my experience. I swim in a pool at the gym and love how many more laps I can get in such a short amount of time. I am not in any competition and just adore fins and snorkel to increase my endurance.
    5 years ago.
    Can these snorkels be used with a mask or are goggles required??
    5 years ago.
    I use the snorkel to build lung capacity. It also let's me focus on my stroke and kicking technique. Plus, I have no kick, so and the snorkel really helps me focus on my kicking drills!! Proper neck and body positioning using the snorkel also help this aging body!
    6 years ago.
    My Dr. has confirmed with MRI that 4 of my cervical vertebrae are in bad shape. I do a lot of open water swimming on a usually quite wavy lake and she has told me I cannot turn my head swimming any longer. She recommended I get a good snorkel and I read now that Julie has said your Finis snorkel is the best in open water. Last year we worked up to a 3 mile swim and that is a lot of head turning therefore I have decided to purchase your snorkel.
    5 years ago.
    Hi Russell: My Dr. confirmed for me also that I have significant cervical spine issues, recently made significantly worse by a rear end collision. Was a Master's swimmer. Now told no more swimming unless it's with a snorkel. I wanted to find out how things were going with your Finis snorkel. I won't be doing much open water - mostly pool swims with a Master's team. Thanks!
    3 years ago.
    Same boat... Cervical damage has moved me into the snorkel crowd and I've had a lot of stories/judgments about people who use snorkels. Now I get get to look at all of those through my own eyes. Life is perfect that way :)
    Hayley Ronci
    6 years ago.
    I would use my FINIS GLIDE Snorkel for kicking on my stomach with my hands at my side. This will help to keep my body in line and on top of the water because I will not have to lift my head to breathe.
    Elle Brooks
    6 years ago.
    With a snorkel I can concentrate more on my stroke when I'm doing my distance swims.
    Michael on the Prairie
    6 years ago.
    I have used a Finis snorkel for the past 15 years in my daily lap swims and drills. The consistent flow of oxygen supplies the edge for training to allow me to concentrate on my strokes and form. It's design keeps me in the best possible position in the water. In addition, the bright color tube makes it easy for my friends to see which lane in am in the Stephen's Family YMCA lap pool.
    sarah veronica
    6 years ago.
    i use it for my hand entry drill and catch
    6 years ago.
    I've used a ylon for the past year just for techniques purposes and I'm in love with using snorkels. Especially on sprint sets??
    Melissa Palmer
    6 years ago.
    I have never used a snorkel, but would love to integrate one into my swim workouts. I have extended arm drop issues when my right hand extends before the pull. It would be great tool to see the problem and work on a solution.
    deb wical
    6 years ago.
    I use the snorkel in the Caribbean ocean and I watch the fish for hours and get my exercise at the same time.
    Mike Leake
    6 years ago.
    I like using the snorkel to help with head/body position as well as increasing heart rate.
    6 years ago.
    I like using a snorkel to help build lung capacity.
    6 years ago.
    Using a snorkel has allowed me to keep swimming (& retain some sanity!). With a long list of back & neck issues, the only way my doctors would allow me to keep swimming was with a snorkel. I've been swimming with one for about 5 years now, and am so thankful that swim snorkels exist! I can still do hard workouts & stay in decent shape because of a snorkel. While it took me a while to adjust to swimming with one, I'm now so used to it that the few times I swim without a snorkel (typically just when racing or doing backstroke / kicking on my back), I have to remember to turn my head to breathe!
    6 years ago.
    Whenever possible, I like to pull long freestyle sets with my buoy between my ankles; this makes for a great core AND upper body workout.
    Displaying   1 - 25 of 96
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