Are you all set to hit the beach with your kids this vacation? Whilst undoubtedly catching waves on their boogie boards is still our kids favourite pastime at the beach, they have recently discovered the joy of snorkeling and the pleasure that comes with exploring life beneath the surface.
A simple mask and snorkel may work well in the pool or shallow waters, as soon as they’re ready to hit the open waters, it becomes essential they have the right snorkeling kit for their comfort and safety.
But how do you choose a snorkeling set that fits your kid perfectly? To make things a breeze for you, we are here with these best snorkel sets for kids of all ages.
This post is part of our beach vacation and essentials travel gear series – pop on over for more handy advice planning the right gear you need for your next family vacation
What to look for in a good snorkeling set for kids
Merely searching for the best snorkeling set for kids will land you between hundreds of products, and it can be pretty intimidating to choose one.
When looking for things like a snorkel, face mask and fins, comfort and fit should be your priority, as kids don’t love wearing stuff that pinches their skin or is uncomfortable.
Here are some of the most important factors that will help you decide which snorkel set to buy for kids:
Full face vs. regular snorkel masks?
A crucial thing that you cannot overlook when buying a snorkel set. Some snorkel sets for kids come with a full-face snorkeling mask.
There are a few downsides to using a full-face snorkel mask, such as CO2 build-up due to the airtight seal around the face. Some studies suggest that using a kids’ full face snorkel can be dangerous.
It’s our recommendation that unless your child has a complete aversion to using a face mask you should opt for snorkel sets with regular or partial coverage to ensure that your kid is safe at all times.
You should go for a durable snorkel set, and there is no need to explain why. Kids love splashing around on the beach playing in the sand, and only a durable snorkel set can last in these conditions.
Skim through the customer reviews to find out the lifespan of every snorkel set for kids that you are considering.
An important feature to look for is tempered glass lenses made from high grade silicone. Cheap plastic will scratch easily and simply not last.
Easy to use
Every component present in the snorkeling set should be easy to use so that your little one doesn’t have to run towards you every time his facemask or fins get off.
One thing that most parents overlook is the fin closure. When I was looking for a snorkel set for my children, I spent hours researching on the web and came across the fact that kids love wearing open heel fins.
Open heel fins are easy to wear, are more comfortable, and gives your kid more space as they grew. There’s an adjustable strap you can loosen or tighten to give your little one the comfort they need.
As you know, kids get upset easily when they aren’t comfortable so it’s important to inspect the snorkeling set properly before you get in the water.
You need to check the seal to ensure that it’s high quality and comfortable to wear. The mask should be firm to create a tight seal and not allow any leaking – yes some will complain at first this is too tight!
For children with long hair, make sure this is tied back when trying on their mask to make sure there’s no pulling or pinching.
Check the straps on the fins for a snug fit.
Components of the snorkel set
Not every snorkel set out there comes with all the components such as fins (flippers) and mask. It is essential to check it beforehand to make the purchase. If the set you want to buy lacks fins, you can buy them separately, but they’re almost always cheaper to buy together.
Single lens or double lens snorkeling mask?
Single-lens masks mean that you have one clear glass panel, rather than a separate lense on each eye. We find for the breadth of vision and varying head sizes, the single lens works best in a kids’ snorkel set.
If your child needs prescription glasses, a double lens may work better as you can get special lenses made for each eye (though note these cost significantly more than the sets we describe here).
Make sure your mask comes with some sort of clip or fastener to keep the snorkel attached to the mask!
Most snorkeling sets for kids are available in the $35 to $60USD price range. As you can expect, the little more you pay, the better the product.
Getting water confident with your snorkelling set before you go
Before hitting the open waters with your new kids’ snorkel set, the most important thing is to get comfortable using it at home first. Either in your own pool or head to your local pool or swim centre and actually jump in with the gear on.
Start with the mask, get used to simply having the head submerged under the water and what you can see, then add the snorkel. Breathe in and out and once your child is comfortable, get them floating on their stomach.
(Don’t have a pool? You can even start their basic training at home in the bathtub!)
Once they are confident with floating and breathing (noting younger kids may benefit from adding a flotation vest or wetsuit for buoyancy), then introduce kicking and add the fins.
It may take a few attempts to get all parts working at once but practise makes perfect. Simply getting their head under the water while they are still breathing can be the biggest challenge; once you’re past this hurdle and they start exploring underneath the rest will come naturally, for most.
6 Best Snorkel Sets for Kids
Best Overall Snorkel Set: Seavenger Aviator Snorkeling Set
If you don’t want to buy the snorkel mask and fins separately, this best kids’ snorkel set is a catch for you. In the box, you’ll find a snorkel mask and a pair of fins along with a gear back that makes carrying the set easier.
The quick-drying fins make them easier to pack when you are about to leave for home. Furthermore, there’s a purge valve on the mask’s tube as well to keep the water out.
This snorkel set gets five out of five when it comes to durability. The mask has a single-tempered lens that resists scratches caused due to the sand. The partial coverage facemask gives a good airtight seal to prevent water from seeping inside.
Pros: This snorkel set is a favourite among parents looking for something comfortable and durable. The fins have an open heel design, so your kids can wear them pretty easily. The mask strap feels soft on the head, and kids can wear it for hours.
Cons: Some parents report that the intake valve may clog sometimes.
Size: XXS 1 – 4 US
Runner Up: Cressi Junior Snorkeling Kit
Kids love using this snorkel set from Cressi because it’s comfortable, looks stylish, and is highly durable. Cressi is a well-known brand that manufactures great-quality snorkeling masks and other such items.
You will get a pair of fins, a durable snorkel tube, and eyewear with a double edge skirt in the set. The mark features an airtight seal, so there’s no chance water can seep inside the mask. Lastly, the mask and fins have adjustable straps, so you can adjust them as your kid grows.
Size: Youth 1/3 and 3/6
Best Snorkel Sets for Younger Kids
Most snorkel sets with matching fins start from around a shoe size 1 US, however, with a little digging and research you can find some sets that start from a size 9 US which allows kids as young as approximately 4 or 5 to start enjoying snorkeling with the right kit.
Best Snorkel set for Younger Kids: U.S. Divers Dorado Snorkel Set
Here’s a superb snorkel set for younger kids between rough ages 5 to 8 (with medium and large sizes to fit your older kids too). It comprises a mask that offers great coverage, a long and durable snorkel tube, and fins with open heel design.
In comes with a gear bag included making it easy to travel with. And you don’t need to worry too much about kids outgrowing it straight away as you can adjust the mask straps.
If durability and comfort are your foremost priorities, going with this snorkeling set is a wise choice. Just check out the sizes carefully before making a purchase.
Pros: The best kids’ snorkel mask has tempered glass that doesn’t shatter easily. Also, there is less build-up of fog on the lenses, and your kid gets clear vision underwater.
Cons: The snorkel mask can leak sometimes and some purchasers have complained the valve is not very durable.
Sizes: Little Kid 9 -13 US, Medium 1-3 US, Big Kid 5 – 8 US
Best snorkel set for younger kids runner up: Mares Head Italian Collection Sea Pals
A cute and appealing set bound to please even a reluctant child to try snorkeling. Your fins, snorkel and mask come in a handy carry bag set with fun sea critter motifs and a wide range of bright colours including a turtle, octopus, shark & clownfish.
Size: Small 9 – 13 US, Large 1 – 4 US
Also worth a look: Cressi Mini Palau
The Cressi Mini Snorkel set comes in slightly smaller sizes down to an XXXS – kids 11.5 US. so also worth considering for your smaller child.
If you are seeking just fins for a very young swimmer, Cressi also make closed heel fins down to a size 6 US, ideal for getting them used to the fin movement before graduating to a full snorkel set for kids.
Sea Window Explorer Kids Snorkeling Raft
If your little one isn’t ready to hit the water independently yet, then another consideration is a kids snorkeling raft. This inflatable raft gives kids a fog-free view to the water beneath without the need for a mask and snorkel and can accommodate up to a fairly hefty 145 lbs.
It even has an underwater camera mount for your GoPro or kids action camera to capture what’s happening underneath.
Remember junior snorkellers should always wear a life vest in conjunction with any floatation devices or snorkeling kit.
Best Snorkel Sets for Older Kids
Best for Older Kids: Seavenger Voyager Snorkeling Set
This snorkel set from Seavenger is suitable for older kids that love a panoramic view under the water. This is a complete set that comes with snorkel fins, a mask, and a breathing tube along with a gear bag.
Everything you get in this snorkel set is designed to offer durability. The mask offers exceptional peripheral views and has a soft silicone lining on the inside to stop water seepage.
The snorkel fins are also great and have bigger blades, so every push reward your kid with an excellent thrust to move underwater.
Breathing is now easier with the snorkel tube, and the valve doesn’t clog easily. Old kids need a snorkel set with adjustable sizing, and that’s what they get with the Seavenger Voyager Snorkeling Set.
The fins and mask have an adjustable strap, and your kids can adjust them as per their comfort.
Pros: This is an easy-to-use kids’ snorkel set that’s highly durable as well. Furthermore, the fins have big blades for easy kicking, and the mask is safe for sensitive skin.
Cons: The silicone lining is prone to breaking, and the water may seep inside the mask.
Sizes: XS Kids 3 – 6 US
Runner-up snorkel set for older kids: Ertong Children Snorkel Set Kids
This snorkel set from Ertong is perfect for older kids that are excited to snorkel in lakes and oceans. With its impressive durability, the snorkel set lasts longer, and there’s no need to worry about buying a new one after a few months of continuous usage.
The fins have an open-heel design for the ease of wearing and adjusting them to comfort. Furthermore, the mask available with the snorkel set has tempered anti-fog glass with 180-degree vision for better views underwater.
Water cannot seep inside the mask, all thanks to the silicone lining. Lastly, the tube helps the kids in breathing and makes snorkeling even more fun.
The Ertong snorkel set comes in a good range of colours to suit your child’s preference from Sizes 1 to 4 youth.
Further gear you need on a snorkeling trip
In addition to the mask and snorkel set, we also recommend you pack:
- Reef-safe sunscreen – you better believe how strong those UV raise can be, especially in the tropics. And reef-safe is essential to prevent toxic chemicals from bleaching our reefs.
- Wetsuit – depending on how cold the water is, there’s nothing worse than the chills to put kids off the experience. Anywhere with cooler water, kids will appreciate this extra layer of protection. They are also great for UV protection too.
- Neoprene dive socks – if your little ones have problems with the rub from their fins, they may also like to wear dive socks too. This thin layer of neoprene can provide them with an invaluable extra layer of protection. Also helpful for exploring rocky areas and crossing shelly beaches.
- Underwater Action Camera – once they’ve discovered the joy of exploring beneath the surface they’ll want to capture the action. No need for expensive GoPros, these kids underwater action cameras are perfect for little hands learning to shoot and film their own adventures.
Where to go snorkeling with kids
So now you’ve got yourself properly kitted out with an appropriate kids snorkeling set, where should you go?
Head on over here we have a super detailed guide to the best family snorkeling destinations around the world
The tropics are, of, course, the best places to go snorkeling so many destinations in the Caribbean and Pacific ISlands feature heavily – along with suggestions for Hawaii, South East Asia, the Red Sea & Meditteranean.
Failing which, there’s no harm in enjoying your snorkel kit in your home pool! It’s a great way to build up your child’s confidence before they hit open water.
Further Family Beach Vacation Advice
Looking for more great advice and product reviews before heading to the beach? Check out more ideas from our beach travel collection:
- Flotation vest for kids – help your beginner swimmer enter the water with confidence in these kids swimming vests
- Best Beach Toys – looking for more fun in the sun on the beach? Here’s our all time favourite tried & tested beach toys
- Best beach shoes – no more burning feet on foot sand or little shell cuts, here’s how we protect our little ones feet
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