Best Kids Snorkel Gear From Toddler to Teen

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Our family fell head over heels in love with snorkeling over 8 years ago when we moved to the shores of the Red Sea. The water is warm, the visibility is incredible and the fish were out of this world.

Our kids grew up snorkeling, and we’ve basically tried all of the kid’s snorkeling gear you can think of in the last decade. Some of it was snorkeling gear for toddlers that our little ones started using as soon as they could walk, and other gear, we didn’t fully embrace until our older kids were teens. Now, that we have kids ranging from age 5-15, we can confidently share what we believe is the BEST KIDS SNORKELING GEAR!

best kids snorkeling gear

One thing that we quickly learned when looking for the best snorkeling gear for kids is that the gear you use MATTERS. Snorkeling is only fun if you’re armed with the right gear– uncomfortable fins, poor-fitting snorkels, or a leaking mask can quickly ruin the fun of the experience. 

If you’re on the lookout to find the best children’s snorkel set, you’re in the right place! Below, we’ve answered some common questions about snorkeling with children and compiled a list of the best snorkel sets for kids that are perfect for your next underwater family adventure! 

best kids snorkel gear

What To Look For In Kids Snorkel Sets  

Compared to other underwater activities like scuba diving, snorkeling requires much less gear. But this doesn’t diminish the importance of high-quality snorkeling equipment for kids! For the best snorkeling experience, you should purchase a special kid’s snorkeling set (not an adult set) comprising a mask, fins, and a snorkel. While you can get most of these pieces separately, it’s often much cheaper to buy a full set of kids’ snorkel gear. 

best kids snorkeling gear set

When you’re buying a kid’s snorkel set, the quality of the snorkel will often determine the quality of the rest of the set. Look for a dry snorkel so that waves can’t splash down the snorkel and into your kids mouth. A good kid’s snorkel will also have a purge valve so that you can blow out any water that accidentally gets into the snorkel. There are 2 types of dry snorkel tops we recommend for kids. The best is a completely dry snorkel top which does the best job at keeping water out of the kid’s snorkel. The splashguard snorkel top will keep small splashes out, so it’s a semi-dry snorkel, but is one step down from a true dry snorkel.

We also recommend that when you’re looking for a complete snorkeling set for kids, you purchase one with adjustable fins that have room for your kids to grow. Typically, our kids have been able to fit into their adjustable fins for 1-2 sizes beyond what the manufacturer recommends, but adjustable fins are always a better option for kids than size-specific snorkel fins for kids.

Adult snorkeling gear for kids often leaks, or causes mouth discomfort, so stick to kid’s sizes underwater gear if you want your kids to really have a great experience. If your kids are older, we noticed that our kids can start fitting into smaller adult snorkeling gear around age 12.

Do Kids Need Snorkeling Fins? 

No, snorkeling fins for kids are not a requirement, since they can snorkel and view fish without them. We typically have our younger kids snorkel without fins, but introduce fins to them once they’re better swimmers and more comfortable in the water, around age 5-6.

toddler snorkeling gear

It is significantly easier for kids to swim in open water with fins on than without them. Fins have always allowed our children to swim farther without getting as tired, so if we’ll be swimming to several different areas while we’re snorkeling, we always put fins on the kids.

Snorkel fins for children are also really helpful if your kids want to freedive down below the surface of the water.

What Age Can Kids Learn To Snorkel? 

There isn’t a specific age at which children can begin snorkeling. Most kids can quickly learn at about 3 to 4 years of age, but it’s absolutely possible to introduce toddlers to snorkeling as young as one year old if both the child and the parents are very comfortable in the water.

teaching little kids how to snorkel with the best kids snorkeling gear
Our 3-year-old snorkeling with Dad

One of our kids started going out on the paddleboard to accompany us on snorkel trips starting around 6 months old. By the time he was a little over a year old, we got him a basic snorkel mask and he would put his face underwater to look at the fish as we paddled him around. He was snorkeling with a mask and fins when he was age 2.

When our kids are first learning how to snorkel, we have them start by “riding” on our backs. This helps them feel more secure and safe, and also makes it easier to keep them horizontal even when they want to put their head above water. For timid snorkelers, this is a great option because they can choose to only put their face underwater when they’re ready.

teaching little kids how to snorkel with the best kids snorkeling gear
teaching kids how to snorkel

Do Kids Need A Life Jacket While Snorkeling? 

We always recommend life jackets for children in open water to ensure they are entirely safe underwater. But if your child is older and a very strong swimmer, you can allow them to free dive without a life jacket. Just make sure they are under adult supervision at all times. 

kids wearing a life jacket while snorkeling

We start letting our kids free dive as soon as they’re comfortable and always under our supervision. Often, we’ll take their life jacket off, let it float on the surface, and dive down with them to make sure they’re both safe and comfortable.

If you’re far off from shore, life jackets are a necessity for everyone in the group!

large family snorkeling in the carribean wearing life jackets while snorkeling

Are full-face masks safe for kids? 

There has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding full-face snorkeling masks for children. While these masks can help children struggling to have a snorkel in their mouth, there is the possibility of carbon dioxide buildup inside the masks as there is no space for the gas to be dispelled. 

full face snorkel mask for kids

On a recent trip, one of my nieces was really struggling to figure out how to snorkel, so she used a full face mask to get her comfortable with being underwater, and was able to soon transition to a regular snorkel set for kids.

If you purchase a full-face snorkeling mask for your kid, make sure you invest in a high-quality product and always make sure to monitor your child while using a full-face snorkel mask for kids. Due to the risks attached, we wouldn’t recommend using a full face mask for prolonged snorkeling excursions. 

Best Snorkel Mask For Toddlers

Aqua Sphere Sphera Toddler Swim & Snorkeling mask

Brand: Aqua Sphere
Material: Silicone frame, plastic lens
Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 3.5 inches

This Aqua Sphere toddler snorkeling mask is what we used to introduce all our toddlers to snorkeling since it’s small, flexible, and designed especially for the smaller faces of young children. We love that there is a wide field of view with this toddler snorkel mask and that the mask also covers a child’s nose, as a traditional snorkeling mask would.

The mask comes with an easily-adjustable buckle system and 100% UVA and UVB protection technology. This toddler snorkel mask has a plastic lens (that’s super flexible), so we noticed that it does scratch more easily than a regular glass snorkel mask.

Overall, this mask has fit all our kids well, been very comfortable, and is easily the best toddler snorkel mask we’ve tried.

toddler snorkel mask for kids

Best Snorkel Sets For Kids 

Now that we’ve filled you in on the basics of choosing a child’s snorkel gear, let’s get down to business. Below is our hand-picked list of the best children’s snorkeling sets to ensure a fantastic snorkeling experience. 

best kids snorkeling gear for all ages

Promate Youth Snorkel Combo Set 

Brand: Promate 
Gear: Dive mask, open heel fins, dry snorkel, and mesh bag. 

This Promate Youth Snorkel Combo Set is our absolute favorite children’s snorkel set. We’ve had this set for 6 years and it’s been passed through 4 of our kids now and is still in excellent condition (even after LOTS of use). The package includes all the basic snorkeling equipment your child needs, from a dive mask to a dry snorkel, fins, and a mesh bag. The Junior mask is designed with a quality silicone gasket and a wide split strap design for a comfortable, secure fitting. It has dual tempered glass lens for a wide field of vision and adjustable straps for a perfect fit, which kids can easily adjust on their own. Our kids think that this is the most comfortable snorkeling mask we own!

best kids snorkeling gear promate kids snorkel set

This set is equipped with a full dry snorkel and the quality is great. The plastic mouthpiece starts to fit well into our kid’s mouths around age 4.

The fins on this snorkel set for kids have a soft foot pocket and are some of the easiest kid’s snorkel fins to adjust (the kids can adjust them all on their own), so we highly recommend them. These always stay on the kids well and no one ever gets blisters or sore feet from the Promate kid’s fins.

This fantastic snorkeling set comes in various colors and sizes, complete with a drawstring mesh bag for transportation and storage. If you want to invest in only the best for your child, this Promate Youth Snorkel set is the way to go. 

best kids snorkeling gear promate

U.S. Divers Regal Kids Snorkel Set 

Brand: US Divers 
Gear: Fins, Mask, Snorkel, and carry bag. 

This Junior US Divers Regal Kids Snorkel Set is another one of our most used snorkel sets. It comes in two colors and is the ideal snorkeling gear to gift your child. The set comes with a snorkel mask that fits kid’s faces well, starting around age 5. We have owned several of these snorkel masks for kids and while we always love them at first, the silicone begins to lose its elasticity after about 3 years and starts to get uncomfortably tight. For many kids, that’s all the time they need before growing into the next size, but it’s an important factor to keep in mind if you plan on passing this snorkel mask through more than one kid.

US Divers kdis snorkel set, best kids snorkel gear

The US Divers dry top snorkel is easily the best kids snorkel we’ve found, and the fins are great quality as well. The fins can be a bit difficult to adjust, so kids will need adult help to change the size. We also love that the fins are super durable and long-lasting (we have one pair that’s 7 years old and still doing well). And to top it all, the set includes a special lightweight carry bag for your child to carry their gear around, and the bag has an adjustable strap so it’s realistic for kids to carry them around easily.

best kids snorkel gear us divers regal junior

NOTE: Costco often sells US Divers kids snorkel sets, but they are of lower quality than what we’ve shared here. Although they’re still decent, the fins on the Costco set always end up ripping on our kid’s sets, and the snorkel is not a true dry snorkel.

US Divers kdis snorkel set, best kids snorkel gear

Cressi Rocks Kids Set 

Brand: Cressi Rocks 
Gear: Mask, Fins, Snorkel, Net bag. 

Cressi is one of the top names in snorkeling and diving sets and their Cressi Rocks snorkel set for kids is fantastic quality. If we were to pick between this set and the previously mentioned US Divers set, we would choose this set.

Although the two sets look almost the same, there are a few key differences that make this one of the best kids’ snorkeling gear.

The mask is good quality and feels much like the US Divers mask does at first. Truthfully, we haven’t had it long enough to see if the silicone will lose elasticity, but it could happen.

We absolutely LOVE the snorkel for this set. It has a flexible snorkel tube which makes it fit a bigger range of kids more comfortably. We’ve found that the flexible tube makes it work easier for both bigger kids and even preschoolers snorkeling.

The fins on the Cressi kid’s snorkel fins are great quality and similar to the Promate set, are easy for kids to adjust independently, and are super comfortable. While we don’t have as much time to test this set (only 1 year), we think it’s one of the best kid’s snorkel sets.

best kids snorkel set

Cobalt Komodo Kids Snorkel Set

Brand: Cobalt
Material: Silicone and tempered glass 
Gear: Dry snorkel, snorkel mask, and travel-sized fins. 

If you’re searching for top-quality, reliable snorkel sets for kids, this Cobalt Komodo Kid Snorkel Set is your best bet. The snorkel comes with a submersible dry top, preventing water entry, and a one-way purge valve to ensure quick water draining. 

The mouthpiece is made from soft, food-grade silicone that is comfortable in your kid’s mouth and is sized especially for little children. The Komodo mask has a dual-window, tempered glass design that provides distortion-free visibility, with a silicone skirt for a leak-free, comfortable fit. The set includes travel-sized fins with a comfortable foot pocket, adjustable heel straps, and maximum thrust to propel your child seamlessly through the water. 

cressi kids snorkel set best kids snorkel set

Mares Head Sea Pals Snorkel Set

Brand: Mares 
Gear: Mask, Fin, Snorkel 

This Mares Snorkel Set is a great youth snorkeling set for adventurous little ones. We love that this set can fit little feet as small as a toddler size 9, so kids who are really little can get a full snorkel set for children.

The Mares snorkel set has a lot of similarities to the ProMate set we mentioned, but the dry snorkel top didn’t appear to be as high of quality. The plastic on the top was harder and we were actually worried that our kids might drop it and break the dry top off.

The most fun feature of this set is that it comes in a cute animal-themed bag, which is great for transporting snorkeling gear as well as providing some extra space for snacks or a small towel.

best kids snorkel set

U.S. Divers Dorado Jr Kids Snorkeling Set

Brand: US Divers 
Gear: Mask, Snorkel, Fins 

This is another set we’ve had for years and really liked. Unline the other US Divers snorkel set mentioned above, the silicone on the kid’s face mask is thinner and more flexible and we’ve never had problems with it losing elasticity.

The snorkel on this set is not a true dry snorkel, just a splashtop, which is good, but not fantastic.

best kids snorkel set us divers kids snorkel set

While we love the mask, the fins on this set need improvement. There are sections on the fins that are made of rubber and with every pair we’ve owned, the rubber tears after a couple of years, making them unusable.

best kids snorkel set us divers kids snorkel set

This is a great option if you want something short-term, but don’t need it to stand up to longer-term snorkeling use.

Note: This set is a slight step up from what you can find at Costco.

best snorkel masks for kids

Kids Full Face Snorkel Mask

Like I mentioned above, we don’t generally use or recommend full-face snorkel masks for kids, but there are a few times when they can be good for snorkeling with kids.  

If you have a child with lots of anxiety about snorkeling or is struggling to relax when breathing through a regular snorkel, these can be a good tool to help kids get comfortable underwater.  

If you choose to use one of these, make sure to stop OFTEN and make your child take it off to ensure that there is not a build-up of gasses.  Never wear one for more than 10 minutes at a time. We found that this children’s full face mask fit kids 10 and up well, but didn’t fit younger kids well since their faces were too small.  Another disadvantage to getting this over a regular kids snorkel set is that you will need to buy fins separately.

best kids snorkel set full face kids snorkel set

Best Snorkel Gear For Teens and Older Kids

Once kids are about age 12, we transition them into adult-sized snorkeling gear.  They can fit well into the fins, and usually, a small adult face mask and snorkel will fit them.  Unfortunately, adult snorkeling gear is often sold as a mask and snorkel set and then fins are sold separately.  This makes teen snorkel sets more expensive, though the quality is generally better than a children’s set. 

best kids snorkel set teens snorkel set

We’ve had horrible luck with generic and off-brand snorkel fins for teens and older kids.  Most of them have been really poor quality and make snorkeling harder rather than easier and several have caused lots of pain for our kids.  For teens snorkeling, ONLY buy name-brand and high-quality fins.  Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options for good-quality adjustable snorkel fins for teens, so you often need to buy a set size.  

Best snorkel goggles for teens

Cressi Mask and Snorkel Set

Brand: Cressi
Contains: Mask and Dry Snorkel

If you want to get your teens a snorkel and mask that will last them well into adulthood, get this Cressi mask and dry snorkel set.  The mask is super comfortable and also incredibly easy to adjust.  The girls really liked that the back is softer silicone so it doesn’t pull hair as much.  The dry snorkel top is hard to beat and was a good size for smaller teen mouths!  This is fantastic quality and can easily last for years and years!

best snorkel mask for teens cressi

Greatever Dry Snorkel and Mask

Contains: Snorkel and Mask

This has been the absolute BEST budget snorkel we’ve found for teens.  The silicone is super flexible, very comfortable, and keeps water out well.  This is a smaller face mask for kids and it fit our daughter around age 11.  While this is not a name brand, the quality is just as good as many other high-end snorkel and mask sets that we’ve owned, at a fraction of the price.  We love that the snorkel tube is flexible (making it easier for younger kids to use comfortably) and that the snorkel is a great dry snorkel.

best snorkel mask for teens

Best Snorkel Fins For Teens and Older Kids

Cressi Full Pocket Snorkel Fins

If you want to get your teen some snorkel fins that will last for a long time, we can’t recommend these enough.  Our teenage son (15 years old 5’7”) has these and the quality is fantastic.  They have a secure foot pocket that stays comfortable even after multiple days of snorkeling and scuba diving, without the need for a neoprene sock.  Never have we had foot pain or cramps from these fins, which is a great indicator that they’re good quality.

best snorkel fins for teens

Cressi Adjustable Short Fins

Currently, our daughter uses these fins and they’re a great fit for smaller teens and tweens.  She had outgrown her kids-sized fins but was still SMALL, so she needed a fin that was easy to use, but not too big (she’s 12 years old, 5’ and 90 lbs).  Although these are labeled as short adult fins, they were the perfect step up from her kids-sized fins.  As an added benefit, they’re adjustable, so they can take her through a few growth spurts before we get her a full pocket, one size snorkel fin set.  These are also great travel snorkel fins for older kids.  

best snorkel fins for teens

Teaching Kids How To Snorkel

On a recent trip in the Caribbean, I was approached by a mom of 3 kids who were similar ages to my kids and she was almost in tears. This was their first tropical vacation as a family and tehy had booked three snorkeling trips for their kids soon after arrival, and they were a disastaer. At that point, every mention of snorkeling brough tears and her kids didn’t even want to go for a casual swim.

I felt so bad for this mom, because if she had just known how to teach her kids how to snorkel, she could have laid the groundwork before they even left on the trip so that the kids were comfortable snorkeling as soon as they arrived. While we’re written a full article about teaching your kids to snorkel (which you really MUST READ) here are the basics.

best kids snorkel sets

Start Teaching Kids to Snorkel in the Pool

Have them just start with a snorkel mask, and as they get more comfortable with having their nose covered, let them swim around. When they’re doing good swimming with a mask, introduce the snorkel. Start in shallow water where they can sit on the pool steps of just bend town and practice breathing under water, without swimming.

Once they get the hang of breathing, have them swim around in shallow water, and gradually progress to deeper water as they get more confident. If your child isn’t a strong swimmer, don’t worry – just have them wear a life jacket to help them float better (they’ll likely be wearing one on a family snorkel trip anyway). Once their comfortable with both a mask and snorkel, introduce kids snorkel fins.

best kids snorkel sets

Transitioning Kids From Pool Snorkeling to Open Water Snorkeling

The steps for teaching kids to snorkel in open water are very similar to teaching them to snorkel in the pool. Start in shallow water where the kids can stand and practice breathing through the snorkel. Usually, the water close to shore has a lot of sand and sediment, so visibility is bad. They’re not trying to see anything, just practice their breathing. Once they are used to breathing through their snorkel, have them snorkel around in water that they can stand up and touch in. At this point, don’t introduce fins since they can be a bit of a challenge in shallow water.

If you have a boat snorkeling trip planned, it’s very important that you take your kids to do some easy shore snorkeling first. The movement and wave of the open water (even small waves) can be really challenging and scary for kids. Give them time to ease into it before you send them on a boat snorkel trip. Cenotes in Mexico would be a great place to snorkel!

best kids snorkel sets

How can I keep kids warm while snorkeling?

Kids often get really cold while snorkeling.  Being in the cold water (or even warm tropical water) can drop kids body temperatures quickly.  I’m all too familiar with cold kids while snorkeling.  Most of our kids are very skinny and get cold very easy while snorkeling so they regularly wear wetsuits.  Read our full review of the best kids wetsuits to help choose the one that’s best for your kids.  We recommend full body wetsuits unless your kids just need a tiny bit of extra warmth. 

best kids snorkel sets

What safety precautions should I take when snorkeling with kids?

It is important to always supervise children while snorkeling, even if they are older and good swimmers. Ideally, you should get into the water with them. Educate children about the various underwater hazards such as wildlife and dangerous currents, and also make them aware of the dangers of touching corals. When children are learning how to snorkel, it is advisable to have them wear life jackets.

What if my child is scared to snorkel?

Initially, it is common for children to feel scared or nervous about snorkeling. It is important to allow them to progress at their own pace and not push them beyond their comfort level. Begin by practicing in a pool and move to open water only when they feel confident in the pool. Wearing a life jacket can make snorkeling easier for kids as it helps them float without worrying. Offer encouragement and reassurance, and share in the excitement of exploring the underwater world together.

How can I prevent getting sunburned while snorkeling?

To prevent sunburn while snorkeling, it is important to protect yourself from the sun’s intensified rays in the water. Sunscreen may not be as effective for as long, so it is recommended to wear sun protective clothing. Our family is particularly susceptible to sunburns, with four of our kids having red hair and freckles, and I have a history of skin cancer. Therefore, we take sun protection very seriously.  It is recommended to wear long sleeve shirts that provide sun protection and regularly reapply sunscreen to any uncovered areas every hour. If you plan to snorkel, only use reef safe sunscreen for protection. Wearing a wetsuit is the most effective way to protect yourself from the sun while snorkeling.

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

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