Skip to main content

What is a Dry Snorkel? (Easy Explanation)

Mann zeigt was ein trockenschnorchel ist

In discussions with snorkelers or divers the word dry snorkel is often used. You’ve heard of the term, but you don’t really know what it means? Who always asked himself “What is a dry snorkel?” is right here.

We’ll soon explain what the dry snorkels are, where the advantages and disadvantages lie and what kind of snorkel is best for you.

Anyone who has ever been involved with snorkeling equipment will know that there are many types of snorkel. At first glance, this is certainly amazing for you. A snorkel is actually imagined as a simple piece of plastic attached to the mask.

In fact, building a modern snorkel is much more complicated. On the one hand it has to be considered that the snorkels are not too long, because otherwise dangerous pendulum breathing can occur. On the other hand, many new snorkels are equipped with special valves that prevent water from entering the snorkel or allow salt water to be removed from the snorkel.

Now the question arises: What is a dry snorkel?

How do dry snorkels work?

A dry snorkel or a dry snorkel is characterized by a so-called ball valve. The valve is located at the upper end of the snorkel and does not let any (or a little) sea water into the snorkel. So instead of asking how dry snorkels work, you could also ask the question: How do snorkels with a ball valve work?

The special feature of dry snorkelling is that it is not just spray water. With a dry snorkel you can dive yourself without filling your mouth with salt water on your first breath. For this reason dry snorkeling is not only used for snorkeling but also for diving.

For snorkelers, dry snorkelling is particularly practical when they are in areas with turbulent waters. With a conventional snorkel, even a small wave is enough to flush water directly into the snorkel.

Dry snorkels also often have a blow-out valve. The valve allows water that has penetrated the snorkel’s tube to be flushed out. If water enters the snorkel despite the ball valve, this does not immediately cause breathing problems, but can simply be pushed out of the mouthpiece by exhaling.

Advantages and disadvantages of dry snorkeling

In the following we compare dry snorkelling with conventional snorkelling and will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of snorkel.


Dry snorkels sound like a fantastic thing? These are the advantages:

  • No water: The biggest advantage of dry snorkeling is that you don’t have your mouth full of salt water during the first wave or when you move your head unfavourably. But that’s exactly what happens with all other types of snorkels.
  • Saves energy and nerves: With a dry snorkel, you’ll have to appear less often to flush the water out of the pipe. In the best case, your head will be under water the whole time and you can devote yourself to the fantastic underwater worlds without any problems.


Unfortunately, even dry snorkels are not perfect. In practice, the following disadvantages are noticeable:

  • More difficult: Compared to equivalent classic snorkels, dry snorkels are somewhat larger and heavier. The additional valve and the more complex construction are the reason for the extra weight.
  • Problems with the valve: Some people report that sometimes the valve does not open or close when the snorkel emerges even though it is not under water. The result is breathing difficulties. This is not dangerous. Only the head has to be lifted out of the water, but it is definitely disturbing.
  • Additional buoyancy: The air that accumulates in the dry snorkel is underwater like an anchor. For divers, progress is more difficult because the air in the tube constantly pulls the body upwards. However, this is not the case with semi-dry snorkelling.
  • Splash protection can get dirty: The protection at the top of the snorkel, which prevents the penetration of splash water, tends to get dirty. Dirt and sand can become trapped and further restrict the air supply in addition to the already small openings in the splash guard.

Customers’ opinions: Is a dry snorkeling worth it?

While reading the customer reviews, I noticed that there are essentially two types of experience reports. The majority of the customers were completely convinced and appreciated the dry snorkels very much. However, one could also read several times that although buyers are so satisfied with the product, they still don’t use the snorkel often.

Problems with snorkeling (and also with snorkel masks) are comparatively rare. Online you can find dozens of negative reviews, but these disappear quickly among the thousands of positive reviews. The thing about online reviews is that most satisfied customers never leave a positive review. Unsatisfied customers are much more likely to share their experiences. A good product is so quickly put in the wrong light.

Dry snorkel vs semi-dry snorkel

It is exciting to see how many different types of snorkels there are. Prices for snorkels range from $10 to $150. Snorkels are not too complex objects in themselves.

A simple, bent plastic pipe with a mouthpiece is supposedly sufficient. Always new developments led to clear revaluations. Today’s models therefore differ considerably from the first simple snorkels.

For snorkel beginners, the distinction between semi-dry snorkeling and dry snorkeling is often not always clear. At first (and second) glance the snorkels are very similar. The small word “semi”, which is hidden in some product descriptions of snorkels, has however a crucial meaning.

Semi-dry snorkels have a valve on the top of the snorkel that prevents splash water from entering the pipe. They are also equipped with a blow-off valve. The one-way valve allows water to be blown from inside the snorkel.

In contrast, dry snorkels have a proper mechanism with a float valve that closes the entrance of the snorkel should it be underwater. If, for example, a wave sloshes over the snorkel, no water gets into the tube.

The system alone is no help above water. Splash water could theoretically penetrate a dry snorkel. For this reason dry snorkels are additionally equipped with a splash guard, which prevents exactly that.


Snorkeling is not one of the most popular water sports for nothing. Breathtaking water landscapes and unique wildlife are waiting to be explored. For water sports, snorkelling is also very easy.

With solid swimming skills, the right snorkeling equipment, a read of the safety instructions and a short instruction you are ready for your first snorkeling adventure.

Researching the right equipment is not always easy. Things like the different types of snorkels make the search difficult. With a dry snorkel, however, you are well served. An alternative can be snorkel masks, as these are usually also equipped with a dry snorkel.

Children, beginners as well as advanced snorkelers should choose a high-quality (normal) dry snorkel. Equipped with these snorkels you can enjoy exploring and diving without the intrusion of sea water.

Average rating 5 with a total of 1 votes

Related Articles