If you are in a rush the best snorkel for lap swimming is the ZIONOR Snorkel which has the best oxygen flow.
If you’ve never used an open water snorkel before, it may be difficult to understand why a swimmer would opt for a bulky breathing tube rather than just coming up for air.
You might be thinking: snorkels restrict your breathing, obstruct your vision, and make you less hydrodynamic. Right?
Well, little do you know, the right snorkel may actually improve your ability to compete at the highest level.
Luckily for you, we’re going to take the time to discuss all the ins and outs of selecting the right snorkel. Afterwards, we’ll discuss some of the most customer-loved snorkels that have hit the market.
If you are in a rush the best snorkels for lap swimming goes as follows:
- ZIONOR Snorkel
- POWERBREATHER Sport Lap Swimming Snorkel
- Michael Phelps Focus Snorkel Small Fit
- Kraken Aquatics Swimmer’s Snorkel
- Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel for Adults and Juniors
Why Might You Need a Snorkel for Lap Swimming?
Among both competitive and leisurely swimmers, snorkel use has become increasingly popular. Although they take some getting used to you, there are tons of performance benefits that every type of swimmer can enjoy when they switch to a snorkel.
No matter who you are, snorkeling is proven to provide health benefits when paired with normal swimming routines. All snorkels restrict your airflow, since air must be dragged from a low to high pressure environment under water. Many coaches prescribe snorkel training since it can increase a swimmer’s aerobic capacity and lung strength.
Moreover, swimmers who have sustained physical injury in their back and neck are often unable to turn their head and come up for air during lap swimming. With a properly fit snorkel, swimmers can still enjoy the healthy sport they love, unlike the majority of physical activities that may worsen neck problems.
Aside from these health benefits, snorkeling encourages the proper head positioning in swimmers. Since the swimmer doesn’t have to come up for air, the swimmer is able to focus on keeping their head aligned with their ankles.
Ultimately, every swimmer can benefit from incorporating snorkeling into their water routine. Regardless of whether you are allowed to bring a snorkel to competition, regular snorkeling gear can improve your health, aerobic capacity, and performance underwater.
Center Mount versus Side Mount Snorkel: What’s Better?
There are two primary types of snorkels: center and side mounted products.
Just like how it sounds, side mounted snorkels are free standing breathing tubes with a chewy mouthpiece that can attach to the side of a swimmer’s goggles. With these traditional snorkels, the breathing tube curves back and over the top of the swimmer’s head.
By contrast, center mounted snorkels attach to the head via a highly mounted head strap. The breathing tube, which is typically a little thinner than the side mounted tube, rests right between the eyes.
Swimmers who have never tried the center mount may wonder why it’s even needed in the first place. After all, won’t it unnecessarily obstruct the user’s vision?
Of course, more experienced swimmers know differently. Center mount snorkels are more hydrodynamic, meaning that they don’t cause an appreciable loss in speed during competition. Yet most importantly, a center mounted snorkel gently encourages the proper swimming position, aligning the top of the head straight back with the ankles.
In short, side mounted snorkels are used more for sightseeing and leisurely swimming. If you’re planning to muck around a giant coral reef, ditch the center mounted snorkel. Otherwise, it’s best to opt for the good old center mount.
How to Choose The Right Snorkel for Lap Swimming
Selecting the proper snorkel is more of an art than a science. Here, we’ll outline some of the most important aspects to get right when you’re choosing between different products. Depending on your swim style and physiology, the right product for you will be different from anyone else’s perfect snorkel.
Although it’s often forgotten, the mouthpiece remains one of the most important components of the snorkel. If the mouthpiece is uncomfortable, it can create excess strain on the jaw and promote improper mouth alignment over time.
Properly fitted mouthpieces should feel comfortable for long durations of use; in fact, swimmers often forget that their mouthpiece is between the lips in the first place.
If you have the luxury of trying out snorkels in store, make sure the mouthpiece is completely comfortable and doesn’t pinch anywhere. It’s most common for overly large components to irritate the corners of your mouth.
The mouthpiece should be able to sit between your teeth without you having to bite down too hard. If you need to force yourself into an unnatural position to get the mouthpiece to work, it’s probably not properly fitted for you.
After your first use of the snorkel in the water, pay attention to how your jaw feels at the end of the day. If your mouth is sore or fatigued, it’s likely that you’ve been biting too hard and need to relax. If the soreness persists, it may mean you should opt for a different mouth piece.
Keep in mind that mouth pieces don’t last forever, either. If your mouthpiece gets more uncomfortable over time, make sure to change it out every few months of frequent use.
Traditional snorkels are made from two different types of materials, including hard plastics that form the breathing tube and squishy silicone mold for the mouthpiece. Additional components, like head straps, are also made from comfortable yet somewhat firmer silicone.
Typically, there’s little variation between the distinct plastics used in snorkels. As the technology has gotten better, some breathing tubes have switched from brittle plastics to slightly more flexible materials that can withstand direct blows.
When speaking about snorkel shape, the most important distinction between products is the curvature of the breathing tube.
The original model of snorkel is based off of a circular profile. In these units, the snorkel sticks up mostly straight past the water line and the tube itself is circle shaped. These older models are called basic J-shape snorkels, which includes a rigid breathing tube that leads to a squishier section meant to angle the mouthpiece towards the mouth.
Nowadays, snorkel manufacturers have become much more concerned about water resistance, drag, and flapping of the breathing tube during high endurance swims. As tube materials have switched from hard to soft plastics, it’s become more important to stabilize the tube itself.
Most modern snorkels are streamlined to reduce the causes of resistance, flapping, and drag. The snorkel tube curves around the head rather than sticking straight out of the water while an oval-shaped bore cuts through the surface of the water.
Moreover, many updated snorkels have flexible silicone tubes that better allow the mouthpiece to be angled more naturally for the average person’s mouth.
If you’re a serious swimmer, it’s important that you opt for a higher performance, modern snorkel rather than an old J-shape snorkel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be physically fit to lap swim with a snorkel?
Most swimmers of any experience level can benefit from lap swimming with a snorkel. However, you should keep in mind that some snorkels will impede your air flow more than others.
If you’re concerned about your level of fitness or have low lung capacity, opt for a product that features an Easy flow valve, wide breathing tube, and independent exhale valve. Some products are designed for hypoxic training swimmers that purposely restrict their air flow using restrictive caps.
Most snorkels are also fitted with a one-way purge valve that prevents saliva and water from entering the mouth piece, which makes it more easy than ever to breathe comfortably.
During a swim, make sure to take frequent breaks and pay attention to how your body feels. If you feel lightheaded or your limbs feel tingly, discontinue swimming and take it slower next time.
Are there any safety concerns with snorkeling?
If you’re intending to buy a lap swimming snorkel for a young child, make sure it’s not actually an adult sized model.Children won’t have the lung capacity to properly exhale, causing them to re-breathe exhaled carbon dioxide and other byproducts.
Over time, they may feel dizzy or disoriented in the water without realizing anything is wrong. This situation can rapidly become dangerous.
Can I compete with a snorkel on?
Most center mounted snorkels are considered competition certified for triathlons and lap swimming events. However, it’s ultimately up to the race director to determine whether or not snorkels constitute a legal device.
Many consider snorkels to provide too much of a performance advantage to allow them in competition. If you’re planning to compete, make sure to reach out to the competition agency to inquire about snorkels.
Yet regardless of their legality in the race, snorkels still provide a great way for athletes to train in between competitive seasons.
Can snorkels provide a speed advantage for lap swimmers?
For both short and mid-distance swimmers, snorkels may provide an appreciable speed boost to normal lap swimming. Specifically, center mount snorkels don’t require the swimmer to come up for air or turn their head to breathe, which creates a smoother stroke and follow-through.
Swimmers with a large air capacity also benefit from balancing out the workload throughout both sides of the body. With a snorkel, the swimmer is less likely to hyperextend their shoulders since they aren’t coming up for air.
However, much of these performance benefits depend on the model and quality of the specific snorkel used during lap swimming.
Reviews of the Best Snorkel for Lap Swimming
Below, we’ve reviewed some of the most popular snorkels based on their customer approval rating, performance, durability, comfort, and quality of materials. Each product has stood the test of time and occupies the best of its category.
1. ZIONOR Snorkel: Best Oxygen Flow
- Compatible with all major swim types, including flip turns
- Best oxygen flow for endurance swims
- Crafted with sleek, hydrodynamic design to maximize lap swimming speed
Featuring a wide mouth spout that allows for seamless airflow, the Zionor snorkel is considered comfortable to use and maximizes oxygen flow during lap swimming. With the firm pad, the thickened head pad helps the snorkel conform comfortably to any adult head size. All in all, users appreciate that the Zionor eliminates all sources off movement when they perform flip turns or all-four strokes. The optimized mouthpiece is made with food-grade material that prevents odors and a one-way purge that drains water during exhale.
If you’re looking to maximize your performance in the water, many swimmers state that this snorkel improves both competition and leisurely speeds by a large margin. The snorkel features a center mounted design that may help improve body alignment and stroke efficiency.
Some users are bothered by the way the breathing tube sits, since it’s pressed right between the eyes. If you’re new to this style of snorkel, it could likely take some getting used to. That said, many customers start to love it after they’ve given themselves time to adjust. Additionally, others complain that the plastic connectors between the adjustable straps and the tube don’t automatically self-tighten, which may cause the tube to slide up if it’s not properly controlled by the swimmer.
Despite these small setbacks, it’s the little details that make this snorkel worthwhile. For instance, the leading edge of the breathing tube has a front-facing triangular mold that helps it slice through the water with every flip. The head strap is wide, yet thin and crafted with a grippy material that keeps it in the adjusted position all swim long.
- Very cost effective and crafted from quality polyurethane materials
- May improve lap swimming speed by nearly twenty percent, according to the manufacturers
- High quality purge valve prevents water uptake through the mouth
- Center mounted design may bother some users
- Some experience tightening issues between adjustment straps and connecting plastic components
2. POWERBREATHER Sport Lap Swimming Snorkel: Most Comfortable Snorkel
- Constructed with comfortable head straps
- Provides enhanced oxygenation to swimmer through patented exhale filtering system
- Doesn’t obstruct swimmer vision
With one of the slimmest designs possible, the Powerbreather provides a unique and powerful addition to the snorkeling market. One double sided tube, connected by a breathing component at the mouth, wraps around the widest part of the head and pokes above the water behind the swimmer.
Unlike other models, the Powerbreather doesn’t create a frustrating gurgling effect. Due to the one-way valve design on the snorkels, no water comes through the top vents – only fresh air. All saliva, carbon dioxide, and excess water ease out of the bottom of the breathing tube. The snorkel employs patented membrane technology, ensuring a comfortable and smooth swim every time.
Additionally, this product has been made with the patented Ameo fresh air system, which is preferred by many professional surfers. Instead of inhaling and exhaling through the same tube, swimmers inhale from the top tubes and exhale through the button.
Unlike traditional products, swimmers can feel comfortable exercising at full capacity with the Powerbreather. Other snorkels may result in rapid fatigue as the swimmer is increasingly exposed to unhealthy exhalation byproducts. This product is certified legal for triathlons, unless otherwise specified by the race director.
It’s the perfect addition to open water swimming for freestyle, breast, butterfly, and side stroke. However, customers should be aware that the snorkel will not work appropriately for flip turns. In this case, it would be best for customers to opt for a Lap or Wave Powerbreather model. Like most other snorkels, swimming in very choppy water may adversely affect the performance of the unit. Users love the Powerbreather since it doesn’t obstruct swimmer vision, provides hydrodynamic comfort, and can adjust for any swimmer head size ages ten and up.
- Crafted with sleek and hydrodynamic design
- Employs patented Ameo fresh air system to reduce carbon dioxide re-uptake
- Unique wrap-around design keeps swimmer’s vision clear and provides enhanced air intake from underwater
- Not suitable for flip turns
- Inexperienced swimmers may strain to consistently breathe enough air
3. Michael Phelps Focus Snorkel Small Fit: Best for Inexperienced Swimmers
- Provides most comfortable fit for young and small swimmers
- Hydrodynamic tube curvature and triangle mold shape
- Features effective water purging system
Primarily designed for fitness, the Michael phelps Focus Snorkel helps young swimmers develop their swimming technique. Interested customers should keep in mind that this particular snorkel is meant for youth or petite swimmers; however, the LeisurePro company crafts lap swimming snorkels in a variety of sizes.
So, what sets this snorkel apart? With an inverted triangular tuber shape, the Focus is built for maximal hydrodynamic performance. Although the snorkel only fits a small range of head sizes, its unique adjustment bracket eliminates all sources of unintentional side to side movement.
Users appreciate that the Focus is extremely comfortable to wear for long durations of time. The design is sleek and doesn’t impede vision, yet the breathing tube is still wide enough to reduce drag while breathing. In order to decrease all sources of strain on the lungs, the one way purge valve has developed to be very effective at clearing excess water during competitive swims. Moreover, the soft silicone bite mouthpiece minimizes jaw fatigue.
- Inverted triangle breathing tube is hydrodynamic for both recreational and competitive swims
- Intuitive strap adjustment system keeps the tube from slipping side to side in the water
- Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
- Meant mostly for petite or young swimmers
4. Kraken Aquatics Swimmer’s Snorkel: Most Cost Effective Snorkel
- Features easy tightening system
- Constructed from soft yet durable medical grade silicone
- Meant for swimmers with back and neck injuries
The Kraken is a comfortable, center mount snorkel design that allows swimmers to keep their head stationary and focus on technique. Lightweight and designed to keep clear of the swimmer’s vision, the Kraken gently encourages correct body position and efficiency. Constructed with durable yet comfortable silicone, the soft and high quality mouthpiece will feel barely there. Unlike traditional models, the air piece is designed to minimize jaw pain after a long day spent in the water.
With a one way purge valve, the Kraken is appropriate for both recreational and competitive swimming. It’s easy to keep water clear from the breathing tube during leisurely strokes and lap swimming, making this product a reliable dual purpose snorkel.
Moreover, the Kraken can fit most head shapes and sizes very easily. The adjustable, padded head bracket is squishy enough to conform to your head without snagging. Simply pull the straps and buckle the strap securely closed to get a failure-free fit. Interestingly, the Kraken is specifically marketed to those with neck or back injuries. Since swimmers don’t have to turn their head to breathe in, the snorkel allows those with physical strain to enjoy the water much more comfortably.
For the most part, users appreciate the low profile tube shape that reduces all sources of water resistance. Now more than ever, swimming efficiently and effortlessly without the need to come up for air is becoming a reality. Users should be aware that the Kraken doesn’t come with a nose clip which, considering the design of this product, would be very helpful for ensuring comfort in the water.
- Head adjustment strap stays put with secure buckle, meaning no unintentional loosening can occur
- Designed for those with neck and back injuries that want to enjoy pain-free lap swimming
- Easily fits most head shapes and sizes for adult men and women
- Some users have a difficult time keeping water out of their nose during use
5. Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel for Adults and Juniors: Best All Purpose Snorkel
- Made for inexperienced and professional swimmers, both young and old
- Crafted with durable mouthpiece for easy breathing
- Design encourages correct head and body position for lap swimming
The Finis, considered the first patented center mount snorkel ever made, is specifically designed for performance swimmers and competitive athletes.
With a snug adjustable head mount, the Finis stays in place for butterfly, breaststroke, flip turns, and freestyle swimming. Moreover, the band is adjustable in both diameter and height, which makes it even more customizable for those that enjoy more highly positioned snorkels. The head mount can fit any shape and size of head ranging from junior to adult swimmer. Moreover, the comfortable mouthpiece is made with soft, flexible medical grade silicone that will stand the test of time. In fact, the mouthpiece is dual layered to ease breathing and improve the Finis’ mouthpiece durability.
Like other units, the Finis includes a one way purge valve that easily allows water to flow out of the tube without entering the mouthpiece itself. The Finis is specially designed to build swimmers’ lung endurance, allowing them to focus on stroke technique and build their strength. The V02 max component increases aerobic capacity, decreasing the strain caused by traditional side mounted snorkels. The hydrodynamic tube has been constructed to curve around the head, reducing drag and encouraging the correct body position for most swim techniques.
Some users complain that this Finis model is somewhat less comfortable than the more beginner friendly snorkels. Specifically, the front portion of the headband that comes into contact with the forehead is purely hard plastic, which may cause slight headaches with extended use.
That said, most users appreciate the sleek, professional design of the Finis and its long lasting performance in the water.
- Provides easy, non-stop breathing for both experienced swimmers and newbies
- Mouthpiece is soft and flexible enough to reduce jaw pain and teeth clenching
- Can fit a wide range of youth and adult sizes for both men and women
- Some users complain of forehead discomfort caused by the hard head strap
- Inexperienced swimmers may feel lightheaded after twenty to thirty minutes of use, due to the somewhat thin design of the angled breathing tube
If you’re looking for competitive performance at the best price, look no further than the Zionor lap swimming snorkel. Meant for both both leisurely and professional swimmers, the Zionor is is comfortable to wear all day long for seamless swimming.
With an ergonomic and hydrodynamic design, the Zionor features a smooth airflow system that can optimize swimmer speed. Customers state that it’s the automatically aligning center mount, perfected silicone mouthpiece, and comfortable head pad that makes the Zionor worth it for any type of swimmer.
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