Last Updated: December 13, 2023
As a snorkeler, you may wonder whether to buy or rent snorkeling gear. Your final choice should be pegged on many factors including how often you snorkel, your favorite destinations and your budget among others.
So, should I buy or rent snorkeling gear? In general, it is always a good idea to buy your own gear as it is cheaper to do so in the long run. Plus, it is also more hygienic and reassuring to have your own gear (even though those who rent gear also do as much as they can to ensure their gear is clean and hygienic).
That said, it might make more sense to rent if you only snorkel once in a blue moon. In fact, it might be better to rent a good quality snorkel than to buy run-of-the-mill, low-quality equipment.
Is it Safe to Rent Snorkel Equipment?
Yes, it is quite safe to rent snorkel equipment. If it was risky, the authorities and doctors would have already sounded an alarm bell by now, considering we are past COVID-19. Regardless, there is no harm in being cautious.
For safety reasons, rent equipment from high standard and reputable shops. Reviews from previous snorkelers can help you to identify resorts that maintain their gear well, and have a high level of sanitation.
What is the Average Cost of a Snorkel?
If you decide to invest in your own gear, the average cost of the various snorkeling categories is as follows:
|Basic snorkel mask
|$15 – $40
|Intermediate snorkel mask
|$40 – $100
|Advanced snorkel mask
|$100 – $200
|$10 – $70
|$40 – $175
What Gear is Needed in Snorkeling?
To enjoy your snorkeling tour, and at the same time be safe, you need to be well equipped.
For a comfortable expedition, the following gear is a must-have:
- Snorkel – Go for a snorkel with a mouthpiece that is comfortable. A semi-dry warm has a purge valve that prevents water from entering the tube. To prevent drag, use a snorkel that is close to your head.
- Fins – Shorter fins are usually the best since they are light and make navigation easier.
- Mask – It is crucial to have mask that fits your face perfectly. For your safety, it shouldn’t have any air leakages.
- Mask defogger – The defogger protects your mask from fogging up. To protect the marine life, only use a brand that is biodegradable, alcohol-free and non-toxic.
- Wetsuit – Use a wetsuit for buoyancy, warmth, and to avoid sunburns and stings. In warm waters, you may choose to wear knee-length leggings and short sleeves as they are the most comfortable.
- Swim cap or a bandana – Have a swim cap to keep the hair out of your snorkel. The bandana or cap will also protect you from sunburn if you are snorkeling in sunny weather. Preferably use the surgical bandana, since the ties are non-slip.
- Neoprene socks – Neoprene socks prevent fin blisters on the back of your ankles. They are also comfortable and warm if the water is cold.
- Float vest – It is advisable for a beginner or a less confident snorkeler to use a flotation device like a snorkel vest for buoyancy and to ease tension.
- Rash guard – If it the water is warm wear a rash guard as an option for a wetsuit. It will protect you from marine stings and sunburn.
- Biodegradable sunscreen – To protect the reefs and aquatic life, only use a sunscreen that is marine-friendly and biodegradable.
Renting Snorkeling Gear
If you decide to rent instead of purchasing a new snorkel gear, note the pros and cons of your choice.
- You do not snorkel often – If snorkeling is not your favorite pastime but you consider it a once-in-a-while adventure, you may not need to invest in new gear. It is reasonable to, instead, rent the equipment whenever the desire for the aquatic experience arises.
- Budget constraints – Sometimes you may not have the cash to purchase a set of the gear even though you have the desire to do so. In that case, renting might be a better option.
- When it is for children – If the equipment is for children, they will outgrow at some point. It is logical to rent it rather than buy.
- Inability to find a fitting mask – It can be frustrating if you don’t get a size that fits you. You might have to check different dive shops for a suitable size.
- Lack of gear to rent – Some destinations may not have the snorkel gear rental services. In some cases, you may be required to make advance booking without even knowing the actual condition of the equipment.
- Hygiene reasons – A snorkel’s mouth piece is a hygienically sensitive part. If it is a traditional snorkel, you may not be sure if it had been sanitized properly after every use.
Buying Snorkeling Gear
In some situations, it makes more sense to get your own snorkeling equipment. The advantages and disadvantages of taking this route include:
- You snorkel regularly – As a regular snorkeler, you stand to benefit more if you have your own gear instead of renting every time you head out for an adventure. The one-off purchase will be economical than regular renting.
- Quality – You have the liberty to choose snorkeling gear that is of good quality and in proper condition. An expert snorkeler knows too well the benefits of good quality and well-maintained snorkel gear.
- For a great snorkeling experience – You will enjoy your expedition better if you are well-equipped for the adventure. You definitely need fins and you don’t want ones that are ill-fitting, or have a leaking mask.
- It is economical – For a regular snorkeler, it will eventually cost more to rent the gear every other time you go on a tour. It is economical to make a one-off purchase instead. You will also cut logistical costs such as time spent as you search for suitable equipment to rent.
- If on prescription masks – Purchasing your own set of snorkeling gear enables you to go for one with prescription lenses that work for your eye condition (if any).
- Right size and fit – You will definitely invest in gear that is a perfect fit and size. In snorkeling, comfort and safety are a priority. The comfort of your gear can make or break your expedition.
- Personalized care – For your safety and health reasons, it is crucial to thoroughly maintain and clean your snorkeling gear. When you own the equipment you are sure of its condition and sanitization.
- Gadget use – Sometimes you would like to fix gadgets on your snorkel, something you can only do if you own it. Gadgets such as a GoPro cameras and snorkie talkie may only fit in particular types of snorkels. In that case you are better off getting your own.
- Cumbersome when travelling – Snorkeling equipment can be heavy and bulky thereby adding to your luggage packing nightmares when traveling.
- Expensive – Quality snorkeling gear may cost an arm and a leg. It can be a wasted expense if the gear is damaged after a short use. For instance, if mishandled when on transit.
So, is it Better to Buy or Rent Snorkeling Gear?
Is it worth to buy or rent snorkeling gear? Whether to rent or buy depends on the weight you place on each pro and con of either choice.
Are you a serious snorkeler? If yes, consider buying the gear to save yourself the hassle of checking around for good quality and fitting equipment. With personal equipment, you reap numerous benefits spanning from financial ones to logistical ones.
On the other hand, if snorkeling is a one-off venture to you, buying the equipment might be illogical.
So, consider your options carefully and stick to the choice that ticks all the right boxes for you.
My unbounded love for the oceans and everything it has to offer motivated me to pursue my passion and become a professional scuba diving instructor.
I keep reading, exploring, and learning more about scuba diving and the underwater world all the time, so I’m excited to share my knowledge with fellow scuba enthusiasts and hopefully contribute a little to your development as a diver. I want people to fall in love with the oceans with as much passion as I have. Read more about me here.