Best GoPro for Snorkeling

Choosing the correct GoPro for snorkeling isn’t as easy as it looks. Although GoPro designed its cameras for action sports such as snorkeling, some are better than others. This is because different GoPros offer different depth limits and image quality.

Hey, it’s nice to meet you! My name is Larry, and as a certified GoPro fanatic, I understand how difficult it is to choose the best GoPro. Luckily, I’ve gone snorkeling with every GoPro camera dozens of times, and I understand which GoPro you should go for.

In today’s in-depth guide, I’ll answer a few common questions, explain what makes the best GoPro for snorkeling, and share my top picks.

Let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • Native waterproofing and footage quality are two of the most important factors when choosing a GoPro for snorkeling.
  • The latest GoPro HERO cameras offer built-in waterproofing and can go up to 10 meters or 33 feet underwater.
  • Older GoPro models require protective housing because they aren’t natively waterproof. 
  • The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best GoPro for snorkeling.
  • The GoPro HERO7 is the best budget-friendly GoPro for snorkeling.

The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best GoPro camera for snorkeling. This camera features state-of-the-art camera technology and recording capabilities. Furthermore, it’s waterproof without needing a protective case up to 10 meters or 33 feet. 

GoPros are excellent action cameras for snorkeling because they are lightweight and compact. You can also attach dozens of different mounts and accessories to make your filming process smoother and more enjoyable. Best of all, GoPros are waterproof out of the box, easy to use, and offer outstanding image quality.

GoPros can safely go in saltwater without damaging the camera or lens. Therefore, you can easily use a GoPro camera for snorkeling. However, if you do take your GoPro into saltwater, I recommend rinsing the camera and your other gear with fresh water since salt water can be slightly corrosive.

Starting with GoPro HERO5, all GoPro HERO camera models are waterproof up to 33 feet or 10 meters without a protective casing. This means you can take your GoPro underwater directly out of the box. Furthermore, the GoPro MAX is waterproof up to 16 feet or 5 meters. 

The best way to hold a GoPro while snorkeling is with The Handler GoPro mount. This mount features a floating hand grip which gives you stability and control over your footage. If you accidentally drop it in the water, it floats right to the surface, where you can see the bright orange end of the handle. 

What Makes the Best GoPro for Snorkeling

With over 20 different camera models, finding the key differences between each GoPro camera is essential for your hunt to find the best GoPro for snorkeling.

Therefore, before we dive into the list, it’s important to discuss what makes the best GoPro for snorkeling. Each GoPro has unique attributes and traits when it comes to recording underwater footage. So, let’s discuss the key factors to keep in mind when choosing your GoPro.

  • Image and Video Quality: Even though you can take underwater videos and photos with any GoPro camera, they all deliver unique video and image quality. You should get the GoPro that provides the proper footage quality for your needs. If you want to record professional videos, you should get the GoPro with the highest video resolution.
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: Snorkeling videos are prone to shakiness as you swing your arms and swim in the water. Luckily, newer GoPro cameras offer impressive electronic image stabilization (EIS) technology. EIS automatically smoothens out shaky videos using innovative technology and complex algorithms. 
  • LCD Screen Size: You may want a GoPro camera with a larger LCD touchscreen. This way, it’s easy to navigate your camera’s settings. Furthermore, larger screens offer a better viewing experience when reviewing footage.
  • Native Waterproofing: Most importantly, you should choose a GoPro with native, built-in waterproofing capabilities. Fortunately, every GoPro I added to my list offers native waterproofing.

Top 5 Best GoPros for Snorkeling

It’s time to jump in the water and dive into my list of the top five best GoPros for snorkeling. Remember, I created this list based on my own extensive experience snorkeling with every GoPro camera model.

1. GoPro HERO10 Black (Best Overall)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.3K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 23MP (Megapixels)
  • Screen Size: 2.27 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best GoPro for snorkeling because it offers the best specs out of all GoPros. This camera comes with the all-new GP2 processor and HyperSmooth 4.0 electronic image stabilization, two exclusive features only found on the GoPro HERO10 Black.

GoPro has been a powerhouse in the action camera market ever since it released the original GoPro camera. However, as it’s improved the entire genre over the past two decades, especially the HERO camera line, the HERO10 Black goes above and beyond.

First of all, it has a huge image sensor (23MP) for such a small camera. Furthermore, the main hardware addition to the HERO10 Black is its new GP2 processor. This processor fully unlocks the upper limits of the image sensor, letting you capture 5.3K video.

The HERO10 Black also features the incredibly impressive HyperSmooth 4.0 EIS. This means you can shake the camera around pretty hectically and still come out with a usable and watchable video. 

HyperSmooth 4.0 gives you the ability to sway up to 45 degrees in the water, and your video will stay upright, level, and smooth. The previously acceptable angle was only 27 degrees.

However, even though this is the best GoPro for snorkeling, there are a few drawbacks you should know. First, since it’s the new HERO Black with a larger battery and image sensor, it may be heavier than you expect. Nonetheless, it still only weighs 5.6 ounces and is barely noticeable in the water because of the water’s buoyancy effect. 

Furthermore, as the newest GoPro release, it’s the most expensive camera out of the HERO lineup. Therefore, if you are a budget-conscious shopper, there are better options for you further down on this list. However, if the price isn’t a concern and you want the best of the best, stop here and go for the GoPro HERO10 Black.

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best overall GoPro for snorkeling, hands-down. The updated technology, incredible video quality, and better battery life set it apart from the other GoPro cameras.

2. GoPro HERO9 Black (Best Older Generation GoPro)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 20MP
  • Screen Size: 2.27 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO9 Black is exceptionally similar to the HERO10 but doesn’t include the GP2 processor or HyperSmooth 4.0. Therefore, it doesn’t offer the ability to shoot 5.3K, only 5K, which is still very detailed and high-quality. However, it still offers outstanding image stabilization with HyperSmooth 3.0 EIS.

While the GP2 processor inside the HERO10 supercharges its features, the processor in the HERO9 black is no slouch either. Furthermore, the HERO9 Black introduced new features like Horizon Lock and Hindsight which are very impactful for snorkelers.

In essence, this means that the HERO9 is absurdly similar to the HERO10 with all of the same vital traits, just with a few more limitations and less horsepower. For example, Horizon Lock only works up to a 27-degree rotation, and photos are capped at 20 megapixels instead of 23 megapixels.

Although these trade-offs are distinguishable, the HERO9 Black is still an excellent choice and is still in the running for one of the best action cameras on the market. So if you’re trying to save a few dollars but still want an impressive GoPro for snorkeling, you can’t go wrong with the GoPro HERO9 Black.

In terms of drawbacks, there’s not much to be said about the GoPro HERO9 Black. I can only say that it’s not the HERO10 Black. However, the small price difference for the HERO10 Black is worth it because you get access to the faster and more powerful GP2 processor.

My Verdict: If the HERO10 Black is out of your budget, the next best option is the GoPro HERO9 Black. This camera is only slightly less capable than the HERO10 but still provides more camera power and recording capabilities than most action cameras on the market. 

3. GoPro HERO8 Black (Best Budget 4k)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Screen Size: 2.0 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO8 Black, although an older model, is still one of the best GoPros for snorkeling because of its attractive price point and recording capabilities. In addition, this camera offers the best parts of a GoPro camera, including HyperSmooth 2.0, a refined experience, and many available accessories. 

Furthermore, the HERO8 Black offers crispy 4K video, 12-megapixel photos, great battery life, and the standard 10-meter waterproof depth. The HERO8 Black shoots at 4K wide or 4K linear at 60 fps, 2.7K at 120fps, 1080p at 240fps, and much more.

Compared to even older generation GoPro cameras, the HERO8 Black offers improved battery life, twice the shock resistance, and a built-in mount. That means you can attach mounts and accessories easily without needing a case. 

However, the HERO8 does lack the additional front-facing selfie screen of the HERO10 Black and HERO9 Black. And while the lens cover on previous HERO Black GoPros was removable, which made it possible for you to add different lenses, GoPro chose the fix the lens cover on the HERO8 black. This makes adding accessories more challenging. 

Nonetheless, if you want to save some dough, this camera offers great value for your dollars. With the ability to record 4K videos while snorkeling, the HERO8 Black is the best budget 4K action camera available. 

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO8 Black is the best GoPro for snorkelers who want an affordable way of recording breathtaking 4K underwater footage. Even though it doesn’t offer the same footage quality as the HERO10 Black, it provides more than enough for most snorkelers. 

4. GoPro MAX (Best 360° Action Camera)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.6K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 16.6MP
  • Screen Size: 1.7 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 16 feet or 5 meters 

The GoPro MAX features the most creative freedom out of all GoPro cameras and lets you create captivating and unique videos. That is because the MAX is a 360-degree camera that shoots up the 5.6K video at 30fps. It also features MAX HyperSmooth, which impressively reduces camera shake.

But what’s a 360-degree camera? The GoPro MAX uses two 180-degree fisheye lenses to record everything around the camera. Then, the camera pairs the two hemispherical videos together to create a 360-degree video.

Here’s a video showcasing what this looks like underwater:

Another great feature of the GoPro MAX is its six built-in microphones. These six microphones work in tandem to create a dynamic three-dimensional soundscape to capture voices, waves, and the sounds of mother nature. 

It’s also easy to edit your 360-degree videos using the GoPro Quik mobile app. Once you finish shooting, transfer the videos over to your phone to view the media. Then, you can move your phone to point where you want to view within the frame. You can edit the footage, add transitions, and change the view all from your smartphone. 

However, the main drawback of the GoPro is that it’s the most expensive option on today’s list. As the most innovative and advanced 360-degree action camera on the market, the price point is reasonable. Furthermore, you should only get this camera if you plan on recording 360-degree videos. If not, I recommend choosing another option from today’s list.

My Verdict: The GoPro MAX is the best snorkeling action camera for creative and innovative footage. With 360-degree video capabilities, you can create videos you wouldn’t be able to on other GoPro cameras. 

5. GoPro HERO7 Black (Best Budget)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Screen Size: 2.0 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO7 Black is the oldest GoPro camera on today’s list. But is it still a good option for snorkeling all these years later? Yes, the GoPro HERO7 Black is still an excellent choice for snorkelers. 

This is because GoPro introduces many new features with the HERO7 Black, the first being HyperSmooth. The HERO7 Black features the first generation of HyperSmooth, which is still comparable to the image stabilization technologies of many competitors within the market. 

Similar to the GoPro HERO8 Black, the max video resolution on the HERO7 Black is 4K at 60fps. This means you can record 4K footage at an unbelievably reasonable price point. You can also use 8x slo-mo when recording at 1080p. 

Most importantly, the HERO7 Black offers excellent image quality, with a tremendous dynamic range and vibrant colors. Furthermore, the advanced color profile option and higher bit-rate are blessings for all snorkelers.  

However, it’s important to remember that although this camera is great, it’s the least capable out of every option on today’s list. So, if you have a few more bucks to spare, I recommend opting for a newer GoPro HERO camera since they offer better camera technology and image stabilization.

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO7 Black is an amazing choice for snorkelers who want an affordable action camera with excellent recording capabilities. It’s the most affordable option on today’s list and features everything you need to make snorkeling videos. 

Final Thoughts

GoPro cameras take your water adventures to the next level with crystal-clear underwater image quality. You can use your new GoPro camera to capture highly detailed images of the fish and coral reefs you swim next to on your next beach outing. Best of all, you can also use your GoPro to capture any type of action or outdoor content.

In today’s guide, you learned about the top five best GoPro cameras for snorkeling. By now, you should have decided which GoPro you want to use for snorkeling. However, if you’re still unsure about which GoPro to pick, there are a few cheaper GoPro alternatives, including action cameras from Campark, Dragon Touch, and Asako.

So which GoPros from today’s list are you leaning towards? Are you excited to try out your new action camera in the water? Do you have any additional questions about the best GoPro for snorkeling? Let me know by dropping a quick comment in the box below!

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