Updated – January 2023
You will need a night snorkeling light to check out the sea life that comes out after dark. But it can be tricky picking a light to buy without some experience in the water at night. Below we share what lights we use, as well as a number of other suggested torches that are well regarded. A night snorkel can be fun with a good snorkeling flashlight, and scary with a bad one, so don’t go too cheap, or with an off brand.
As you get into this you are going to wonder how much power (lumens) your light should have for snorkeling? And what beam angle is best? What about if you want to take pictures using the light? And what battery type is best? We answer all of those questions and more further down this page below the lights.
Note: Our suggestions come from hands-on experience. We hope you find them helpful. You can help us if you purchase from the links below. We may make a small commission, from Amazon or other companies, at no extra cost to you.
The Best Snorkeling Lights
Our Favorite Night Snorkeling Light
The Tovatec Fusion 1050 is a wonderful night snorkeling light. We owned two older versions of this light, the 530 and the 1000. We loved the 530 for its size, but found the 1000 to be too big and heavy. With the new Fusion 1050 you get over 1000 lumens in the smaller body, and a better power button that shows the power levels. Perfect! We bought one.
We really like this line of lights because they can zoom from a 12° beam angle out to 100°. The 12° beam is good at cutting through cloudy water a long ways, and when zoomed out from about 60-100°, it becomes better as a fill light for taking pictures and videos, and for seeing more of what is around you. Great versatility in one light.
These are very high quality lights, with many nice features. There are 30%, 50%, and 100% power settings and an emergency strobe setting, using the thumb powered magnetic switch. The battery compartments have double o-rings. They have an automatic pressure relief valve that is a safety feature in case of battery malfunction.
The 1050 includes a commonly available and rechargeable CR18650 lithium battery. You can also power the light with three AAA batteries.
If there is any small downside to this light, it is that the light evenness is not perfect for taking pictures with. It has some hot spots and rings, but is pretty even at its wide setting.
Now that you know what the best snorkeling light is, check out our night snorkeling tips, and some of our other snorkeling equipment tips, or explore more lights below.
More Affordable Night Snorkeling Light
We would love to be able to recommend a light that is very inexpensive, and you can find many of those on Amazon. But the vast majority are off brand products that have questionable claims about how bright they are, their durability, and the quality of their battery.
The Orcatorch brand has been around for awhile, offers good quality, and reliability, for a reasonable cost.
The Orcatorch D550 is a nice size and has a fairly tight beam angle, at 1,000 lumens. They say it is 7° in the center and 70° total.
It comes with a rechargeable lithium CR18650 battery.
It is controlled by a magnetic tail switch, that gives full power, low power, and a strobe. And the battery life is reasonable at over two and a half hours on full, and five and half hours on low.
It also comes with a wrist sheath for hands-free use.
Good for Photography and Video
We own a GoBe 1000 Wide Beam, which is a compact night snorkeling light, with a 60° wide angle beam. Its beam is void of any hot spots or hard edges, suitable for taking pictures and videos with. Overall we like this light, and wish we had it with us for our incredible Manta Ray night snorkeling experience on the Big Island of Hawaii. But we are not super happy with a relatively short battery life.
This light has many unique features. First, it is very small, and fits right into your palm, yet it puts out 1000 lumens on its high setting. The battery in this small body is actually larger in capacity than the popular CR18650 lithium used in many lights like our Tovatec.
It is based on a modular design. You can switch out the light head with other options, like a 800 lumen 12° spot light, although you cannot switch them underwater.
It has an integrated and sealed battery compartment to reduce flooding potential. To charge it you just slide the included USB clip cord over the end. We really like how compact that charger is. We charge many things on our trips via USB, so this fits right in.
The light has multiple power levels. If you leave it on its highest setting, the battery is supposed to last 90 minutes. But we only got about an hour of light before it started warning us about a low battery, with it set on a lower setting most of the time. You can set it on a low setting for most of the time, and just turn it up for taking pictures because 1000 lumens is very bright.
You can use this light out of the water because it has cooling vents. And that may be one of the advantages to the changeable heads. You may want to use a wide or spot head underwater, but then use a different head as a bicycle headlight, or for some other purpose.
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Best for Photography and Video
If you love night snorkeling and taking pictures and videos, consider the Light & Motion Sola Dive 800. It is a high end, compact, technical light best used on the included wrist strap, setting your hands free. It has both an 800 lumen 60° wide setting, and a 500 lumen 12° spot, with multiple power levels on each. It’s also available in a 1200 lumen and a blindingly bright 2500 lumen version. It’s a great light for anyone who does photography and or video at night.
We have used these lights. The downside of these units is the battery life. The 800 only lasts 70 minutes on high. And they are pretty expensive compared to other options on this page. We are also not overly fond of the charging cord system. It’s a bit bulky and they take a long time to charge.
Sidekick for GoPro Cameras
If you have a GoPro camera, or another action camera, the Sidekick Duo by Light & Motion is a small night snorkeling light made to mount beside your camera. It has two light options, either a 600 lumen 90° wide angle beam, or a 400 lumen 23° spot. But, being such a tiny light, the battery life is not amazing.
Group Night Snorkeling Colored Beacon Lights
If you have ever night snorkeled with a group of snorkelers, particularly when there is another group in the area, it can be very hard to figure out who your group is. You can easily swim off with the wrong people. That is why we think the Orcatorch SD03 Beacon is a brilliant product. This little light can work like a small backup light, or the body of it can light up in numerous different colors, or flash that color. So your entire group could each have one, and be on the same color. Or just your guide could have one, so you know you are following the right person.
Things to Know Before Buying a Night Snorkeling Light
So now let’s take a look at different things you should consider before buying your night snorkeling light.
How Bright and What Beam Angle?
The higher the lumen value of the night snorkeling light the brighter it is. But brighter is not always better when snorkeling, depending on the water conditions, the beam angle of your light, and if you are going to use it to take pictures and videos.
A narrow beam torch can have a lower lumen value and still appear very bright because it is not lighting up as much area. For a narrow beam light, (8-12°) 300 lumens is the minimum we suggest, and 500 or more is preferable.
For a wider beam light, (40-100°) 500 seems about the minimum we would use. 1000 lumens and brighter is better for wide beam lights, but they can actually be too bright when you are close to the reef. So you will often need to turn it down to a lower setting. Brighter lights also cost more and are generally bigger and weigh more in your luggage.
Night snorkeling lights come in different beam angles, that are measured in degrees. A spot light has a narrow tight beam, in the 8-20° range, that will shine farther in murky water, but will not illuminate your surroundings as much. A wide beam, in the 40-100° range, takes more power, shows more of your surroundings, but may not cut through murky water as far as a spot. How to decide?
Are You Going to Take Pictures and Videos? Go Wide Beam!
If you would like to get some pictures at night, that is a big consideration for what night snorkeling light to get. A very bright light, with a narrow beam, can easily be too bright in the center, or have rings of uneven light.
See the picture of the lobster? Notice the bright white spot that is so bright that you can’t see the details? In this case I had a narrow beam light that was very bright and I had to carefully shine it beside the lobster to be able to get any usable picture. If I had pointed it right at the lobster it would likely have been very overexposed. This is the problem with using a narrow beam spot light that is very bright for photography/video.
So if you want to use the light to take pictures, look for a wide beam light, preferably without rings and hot spots. For general wide angle photography closeups, 60° is pretty nice. But if you are shooting super wide angle GoPro type video, you may need over 100° to light up the entire scene without dark corners. The picture below was taken with a wide beam light. The background is not as bright, but the foreground does not have hot spots.
Actually, if you really want to do good night photography, you will need to get into using strobes or flashes, attached to your camera on long arms, to get them away from your lens. And for videos, you would need a couple of very wide angle lights. But that is beyond the scope of this page.
Not Doing Photography? Want to See Farther? Go Spot Beam! The problem with a wide beam light is that if the water is not super clear, it will reflect off all the particles, making it actually hard to see very far. So if you are not doing photography, a narrow spot beam can be better because it cuts through murky water, allowing you to see farther.
A wide beam is nice for showing more of your surroundings, which makes some people more comfortable.
Really, there are times when you need both, which is why we like lights that either have a zoom function, like our Tovatec Fusion lights, or that have separate wide and spot lights build in. They can work for photography and illuminating more of the area when the water is clear. And they can be narrowed down into a spot beam for situations where you want to see farther.
Physical Size and Weight of Your Night Snorkeling Light
As snorkelers we like to keep the size and weight of our equipment down as much as possible. Having less to pack, less to haul onto the airplane, and less bulk to push through the water is important.
We recommend you try and keep your night snorkeling light small and lightweight, but make sure it still puts out enough lumens and the battery will last for at least two hours.
What Is Night Snorkeling Like? Is it scary? How do you do it safely? Read our Snorkeling at Night page, to get a sense for what to expect.
Rated for Diving – Lots of flashlights are waterproof but are not suitable for snorkeling. Make sure you get one that is rated for diving for your safety.
Bulb Type – Pretty much all the lights available now use energy efficient and bright LED bulbs. Cree is one popular manufacturer of bulbs, as is Seoul Semi Conductors. We would not get a snorkeling light that uses Halogen or Tungsten anymore.
Get a Wrist Lanyard – Most lights come with one, but make sure you have a wrist strap, because these night snorkeling lights don’t float.
Battery Types – Consider what type of batteries you want to use before you purchase your night snorkeling light. Some run off regular easily available batteries like C, AA, or AAA. Rechargeable lithium battery lights are really the best choice though. They give you the most power for the weight, and reduce battery waste.
Battery Length – A very bright night snorkeling light that is small may not even last a full hour at full power. That is too short for safety in our opinion. Try and get a light that will last at least 2-4 hours on one charge.
Backup Night Snorkeling Light? – Divers nearly always carry a small backup light, in case their main light dies. We don’t feel this is as important for a snorkeler, so long as you are snorkeling with someone else who has a good light. You are on the surface, and so the risks are lower.
Want to Use Your Snorkeling Light Above Water? Note that with few exceptions, the diving lights are designed to work underwater, and will overheat when used in the air. They use the water to cool.