Snorkel Systems Manufactured in China - Inferior Quality - A technical Comparison

People place a great deal of trust in a snorkel system and over the years, Safari snorkels have built a reputation as the ultimate insurance against engine damage from dust and water.
Consumers have never experienced inferior quality copy snorkels from China

Unfortunately, during 2009, a veritable flood of low cost snorkels began appearing on the market. Whilst they appear to be exact copies of Safari snorkels, there are a number of issues that must be exposed in order to educate the consumer who may have never experienced poor quality copy products manufactured from inferior materials in China.


Not unlike the UV rating of sunblock creams on humans; the UV number applied to Plastics being exposed to the sun's UV rays, indicates the snorkel material's resistance to UV damage - and consequently, life of the snorkel.

The higher the UV rating number, the greater the protection, hence advanced component life can be expected.

It is not uncommon to see Safari snorkels that are over 20 years of age, still looking great with zero cracking and no discernable hardening. This is what consumers demand!

The biggest problem with inferior products sourced from China is that the base material used is at best only a fraction of the UV rating required for long life and crack-free operation. Some manufacturers even tout that they source materials from quality international suppliers such as Mobil Exxon - but fail to warn the consumer that these products typically have a UV rating of only 8. This means that unless the snorkel products are kept out of the sunlight, they will degrade rapidly and require replacement well within the life span of the vehicle that the snorkel is fitted to.

In Australia, no reputable supplier of raw material would claim such a product to be suitable for continual exposure to the sun's UV rays over many years in an environment such as an Australian summer.

The result of continually exposing a UV8 rated material to an Australian summer is best demonstrated by inferior Chinese made, home use, children's climbing equipment. If left outside in the sun across an entire summer, any parent can attest to the fact that at the end of the second summer at the most , it normally needs to discarded due to dangerous cracks having formed.

To most consumers, the thought of replacing a snorkel twice or even three times during the life of the vehicle is almost inconceivable - because they have never experienced a situation such as this in the past with Australian manufactured snorkels.

In order to increase the rating of even quality raw material, from its base number of UV8, to the UV20 required for satisfactory life, the Australian plastics industry has learnt just what ADDITIVES are required.

Not only that, how to correctly COMPOUND - as opposed to simply mixing these additives with a quality raw material, with its poor structural consequences (see Laboratory Report).

In short, cheap Chinese manufactured copy snorkels, even if made from a quality supplier's raw material with a UV8 rating, are simply not going to cut it in an Australian, (or African, if it comes to that) environment.

To obtain the life of a Safari snorkel, the snorkel must be molded, in Australia, from the best plastics molding company, in a high quality UV20 rated compounded material.

Safari snorkel systems are manufactured from Australian plastics with special additives

Safari Snorkel material - No graininess and strong bonding down to the molecular level. Click Here to view Laboratory Report.

Safari snorkel systems are manufactured in Australia from Australian plastic materials that contain special additives. The base polymer and additives are compounded under precise conditions through exacting chemical reactions to create a homogeneous material that has exceptional resistance to the sun’s damaging rays, strong physical properties and tough impact resistance.

Under the microscope, it is clearly evident that there is no graininess. The result is strong bonding down to the molecular level and consistent distribution and performance of all the additives throughout the entire component.

Cheap Chinese copies use poorly compounded and inferior materials

Chinese Copy Snorkel Material - distinctly grainy or crystal like structure where additive and colouring agents simply coat the base material. Consistency varies markedly throughout the part. Click Here to view Laboratory Report.

The cheap Chinese copies however are a minefield of problems and a real trap for the unwary consumer who would understandably expect the same level of product performance. Whilst the copy components look very similar to the genuine Safari snorkel and are promoted as using a similar base polyethylene material, the key points of difference are what ADDITIVES are then mixed with the base material and the MANNER in which the (correct) additives are MIXED or COMPOUNDED with the base material.

Under the microscope, the cheap Chinese snorkel material displays a distinctly grainy or crystal like structure where the additive/colouring agents simply coat the base material – rather than combining in a homogeneous structure. To make matters worse, the consistency varies markedly depending upon what part of the component is analysed which means that material UV and structural performance will vary also.

Poor UV resistance to the Sun's rays and brittle when cold

Impact Damage - Cracked snorkel body from a blow that barely marks the surface of a genuine Safari snorkel. Click Here to view Laboratory Report.

This means that UV resistance becomes a serious problem and that these components will degrade markedly under prolonged exposure to the sun. Moreover, the physical properties are again markedly different to the genuine Safari component – particularly at cold ambient temperatures where a knock from a passing branch can crack the snorkel body – rendering it useless and dangerous at the next water crossing.

The cheap Chinese manufactured copy product cannot be relied upon to deliver the level of component performance and durability that Safari customers have enjoyed for over three decades.

Inferior 80 deg C Engine Compartment Temperature Hose Specifications and Poor Construction

In 4WD applications, it is not uncommon to experience engine compartment temperatures in excess of 100 deg C. Inferior quality Chinese snorkels are supplied with 80 deg C engine compartment temperature rated hoses that will

Unlike the snorkel bodies discussed above, items that are out of sight are invariably out of mind. Specialist components such as connecting hoses form a vital part of the whole snorkel system and are relied upon to transfer intake air from the snorkel into the air cleaner assembly. The connection hose is often exposed to very high engine compartment temperatures that are commonly experienced in 4WD applications.

With engine compartment temperatures often above 100 deg C, it is most important to specify a connection hose material that not only exceeds this temperature, but is also tough enough to endure harsh component vibrations and intake pulses at these elevated engine compartment temperatures.

Connection hoses found in inferior Chinese manufactured snorkels are classed as general purpose hoses with a maximum engine compartment operating temperature of 80 deg C. Over time, this hose will degrade and fail under high temperature conditions with serious engine damage likely. Most disturbing is the fact that the vehicle driver will have no warning that the inferior hose has failed until after the engine is damaged through the ingestion of water into the engine's combustion chambers.

Genuine Safari connection hoses are manufactured with appropriately specified high grade materials and rated to 130 Deg C - which is over 60% higher temperature rating than the inferior Chinese manufactured connection hoses.

Put simply, the cheap and inferior Chinese manufactured copy product cannot be relied upon to deliver the level of component performance and durability that Safari customers have enjoyed for over three decades. Regardless of cost, there is no peace of mind with inferior products.

Consumers must have total trust in a snorkel system

It is our strong belief at Safari that inferior materials and manufacturing techniques have no place on vital components such as snorkels. As 4WD enthusiasts, we rely on our snorkels for total peace of mind against water and dust. That can only be achieved with a snorkel you can trust – the genuine Australian made Safari snorkel system.

Click Here to view Laboratory Report.