Let’s face it. Buying scuba diving gear can be expensive. It’s not a cheap hobby to get started in but once you’ve got your own gear, the only things left to pay for are your transport and tanks. Finding the best place to buy scuba gear online can make the whole setup much more affordable.
But with so many places online that sell diving gear, how can you tell which one is reputable? How do you know which company offers the best value for money and cost-effective shipping?
Here at The Adventure Junkies, we want to make life easy for you so you can spend less time fretting over your new BCD and more time using it underwater. In this guide, we’ll show you how to find the best place to buy scuba gear online as well as what to look for when making online purchases.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN ONLINE STORE
If you search in Google for the best places to buy scuba gear online, you’ll be quickly overwhelmed with the number of options available. So how on earth do you filter through the hundreds, if not thousands, of online stores to find the right one? How can you determine which store is reputable?
There are a few easy ways to determine whether an online store is reputable or not. The first and most important aspect is to look at the reviews for the store.
What are previous customers saying? Are they giving four- and five-star reviews? Or is the average rating only two stars? Do people comment about their fast shipping or complain about their no returns policy?
Reading the reviews is a great way to gauge customer service levels and of course, product quality from an online store. It’s worth spending time reading through them.
It’s also worth looking at what brands they have available. Do they supply top-of-the-range gear or only budget items? If they are genuine stockists for well-known dive brands such as Cressi, Mares and Suunto, this generally indicates that they are a reputable store.
But of course, like buying any goods online, be sure that they are genuine items. If they only offer budget items and obscure brands you’ve never heard of before and sell these for dirt cheap prices, then chances are it may be too good to be true.
It’s also important to check shipping details. If the store you are looking at ships from the US and you live all the way over in New Zealand, be sure to check whether they can send the item to your destination. Also, watch out for those “Free shipping on orders over $100” banners – these may only apply to US states or within the country the items are being shipped from.
Even if they do ship to your destination, sometimes the cost of freight can be even more than the item itself. You may have saved $50 on a new scuba diving mask but if shipping is going to cost you $80, then it may not be worth it.
We have a few key stores we are prepared to recommend when it comes to purchasing gear online.
Our first recommendation is LeisurePro. This site is a well-known outdoor sports online stockist and sells a wide range of scuba diving gear. It’s usually a diver’s first port of call for buying scuba gear on the Internet. They stock scuba, freediving, snorkeling, underwater photography and other watersports gear, as well as sell your used scuba diving equipment.
LeisurePro is also very active on their social media accounts so if you have any queries about a potential purchase, they’re there to help.
Another good option Amazon. Many scuba dive brands list their gear on Amazon, so you can be sure to purchase genuine items. You can see who the seller is above the gear title, which you can click on and be taken to the brand’s online store through Amazon.
Simply Scuba is another reputable online dive shop, with a physical store in the UK. They stock big brands such as Scubapro, Suunto, Mares, Uwatec, Oceanic, Aqua Lung, Fourth Element, TUSA, Apeks, Atomic and Hollis.
Finally, our list also includes Divers Direct which has their store in Florida in the US. It sells scuba, snorkel, free dive and other watersport equipment including underwater camera gear.
These four online stores all offer the chance for customers to rate their service and the quality of the products. They also have customer service representatives ready to assist you with your online purchase.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST DIVE GEAR ONLINE
So you’ve found a great place to purchase scuba gear online. How do you know which BCD or scuba diving fins are the best ones?
Here at The Adventure Junkies, we like to do all the hard work for you. We’ve completed a number of guides to assist you in your decision making. You can read our guides and reviews of some of the best models out there, such as those featured as top dive computers or best scuba diving masks, before you buy.
When you find a few models you like, be sure to read the customer reviews and ratings.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
When purchasing gear online, there are a few things you can keep an eye out for.
Does this product have any customer ratings and reviews? What are the most common complaints about it? Or are there a number of people complaining about the poor quality of the item? You can read a lot into a product based on the reviews and ratings.
It also pays to check out the company’s returns policy. What do they offer if you are unsatisfied with your purchase? Do they offer money-back guarantees?
It’s also important to consider any warranties. Something to look out for with warranties is whether they are still valid in your country, especially if you are living in a different country to where the goods have been shipped from.
Another thing to take into consideration is the weight of an item. This can affect your shipping costs, or if you are planning on any dive travel.
Purchasing your scuba diving gear online can potentially save you a lot of money, but always do some solid research first on the product and the company you are buying the goods from.