An underwater scooter, or diver propulsion vehicle, can make your dive a little easier – or more exciting – by gently propelling you through the water. Knowing how to find the best underwater scooter will help you cover more of the ocean with less effort while avoiding being caught out miles away from the shoreline.
Even James Bond used an underwater scooter – but you don’t have to be a secret agent to reap the benefits! A DPV is ideal if you have long swim out to your dive site, as it can get you to your location while saving your energy. It’s also a great piece of gear for cave and wreck diving, allowing you to explore more.
Underwater scooters can help you consume less air by pulling you through the water, rather than having to swim.
One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for scuba diving. In this article, we’ll walk you through what to look for when choosing a DPV and show you our selection of the best models of the year.
For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out the Best Rebreathers.
Quick Answer - The Best Underwater Scooters
- Tusa SAV-7 EVO3
- Dive-Xtras Cuda 400
- Dive-Xtras Piranha P1
- Torpedo 2500
- Pegasus Thruster
- Torpedo 3500
Comparison Table - Best Underwater Scooter
|Tusa SAV-7 EVO3||120 minutes||230’||45.0 lbs||$$$||5.0|
|Dive-Xtras Cuda 400||111 minutes||600’||42.0 lbs||$$$||4.7|
|Dive-Xtras Piranha P1||120 minutes||600’||34.6 lbs||$$$||4.6|
|Torpedo 2500||55 minutes||170’||46.0 lbs||$||4.5|
|Pegasus Thruster||45 minutes||325’||12.0 lbs||$$$||4.5|
|Torpedo 3500||45 minutes||170’||26.0 lbs||$||4.5|
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Reviews - The Best Diving Underwater Scooters
Tusa SAV-7 EVO3
BEST FOR: UNDERWATER ACTIVITIES SUCH AS SPEARFISHING, PHOTOGRAPHY
PROS: Can pull two divers at a time, 3-speed propeller, extremely reliable, can be “hands free” allowing diver to take photos
CONS: Heavy unit, expensive
Dive-Xtras Cuda 400
- Buoyancy: Neutral or positive with trim weights
- Depth: 600’
- Run Time: 111 minutes
- Speed: 3 mph
- Weight: 42.0 lbs
BEST FOR: SPEED
PROS: 8 gears, travel approved
CONS: Heavier and larger
Dive-Xtras Piranha P1
BEST FOR: TRAVEL
PROS: The most lightweight model at 34lbs, making transportation easier. Features line trap for easy removal of fishing lines, GoPro mount
CONS: Lower maximum speed than other models
BEST FOR: VALUE FOR MONEY
PROS: Slim line design, easy to carry, shrouded propeller
CONS: Limited run time compared to other underwater scooters
BEST FOR: DEEP DIVING, EASY TO USE MODEL
PROS: Simple functions, hands-free operation, compact size
CONS: Slow speed, short run time
BEST FOR: DIVERS SEEKING SHORT BURSTS OF SPEED UNDERWATER
PROS: Faster than other products on the market
CONS: Heavy unit, short run time
PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIP
PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIP
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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST UNDERWATER SCOOTERS
Consider the key purpose of your underwater scooter, or DPV. Is it for getting out further from the shoreline to your dive site, to see more of a wreck or are you doing technical or cave diving? Perhaps you just want it for some added fun while snorkeling.
Obviously, if you’re just planning to use it for snorkeling then a cheaper model will be fine. But if you plan on using it on more serious dives, you’ll need to fork out for a higher quality model which will meet your needs. You’ll also need to think about the type of conditions you’ll be diving in – anything with a strong current or water flow will use up your battery life faster than if in calm waters.
The maximum depth of your underwater scooter is a key factor to consider before making a purchase. The depth rating will usually reveal the quality of the machine because if it has a high depth rating, then it’s likely to be made to a higher standard and will be more reliable than something that can only be taken to 15 feet (5 meters). Again, consider the purpose of your DPV and this will help you choose a model with an appropriate depth rating.
POWER + BATTERY LIFE
Underwater scooter batteries can give varying levels of power and most have adjustable gears to change up your speed underwater. Lithium battery-run scooters with large propellers tend to last much longer. Your power output could be anywhere from a few hundred watts to several kilowatts.
You also need to make sure your device has a good run time, at the very minimum, 30 minutes for a short dive, but preferably more. The last thing you want is to find yourself miles away from the shore or boat with a dead battery and a very long swim back to safety. Your battery life will also depend on how much power you use underwater and what speed you travel at.
Buoyancy control is a key aspect of scuba diving and anything you carry or wear will affect your buoyancy. That includes your underwater scooter. The more buoyant it is, the harder you’ll have to work to keep traveling at the depth you want to remain at. Most mid to high range DPVs actually have buoyancy controls to suit your diving, otherwise you may need to make adjustments to your own weight.
Remember that you’ll need to carry your DPV with you on land along with all your dive gear, so keep in mind how much it weighs. If you plan on traveling with it, you’ll want a model that is more lightweight to be able to transport easily next to your other dive gear.
Underwater scooters can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. You’ll get what you pay for – the top end range of DPVs offer outstanding run time of around 4 hours and maximum depth ratings of over 600 feet.
If you’re looking for a DPV purely for recreational purposes then you probably won’t need a top-end model. However, safety is paramount when diving, so beware of purchasing a cheap product that could put you in danger if it runs out of battery too soon, has a mechanical failure underwater or is taken below its maximum depth rating.