So, you want to know what are the best wetsuits for diving out there.
A scuba wetsuit keeps you warm underwater and it also protects you from the sun, cuts, scrapes and stings. Pretty important, right? A good quality wetsuit is an investment in both your comfort and safety while diving.
The most rewarding part about having your own wetsuit is you’ll never have to deal with the pain of those terrible pee scented rental suits ever again. If that doesn’t get you excited about buying a wetsuit, I don’t know what will!
When it comes time to start your search for the best wetsuit for diving, you’ll need to find one that will keep you warm and can hold up for years of underwater adventures. There’s a ton of models and styles out there. So, which is the best scuba diving wetsuit for you?
QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST WETSUIT FOR SCUBA DIVING
- Scubapro Everflex
- Xcel Thermoflex
- NeoSport Premium
- Henderson Thermoprene
- Mares Flexa
- Bare Velocity
- Hollis Neo Tek
- Aqua Lung Aqua Flex Jumpsuit
- Cressi Playa
- Fourth Element Proteus
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST WETSUITS FOR DIVING
SCUBA DIVING WETSUITS 101
8 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST DIVE WETSUITS
Scuba diving wetsuits come in different thicknesses. Most models will come in at least 3 mm, 5 mm and 7 mm. There are also some that are specifically for warm water diving and come in 1 mm and 2 mm versions.
If you see a wetsuit with a thickness represented with two numbers, 3/2 mm for example, the first number is the thickness of the torso and the second is the thickness of the arms and legs.
So, how do you know which thickness is right for you? Everyone’s cold tolerance is different but here are some guidelines to give you an idea.
2 mm: above 85° F (29° C)
3 mm: 70 – 85° F (21 – 28° C)
5 mm: 60 – 70° F (16 – 20° C)
7 mm: 50 – 70° F (10 – 20° C)
Still unsure which one to choose because you dive in both warm tropical water and very cold water? Look at getting two different wetsuits. One specifically for warm water diving and another specifically designed for cold water diving.
Sure, a 5mm with a hooded vest and gloves in cold water could do it’s not really the best option. You’ll have to pay a bit more upfront to buy two wetsuits, but in the long-run, it will pay off because you’ll be more comfortable underwater.
If you plan on diving in extremely cold water, you’ll need a drysuit and a good set of undergarments to keep you warm. If you’ve never used one of these suits before, check out our guides about: the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit – the best drysuits & the best drysuit undergarments.
Wetsuits come in three different styles: shorties, full, and farmer john.
A shorty wetsuit typically has short sleeves and is cut just above the knee. These suits are very comfortable and easy to put on.
A full wetsuit adds a bit more warmth and helps protect your arms and legs from corals and jelly fish you might bump into underwater.
FARMER JOHN (JANE) WETSUIT
A farmer John or (Jane) wetsuit is a two piece suit. One piece is an overall (long legs with a sleeveless top). The second piece is a jacket. These are a great option for very cold water because they double up the insulation on the core. Free divers like this style because of the added mobility in the shoulders.
Scuba diving wetsuits come in one of three types of material: open cell neoprene, closed cell neoprene and lycra.
CLOSED CELL NEOPRENE WETSUIT
A closed cell neoprene wetsuit is the most common material of the three options. They’re rigid and have a rubbery feel. While the cost less and last longer than open cell wetsuits, they have some downsides. They’re more difficult to put on and take off and don’t insulate as well as open cell models.
OPEN CELL WETSUIT
An open cell wetsuit is the best quality option out of the three materials. They are softer and more flexible than closed cell suits. These features allow them to form to the diver’s body, which provides more efficient insulation, feels nicer against the skin and gives an excellent range of motion. The downsides to open cell wetsuits is they cost more and are more susceptible to damage.
LYCRA SKIN SUIT
A lycra suit (aka skins) offer a thin layer of protection and are great for very warm water diving where you don’t even need to wear a wetsuit to stay warm. While lycra suits don’t provide any thermal insulation, they protect your skin from the sun, jellyfish and sharp corals and rocks underwater.
4. SCUBA SPECIFIC
While any type of wetsuit can keep you warm underwater it might not be the best wetsuit for scuba diving. Why’s that? Because diving wetsuits are designed to compress while at depth. They also take into consideration buoyancy.
5. STITCHING CONSTRUCTION
When reading wetsuit product descriptions, you’ll notice manufactures love to throw around stitching terms, which can make read it feel like translating a foreign language. We’ve broke these terms down for you so you can recognize each stitch and can decide if that it’s best for the type of diving you plan to do.
There are four types of seam constructions: overlock stitch, flat stitch (aka flatlock), GBS (glued and blindstitched) and GBS with seam tape.
An overlock stitch is stitched on the inside so you won’t see any stitching on the outside. It’s good for warm water 65 degrees F and up because some water might seep through these seams.
Flat stitch or flatlock stitching looks like railroad tracks and can be recognized from the outside. The interior seam construction is flat which makes it more comfortable against the body than the overlock stitch. Some water may seep in through these seams too so it’s recommended for warm water, 62 degrees F and up.
Blindstitch looks similar to the flat stitch but it’s narrower. This construction is best for colder water because the seams are glued and then stitched, to help prevent seepage.
Blindstitched with seam taping (Fluid Seal) is same as a blindstitch except that the inner seams are reinforced or covered with tape. Very little water if any will seep through these seams which make it the best option for extremely cold water, 50 degrees F and below.
Sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so always check the size chart before buying.
Choosing the right size is extremely important to being comfortable and warm underwater. Too big and water could leak in, too small and it will be impossible to put on.
A scuba diving wetsuit should fit snug, so if you’re on the border of two sizes, going for the smaller one is a good choice.
Many wetsuits come in both a men’s and women’s version.
Scuba ladies, look at getting a women’s specific suit, it will fit you much better which means you’ll be warmer and more comfortable underwater.
While you could probably get away with wearing a unisex wetsuit if you’re going to buy your own gear, why not get something that will fit you better?
The price of a wetsuit is determined by its thickness, stitching, and features. Diving wetsuits can range from under $100 for a thin shorty wetsuit to well over $400 for a 7mm cold water diving suit.
When it comes to choosing scuba gear, your comfort and warmth should be the priority, not just the price tag. Try to go for the best wetsuit you can afford that best suits the type of diving you plan to use it for. Being cold during a dive isn’t only miserable, it’s dangerous. Be sure to invest wisely!
Image Provided by Aqua Lung
DIVE WETSUITS REVIEWS
THE TOP 10 BEST SCUBA DIVING WETSUITS
1. SCUBAPRO EVERFLEX
“EXTRA COMFORTABLE WETSUIT”
The Scubapro Everflex wetsuit is designed to move naturally with your body which gives you a high level of comfort, stretch and flexibility.
One great feature is the diagonal back zipper that goes from your left hip to right shoulder this is much more comfortable than traditional zip that follows your spine, it’s also easier to put on and take off.
If you’re looking for a great fit, the Everflex is for you.
2. XCEL THERMOFLEX
Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro
“TOUGH SUIT BUILT TO LAST”
The Xcel Thermoflex is a semi-dry suit that’s built to last. This suit is made from high quality compression resistant nylon II neoprene and all seams are quadruple glued and blind stitched.
It has a premium S-Lock back zipper that keeps more water out than conventional zips.
The Thermoflex comes with seamless dry-lock wrist seals, these also help keep water out and warmth in.
3. NEOSPORT PREMIUM
“QUALITY & VALUE”
The NeoSport Premium wetsuit is warm, comfortable and durable.
It provides a versatile balance of warmth and mobility for use in warm and cooler waters. It features an adjustable collar and flexible knee pads.
If you want a comfortable wetsuit that does the job, this one is for you.
4. HENDERSON THERMOPRENE
“BUDGET FRIENDLY QUALITY SUIT”
The Henderson Thermoprene is one of the best selling wetsuits out there.
This suit is made with high quality nylon II neoprene which has 75% more stretch than standard neoprene.
It’s a fantastic value making it ideal for budget-minded divers who don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the materials, design and construction.
5. MARES FLEXA
“ATTENTION TO DETAIL”
The Mares Flexa is high quality wetsuit with a ton of attention to detail.
This suit incorporated different neoprene thicknesses for different areas of the body. This design helps it be more flexible and efficient when it comes to keeping you warm and comfortable underwater.
It comes with an internal thermo plush lining which is soft, smooth and durable. This is a solid wetsuit that divers love.
6. BARE VELOCITY
“NO MORE HUFFING & PUFFING”
The Bare Velocity is a full wetsuit designed to fit great.
The Velocity has an ergonomic suit design which delivers an exceptional fit, feel, comfort and performance. The suit has heavy-duty back and ankle zippers, with a loop at the base to help in getting the wetsuit on and off.
Divers love this suit because it’s warm, comfortable, quick drying, durable and easy to put on and take off.
7. HOLLIS NEO TEK SEMI-DRY
“WARM EVEN WHEN THE WATER IS COLD”
The Hollis Neo Tek is a semi dry wetsuit designed for keeping you warm during cold water dives.
It’s made from a compression resistant 8/7/6mm neoprene and a Hollis exclusive LavaSkin inner liner. It has a block horizontal front zipper for easy on/off and a tight barrier against water flow.
The Neo Tek is fitted with two big pockets on the thighs which are handy for carrying accessories.
8. AQUA LUNG AQUA FLEX
Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro
The Aqualung Aqua flex jumpsuit is constructed from AquaFlex neoprene which has 3x the stretch of standard neoprene.
This makes the suit easy to put on and take off and it conforms to your body shape. A huge advantage to this type of neoprene is that Aqua Lung has been able to eliminate the need for ankle or wrist zippers.
This design will keep you warmer, as zippers create more water exchange which leads to heat loss.
9. CRESSI PLAYA
“IDEAL FOR TROPICAL DIVE TRAVEL”
The Cressi Playa is a 2.5 mm shorty that provides excellent warmth.
It has an anatomical fit, so it’s easy and comfortable to swim in. The suit has high-stretch ultra-span neoprene seals on the legs and arms which helps get water in, keeping you warmer.
The Playa is a great option for tropical dive vacations and also for wearing as a layer with a thicker suit.
10. FOURTH ELEMENT PROTEUS
“GREAT ALL AROUND”
The Fourth Element Proteus is a durable and versatile dive wetsuit.
This suit is built to last with its Dura Wear patches on the hips and shoulders, to protect it from wear from weigh belts and BCDs. It uses superstretch neoprene on the arms and legs to give you more mobility.
It’s durability and attention to detail make the Proteus one of the best wetsuits for diving out there.