Across all age groups, scuba diving is an increasingly popular leisure. Whether it’s a fun sport for you to partake in or one of the functions of your job, if you’ve spent some time in the water then you already know how tranquil life can be under the ocean’s surface. In fact, many divers swear that this sense of tranquility is possibly the most addictive part of the dive.
But as all the most experienced divers will also testify to, if you want to achieve that tranquility then you want to have the best diving gear. No matter what your diving style or the water conditions you’re diving in, you can easily end up having a bad experience in the water if your equipment isn’t optimal.
A bad dive is like the bends: you don’t want it, and you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy either.
Your wetsuit is undoubtedly one of the most important items of gear a scuba diver needs. Because let’s be honest—as much as we absolutely love it, humans simply aren’t biologically equipped for spending long periods of time underwater.
We know that sounds rather like the joke about the pilot standing in the airport terminal delivering a fire and brimstone sermon on how “if God meant for humans to fly, he’d have given us wings”.
But think about it for a moment. Marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, and porpoises all have a thick layer of fat called blubber to keep them insulated in the water. Even the amphibious ones, like seals, have this built-in insulation.
Humans lack that biological insulation. And as any lifeguard or sea captain will tell you, when our bodies are exposed to the often frigid water temperatures for too long, we go into shock. Hypothermia is no joke—it may even be worse than the bends. All you need to do is think back on James Cameron’s 1997 film The Titanic to see exactly what we mean.
Even if the hypothermia doesn’t kill you, you still run the risk of losing some body parts to frostbite. Doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it?
A wetsuit is an absolute necessity if you plan on doing any diving, even in the warmer waters of the Pacific or Indian Oceans. After all, scuba diving doesn’t mean staying close to the surface. You want to go deeper, and the deeper you get the colder it gets too.
Wetsuits act as an insulation layer, keeping our bodies warmer for longer by trapping the heat we generate so it can be recycled.
Needless to say, some wetsuits do this better than others. With the rising popularity of scuba diving as a sport, a wide range of available wetsuit brands and models have risen too. While the friendly competition is highly beneficial in forcing companies to constantly improve their wetsuit technology, being spoiled for choice can be somewhat overwhelming for the consumers.
As a diver, we know that you’d much rather be wading into the water than wading through the thousands of reviews online. We understand just how frustrating it can be, and we want to help you find the best scuba diving wetsuit as quickly as possible.
So to help you get your gear and away from your computer (back into the water), we decided to sift through those thousands of reviews for you. And we’re very happy to present you with the results: our community-based list of what we believe are the best wetsuits available for scuba divers in 2018.
Best Scuba Diving Wetsuits 2018
|Model||Comfort||Thickness||Best Suited For|
|Hollis Gears NEOTEK Semi-Drysuit||8/7/6mm||Waters as cold |
as 40 F.
|Bare 3mm Reactive||3mm||Warm to cool water|
|SEAC Komoda 5mm||5mm||Colder waters and deep dives,|
|ScubaPro EverFlex Steamer 3/2mm||3/2mm||Warmer waters, shallow dives|
|Fourth Element Proteus II 3mm||3mm||Warmer waters |
73 F. and up
|WaterProof USA W3 3-3.5mm|
|3-3.5mm||Cold to tropical|
|O'Neill Heat 4/3mm 3Q||4/3mm||Warmer waters, shallow to deep dives|
|SEAC Sense 3mm||3mm||Warm waters |
70 - 85 F.
|Cressi Playa 2.5mm Shorty||2.5mm||Warm waters, shallow dives|
Best Scuba Diving Wetsuits Over $350
If you frequent frigid waters, then the Hollis Gears new NeoTek 8/7/6mm Semi-Drysuit is exactly what you’re looking for. Constructed from a unique compression super-stretch neoprene (resistant nylon 2) with the Hollis exclusive ThermaSkin inner lining. With a front neck bib and a horizontal front zipper (revolutionary G-Lock), the NeoTek allows for an easy don and doff action. The front neck dam bib is mirrored by internal dams on the arms and legs, and all seams are butt-joined with blind stitching as well as quadruple glued, covered by Hollis Gears’ distinctive liquid seam. Both thighs sport generous gusseted pockets so you can easily store your accessory items. Built for cold water and quick drying, the Hollis hooded NeoTek 8/7/6mm is available from Small to XXL, including a Large Short and Extra Large Short option.
- Unique compression resistant nylon 2 super-stretch neoprene
- Hollis exclusive ThermaSkin inner lining
- Front neck dam bib
- Revolutionary G-Lock horizontal front zipper
- Quadruple glued, butt joined, blind stitched seams covered with a distinctive liquid seam
- Generous gusseted thigh pockets
- Internal dams on the arms and legs
- Quick drying
- Available from Small to XXL, including Large Short and Extra Large Short
The Hollis Gears NeoTek hooded 8/7/6mm Semi-Drysuit is perfect for divers who frequent cold waters and enjoy storage space for your diving accessories. The unique compression resistant nylon 2 super-stretch neoprene construction is beautifully matched with the Hollis exclusive ThermaSkin inner lining to provide superior insulation.
A front neck dam bib and internal dams on the arms and legs work together with the quadruple glued, butt joined, blind stitched seams covered with a distinctive liquid seam to effectively combat water exchange. The horizontal front zipper (revolutionary G-Lock) makes for an easy don and doff action, and the quick-dry function allows for comfortable multiple dives.
Bare has built a name for themselves producing quality wetsuits, and our review of the best suits available in 2018 would be incomplete without giving them a mention. Today, it’s their 3mm Reactive full suit.
The Reactive boasts Bare’s highest warmth, stretch, and comfort rating to date thanks to the Elastek FullStretch nylon 2 neoprene, which Bare have combined with Celliant Infrared technology fabric. This is how the Reactive gets its name: the Celliant technology converts wasted body heat into infrared energy for superior insulation. The Reactive’s lining has been enhanced with no less than thirteen thermo-reactive minerals to achieve this. By weaving these minerals into the wetsuit’s fabric, Bares have created a wetsuit that reflects your own body heat back to you in a unique way, stimulating improved blood circulation to further increase your warmth.
Seamless underarms further add to the Reactive’s comfort levels, and thanks to the 360 hook and loop adjustment GlideSkin collar system with a booklet-style cover, you won’t have to worry about snags and pilling anymore either.
Donning and doffing is made considerably easier with the 21-inch extra-long S-Lock2 back zipper, which features an offset tooth design and polyurethane coated tape guards with a skin-touching sealing zipper flap (double internal). These also improve the wetsuit’s reduction of water engagement by preventing intake and trapping your body heat better than many other designs. The zipper also boasts a full-length pull tab with silicone print to make for an easy, comfortable grip when self-fastening. To further aid the donning and doffing process, Bares have also added 11-inch extra-long heavy duty zippers on the ankles. These are supported by skin-in fused cut seals, which can also be found on the wrists.
To protect the high-wear knee area, highly flexible, durable, and abrasion resistant 3D ArmorFlex 2.0 pads have also been added. The comfortably contoured 3D anatomical fit is held together with glued and taped seams, bolstering the suit’s strength and durability.
Available in stealthy black with either blue or red details, the Bare 3mm Reactive has an impressive size range.
- Elastek FullStretch nylon 2 neoprene
- Celliant Infrared technology fabric
- Thirteen thermo-reactive minerals
- Seamless underarms
- 360 hook and loop adjustment GlideSkin collar system
- Full-length pull tab with silicone print and grip
- Extra-long 11-inch heavy duty zippers on the ankles
- Polyurethane coated tape guards with a skin-touching double internal sealing zipper flap
- Extra-long 21-inch S-Lock2 back zipper with offset tooth design
- Skin-in fused cut seals on the ankles and wrists
- Abrasion-resistant 3D ArmorFlex 2.0 knee pads
- Contoured 3D anatomical fit
- Glued and taped seams
- Stealthy black with either blue or red details
- Size range: Small, Medium, Medium Tall, Medium-Large Short, Medium-Large, Medium-Large Tall, Large-Short, Large, Large-Tall, Extra Large Short, Extra Large, Extra Large Tall, XXL-Shorter, XXL, XXXL, XXXXL
If you’re looking for a heavy duty wetsuit that can withstand the cold without compromising on mobility and you have the budget, the Bare 3mm Reactive is one for you. With the Elastek FullStretch nylon 2 neoprene Celliant Infrared technology fabric, woven with thirteen thermo-reactive minerals, the Reactive provides a unique, superior insulation.
The don and doff action is vastly improved with the 21-inch extra-long S-Lock2 back zipper with offset tooth design, full-length pull tab with silicone print and grip, as well as the extra-long 11-inch heavy duty ankle zippers. Glued and taped seams, skin-touching double internal sealing zipper flap, GlideSkin collar system, and skin-in fused cut seals on the ankles and wrists help to keep the heat in and the water out.
SEAC makes a well-deserved second appearance on our definitive listing of the nine best scuba wetsuits of 2018 with their Komoda 5mm.
The Komoda is a B rated wetsuit, which makes it far warmer than most other 5mm wetsuits. Made with Yamamoto Neoprene, developed using natural limestone, and a special honeycomb structure, the Komoda is firmer than other wetsuits without compromising on flexibility and mobility. Their unique manufacturing process makes Komoda wetsuits superior in terms of their thermal properties but remain ideal for travel by being surprisingly lightweight. Yamamoto 38 rubber forms a super-elastic ExtrFlex nylon outer lining, while a dry fiber for added warmth forms the inner lining.
The Komodo’s wrists and ankles boast dual cone in smooth skin seals and YKK zippers for easy donning and doffing. Another YKK zipper makes up the rear entry zipper, with a convenient pull tab leash and an additional water barrier system to help keep the water out and the heat in. For improved strength and durability, all seals are glued and sewn, and the knees and elbows are well-reinforced with anti-abrasion polyurethane. Available in stealthy black, the men’s model comes in medium to extra-large and small to large for women.
- B Rated 5mm SuperElastic ExtraFlex Yamamoto 38 nylon 2 neoprene rubber, made using natural limestone, making the Komoda far warmer than other 5mm wetsuits
- Special honeycomb structure for a hard-wearing yet flexible suit
- Unique manufacturing process that produces superior thermal properties
- Lightweight frame, making the Komoda ideal for travel
- Dry fiber inner lining for improved warmth retention
- Dual cone smooth skin wrist and ankle seals with YKK zippers
- YKK rear entry zipper with a convenient pull tab leash
- Additional rear zipper water barrier system to help keep the water out and the heat in
- Anti-abrasion polyurethane reinforcement on the knees and elbows
- Stealthy black color scheme favored by technical divers and spear fishermen
- Available in medium to extra-large (men) and small to large (women)
SEAC’s Komoda 5mm boasts their SuperElastic ExtraFlex Yamamoto 38 nylon 2 neoprene rubber, which is made with natural limestone in a special honeycomb structure. Combined with a unique manufacturing process that produces superior thermal properties, the Komoda is without a doubt a far warmer 5mm wetsuit than the vast majority of its competition.
Dual cone smooth skin wrist and ankle seals with YKK zippers and an additional rear YKK zipper water barrier system helps to make donning and doffing easy as well as keeping the water out and the heat in. Anti-abrasion polyurethane reinforcement on the knees and elbows keep you protected, and the stealthy black color scheme helps you keep a low profile in the water.
Best Scuba Diving Wetsuits Over $300 – $350
As the name suggests, ScubaPro is among the scuba brands that produce gear of the highest quality. No matter the product, you can expect ScubaPro to feature favorably in every review!
Their EverFlex range has always been one of our favorites, and with the new design for an even better fit with improved freedom, the EverFlex 3/2mm Steamer has earned its place on our definitive list of the best wetsuits of 2018. In addition to same tried and tested features, the Steamer also boasts a more natural preformed anatomical cut. The EverFlex Steamer truly feels like a second skin once you’ve fully donned the suit.
ScubaPro doesn’t waste their time with the typical materials that make up a wetsuit either. The EverFlex Steamer is made with their exclusive X-Foam nylon 2 neoprene, a superior strain developed by ScubaPro themselves. Its formula is the only one known to date that complies with the very strict Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (P.A.H.) testing requirements. (P.A.H. can be found in a number of non-diving specific items, such as petroleum-based products). The X-Foam neoprene blend offers superior protection to divers, and ScubaPro is understandably proud of their creation.
To improve protection levels further, and adding to the comfort and insulation factors as well, the Steamer’s torso boasts a heliosphan lining. Power Tex abrasion resistant seat and shoulders help guard your body, as do the TATEX thermoplastic rubber (TPR) knee pads, which have been applied without the need for further glue or stitching.
The outer seams have been glued and double-blind stitched, and the inner seams have been single-blind stitched as well. This makes for a virtually water-tight suit at every point to boost your comfort and the suit’s already remarkable durability.
For easy self-don and doff action, the back zipper includes a strong metal slider. A nylon webbing thumb loop at the zipper’s base as well as the pull tab leash make for a convenient style. Best of all, the zipper function is encased in a compression-molded zipper flap/spine pad combined, further reducing water entry and improving protection to your back.
ScubaPro doesn’t overlook the importance of wrist instruments such as depth gauges, compasses, and dive computers, and neither should you. To better accommodate the use of such tools, they’ve added safe-straps on both arms of the EverFlex Steamer.
Both the men’s and woman’s models are available along the impressive size range of small to triple-XL (the extra-small woman’s option has been discontinued). The Steamer comes in the stealthy black with gray details color scheme favored by technical divers and spear fishermen alike.
- Preformed natural anatomical cut, which makes the EverFlex 3/2mm Steamer fit like a second skin
- Exclusive X-foam nylon 2 neoprene construction, the only formula adhering to the strict P.A.H. testing requirements
- Heliosphan lining in the suit’s torso for added protection, comfort, and insulation
- Power Tex abrasion resistant seat and shoulders
- TATEX thermoplastic rubber (TPR) knee pads, which have been applied without the need for further glue or stitching
- Virtually watertight seal all around, with a double-blind stitched and glued outer seam and single-blind stitched inner seam
- Strong metal zipper slider
- Nylon webbing thumb loop at the zipper’s base as well as the pull tab leash make for a convenient don and doff action
- Compression-molded zipper flap/spine pad for improved water exchange reduction, comfort, and back protection
- Safe straps on both arms, for attaching wrist accessories such as your diving computer, compass, or depth gauge
- Available in Small to XXXL for both men and women
- Stealthy black with gray details, the preferred color scheme of technical divers and spear fishermen
With its superior, ScubaPro exclusive X-Foam nylon 2 neoprene anatomical fit, heliosphan torso lining, Power Tex abrasion resistant seat and shoulders, and TAPEX thermoplastic rubber knee pads, the EverFlex 3/2mm Steamer is a wetsuit that promises comfort, warmth, and protection against the elements.
From the double-blind stitched and glued outer seal, single-blind stitched inner seam, and nylon webbing thumb loop with pull tab leash for convenient donning and doffing with the heavy-duty back zip housed in a compression-molded zipper flap and spine pad, to the safe strap features on both arms, ScubaPro have considered and catered to every convenience with the Steamer’s design. If you spend most of your time in warmer waters, no matter what your sport, then the EverFlex 3/2mm Steamer is the wetsuit for you.
Fourth Element, like O’Neill, is a much-beloved brand. Especially by surfers. But Fourth Element recognizes that there’s more to the ocean than surface sports, and their Proteus wetsuit range is especially suited for divers and surfers alike.
The Proteus II is the new and improved 3mm model, with a warmer lining and range of seals that provide better insulation than most 3mm suits.
A new Hexacore plush lining provides improved insulation over your core section than the original Proteus, and helps to trap water, preventing water exchange. You’ll appreciate the thermal performance offered, especially when spending a lot of time in the water. The wetsuit’s drying speed is also greatly enhanced by the honeycomb pattern, making the Proteus II perfect for multiple donning and doffing for a second and third dive.
Spreading through the remainder of the suit is the soft Fourth Element Thermoflex lining, which not only assists in providing superior insulation but also contributes to the suit’s flexibility to improve mobility in the water without compromising on comfort. Mobility is further supported by the UltraStretch knee pads.
A vast array of seals found across the suit inhibits water ingress. Fourth Element’s signature Hydrolock inner neck seal prevents water exchange around the neck, as well as through the zip. Both wrists boast Glideskin, which aren’t merely comfortable, but also stop water from flushing through the cuffs and up your arms. These are matched by the internal ankle seals. A further improvement on the original Proteus design is the new double-glued, blind-stitch, and taped seams.
All in all, the Proteus II is a very worthy successor to Fourth Element’s pioneer design and is set to redefine insulation standards in the 3mm wetsuit class. Although it’s easily one of the most expensive wetsuits featured in our definitive review of the best scuba wetsuits available in 2018, both surfers and professional divers will truly appreciate this innovative design. The Proteus II is available in black with dark grey details, and ranges in size from medium to XXL. Fourth Element recommends a minimum temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
- New Hexacore plush lining, providing improved insulation for your torso
- ThermoFlex thermal lining
- Blind-stitched, double glued, and taped seals
- Internal ankle seals
- GlideSkin wrist seals
- UltraStretch knee pads
- Hydrolock neck and zipper seal
- Stealthy black color scheme with dark gray details favored by technical divers and spear fishermen
Here to dispel the stigma that Fourth Element is a surfers-only wetsuit brand, the Proteus II offers an impressive thermal insulation rating considering it’s only a 3mm suit. With the new Hexacore plush lining, your core body temperature will remain optimal for longer, and the suit dries remarkably quickly, allowing you to don and doff for several dives in one day if you wish. The Hydrolock neck and zipper seal keeps the warmth in and the water out, as do the internal ankle seals and GlideSkin wrist seals. Thanks to the ThermoFlex lining, you can enjoy improved mobility and stay warm in water ranging from 73 degrees Fahrenheit and up.
WaterProof USA W3 3-3.5mm – Editor’s Choice
WaterProof wanted to give divers something special to celebrate their 25th anniversary and decided to go big by packing it all into their USA W3 3-3.5mm full suit.
They started with their standard Gender Specific Fit and Sharp Scandinavian Styling and built it up from there. The USA W3 also boasts a superior 3D anatomical construction, sculpted to match human movement. Additionally, the anniversary edition design also includes features from WaterProof’s heavier range, such as the rash guards on the wrists and ankles, and relief zippers in the neck.
WaterProof appreciate the fact that for many divers in the US, the Arctic Circle is our backyard. Shortcuts never pay off when you dive in colder waters up north, especially if you also visit the warmer tropical waters to the south, so WaterProof have developed a premium design capable of handling both conditions equally well. The USA W3 is made with microcell CR nylon 2 neoprene rubber to ensure maximum comfort and insulation along a broad spectrum of temperatures.
A full gusset neck zipper relieves stress on the neck when you’re on the surface and is supported by a comfort front neck zipper. The superior gender-specific anatomical design also boasts a Hex-Tex inner plush lining with a unique, dense hexagonal knitting pattern to restrict water exchange and improve your comfort levels.
The devil’s in the details, as they say, and so it is with the WaterProof USA W3 wetsuit. Thermal plastic urethane (TPU) economic molded hook teeth fit only to their specifically assigned loop tabs. Neoprene double-seals with added zippers adorn the arms and legs, adding warmth and aiding with a fluid donning and doffing action. A hard-core durability back zipper actions along a bronze slider to provide ease of operation made even smoother with a pull tab leash. Stretch panels along the zipper grant improved flexibility.
Every seal is glued and sewn, with no.4 seam crossings, knotted ends, and double thread stitching. Elbows, shoulders, and seat have a polyurethane embossed grip and reinforcement, boosting the suit’s anti-slip and abrasion protection. From the knees down to the shine, further polyurethane reinforcement bolsters the suit’s strength and durability. Wave flex panels in the arms, legs, and back enhance your flexibility and mobility in and out of the water.
The WaterProof USA W3 3-3.5mm wetsuit comes in a stealthy black design and is available in a truly impressive size range.
- Gender Specific Fit and Sharp Scandinavian Styling
- Superior 3D anatomical construction, sculpted to match human movement
- Rash guards on the wrists and ankles
- Microcell CR nylon 2 neoprene rubber
- Fully gusset neck zipper, supported by a comfort front neck zipper
- Hex-Tex inner plush lining with a unique, dense hexagonal knitting pattern
- Thermal plastic urethane (TPU) economic molded hooks and loop tabs with specific partnership
- Neoprene double-seals with added zippers on the arms and legs
- Hard-core durability back zipper with a bronze slider and pull tab leash
- Stretch panels along the zipper
- Polyurethane embossed grip and reinforcement on the elbows, shoulders, seat, and from the knees down to the shine
- Wave flex panels in the arms, legs, and back
- Stealthy black color scheme favored by technical divers and spear fishermen
- Size range: 2XS, Extra Small, Small, Small Tall, Medium, Medium-Large, Medium-Large Tall, Medium Tall, Large, Large Plus, Large Tall, Extra Large, Extra Large Tall, XXL, XXL Plus (on special order), and XXL Tall
No matter where in the USA you’re based, or where along our coasts you dive, the WaterProof USA W3 wetsuit’s 3-3.5mm microcell CR nylon 2 neoprene rubber will comfortably insulate you in the water. The Gender Specific, superior 3D anatomical fit, and Sharp Scandinavian Styling make for a perfect match to human movement patterns. With a full gusset neck zipper and comfort front neck zipper, you can quickly and easily relieve stress on your neck on the surface as well as while submerged. The unique, dense hexagonal Hex-Tex inner plush lining help reduce water exchange while boosting comfort levels even further. Thermal plastic urethane (TPU) economic molded hook teeth fit only to their specifically assigned loop tabs, while double-seals with added zippers adorn the arms and legs to add warmth and make for a fluid donning and doffing action.
The hard-core durability back zipper actions along a bronze slider to provide ease of operation made even smoother with a pull tab leash. Stretch panels along the zipper grant improved flexibility. Polyurethane embossed grip and reinforcement on the elbows, shoulders, seat, and from the knees down to the shine, providing anti-slip and abrasion protection as well as increasing the suit’s strength and durability, and wave flex panels in the arms, legs, and back enhance your flexibility and mobility in and out of the water. The rash guards on the suit’s wrists and ankles are also an appreciated feature, as is the truly impressive size range.
Best Scuba Diving Wetsuits Under $300
O’Neill wetsuits are a favorite among surfers, but that doesn’t mean the brand doesn’t cater for divers as well. In fact, their Heat 4/3mm 3Q is designed especially for surfers who also enjoy scuba diving.
Without a doubt, the Heat 3Q is one of O’Neill’s high-end wetsuits, with its 100% UltraFlex neoprene, lumbar seamless design (LSD), a double-seal neck enclosure, and a re-engineered blackout covert zip.
The Super Stretch UltraFlex DS neoprene boasts a 150% stretch factor, giving users total freedom of movement while diving or surfing. It’s a lightweight design with sharp style lines and clean graphics adorning the anatomical, soft and comfortable fit. The covert blackout back zipper, which comes with a pull tab leash, features off-set teeth and an interlocking zipper for an improved seal to prevent water exchange at your entry point.
This superior water seal is further aided by the lumbar seamless design (LSD). The double-seal neck closure sits comfortably against your throat to prevent water entry without constricting your breathing. O’Neill’s Heat 3Q has strategically eliminated the need for seams under the arms and paddle zones. Where there are seams, they’ve been triple-glued and double-blind sewn (GBS), enhancing the suit’s watertight integrity, strength, and durability.
The water wicking, smooth skin X-Type UltraFlex Firewall insulation on the back and torso keeps you warm and moisture free, while the Krypto knee pads protect your kneecaps from abrasive surfaces. Another fantastic design feature is the external key pocket. Granted, it’s more likely to come into use when surfing rather than diving, but it’s still a mark of sincere consideration on O’Neill’s part.
With a sleek and stealthy black design and dark gray details, the O’Neill Heat 4/3mm 3Q is bound to attract technical divers, spear fishermen, casual divers, and surfers alike. Available in an impressive array of size options, there’s a Heat 3Q for everyone.
- 100% Super Stretch UltraFlex DS neoprene, which boasts a 150% stretch factor and gives users total freedom of movement while diving or surfing
- Lightweight design with sharp style lines and clean graphics
- Soft, comfortable anatomical fit
- Covert blackout back zipper with a pull tab leash and off-set teeth and an interlocking zipper for an improved seal
- Lumbar seamless design (LSD)
- Double-seal neck closure
- No seams under the arms and paddle zones
- Triple-glued and double-blind sewn (GBS) seams, enhancing the suit’s watertight integrity, strength, and durability
- Water wicking, smooth skin X-Type UltraFlex Firewall insulation on the back and torso
- Krypto knee pads protect against abrasive surfaces
- External key pocket
- Stealthy black color scheme with gray details favored by technical divers and spear fishermen
- Impressive array of sizes: 2XS, Extra Small, Small, Small Tall, Medium Short, Medium, Medium Tall, Large Short, Large, Large Tall, Extra Large Short, Extra Large, Extra Large Tall, 2XL Short, XXL, 3XL, and 4XL
Despite being typically more popular with surfers than divers, O’Neill hasn’t forgotten about us. Their Heat 4/3mm 3Q full-body wetsuit is ideal for fans of both sports, with its superior mobility thanks to the lightweight 100% Super Stretch UltraFlex DS neoprene anatomical design with a 150% stretch factor. Every consideration has been made for keeping the warmth in and the water out, with a covert blackout back zipper boasting off-set teeth and an interlocking zipper, the lumbar seamless design (LSD), double-seal neck closure, seamless underarms and paddle zones, triple-glued and double-blind sewn (GBS) seams, and water wicking X-Type UltraFlex insulation on the back and torso. The Krypto knee pads will appeal to divers and surfers alike, while the external key pocket is aimed more toward the latter (but is a nice feature for divers to have too).
SEAC has made a name for themselves with their quality wetsuits, and the Sense 3mm is a true testament to their reputation. With its advanced anatomical fit and super-soft neoprene materials for improved comfort levels, this one-piece men’s wetsuit affords divers a super stretchy insulation suit ideal for multiple sports. Whether you prefer sticking to scuba diving, or enjoy indulging in the occasional snorkel, surf, or water-skiing trip, the SEAC Sense is an ideal solution.
The new-generation, extra flex nylon 2 neoprene construction cuts into a preformed anatomical fit that hugs the shape of your body like a second skin, allowing for improved mobility. A plush inner lining makes sure that the close fit is a comfortable one. This is further boosted by the supratex-reinforced shoulders and seat. Contoured, flexible knee pads ensure maximum agility in and out of the water.
Both the wrists and ankles boast toroidal rings in the skin to add warmth and prevent water exchange. For improved strength, durability, and warmth, all the seals are both glued and sewn. With a YKK zipper on the back, with a pull tab leash for ease of use, you can easily step in and out of your SEAC Sense.
SEAC recommends the Sense 3mm for water temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and we couldn’t agree more!
- Superior anatomical fit
- Soft nylon 2 neoprene construction for better comfort levels
- Super stretchy, new-generation extra-flex design
- Contoured, flexible knee pads
- Plush inner skin
- Supratex-reinforced shoulders and seat
- Toroidal rings in the wrists and ankles to increase warmth and decrease water exchange
- YKK back zipper with a convenient pull tab leash for easy donning and doffing
- All seams are sewn as well as glued for strength, durability, and warmth
- Black with blue sleeve and collar details
- Four available sizes, ranging from medium to XL
SEAC cater for men looking to scuba, snorkel, water ski, and surf in warmer waters with their highly comfortable full-body one-piece Sense wetsuit. With an improved preformed anatomical cut, plush inner skin, contoured knee pads, supratex-reinforced shoulders and seat, and toroidal wrist and ankle rings, you get maximum warmth, comfort, and durability.
The super stretchy, new-generation extra-flex nylon 2 neoprene construction improve mobility in and out of the water. Donning and doffing your suit is made easy with the YKK back zipper on a convenient pull tab leash.
Cressi is well-known in the scuba diving community for producing quality gear, and they certainly don’t disappoint on the wetsuits front.
For when you’re diving in warm water but want a little more warmth, the Cressi Playa 2.5mm Shorty is your best friend. The anatomical fit is easy to swim in and helps deliver superior core-warmth retention. Made with nylon 2 neoprene, and featuring high-stretch ultra-span neoprene seals on the arms and legs, water exchange is vastly minimized. The heavy-duty YKK front zipper makes getting in and out of your wetsuit as easy as one, two, and three!
Ideally, the Cressi Playa Shorty should be used for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. But if you’re not planning on diving very deep—for example, around coral reefs—then it’s a highly convenient solution for scuba divers as well. The suit provides light protection from the wind, sun, water spray, and cold.
The Cressi Playa Shorty gives you the freedom of movement characteristic of thinner wetsuits. If you are planning on diving into deeper, colder waters, it’s also perfect for layering under a thicker suit to boost your thermal protection without compromising too much on mobility.
All the Playa Shorty’s seams are not only sewn, but also glued for improved strength and durability. The suit is popular with casual and professional divers alike, as it affords you a high comfort level and dries quickly.
The Cressi Playa 2.5mm Shorty is available for both men and women and comes in four sizes ranging from extra-small to large for ladies. For men, an additional two sizes (extra-large and XXL) are also available. Both come in black, with pink details for the ladies and red for the men. As an added benefit, for every ladies suit sold at selected outlets, $10 is donated toward breast cancer research.
- Nylon 2 Neoprene rubber construction
- 2.5mm thickness, making it ideal for warmer waters and use in other water sports such as surfing
- Anatomical fit, helping to deliver superior core-warmth retention
- High-stretch ultra-span neoprene seals on the arms and legs to reduce water exchange
- Heavy-duty YKK front zipper
- Light protection from the wind, sun, water spray, and cold
- Available in four sizes for women (extra small to large) and six for men (extra small to XXL)
- Black with pink details for the ladies, red details for the men
If you’re looking for a suit that will add that little bit of extra warmth when diving in typically warm waters or to boost the superior warmth of a thicker suit, then the Cressi Playa 2.5mm Shorty is the suit for you. With its nylon 2 neoprene rubber body and high-stretch ultra-span neoprene seals on the arms and legs supplementing the anatomical fit, your comfort is guaranteed.
Whether you focus exclusively on scuba diving or like to mix it up with the occasional snorkel or surf, this is a suit that promises to give you just the right amount of protection against the elements. And we really like that certain retailers will donate $10 of the purchase price for the woman’s model to breast cancer research.
Scuba Diving Wetsuit Buyer’s Guide
As many experienced divers have testified, one of the most addictive aspects of scuba diving is the sense of tranquility you experience in the water. But without the best diving gear, that serenity can easily become replaced by discomfort.
Just as an ill-fitting mask can result in getting salt water in your eyes, or the wrong fins tire you out quickly, having the wrong wetsuit can lead to some uncomfortable conditions. If the seal isn’t perfect, cold water will seep into your suit and drop your body temperature rapidly (besides the obvious discomfort). Having a wetsuit that’s too thin can also result in an icy dive, and one that is too thick will make you uncomfortably warm.
The most basic function of a wetsuit is not to keep you dry, but to keep you comfortably warm. It mimics the blubber found in marine mammals, which even the amphibious seals and sea lions boast. We lack this natural insulation, without which our bodies can easily go into shock from prolonged exposure to the often icy waters of the ocean’s depths.
An uncomfortable dive is like the bends: hypothermia might be even worse. Even in the warmer waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, a wetsuit is an absolute necessity for diving. Too thin a wetsuit won’t do a good job of keeping you warm, but overcompensating can lead to humidity and sweat, which can result in your catching a cold once you breach the surface and off your suit.
Whether you’re spending $100 or $500 on your wetsuit, if it’s the wrong thickness or doesn’t fit properly (which compromises the seal), then you may as well be diving in your board shorts. And no matter how much you’ve paid for your suit, if it doesn’t have decent reinforcement then you’re going to come out of the water with bloody and bruised knees, or even shoulders.
Just as you don’t want to spend your time wading through thousands of reviews to find the right wetsuit, you also don’t want to waste time with a suit that can’t be donned and doffed quickly and efficiently either. Models that have a convenient pull tab leash for the back zipper, or a front zipper, can leave you struggling to get in and out of your wetsuit while your group waits impatiently for you.
So when you’re looking for the right wetsuit, you’re going to want to put a lot of thought into the decision-making process.
Some of us have learned this the hard way when starting out. If you’re ever given the opportunity to rent or borrow a wetsuit as a beginner, take the opportunity with both hands and a grateful heart. Doing so will allow you to get a proper feel for the style, thickness, and design that best suit you—as well as giving you an opportunity to get a proper feel for scuba diving before investing a lot of money on your equipment.
Regardless of whether you’re still testing your water wings or looking to replace your old wetsuit, we’re confident that the nine models we’ve listed are truly the best available in 2018. We’ve pored through hundreds of contemporary and community-based reviews in making our decision, which is why you know you can trust our opinion—always!
One last word of caution we’d like you to bear in mind when you’re on the lookout for a new diving wetsuit.
If you don’t know how to use your equipment properly, then it doesn’t matter if you have the best wetsuit money can buy. In fact, you may as well have opted for a cheaper, substandard suit. Wetsuits are fairly standard when it comes to proper care and use, but some models boast features that require special attention. We can only point you in the right direction: it’s up to you to invest time in learning how to properly use your gear.
The New Debate: Front Zipper or Back Zipper?
Okay, so this is actually a debate that’s been raging for a couple of years. We thought we’d weigh in on it and give our take on the front zipper vs. back zipper wars waging on the scuba (and surf) forums.
Traditionally, wetsuits feature a rear zipper. Back then, there were three major disadvantages this presented:
- Firstly, zips simply don’t stretch. By putting the zipper on your back, a rigid no-stretch zone is created between your shoulders, which is where you need a lot of flexibility. After all, this area is stretched and contorted considerably when swimming, especially if you’re using deep, powerful strokes.
- Secondly, older wetsuits typically made use of a velcro to seal the zipper pouch and neck. Without taking considerable care, that same velcro would tend to snag on the nylon coating each time you donned and doffed your suit, or even made adjustments to it. This limited the lifespan of the nylon-coated neoprene, and could cause irritation at the neck if too tight. If you loosened it up too much to relieve the scratchy sensation at your throat, you risked increasing your water seepage.
- Thirdly, without a decent full-length pull tab leash (and sometimes even with!), it’s not very convenient or comfortable to struggle with a back zipper on the beach, on the charter boat, or in the parking lot. Especially not if you had to don and doff your suit without any help, and you had cold hands or thick neoprene diving gloves on!
This made front zipper designs a very welcome innovation in wetsuit design when it was first introduced, as placing the entry point to the front resolved all of the above issues. Often the front zipper featured alongside a scalloped opening, which allowed you to climb into and out of your suit through the top because there was enough stretching leeway to make it easy. After slipping a flap over your head to zip neatly shut across your chest, your wetsuit was ready for the water—no uncomfortable velcro necessary.
But in recent years, back zipper designs have taken a huge step forward. Many divers still consider a rear entry point easier for donning and doffing, so improving the zipper design and seal has allowed for the back zipper to reign once more.
By using superior SuperStretch technology (and other equivalents), the issue of a no-stretch zone has been largely mitigated by improving the mobility range and flexibility of the wetsuit’s material construction. In this way, the larger back zipper no longer inhibits motion in any way. To protect one’s spine against the hard edge of the heavy-duty zips and rails, most modern wetsuits also feature additional padding in this area.
Polyurethane coated tape guards with a skin-to-skin double internal sealing zipper flap, such as the one found on the Bare 3mm Reactive, have replaced the older velcro method of sealing the zipper area to prevent unwanted water exchange. Off-set zipper teeth designs have also vastly improved the seal in this regard.
With a high-quality YKK zipper, and especially with a superior bronze railing such as that of the WaterProof USA W3 3-3.5mm wetsuit, working the zipper action has been made easier, promoting a fluid motion. Full-length pull tab designs have also been vastly improved, with silicone prints making for an easier, more comfortable grip when self-fastening.
All in all, with today’s innovative designs, deciding between a front zip and rear zip model is largely up to personal preference in terms of convenience. Your choice of wetsuit should much rather hinge on other factors, such as the insulation levels and seal type, as well as comfort. At the end of the day, your wetsuit is exactly that—yours. You have to decide whether you prefer a front zipper or rear, and no one can reasonably try to sway your opinion one way or the other.
Shopping for Scuba Diving Wetsuits Online
Online shopping is a modern convenience that we’ve come to rely on, as so many different options are available for us. You can even order your groceries online today!
Doing the same for your wetsuit is a temptation most of us simply can’t resist. Instead of spending time and money on driving to a shop and finding parking, you can simply browse the catalog, select your size and color preference, choose a payment method, and select “check-out”. As easy as that!
Sometimes, you’ll even find that shopping online offers you special deals, saving you even more money. But shopping for a wetsuit online has a nasty catch that can easily negate everything that makes it better.
You’ve probably noticed before that one shirt brand’s medium fit is another brand’s large. The same is equally true of wetsuits, and even though many online retailers provide a handy size chart, nothing beats trying your suit on for size before making a purchase.
This is especially true for models that include the -Short and -Tall variants. You may be considered tall in your hometown, but where your suit was manufactured and sized you may be of average height. Again, you don’t want to rely too heavily on the size charts provided.
The simple truth of it is that if your wetsuit doesn’t fit properly, you could end up with increased water seepage or insufficient insulation—or both. Neither makes for a good dive, and you’ll find yourself wishing you’d taken a different size.
Shopping for most diving suits is best left for replacing an old piece of equipment with the exact same model. At the very least, you should be upgrading to a new version in the same range, such as replacing your Fourth Element Proteus with the new Proteus II.
In our opinion, the only exception to this rule is when you manage to find a scuba-oriented e-commerce store that has an amazing returns policy that allows you to replace or refund an ill-fitting suit. Just be sure to read all of the fine print! Many retailers won’t take a wetsuit back if you’ve been in salt water with it. Just to be on the safe side, test the fit and seal in a pool before heading to the ocean.
After all: if you end up with an ill-fitting wetsuit where the thermal insulation factors are reduced or the seal is leaky (or even if you find you struggle to don and doff it), it doesn’t matter whether you only spent $100 plus shipping. If you can’t return the suit for a refund or replacement, you’ll find yourself wishing you’d bitten the bullet and sat through the traffic to visit your nearest brick-and-mortar scuba gear shop.
Our Best Scuba Diving Wetsuit Choice
We’ve done the heavy lifting by going through thousands of peer and community reviews to select the nine best scuba diving wetsuits available in 2018. Narrowing it down even further to one editor’s pick is a tough task because there are so many factors to consider. Not least is the thickness of the suit, considering different water temperatures require varying insulation factors—which are largely decided by this simple feature.
Considering the fantastic suits we’ve reviewed—many of which can be used for surface water sports as well—we went back and forth between a few of them when trying to pick what we feel is the best all-around wetsuit for 2018. After some serious debating, we finally settled on the proudly American WaterProof USA W3 3-3.5mm.
America is blessed with two long shorelines that stretch from the lower Arctic to the warmer tropics down south. Straddled between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, we’re truly spoiled when it comes to our range of water temperatures—which is why we feel it’s important to have a wetsuit that can keep you comfortably warm on as wide an arc of the spectrum as possible.
With its Gender Specific, superior 3D anatomical fit, Sharp Scandinavian Styling, and 3-3.5mm microcell CR nylon 2 neoprene rubber, the WaterProof W3 makes for an improved insulation choice without compromising on mobility, agility, or flexibility. The full gusset and comfort neck zippers allow you to easily relieve stress on your throat and neck area, both on the surface and in the water. Seepage is vastly reduced by the unique, dense hexagonal Hex-Tex inner plush lining, which also boosts your comfort levels considerably.
We especially like the thermal plastic urethane economic molded hook teeth, which are designed to stick only to their assigned loop tabs. Donning and doffing your suit has never been easier either thanks to the hard-core durability back zipper with a bronze slider and full-length pull tab leash, as well as the added zippers found on the arms and legs.
The polyurethane embossed grip and reinforcement, wave flex panels, and rash guards serve not only to protect you but to cement the WaterProof USA W3 as our chosen wetsuit for 2018. And with a truly impressive size range, you’re sure to find the perfect fit no matter your body shape and proportions.
Whether you believe in the existence of DC Comic’s Aquaman or not, the simple fact is that humans simply aren’t built to last in the depths of the ocean. As much as we love exploring these depths, and wouldn’t give up the chance for a dive for almost anything in the world, we have to accept that we lack the necessary biological insulation of marine animals.
Dolphins, porpoises, whales, and even seals have a thick layer of fat or blubber that keeps them warm. We humans have to be satisfied with a wetsuit.
If you enjoy diving as much as what we do, then your wetsuit is your best friend, keeping your body heat trapped against your skin and the icy water out. So why waste your time on a substandard model?
The best wetsuits will keep you drier and warmer better and longer than lower models. It makes sense to opt for the best quality you can afford when it comes to your wetsuit, as it can literally save your life by keeping hypothermia at bay!
Whether you favor warmer waters and the chance to indulge in the occasional surface sport or prefer the cool depths of our Arctic backyard, there’s a wetsuit for you. We’ve taken the edge off of the long search by compiling a definitive list of the best best scuba diving wetsuits available in 2018, no matter the temperature of your diving territory, or your budget.