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A wetsuit keeps you safe and comfortable whilst scuba diving.

So it’s an important piece of dive gear to have.

But which is the best scuba diving wetsuit for you?

The kind of wetsuit you need for scuba diving mostly depends on the environment and type of diving you plan on doing, but it also comes down to personal preference.

With so many styles and types of wetsuits available you’re probably struggling to know where to start.

That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of the very best wetsuits for scuba diving.

Plus we’ll be sharing everything you need to know about scuba diving wetsuits so you can make the best choice for you.

So, let’s get started.

What is a wetsuit and how does it work?

A wetsuit is an exposure suit, often made from neoprene, that divers wear to keep themselves warm and protect their body against scrapes and abrasions.

Wetsuits work by trapping a thin layer of water between your body and the wetsuit. Your body heats up this layer of water which keeps you warm and prevents you from losing too much heat to the colder water surrounding you. Further insulation is also provided by the tiny air bubbles that are trapped within the material of a wetsuit.

For a wetsuit to function effectively it needs to fit you properly. If it’s too loose then water will keep flushing through and quickly take heat away from your body.

Why should you get your own wetsuit for scuba diving?

In addition to being safe, it is extremely important to feel comfortable when you are scuba diving. And having your own scuba diving wetsuit is one of the easiest ways to ensure you are comfortable throughout your dive.

You might be thinking ‘Can’t I just rent a wetsuit?’

Yes, you can normally rent a wetsuit when you go scuba diving. But it’s common knowledge amongst divers that rental wetsuits aren’t always the best.

And here’s why…

Very few dive shops will have a variety of styles and thicknesses to suit your personal needs. Everyone’s body is unique and it’s very rare that a rental wetsuit will fit your body perfectly. And you already know that a wetsuit only works if it fits you properly.

Even if you’re lucky and it does fit you well, the rental wetsuit might not be the right thickness for you personally to stay warm enough throughout the dive. Or maybe it’s too thick and you feel uncomfortably hot during the dive.

Lastly, rental wetsuits are subject to a lot of wear and tear. Used all day every day, they become thin and therefore much less effective at keeping you warm. Not to mention all the holes and dodgy zips. And let’s be honest they’ve definitely been peed in many times!

So investing in your own wetsuit for scuba diving, or multiple depending on the dive conditions is the best solution.

What are the best Wetsuits for Scuba Diving?

Now you’re convinced you need to get your own scuba diving wetsuit it’s time to look at your options.

Most of the wetsuits below have a women’s fit available but if you’re looking for wetsuits designed specifically from women, check out our guide to the best scuba diving wetsuits for women.

neosport wetsuit

Designed to feel like a second skin, this short wetsuit will provide added warmth as well as protection from the sun, jellyfish and other irritants.  It features super stretchy lycra openings, reinforced seams and a hidden inner pocket.

Light-weight and flexible it’s the perfect choice for both snorkellers and divers traveling to tropical waters.

Pros
  • Full range of sizes
  • Women’s fit available
  • Soft & lightweight
  • Zippered inside pocket
  • Low price tag
Cons
  • Very buoyant
  • Can be loose-fitting underneath the arms

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By incorporating 3 different neoprene thicknesses across the body the Mares Flexa is super flexible and highly efficient when it comes to warmth and comfort underwater.

With a ton of attention to detail including added back protection, reinforced seams and a soft internal thermo lining, this high-quality wetsuit from a trusted brand is a solid choice for scuba divers.

Pros
Cons
  • No colour options

 

 

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Henderson Scuba Diving Wetsuit

The Henderson Thermoprene is one of the most popular scuba diving wetsuits out there.

Made from special neoprene that is 75% stretchier and significantly warmer than standard neoprene, this suit provides superior flexibility and movement. With an adjustable collar, lycra-trimmed cuffs and a spine pad you’re sure to be comfortable both in and out of the water.

If you’re on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice quality design, material or construction then the Henderson Thermoprene is the ultimate scuba diving wetsuit for you.

Pros
Cons
  • Can feel a little bulky on the surface
  • Flap needs to sit perfectly over the zip to prevent water leaking

 

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Although traditionally a surfing brand, this ultra-high-performance wetsuit from Billabong is a great choice for all watersports including scuba diving.

Featuring exclusive Furnace Graphen, innovative graphene wrapped yarns combined with carbon fibre, this wetsuit is up to 50% lighter, 200 times stronger and significantly warmer than a traditional neoprene wetsuit.

Made from over 30% recycled materials, the Billabong Furnace suit is the ideal choice for eco-friendly divers.

Pros
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey
  • No colour options
  • Only 1 thickness available

 

 

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With a low profile collar, wide-range of sizes and anatomical cut, the Bare Revel provides a surprisingly perfect fit for everyone. The cuffs fit snug against the skin to keep you warm and prevent water flushing in.

Moving in and on the water is super easy in this highly flexible and stylish wetsuit. A great choice for warm water diving, surfing, swimming and other water sports.

Pros
  • Super flexible for easy movement
  • Strong, durable seams
  • Women’s fit: Bare Elat
  • Stylish & sleek design
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • So stretchy that you may need a size smaller
  • No colour options
  • Only 1 thickness available

 

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ScubaPro is known for creating high-quality products designed specifically with scuba divers comfort and safety in mind. And this suit certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Super stretchy and built to last, the ScupoPro Everflex wetsuit is designed to move naturally with your body offering superior comfort, flexibility and value for money.

A great feature of this wetsuit is the diagonal back zipper, from your left hip up to your right shoulder, making the suit easier to put on and take off. Plus it’s much more comfortable than a traditional zip straight up the spine.

Pros
Cons
  • No ankle zips on 3/2mm suits
  • Rubber wrists can be difficult to get on and off

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Cressi

Known for combining high levels of comfort and efficiency with elegant designs you can’t go wrong with a Cressi wetsuit.

The Cressi Castoro is made from soft and durable neoprene with pre-shaped legs that ensure a perfectly snug fit. And the unique Aqualock system prevents any water sneaking in at the wrists and ankles.

 

Pros
  • Perfectly snug fit
  • Women’s fit available
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Preshaped legs
  • Reinforced knees, shins & shoulders
Cons
  • Plastic zippers
  • Only 1 thickness

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Bare 7mm Scuba Diving Wetsuit

Bare are well known for their beautifully designed and well fitting wetsuits, and this is no exception. The Bare Elastek wetsuit is extremely comfortable with reinforced knee pads that are durable and dependable.

A comfortable and dependable suit perfect for keeping you warm in colder waters.  The unique Glideseal technology prevents any water flushing in whilst making sure the suit is still easy to put on and take off.

 

Pros
Cons
  • No variety of thicknesses available

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The NeoTek semi-dry suit is made from super stretchy and compression-resistant 8/7/6mm neoprene, providing serious warmth and ultimate comfort in cold water.

With Hollis’ exclusive ThermaSkin inner layer, double taped and bindstitched seams as well as an intergrated hood there’s no way you’ll feel any chill when diving in cold waters.

If you’re looking for a durable and dependable suit for colder water diving, look no further than the Hollis NeoTek.

 

Pros
  • Internal neck, arm & leg dams prevent any leaks
  • Horizontal front zipper
  • Generous pockets & integrated hood
  • Variety of sizes available
Cons
  • No women’s fit available
  • Only suitable for cold water
  • Heavy

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Xcel Semi Dry scuba diving suit

The Xcel Thermoflex is a tough suit that’s built to last. This semi-dry suit is made from super high quality, compression-resistant neoprene with blind stitched and quadruple glued seams.

The seamless dry-lock seals at the wrists, ankles and neck, plus a unique S-lock back zipper, keep the water out and all the warmth in.

This premium semi-dry provides supreme comfort and warmth when diving in colder waters.

Pros
  • Durable contoured knee pads
  • Protective spinal pad
  • Easy on/off ankle zips
  • Supreme warmth & flexibility
Cons
  • No women’s fit available
  • Only suitable for cold water
  • High price

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a wetsuit for scuba diving? 

As much as we love it, we humans simply aren’t biologically equipped for spending long periods of time underwater.

We don’t have that thick layer of fat that other marine mammals, like whales, dolphins, and even otters, have to keep themselves insulated. A wetsuit is our layer of insulation.

Water conducts heat away from your body 20 times faster than air. So without a wetsuit, you’ll get cold pretty quickly, even in tropical waters. And in some environments, you can easily end up with hypothermia.

And even if you never feel the cold when you’re diving, a thin wetsuit is perfect for avoiding accidental cuts, scrapes or jellyfish stings.

What thickness of wetsuit do I need for scuba diving?

Scuba diving wetsuits come in different thicknesses depending on the temperature of water you’ll be diving in. Most wetsuits are available in 3mm, 5mm and 7mm options but you’ll also find some 1mm and 2mm wetsuits from tropical waters.

Below are the general recommendations for wetsuit thickness for scuba diving:

2mm: Tropical waters above 85 F / 29 C

3mm: Warm waters between 70-85 F / 21-29 C

5mm: Temperate waters between 60-70 F / 15-21 C

7mm: Colder waters between 50-60 F / 10-15 C

A wetsuit with a thickness represented by 2 numbers, for example, 5/3mm, then the first number is the thickness of the torso and the second is the thickness on the arms and legs.

Remember to consider what type of diver you are when deciding on the thickness of your wetsuit. Some divers feel the cold a lot easier than others.

Where we might freeze our fins off in anything less than a 5mm long wetsuit you’d be sweating in anything more than a 3mm shortie.

Still unsure about what thickness to get?

If you dive in both tropical and temperate water then you might want to consider purchasing 2 different wetsuits. Yes, it’s a bigger investment, but long term it’ll pay off as you’ll be more comfortable underwater and be able to fully enjoy all of your dives.

Alternatively, you can look at purchasing a neoprene vest to add insulation around your core. A diving hood can also make a big difference as we lose most of our heat during a dive from our heads.

Should a scuba diving wetsuit be tight?

A scuba diving wetsuit should be tight but not restrictive.

If your wetsuit is too loose it will keep letting water in, which will take the heat away from your body very quickly. But if it’s too tight, you’ll struggle to move properly and you may find it difficult to breathe.

How do I get the right fit for a scuba diving wetsuit?

As we mentioned above, a scuba diving wetsuit needs to fit snugly against your body for it to function effectively. You should have to struggle a little to get the wetsuit on, but it shouldn’t be so tight that you have trouble zipping it up.

Check out this video for a simple guide on how to make sure your wetsuit fits you properly.

Front zip vs back zip: What’s better for a scuba diving wetsuit? 

Honestly, this is down to personal preference so choose whichever zip style you’re most comfortable with.

A back zip wetsuit is often easier to put on because the opening that a back zip provides is much larger than a front or chest zip. They also tend to last longer as they’re subject to less movement. However, a front zip is much easier to deal with if it gets stuck, especially if you’re alone. And they’re also less prone to water flushing in.

Do I need a short or long wetsuit for scuba diving? 

The style of wetsuit you need depends on the environment you’re diving in and your personal preference.

Short wetsuits are great for shallow diving in warm water conditions and offer flexibility and freedom of movement. They’re easy to put on and lightweight for travelling.

Long wetsuits offer additional warmth and protect your legs and arms from accidental scrapes and jellyfish. Many divers prefer a long wetsuit when reef or wreck diving, particularly in areas with more venomous marine life.

 

Can I use a surfing wetsuit for scuba diving?

The quick answer is yes, you can use a surfing wetsuit for scuba diving but it won’t keep you as warm as a scuba diving wetsuit.

Surfing wetsuits tend to have thinner shoulder and arm sections to allow more flexibility and movement. This means that they are less effective at retaining heat. Scuba diving wetsuits will keep you much warmer as they are specifically designed for being fully submerged in the water for a prolonged period of time so

Is it ok to pee in a scuba diving wetsuit? 

There’s a well known saying in scuba diving that there are only 2 types of divers:

Those who pee in their wetsuit and those who lie about it.

While we’re not sure if that’s 100% accurate we do know that peeing in your wetsuit won’t cause any damage.

And as long as you properly clean your wetsuit afterward then you won’t have any issues.

What do I wear underneath a scuba diving wetsuit?

Most scuba divers just wear their normal swimwear underneath their wetsuit. You can also wear a rashguard or skinsuit underneath for added comfort and warmth.

Or you can choose to go commando. Whatever floats your boat, there are no judgements here!

 

How long does a scuba diving wetsuit last?

On average, a good scuba diving wetsuit should last anywhere from 2 years to 10 years or more. However, this will depend on how heavily you use it and how well youlook after it.

All wetsuits lose elasticity over the years and can shrink a little as the neoprene cells collapse. But as with any piece of scuba diving gear, if you invest in high-quality equipment and look after it, then it will last you much longer.

Is it easier to put on a scuba diving wetsuit wet or dry? 

Unless you’re wearing a dive skin or other skin-tight clothing that will allow the wetsuit to slide on effortlessly, it is easiest when both you and your wetsuit are either wet or dry. The most difficult scenario is trying to tug a damp wetsuit over dry skin or shove a wet body into a dry wetsuit.

Our recommendation is to put your wetsuit on when you’re fully in the water. So, if you can, jump in the pool or ocean first and slide into your wetsuit there.

The Best Scuba Diving Wetsuit for you

Ultimately, the best scuba diving wetsuit for you is the one that you feel most comfortable in. And is suitable for the location you’re visiting and the type of diving you are planning.

There’s a huge difference between the wetsuit you’ll need for a dive liveaboard in the Maldives and shore diving in Sardinia, for example.

Having the wrong wetsuit can easily ruin your whole dive, and in some situations even become dangerous, so it’s important to take some time to find the right wetsuit for you.

What wetsuit did you choose?

Let us know in the comments.

Alexa Worswick Administrator
Alexa is a scuba diving instructor currently based in Indonesia. She’s been diving since 15 years old and has always been obsessed with the ocean. One of her favorite things about diving is connecting with people of all backgrounds.