When it comes to buying the best wetsuits for diving, there is quite a bit to consider. The best scuba wetsuit needs to be the perfect level of thickness to keep you warm in the water while providing the right amount of flexibility so you can move easily. You’ll also need to consider whether it has appropriate seals and zippers to ensure the water isn’t flowing in and out of the suit too quickly.
Sound a bit overwhelming? If you need help on how to choose a wetsuit for diving, then this is the perfect guide for you. We’ve been scuba certified for over 15 years and have been diving and snorkeling around the world from Mexico to Egypt and lots of places in between.
In this scuba diving wetsuit guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to ensure you purchase the best wet suit that’s perfect for you. First up, we’ll take you through the different features to consider when looking for a good quality scuba suit and then take a closer look at some of the best dive wetsuits for both men and women.
In this guide, we look at a range of different products, including options for the best shorty and best full body wetsuits, as well as the best wet suits for warm, cool, and cold waters. We also cover all the best brands such as O’Neill, Cressi, Bare, Scubapro, and more. So whatever type of divers wet suit you’re after, no doubt you’ll find just what you’re looking for in these wetsuit reviews.
- How Does a Wetsuit Work?
- The Best Wetsuits for Diving Comparison Chart
- Choosing the Best Dive Wetsuits
- The Best Scuba Wetsuit Reviews
- Best Shorty Wetsuit for Warm Water
- Lemorecn Womens and Mens Shorty
- Cressi Lido Shorty
- Seavenger Navigator Shorty Womens and Mens Wet Suit
- O’Neill Men’s Reactor Wetsuit
- The Best Full Wetsuit for Warm Water
- Seavenger Alpha Full Length Wetsuit
- Hevto Guardian Full Body Wetsuits
- O’Neill Men’s Reactor-2 Full Body Wetsuit
- O’Neill Women’s Reactor-2 Full Body Wetsuit
- The Best Cool Water Full Length Wetsuits
- The Best Cold Water Full Length Wetsuits
How Does a Wetsuit Work?
I find that understanding how a scuba diving suit work, helps in understanding the different factors that you need to consider to purchase the very best diving suit for your needs.
As you know, a wetsuit keeps you warm – but how? Well, it’s made from a material called neoprene, which allows a thin layer of water to slowly flow inside between the suit and your skin. Your body heat quickly warms up this water, which then keeps you warm despite the cold water surrounding you.
A good fitting scuba wet suit ensures the water doesn’t flow in and out too quickly because, if it does, your body has to warm up the water continually. Water can penetrate the wetsuit through the holes for your hands, feet, and head as well as through the stitching and zipper, so these are all areas you need to take into consideration when purchasing a great scuba diving outfit.
The Best Wetsuits for Diving Comparison Chart
Below we’ve provided a handy chart that details the various wet suit options reviewed in this guide. Use this table as a quick guide to see the products and their features side by side so you can determine if it’s the right option for you.
|Lemorecn Shorty||Warm water||3mm||Both||Check Price|
|Cressi Lido Shorty||Warm water||1.8mm||Women||Check Price|
|Seavenger Navigator Shorty||Warm water||3mm||Both||Check Price|
|O’Neill Reactor Shorty||Warm water||2mm||Men’s||Check Price|
|Seavenger Alpha Full||Warm water||3mm||Both||Check Price|
|Hevto Guardian Full||Warm water||3mm||Both||Check Price|
|O’Neill Reactor-2 Full||Warm water||3/2mm||Men||Check Price|
|O’Neill Reactor-2 Full||Warm water||3/2mm||Women||Check Price|
|Scubapro EverFlex Steamer||Cool water||5/4mm||Men||Check Price|
|O’Neill Epic Men’s Full Wetsuit||Cool water||4/3mm||Men||Check Price|
|O’Neill Dive Sector Full||Cool water||5mm||Women||Check Price|
|Scubapro EverFlex Steamer||Cold water||7mm||Women||Check Price|
|Scubapro EverFlex Steamer||Cold water||7mm||Men||Check Price|
|Bare Velocity Full||Cold water||7mm||Women||Check Price|
|NeoSport Premium Full||Cold water||7/5mm||Men||Check Price|
Choosing the Best Dive Wetsuits
To purchase the best wet suit that’s perfect for you consider the following factors:
Scuba wetsuits are made from neoprene and come in a range of thicknesses to keep your body at the right temperature depending on how warm or cold the water is. Generally, there are three main levels of thickness: thin (0.5mm to 3mm), mid-range (4mm to 6mm) and thick (7mm+).
The thinner the suit, the less warmth and buoyancy it will provide, but you will have more flexibility. Of course, the opposite is true for a thicker suit–you will have more warmth and buoyancy, but less flexibility. So, before buying, consider how much warmth and flexibility you need based on where you’ll be diving.
If you are the sort of person that feels the cold easily, you’re better off with a thicker full body wetsuit, as this will provide you with a more enjoyable experience in the water.
Some options come with different panels that have a range of thicknesses. This allows divers added flexibility in areas of the body they need it most such as around the arms and joints while having warmth over their core. For example, a 5/3mm wetsuit would provide a thickness of 5mm on the torso and 3mm on the arms and legs.
Still not sure what thickness to go for, here is a brief guide:
- Thick – 7mm+: This is best where the water temperature is 50°F (10°C) and below.
- Mid-Range – 4mm to 6mm: This is best where the water temperature is between 50-68°F (10-20°C).
- Thin – 0.5 to 3mm: This is best where the water temperature is between 68-77°F (20-25°C).
Wetsuits come in either a shorty or a full length version.
A shorty, as the name suggests, has short sleeves and ends just above the knees. These are the best wetsuits for scuba diving in warm water and typically are made from 2.5 to 3mm neoprene. Many divers prefer a shorty over a full, as it provides greater flexibility and is also much easier to put on and take off.
A full-length suit (also called a steamer wetsuit) covers all your body, with long sleeves, and comes right down to the ankles. A long wetsuit offers additional warmth to the body and protects your arms and legs from abrasions, the sun, and stings from jellyfish.
If you are likely to dive in a range of different water temperatures and just want to get just one, a full length wet suit is the better option.
For a diving wet suit to do its job, it needs to fit your body nice and snugly. It should in fact feel like a struggle to get it on and feel somewhat restrictive once you are wearing it. However, it shouldn’t be so tight that it cuts off your circulation at the wrists and ankles, nor should it prevent you from being able to bend at the knees.
If your wetsuit is too loose, it will allow water to freely flow in and out, which defeats the purpose of wearing one in the first place. Once you get in the water, it does become a lot looser, so keep this in mind.
To slow down the flow of water in and out of the suit, look for edges around the wrists, ankles, and neck that are snug. In these areas, there are a range of different seal types, including rolled neoprene, rolled glideskin, and glideskin. We’ve briefly outlined each below:
- Rolled Neoprene: Basic seals where the neoprene is folded over and sewn together, so there isn’t a raw edge – just like a hem on clothing.
- Rolled Glideskin: Seals that have a membrane lining (glideskin) under the neoprene that helps to provide a better, snug fit and slows the flow of water. Some suits have this type of seal right on the cuff at the wrist, while others have the seal at the forearm.
- Glideskin: The best form of seal where the membrane lining (glideskin) is long and wide along your wrist and forearm.
Need a mask, fins, or snorkel, too? Check out our other guide.
The stitching can also impact the suit’s ability to keep you warm. Cheap wetsuits tend to use a flatlock or overlock stitching which means the needle and thread have gone all the way through the neoprene and so can allow water to creep through. The best scuba diving wetsuits are sewn with a blind stitch or glued stitch, where the needle does not go all the way through and, therefore, the water cannot seep through.
The sole function of a zipper is to allow you to get in and out of the suit, and can be found either on the back or front. A zipper also provides another entry point for water to get in – so while the longer the zipper, the easier it is to put on, it’s also a lot easier for water to get in.
To increase warmth, good quality wetsuits will have a small flap of neoprene (zip baffle) under the zipper to slow down the flow of water that comes through here. Some wetsuits even have glideskin here to create a better seal between the zipper.
Zippers also sometimes feature around the wrists and ankles. This allows for a snug fit, but also makes it easy to put the wetsuit on and take it off as well as providing yet another entry point for the water.
In terms of good quality zippers – look for YKK zippers that are heavy duty and super durable.
While pretty much all wetsuits are made from neoprene, some feature additional lining to enhance durability or functionality. Following are some of the more popular linings:
- Double lined neoprene: This is where the neoprene is lined on both the outside and inside with nylon to make the wetsuit more durable. The downside is that this makes it less stretchy.
- Single lined neoprene: This is where the neoprene is lined just on one side. Sometimes the wetsuit is just lined in certain areas to make it stick better, such as the collar and holes for hands and feet.
- Titanium lined: This is where a layer of titanium is placed between the neoprene and the nylon. Titanium helps reflect the body heat back into the body and so makes the wetsuit warmer.
The Best Scuba Wetsuit Reviews
Below we’ve provided reviews on a range of men’s and women’s scuba diving wetsuits suitable for warm water, cool water, and cold water.
Best Shorty Wetsuit for Warm Water
Here are my recommendations if you’re after a short, thin wetsuit for diving in warm tropical waters:
If you just want the best cheap wetsuit for warm water conditions, take a look at this great option from Lemorecn has versions for men and women.
This 3mm wetsuit is made from high quality premium neoprene material with flatlock seams to reduce irritation and provide comfortable wear for long periods. It is also spot taped at stress points to make it extra durable. The anatomically cut pattern offers a glove-like fit and is designed to fit a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
This warm water wetsuit also features an extra-long zipper leash and a heavy-duty #10 YKK zipper, so you know you are getting high quality fitting that won’t let water in too quickly. Unfortunately, the womens wet suit only comes in one color choice, but the men’s has 5 colors to choose from.
Both men and women looking for an affordable suit that is still high quality and perfect for warmer water will love this option from Lemorecn.
If you’re fed up with struggling with rear zippers and want a front zip option, this choice from well-known brand Cressi could be one of the best womens wetsuits for you.
This Cressi wetsuit is made from a high quality double lined neoprene to retain great core warmth, but, as it’s just a 2mm wetsuit, it remains flexible and comfortable to wear for long periods. This particular ladies wet suit has a specific anatomical cut for women’s body shapes, to provide a second skin-like fit, and comes in a choice of three colors.
The high quality YKK front zip closure not only ensures extra durability but is also a great alternative to the more commonly seen back zipper, which can be difficult to close on your own.
If you are looking for cheap womens wetsuits, this is a great one to consider.
If you want a high quality short sleeve wetsuit that’s designed with durability in mind, take a look at the Seavenger Navigator.
This suit is made using a premium-quality Nylon II neoprene blend, which is excellent at withstanding wear and tear, and the 3mm thickness is perfect for taking the edge off in warmer water conditions. Flatlock smooth seam construction helps to combat chafing, irritation, and rashes from prolonged wear.
This suit also features a #10 YKK zipper with an extra long leash to make it easy to get it on and off without too much fuss. There are also anti-abrasion shoulder panels to minimize wear and tear from straps and stretch armpit panels for increased mobility.
The Seavenger Navigator is made with comfort and mobility in mind and has some great features to prevent wear and tear from prolonged use. It also comes in a choice of four different colors.
Oneill wetsuits, like their other products, are manufactured to a high quality without completing blowing the budget. With the Reactor, you know you’re getting one of the best men’s wetsuits around.
This men’s shorty is made from 100% neoprene with a 100% nylon lining. The 2mm thick suit is made using fluidflex material in the shoulders and sleeves, giving it a great combination of comfort and flexibility.
The flatlock seams are strategically placed with comfort in mind and won’t chafe or rub after prolonged wear. This suit also features a fully adjustable super seal neck and back zipper with a long cord to get it on without too much trouble.
If you’re looking for an excellent quality shorty light wetsuit from a well-known brand but don’t want to pay an exorbitant price, the O’Neill Reactor is a great choice.
The Best Full Wetsuit for Warm Water
Here are my recommendations if you’re diving in warm tropical waters and prefer a full body wetsuit:
The Seavenger Alpha is the full length version of the Seavenger Navigator (reviewed above) with much of the same great features. So, if you were impressed by the Navigator but prefer full length, this is the choice for you.
As before, this suit is made with premium-quality Nylon II neoprene blend, which is excellent at withstanding wear and tear and is the same 3mm thickness. It also has a flatlock seam to combat chafing, irritation, and rashes from prolonged wear. It comes in black and there is also a really stylish floral design on offer.
This long sleeve wetsuit features a #10 YKK zipper with an extra long leash to make it easy to get on and off without a fuss. As well as anti-abrasion shoulder panels, the full suit also has the same panels on the knees, giving extra durability. The stretch armpit panels for increased mobility are also matched in the knees with this full length suit.
This Seavenger Alpha is designed with durability in mind and has some great extra little touches to make this a suit that can stand heavy use.
If you want a full wetsuit with a price that won’t break the bank, take a look at the Hevto Guardian.
This 3mm full length option is made from a neoprene and nylon elastic fabric, which gives excellent warmth and protection but with a good level of flexibility and range of motion, too. It comes in a choice of four designs and colors, so there is sure to be something to fit most tastes, and the back zipper with long pull cord makes it easy to get on and off by yourself.
If you’re looking for a cheap wetsuit for your next warm water adventure, this Hevto Guardian option is a great one to consider.
The Oneill’s men’s Reactor-2 full length is much the same as the shorty version and a great entry level option for those who want a full suit from a trusted brand.
This full length Reactor wetsuit, just like the shorty, is made from 100% neoprene with a 100% nylon lining. At 2mm thick, it is made using 30% fluidflex material (in the shoulders and sleeves) and 70% fluid foam material, giving it both flexibility and comfort. This suit comes in a choice of six different colors, so you’re sure to find something you like.
Flatlock seams are strategically placed with the wearer’s comfort in mind, which also helps to reduce chafing and rubbing. This suit also features a fully adjustable super seal neck, krypto knee pads for extra protection and a back zipper with a long cord to get the suit on alone easily.
If you’re looking for a full length wetsuit from a well-known brand at a reasonable price, the O’Neill Reactor-2 is a great entry level choice for all types of water activities.
The Oneill’s women’s Reactor-2 full length suit is much the same as the men’s version and a great entry level wetsuit for anyone who wants a full suit from a well-known brand.
This ladies wetsuit, just like the men’s Reactor-2, is made from 100% neoprene and is 2mm thick made with 30% fluidflex material (in the shoulders and sleeves) and 70% fluid foam material, giving it both flexibility and comfort. It comes in a choice of four colors, so you’re sure to find something you like.
Flatlock seams are strategically placed away from any paddle zones to help to reduce chafing and rubbing as well as increase mobility. This suit also features a fully adjustable super seal neck, krypto knee pads for extra durability, and a back zipper with a long cord and water resistant closure.
If you need a women’s full length wetsuit from a trusted brand, the O’Neill Reactor-2 is a great entry level choice for warm water.
The Best Cool Water Full Length Wetsuits
Here are my recommendations if you’re diving in cool waters:
If you’re looking for a 5mm diving wetsuit for mid range temperatures and want something that provides a great range of motion, take a look at this option from Scubapro.
This full length suit is made from 100% Everflex neoprene, which is an X-Foam formulation created for durability. The torso panel has a 5mm thickness, whereas the arms and legs are cut down to 4mm to allow for greater mobility, and the whole thing is designed with fewer seams for added flexibility.
This suit is easy to get on and off thanks to the zippers on the neck, wrists, and ankles as well as the diagonal back YKK zipper with long tether cord. It also features a small lower leg zip pocket and durable shoulder and kneepads for added protection.
If you need the best 5mm wetsuit for diving but don’t want to compromise on flexibility and durability, the Scubapro Everflex is a high quality option that fits the bill.
If you’re looking for a good suit from a trusted brand, the O’Neill Epic is the next step up from the Reactor, with slightly more features and improved design quality.
This suit has a 4mm thickness to the chest and 3mm for the extremities, providing warmth without the extra bulk. It is made from 100% super stretch neoprene, which is soft and provides protection with added range of motion. The wind-resistant fluid-flex firewall panels offer extra insulation and protection against the cold. The seams are blind stitched and triple glued to keep water out and increase durability.
This suit also features krypto kneepads to give added durability to this high use area and a #10 YKK zipper with extra long tether cord to make dressing and undressing quick and easy. It also comes in a choice of seven different colors/designs.
This is an excellent quality full length suit for cool temperatures without having to blow your budget completely.
This 5mm option from O’Neill helps keep you warm in cooler conditions and is from a well-known and trusted brand.
This suit is made with ultraflex DS superstretch neoprene that fits like a second skin to provide excellent warmth and protection in cool temperatures. The externally liquid taped seams work together with the YKK zipper to keep cold water out and body warmth in. The suit features a poly fleece torso lining which adds extra insulation to this vital area while wicking away moisture from the skin.
This suit also features durable kneepads for added protection in this high wear area as well as a super convenient zippered key pocket.
If extra warmth is your main priority, this full length 5mm women’s wetsuit from O’Neill is a great one to consider.
The Best Cold Water Full Length Wetsuits
Here are our recommendations if you’re diving in cold waters:
If you’re looking for a women’s wetsuit for cold water temperatures and want something that has a great range of motion, take a look at this option from Scubapro.
This full is made from 100% Everflex neoprene, an X-Foam formulation created for durability. Then the diamond span thermal inner liner creates added warmth. The torso has a 7mm thickness whereas the arms and lengths are cut down to 5mm to allow excellent mobility. The whole suit is designed with fewer seams for added flexibility.
This suit is easy to get on and off thanks to the glideskin seals and zippers on the neck, wrists, and ankles as well as the diagonal back YKK zipper with long tether cord. It also features a thigh zip pocket, double blind stitched outer seams to make them extra watertight and durable shoulder and knee pads for added protection and durability.
If you need the best 7mm wetsuit for diving, this option from Scubapro is of a super high quality with some helpful features to give you added warmth and performance.
Just like the women’s version, this men’s EverFlex is an excellent option for diving in cold water. It has a high quality design that allows for a broad range of motion.
This full length suit is made from 100% EverFlex neoprene, an X-Foam formulation created for durability. The Diamond Span thermal liner along with absorbent Heliospan material in the chest and back panels create extra warmth. The torso of the EverFlex has a 7mm thickness, whereas the arms and legs are cut down to 5mm for added mobility and the wetsuit is designed with fewer seams for added flexibility.
This suit also has glideskin seals and zippers on the neck, wrists, and ankles, as well as the diagonal back YKK zipper with long tether cord just like the women’s version. The suit also features double blind stitched seams to make it extra watertight and durable shoulder and knee pads to protect against wear and tear.
This high quality suit from Scubapro would please any diver looking for protection in cold water temperatures.
This women’s wet suit by Bare is perfect for anyone who has stretch and comfort at the top of their wishlist.
The suit is made from 100% super stretch neoprene, which stretches up to 200% more than standard neoprene for a better fit and mobility. Its 7mm thickness provides excellent warmth in cold temperatures.
The full length wetsuit also features an adjustable velcro collar, zippered ankles for a comfortable fit and tight seal, knee pads, which provide extra grip and durability, and back zip with a long leash.
If you need something with extra stretch for a comfortable and flexible fit, the Bare Velocity is well worth considering.
This men’s cold water wetsuit from NeoSport is a cold water wetsuit at an amazingly low price.
The suit is made from 100% premium neoprene for a soft and comfortable fit and is spot taped at stress points for added durability. The 7mm thickness on the torso and 5mm thickness in the extremities ensures a warm yet flexible suit. Flatlock seams provide a smooth and comfortable fit without chaffing and irritation along with the lycra trimmed arm, neck, and ankle openings.
This full length suit also features thermally bonded knee pads for abrasion resistance, a fully adjustable collar, and even a handy internal key pocket. It’s available in 4 colors.
If you want something with added flexibility for cold temperature water, take a look at this quality option from Neosport.