The best wetsuit should protect you from cuts, scrapes, stings and the sun, and keep you warm underwater. A high-quality scuba diving suit is an investment that will last you for years to come, and provide you with optimal performance in terms of comfort and safety.
Buying a wetsuit also means that you no longer have to settle for what can be evil-smelling rental diving gear. Wading through the myriad options however in a quest to find the right gear can be overwhelming, but we’ve scoured this space and bring you the lowdown on 5 best wetsuits for diving that won’t disappoint you on your underwater adventures.
How Scuba Diving Wetsuits Are Different
Scuba Diving wetsuits are made specifically to keep a diver warm at the surface as well as at depths, which is why they are made to a different standard than a surfing wetsuit, which will spend its life on the surface. Compression increases as you go deeper in water, this is why scuba diving wetsuits use a denser neoprene than their surfing wetsuit counterparts. Neoprene consists of rubber and closed cell nitrogen bubbles, more nitrogen bubbles means less density and more flexibility, the less nitrogen bubbles means less flexibility and more density for the wetsuit. We will discuss below how scuba diving wetsuits are designed to manage the compression, flexibility and warmth needed in a dive wetsuit.
Scuba Diving is unique from most other water sports in that movement is actually best kept to a minimum to increase bottom time and decrease air usage. Diving wetsuits are made with warmth in mind first, and flexibility second. Along with being dense, which makes them less stretchy, they often have the strongest seems, with least stretch, of any wetsuit. These seems make diving wetsuits warmer and more durable than a water surface wetsuit designed for more flexibility.
As a Scuba Diver descends, the force of the water increases on everything. Without the proper mixture of rubber and nitrogen cells a 7mm wetsuit at depths can become a 2mm wetsuit fairly fast. This is why a denser type of neoprene is used for scuba diving wetsuits. The denser neoprene does not compress as easily at depth, however, denser neoprene is not as flexible as neoprene with more nitrogen cells, which is less dense. The video below gives a great visual example of how neoprene compresses differently with varying densities.
All wetsuits are designed to keep the wearer warm, however dive wetsuits have a significantly more challenging environment in which to work. We have already talked about compression, which affects the the thickness of the wetsuit at depth, but we have not talked about that as you dive deeper in the water, the colder the water gets as well. Scuba Diving wetsuits are designed with strong seems, denser neoprene, and tight neck, wrist and and ankle seals to keep wetsuit flushing at a minimum to ensure the most heat retention as possible.
Wetsuits for Diving Reviews
1. Mares Flexa 8.6.5
The Flexa 8.6.5 is a full length wetsuit with a unique neoprene thickness variation. The neoprene is 8mm thick at the torso, 6mm thick at the arms and legs and 5 mm thick at the neck, wrist and ankle seals. The trilastic ultrastretch neoprene makes this cold water wetsuit comfortable and offers unparalleled freedom of movement. The custom neck enclosure ensures ease of use and eliminates snagging suit materials. Additional warmth and comfort comes from the Thermo Plush Interior. Thermo Plush is a extremely soft internal layer designed to keep the body warm, is durable and dries fast. Rounding out the durability of the Flexa 8.6.5 is are Supratex anti-scratch polyurethane knee pads to protect the wetsuit from scratches and tears to the knees.
The Flexa 8.6.5 is one of the warmest wetsuits on the market we have found. The combination of thickness and flexibility make it an ideal scuba diving wetsuit for cold water dives. The durability is impressive, even by commercial diver standards. The sizing runs true to size to a little small, so you may want to keep in mind that going one size bigger than your typical size may be a better fit.
- Should fit snug, but not too tight
- 100% ultra-stretch Neoprene resulting unparalleled comfort & freedom of movement
- Custom neck closure eliminates snagging suit materials
- Trilastic Material, Thermo Plush Inside, Back Zipper, Skin-On-Skin Zipper Seal
- Supratex Anti-Scratch polyurethane knee pads
- Excels in cold water conditions
- Highly durable wetsuit
- UPF 50+ sun protection
- On the pricey side
- Not as flexible as thinner wetsuit
2. Scubapro Everflex Steamer 3/2
Scubapro is synonymous with scuba diving gear. Founded in 1963, Scubapro manufacturers regulators, BCDs, masks, fins, snorkels, dive computers, wetsuits…..in fact, Scubapro manufacturers almost every dive gear and accessory that can be bought for scuba diving. WIth their dive expertise, Scubapro really understands what is needed from a wetsuit when scuba diving.
The Scubapro Everflex Steamer 3/2 is a great example of Scubapro’s expertise at manufacturing dive gear and dive wear. The Everflex Steamer offers the fit, form and function Everflex steamers are famous for. Made with low impact recycled materials and innovative manufacturing methods the Everflex Steamer 3/2 is Scubapro’s most flexible steamer, making it both a warm and comfortable wetsuit.
The Everflex is environmentally friendly, using a solvent free water based glue. The multi thickness panels, 3mm thick torso and 2 mm thick arms and legs, deliver a superior combination of warmth and flexibility. The wetsuit is designed to use fewer seams and panels for maximum flexibility and minimum wetsuit flushing. The Everflex Steamer has double blind-stitched outer seams that are durable and watertight, and single blind-stitched inner seams that are comfortable against bare skin.
The Scubapro Everflex Steamer 3/2 is one of the most comfortable wetsuits that can be found today. Designed for warmer waters, the Everflex will keep you warm while making you forget that you even have a wetsuit on!
- Made from 100 percent Everflex neoprene, an X-Foam formulation, for durability and better health.
- Suits are assembled using a solvent-free water-based glue. SCUBAPRO is the first in the industry to offer this environmentally and diver friendly adhesive material.
- Multi-thickness panels deliver a superior combination of warmth and flexibility.
- Pure Design Concept uses fewer seams and panels for maximum flexibility.
- Double blind-stitched outer seams are durable and watertight, and single blind-stitched inner seams are comfortable against bare skin.
- Good value
- Comfort, so flexible you will forget you have a wetsuit on
- Environmentally safe designs
- Not for cold waters
- High end of the price range for a 3/2 wetsuit
3. Cressi Men’s Morea Ultraspan Scuba Diving Wetsuit
The Morea is a full-length wetsuit carefully and lovingly constructed from 3mm neoprene and has been assembled using the flat sewing technique and designed with anti-fraying thread so should be an investment that will last. The overall suit has been elegantly and modestly designed and incorporates stylized pearl gray detailing alongside color panels. The large surface area of neoprene paneling delivers exceptional flexibility while the internal elastic nylon lining helps to keep in warmth.
There are sturdy and robust YKK zippers and also an Aquastop flap which will help with flushing. The ankles and wrists are completed with stylish overlocking cuffs. Overall the suit looks sleek, streamlined, and sophisticated, and certainly delivers advanced hydrodynamics with its super smooth neoprene exterior chest paneling. It’s also a fast drying suit so is perfect for all types of aquatic activities including skiing, sailing, and surfing.
There’s plenty of maneuverability and flexibility, and the substantial and high-quality robust quality YKK back zipper means that it is easy for donning and doffing independently. It makes a great option for light scuba diving in warmer or more tropical waters and also makes an excellent choice for a wide range of aquatic sports such as sailing and water skiing.
- Cressi is a REAL diving, snorkeling and swimming Italian brand, since 1946.
- One-piece wetsuit made in 3mm Premium Quality Neoprene. Arms and Legs in Ultraspan Neoprene for ensure free movements and ease to donning.
- Chest in Rubberized Neoprene for ensure warmth and protection. Back-zip in quality YKK.
- Anatomical cuts adaptable at different shapes of bodies.
- Protection on the knees.
- Rubberized neoprene chest for additional warmth
- Anatomically cut and designed to shape all bodies
- Extra abrasion protection on knees
- 3 mm thickness
- Easy donning and doffing
- Reliable YKK back entry zipper
- Not suitable for cold water conditions
4. Henderson THERMOPRENE Step-In Jacket
The Henderson THERMOPRENE Step-In Jacket is made from 3mm thick, premium quality nylon, and showcases an anatomically friendly suit design. It features a front opening secured by a long zipper and abrasion resistant material that is both blind-stitched and glued for excellent service life. Available in several different sizes but just one color—black, the Henderson THERMOPRENE Step-In Jacket is a great choice for anyone looking for a stylish diving suit that offers superior durability.
The Henderson THERMOPRENE Step-In Jacket is easy to get into via the front opening, which can be opened and closed via the long front zipper. However, the medium size of this diving suit may be a tad loose, so it might be best to buy one size smaller.
- The Material Combination with a High Quality Nylon 2 Neoprene Delivers Greater Flexibility and Durability
- High Compression Resistance
- All Seams Are GBS-Glued and Blind Stitched
- 3 mm Thermoprene; Easy Entry with a Front Zipper
- Ideal for Dives in Tropical and Temperate Waters and to Pair It up with a John
- Generously cut front-zipper
- Cuffs feature Lycra trim
- Abrasion resistant thermoprene material
- Available in just one color
- Medium size may be loose for some users
5. Bare 7mm Elastek Women’s Full Body Scuba Diving Wetsuit
The Bare 7mm Elastek has been constructed from 100% Elastek Super Stretch fabric which, you got it, has been designed to be extra super stretchy and deliver next level flexibility. So stretchy in fact, it has 200% more “give” than your regular neoprene does.
This is a thick, cold weather suit which makes it an even wiser investment. Uniquely, the Elastek that Bare utilizes in this full-length women’s wetsuit combines cutting-edge neoprene laminate to give it that unparalleled flexibility and fluidity both in and out of the water, no matter the conditions or the aquatic sport you are undertaking.
Re-enforced knee pads are included to provide further support and grip where it is most needed, and this scuba suit really does deliver with exceptional durability. It is soft and supple against the skin and not at all abrasive. The last thing you want, male or female, is a rough and coarse suit that takes away from your underwater pleasure.
It’s the same with a pair of good fitting shoes if you are a runner. If you are dedicated to your sport (whether at a professional or merely recreational level), you absolutely want to have the most comfortable and best form-fitting gear that will enhance and support your performance, not hinder it in any way.
With this full-stretch neoprene full-length suit, you are getting support, durability, performance, comfort, and warmth. All that and you also benefit from Bare’s advanced technology. The suit features something called Glideseal which is an all-important watertight neck seal to minimize flushing but which is fully adjustable around the collar to be supremely comfortable too.
It comes in two stylish and sleek colorways, both primarily in black but with the option to have a more classic blue paneling or a brighter and more fun red choice. There are a full range of female sizes from a small designed to fit a size 8 through to an XL which is appropriate for a size 14.
It’s technically innovative and aesthetically pleasing, and we think it’s probably one of the warmest and most flexible active-wear wetsuits currently on the market. Its design has been created to flatter and accentuate the female form and to provide fluid definition as well as increase circulation and body warmth while in the water.
- 100% Elastek Super-Stretch stretches up to 200% more than standard neoprene
- Elastek utilizes the latest in neoprene laminates to provide uninhibited flexibility and stretch
- Knee pads provide exceptional grip and durability
- Full-stretch neoprene laminates allow for total range of motion while maintaining a soft, supple feel against your skin
- GLIDESEAL Neck seal with adjustable comfort collar
- Exceptionally comfortable
- Durably constructed
- 7-mm thickness for superb warmth and comfort
- Elastek material means it’s 200% more flexible than regular neoprene
- Some complaints about ill-fitting sizing so please refer to size chart
- Wrists, in particular, are tight fitting
When shopping for the best wetsuits for diving, you will literally be spoilt for choice given the plethora of options available. We’ve made it easy to choose the right one for your adventures by providing you with 5 of the best options available, each with their own set of advantages.
For tropical weather, the Henderson Thermoprene Step-In Jacket is a great long sleeve shorty for for warm waters. The versatility to pair this shorty with a John/Jane pant will give you more options for colder water. The Scubapro Everflex Steamer 3/2 and the Cressi Men’s Morea Ultraspan are the best, most comfortable 3mm wetsuits available. Designed for warmer waters, these two wetsuits will allow you to dive in total comfort.
For colder waters, the Mares Flexa 8.6.5 and the Bare 7mm Elastek are the go to wetsuits for when the water temperature drops significantly. Designed with maximum warmth in mind, these two wetsuits deliver the warmest dive experience we can find in any wetsuit available on the market today.