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How to Buy a SCUBA Diving Wetsuit

   January 27th, 2016   Posted In: How-To   Tags:

How to Buy a SCUBA Diving Wetsuit

You’ve got your next dive all planned out but need to buy a SCUBA diving wetsuit. Not sure what you need in a scuba wetsuit? No worries! You’re probably thinking, “What wetsuit thickness do I need?” or “what type of wetsuit do I need for diving?” We’ve mapped out the basics on how to buy a SCUBA diving wetsuit to make your experience a little bit easier.

 

As a starter, we have this handy wetsuit water temperature guide below which can help you map out just what wetsuit you need for your dive!

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40°+ 48°+ 52°+ 58°+ 60°+ 65°+ 72°+ 80°+
General Watersports
(Surf, Wake, Kite, Etc.)
6/5/4mm
Sealed
5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
& Taped
4/3mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Flatlock
Springsuit
Neoprene Top
Poly Top
Rash Guard
SCUBA
8/7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
7mm Full
5mm John
& Jacket
5mm Full
3mm John
& Jacket
3mm Full
3mm John &
Jacket
3mm Full
Springsuit
Springsuit
Lycra
Bodysuit
Triathlon &
Lap Swimming
5/3mm Full 5/3mm John Neoprene Vest
Kayak &
Paddle
5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Flatlock
Neoprene
Top
Neoprene
Vest
Rash
Guard
General
Watersports
(Surf, Wake, Kite, Etc.)
SCUBA Triathlon &
Lap Swimming
Kayak &
Paddle
40°+ 6/5/4mm
Sealed
8/7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
5/3mm
Full
5/4/3mm
Sealed
48°+ 5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
52°+ 4/3mm
Sealed
& Taped
7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
3/2mm
Sealed
58°+ 4/3mm
Sealed
7mm Full
5mm John
& Jacket
5/3mm
John
3/2mm
Flatlock
60°+ 3/2mm
Sealed
5mm Full
3mm John
& Jacket
Neoprene
Top
65°+ 3/2mm
Flatlock
3mm Full
3mm John &
Jacket
72°+
Springsuit
Neoprene Top
3mm Full
Springsuit
Neoprene
Vest
80°+
Poly Top
Rash Guard
Springsuit
Lycra
Bodysuit
Neoprene
Vest
Rash
Guard

Keep in mind that some factors other than water temperature could affect the wetsuit thickness or type of scuba diving wetsuit needed.

Tolerance for Cold:

A thicker or thinner wetsuit may be required or desired as everyone’s tolerance for the cold varies. If you are someone that tends to feel cold, err on the side of going with a thicker wetsuit. Otherwise, using the wetsuit thickness table should be a very good place to selecting the right wetsuit style and thickness.

Performance Expectations:

Something you will have to take into account is the demand for high performance. The less wetsuit (meaning thinner and less coverage) worn will translate to high performance. If performance is at the top of your wetsuit requirement list, you may be inclined to buy a slightly thinner wetsuit or go with reduced coverage as applicable. Alternatively, if budget can accommodate, a higher-end wetsuit can provide you with appropriate insulation and very high performance.

 

How to buy a SCUBA Diving WetsuitThis now leads us to types of wetsuit products!

Lycra Rash Guards, Poly Fleece, Baselayers, etc.:

Rashguards and baselayers are primarily worn under wetsuits or alone, as sun and/or abrasion protection. These items do not provide thermal protection when worn alone, although baselayers do add some warmth, so they are only appropriate for water that is typically 75F+.

Springsuits, Short Johns, Short Janes, Tops & Jackets, and Bottoms:

These items provide wetsuit coverage to areas of the body. When a little insulation is needed and water temps are in the high 60’s, any springsuit, short john (or jane), top or bottom would be perfect. They also work well in heated swimming pools that just aren’t quite heated enough!

Long Johns & Long Janes:

Johns (men’s) and janes (women’s) are essentially sleeveless fullsuits. This style of suit is popular in layering applications, like SCUBA and kayaking. Johns & janes are also a popular style in triathlon/swimming style wetsuits, as this cut allows for full range of motion in the arms and shoulders.

Fullsuits or Full Wetsuits:

Fullsuits come in a variety of thicknesses for all water temperature conditions. In most cases, the thickness will be described with two numbers, such as 3/2mm. This means the majority of the suit is made of 3mm neoprene (wetsuit material) and the flex points 2mm. Manufacturers do this to enhance the comfort and flexibility of the suit.

 

We also offer SCUBA Combos so you can mix and match your scuba diving wetsuit!

 

From here you should be well on your way to choosing the right scuba diving wetsuit for your next dive. If you need some more help, we’ve got you covered! Give us a call, email (service@wetsuitwearhouse.com), or live chat!

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Lauren Belt

Merchandiser at Wetsuit Wearhouse
Lauren (LoLo) has been picking out the latest and greatest wetsuits and being the social media queen for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, practicing yoga, studying holistic nutrition or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.
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21 Comments

  • Avatar Dan says:

    Are any brands tailored better for skinny people? I am 5-9, 135 pounds, 36″ chest, 28″ waist. I had an old O’Neill 3mm size men’s small that was super tight in the arms and legs but allowed me to carry around a gallon of water sloshing around the waist – hoping to find something more form fitting. Thanks!

  • Avatar Amy M Miller says:

    I am looking to find a manufacturer that make wetsuits for tall women. I am 6’2 and have curves (typical female 36/28/42). When I dove before, they just put me in a men’s…let’s just say, that was a disaster.
    Is there anywhere I can buy off the shelf, or will I need to get it custom made?
    Thanks for the help!

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