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How to Buy a SCUBA Diving Wetsuit

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

You’ve got your next dive all planned out but need to buy a SCUBA diving suit. 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!


Wetsuit temperature guide

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.

How to buy a SCUBA Diving Wetsuit

Image courtesy of XCEL Wetsuits


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.


This 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, 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!


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.

Latest posts by Lauren Belt (see all)


  • iam wihgt 190 pound what zize of suit for diving in panama, rep. of panama pty, do I , need , I want the best to keep me wit energy and warm and also want a full mask that will work wit the tank or connected wit the tank , aim, retired military so , you have a military discount, and 5,6 hight

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Bernardo,

      The type of suit you will need depends on where exactly you are diving (ocean, lake, quarry, etc.) and the water temperatures. We would also need more information about your size like your height and chest measurements in order to help you get what you’re looking for. Give us a call at 866-906-7848 or email us at service@wetsuitwearhouse.com!

      Thanks for reaching out!

  • need information referent full snorkel mask

  • Avatar Molly Dittmann says:

    where is your size chart?

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hi Molly,

      You can find our size charts on a product page in the size chart tab or even under the description of a certain product. Thanks for asking! And feel free to contact our customer service either via phone, 866-906-7848, or email service@wetsuitwearhouse.com if you need more help.

  • Avatar Dee Kelley says:

    What suits keep the water out completely? I have an allergy to pool chemicals and would like to swim indoors for excercise. Is this possible with one of your suits!??
    Thank You!!

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Dee,

      Unfortunately we do not have anything that will provide you with a full dry experience while swimming in the pool. Thank you for reaching out and asking though! We hope you are able to find something that will help you!

  • Avatar Lance Dutka says:

    No comment.Just question,Would a 5/6mm.w/hood&boots be adequate for N.California Winters Surfing&S.C.U.B.A.diving local islands?(O’Neill is the brand im most interested in.)

  • Avatar Kyle Bodily says:

    I need a size 3xl or 4xl but I’m only 5′ 9″ tall is there such thing as a short ?
    I need 7mm Full since I live in Idaho and the waters are a little colder.

  • Avatar Mike Benwell says:

    Hi Lauren, Another enquiry, from UK. I am interested in the Mens 7mm NeoSport 2 piece John & jacket, but am unsure of the size, from the size chart, I am on the top end of a 3XL, should I be looking for 4XL? I’m 6’3″, Chest 48″, Waist 44″ and 266 lbs. I train Newfoundland Dogs to rescue people for charity fundraising events, and some days spend 6-7 hrs in and out the Sea, lakes and Marinas around the UK West coast.

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Mike,

      Based off of your measurements you definitely are at the top end for a 3XL for the 7mm NeoSport John & Jacket. Unfortunately they do not make it in a 4XL. Once you hit the water, the wetsuit will slightly expand. I think going with the 3XL with that suit will be fine for you. But if you’re a little hesitant, we also offer this 7mm Thermoprene wetsuit in a 4XL: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/PROD/A870MB.html, but it is a full wetsuit, not the john and jacket combo. If you have anymore questions, please feel free to reach out to our customer service team either via live chat, email (service@wetsuitwearhouse.com) or call 866-906-7848. Thank you!

  • Avatar tricia says:

    hi, i am looking for a wet suit to do some underwater dredging in a very cold creek, the water is some where around 35 maybe 40 degrees on a normal winter day, also i will need a mask and i want a small oxygen tank to work as a all in one, but i am so clueless and need some serious directions and advice. please can you help me in what i need thanks so much for your time.

  • Avatar Dave says:

    I think your scuba data is a bit off… A 3/2 full suit is too thin for mid to low 70° water.
    60° is definitely 7mm John & jacket! Or thicker (preferably dry).
    I’ll try to get you more accurate data.

  • 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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