You know the importance of wearing high quality clothes above water. It is only logical that you are properly suited underwater as well. Especially in an environment that is not natural to our bodies, having a high quality wetsuit will ensure that your underwater experience is more enjoyable. When diving underwater it is crucial that you only consider the best diving wetsuits. This will mean one that can handle the depths of the ocean. This is different from the best surfing wetsuits which will allow a lot more buoyancy and mobility.
When deciding on the best wetsuit for you, it is important to get one that is built to last. Deciding on what you will be using your wetsuit for and buying one that is specifically designed for your use will ensure that you get the highest quality materials and best performance from your suit. Even when going in warmer waters, having a dive suit will ensure that you are not only warm, but also protected from the underwater world. Getting a light 1 – 2 mm suit can protect you from jellyfish, sun and coral without insulating your body.
To help you with your search, we have constructed a list of the best wetsuits on the market. This will help you decide on the perfect buy for your next adventure.
How To Choose A Wetsuit – Buying Guide
When deciding on the best wetsuit to buy it is important you look for a few key features. This will ensure that your expensive purchase will only need to happen once and gives you the best value for your money. It is important to get a wetsuit that is specifically designed for what you will be using it for. This is because of the amount of buoyancy in your suit will affect every activity from diving to surfing. Wetsuits for scuba diving are also designed to be able to handle significant depths and colder situations.
This is the most important thing to consider when buying your suit. One of the biggest factors that should determine this is the waters you are going to be doing the majority of your diving in. The thickness used to dive in the coastal waters of Washington will be vastly different from that needed in the Gulf of Mexico. Typically wetsuits will have between 3mm and 7mm of material with some coming as thin as 1-2mm for very warm waters.
To make matters more confusing, some wetsuits come in a thickness represented by two numbers, for example 4/3 mm. The first number will be the bigger of the two representing the thickness of the torso while the second represents the thickness of the arms and legs. This is to protect your vital organs as a priority. These suits give you more range of motion and mobility than ones that utilize the same thickness for the entire body. The thinner material around the shoulders, elbows and knees allow your joints to bend more naturally and with less resistance.
As a general rule, it is recommended to go by the following table. Going by the temperature of the water, you can find your recommended thickness. It is important to take into consideration your individual tolerance to being cold.
|2 mm||> 85° F (29°C)|
|3mm||70°F – 85°F (21°C – 28°C)|
|5mm||60°F – 70°F (16°C – 20°C)|
|7mm||50°F – 70°F (10°C – 20°C)|
*If you are diving in water colder than this it is recommended that you dive in a dry suit. This will add protection making your cold water dive more safe and enjoyable.
Like every other piece of clothing you put on your wetsuit will come in a specific style. There are three different styles to choose from. It is important that you try on all of them and find the one that is most comfortable for you.
This is a wetsuit that has short sleeves. It is also cut just above the knee and is recommended only for warmer waters. This type of wetsuit will be much more comfortable and significantly easier to get in and out of. Surfers who like to frequent the coast of California can be seen wearing this style during the summer.
A full suit goes straight down to your wrists and ankles providing more protection. It also adds a significant amount of warmth to your dive. This type of suit is great especially for new divers as it will protect you from corals and jellyfish. These suits are generally made of thicker material and can even have added insulation.
This is not what comes to mind when thinking wetsuit. This style comes in two pieces with one that acts as an overall stretching to your ankles while leaving your arms open. The second piece is a jacket that goes over top to keep you warm. This type of wetsuit works very well in very cold water as it provides your core with even more insulation compared to a traditional style wetsuit.
There are also many different types of materials used when constructing wetsuits.
Open Cell Neoprene
This is the highest quality material used to construct wetsuits as it is soft and incredibly flexible. The neoprene material effortlessly forms to your body which provides better insulation and keeps you warmer. This material moves effortlessly with you making you more comfortable and allowing a greater range of motion. It is also more costly and more delicate than other materials used to make wetsuits so companies combat this by adding extra padding to areas that experience the most wear and tear such as the knees.
Closed Cell Neoprene
The most commonly used material to make wetsuits is a closed cell neoprene. It is very cost effective option which makes it more desirable for entry level divers and surfers. This material has a rubber like feel that is quite rigid making it very durable. The rigidity makes these types of suits more difficult to put on and take off. One drawback to this type of material is that it doesn’t insulate to the same degree as an open cell. For this reason we suggest using this in warmer waters.
Lycra is only used for lightweight wetsuits for warm water diving environments. Being extremely lightweight this type of wetsuit isn’t designed to insulate your body but rather to protect you from the sun and any underwater corals and rocks. It is a material that is used in shorty suits used for the thinner arm and leg material.
There are four different constructions that are used by manufacturers to secure the seams. This is an aspect that can also affect the comfort of your suit. Thick seams can add pressure and discomfort to your dive – something you want to avoid at all cost.
This is a seam stitch technology used on suits for warmer water. It is desirable because the stitch is on the inside giving your wetsuit a clean look. Overlock stitching is recommended for water 65°F or warmer as it does let some water through the seams.
Often called a flatlock stitch it is visible on the outside of the suit. The inside seam sits flat over your body which makes it a much more comfortable option rather than the overlock stitch. This is one option that does not add bulk or bunching to the thicker areas of the suit. It is a high tech feature that will make your day on the water more comfortable and enjoyable. As some water does penetrate your suit here it is still recommended for use in warm water.
Glued and Blindstitched (GBS)
This is similar to the flat stitch in that you will see visible seams on the outside of this wetsuit but it will be much narrower. The seams are glued together and then stitched as well which greatly reduces the chance of water seeping through the seams. This is an excellent option for people diving in colder water.
GBS with seam tape
Referred to a fluid seal the GBS is similar to a standard GBS but incorporates a tape on the inner seams. This allows an even stronger bond which is better at reducing water from seeping into your suit than any other type of construction. This is one of the top technologies that allow you to withstand extremely cold water of 50℉ or below.
This is a very important factor to consider when looking for a wetsuit. Not only will it determine your comfort underwater but getting a suit that doesn’t fit properly will not protect you from the elements as well. One that is too big will let more water leak in and thus not provide adequate insulation. Getting one that is too small will make it difficult to put on and also cause stress on the seams of the suit.
It is worth noting that scuba suits aren’t cheap. Ranging in price from $100 to well over $500 this purchase should be seen as an investment. As the price is higher than your average clothing buy it is important to get a quality piece that will last you for years to come. Comfort and protection under water will allow you to get the most out of your underwater experience so it is important to get one that fits properly, even if that means spending a bit more money.
Globo Surf Overview
A wetsuit should be seen as an important investment with any water activity. Getting a properly fitted high quality suit will not only ensure that you are more comfortable but it will also keep you warm and safe while at play. When surfing, a wetsuit should provide lots of mobility while keeping you warm. Oftentimes this is seen with a wetsuit that has multiple thicknesses such as 3.5/3mm. This keeps you warm while giving your extremities added mobility. When diving, you don’t need quite as much range of motion while having proper insulation takes priority. Buying the best wetsuit will ensure that your underwater experience is comfortable and safe making it that much more enjoyable.
Do you have a wetsuit on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.
Globo Surf Wetsuits Review