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This wetsuit guide will get you the very best wetsuit for your requirements, you first need to be looking at the category of suit for the time of year and water temperatures and matching this to the type of watersport for which you’ll be wearing it. Even if you choose a top of the range suit, if it is not appropriate for the conditions you will be using it in and the purpose you want it for, you will have wasted your money!
So read on, our best wetsuit guide will provide tips and advice to ensure you choose the right suit for you.
All wetsuits use Neoprene. This is a material made from foam rubber. However, since the early days of all Neoprene suits, technology has moved on and now this material is often laminated with other materials to provide a smooth inner lining making suits easy to put on and take off and an outer, tear-resistant membrane.
Other materials laminated into the fabric, such as Lycra help to increase flexibility by adding even more stretch. As a general rule, the colder the water, the thicker the suit you will need. Wetsuits vary in thickness from 2mm used in summer ‘shorty’ suits right up to 6mm for winter suits. Our handy wetsuit guide reference table below is designed to provide you with the best wetsuit guide depending on water temperatures.
Wetsuits are often a combination of two or three different neoprene thicknesses, for example, a 5/4/3 refers to a garment with 5mm neoprene in the core body areas, 4mm for the limbs, and 3mm in areas that require more flexibility.
|Water Temperature||Recommended Wetsuit and Accessories|
|18-21 C or 65-69 F||2mm shorty|
|17-18 C or 62-64 F||2mm short sleeve full suit or a long sleeved spring suit|
|14-17 C or 58-61 F||3/2mm full suit (suggested 2mm surf socks)|
|12-14 C or 54-57 F||3/2mm or a 4/3mm full suit (suggested footwear 3mm boot)|
|10-12 C or 50-53 F||4/3mm full suit (suggested 3mm boots plus 3mm gloves and 2mm hood)|
|8-9 C or 47-49 F and below||5/4/3mm or 6/5/4 full suit with either 5 or 7mm gloves and boots plus hood.|
When choosing a wetsuit, one brand may fit you better than another. Your suit really needs to fit like a second skin. If you have never tried on a wetsuit before, this can feel very strange and even a little uncomfortable but it is vital as when you jump into the water your body will contract and there is nothing worse than a suit that is then too big and feels baggy!
Wetsuit sizing is determined in the same way as street clothing when it comes to the width of the garment. The height is taken into account with suits available to fit comfortably whether you are short or tall.
What To Look For
- Choose a suit with glued and blind stitching to prevent leaks. Look for a suit that is fully taped – especially when choosing a winter suit. Flat stitched, unsealed seams are common in garments designed for warmer waters.
- For winter wear, the more expensive suits have plush thermal linings, sometimes called firewalls or heat-shields. In the past, thermal lining material was so stiff that to enable freedom of movement in a winter suit, manufacturers only put this type of lining in the chest and back area.
Newer thermal materials are much more flexible and stretchy so the ultra-thin thermal lining can be used throughout the suit without restricting the wearer’s movements. For extra warmth, some suits include titanium. This can be woven into the fabric where the metal reflects body heat back to the wearer and/or applied as titanium oxide as an inner coating.
- Look for a suit with a top-quality zipper. Most modern wetsuits have rear entry zippers so an extended zipper pull is pretty much essential if you are going to be getting into and out of your suit without a buddy to help you.
- A nice refinement, especially on suits designed for winter wear, is the barrier, called a floodgate or gasket found inside the zipper section. This stops the flush of water from coming through. Gaskets are also available on the wrists, ankles, and neckline of some suits.
- Another refinement that stops water flowing in is the provision of touch-fastening seals at the neckline.
- Some wetsuits have an integrated hood. This is mostly for cold water surfing and diving though.
- Integrated knee-pads are a good idea as they add durability to the area which probably gets the toughest wear.
Extra stretch in the knee, elbow and shoulder areas of some suits is provided by what are called ‘flex zones’. These areas provide a four-way stretch to allow the greatest possible ease of movement and if you are going to be in the water for a long time, these reduce fatigue considerably.
|Wetsuit||Brief Description||Rating||See It Here|
|Worn suitable for 50℉- 67℉. Provides better performance and protection. Suitable for many water sports.||4.5||Hevto Wetsuits Men 3mm Neoprene Full Scuba Diving Suits Surfing Swimming Long Sleeve Keep Warm Back Zip|
|For Surfing, Diving, Paddle Sports, Lake Activities, And Beach Days. Ultra Stretch Neoprene: Incredibly Soft Premium Material||4.5||O'Neill Men's Epic 4/3mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit|
|Environment-Friendly & High-Quality Material. Stretch arms and legs without constraint.||4.5||Hevto Wetsuits X Men 3mm Neoprene Full Scuba Diving Suits Surfing Swimming Long Sleeve|
|Constructed with premium neoprene for a comfortable and athletic fit. Warmth without sacrificing flexibility.||4||Lemorecn Wetsuits Jumpsuit Neoprene 3/2mm Full Body Diving Suit|
|The ultimate all-around wetsuit combining the features of a top end suit at an economical price.||4.5||Rip Curl Dawn Patrol 4/3 Back Zip Fullsuit Wetsuit|
|Worn suitable for 55℉- 64℉ water temperature. Imitation Shark Skin Material||4.5||NATYFLY Mens Wetsuit 3mm Neoprene Jumpsuit, Youth Women Full Body Diving Suits for Scuba Surfing Swimming Long Sleeve Back Zip for Water Sports|
|Specially designed for water sports and aqua aerobics. Three layers of diving fabrics front zip wetsuit.||4.5||Mens 3mm Shorty Wetsuit, Premium Neoprene Front Zip Short Sleeve Scuba Diving Wetsuit Snorkeling Surfing|
|Ideal entry level value driven wetsuit; Perfect for Surfing, Diving, Paddle Sports, Lake Activities, and Beach Days.||4.5||O'Neill Men's Reactor-2 2mm Back Zip Short Sleeve Spring Wetsuit|
|Designed for all water sports like diving, scuba, paddle boarding, surfing, or kayaking.||4.5||Lemorecn Wetsuits Mens Premium Neoprene Diving Suit 3mm Shorty Jumpsuit|
|Techno Butter 3x O'Neills Exclusive new Pre-Stretched neoprene. Lightest, softest, most flexible neoprene ever created.||5||O'Neill Men's Hyperfreak 2mm Chest Zip Long Sleeve Spring Wetsuit|
Our Men’s Picks
1. Seavenger Odyssey 3mm Neoprene
If you are looking for an affordable full suit, this Seavenger Odyssey 3mm Neoprene wetsuit design in Men and Women sizes offers excellent value for your money with some great features and a manufacturer’s one-year warranty. The clever design of the stretch panel areas and the “ultra-flexible” knee and armpit design means that motion is unrestricted and chafing rashes are eliminated. It also has anti-abrasion shoulder and knee-pads for comfort and durability.
2. NeoSport Wetsuits Men’s Premium Neoprene 3mm Shorty
Available in black or blue with a lighter trim, this NeoSport Wetsuits Men’s Premium Neoprene 3mm Shorty suit is a best seller for NeoSport. It is ideal for use in warmer waters, providing warmth for the torso without the risk of getting too hot. It has a good quality YKK back zipper, robust flatlock seams, an adjustable collar, and Lycra trimmed edges to avoid the risk of chafing. It also comes with a manufacturer’s one year warranty.
3. Xterra Men’s Volt Triathlon Full Body Wetsuit
This full Xterra Volt Triathlon Wetsuit incorporates many features found on more expensive suits. Perfect for training as well as racing. For beginners or seasoned veterans. Flexible liner stretches in all four directions. Allowing for a comfortable snug fit. Many more features. A must see! Considering the wide range of sizes, this suit offers exceptional value for your money!
|Wetsuit||Brief Description||Rating||See It Here|
|Both high-quality fabrics and flat lock stitching contribute to increase the warmth performance of the wetsuit.||4.5||NeopSkin Mens/Womens Wetsuit 3mm Full Diving Suit Neoprene Wetsuit Warm Full Body Long Sleeve|
|Stretch arms and legs without constraint. Hevto wetsuit will be your best friend in the water, not your biggest obstacle.||4.5||Hevto Wetsuits X Women 3mm Neoprene Full Scuba Diving Suits Surfing Swimming Long Sleeve|
|Flat-Lock Stitched Seams is excellent durability and fantastic comfort to keep your body warm in the coldest conditions.||4.5||Womens 3mm Shorty Wetsuit, Premium Neoprene Front Zip Short Sleeve|
|Made of 3-layer neoprene fabric making it keep higher elasticity and have the waterproof and warmer function.||4.5||CtriLady Wetsuit, Women 1.5mm Neoprene Full Wetsuit, Long Sleeve Diving Suits with Front Zipper UV Protection Full Body Swimwear|
|Womens wetsuit full body designed for surfing, snorkeling, diving and boarding etc.||4.5||REALON Womens Wetsuit Full 3mm Neoprene One Piece Surfing Scuba Diving Snorkeling Swimming Suit|
|Ideal Entry Level Value Driven Wetsuit; Perfect For Surfing, Diving, Paddle Sports, Lake Activities, And Beach Days||4.5||O'Neill Women's Reactor-2 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit|
|Excellent stretch and recovery fabrics, form-fitting design reduces drag in water.||4||Micosuza Womens Shorty Wetsuit Long Sleeve 1.5MM Neoprene Back Zip Winter Swimwear|
|Front-zip Shorty Wetsuit ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and other water related activities.||4.5||Cressi Playa Flex Lady 3mm, Black/Azure|
|Soft and stretch fabric hugs your figure perfectly, fits for most female’s body shape. All-round protect skin from UV exposure damage.||5||Hevto Wetsuits Women Guardian Ⅱ 5/4/3mm Neoprene Full Scuba Diving Suits Surfing Long Sleeve|
|Super soft low neck with smoothskin on both sides and because it is so soft, it feels like you hardly have anything around your neck.||4.5||Synergy Endorphin Women's Full Sleeve Triathlon Wetsuit|
Our Women’s Picks
1. Dark Lightning 3/2mm Thermal Wetsuit
This 2018 new design Dark Lightning 3/2mm Thermal wetsuit provides a great quality suit for any watersport at a budget price. The suit is comfortable to wear with the specific design for ladies. The seams flatlock process includes no line thread end inside and wears comfortably for Diving, Snorkeling, Paddleboarding, or Kayaking just to name a few. Some reviewers say the fit is perfect.
2. NeoSport Wetsuits Women’s Premium Neoprene 3mm Shorty
Available in two colors, black, or black with lilac trim, this Neosport Women’s Premium Shorty 3mm wetsuit is designed to fit and flatter – although many reviewers recommend buying a size larger for optimum fit. It is comfortable to wear and easy to put on with a heavy quality back fastening zip. It has an adjust-to-fit Velcro collar and Lycra trim around the seals at the leg and wrist to keep the water out. It’s 3mm thick neoprene construction keeps the torso warm but allows optimum mobility and in addition to the flatlock seams have additional spot taping to ensure durability.
3. O’Neill Wetsuits Women’s Reactor 2mm Short Sleeve Spring
This great value, lighter weight O’Neill Women’s Reactor 2mm Shorty is branded as a spring suit and is certainly getting great reviews from ladies who have bought it for snorkeling. In three colors and cut to fit the female figure, the flat stitched seams, smooth skin panel over the chest and well-designed neck seal make it comfortable to wear and the O’Neill Fluid Flex construction around the shoulder and underarm area enable unrestricted movement. Sturdy YKK back zip too.
|Wetsuit||Brief Description||Rating to 5||See It Here|
|95% nylon, 5% spandex, Single Superseal Neck.||4||O'Neill Youth Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit
|Super Seal Neck. Flatlock stitching to reduce chafing and increase comfort.||4.5||O'Neill Youth Reactor 2mm Back Zip Spring Wetsuit
|Kids wetsuit designed for all water sports like diving, scuba, paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, or hanging at the beach.||4||NeoSport Wetsuits - Kid's Wetsuit Premium Neoprene 2mm, Children/Youth Swim Suit|
|Uses a premium neoprene material to give a soft and comfortable fit.||4||NeoSport Wetsuits Junior Premium Neoprene 2.5mm Junior Shorty - Diving, Snorkeling & Wakeboarding|
|Includes an internal key pocket, heavy duty #10 YKK back zipper, and adjustable Velcro collar.||4||Hyperflex Wetsuits Junior's Access 2.5mm Spring Suit - Surfing, Windsurfing & Wakeboarding
|Keeps Core Body Temperature Stable. Double Layer Neoprene is UV-Resistant||4||Ivation Kids Wetsuit - 3mm Thickness Premium Neoprene Short Youth Swim Wet Suit Back Zipper Assist
|Helps to shield children from UV rays, sea lice, jelly stings, and other irritants.||4||NeoSport Wetsuits Youth Premium Neoprene 2mm Youth's Shorty - Diving, Snorkeling & Wakeboarding
|Specifically designed for slender children who have a hard time staying warm in a swimming pool, this wetsuit combines core warmth with complete freedom of movement.||4.5||O'Neill Reactor Hybrid kids shorty wetsuit
|Body constructed of 1.5mm neoprene.|
Sleeves and side panels are Lycra to provide room for growth.
|4||Bare Sprint Shorty Wetsuit for Toddlers & Kids
3 mm Fluid Flex Foam.
Strategic paddle zones.
|4||O'Neill Toddler Reactor-2 2mm Back Zip Short Sleeve Spring Wetsuit|
Choosing Your First or Your Next Wetsuit
Now that you have read our wetsuit guide and checked out our recommendations, we hope that you feel in a much better position to make an informed decision about the type of suit you need. Being sure of the features that are important to you from the get-go is the best way to avoid an expensive mistake.