Best Wet Suits – Wetsuit Reviews and Ratings in 2017

For many water activities, a wet suit is a crucial piece of equipment. They are necessary either because of cool water temperatures or long-term exposure to water at room temperature (which can cause hypothermia if exposed long enough). Beyond safety reasons, wet suits can provide the wearer with additional comfort as well as style in essentially any water sport or activity.

Scuba diver wearing the best wet suit

But there are tons of types — with different materials, thickness, colors, etc. — and a bunch of solid wetsuit brands. So which wet suit is best?

The simple answer: It depends. The wetsuit you should buy depends on how you intend to use it. A wetsuit for scuba diving in cold water will be much different from the wetsuit for surfing (or swimming, snorkeling, wakeboarding, or any other water sport) in the waters off the coast of Hawaii.

(If you know you’ll be diving in cooler waters, you may want to check out our page on the best 7mm wetsuit.)

For a quick rundown, here are a few important factors you should consider before deciding on a wet suit:

  • Personal considerations (i.e. your sensitivity to cold)
  • Water temperature
  • Activity type
  • Activity duration

Wetsuits and Water Temperature

The primary consideration when determining which wet suit you should buy is the water temperature in which you intend to use it.

Especially for scuba divers considering what gear to buy, who will sometimes dive in frigid waters, figuring out the temperatures in which you intend on diving is very important.

According to scubadiving.com, here are for the wetsuit thickness guidelines based on water temperature:

Water Temperature Divers Not Sensitive to Cold Divers Sensitive to Cold
85 Degrees and over[See recommendation] None needed 2 mm to 1 mm shorty wetsuit
80-85 Degrees[See recommendation] 2 mm shorty to dive skin 2 mm to 1 mm fullsuit
73-79 Degrees[See recommendation] 3 mm full wetsuit to 2 mm shorty 5 mm to 3 mm full wetsuit
66-72 Degrees[See recommendation] 5 mm to 3 mm fullsuit 7 mm to 5 mm fullsuit
50-65 Degrees[See recommendation] 8/7 mm semi-dry to 7 mm wetsuit Drysuit
50 Degrees and below 8/7 mm semi-dry or full drysuit Drysuit or stick to the shore

Note: If you’re going to be venturing into frigid waters and need a suit that will keep you totally dry, then you should look into a drysuit.

Best Wetsuits Based on Water Temperature

We put together some wetsuit ratings and comparisons to help people find the best wet suits based on the water temperature in which they plan on using them.

85 Degrees and Over: Phantom Aquatics Marine Shorty Wetsuit

Phantom Aquatics Marine Shorty Wetsuit

Thickness: 2.5mm

Good for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Canoeing, Surfing, Paddleboarding, Jetskiing, etc.

Notes: At above 85 degrees, many people choose to forgo wearing a wetsuit. However, some people (especially those who are easily chilled) elect to wear a shorty wetsuit (“shorty” is the nickname for suits that don’t fully cover the diver’s arms and legs). A shorty is great for warm water and thus most water activities in tropical climates. Again, they are especially nice for those who get chilled easily or are particularly sensitive to feeling cold.

This 2.5 mm thick shorty suit is made with stretchy neoprene material to provide easy movement, as well as flat-lock seams for added comfort. This is one of the best shorty wetsuits you can buy, and for the price, it’s a great deal.

80-85 Degrees: NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 1mm Full Suit

NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 1mm Full Suit

Thickness: 1mm (full wet suit)

Good for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Canoeing, Surfing, Paddleboarding, Jetskiing, etc.

Notes: This NeoSport wet suit is full-length, with 1mm thick neoprene. It’s a great wetsuit for warm water, or as another layer underneath a thicker wetsuit.

Some nice features of this suit are the adjustable Velcro collar and an internal key pocket (you may be surprised how useful this can be). Overall this is a fantastic wetsuit that has a great fit and flexible design — perfect for any warm water activity.

73-79 Degrees: ONeill Wetsuits 4/3 mm Epic Full Suit

ONeill Wetsuits 4/3 mm Epic Full Suit

Thickness: 4mm

Good for: Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Swimming, Surfing, etc.

Notes: The 4/3 mm thickness is versatile and can be worn for a wide-variety of activities, as it is seen as an “in-between” thickness, meaning it can be used in warmer waters and cooler waters (depending on the person). For this reason, many people choose a wet suit of this thickness.

O’Neill is a very popular brand among scuba divers and water-sport folks. They consistently provide solid products that are made with high-quality materials. Their Epic wetsuit is made with 100% ultra-flex neoprene. A wet suit of this quality, for the price, is a great value.

66-72 Degrees: Cressi Castoro 5mm Neoprene Wetsuit

Cressi Castoro 5mm Neoprene Wetsuit

Thickness: 5mm

Good for: Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Surfing, etc.

Notes: Scuba divers venturing into waters in cooler climates will often want to go with a thicker wetsuit for the added insulation. While 5mm suits aren’t terribly restrictive, wearers will certainly notice the reduced ease of motion.

This wet suit by Cressi is of great quality and is made with double-lined neoprene. It has a stylish design, so those interested in showing up your fellow divers will like this one. They offer a 12-month warranty too, a very reassuring sign from the company.

This is a good wet suit at a very affordable price. Because of its high-quality (not to mention the warranty), it will last a long time.

50-65 Degrees: O’Neill 7 mm Sector Fluid Seam Weld Full Suit

O'Neill 7 mm Sector Fluid Seam Weld Full Suit

Thickness: 7mm (full wet suit)

Good for: Scuba Diving, Snorkeling

Notes: A wet suit with this thickness (7 mm and greater) will have some reduced flexibility and mobility. However, the increased thickness is necessary for cold water, and divers will be appreciative for the extra insulation provided despite the reduced freedom of movement.

Some people have tremendous difficulty getting into a 7mm suit, but O’Neill did a fantastic job with the material and design, and getting in and out is not much different from doing so with a thinner suit. It’s made with reliable ankle and wrist seals for extended comfort.

If you’re diving in cooler waters, you need a thicker suit to protect yourself. At this quality and price, you really can’t go wrong with this suit from O’Neill.

In water temperatures any colder than those listed above, you will likely want to purchase a dry suit instead. For those interested, check out our articles on wetsuits vs drysuits.

Final Dive on the Top Wetsuits

A wet suit is an important piece of equipment for many activities in the water, including scuba diving, snorkeling (psst — check out these awesome full-face snorkel masks), swimming, surfing, kayaking, canoeing, wakeboarding, and many more.

Because your safety and comfort depend on the wetsuit you choose, it’s crucial to do your research before making a purchase. Hopefully our list of the best wetsuits has been beneficial to you and helps you find the perfect wet suit for you.

Now go get in the water!