ScubaLab Reviews Nine 7mm Wetsuits
We tested suits at Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring in central Florida, with water temperatures in the low 70s. Test divers with underwater slates scored each suit in the following categories. Click here to jump to the suit reviews.
What We Test
Ease of Donning
How easy was the suit to pull on, zip, adjust and prepare to dive? Can it be done without assistance?
Relative to other suits of similar size, how is the overall fit to your body, with attention to areas including the lower back, underarms and extremities?
How is the overall comfort in and out of the water? With movement, is there discomfort at neck closure, wrists and ankles, zipper seal, crotch or underarms?
How well do sealing surfaces at wrists, ankles, neck and zipper block water entry? At depth, is there excessive water while swimming or moving?
What is the suit’s overall effectiveness as insulation, relative to similar suits? Does cold water move or flush through the suit with movement?
Range of Motion
Does the suit provide full and unfettered range of motion in and out of the water? Does it bind or restrict movement?
Ease of Doffing
How easily can the suit be removed after diving? Can it be done without assistance?
How We Score
Divers rated suits in each of the seven evaluation criteria with a score from 1-5.
The scoring is:
- 4=very good
Scores for warmth and comfort are shown in the graphics accompanying each review. Divers also recorded their comments and observations about each suit, and listed their favorites in each category. Suits were also evaluated for design, construction and materials used.
Xenos 7 mm
Sizes 15 men’s, 15 women’s
A favorite among test divers, the Xenos took excellent scores in almost every category, and testers praised it for its warmth and comfort. Flexible neoprene fits close to the body to minimize water movement without limiting range of motion. “Totally unrestricted freedom of motion. Stretches in every direction,” is how one test diver described it. Tapered ankles and glideskin linings in the wrists make the suit’s seals comfortable and highly effective at restricting water entry. A thermal lining provides additional warmth to the diver’s core. “Felt like I warmed up throughout the dive,” one test diver commented. The suit scored good for donning and very good for doffing, but its stretchy construction and grippy lining can call for a lot of tugging and pulling to get into place once wet. Fortunately, the exceptional warmth and comfort are well worth the effort. Picked as a favorite by test divers, the Xenos is our Testers Choice.
Quantum Stretch 7mm
MSRP $431, $465 (XXL and up)
Sizes 9 men’s, 6 women’s
“Really warm” and “comfortable for the entire dive” were how testers described this suit. Made of super-stretchy neoprene, the suit hugs the body like a second skin, limiting water movement. The suit earned a perfect score for comfort and an excellent score for range of motion. “Perfect fit, lots of warmth, flexible and comfortable,” is how one tester described it. Seals are very comfortable and effective. “Cold water stopped dead in its tracks,” one tester said. Velcro on the neck closure is eager to stick to anything it touches, but otherwise the suit scored very good for donning and doffing. A favorite of testers, with outstanding comfort and performance at a below average price, the Quantum Stretch is our Best Buy.
Sizes 16 men’s
This suit sports a high-tech infrared lining imbued with graphene in order to reflect the diver’s body heat and redistribute it to cooler areas of the body. That lining, combined with a very good fit and effective seals, helped the suit score good for warmth. “Actually got warmer as the dive went on,” one test diver observed. Zippers at the wrist and ankles aided in effortless donning and doffing, but some testers felt the wrist zippers were too short and pressed uncomfortably on the wrist when wearing gloves. Some testers also had issues with water entry around the collar, but otherwise scored the seals excellent for comfort and effectiveness. The suit offers excellent flexibility. The Reactive was a favorite of test divers.
Sizes 6 men’s, 5 women’s
Constructed with an anatomical cut and stretchy double-lined neoprene, this suit scored excellent for fit and comfort, and very good for warmth. The stretchy material also allows for excellent freedom of movement. “Great range of motion, no binding or restriction anywhere,” is how one test diver described the suit. Cuffs utilize a band of stretchy liquid seal that forms a ring just inside each cuff to further enhance the effectiveness of the wrist and ankle seals at restricting water entry. Test divers scored the seals very good for effectiveness and comfort. The suit’s flexible construction and simple yet effective seals helped it take very good and excellent scores for donning and doffing.
Sizes 5 men’s, 5 women’s
“Warm,” was how multiple test divers simply described this suit. With a noticeably stiffer neoprene than other suits in our test, it provided plenty of insulation during longer dives, especially around the torso. Seals work well and were scored very good by test divers. “Really effective,” was how one tester described them. Together, the heavy material and snug seals helped the suit score very good for warmth. It scored good for range of motion. Zippers at the wrist and ankle simplified donning and doffing. The suit’s soft, smooth Puriguard lining—a zinc-treated anti-bacterial fabric designed to eliminate odor and protect divers from bacteria—is comfortable against the skin and makes for effortless donning.
Sizes 16 men’s, 11 women’s
This suit is made from quality materials and offers high-end features at a budget-friendly price. Smooth-skin seals at the ankles, wrists, neck and spine scored very good for comfort and effectiveness. Titanium-lined, compression-resistant neoprene provides plenty of insulation, and scored very good for warmth. Testers felt the suit was more restrictive than others in our test. “Not the stretchiest suit ever, but still decent range of motion,” is how one tester described it. When wet, the suit can take some tugging and pulling to get on, but otherwise is fairly easy to don and doff. Ankle zips assist in getting the suit on and off. Double-glued, blind-stitched seams with reinforcing stress disks provide long-term durability.
Sizes 16 men’s, 17 women’s
Made using different thicknesses of neoprene in key areas, this suit strikes a fine balance between warmth and flexibility. It scored very good for comfort, range of motion and warmth. Testers especially liked the suit’s plush water-draining lining. Unique in our test, the Everflex features a diagonal back zipper. Testers felt it was prone to catching skin or the suit’s zipper flap between its teeth if secured carelessly. It also had a noticeable effect on comfort. “Feels like I’m being pulled sideways” and “zipper gives the suit annoying tightness at lower left when stretching or bending,” test divers observed. Double-zippered seals at the wrist and ankles were rated excellent for effectiveness and comfort.
Sizes 10 men’s, 9 women’s
“Like pajamas, soft and smooth,” is how one test diver described this suit, which earned an excellent score for comfort in and out of the water thanks to its soft lining and excellent fit. Constructed out of ultra-elastic neoprene, the suit is, in the words of one tester, “extremely stretchy.” It scored very good for range of motion. Aquastop seals at the wrist and ankles were very effective in limiting water entry, and feature a zipper to aid in quick donning and doffing. The design of the collar closure, however, was prone to leaking and allowed some cold water to penetrate into the shoulders and torso. Even so, the suit scored very good for warmth. Extra features include a comfort zip at the neck and an instrument retainer strap.
MSRP $569 (7 mm), $519 (5 mm)
Sizes 14 men’s, 7 women’s
We tested the 7 mm version of this heavy-duty suit. “Unrestricted,” is how one tester described the suit’s flexibility. Testers praised the suit’s soft thermal lining and scored it very good for overall warmth and comfort. Seals were rated very good for comfort and effectiveness. The suit “slides right on,” in the words of one test diver, and was scored excellent for donning and doffing. Anti-slip surfaces at the shoulders and waist hold gear securely and prevent abrasion; soft kneepads made with Kevlar Duratex enhance long-term durability and protection. Extra features include dual instrument retainer straps, a zipper at the collar, and two zippered thigh pockets.
While not fully tested, we did have a chance to dive with these suits.
Dynaflex 6.5mm Wetsuit with Hood
Sizes 8 men’s, 7 women’s
Outfitted with an integrated hood, this 6.5 mm suit provides plenty of insulation for colder water. The suit is very flexible and offers a good range of motion, although the neck can seem a bit restricted due to the attached hood. The suit uses a vertical front entry for simple donning and doffing, and the zipper goes all the way up to the diver’s ears. The design puts the zipper right on the neck, which can cause some discomfort topside but isn’t noticeable underwater. Effective seals at the wrists, ankles and face keep warm water in and cold water out. The suit also features a handy, removable zippered cargo pocket.
Sizes 8 men’s, 7 women’s
This two-piece jacket-and-john combo provides extreme warmth for cold-water diving thanks to multiple layers of thick neoprene insulation. The drawback, of course, is an increase in positive buoyancy and reduced flexibility. Donning and doffing is very easy, even with two separate pieces to get on and off. The john opens at the right shoulder and is secured with a simple hook-and-loop fastener. The jacket features a convenient front-zipper entry. Wearing the whole system provides divers with crazy warmth, but the two-piece design allows for additional versatility, as the suit’s separate components can also be worn individually in warmer water.
Sizes 6 men’s, 7 women’s
This addition to the Mares M-Flex line is constructed of high-quality ultra-stretch neoprene, and incorporates special graphene fibers in the suit’s inner layers to trap and reflect body heat. This made the suit’s plush, comfy lining even more warm and cozy. Our sample suit was sized a bit too large for us to fully test, but even with water flowing in and out of the suit’s seals, it provided a surprising amount of warmth over the course of our 40-minute-long dives. The suit is very flexible and offers a natural range of motion. The Graph-Flex has a streamlined cut with sealed seams, and uses minimal graphics for a simple, clean look.