Best Scuba Gears for Beginners in 2023 – How to Choose

17. Best Scuba Gears for Beginners1
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In this post, we’ll share some of our favorite dive gear for beginner divers. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re looking to upgrade your dive equipment, read on for some great recommendations!

With the right scuba gear, diving can be a fantastic experience that is also safe and enjoyable. Similar to how novice drivers don’t need Ferraris, novice scuba divers don’t require pricey equipment with all the bells and whistles. Scuba diving equipment can be of great quality, yet affordable and perfect for beginner divers.

When Should I Buy My Own Scuba Gear?

You should really wait to invest a lot of money in scuba diving equipment until you are certain that recreational diving is what you want to pursue.

But at some point, most scuba divers find themselves wanting their own set of dive gear, whether it’s for the convenience of having your own gear or the cost savings from renting.

Therefore, when should you invest in your own equipment? Let’s take a look!

Dive Knives

Dive Rite Ceramic Line Cutter $24.95

This cutting tool initially may appear to be your standard line cutter, but it actually has a secret weapon up its sleeve: a razor-sharp, corrosion-proof ZrO2 ceramic blade. No matter how long it is submerged in salt water, this cutter will not rust and will easily cut through anything that gets caught in its small jaws. The Velcro-secured nylon sheath mounts to webbing up to 2 inches wide to keep the cutter handy and accessible. It was our Best Buy when it came to cutting tools because it was strong, practical, and incredibly affordable.

Riffe Edc 4.5 $64

This blade is equipped to handle any underwater task with full-length smooth and serrated cutting edges. No matter which edge you’re using, the rubberized, rounded handle offers a superb grip during heavy cutting. The traction-lock sheath is safe and simple to take off and replace. A favorite of testers, offering a great grip and impressive cutting performance, the EDC 4.5 was our Testers Choice for full-length dive knives.

Spyderco Salt 2 Green LC200N Wharncliffe $177.50

This 3-inch full-flat-ground Wharncliffe blade deploys with the simple flick of the thumb and dispatches most tasks quickly. It is also impervious to corrosion because it is made of LC200N steel, which has been nitrogen-enriched. The ergonomic handle’s heavy, grippy texturing provides excellent control and grip security. For small dive knives, the Salt 2 Green LC200N Wharncliffe won our Testers’ Choice award.

Tekna Rescue Edge $49.95

When not in use, this practical cutter folds up so that it can fit comfortably in a BC pocket. The 3-inch stainless-steel blade’s aggressively serrated edge quickly saws through most tangles. Test divers loved the blunt “rescue-tip” design, as it allows the blade to slip into sensitive areas and saw through taut line without risking injury to the rescuer or victim. For cutting tools, The Rescue Edge was our Testers’ Choice.

Seac Blunt $114.90

Outfitted with a 3⅜-inch uninterrupted smooth cutting edge, this titanium knife has plenty of bite. Aggressive serrated teeth adorning the opposite edge can be used to saw through thicker line. After spending 24 hours submerged in salt water, the blade still looked brand-new. Touting impressive cutting performance and corrosion resistance at a budget- friendly price, the Blunt was our Best Buy for compact dive knives.

Dive Lights

Dive Rite CX2 $159

With a powerful, penetrating spot beam, this torch easily cuts through the darkness even in poor visibility. The ergonomic push button quickly cycles through four power levels and an emergency strobe. It received the highest rating for usability. The power settings’ variety, which enables users to illuminate a cavern or their pressure gauge without risking self-blindness, was highly praised by testers. The CX2 was our Testers’ Choice for full-size dive lights because it is strong and enjoyable to use.

Sealife Sea Dragon 1300S $119.95

A large, textured handle with an ergonomic, compact design that received the highest marks for comfort and grip security is featured on this light. Three power levels and two emergency strobes are available in the settings. Testers liked the variation between the light’s brightness settings. The light’s strong hotspot easily cuts through the darkness while giving off plenty of peripheral vision. The Mini 1300s was a favorite among test divers due to its excellent performance all around. Our Best Buy for full-size lights was this one.

Sherwood St1000 $140

This torch impressed with its potent piercing beam and cozy ergonomics as the brightest light in its category. The design integrates the rounded head into the handle, which provides a comfortable, secure grip suitable for long periods of use. The light has two power levels, which testers thought were very distinct and helpful. Additionally, an SOS mode is provided. It is simple to transport the light due to its small size. You can charge the light without removing the battery thanks to a built-in USB port on the back. For small dive lights, the ST1000 won our Testers’ Choice award.

Hog 1000 Lumen Rechargeable Light DL-20 $89.95

With a single recessed push-button, this torch provides easy access to three power levels and three emergency strobes. The light’s shape is comfortable in the hand, compact, and has just enough of a handle to hold onto for a safe and secure grip. The beam of the light was one of the brightest in its class, and test divers liked how bright it was. For small dive lights, this capable torch was our Best Buy.


Nex Monterey $1,022.99

The modular Monterey first stage can be upgraded with several add-ons, including more low-pressure ports, an environmental seal, and a rotating low-pressure turret. The system is lightweight and compact when coupled with a small balanced adjustable second stage. The regulator received high marks from testers for its simplicity and dryness of breathing; excellent breathing simulator performance supported their findings. Due to its superior performance and comfort, this individualized reg was a favorite among test divers. When it comes to regulators, The Monterey was our Testers’ Favorite.

XS Scuba Inspire $479.95

During our objective testing, this reg consistently received some of the highest work-of-breathing scores. Whether subjected to heavy breathing rates or extreme depths—or both—it moved air almost effortlessly. Four low-pressure ports on a swivel and two high-pressure ports are present in the first stage. The Venturi on the second stage easily controls free-flow, and there is a ton of flexibility in the breathing adjustment to fine-tune the ideal level of resistance. The Inspire was our Best Buy because it offered excellent performance at a lower price point.

Video Lights

Kraken Hydra 15000 WRGBU $1,150

This light produces a tremendous amount of bright light that is evenly distributed across a very wide beam. Access to 11 power levels and a spectrum of colors is made possible by simple controls mounted on the back, including a rotating dimmer switch with an integrated push-button and an LCD screen. The Hydra is remote control ready and can be used as a strobe. With ergonomic controls, plenty of power and myriad options for creative imaging, it was our Testers Choice for high power video lights.

Light & Motion Sola Photo 1200 $299.99

This compact imaging light outputs a wide, even beam well-suited for use as a video light or a modeling light. The top-mounted sliding push switch is very responsive, quickly stepping through three distinct power levels of white and red light. LEDs indicate battery status and current setting. Even after an hour of use during our testing, the Sola continued to produce a steady 1,200-lumen beam. It was our Testers Choice for low-power video lights.

Kraken Hydra 1500+ WSR $189

Packed with features, this light provides plenty of tools for underwater shooters. Testers loved that this light offers a 100-degree white flood, a 60-degree spot and a wide-angle red light, each with three different intensities. It has three emergency strobes as well as a user-activated strobe-detection mode for divers using it as a focusing light. The light is simple to use in hand for primary diving when the Y/S mount is removed. For low-power video lights, the Hydra 1500 was our Best Buy.

Bigblue Dive Lights VTL4200P $469.99

This light offers a single-intensity 10-degree spot and a powerful 120-degree flood beam with access to four different power levels. Considering the power and functionality it provides, it is surprisingly small. The long body is easy to maneuver when mounted to an arm and doubles as a grip for hand-held use. Our Testers’ Choice for medium-power video lights was the VTL4200P, which was a favorite of the testers.

17. Best Scuba Gears for Beginners2


Scubapro Level $639

This neutrally buoyant BC is light on padding but very comfortable. The supportive wraparound air cell is stable and doesn’t squeeze or restrict motion when inflated. During our testing, it provided 36 pounds of buoyant lift in size medium. The harness has plenty of adjust-ability to fine-tune fit, and the integrated weights are simple and secure. The BC has numerous stowage options. The Level was our Testers’ Choice for jacket BCs because it offers a ton of features and performance.

Sherwood Luna Magenta $633

This full-featured jacket makes use of a number of features, including a contoured air cell, a shorter torso, and adjustable sternum straps, to better accommodate female divers. Both in and out of the water, test subjects reported that it was very comfortable. The medium-sized, streamlined air cell has responsive, smooth valves that allow for simple buoyancy control, and it provides 26.5 pounds of weight. The Luna was our Testers’ Choice for women’s BCs because it offered excellent comfort and performance. Dual tank straps and a semi-rigid plate provide support while diving and allow the BC to fold for packing.

Apeks Exotec $999

The base of this tough BC is made of a thin aluminum plate. The durable G-hook sternum strap can be engaged and disengaged with one hand, and the waist and shoulders can be moved around on the plate to alter fit. A heavy-duty pivoting lumbar support distributes weight evenly. It received an excellent comfort rating from the testers. The system offers 52 pounds of lift and has four responsive releases, six stainless D-rings and Sure Lock II weight pockets. The ExoTec was our Testers’ Choice for back-plate/wing BCs due to its impressive performance and variety of well-considered features.

Cressi Aquawing $539.95

A lean, mean dive machine, this BC is outfitted with an aluminum back plate, a 30-pound bladder and air-net shoulder pads. Once it’s on, you won’t even notice it’s there because it’s so comfortable and light. Because of its streamlined design, the bladder offers excellent attitude control and stability. Testers loved the easy-adjust two-piece crotch strap. The integrated weight pockets are a feature of the Plus model, which is shown here. A high-performance, low-profile dive system with maximum simplicity and comfort, the Aquawing was our Best Buy for back-plate/wings.

7 MM Wetsuits

Akona Quantum Stretch 7mm $431

Excellent flexibility and a natural range of motion are provided by the suit’s ultra-stretchy neoprene. It adheres firmly to prevent internal flushing and wraps the body like a second skin. The seals also halt the flow of cold water. The flexible construction makes it very easy to don and doff, especially for a 7 mm suit. Testers described the suit as “excellent, with lots of warmth, flexibility and comfort.” For 7 mm suits, the Quantum Stretch was our Best Buy because it provided exceptional performance and comfort at a competitive price.

Fourth Element Xenos 7mm $554

This suit, which comes in 15 sizes for both men and women, is made of stretchy neoprene that hugs the body to reduce flushing without limiting movement. It scored excellent in almost every category, including warmth and comfort. Internal wrist and ankle seals are cozy and practical. A thermal lining in the chest adds to the warmth. Quick donning and donning are made easier by tapered ankles and smooth linings in the arms and legs. The Xenos was our Testers’ Favorite 7 mm suit due to its exceptional warmth and comfort.


Genesis Icon $58

This mask offers a wide field of view thanks to its two teardrop-shaped lenses, which are placed close to the eyes. The low-volume design reduces drag and is very easy to clear and equalize. The silicone skirt’s frosted edge is comfortable against the skin and creates a strong seal, earning it a very good rating for dryness and comfort. Offering great performance at a below-average price, the Icon was our Best Buy for dual-lens masks.

Tusa Paragon S $220

The silicone skirt of this tough mask feels soft and comfortable against the skin and forms a delicate but effective seal around the face, earning it a very good rating for comfort and dryness. A great field of view is provided by the large lens, which has UV-420 and anti-reflective coatings. Strap adjustments are quick and secure with ergonomic buckles. For single-lens masks, the Paragon S was our testers’ top pick.

Tusa Intega $110

The Intega can fit a range of face shapes and sizes thanks to its flexible skirt and special skirt-integrated fitting ring. Comfort and dryness were highly rated for the extremely strong, watertight seal. Pinch buckles that are ergonomically designed are user-friendly and aid in preventing hair tangles. The Intega dual-lens mask was our Testers’ Choice because of its exceptional comfort and performance.

Cressi F-Dual $59.95

High-grade silicone double feather-edge skirt is a feature of this frameless mask. Testers liked the mask’s comfortable, lightweight feel in and out of the water. The mask skirt received a very high dryness rating. It is super easy to clear and equalize. The tall, wide lens offers a great field of view from all angles. The F-Dual was our Best Buy for single-lens masks thanks to its strong overall performance, comfort, and affordable price.

When You Are Intending to Dive a Lot

If you are a new diver who plans to dive frequently in the coming months, the cost of the scuba gear quickly pays for itself. When you plan to go scuba diving more than 20 times per year, the majority of dive shops offer gear packages, but these can cost hundreds of dollars annually.

Check your scuba package to see how much gear rental will cost, and use your calculations to determine when your own equipment will start to pay for itself. Rental equipment costs can really start to add up, so be sure to factor this into your calculations.

When You Want to Feel Good in Your Scuba Diving Gear

Nothing compares to having your own scuba gear, despite the fact that the majority of dive centers keep their equipment in pristine condition. Scuba gear rental equipment may not be as well-maintained as yours or feel as comfortable.

Additionally, some people prefer the convenience of being completely familiar with all of their equipment before each dive rather than having to figure out how to use someone else’s scuba fins, dive computer, or diving mask.

For hygienic reasons, many divers also prefer to use their own regulators or an alternative air source. A trustworthy first stage and primary regulator that fits perfectly and feels great to breathe out of is really the only option.

What Kind of Scuba Gear for Which Location?

The primary diving location should be considered when purchasing scuba equipment. If you dive locally and you live in Europe or North America, you typically dive in mild to cold waters. There is no denying that the colder the water, the more gear you’ll need, the more you’ll spend.

Scuba Gear for Warm Waters

If scuba diving only equals tropical island holidays to you, a dive kit with the essentials will do. Above 28°C, a 3 mm wetsuit (or just a long sleeve rashguard), a mask, a pair of fins, light travel regulators, and BCD will be just fine. My recommendation? Get at least a dive computer and an SMB on top of that.

Scuba Gear for Cooler Waters

I picture the Mediterranean Sea or Japan’s main island when I consider regions with mild climates. However, even tropical locations can experience a colder season. Cooler water temperature, to me, goes from 18°C to 26°C. In this case, I scuba dive with a 5mm wetsuit for the warmest side of the range. When it gets below 24°C, I usually switch to a 7mm wetsuit.

It also means adding more accessories to keep warm: a hood, gloves and booties. To go with your booties, you’ll need adjustable fins. Because there is probably less light underwater, adding a dive light to your dive computer and SMB is a great addition.

Scuba Gear for Cold Waters

How cold of water you should start drysuit diving from is a topic of considerable debate. It is below 18°C for me. Why bother when buying a drysuit that costs a lot of money? Some argue it is nicer to scuba dive in a wetsuit from a liberty of movement and hydrodynamics point of view. I can relate to this in some ways. But what’s the point if I’m shivering?

Below 10°C, getting warmer gloves matters. There are some drysuits that can be connected to dry gloves, 5 mm gloves, and 7 mm mittens. Don’t forget that you’ll need an undersuit to stay warm below a dry suit. Leggings and a fleece sweater work well with a 7mm neoprene drysuit. With 4mm compressed neoprene or shell trilaminate drysuits (less buoyant), you’ll need a special drysuit undergarment to keep warm and toasty.

Beyond a non-optional hood, cold water diving involves getting a high-end regulator. You must choose a model that can run without freezing and entering free-flow. Even ice diving is permitted with some regulators. These regulators typically come with additional ports for attaching the hose to the drysuit inflator. The hose is typically sold with drysuits as a standard accessory.

Considering the low visibility you usually have in colder waters (but not everywhere), a powerful dive light is more about to be seen by your dive buddy and acts as a safety device, in my opinion.

Conclusion: Choose the Right Gears

I think this question genuinely terrified me in my first 2 years of diving. I was given so many recommendations to buy what they were using without considering whether it was appropriate for my circumstances. In addition, there is a lot of choice.

There is no perfect method for selecting the best scuba equipment for you the first time. When I accepted the trial-and-error process involved, my stress decreased. Obviously, you don’t want to make too many mistakes given the expense of the equipment. Even though you could always sell it again, doing so frequently would be expensive because you would lose 50% of the value each time. The alternative is to purchase used and resell it for the same price.

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