The best wetsuits

Surf from dawn until dusk in one of the best wetsuits available

A proper wetsuit makes the difference between a full, fun day of surfing and a short, miserable time. With a poor-fitting suit, it’s easy to feel like you’re freezing important body parts off. Conversely, a correct wetsuit’s sole purpose is to keep you warm so you can fully enjoy whichever variety of watersport keeps you going.

Picking the right wetsuit shouldn’t be about fashion, color, or going with what the pros wear. Instead, make your choice based on fit, water temperature, suit thickness and flexibility, air temperature, and wind temperature. Your personal sensitivity to cold also makes a difference in comfort based on the suit’s relative thickness. Accessories such as hoods, gloves, boots, and rash guards also affect your choice by helping conserve body heat with the same wetsuit on chillier days.

Keep in mind wetsuits aren’t strictly for surfing. The same suits often work for diving, body surfing and boogie boarding, spearfishing, waterskiing, paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking, sailing, and even work for triathlons and Tough Mudder events — though some of those sports have special requirements.

To help you navigate the sea of available options, the following picks are for serious surfers willing to invest in a suit capable of lasting at least two or three years with routine use. If you only surf a few days a year, or even a few weeks, you won’t need the highest quality suit — in most cases, the same brands sell less expensive lines sufficient for casual surfers.

O’Neill Psycho Tech 4/3 FUZE Chest Zip

Our pick

Why should you buy this: The O’Neill Psycho Tech F.U.Z.E. Closure wetsuit is an investment in comfort, durability, ease of entry, and quick-drying convenience.

Widely recommended by surf shop owners coast to coast, the O'Neill Psycho Tech is a good investment for the serious year-round surfer.

Who’s it for: Serious year-round surfers looking for serious equipment that’s usable in all but the coldest temperatures.

How much will it cost: $420-425

Why we picked the O’Neill Psycho Tech FUZE 4/3:

O’Neill’s Psycho Tech combines the company’s TechnoButter 2 neoprene with a single seam weld and its latest entry system. According to O’Neill, its TechnoButter 2 is its lightest and most durable neoprene yet. It even retains 30 percent less water than its predecessor and dries much quicker.

The Front Upper Zipper Entry (F.U.Z.E.) closure has a 360-degree inner barrier to shield water entering the zipper from your body while three strategically placed drain holes guide water out of the entry. Other features include TechnoButter 2 Air Firewall insulation for extra body core warmth, Super Seal cuffs so water can’t enter the suit at your wrists or ankles, and Krypto Knee Padz so you won’t rub your knees while paddling.

The Psycho Tech F.U.Z.E. 4/3 suit provides ample warmth for most people when water temperatures are in the low 50s to low 60s, which makes it a great shoulder season suit. If the water temp drops into the 40s where you surf, you’ll want more protection but the 4 by 3 weight could suffice as a serious surfer’s only wetsuit — especially when paired with hoods, boots, and gloves on colder days. The suit is available in both men’s and women’s versions.

Xcel Revolt TDC Fullsuit 3/2

The best warm water wetsuit

man surfing in xcel revolt wetsuit

Why should you buy this: The Xcel Revolt TDC Fullsuit 3 by 2 uses two different Thermo Dry Celliant lining thicknesses for maximum torso warmth and lower body flexibility.

When it's just colder than board short conditions, Xcel's Revolt features just enough thickness to keep you surfing all day.

Who’s it for: Avid surfers who surf where the water seldom drops much below 60 degrees.

How much will it cost: $395

Why we picked the Xcel Revolt TDC Fullsuit 3/2:

If you surf in the southern United States, or spots where low water temperatures range from the mid-50s to mid-60s, Xcel’s Revolt TDC 3 by 2 Fullsuit can be your one and only. The Revolt boasts a multitude of features that balance flexibility and warmth. Xcel’s Ultra Stretch lightweight neoprene has a tight weave for durability and maximum stretch. The suit’s rubber is also textured for wind resistance on the outer chest panels and hoods, while its Drylock wrist seals and thin bands of liquid neoprene inside the wrists and ankles add to the suit’s seal.

Xcel outfit the Revolt to use two types of Thermo Dry Celliant (TDC) pile lining, both of which are fast drying, lightweight, and naturally hydrophobic. High pile TDC helps to preserve core warmth with Smart Fiber Technology which converts body heat into infrared energy for greater warmth and endurance, along with faster recovery. Low Pile TDC has similar properties but is thinner and less restrictive for added flexibility.

The X2 Front Entry system has a front zipper that angles along the upper chest with an inner flap to keep water out of the suit. An inner Crossover Neck Entry feature has overlapping panels which stretch for easier suit entry. Other noteworthy Revolt TDC Fullsuit features include grooves in cutouts behind the knees for flexibility, Duraflex stretchable knee panels, and a design concept that minimizes seams for greater flexibility. The suit is available in both men’s and women’s versions.

O’Neill Heat 6/5/4 with Hood

The best cold water wetsuit

Why should you buy this:  For winter surfing when you don’t want cold water to keep you from the waves.

The O'Neill Heat 6 by 5 by 4 Full Suit with Hood provides the warmth and protection necessary for surfing in the coldest waters.

Who’s it for: Anyone who surfs in water temperatures in the mid-40s.

How much will it cost: $400

Why we picked the O’Neill Heat 6/5/4 with Hood:

The O’Neill Heat 6 by 5 by 4 Full Wetsuit with Hood’s stand out feature is in its name: Heat. Constructed entirely of O’Neill’s “ultra gooey” Ultraflex DS Neoprene with FluidFlex Firewall material in the chest and back, the Heat wetsuit is all about keeping you warm in extremely cold water. If you insist on surfing when water temperatures sit in the 30s, this is your suit.

The Heat suit is a back zip design with a urethane-coated RedZone zipper with offset teeth that interlock to keep water from traveling in or out of the suit. The zipper panel has been re-designed for easier in-and-out which tends to be a major factor in thick suits. Additional functional design features include a seamless paddle zone and LSD — otherwise known as Lumbar Seamless Design.

All seams are triple glued and blind stitched on the inside for durable flexibility and have an 8-millimeter silicon-based urethane Fluid Seam Weld on the exterior. The Heat also features Krypto Knee Padz to shield your knees while paddling and an external key pocket. The Heat is a men’s wetsuit but women can check out the similar O’riginal 6/5/4 Hooded Chest Zip for cold water surfing.

Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Front Zip Spring Suit

The best shortie wetsuit

woman in patagonia r1 lite yulex wetsuit

Why should you buy this: Patagonia’s neoprene-free Yulex Spring Suit gives you an edge when the water approaches summer temperatures.

The Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Spring Suit promotes environmentally-conscious, mild weather surfing.

Who’s it for: Spring and fall surfers, or summer surfers who have low cold water tolerance, and like Patagonia’s statement about naturally sourced materials.

How much will it cost: $230

Why we picked the Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Front-Zip Spring Suit:

Patagonia’s wetsuits are all constructed of neoprene-free Yulex, the company’s natural rubber-based material. The R1 Lite Yulex Front-Zip Spring Suit shortie is made from 85 percent Yulex and 15 percent synthetic rubber. The suit is lined with 100 percent recycled polyester for flexibility and fast drying time.

According to Patagonia, the natural rubber in Yulex is sourced from trees that are Forest Stewardship Council certified by the Rainforest Alliance. What that all adds up to is a greener look at the materials used in the suit’s construction than neoprene suits, which are petroleum-based.

The R1 suit is rated by Patagonia for water temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees. In many coastal U.S. areas, that’s as warm as the water ever gets, even in summer. This short suit also works for those who are more cold-sensitive than average and desire extra warmth, even in summer waters above 75 degrees.

The seams on the R1 Lite Yulex Spring Suit are triple glued and blindstitched, with additional spot taping inside at high-stress areas. The suit has a front-zip entry with a fully repairable, corrosion-proof Salmi zipper. The front entry on this lightweight suit makes entry and exit about as good as it gets. It comes in a long-sleeved version for women and short or long-sleeved versions for men.

Rip Curl FlashBomb Chest Zip 5.5/4

The best hooded wetsuit

Why should you buy this: It’s Rip Curl’s warm, flexible, and durable wetsuit meant for winter surfing where water temperatures don’t dip below the 40s.

Rip Curl's fast drying, warm, and comfortable E5 Flash Lining on its FlashBomb 5.5 by 4 make this hooded wetsuit a solid choice

Who’s it for: Winter and cold water surfers in all but the very coldest parts of the country, like northern New England.

How much will it cost: $460

Why we picked the Rip Curl Men’s FlashBomb Chest Zip 5.5/4:

Rip Curl‘s FlashBomb E5 Flash Lining is engineered for more stretch and faster drying times than earlier linings. The lining and liquid tape technology, along with the FlashBomb’s interior stress point E5 taping, work together to keep you warm and dry for longer days on the water.

Rated as a 5.5 by 4 wetsuit, the FlashBomb (with its hood) should be comfortable for most surfers when water temperatures are close to 40 degrees, especially if you wear gloves and booties. If you consistently surf in water in the mid to high 30s, you might need something extra.

According to Rip Curl, E5 Flash Lining funnels water out of the suit rapidly for maximum comfort. Additionally, Rip Curl’s E4 neoprene is extremely flexible, meaning wearers can expect a nice range of movement while in the water. The FlashBomb’s chest zip also boasts a lock slide design closure for easy operation and water impermeability. To top it off, Rip Curl included a magnetic stash pocket for storing car keys. The 5.5/4 is a men’s wetsuit but it comes in a 5/4 for women.

Picture Oskana 3/2 Front-Zip

The best eco-friendly wetsuit

woman in picture oskana wetsuit

Why should you buy this: It’s an eco-friendly alternative made from limestone-derived neoprene foam.

Picture's Oskana uses limestone-derived neoprene foam to deliver the most eco-friendly wetsuit ever created.

Who’s it for: Those who surf in waters ranging from the low 50s to upper 60s and are keen on preserving the environment.

How much will it cost: $320-370

Why we picked the Picture Oskana 3/2 Front-Zip

Made from Picture’s brand new LimeStone Stretch technology, this innovative wetsuit boasts a slim carbon footprint the company says is half the size of a standard neoprene suit. The eco-friendly material relies on a process which combines limestone chips and recycled rubber tires to create NaturalPrene stretch technology. Additionally, the wetsuit forgoes all toxic adhesives, instead substituting a water-based aqua-glue.

The liner is made with a recycled polyester fiber called DryNow that’s insulating and ultra-wicking. The neck features a silky Glideskin seal that keeps water from entering the suit while remaining comfortable and non-constricting. On the knees and underarms, you have an ergonomic design with embossed flex for excellent range of motion. Aside from durable knee pads, the torso area also features double NaturalPrene for extra protection around the ribs.

Picture says the suit was inspired by triathlon-style wetsuits, using a seamless motion pattern under the arms to offer full shoulder mobility. In all, this is one of the most mobility-friendly wetsuits available and the most environmentally conscious, too. The Oskana is designed for women but men can wear its counterpart, the Equation 3.2 Front Zip.

Mystic Diva Fullsuit Back-Zip 5/3

The best for wind sports

woman in mystic diva wetsuit

Why should you buy this: It’s a super stretchy, well-insulated wetsuit made specifically for wind sports.

Forget those cumbersome surfing suits, Mystic's Diva provides ultimate insulation in an extremely flexible package.

Who’s it for: Kiteboarders and windsurfers who want a suit designed especially with those sports in mind.

How much will it cost: $330

Why we picked the Mystic Diva Fullsuit Back-Zip 5/3:

The Diva is built with Mystic’s ultra-stretchy, high-grade M-Flex 2.0 neoprene with an Aquaflush perforated neoprene system that allows water to drain from the ankles — helping prevent kankling when your leg cuffs fill up with water. It also boasts velcro ankle straps to ensure the spray from your board doesn’t shoot up your legs, either.

This warm, quick-drying suit showcases feather-light foam and isoprene mesh, while Mystic’s Glue Blind Stitched (GBS) tech means each panel is glued together and stitched midway through the seams, making them completely waterproof. For extra warmth, it’s built with the brand’s Polar Lining that reflects body heat, along with a reinforced panel in the lower back.

Inside by the collar, the suit features a velcro patch which allows you to fasten your tag so it doesn’t ruin the lining. It boasts a smooth Glideskin neck, overhead backup, and a handy nylon key pocket. The Diva is a women’s wetsuit but men can check out the comparable Majestic Back-Zip 5/3.

Emerging Tech

Where are they now? A look back at last year’s Top Tech of CES winners

What happened to the 14 prize-winning products we singled out as the coolest things we saw at last year's CES 2018? Join us as we take a look at what the past 12 months has meant for them.

REI drops prices on North Face and Columbia during its winter sale

Looking to shop top brands like North Face, Columbia, and more? REI is offering up to 50 percent off during a winter sale so you can save big on new jackets and hoodies. This deal will last until January 22, so take advantage on this huge…

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.
Smart Home

The best sous vide machines cook your food perfectly, every single time

Want to make four-star meals from the comforts of your own kitchen? Here are the best sous vide machines available right now, whether you prefer simple immersion circulators or something more complex.

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Emerging Tech

You may soon be able to summon an autonomous wheelchair like an Uber

At CES 2019, autonomous wheelchair company Whill unveiled its vision for a world in which people can summon its wheelchairs by app, in locations such as museums, airports, and city centers.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Furrion’s luxurious smart yacht looks like the perfect vessel for a Bond villain

Forget smart watches and the like: when it comes to the biggest smart technology at CES 2019, the literal answer can be nothing other than the 78-foot, high-tech luxury smart yacht, Adonis.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…

Here are all the best rain jackets on the market right now

From high-tech, lightweight shells to modern-looking, waterproof trench coats, check out our list of the best rain jackets built to keep you dry and looking stylish in any season.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.

Nike’s Adapt BB shoes let you tighten your laces with an iPhone

The new Nike Adapt BB shoe comes with smartphone connectivity that allows the user to tighten the laces using a smartphone while providing the ability to adjust tension throughout the game.

The 10 best windproof umbrellas to help you weather the storm

The rains have come and they have no mercy. Can your current umbrella handle everything nature can throw at it? Here are 10 of the best windproof umbrella deals available now to help keep you safe and dry.
1 of 3