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How to Choose the Best Snorkeling Wetsuits

   June 2nd, 2021   Posted In: Articles  

Did you fall in love with snorkeling on a recent vacation? It happens to most people when they first try it out!

You get to experience the beauty of the underwater world up close and personal. And you get to become a part of the ecosystem, swimming alongside beautiful fish, coral, and if you’re lucky, you glimpse a sea turtle or a shark.

But if you’d like to go snorkeling for more than a few minutes at a time, you’re going to want a snorkeling wetsuit. Even in warm water, you need to ensure your body stays warm, otherwise, your time spent in the water could become uncomfortable and even dangerous.

Wondering why you need a wetsuit for snorkeling? Want to know what types of snorkeling wetsuits you’re going to need for your upcoming adventures? Keep reading to find out!

Why Do Snorkelers Need a Wetsuit?

When snorkeling, you are exposed to the temperature of the water, the sun, and the environment you’re exploring. With no insulation, you can get cold even in warm waters after a prolonged period. Especially when you’re distracted by the underwater beauty around you! In a standard swimsuit, you put yourself at risk for severe sunburns on your back body which is open to the sun overhead. Your body is also unprotected below from coral, rocks, and wildlife which can be sharp and potentially irritating to the skin. It’s can also be a problem when swimming in waters with jellyfish. 

Wetsuits offer protection from cold water, abrasions, and dangerous rays from the sun, but they can also help you stay afloat a little easier with the added buoyancy neoprene provides. This allows for a more relaxed and leisurely snorkeling experience!

So even if you plan to snorkel in warm water, it’s worth wearing a lightweight wetsuit for all the other benefits.

How to Choose the Perfect Snorkeling Wetsuit

Different wetsuits are designed for different sports, different body types, and different temperatures. Here’s what to consider when searching for the best snorkeling wetsuit. 


Protection from the cold is the most important factor when choosing a wetsuit. So your first task is deciding where you will be swimming most frequently, and when. 

If the water temperature fluctuates in your home waters, it may be best to have snorkeling wetsuits for cold water and another one for warm water to use throughout the year.

The temperature of the water will determine the ideal wetsuit thickness to buy. For example, if you plan on mostly swimming in 60 to 70-degree water, a 2mm or 3mm wetsuit will work for most people. If you are extra sensitive to cold, you might want to look at 3/2mm wetsuits for a little extra insulation.

Snorkeling wetsuits for warm waters, like in tropical destinations, are usually 1mm. You can also get just a separate wetsuit top, to protect your skin from sun and rash without causing overheating.


You can also choose between a long wetsuit, called a fullsuit, or a short one, called a springsuit or shorty. Shortys are generally only used in warm water, especially when snorkeling. As a snorkeler, you’ll always be on the surface, where the water is warmer. This also allows for the best range of motion, and protection around your core with your arms and legs free.

However, even in warm water, some people still go with a long wetsuit for added protection against coral cuts, sun, and rash. A lighter-weight fullsuit is a great option if you’re looking for a little extra coverage!

Browse our our snorkeling fullsuits here, and our springsuit options here to get an idea of what options are out there!

Proper Fit

A wetsuit needs to fit right for it to work the way it’s designed to. Your wetsuit should fit you like a second skin- comfortable and snug without being restrictive!

You’ll want to take accurate height, waist, and chest measurements. Compare these to the unique size charts for each wetsuit to make sure you pick the size best for you! Wetsuits are going to fit pretty snug, but they shouldn’t restrict movement. Remember too that your wetsuit size might not correspond with your other clothing sizing!

Many wetsuit makers also produce tall, short, and plus-sized wetsuits, and also an array of kids wetsuits, making it easier than ever to find your perfect fit. 

One Piece or Two Piece Wetsuit? 

You can buy a snorkeling wetsuit that comes in either one or two pieces. A fullsuit is best if you are looking for more coverage and protection from the elements, are snorkeling in generally cooler temps, or are more sensitive to the cold. Two-piece separates, which come in wetsuit tops and bottoms, give you the flexibility to adjust your coverage based on the day! These are generally also easier to get in and out of than a fullsuit as well. Wetsuit separates are recommended for warmer waters.

You can customize your gear collection by having pants, shorts, a short sleeve top, and a long sleeve top to create the perfect combination for any outing.

Will You Be Using the Wetsuit for Other Activities?

Lastly, think about how else you’ll be using the wetsuit. The best snorkeling wetsuits can be used for a variety of surface watersports including recreational swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, or surfing in warm water!

On the other hand, you wouldn’t wear a snorkeling wetsuit for, say, diving. When diving down below the surface, the water is colder and the pressure is stronger. Thicker, specifically designed wetsuits for SCUBA are generally used by divers.

If you plan to use your wetsuit for other activities, it’s important to consider your needs across the board. If you want to be trying out a variety of watersports and invest in just one wetsuit to begin with, it’s recommendable to get a slightly thicker wetsuit like a 3/2mm, which is more versatile in different environments and temperatures than a 1mm for example.

Wetsuit Accessories

You can complete your full body coverage with a few other accessories. Wetsuit booties keep your feet snug and cozy and protect your feet from wildlife, coral, and rocks. Plus, they make it easier to walk back to shore in rocky areas, since the high-traction sole will keep your feet from being cut or poked. You can also walk to and from the water in them, so you don’t have to bring extra shoes with you. 

In colder water, wetsuit gloves can keep your hands and fingers from getting too cold, and also offer more protection in your environment. And a wetsuit hood will prevent excess heat loss from your head in cooler waters. Hoods also keep long hair under control, maximizing your vision while exploring. 

Explore accessories you might like to add to your collection of the best snorkeling wetsuits to make you more adaptable to snorkeling in different conditions!

Find your best snorkeling wetsuit today!

At Wetsuit Wearhouse, we stock over 20,000 different wetsuits at any given time. That means we have the perfect snorkeling wetsuit t empower your passion for adventure and discovery.

If you are having trouble finding the ideal wetsuit or need help with sizing, you can reach out to our experts at any time. And luckily, you can order with confidence, since we have a super easy return and exchange policy if your wetsuit doesn’t fit. You’ll also get free US shipping on orders over $100!

Need some inspiration for your next snorkeling destination? Check out this article by Snorkeling Report on the Top 10 Most Beautiful Snorkeling Destinations!

Growing up all over the world, Elizabeth loves a good adventure. Scuba diving in the Maldives, surfing in Sri Lanka, skiing in Canada, struggling with sunglasses in Delaware... she's always ready for the next challenge. These days she's merchandising and marketing at Wetsuit Wearhouse, and sometimes writing cool content like this bio.

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