Why Do Wetsuit Prices Vary?
If you’ve ever searched the web for a wetsuit, you’ll see a varying degree of wetsuit prices. You might see a 3/2mm full wetsuit that’s $75 and another 3/2mm wetsuit that’s $499. So what gives? What do those wetsuit prices actually get you?
Entry Level ($90 to $150)
Let’s start with the absolute basic when it comes to a 3/2mm fullsuit. At $89, this 3/2mm Men’s Body Glove Pro 3 B/Z Fullsuit is a great entry-level/budget-friendly suit. And we didn’t forget about you gals – we have the counterpart of the men’s version with the 3/2mm Women’s Body Glove Pro 3 Fullsuit. What’s included in these affordable suits?
Standard neoprene. This type of neoprene is definitely the most basic on the market. The range of motion is a bit more constricting and less flexible which is why wetsuit prices for these suits are more affordable. Sometimes you’ll see wetsuits described as 30% stretch which means that the entire suit is almost made with standard neoprene but there are areas like the underarm that are made of a better stretching neoprene that provides a better range of motion.
Most entry-level wetsuits are made with flatlock stitching. These seams are durable, but water does seep in, so keep that in mind. You’ll find flatlock seams on a ton of 3/2mm suits because they work great in warm water temps.
As far as extras go, you won’t see too many bells and whistles with wetsuit prices like these. Durable kneepads, a back zipper, and a loop for your keys are about as extra as it can get.
Mid-Range ($150 to $250)
Now we get into mid-range suits. Mid-range wetsuit prices include wetsuits with stretchy neoprene, better seams, and some pretty cool/useful extra features. The typical price range of these wetsuits is $150 to $250.
Suits in this range are generally made completely of super stretch, so not only is the neoprene softer to the touch. As far as seams go, mid-range suits can have flatlock seams, sealed seams, or sealed & taped seams. As we mentioned earlier, flatlock seams work for warm water temps. Sealed seams are better for cool water temps and a little bit of water seeps in. Then there’s sealed & taped – the most water-tight and semi-dry of all seams. Sealed & taped virtually allow no water to seep in and are perfect for cold water temps. Mid-range wetsuit prices usually include flatlock or sealed but there are some sealed & taped suits that sneak in there as well. Panels of poly fleece in the back and/or the chest provide extra warmth and are fast-drying and wick moisture away.
High-End ($275 to $500)
Last but not least, the highest range of wetsuit prices and wetsuits. Basically, these suits have all of the latest and greatest technical wetsuit features on the market. Yes, the price may show, but there’s a reason they cost what they do.
First off, the neoprene is the best material out there. Comfortable, flexible, lightweight, absorbs less water, fast drying, the list could go on and on. So not only are you getting a 100% super stretchy and lightweight suit, you’re also getting top of the line extra features including durable and up-to-date zipper entries, strategically placed paddling zones, and sealed & taped seams or even stitchless seams. And don’t forget about the poly fleece lining! These warm and quick drying panels of poly fleece are not only in the front and back but there are also some wetsuits where the poly fleece can cover 3/4 of or even the entire suit. XCEL makes a poly fleece lining called Thermo Dry Celliant which recycles body heat and converts it into infrared energy. That’s some pretty innovative and effective poly fleece technology right there! More experienced water sport enthusiasts tend to lean towards a higher-end suit because these suits were built for high performance.
The top high-end wetsuits we recommend are: O’Neill and Xcel wetsuits
*Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated for relevancy and accuracy. (8/23)