3mm wetsuit – the best of comfort and protection

One of the key deciding factors when picking a scuba diving suit should be the water temperature where you expect to dive. Unless you plan to go under in below-50 degree water, a 3 mm wetsuit should be fine. It will not only give you adequate warmth, but also let you move around flexibly without much constraint. It's perfect for sub-surface diving like snorkeling because what it brings in terms of protection is not just warmth, but safety from other dangers like contact with poisonous sea creatures, rocks and such.

Short is cool, short is hot; short is

3mm wetsuit

what the surfer's got

While a full-body 3 mm wetsuit offers the maximum amount of protection with respect to the body surface it covers, a lot of people find it a bit too restrictive. If you're one of those people, you could consider trying a shorty wetsuit; with half sleeves and leggings that stop above the knee, this provides adequate torso protection while giving you tremendous freedom of movement. Some people also choose this over a full-body suit because it looks "cooler" and isn't so "clunky" to move around it. Surfers in warmer waters often prefer the shorty because of the quick moves they can make on the board.

Visibility in teeming waters

Whatever your choice, there are several dozen brands that make 3 mm wetsuits in an array of designs and color combinations. Watersports wetsuits, or dry-suits for that matter, may also have fluorescent bands or markings to let other people in the water know that you're there. In summer, when the water is usually thick with holiday-makers, this is critical in terms of preventing accidents in the water.

Budget buys: 3 mm wetsuits in the 'not unaffordable' range

Let's take a look at some of the popular brands, what they cost, and the features they come with, so you can make an informed decision when you're out shopping for a wetsuit. In this piece, we'll cover the inexpensive to mid-range priced wetsuits that have also gotten terrific reviews by users over the years.

Pinnacle power: 3 mm wetsuit with a difference

One of the top-rated inexpensive 3 mm wetsuits is the one from Pinnacle. Available at prices between $100 and $200, this suit will surprise you with the kind of construction that's gone into it: if features titanium lining that makes it extremely easy to put on and take off, and according to several user reviews, it provides a seal as good as any expensive model out there. This wetsuit is said to keep you protected from the cold as well as give you the flexibility that usually doesn't come with an inexpensive suit - definitely one that you should consider.

Pinnacle again: 3 mm wetsuit with a difference and a half

Another 'hottie' is a similar 3 mm wetsuit, again from Pinnacle, though slightly more expensive (closer to $200 than $100). However, for the added price, you get strengthened seam intersections, double glued seams, and the similar titanium lining as with the previous model. Users say that although they mostly use this for diving, it's flexible enough to be rated a top player in the surfing wetsuit category, and that's saying quite a bit. It's primarily the panel design of the various parts of the suit that make it so flexible, being anatomically crafted with greater joint movement in mind.

ScubaPro 3 mm wetsuit: Feature-rich flexibility

The third model that's in the 'more affordable' range is the ScubaPro 3 mm wetsuit that's garnered some rave reviews from users. Said to be better than a 'cheap' 5 mm suit in terms of warmth and flexibility, this beauty features lots of little innovations that make the price tag seem unbelievably cheap: flex panels in the knees, elbows and other crucial points, abrasion-resistant knee pads, double-blind stitching and zippers at the ankles and wrists make this a strong contender for anybody's custom. Not only do the seals prevent leakage very effectively, they also provide the kind of comfort, warmth and protection that makes you want to trash your 5 mm wetsuit.

The final pick

Choosing a 3 mm wetsuit is more a question of preference than convention. Buy what you think is comfortable and looks best on you; don't invest in something unless you are absolutely convinced that it's worth the price. Finally, look at all the aspects and rate the suit by your own standards, not someone else's. After all, it's your second skin under the water.