Help Choosing Scuba Diving Equipment Index
Masks are your window in the underwater world. The most important factor with masks is that they feel comfortable to wear, that they fit and seal well around your face and that you have good vision through them.
Another factor important for those who wear glasses or contact lenses is whether or not the mask can be fitted with corrective lenses.
Visit our advice page on choosing a diving mask.
A good snorkel certainly needs to have a purge valve at the bottom. This aids clearance of the snorkel and will make snorkelling a much more pleasurable and easy experience.
It is also good if it has a wave deflector or chamber mechanism at the top which will help to prevent wave splashes entering the snorkel too readily.
Visit our advice page on choosing a diving snorkel.
For most diving situations adjustable heel fins that require you to wear boots of some description are best. However if you are doing a lot of warm water boat diving full foot versions may be more suitable.
Fins with splits down the middle of them are becoming more popular as they offer more efficincey in the water but are generally more expensive than traditional fins.
Visit our advice page on choosing diving fins.
Dive computers will extend your time underwater by calculating true multilevel diving profiles. Few divers who have used a dive computer ever look back, taking advantage of safer profiles, and longer dive times. Dive computers will show you your current depth, remaining time allowed underwater and ascent rate.
Most dive sites now require every diver to have a dive computer today so it's best to invest in one so you know how it works.
Visit our advice page on choosing diving computers.
The basic rule of thumb when selecting a regulator is to go for the most expensive you can afford. Generally the more you spend the easier it is to breathe. When purchasing your regulator you will need to buy the three major parts – the 1st and 2nd stage, the alternate air source and the instruments. There are several types of regulator, piston or diaphragm and balanced and unbalanced systems.
Visit our advice page on choosing diving regulators.
A good quality BCD will improve your buoyancy control, weight distribution, and comfort in the water. Generally speaking the more you spend the more features your BCD will have and better materials it will be made from. Ladies should certainly seriously consider ladys BCDs, they offer a shorter length of jacket, integrated weights (to stop the bruising to your hips) and a better fit all over for your figure.
Visit our advice page on choosing diving BCD’s.
The temperature of the water you are planning to dive in will determine what suit is best for you. Wetsuits range from 1.5mm in thickness to 7mm any thicker and most divers consider a dry suit with undersuit. As with everything you get what you pay for, bargain suits will tend to be made from synthetic neoprene, which although looks identical breaks down quickly in sunlight, needs replacing frequently and is less flexible than real neoprene suits.
You can feel the difference between a quality wetsuit and a cheaper suit and avoid surfing suits too, while stretchy they also compress more than scuba wetsuits. Look for good seals around the neck and cuffs and a good Thermal Class Rating for warmer suits.
Visit our advice page on choosing suits.
PRE SEASON KIT CHECKS
The new season is coming up fast. If you're sensible the winter period is the perfect time to have your kit serviced by a professional but if you didn’t then spring time is an opportune time to dust off your kit and give it a good going over to pick up any problems early, leaving enough time to get them sorted out.
Although nothing beats a proper service, these little guides will take you through some relatively simple but well advised kit health checks and how to best store your gear.
View our pre season kit checklist for regulators.
Or view our pre season kit checks list For everything else.
Choosing diving cylinders can tricky, this guide should help you make an informed decision on what to buy, it includes information on the pro’s and con’s of different material cylinders, different valves, what size you need and how to care for your cylinder.
Visit our advice page on choosing diving cylinders.
Here is a list of available Manuals for Scuba Equipment, including BCD manuals, Dive Computer manuals and Regulator manuals.
All of your complex scuba gear will have a digital manual.
Many manufacturers are going paper-free as much as possible to save costs and the planet so some manuals will only be available as a digital download.
CHOOSING PRESCRIPTION MASKS
Have your gauges gone fuzzy? Struggling to read your dive computer? Then a prescription mask is for you.
A prescription mask is a mask fitted with prescription lenses, this allows people who would normally wear glasses or contact lenses to see clearly underwater.
Visit our Prescription Mask advice page.