Scuba Diving Gear List – The Complete Guide
You might have wondered what scuba diving gear you really need and what the different pieces of equipment are used for. If you are new to diving then you most certainly will struggle to know what you should have and what the different devices are used for.
This guide will provide you with a list and explanation of the most commonly used scuba dive gear. Find out the important pieces of equipment you need to have to dive safely and comfortably.
Scuba diving is a very gear-intensive activity. You can’t just jump into the water, hold your breath and hope for the best. It won’t be an enjoyable activity!
To make it easier for you we separated the different pieces of equipment into categories. Everything you see in the Basic/Essential Gear section is what you should consider owning or renting. The second area is called Exposure Items. Following this is a list of Accessories and then lastly the Repair Corner.
Let’s dive right into it… We picked the best rated gear in each category to speed up your search.
Buoyancy Control Device - BCD
These devices allow to control your buoyancy under water. When you’re on the surface they keep you afloat.
Our pick is the Scubapro Litehawk which combines excellent quality at a reasonable price.
The diving mask is the most recognized piece of scuba equipment there is. And it’s probably the most essential item too as it allows you to see underwater.
Our top pick is the Cressi F1 - Scuba Diving Snorkeling Frameless Mask. Offers everything you need at a great price.
Fins are the best way to get you moving through water. As we don’t naturally grow them, we need to attach them to our feet…
Our pick for scuba fins is the Cressi PLUMA. A full foot lightweight set of fins for diving and snorkeling.
Allows to breathe air or Nitrox from the scuba tank.
Our pick for a regulator is the Scubapro MK21/S560 Regulator. High quality at a reasonable price.
The octo(pus) regulator allows to share air with your dive buddy if necessary.
To go with the regulator we thought it would be best to stick to the same brand. Our best choice is the ScubaPro S360 Balanced Octo Regulator.
Depth & Pressure Gauge
The depth and pressure gauge lets you know how deep you are and how much air is still in the tank. Many modern dive computers have the option to integrate the air into the computer and will give you the same (or better) information. Depending on the quality of your dive computer (see below) you can possibly forego this piece of equipment if it is integrated into the scuba computer.
Our pick for the depth & pressure gauge is the ScubaPro Depth And Pressure Gauge.
Dive computers come in all different shapes and functionalities. You can pick a simple entry-level model or go high-end with air integration, etc. If you choose high end then you can save yourself a few other pieces of equipment and the higher initial cost is completely offset by not having to spend money on other gear.
Our pick for a dive computer is the Suunto Vyper Novo with Air Integration Wrist Scuba Computer. It's a high end model with air integration.
You typically will rent a tank instead of dragging it with you on your travels. However, if you live close to where you dive then you might very well own a tank.
Our pick is the Cyl-Tec 80cf Scuba Diving Tank. It's an aluminum tank with 80 cf capacity at a great price.
Gloves keep your hands warm under water. They also protect them. If you’re diving in colder regions and/or in deeper waters then gloves are essential to have.
Our top pick for scuba diving gloves are the NeoSport Neoprene Velcro Gloves.
Similar to the gloves, the boots are there to keep your feet warm and to protect them.
Our pick for scuba boots are the NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Hi Top Zipper Boot.
Wetsuits come in many different shapes and forms. Mostly the difference will be the thickness of the material. They are also used to keep you warm and to protect you somewhat. Be aware that they are not the best choice if you dive in really cold water. Also remember that a thicker wetsuit will be stiffer.
Our best pick for a wetsuit is the Seavenger Men and Women 3mm Full Wetsuit.
A drysuit keeps you even warmer than a wetsuit. And, as the name states, you also stay dry. If you dive in cold climates then use a drysuit instead of a wetsuit. A thicker drysuit keeps you warmer but is also stiffer. Drysuits will also cost you a lot more than a wetsuit!
A recreational diver will typically never be in a diving situation where a drysuit would be needed. In case you disagree though, check out the DUI CF200X Select Men's Scuba Drysuit.
In addition there are many other clothing items that protect you from the environment. We have not listed all of them in detail but you can get hoods, hooded vests, and undergarment for drysuits, etc.
You need the ability to produce light if you dive during night or if you need to look into cracks and crevices. A dive light should always be part of your dive gear.
Our suggestion for your dive torch is the OxyLED DF10 1050 lumen Diving Flashlight.
Another piece of equipment you should always bring with you. No, you won’t use it to fend off sharks but in case you get entangled in kelp or a net, you can cut your way out of the entrapment.
Our top pick for a dive knife is the Promate Scuba Dive Snorkel Titanium Knife which provides durability at a great price.
A compass is essential to help you navigate under water. Higher end dive computers often also feature a built-in compass. In that case you can save yourself the money to buy another compass.
Our top pick for a wrist mounted compass is the Oceanic Wrist Mount Compass.
It’s a great idea to have a snorkel to breathe in case you swim with your head underwater.
Our pick for a snorkel is the Cressi Alpha Ultra Dry Snorkel for Diving and Snorkeling.
A dive bag lets you carry all your dive gear. There’s a ton of choices ranging from high-end rollers that look like suitcases to mesh backpacks. Mesh is a good idea as it will let air get onto your wet gear to dry it out.
Our top pick for a dive bag is the Mares Cruise Mesh Backpack Deluxe.
Surface Marker Signal/Buoy (SMB) Kit
Mark your position for boats and other divers. Reel and whistle are included.
We picked the DiveSmart 4ft Scuba Diving Open Bottom Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) Kit. It includes the reel and whistle and you don't have to try to find the different pieces one by one.
The nightmare of every diver is to run out of air. And it happens when you have to put in a safety stop in order to avoid decompression sickness. The Spare Air device is the right item to have with you. It gives you the extra minutes of air you need to safely come up again without risking your health.
The best pick for spare air is the Spare Air 3000 3.0 Kit.
Marine Rescue GPS
A marine rescue GPS device can be a lifesaver if you get into an emergency. It can send a distress signal and allow to be found through the signal and GPS location.
You can't go wrong if you pick the Nautilus LifeLine Marine Rescue GPS Submersible Dive Alert Scuba.
Nothing is worse than going out to dive and then finding out that some part of the gear is broken or just needs to be screwed in. This tool kit is designed to allow you to make quick repairs when necessary!
The best choice is the Deluxe Diver Tool & Repair Kit. All the tools you need in a handy package.
Have the most important replacement parts with you. Otherwise, you might end up not diving because of a little broken part that you easily can replace yourself.
For a quick repair you can find the most common items you might need in the XS Scuba Save A Dive Kit.
Wetsuit/Drysuit Cleaning and Care
Like any other item you wear, a wetsuit or drysuit need to be kept clean. Use special shampoos to get rid of algae, bacteria, etc. that get picked up in the water.
Best is to use a specialized shampoo like the McNett WetSuit Shampoo. Be sure you have enough at hand as you need more than a small tiny bottle!
Wetsuit Changing Mat
The mat allows you to change on it instead of concrete or sand. It helps to prolong the life of your suit (wet or dry).
Check out the COR Surf Wetsuit Changing Mat / Bag.
Scuba diving is a gear intensive activity. You will not get away with just buying the cheapest gear and then hoping for the best. Buy less equipment at first but get good gear. Rent what you can’t afford to buy and save money that way. You are better off with a few pieces of equipment that you own and that are high quality.
Don’t forget that your safety depends on a lot of this gear. If you initially spend a little more to get higher quality gear and you take care of that gear then you will enjoy it for a long time.