Top Recreational Scuba Gear
Most scuba divers acquire and replace equipment on a budget, and some budgets are more expansive than others. While most divers shop on either the basis of the best gear for the least cost, or even the lowest cost outright, some divers enjoy much more expansive budgets. Also, non-divers are often looking to get an appropriate, high-end gift for their scuba diving friend or loved one, and have no idea where to start.
The Top Recreational Scuba Gear concept at The Scuba Doctor includes one piece of equipment from each category that we believe is the best in its class. This means not only has the given piece of gear has the best balance of capability and durability, but that the item in question also has aesthetic appeal. In other words, to get on this list, scuba equipment needs to maximise both form and function.
Another consideration for this list is suitability for recreational diving. That is diving to no more than 40 metres in depth, with one gas mix, which may be Air or Nitrox up to 40% oxygen (EAN40). A lot of high-end gear, especially regulators and dive computers, earn their reputation because of their technical, commercial or military diving capabilities. While The Scuba Doctor sells such equipment, our focus here with this list is on what's best for recreational diving.
Note: List last updated 21 November 2015
Top Dive Mask
- Small to Medium Adult Faces
Tusa Freedom Ceos Mask
RRP: $140, Our Price: $119, You Save $21 (15%).
A low-profile, low volume, two window mask that delivers superior fit, comfort and performance. It both looks cool on your face and offers unparalleled vision, both in terms of clarity and field of view. The Tusa Freedom Ceos is also available in a wide range of negative and positive dioptre corrective lenses, plus gauge reading, bifocal lenses, for those that need assistance seeing clearly underwater.
- Medium to Large Adult Faces
Apollo SV-2 Pro Mask
RRP: $129, Our Price: $89, You Save $40 (31%).
Exceptional visibility and low-volume comfort while incorporating a soft mask skirt that fits most medium to large adult faces. The Apollo SV-2 Pro Mask is also available in a wide range of negative dioptre corrective lenses, plus gauge reading, bifocal lenses, for those that need assistance seeing clearly underwater.
Top Dive Snorkel
Tusa Hyperdry Elite II Snorkel
RRP: $88, Our Price: $75, You Save $13 (15%).
This is the best features of TUSA's snorkels combined into one top-of-the-line model. With a low-profile dry top and angled purge chamber, staying dry has never been easier.
Top Dive Fins
- Open Heel Fins
Apollo Bio-Fin Pro Fins with Spring Straps (Yellow) Free Offer
RRP: $395, Our Price: $335, You Save $60 (15%).
Apollo has been making the Bio-Fin Pro for more than 10 years and they're now the world's NUMBER ONE dive fin. During that time, Apollo have expanded the colour range to satisfy just about everybody's colour pallet. They've added the option of a heavy-duty spring strap, which we highly recommend. But in the midst of these modifications, one thing has remained constant, and that is the Apollo Bio-Fin Pro's Top Gun position when it comes to kicking performance and pure comfort. We all dive using these fins, that's how good they are.
- Full Foot Fins
Tusa Solla Full Foot Fins
RRP: $110, Our Price: $95, You Save $15 (14%).
With a pair of vents and reinforced side rails, the Tusa Solla FF-23 Fins allow you to get the most out of every kick. Great for use on your next tropical diving or snorkelling holiday.
- Freediving/Spearfishing Full Foot Fins
Cressi Gara Modular Fins
RRP: $216, Our Price: $189, You Save $27 (12%).
The long blade, footpocket system makes these the perfect fin choice for deep freediving and spearfishing. The modular design lets the diver interchange blades for specific diving purposes, which makes this the perfect fin to grow with, as the you can change blades as your skills increase.
Top Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
We like rear inflation BCDs, not the jacket wrap-around inflation BCDs that 95% of recreational divers use. Slowly the benefits technical divers have found with rear inflation setups is trickling down to recreational divers. Dive gear manufacturers are now introducing rear inflation BCDs with the familiar features of pockets and integrated weight systems seen on their conventional jacket BCDs. And our favourite recreational BCD is one of them...
Cressi Back Jac Elite Rear Inflation BCD
RRP: $864, Our Price: $735, You Save $129 (15%).
This top-of-the-line Cressi Back Jac BCD combines the very best of the recreational and technical BCD design features. With ample stainless steel D-rings for clipping on accessories, and a high lift capacity rear inflation bladder for improved trim and control in the water, this BC is great for whatever recreational diving you may wish to do.
Note: If you think you might eventually transition from recreational diving to technical diving, then we'd highly recommend a modular Harness and Wing BCD setup. This is what we use for our recreational and technical rental and training dive gear.
Top Scuba Regulator Set
Cressi Master Ellipse T10-SC Regulator Set
RRP: $849, Our Price: $719, You Save $130 (15%).
This top-of-the-range Cressi regulator package, with its environmentally sealed first stage, has been designed for the more extreme diving environments, but it's equally suitable for warmer waters. This regulator set delivers outstanding flow rates and superior resistance to freezing, plus it's extremely comfortable to use. Fantastic performance, stunning finish and exceptional value for money.
Top Dive Computers
Suunto EON Steel Wrist Dive Computer w/USB and Tank Pod
RRP: $2,150, Our Price: $1,859, You Save $291 (14%).
It is all you ever wanted, all you ever needed and more. We like the large, easy-to-read colour display, wireless air integration, 3D digital compass, plus the high quality and durability of construction.
Cressi Leonardo Nitrox Wrist Dive Computer
RRP: $424, Our Price: $299, You Save $125 (29%).
If you just want the best, easiest to use dive computer for recreational diving without air integration, the Cressi Leonardo Nitrox Wrist Dive Computer should be your first choice. Don't just take our word for it — this dive computer was Scuba Diving ScubaLab Best Buy 2014.
Top Dive Gauges
The 'basic/rental' recreational dive setup usually features a large dive console with a SPG, depth gauge and dive computer. Some even add a compass. They're the dangley things you often see hanging down or dragging on the bottom because divers don't clip them off properly! We hate them as they tend to be too big and bulky. After all, if you dive with both an air integrated dive computer and a compass worn on your wrists, you already have the information you'd get from such a console at hand. However, for safety reasons you should still have a dive console as backup.
Miflex Twin Combo Console - SPG and Depth
RRP: $195, Our Price: $156, You Save $39 (20%).
This is an ergonomic, compact, sleek and sturdy Italian made two in line console (SPG and Depth gauges) with a slim and flexible Miflex Carbon Black HD high pressure hose. A simple, elegant and streamlined solution.
Top Dive Compass
Yes, you can now get a 'digital compass' as a feature on some dive computers, but we recommend you always dive with a traditional compass, worn on the wrist.
Suunto SK-8 Wrist Dive Compass (SH)
RRP: $110, Our Price: $99, You Save $11 (10%).
This high-quality, liquid filled dive compass is the world's most popular dive compass for plenty of very good reasons. The superior Suunto SK-8 has an exceptional tilt potential of +/-30 degrees, which is two or three times greater than in conventional diving compasses.
Obviously the best wetsuit for you is one that suits the water temperatures where you are diving. Well we're based in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. That means temperate (cold) water diving. So our pick is a wetsuit best suited to our local home diving conditions, but one that also will adapt to your needs when you travel.
Northern Diver Delta-Flex Semi-Dry 3-Piece Wetsuit - Male
RRP: $1,080, Our Price: $499, You Save $581 (54%).
The unique Northern Diver Delta-Flex 'Semi-Tech' Semi-Dry wetsuit, is a combination 3-Piece wetsuit made for the tough and cold conditions in the United Kingdom. This makes it great for the temperate waters of Southern Australia. This package includes: a one-piece 'Steamer' long-john, back zip wetsuit, with an average thickness of 5.5 mm; a step-through 'Shortie' front zip wetsuit - average thickness of 6 mm; and a 5 mm super-stretch hood with air venting system. Wear the 'Shortie' in summer or when away on holidays in the tropics. Wear the 5.5 mm 'Steamer' locally in summer temperate waters. Wear the 'Shortie' over the 'Steamer' in winter, even in single figure water temperatures. Available in five male and four female off-the-rack sizes.
Many local recreational divers are giving up their wetsuits and switching to drysuits, especially when diving through winter.
Apollo Edge Drysuit with Boots - Unisex
RRP: $1,899, Our Price: $1,699, You Save $200 (11%).
The Apollo Edge Drysuit is designed to cater for every Australian diver's needs for a quality drysuit. Available in seven male and four female off-the-rack sizes, or custom made.
- Top Drysuit Undergarment
Northern Diver Arctic Base 3-Piece Undersuit (Unisex)
RRP: $259, Our Price: $209, You Save $50 (19%).
The smock top, leggings and socks make a great base layer under your membrane, trilaminate or neoprene drysuit. The name 'arctic' is a great description for this under suit as this base will keep you warm and snug in even the coldest winter dives.
Top Dive Boots
Obviously the best dive boot for you depends on where you're diving from. If you're entering the water by clambering over rocks you need a different solution to someone walking in off a sandy beach or rolling back from a dive boat. Indeed some people have different dive boots for different occasions. But our choice for the best all-round performer is:
Apollo Edge Pro Dive Boots - 5mm Unisex
RRP: $75, Our Price: $59, You Save $16 (21%).
These unisex 5 mm neoprene dive boots feature an angled design that matches the contour of your leg when fining providing superior performance. The huge range of sizes available ensures you get great fit and comfort. The non-slip, white coloured, hard sole is brilliant on a wide range of surfaces.
Top Dive Gloves
Probe iDry Quick-Dry Dive Gloves - 2.0mm
RRP: $60, Our Price: $49, You Save $11 (18%).
These gloves dry in minutes, so you will never have to put on a sticky, wet, cold pair of dive gloves ever again! The 2 mm thickness delivers warmth and protection with impacting on your dexterity.
- Cray Gloves
Apollo Kevlar Commercial Dive Gloves - 3.0mm
RRP: $89, Our Price: $79, You Save $10 (11%).
Ideal for crayfish hunters and serious hunter gatherers, the Kevlar lining on the palms, fingers and back of finger tips ensures rugged durability under the most demanding use.
Top Dive Hood
Probe iDry Quick-Dry Hood - 3mm (Unisex)
RRP: $55, Our Price: $45, You Save $10 (18%).
The world's fastest drying dive hood! the gripper print on the back of the head helps to keep your mask strap in place. Also available as a 5 mm hood.
Top Dive Cylinder/Tank
Faber Steel Cylinder - 232 bar - 12.2 litre std - DIN/K Valve
RRP: $699, Our Price: $495, You Save $204 (29%).
Faber steel diving cylinders are simply the best and this 12.2 litre, 232 bar model is by far the most popular size. It's great for shore diving, boat diving and almost any other kind of diving you can consider.
- Top Dive Tank Handle
Northern Diver Steel Cylinder Tank Handle - Fixed
RRP: $22, Our Price: $18, You Save $4 (18%).
Simplify the task of carrying a steel scuba diving cylinder with this black plastic, fixed tank handle. Unlike the el cheapo cylinder handles commonly sold, this strong, solid, quality handle will do the job properly.
Top Dive Light
Dive Perfect Stubby LED-1000 Dive Light - 1000LM
RRP: $195, Our Price: $135, You Save $60 (31%).
Hands down, you won't find a dive light as powerful, compact and as handy as the Dive Perfect Stubby LED-1500. It's great as either a primary or backup dive torch for recreational divers. Plus it comes with a free soft Goodman handle at a great value for money price.
Top Dive Knife
Trident BC Titanium Knife - 75 mm blade
RRP: $145, Our Price: $115, You Save $30 (21%).
This titanium dive knife is simply superb. It has all of the right tool features, and the titanium construction makes it not only tough, but rustproof as well. The small, compact size and webbing pouch makes it our top choice.
- Top Dive Shears
Cressi Alligator Dive Knife and Scissors
RRP: $125, Our Price: $109, You Save $16 (13%).
When closed, the blade has a conventional profile, with a 3-inch smooth edge and a serrated section on the back. Unlock the handle, and the blade splits into spring-loaded scissors that will chop through pretty much anything you can get them around.
Top Dive Safety Gear
- Top Dive Reel
Buddy Pocket Reel - 40 metre (130 ft) Line
RRP: $140, Our Price: $110, You Save $30 (21%).
Many recreational divers have no signalling system, or at the very least just a safety sausage. They shy away from having a proper reel and SMB because they find them intimidating or bulky. Well the Buddy Pocket Reel is the perfect solution to the problem of bulky and cumbersome SMB/Navigation reels. It can be easily stowed in your BCD pocket or clipped unobtrusively to a D-ring.
- Top Surface Marker Buoy (SMB)
AP Diving Buddy Delayed SMB with Mini-Cylinder Inflation - SMBCi
RRP: $375, Our Price: $295, You Save $80 (21%).
A real gem of a product, the Buddy SMBCi features an independent inflation mini-cylinder available with either DIN or Int A-clamp fittings. Deployment is simply a question of unfurling the SMB and cracking open the mini-cylinder. You'll have a full stiffy on the surface every time.
- Top Dive Float and Flag
Ocean Hunter Inflatable Torpedo Float with Line and Alpha Flag
RRP: $50, Our Price: $45, You Save $5 (10%).
Increase your safety when diving in areas with boat traffic by being seen while below with this deluxe alpha dive flag on a large torpedo shaped float. It's fantastic as a scuba diving surface marker, or as a surface platform for spearfishing and free diving.
- Top Diver's Marine Rescue GPS
Nautilus LifeLine Marine Rescue GPS
RRP: $279, Our Price: $249, You Save $30 (11%).
This device could save your life. Your GPS position, accurate to 1.5 metres, and a man overboard distress message will be broadcast to all AIS equipped ships up to 55 kilometres (34 miles) away, as well as a special DSC message to the marine radio on your own vessel.
- Top Surface/Subsurface Signalling Device
Dive Alert Plus v.2 Surface/Subsurface Signalling Device
RRP: $115, Our Price: $95, You Save $20 (17%).
Not only does this alert passing vessels and people to your presence, but it can also be used to draw attention to yourself during an emergency scenario. During tests and in the field, the sound of a DiveAlert has been known to travel well over a mile (1.6 km).
Top Dive Bags
- Top Catch Bag
Seaka Catch Bag - Spring Loaded - Premium Quality
RRP: $79, Our Price: $69, You Save $10 (13%).
The patented Seaka Catch Bag with Spring Loaded, Adjustable Tension Latch is perfect when catching rock lobster, crayfish, crab, scallops, paua, abalone, kina etc. This is the original, industry standard, patented design, made in New Zealand from quality marine grade, stainless steel for recreational divers looking to contain their catch. Premium quality dive catch bag for the serious diver.
- Top Dive Travel Bag
Cressi Cargo Dive Travel Bag with Wheels - 145 lt
RRP: $465, Our Price: $395, You Save $70 (15%).
This travel bag has a clever internal folding frame and hinged bottom so it collapses for storage. Good compression straps, rugged construction and protective padding, made the Cargo 145 litre trave bag the Scuba Diving ScubaLab Best Buy 2014.
- Top Dive Gear Bag
Trident Ballistic Mesh Dive Gear Bag
RRP: $75, Our Price: $59, You Save $16 (21%).
If you're constantly carrying your dive gear in and out to a dive boat then you need a great dive gear bag. The mesh top and sides, plus the hole in the bottom of the bag means you dive gear can drain and air to dry well.
Top Dive Slate
Apollo Glow-In-The-Dark Multi-Page Wrist Slate
RRP: $36, Our Price: $29, You Save $7 (19%).
Curved to fit-comfortably on your lower arm, and Glows in the Dark. The three pages are great when you need to write something down underwater.
Top Weight Belt
Apollo Comfo Pocket Weight Belt with S/S Buckle and D-rings
RRP: $89, Our Price: $79, You Save $10 (11%).
This is a weight belt made for total comfort and convenience. A rubber waist strip to prevent twisting and accidental slipping from the hips of the diver. The stainless steel, 3-slot, waist buckle, keeps it securely in place, plus the stainless steel D-rings on either side make it easy to attach your dive accessories.
Top Scuba Equipment Care Items
Baker Shoulder Saver Ventilator Wetsuit/Drysuit Hanger
Our Price: $45,
You Save $5 (10%).
Every one of Lloyd's wetsuits is hung using one of these hangers. They are simply the best way to hang a wetsuit or drysuit. Easy rinsing. Faster drying. It eliminates stress in the shoulder area allowing garments to hang to their natural shapes. It's also great for use with other heavy garments like motorcycle leathers, foul weather gear, leather coats etc.
Underwater Kinetics Super Hanger Package - 3 Hangers
Our Price: $59,
You Save $7 (11%).
This set of three hangers meets all your dive gear needs when it comes to properly hanging and drying your complete life support system and exposure suit system. We use them in the dive shop for our scuba rental equipment.
Adrenalin Wetsuit and Gear Wash Concentrate - 250ml
Our Price: $10,
You Save $2 (17%).
This stuff will keep your wetsuit and all dive and watersports gear smelling fresh and clean from salinity. It cleans, kills bacteria, deodorises and prolongs the life of your valuable gear.
Sonar Inflator Hose Air Blower Gun Deluxe
Our Price: $22,
You Save $23 (51%).
Connects to a standard BCD low pressure inflator hose. Use your dive cylinder air to blow dry and clean your underwater camera, lighting and dive gear.