In this day and age, finding the best scuba gear on the market can be a daunting task.
Advances in technology and global connectivity allow for kits from a plethora of brands to be purchased and used in every corner of the globe.
But how do you know which set up is right for you? Luckily we've already done the "fin" work, all you have to do is keep on reading and find out what we here at finbin.net consider to be the best scuba gear for every diver.
The Top 9
#1 Best Overall Scuba Gear Package: Cressi Travelight Package
- Charles O’Brien - “The Cressi Travelight Package came stuffed to gills with everything I needed for my dive trip to Belize last spring. Compact, lightweight, and easy to dive with, I couldn’t be happier!”
The Cressi Travelight package includes everything and anything a roaming diver needs to see the world. Offering an assortment of colors and sizes, this highly personalizable kit is a great, packable option for divers looking for gear that performs well without being overbearing.
Weighing in at an astounding 15 pounds, there is plenty of room to pack extra dive gear without worrying about excess weight.
All the gear in this kit is built to last. With the addition of the durable Kraken dive light, this package can handle any dive you throw at it, whether it's day or night!
The computer-integrated submersible pressure gauge is there to ensure all your dive stats are always within reach.
#2 Best Overall Scuba Gear Package: Aqua Lung i300C Computer Regulator Package
This stylish and durable package from reputable brand Aqua Lung is perfect for intermediate and experienced divers looking to finally take the plunge into the realm of top-tier scuba gear.
The Pro HD BCD is functional, durable, and stylish, complete with an easy to use integrated weight system. Quality craftsmanship ensures this BCD will stand up to the rigors of both salt and chlorine exposure.
Aqualung’s Titan Scuba Regulator is a top of the line product, beautifully merging design and functionality in an attractive, easy breathing, and reliable rig.
The streamlined ABS octopus is always there when you need it, but easily stowable when you don’t. A low profile design means it won’t slow you down while you are on the move, whether it’s kicking from sight to sight, or hauling gear from car to the boat.
You will also get the top-notch Aqualung i300c dive computer. Featuring effortless Bluetooth operation, planning, tracking, and logging your dives has never been easier.
#3 Best Overall Scuba Gear Package: Oceaning Price Buster Package
Designed with training in mind, the Oceanic Price Buster Package is perfect for newer divers and those looking for an extra set of workhorse gear.
Boasting great performance across a variety of metrics, Oceanic primary and secondary regulators are sure to take you on hundreds of dive adventures without extraneous attention or repairs.
The simple, sleek look of the Ocean Pro BCD is a great introduction to both jacket-style buoyancy control and integrated weight systems. Extra padding allows for comfort during multi-day diving experiences.
Angled console seamlessly integrates your computer with your submersible pressure gauge, making it easy to read from a variety of orientations.
#4 Cressi Start Equipment Scuba Package
Italian-made brand Cressi brings another explosive entry to the list with their Starter Equipment Package. Featuring the best of the basics, this kit is perfect for newer divers starting out and those looking for an extra sturdy travel rig.
Featuring durable materials and legendary Italian style the Cressi Start BCD lets you to look like a pro and perform like one too. A classic Jacket style set up allows for better buoyancy control and works to improve streamlining underwater and at the surface.
Both the primary and secondary regulators included arrive ready to go, with minimal extra set up required. Compactly packing down to a respectable 16 pounds, this gear is ready to hit the road!
#5 Cressi Leonardo Computer Regulator Set
Third time’s the charm for Italian gear maker Cressi! The Leonardo Scuba Package is a great option for intermediate divers.
Improving on basic features popular with rental gear, the R1 BCD features a clip-in integrated weight system and durable handle for easy transport. With the jacket featuring multiple straps for maximum adjustability, buoyancy control is always a breeze.
The AC2 compact regulator and octopus are both lightweight and easy to use. Complete with sturdy travel bag, these will quickly become your go-to regs for dive adventures near and far!
A compact console features both a standard computer display and basic submersible pressure gauge.
With a mix of plastic and metal D-rings to hold a variety of extra gadgets and gear, this gear can accommodate recreational and technical minded divers alike.
#6 Mares Quantum Pro Plus Scuba Package
Have you been diving for years, but can’t seem to find a gear set up that elevates your diving to the next level? Well search no more, the Mares Quantum Pro Plus package is here to put all your worries to rest!
The Mares Quantum BCD excels at comfortable buoyancy control. Its innovative monoplate backpack design allows you to switch between one and two-tank set-ups without compromising performance, comfort, or the rest of your rig.
The Abyss 22 regulator features outstanding performance throughout a wide range of temperatures, with a vortex assisted design and dynamic flow control to boot.
Nickel and chrome plating add an extra layer of protection to both your primary and secondary reg while soft, silicone mouthpieces help reduce fatigue on long, repetitive dives.
With a gorgeous mineral glass display, the Mares Puck Pro Wrist dive computer features top-notch visibility, nitrox compatibility, and easy gas switching. It can easily be worn as an everyday piece, sleek and stylish in any environment.
#7 Cressi Aquaride Blue Pro Scuba Package
A beefed up version of the aforementioned Cressi Leonardo Scuba Package, this package features a great BCD to allow for awesome trim on every dive.
The Cressi Aquaride Pro buoyancy control device features integrated weights and convenient trim pockets on the backside of the jacket, resulting in an ideal distribution of weight. Plenty of extra D-rings, located strategically around the vest, provide ample space for additional gear, cameras, game bags, and clips.
The MC9 regulators make another splash in this kit, proving great companion pieces to the Aquaride Pro BCD.
The included regulator bag is perfect for protecting and transporting your reg and computer between dives. Once all the diving is done, it becomes the perfect long term storage solution, allowing you to save on space and peace of mind when you’re not in the water.
The Leonardo computer makes a sturdy, easy to use gauge that tracks dives and pressure groups with ease.
#8 Divers Supply Scuba Package
A no-nonsense kit, the Divers Supply Scuba Package is great for beginning divers or those in search of an extra lightweight kit.
Featuring a range of bright colors, the Sea Elite Scout BCD provides easy buoyancy control and easily ditchable integrated weight pockets. With strategically placed D-rings, lower torso dump valves, and an adjustable cumberbund, securing your gear to a BCD and a BCD to you has never been easier!
Hog regulators provide relaxed breathing and precision tuning, utilizing the heat and moisture from your breath to control internal second stage temperature. A highly visible 40in hose ensures that your octopus is easily accessible during an emergency situation or training exercise.
An extremely slim regulator console provides simplistic readouts of depth and tank pressure, while multiple wrist-mounted computer options from Mares ensure a beautiful, redundant read on all your stats. Easily worn on and off the boat, either of these top-notch watches will ensure maximum comfort, both in and out of the water.
The highly visible travel bag is perfect for hauling your regulators and gauges from home to boat and back again. With a conveniently located handle, carrying your gear on flights and other public transportation is truly a breeze!
#9 SEAC Smart BCD Package
Rounding out our list of the best Scuba Gear is SEAC’s Smart BCD Package. With innovative design and bombproof construction, this set-up is sure to please everyone from beginners to pros.
The newly designed Smart BCD places weight pouches on the side of your waist, rather than underneath your stomach, aiming to provide a comfortable position in the water. Divided weight pockets grant you further control over the distribution of your weight, greatly increase trim in rough and changing conditions.
Seac Synchro regulators are durable and stylish, crafted from the finest materials. They allow for a range of breathing modes which all function beautifully in a variety of conditions.
The included gauge can accommodate tank pressures of up to 5000 PSI and depths of 260 ft, all while being Nitrox compatible with gas mixtures of up to 40%.
To put the cherry on top, Seac will send you a bombproof regulator travel bag. Complete with an adjustable shoulder strap, padded handles, and accessory pocket, this bag will take your kit around the globe with nary a sign of wear or tear!
Top 3 Scuba Diving Tips For Beginners
Always assess conditions and perform a gear check before every dive, even if diving with a dive operator or other professional. Never put yourself in a situation within which you feel unsafe.
No dive is worth risking your life, or even worse, the life of your buddy’s. There will always be another day, another dive, and another trip. While many divers see calling off a dive as defeat, it's really a good excuse to have to come back and try again. Pay attention in training, learn your lessons, and dive smart!
Buoyancy is King:
Good buoyancy is the cornerstone of good diving. By improving it, you'll stay off the reef, improve air consumption, and extend your bottom time. If buoyancy control is hard for you, don't throw in the towel just yet!
As with all things, perfecting buoyancy control takes time. Depending on how frequently you dive, it may take you weeks, months, or even years before you rack up enough practice to feel like an pro.
As a rule of thumb, I like to take a minute at the beginning of every dive to slow down and check my buoyancy, just like you were taught in training. Plenty of factors can affect your buoyancy, including everything from gear to environmental conditions. By taking a second to reconnect with the basics at the beginning of every dive, you’ll get a feel for proper weighting, center yourself, and be on your way to hovering like a pro in no time!
Remember to Breathe:
By swimming in pools generation after generation, we've conditioned ourselves to hold our breath whenever we sense we're submerged in water. Don't believe me? Try it! Even splashing a little water on your face can cause you to hold your breath. But as a scuba diver, you don't need to worry about conserving that precious oxygen. You have a whole supply strapped right there on your back!
Breathing at a slow and steady rate goes a long way towards improving your diving. It can help you increase your bottom time, reduce fatigue, and stay calm in an emergency situation. Oftentimes hyperventilating underwater can exacerbate routine issues, creating a mountain out of a molehill. If you can control your breathing rate, you’ll have finer control over buoyancy, trim, and fatigue in the water.
Next time you're underwater try counting your breaths. Slow down and inhale for a count of 3, then exhale for a count of 4 (no hold in between)! It probably feels like an eternity. But, just like with buoyancy, practice makes perfect. Wherever you may be, spend your next dive breathing at the slowest rate that you can comfortably maintain for an entire dive. No counting just controlled breathing. Then, on the next dive, count your breaths and get a feel for what your baseline breathing rate is. From there, take every dive to practice and keep at it until you are inhaling and exhaling for 4 counts for an entire dive. Before you know it, you'll have plenty of air to spare!
If you want to see even more beginner tips before you get started, make sure to take a look at our top 10 scuba diver tips for beginners!
Top 3 Benefits of Scuba Diving
Strength and flexibility can both be improved through regular diving and dive related training. Scuba diving is great cardio, often requiring mixing bouts of continued exertion with periods of intense calm, or rest. Because water reduces the effects of gravity on your body, it also becomes a great low impact workout, activating muscles many of us often forget to train. Some organizations even utilize diving and other underwater activities as forms of physical therapy for disabled individuals.
Diving is an inherently zen activity. Slow, controlled breathing allows you to forego the hustle and bustle of everyday life, slowing down and focusing on the most minute details. Next time you dive, try to forget the bills, the stress, everything. Leave it all at the surface, and focus on what is right in front of you. It’s a great way to practice being mindful and appreciate everything nature has to offer.
Dive boats are a great place to meet new people and forge lasting friendships, don’t be afraid to go somewhere just because you don’t know anyone! Dive buddies are a powerful thing. Putting your life in the hands of another person requires extreme levels of comfort and trust. Plenty of my closest friendships have been forged on a variety of dive adventures, live your life to the fullest and never hold back.
For a longer list of scuba diving benefits, make sure to have a look at our article on the health benefits of scuba diving!
Scuba Diving Vs. Snorkeling
Although scuba diving and snorkeling each allow you to have a blast exploring the sea, the two share little in common besides requiring a mask and a pair of fins.
Everyone can go out, rent a snorkel kit, run to the nearest beach, and jump in the water. Once there it is possible to see all sorts of fascinating marine life, including plenty of fish, invertebrates, and mammals… from a distance. The average snorkeler is essentially stuck at the surface, only able to venture as deep as one breath can carry them.
While rigorous training can be done to become a world-class freediver (think snorkelling on steroids), the easiest way for the rest of us to get up close and personal with those creatures on the seafloor is to learn how to scuba dive. Even the best freedivers, capable of descending hundreds of feet, are extremely time limited when they reach the bottom. It's a roundtrip ticket and a quick one at that.
Scuba systems allow the average joe to effortlessly descend to depths unattainable by recreational snorkelers, opening up a plethora of new experiences. By spending more time at greater depths, divers are able to fully explore every crack, cave, and crevasse of the underwater world.
What To Consider When Buying a Scuba Gear Package
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
The BCD lets you control your buoyancy! When properly utilized, the BCD allows you to perfect your trim, ascending, descending, and hovering with ease. Since they come in a variety of shapes, styles, and sizes, ensuring a proper, comfortable fit is key.
As with all dive gear, the frequency, style, and intensity of diving you plan on doing will affect the type of gear you need. Some BCD’s are minimalistic, little more than a backplate with straps, while others are stuffed to the gills with pockets, clips, and extra features. Many BCD’s offer integrated weights, rendering the classic weight belt set-up (and lower back pain) obsolete.
As with all gear, make sure to think through your personal requirements before buying. To check out some of our favorite BCDs, make sure to visit our Best BCD page.
Without a working regulator, you might as well be snorkeling. Delivering air from the tank to you, a reliable regulator is an integral component of any scuba kit. Regulators, like BCD’s, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While many of the options are suited to personal preference and dive environment, ensuring your reg will perform like a workhorse under a variety of conditions for years to come is extremely important.
Our 8 best scuba regulators reviewed page can provide you with all of the info you need to get the best!
Literally a second regulator, your octopus is used if your primary reg breaks during a dive or you need to share air. Many octopuses (commonly referred to as “octos”) today are streamlined versions of primary regs, missing a few of the bells and whistles to save on space, ergonomics, and comfort. Some options on the market have even integrated your octopus into your BCD, combining the standard inflation hose with a secondary air source! However, these integrated models are less reliable and tend to require more servicing than their separate counterparts.
Ever improving, today's scuba computers make tracking your dives easier than ever. Displaying real-time data on things such as depth, temperature, psi, and more, they make sure every dive you do is safely within recreational limits. With designs ranging from gauge-integrated to wrist-mounted, there is sure to be one to fit your personal diving style. Each offers different readouts, screen sizes, modes, and compatibility features, so be sure to keep an eye out for any specifics you may need.
Submersible Pressure Gauges
Submersible Pressure Gauges, (casually known as "SPG's") are analog gauges that allow you to read off depth and tank pressure during your dive. Before the invention of modern dive computers, SPG's were an indispensable tool and the only way by which divers could assess their dive profile. Today, gauges are mostly used to supplement dive computers and act as a redundant system. It is important to have functioning gauges that work reliably.
Tired of that bulky weight belt you used on your first dive? Over the lower back pain that follows you home from every dive vacation? Try upgrading to a different weight system! Plenty of BCD's now offer weight integrated designs, ensuring a stress-free distribution of weight around the midsection. Additionally, plenty of brands offer harnesses and other innovative solutions to distribute those pesky weights in a way that allows you to forget they're even there.
Where Should I Buy a Scuba Gear Package?
Scuba gear packages are available from a variety of retailers. While brick and mortar dive shops are convenient if you need something last minute, they often have partnerships with specific brands. This means they are only ever showing you a portion of the gear that is truly out there and available to you.
Online retailers like Amazon often offer a greater selection, competitive pricing, and worldwide shipping. Just follow any of the links above to get more details, specifics, and pricing on the packages listed
What Other Scuba Gear Do I Need To Get Started?
Although regulators and BCDs are vital pieces of equipment, they are only a portion of any functioning scuba kit. Masks allow you to see underwater, and fins make it easy to get around. Dive knives, apart from being cool accessories, are useful for cutting fishing line and other debris you may encounter on a dive.
Another important piece of gear that is often overlooked is an exposure suit. Wet and drysuits, depending upon temperature of the water you’ll be diving in, can be literal lifesavers. While underwater, heat quickly leaves your body in an attempt to warm the water around you. Wetsuits work to keep you warm by trapping a thin layer of water between the suit and the skin, then utilizing your body’s own heat to warm said trapped layer of water. Drysuits function in a similar manner, trapping air instead of water. Despite what many may think, it’s quite possible to get cold in warm, tropical seas, making hypothermia a concern of divers worldwide.
Should I Buy Or Rent Scuba Gear?
How many dives a year do you plan on doing? How much travel is involved? Do you have the space to adequately clean, store, and care for a full set of scuba gear? These are only a few of the questions you should ask yourself before purchasing gear. While everyone has their own set of circumstances and preferences influencing their decision to rent or buy, owning at least one set of scuba gear is generally the right choice for both new and veteran divers alike.
Being intimately familiar with your very own set of gear is guaranteed to increase comfort and enjoyment in the water. While rental gear is often adequate, nothing beats being able to spend an entire dive without fussing over anything. That’s hard to do if each dive is accompanied with a whole new set of straps, buckles, and gidgets. By purchasing your own gear, you are able to make sure everything fits as it’s supposed to and is always performing up to standards.
Although that new set up may seem expensive, the price of rental gear quickly adds up. Even if you only spend $60 a day on rental equipment (certainly an underestimation,) after 20 days of diving you will have already spent over $1000. In the long run, it certainly pays to own your own stuff.
Not sure where to look for high-quality scuba gear? Make sure to check out our in-depth article on where to buy your scuba gear.
Who Invented Scuba Diving?
The history of scuba diving can be tracked all the way back to the latter half of the nineteenth century, with the invention of the first open-circuit system (think recreational scuba gear) in 1864, and the first closed-circuit system (think military/commercial rebreathers) in 1878. Diving systems were improved upon and utilized by the military throughout the 1930’s and into World War II, when Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan designed the first, safe open circuit system.
Deemed the “Aqualung,” this new combination of existing components allowed Cousteau to safely make longer dives than had previously been thought possible. Through a series of books, documentaries, and other projects spanning decades and continents, Cousteau managed to bring the underwater world to the mainstream audience, pushing both ocean exploration and conservation in directions never seen before.
Although he technically didn’t invent the activity of breathing underwater, Jacques Cousteau is widely regarded as the man who brought the sport into the zeitgeist. He is undeniably responsible for perfecting the technology that has drawn divers of all shapes and sizes to the ocean ever since.
Should I Take Scuba Diving Lessons?
Yes, you have to! This is non-negotiable territory here. Proper training is extremely important. Dive accidents, though rare, are almost always the result of inexperienced divers in situations they were not properly prepared to handle. Taking lessons is the only way to properly learn the skills necessary to handle whatever comes your way underwater.
Without a certification card, you won't even be allowed to dive with any professional operator. You'll even need one just to rent gear and go out on your own. Think of your cert card as your scuba driver's license. Every time you try to sign up for a dive, you'll have to put your information in.
Scuba lessons provide a safe space to make mistakes, test out new gear, and make new friends. More importantly, lessons will expose you to diving experiences that could be stressful if undertaken without the watchful eye of an instructor on hand. Training doesn’t have to stop with your initial certification either. Most of the top agencies offer a variety of courses on topics such as wreck diving, cave diving, and underwater photography, so be sure to go out there and take advantage of the resources available!
What type of cleaning or maintenance is needed?
Seawater is inherently corrosive, acting quickly to rust metals and clog up tubing if left to sit out and dry. If gear is left dirty and uncared for, it can easily get gunky and begin to rust out. Luckily, most of these corrosive side effects can be counteracted with one simple thing: a freshwater rinse!
Every piece of gear in your kit should be rinsed in fresh water after each and every day of diving. Doing so results in the breakdown salt crystals, bacteria, viruses, and other microbes that are inherently present in raw ocean water. While spraying down gear with a hose is generally adequate, soaking regulators for a few minutes really allows the fresh water time to work. And please, on an environmentally hygienic note, you should recycle water, but wash your wetsuit last!
Even though cleaning gear is important, it is only half of the battle. Bringing your regulator and BCD into a certified dive shop or technician for annual inspections are also key to enhancing the longevity of your kit. Techs inspect both your reg and BCD for structural damage, issues with sticky buttons, torn hoses, and a host of other issues. While generally an outpatient procedure, the tech may keep your gear for repairs if something is amiss.
On average, scuba regulators will need to be overhauled at least once every few years or hard diving (or improper storage!). During a full-blown overhaul, the regulator is deconstructed into its respective components, each of which is intensively cleaned. Once clean, the parts are reconstructed (with any broken pieces being replaced), and your rig should be back to working like new.
If a BCD is kept for repair, it may mean that a leak was found or a valve needs replacing. These repairs are generally less intensive than a full-blown reg overhaul, but equally important to gear performance and functionality.
With proper scuba maintenance and cleaning, your dive gear can last a lifetime of dives. Plenty of professionals report using their gear for thousands of dives. Treat your dive gear well, wash often, repair when needed, and it will be sure to treat you well in return!
Where are the best spots to go scuba diving?
Finding the perfect set of dive gear is only the first step towards your next dive adventure. One of the best ways to kill time as you wait for your new kit to arrive is to figure out where you are going to use it. Plenty of websites offer lists galore ranking the world’s top dive sites and operators. But at the end of the day, the best spot for you to go scuba diving is wherever you want to go!
Dreaming of sunny days, coral reefs, and warm, crystal clear waters? Then perhaps your next adventure should be to the island paradise of Fiji, or Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest reef in the world. Kicking through an underwater forests sound like more your speed? Set your sights on the Pacific coast of British Columbia or California’s Channel Islands and revel in some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Many adrenaline seekers find themselves drawn to the historic shipwrecks of the South Pacific, or the claustrophobic yet beautifully lit passages of Mexico’s cenotes.
You can even plan a trip based on the specific animals you’ve been dreaming of seeing. Want to cage dive with great white sharks? Australia, Mexico, and South Africa all offer plenty of charters to suit your needs. Fancy swimming with gentler giants? Hawaii, the Maldives, and the Galapagos all offer trips to see Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, and other big pelagics.
No matter what draws you to the ocean, you’ll be able to find someone willing to take you there. Just go out and get it done!
For a more in-depth list on top scuba diving spots, make sure to check out our best beaches for scuba diving article.
Final Thoughts - Which Should You Get?
Buying your very own set of scuba gear is a big step in your diving career. Making sure you take the time to study your options and create a kit that is fitting and functional will elevate your diving to the next level.
Many of the kits listed above are fantastic sets, but the Cressi Travelight Scuba package is truly the best of the best. Combining awesome engineering and extreme portability into an awesome kit for new and veterans divers alike, the Travelight Package should be at the top of every diver’s wish list.