What is the Difference between Wetsuit and Drysuit?

Wetsuit vs Drysuit in Scuba Diving – The Differences between the ...
Wetsuit (L), Drysuit (R) Photo Credits to: dive.site

Without a doubt, the difference between a wetsuit and drysuit is one of the first things to know if you are an amateur diver. Your diving suit is going to be your protective attire when you are already down there. For this reason, you must know what to wear between the two which is dependent upon certain factors.

Today, we list all those factors here. By the time you finish reading this blog post, choosing a suit every time you dive will just be a piece of cake. Moreover, knowing these early on may make your diving instructor admire your eagerness, so definitely stick around!

Water Temperature

This is the most important factor in deciding whether to wear a wetsuit or a drysuit. Basically, you should opt for a wetsuit if the water temperature is higher than 60° F or 16° C. On the other hand, choose a drysuit if the water temperature is lower than 60° F or 16° C. Just take note that this is the standard. Other divers do take into consideration their own tolerance to cold.


First of all, insulation simply pertains to the act of insulating or stopping the passage of heat. Of course, stopping heat loss is the goal of diving suits. Indeed, another difference between wetsuits and drysuits is their insulation ability that is dependent upon the materials which they are made of. Basically, a wetsuit keeps you warm when wet. On the other hand, a drysuit keeps you warm when dry.

This is the more in-depth explanation: a wetsuit traps a thin layer of water between your suit and your skin. Then your body will naturally warm up that thin layer of water to something close to your body temperature. Clearly, that results to you staying warm. However, a drysuit isn’t designed to keep you warm on their own. This kind of suit keeps all the water out. It means that you will be completely dry underwater.


Wetsuit and drysuit do differ too in terms of the materials to which they are made of. Basically, a wetsuit is made from closed-cell foam neoprene, spandex, neogreene, ariaprene, and yulex. On the other hand, a drysuit is made from vulcanized rubber, foam neoprene, crushed neoprene, and heavy-duty nylon. Moreover, and just like what is being implied above, a wetsuit isn’t waterproof while a drysuit is.


Your scuba diving attire is a wetsuit if it’s skin-tight. It’s designed like that because if it isn’t, the thin layer of water will rapidly be replaced by cold water from the ocean. What this actually entails on your part is that your body will definitely use a lot of energy to heat up those cold waters. Then you will absolutely end up being so cold.

On the other hand, it’s a drysuit if it’s loose. It’s designed like that for you to be able to wear insulating undergarments underneath. There are valves in the suit that you can use to control the insulating layer of air between the suit and your skin. Furthermore, take note that you can add gas while descending. Conversely, you can release gas while ascending.


Another difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit is their allowed mobility for the diver. Basically, you can move quicker when wearing a wetsuit and a bit slower when wearing a drysuit. This is a no-brainer since wetsuits are skin-tight while drysuits are baggy. Moreover, this is also the reason why wetsuits are favored for cold water surf sports. The one wearing it can really move around freely. On the other hand, drysuits are used for kayaking, standup paddling, as well as wakesurfing. Additionally, drysuits nowadays have better designs that allow them to be more comfortable.


First of all, buoyancy pertains to the ability to float in water. Basically, a wetsuit compresses with depth and in turn lose some of their inherent buoyancy. It certainly gets thinner too and then slowly lose their insulating capacity. A drysuit has more inherent buoyancy. It’s because it allows the diver to add air to compensate for the increased pressure at depth.


Another thing that is different between wetsuit from drysuit is the required learning to use them. Basically, a wetsuit has almost none. Those who will use a drysuit need to learn things such as controlling buoyancy and weight setup. For this reason, you should really be informed on how to use a drysuit because you don’t want to risk your safety underwater.


Take note that you can definitely use drysuits in warm water, but you can’t wear wetsuits in very cold water.


Another difference between drysuit and wetsuit is the lifespan. First, take note that your diving suit will last depending mainly on how you take care of it.

On the other hand, a wetsuit typically has a lifespan of about 5 to 10 years. However, a drysuit typically has a lifespan of about 15 years or more. It’s because they are designed to be used in various environments unlike the wetsuits.

Purchase Cost

It’s truly a no-brainer that drysuits are more expensive than wetsuits because of their complex design. Drysuits have valves as well as seals or zippers and a lot more!


Maintaining a wetsuit consists of soaking it in warm freshwater after each dive. Do that for at least 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with clean freshwater afterwards. Next, leave it to air dry with opened zippers. Now, keeping them entails you to store them lying flat or on a hanger in a cool place with no direct sunlight. Through this, permanent creases will be avoided.

However, maintaining a drysuit is much more complicated. First, rinse it with clean freshwater after a dive. Next, clean the zippers thoroughly and carefully for they are the most delicate parts of the suit. Then leave in an upside down position to air dry. Then afterwards, you have to lubricate the zippers to prevent perishing. In lubricating, you can opt to use various products that are recommended by diving supplies companies. Additionally, the most common used lubricant is the beeswax. Finally, store the drysuit on a hanger in a place with no direct sunlight.

Cost of Ownership

Again, obviously, the cost of owning drysuits in the long run is much higher than that of owning wetsuits. As you dive over and over again, you are wearing off your suit. For this reason, a drysuit needs its seal and boots or socks to be replaced. Furthermore, it may have leaks that need to be attended to.

The bright side of drysuits is that they are intended to last. Despite all the maintenance, they will stick around you. However, a wetsuit can already be worn off with just a few number of dives. Because of this, you may need to buy a new one again. You see, this is actually where these two diving suits are sort of meeting at the middle.

CHECK OUT: Cold Water Wetsuits: A Buying Guide


Always remember that your safety underwater should be your topmost priority when scuba diving. All that you will see down there, from the marine life to the other sightings, will be in vain if you won’t be safe. Moreover, diving safety entails a lot of things. It can mean learning how to actually dive properly or how to swim properly. Additionally, it can also mean knowing how to handle or operate your diving equipment. Furthermore, it can also mean knowing how to breathe properly as well as being informed of the basic hand signals. All of these will ensure that you are going to be just fine down there. If you check all of these basics, rest assure that you will enjoy what is underneath without putting your life in any danger.

One important thing to consider is the suit that you will be wearing. Bear in mind that it serves as your shield underwater. For this reason, you really must think about the right kind to wear. Once again, there are two kinds of suits for scuba diving: the wetsuit and the drysuit. This blog has just listed all the differences between the two. After reading, you surely know now that there are certain factors which dictate the type that you will be wearing. There are definitely technicalities that you shouldn’t just brush off.

Always be prepared because scuba diving may be fun, but it’s still a risky activity by nature. Have a fun and safe diving experience!