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Just like most products, the answer to that question is "online!"
Gone are the days of struggling to get the right fins, weights, tanks and everything else you need from a local dive shop - if you could even find one within a reasonable driving distance! Instead, with just a few clicks, you can have your scuba gear on its way to your house, all ready for your next underwater adventure.
Thursday, January 28th
Although the name "Leisure Pro" might not strike you as being the go-to source for expert advice and inventory of scuba gear, don't let that fool you. For more than 30 years, this NYC-based retailer has been a leading source of everything you need for diving. In fact, they were one of the first Internet-based suppliers of scuba gear on the market.
Nearly 400 wetsuits
In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison across scuba gear retailers, we chose two commonly-sold products: Xcel wetsuits and Scubapro regulators. Ironically, despite being our first-place winner, Leisure Pro didn't actually carry any wetsuits from that brand at the time of our most recent visit. However, they had nearly 400 to choose from across other makers, like Aqualung, Cressi, Henderson and Pinnacle.
Comprehensive regulator selection
Leisure Pro fared much better in terms of regulators. Just in the Scubapro line alone, there were almost 40 to choose from - and they were all priced in line with what you'd find by shopping directly from the Scubapro website.
Scuba gear categories
Using the site couldn't be easier. Spend some time browsing through the main page, or go directly to the product category you need:
Free shipping on most items
Once you choose the category, it's easy to see at a glance what you'll get. For example, while we were looking at BCD's, we could quickly spot what was included in each set, along with any possibilities for selecting options or configuring the package. Much of what Leisure Pro sells comes with free shipping, which is also easy to see when looking through their gear.
Real customer reviews
We could also see which products had customer ratings. Because Leisure Pro is such a popular store, their scuba gear often has reviews from dozens (if not hundreds) of actual users. Reading these, you'll have a firsthand idea of how each product fares in the real world.
If you're shopping for several items at once, you could be eligible for a package deal. Leisure Pro offers a "create your own package" where they'll quote you a special price when buying multiple scuba items. It's definitely worth checking out if you're planning a big order.
Most items in stock
One of the advantages of buying from Leisure Pro is that they work hard to keep every item in stock in their own warehouse: no special orders or dropshipping needed. We also saw customers who found out after the fact that their gear was out of stock, and Leisure Pro actually offered to substitute a similar item of a higher value. That's great customer service!
Best price guarantee
And, that's not all. This store offers a best price guarantee to ensure that you get the lowest price. If you find the same scuba gear sold for a lower price somewhere else, fill out Leisure Pro's price guarantee form; once they verify that the equipment is eligible, they'll send you a link to buy it at an extra 5% discount from the price you matched!
Great return policy
You'll also get an incredible return policy here. On new/unused items, you've got 60 days to return them for a full refund, and another 60 days after that where you can make the return to either exchange or get store credit. Plus, much of the scuba gear sold by Leisure Pro is actually eligible to be returned as used for up to 120 days from the order date, as long as they're in "as new condition". Finally, Leisure Pro's "Pressure-Free Fit Guarantee" lets you exchange sizes at no extra cost on anything with a size, like fins, suits, and BCD's.
New and used equipment
Finally, Leisure Pro is the only scuba gear shop in our review that offers trade-ins and used equipment. That's a great way to get your items for much less money, or save some cash on your upgrades by trading in whatever you're replacing. We found several customers who just raved about the quality of the used gear they were able to purchase through that program.
Out of all of the scuba gear retailers we evaluated, Leisure Pro goes to the greatest lengths to deliver an exceptional customer experience. From their comprehensive selection of equipment to unbeatable guarantees that ensure shoppers are completely happy with their purchases, this store continues to gain the trust and loyalty of the people who shop there. Leisure Pro earns our highest rating among scuba gear stores.
Get your scuba gear from the experts when you shop at House of Scuba. Many of the products you'll see in their online store have been personally tested by their staff of experienced divers, before being made available to their customers. In fact, their team members are all PADI-certified and can give you solid advice on the equipment you'll need for any type of dive conditions you anticipate.
Over 300 wetsuit options
How does House of Scuba compare with other online gear stores overall? Let's consider our two comparison products, Xcel wetsuits and Scubapro regulators. This retailer measured up well in the first category: in the Xcel line, they had 9 to choose from, priced from $279.95 to $439.95. All of them were the full body style, though; House of Scuba didn't have any of the other styles in the Xcel line, like the Spring Suit or Hooded designs. There were numerous wetsuit options in other brands: over 300 in total, from brands like Akona, Bare, Body Glove and more. Pricing was solid, with lots of discounts off of the regular retail prices.
Large selection of regulators
This retailer also did well when considering availability of regulators by Scubapro, with just over 30 available for purchase and priced comparably with what you'd pay if you bought directly from the manufacturer's site. And yes, you've got plenty of choices outside of Scubapro - not just for regulators but every other type of scuba gear you could need.
Masks, fins - even scuba lessons
It was fun - and almost distracting! - to browse everything on the main page. We had the feeling that our online cart would wind up pretty full if we spent too much time there. Accessories? Masks and fins for kids? BCD's and weights? If you need it to dive, you're almost guaranteed to find it at House of Scuba. And, if you're planning on being anywhere near San Diego, you can even take scuba lessons from their instructors!
Free shipping on orders over $50
What kinds of perks might convince you to buy your scuba gear from this store? You'll get free shipping on most orders over $50 within the lower 48 United States (though some tanks, roller bags, and a handful of other times aren't eligible). House of Scuba has a generous price protection policy as well: if you buy scuba gear and find it from an authorized dealer at a lower price within 30 days of your purchase, House of Scuba will credit 150% of the difference to your account towards any future order.
Generous return policy
House of Scuba has a much more generous return policy than most of its lower-ranked rivals. They call it the 30/60/120 policy; it can be a little confusing, so bear with us. If you're returning scuba gear that has been used or isn't in the original packaging, you can do so within 30 days - but your refund will be in the form of an in-store credit. You get 60 days for a 100% refund (or store credit, if you prefer) for items in new condition and in the original packaging. Finally, returns between a window of 60-120 days are eligible for a full-price in-store credit if still in the original packaging. The short version is, you've got lots of return options with House of Scuba, even if you've tried something and didn't like it.
Shoppers who have used House of Scuba for their gear are enthusiastic about this store. Customers say that their staff is extremely knowledgeable, and that the equipment purchased matches exactly what they needed for their diving. We also found a lot of praise for their dive instructors, should you be lucky enough to take lessons at their San Diego headquarters. The BBB agrees with all of that, giving House of Scuba a perfect "A+" rating.
One of our favorites
House of Scuba continues to be one of our favorite places to shop for scuba gear. Their selection and pricing are fantastic, and you'll get excellent customer service along with a strong return policy. You can't go wrong buying your equipment - or taking scuba diving lessons - here.
Scubapro calls itself "the world's foremost authority on diving gear", and we don't doubt it. Doesn't it give you a shiver to read that "as a trusted outfitter of some of the most respected divers, militaries and public safety teams, [they] meticulously craft and torture test all of [their] diving equipment"? Yeah, us too!
This company is a part of the Johnson Outdoors family, headquartered in Wisconsin: not the location you might imagine as a mecca for manufacturing scuba gear. However, the brand's reputation speaks for itself. In fact, you'll often find Scubapro equipment featured in other stores in our review.
Only the Scubapro brand
Scubapro didn't carry any wetsuits by Xcel, the brand we chose to use for comparing scuba gear retailers. That's probably not a surprise, given that Scuba Pro is its own brand. You'll have over 100 products to choose from in their dive wear department, from boots to full-length wetsuits and more - just don't expect to find any other manufacturers in their inventory.
Interestingly, Scubapro had fewer regulators in their own brand than we found on competitor websites. There were 23 in their inventory at the time of our most recent visit, compared with 30-40+ being sold by their rivals. No matter which site we looked at, however, the pricing was almost always the exact same. And, of course, Scubapro regulators are the only ones you'll find on this site: in other words, your selection is literally just those 23 regulators.
Shop by scuba activity
Shopping the site is simple: either enter what you're looking for in the search box, or browse the navigational links at the top: you'll find equipment under the Gear heading, and extra info under the Technology and Resources tabs. We also like how you can shop by activity: Recreational, Technical, Travel, Freediving or Snorkeling. You'll find that at the bottom of the Gear dropdown.
When you find the scuba gear that interests you, be prepared for a lot of information to be at your fingertips. Scubapro does a very thorough job of describing each product and providing specs. You can even get product manuals in a variety of languages. We expected Spanish, English, French and Japanese, but Croatian, Dutch and Russian were a pleasant surprise - along with several others.
A big plus of shopping at Scubapro is their free shipping on all orders. Sure, scuba gear tends to be on the spendy side, making you likely to qualify for no-cost delivery on sites that have a minimum order amount. But, it's nice to know that whether you're making a big purchase or a small one, this store won't charge you for shipping.
Great store - for Scubapro equipment
Scubapro is one of the world's most recognized manufacturers of scuba gear, and the company has a good "A-" rating from the Better Business Bureau. If you specifically want your gear from this brand, buying directly from their store can get you free shipping. The only drawback with shopping at this retailer is the obvious one: you're limited just to the Scubapro brand. However, if Scubapro is the name you trust and prefer, their online store is a great place to shop for your scuba gear.
Swim Outlet is a top destination for almost everything related to swimming, beach fashion, and even surfing. For nearly 20 years, this company has made it possible for individuals and teams to get the gear and swimwear they need at affordable prices.
Small selection of wetsuits
Swim Outlet had a small selection of Xcel wetsuits, one of the two items we used to compare scuba gear across retailers. Their prices were in line with other stores', and despite having a relatively small inventory, Swim Outlet had a few designs we didn't see very often on other sites (like the Women's Ocean Ramsey Water Inspired Free Diver two-piece wetsuit).
No regulators to be found
If you're shopping for regulators, however, you're out of luck here. While Swim Outlet carries some scuba gear, like fins, booties and dive computers, they just don't specialize in the higher-end equipment you'll need: no tanks, masks beyond the snorkeling kind, and so on.
But, let's say you find just the right dive bag and waterproof camera for your next dive on the Swim Outlet store. Want to save some money? Look for pop-up discount offers when you browse the site. We got one for 10% off if we signed up for Swim Outlet's email list. We also spotted a seasonal promo code with a 25% discount at the top of the page. Shipping is free on all orders over $49, which is another nice perk.
Standard return policy
When it comes to returns, Swim Outlet doesn't offer anything special. You'll have the standard 30 days to send back any unwanted scuba gear, provided it's in brand-new condition. On the plus side, this store gives you phone support 24/7, so if you need help with your return - or anything else - you won't have any trouble getting it.
Thousands of customer reviews
Swim Outlet has accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, which is usually a good sign. That's why we were a little surprised to see that their BBB rating was only a "B+". There were several complaints registered there, but fortunately they all had appropriate responses from the company's representatives. Considering only the most recent feedback (within 6 months of this evaluation), and looking at multiple sources of customer comments, Swim Outlet averaged 9/10 stars across thousands of reviews.
Good shopping experience
In short, you're probably going to have a good shopping experience if you wind up buying scuba gear from this retailer. You could wind up with some nice discounts if you pay attention to their website, and while their selection of scuba equipment isn't the biggest on the market, Swim Outlet is a good option for some of the less technical items you'll need for your dives.
If your scuba gear needs are limited just to finding that perfect wetsuit, we've got the store for you. Wetsuit Warehouse offers more styles, brands and price points than just about any other retailer we could find. They've been around since 2002 and specialize in wetsuits for almost every use: not just scuba, but also wakeboarding, kayaking, and even pool rehabilitation.
Wealth of information
One fantastic aspect of shopping for a wetsuit with this retailer is the wealth of information you probably won't get from other stores. Within a single wetsuit brand, you'll likely see tons of options. How can you tell them apart?
Wetsuit Warehouse takes out the guesswork. For example, on the Xcel page, scroll down to the bottom and you'll get a clear explanation of the differences between the Axis, Infiniti, Drylock, HydroFlex and ThermoFlex designs. Plus, you'll get a clear explanation of any brand-specific warranty and repair information. Need more info? Wetsuit Warehouse reps can be reached via toll-free number (866-906-7848) and are happy to help you choose the wetsuit that will be just right for your needs.
Largest selection of wetsuits
You probably won't be surprised to hear that this retailer carried the biggest array of wetsuits by our comparison brand, Xcel. We found over 40 items by that brand in their inventory, from full-body wetsuits to boots and more. They even carried kids' sizes! Pricing was extremely competitive when looking at rival's pricing on Xcel wetsuits.
No regulators - or any other accessories
It also may not come as a shock to learn that Wetsuit Warehouse doesn't carry regulators made by Scubapro - or anyone else. This retailer focuses solely on wetsuits, so any other scuba gear you need will have to come from another store.
Lowest price guarantee
You'll get quite a few customer-friendly perks when shopping at this retailer. First, they guarantee the lowest prices on wetsuits: if you find the suit you want at a lower price anywhere else, just call or email them the details and they'll match it. You also won't pay sales tax unless you live in Maryland, and shipping is free on orders over $100 (with a flat rate of $6.99 for orders under $100). Most orders ship out within 24 hours of making your purchase.
Average return policy
On the other hand, their return policy is just average: 30 days from the date of purchase, and the wetsuit must be in new/unused condition with the tags still attached to be eligible for a refund.
Still, Wetsuit Warehouse has a great reputation. Between hundreds of 5-star reviews from happy customers to an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, it's easy to see that this is a store you can trust.
Great for wetsuits - only
Will you find all of the scuba gear you need at this store? The only honest answer is "no", which is why Wetsuit Warehouse only earned a rating of three stars. You'll have to pick a different retailer for most of the scuba equipment you need. However, if the only thing left to buy is a wetsuit, you'll want to put this store at the top of your list!
Dive Inn carries a LOT of scuba gear, ranging from logbooks and instruments to masks and even spearguns! (We even spotted some underwater vehicles.) Their site proudly informs shoppers that there are more than 700,000 products spanning 1700+ brands available for purchase.
Large number of wetsuits
Considering our two comparison scuba gear items - the wetsuits by Xcel and regulators by Scubapro - Dive Inn was mostly average. They carried four total items from the Xcel wetsuit line, ranging in price from $90.49 to $316.99: two shortie-style suits and two full-body designs. You'll find many more options with the other brands they carry, with nearly 500 in the SEAC line alone. SEAC specifically tends to be pretty budget-friendly. We spotted men's and women's shortie styles for less than $70 and some full-body styles for right around $100.
Make sure it's compatible
Dive Inn doesn't carry any Scubapro regulators, so we weren't able to make that comparison. Most of the brands this store offers - Metalsub, Tecnomar, SEAC and others - seem to be European manufacturers that might not be compatible with scuba gear you already own.
Headquartered in Spain
Why European brands? Because Dive Inn is headquartered in Spain. That can make for some challenges, compared with buying from US- or Canada-based retailers. First, your shipping fees will depend on the weight of the items you buy; you can see what it'll cost as you add products to your online shopping cart. That also impacts returns: while you'll have 30 days to return any scuba gear that's still in new/unused condition, you're on the hook for the shipping costs back to Spain.
Mixed customer reviews
Customer comments were also very mixed. Out of more than 4,000 independently-verified reviews, Dive Inn had a disappointing average of just 3 out of 5 stars. While some shoppers raved about quality gear and affordable prices, others said that they were told things were out of stock only after they paid for their orders, and that it was notoriously difficult to get a hold of help from anyone in their customer service department. A few also mentioned that Dive Inn reps didn't speak very fluent English - understandable given that they're based in a Spanish-speaking country, but useful to keep in mind if you don't know how to hablar espanol.
Try elsewhere first
Generally speaking, Dive Inn could be a great store for buying scuba gear - if you're ordering from somewhere in Europe. For example, maybe you're there on an extended vacation, working as an expat, or some other situation. Otherwise, if you're in the US, you're likely to have a more satisfying shopping experience if you get your equipment from one of the higher-ranked retailers in our evaluation.
Why is scuba diving still so popular? That's easy: who wouldn't want to explore for sunken treasure in old shipwrecks, get up close and personal with tropical fish, or just have the opportunity to explore the ocean much more deeply (literally!)? Sure, snorkeling might let you do some of that, but you're limited to the length of time you can hold your breath!
Whether you're an experienced diver looking to upgrade your wetsuit, or a novice working on getting PADI certification in time for a cruise vacation, you'll want to get high-quality scuba gear at the best prices. How can you decide which online scuba shop should earn your business?
Consider these criteria to ensure that your customer experience is a good one:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best online retailers of scuba gear. We hope this information helps you find all of the wetsuits, fins and other equipment you need for your next dive!
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