There are many different types of wetsuits; this is due to the variations in thickness, material and style of wetsuit. It can be confusing when purchasing your first wetsuit, or even your second, third and fourth! We have compiled a list of different types of wetsuits you may come across.
A spring wetsuit has either full length legs with a short sleeve top or long sleeve top with short length legs. It will be one or the other, but not both.
Long john wetsuit
It is essentially a spring wetsuit with the wetsuit covering your whole legs but without sleeves.
Short john wetsuits
A short john wetsuit has no sleeves and is short in the legs.
The shorty wetsuit has short sleeves and short legs.
A wetsuit top is exactly what it sounds like, it covers you from the waist upwards, and it can have either short sleeves or long sleeves and is made from a very thin layer of neoprene, usually around 0.5mm-1.5mm.
Is more or less the same as a wetsuit top however in comes in varying thickness, usually thicker than a wetsuit top. It differs from the wetsuit top in that it has no sleeves.
People often mistake rashguards for a type of thin wetsuit. This is not the case; it is there to be worn either under your wetsuit to make entering and exiting your wetsuit easier, sun protection and rashes. Rashguards are made from Lycra.
A full wetsuit is made from neoprene and covers your entire body from ankles and wrists up. Full wetsuits range in thicknesses from 2mm to 9mm depending on the conditions of the water.
Spearfishing 2 piece
A two piece wetsuit consists of a jacket and long john style pants with straps to go over the shoulder.
Spearfishing pants provide insulation which is similar to a neoprene wetsuit however it feels more like traditional Lycra which means they can be worn either underneath your wetsuit or by themselves.
Spearfishing long john
A spearfishing long john is a singlet and pant combined which can be worn underneath a 2 piece wetsuit.
A spearfishing jacket is a jacket that is worn over a long john as a 2 piece ensemble.
Commercial 2 piece
Commercial wetsuits are for people who dive for deeper lengths and at colder temperatures. They are generally made from thicker neoprene with tougher stitching which keeps the divers warm.
Drysuits are designed to prevent water from entering the suit at all. This is in contrast to the wetsuit which allows a thin layer of water to get in. Dry suits are suitable for very cold water generally below 15 degrees.
Polar fleece is a type of material which is used in many wetsuits to help increase insulation, it is used for waters where you may need extra thermal protection.
Semi dry suits
Semi dry suits are essentially a thicker wetsuit with more effective seals at the wrists, neck and ankle. The semi wetsuit does not stop water from getting in however the water that enters heats up which keeps the person inside the wetsuit warm.
Vest with hood
A vest with an inbuilt hood is made from the same material as a wetsuit and helps retain the heat which comes out of your head.
As well as wetsuits on their own, there are other additional pieces of clothing which can provide added protection from cold water. These include wetsuit gloves, wetsuit hoods, and wetsuit boots.