Scuba gear cost will range between $1000-$5000 for a full set of gear. Similar to most product lines there is a wide range of scuba gear from economical to very high end. Depending on the type of scuba diving you will be doing will depend on the type of gear you will need. Different types of diving and different types of weather require specific types of scuba diving gear. Most dive shops rent scuba gear. You do not need to own your own gear to participate.
First lets start with the basics. If you are considering purchasing scuba gear the core items will be a regulator (first & second stage), buoyancy compensator device (BCD), octopus (safe second), depth/air pressure gauge, fins, mask, and snorkel.
In addition to these core items you may consider a wet suit, dry suit, rash guards, scuba tanks, and a dive computer.
Buoyancy Compensator Device BCD Cost
Your BCD is the foundation of your scuba gear setup. It holds your weights and tank, routes your hoses, and serves as the connection point for additional gear you bring with you. There are many different types of BCD’s. Some focus most on comfort while others are designed for traveling or efficiency in the water. The first question to ask yourself is if you want gear designed to travel. This will quickly narrow down your search. Travel BCD’s are lighter weight and can fold up much tighter than a conventional BCD not designed for travel. Check out our article, What type of buoyancy compensator BCD should i buy to learn more.
BCD costs will range from the entry level of $350 and go up to almost $1500. The majority will fall in the $500-$700 range. The main differences you will find is the type of materials that are used to build the vest. Nowadays integrated weight systems, attachment points, and general design are relatively similar throughout the different price ranges. The higher end BCD’s use better materials that will last longer, are lighter, and even dry quicker. Many of the more expensive options are now being built as “BCD for life”. These options typically are built in a way where everything is replaceable. If you lose a weight pocket or break a strap you can simply replace that individual piece.
Scuba Regulator Cost
The scuba diving regulator consists of two parts. The first stage connects directly to the scuba tank. The second stage connects to the first stage and is the piece you put into your mouth and breathe out of. The type of regulator that you choose will depend on the conditions you dive in. For example if you will be doing cold water diving where there is a chance of freezing you would want a diaphragm design versus a piston design. In most cases you will purchase the first and second stage as a combination pack. Another major difference is balanced versus unbalanced regulators. A balanced regulator will provide air at a consistent rate regardless of your depth or remaining air amount. Whereas an unbalanced regulator will have a noticeable difference the deeper you go and as your tank gets closer to empty. Balanced regulators are generally more expensive.
Scuba regulator costs will range between $200 to more than $2000. The majority of first and second stage setups will cost around $500-$700. On the higher end regulators will be built out of titanium. Other features to expect on higher end models will be venturi controls, lighter weight, and smaller size. The warranty can also have an impact on the pricing. Some companies offer parts for life on regulators that are routinely maintained.
Mask, Fins, Snorkel Cost
Mask, Fins, and Snorkel costs vary by style and brand. For many people these are the first items they buy when start scuba diving. While all three are needed for scuba diving the mask is probably the most important.
Scuba Mask Cost
Which mask you buy will depend on the mask that fits your face best. The other factor will be if you need a prescription mask to correct your vision. You will not be able to wear conventional glasses under your mask. You can wear contact lenses however there is differing opinions as to whether or not this is a smart idea. Before purchasing your scuba mask you should try it on and make sure your nose fits and an air tight seal is created.
Scuba goggles will range from $50-$300. Most people find a mask for less than $100. If you need corrective lenses the mask and lens will cost $125-$500. Lenses alone range from $50-$300.
Scuba Fins Cost
The cost of scuba fins will vary between $25-$300. There are several different style fins. Most scuba divers prefer fins that slide over your scuba boots but some prefer fins that go directly onto a bare foot. Fins come in all different colors, lengths, and designs for different types of water movement. The fin material and the buckle design and material will vary across the different price points. Fins range in size to ensure a correct fit. Fins are what enable you to move through the water efficiently so a proper fit is very important.
The cost of a snorkel will range from $5-$75. The differences in price will reflect brand and style. The three common styles are conventional, dry, and semi-dry. Each style has different benefits. Conventional snorkels also come in foldable or rollable style. This provides the diver with the option to store it in a BCD pocket or attach to the BCD. A snorkel is required to complete the Open Water Diver Course. Often times we see people diving without one after being certified. Think twice before going diving without a snorkel. You may not need it every dive but there will come a time when your happy you have it.
Wet Suits, Dry Suits, Rash Guard Costs
Nearly every type of scuba gear has a fair argument as to why it is the most important piece of gear you will buy. This is most definitely the case for your scuba clothing. Especially if you dive in colder water. If you are cold you will not enjoy your day of diving. If you are really cold this can result in serious safety issues.
The pricing for wet suits and dry suits vary greatly. There are several different styles, thicknesses, and features that determine pricing.
Wet suit cost will range between $50 up to more than $1000. Dry suit costs will range from about $1000 to more than $3000.
If you are diving in warm water a bathing suit may be all that you need to stay warm. Even in warm water environments it is a good idea to consider wearing a rash guard. A rash guard will protect against marine life stings, abrasions, and in some cases offer UV protection from the sun. Rash guard costs will range from $30 to more than $100.
Dive Computer Cost
The cost of a dive computer will vary greatly depending on the features you want or need. Depending on the type of scuba diving you do you may or may not need a dive computer. If you are not doing deep dives then an air/depth gauge is sufficient. If you plan to dive deep or enroll in the advanced open water diver course you will need a computer. The two main differences in dive computers are air integrated or non air integrated. If your dive computer is air integrated then your air pressure, bottom time, safety stop time, deco time, and surface interval time will all be automatically calculated according to the dive table or your own personal settings. This is a great feature to have. Whereas non air integrated dive computer will provide you with an analog reading of air pressure and depth. All additional calculations will need to be completed manually. Non air integrated dive computers cost around $400. Gauges only cost around $250. Air integrated dive computers cost $500-$1500+.
How Much Does Scuba Gear Cost Summary
As you can see the price range for a set of scuba gear can vary greatly. Often times you can save 10%-20% when you buy everything together as a package. If you are on a tight budget the purchase price can seem overwhelming. In this case you should prioritize your purchases. The most important factor is safety and being comfortable. If you dive in cold water your first purchase should probably be a wet suit. The next most important piece of scuba gear is your mask. After this it really just depends on whats most important to you. If you are not on a tight budget then planning to spend $3000-$4500 will get a really nice set of gear designed to last for a very long time. For those not on a budget at all and are seeking the highest quality gear costs in excess of $5000 can easily be reached.