One of the best wetsuits under $300 and an ever-popular choice amongst value-conscious surfers, the Billabong Furnace Absolute X packs a wide array of features for the price. We’re always getting questions about this wetsuit and decided to do an in-depth review that highlights its features, some of which you wouldn’t be able to pick up on from a spec list alone.
Previously called the “Absolute X”, the Furnace Absolute X is Billabong’s most affordable hooded wetsuit and consistently one of our best sellers. There are many features of this wetsuit that separate it from the competition in the sub-$300 range.
Starting with the main feature, the “Furnace Lining” is the purple, fuzzy interior panels that boost comfort and help retain warmth. Billabong has this lining placed in areas that are most critical to warmth: the chest, back, and hood. These sections also dry quicker than the rest of the suit. So if you only have a short window to dry the suit in between sessions, those areas will be good to go.
Billabong for 2019 has been experimenting with some new neoprene formulas and this suit is made of what they call “Superlight Foam”. Superlight foam is actually made partially from “Upcycled” car tires. This is really interesting as this material is not only eco-friendly but also has a lower level of water absorption, keeping the suit lighter and warmer in the water.
Another one of the more impressive features of the Furnace Absolute X is that it has welded seams. Welded seams are the neoprene-glue like tape that you see on suits around the $350-500 range. This material protects the seam by helping to distribute stress, while simultaneously preventing water from entering the suit. This twofold advantage is why welded seams have become so popular on premium suits. Welded seams can stiffen up a wetsuit and add extra weight, but even with that, I was impressed with the flexibility.
Fit-wise, I think it’s pretty true to size and well proportioned. However, it’s worth mentioning the cuffs on the wrists and ankles aren’t tapered too much. This makes the suit extra easy to get on and off, but it’s more prone to flushing if you get worked. Sometimes it’s the small details that make the largest difference and while it sounds minor on paper, the zipper is excellent. The Furnace Absolute X has an upgraded zipper for this year that’s much sturdier. It’s a heavy-duty zipper that threads smoothly and is much more durable than the small, bare-bones zippers you typically find on suits in this price range.
Finally, as for the durability, I’ve found this to be a pretty durable suit and it’s one that we rarely see come back to the shop for warranty repairs. I think anyone looking for a dependable workhorse suit on a budget or a backup suit should consider the Furnace Absolute X.
The Final Verdict
Bottom line, this is one of the best suits in its price range and the most suit you can get for under $250. If you need a dependable backup suit or need to stretch your cash, the Furnace Absolute X is money well spent.
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