For the surfer looking to get the most bang for their buck, we’ve reviewed a wide range of suits and put together a list of the 6 best mid-range wetsuits available today. If you’re wondering what exactly constitutes a mid-range suit, we’re defining them as any suit between $225-400. These suits borrow features from many top-tier suits out there like liquid fluid seam welds, ultra-flexible neoprene and internal taping without the big price tag. If you’re on a budget, need a backup suit or just want the best value in wetsuits, look no further than these six.
The O’Neill Hyperfreak is hands down the best value in mid-range suits and gives surfers many of O’Neill’s best features in a straight-to-the-point suit. By cutting some of the more specialized features of high-end suits, the Hyperfreak gives you everything you really want at an affordable price.
The most stand out feature of this wetsuit is that for 2018, the Hyperfreak is constructed with O’Neill’s Techno Butter 3 neoprene. This is a pretty big deal because Techno Butter is the most flexible and lightest neoprene out there and standard on all of O’Neill’s top-of-the-line, most expensive suits. Techno Butter 3 is the latest improvement on the material and it’s now lighter and warmer than the original. If you’ve never owned a suit with Techno Butter before, it’s hard to over-exaggerate how comfortable and flexible it feels. Another thing that sets this suit apart is the absence of a smooth skin panel on the chest or the back. Smooth skin is popular for its ability to cut down wind chill, but the Hyperfreak is still plenty warm without it and allows for even more flexibility in the core.
Hyperfreak vs. Hyperfreak Comp
The Hyperfreak is also available as a zipless 3/2mm and 4/3mm known as the Hyperfreak Comp. The Hyperfreak Comp’s zipperless entry is just as easy to get into as it’s chest zip counterpart and the cool part about the Hyperfreak Comp is that all the seams are fully taped internally. The Hyperfreak Comp also uses O’Neill’s Techno Butter 3X which is pre-stretched for maximum performance and similar in qualities to the Techno Butter 3 neoprene found on the Hyperfreak.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with either version of the suit and will surely give you the most flexibility for the money.
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Rip Curl E-Bomb
“Rip Curl’s Best Value”
The little brother of Rip Curl’s famous Flash Bomb series of suits, the E-Bomb has been a favorite for years. While it’s generally about $100 less expensive than the Flash Bomb, the E-Bomb holds it’s own and gives surfers Rip Curl’s best features.
The E-Bomb uses the same stretchy E5 Neoprene found on the Flash Bomb and the same E5 internal tape that many of the Flash Bomb suits still use. That E5 tape is placed at the high-stress point of the suit to ensure the suit can take a beating. Another great feature handed down from the Flash Bomb is the mesh skin panel on the back. The mesh skin panel helps absorb heat and can really cut down on wind chill if the wind starts to pick up.
With so many shared features between the E-Bomb and the Flash Bomb, it’s hard not to draw comparisons between the two, but the most noticeable difference is the absence of the orange “Flash” Lining on the E-Bomb. However, for the money, I think this suit packs in all the most relevant features it can while still being affordable.
E-Bomb vs. E-Bomb Pro
The E-Bomb Pro is the zipperless version of the E-Bomb and is less expensive. The main differences are that the E-Bomb Pro is a bit more minimalistic and performance driven. You’ll find bigger panels, fewer seams, and no external aquaban seams. This maximizes stretch at the sacrifice of a little bit of durability. The standard E-Bomb matches the E-Bomb Pro in terms of internal E5 tape, but has a fully external aquaban seam as well for longer life of the suit.
Either way, the E-Bomb series is definitely one of the best values in wetsuits and comes in a huge range of thicknesses and styles.
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Quiksilver Highline Plus
“Back and Better”
New for 2018, the Highline Plus is an update of the Highline model from Quiksilver. For this year, Quiksilver has outfitted this suit with their top F’N Light neoprene. While it might not have the most serious name, F’N light is definitely the real deal and provides a considerable amount of flexibility and comfort.
Like most of the suits on this list, there’s an external fluid seam weld covering all of the glued and blindstitched seams. However, this fluid seam weld is a slight cut above the rest as it’s lighter than most while still providing the added warmth and durability.
Checking out the inside, Quiksilver has added a red thermal lining that they call “far infrared”. This lining helps with warmth and is really comfortable as well. We’ve found this suit to run toasty, making it perfect for early morning sessions or howling winds. For those looking for the ultimate in flexibility, Quiksilver offers the Highline in a zipperless version as a 3/2mm and a 4/3mm. Finally, it’s also now available as a 6/5/4 for the coldest of waters.
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Quiksilver Highline 3/2mm Zipperless – $249.95
Quiksilver Highline 3/2mm Chest Zip – $314.95
Quiksilver Highline 4/3mm Zipperless – $259.95
Quiksilver Highline 4/3mm Chest Zip – $324.95
Quiksilver Highline 5/4/3 Hooded Chest Zip – $349.95
Quiksilver Highline 6/5/4 Hooded Chest Zip – $364.95
A long-time best-seller from O’Neill, the Heat has developed a cult following over the years and for good reason. At its core, the Heat is a simple, no-frills suit that is both dependable and practical.
With Ultraflex DS neoprene throughout the suit, and external fluid seam welds over the triple glued and blindstitched seams, the Heat is plenty flexible and ready to withstand countless sessions. The Heat is one of those suits that we very rarely ever see come back for warranty repairs and all of the features on this suit are rock solid. I especially like the zipper on this suit, it’s the “Red Zone” zipper found on O’Neill’s most expensive suits and it feels extremely sturdy and smooth. By using an offset teeth design on the zipper, it also creates a tighter seal and does a better job of keeping water from entering through the zipper.
For bigger guys, the Heat is the perfect choice as it’s available in rare sizes like 3XL and 4XL.
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Hurley Advantage Plus
“Impressive New Model From Hurley”
Hurley’s Advantage Plus is another great option for the surfer looking to save some dough. This suit delivers on all fronts with ample flexibility, warmth, and durability.
On the inside, Hurley uses a lining material in the core area for an extra dose of warmth. Just like Rip Curl’s Flash Lining, Hurley’s lining makes for a more comfortable session and seems to dry quicker than other suits as well. If you’re looking to really stand out in the lineup this suit is the one for you as it has color bands on the right thigh.
Hurley this year updated their chest zip entry to a slanted zip that’s easier to get in and out of compared to the entry used on their older models like the Fusion. Coldwater surfers will have to look elsewhere as this model is only available as a 3/2mm and a 4/3mm, but for everybody else, the Advantage Plus is a great call for the money.
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Billabong Furnace Carbon Comp
Our final pick, the Furnace Carbon Comp is a no-brainer for any surfer looking for a lightweight performance suit. From the first time you pick this suit up, you’ll notice how light it feels and Billabong definitely trimmed some fat to make sure this is a lean performer. However, it’s not just a one trick pony and there are still plenty of practical features packed into this suit to make it a worthy daily driver.
On the inside of the Furnace Carbon Comp, there’s a plush lining that runs through the core area down to the knees. This material noticeably adds warmth and dries incredibly quickly, perfect for multiple sessions in a day or rainy climates.
The chest entry on this suit is easier than most to get on and off and fits really well. I like the zipper design Billabong has been using on this suit and other chest zips, and have found that it holds up really well. There’s an external fluid seam weld over only the most crucial areas, but that helps to keep this suit as light as possible. If you’re looking for a light, flexible and eye-catching (Check out the Graphite color) wetsuit, then look no further than the Furnace Carbon Comp.
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There you have it, the best suits for your money out there. Hopefully, reading this list has helped you find a suit that will leave you with some extra burrito money.
Now all you need to do is go find some surf!
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to write in!