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 Best All-Around Suit for the Money”
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. There’s also a youth version for the groms.
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
“Most High Performance”
The dependable middle child suit between the Flash Bomb and Dawn Patrol, the E-Bomb Pro is now the ultimate affordable performance suit. This year, Rip Curl went back to the drawing board and totally redesigned the series, streamlining it to only one model, the E-Bomb Pro.
The E-Bomb Pro uses Rip Curl’s new E6 Thermoflex neoprene which is actually the most flexible neoprene they’ve ever produced. This material is exclusive to this suit and more flexible than the E5 neoprene used on the Flash Bomb.
What’s with the Ziperless Entry?
The E-Bomb Pro is exclusively built as a Zipperless suit. Zipperless suits naturally provide more flexibility as they lack the rigid zipper fixture that can stiffen up a suit. While it does take some time to adjust to getting in and out of one, it soon becomes second nature and Rip Curl has the design down better than anyone.
The E-Bomb Pro also notably doesn’t have smooth skin or external tape on the seams but that only helps to keep the suit as light as possible. Surfers who want warmth and durability over anything else should still check out the Flash Bomb series, but for those needing the stretchiest, lightest suit possible, the E-Bomb Pro is the call.
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Billabong Furnace Carbon
“Flexible AND Environmentally Friendly”
Billabong has redesigned their entire line of suits for 2018/2019 and the Furnace Carbon has some unique improvements that make it one of the best suits around $300.
Starting with the rubber, this suit uses a more environmentally-friendly neoprene that Billabong calls “stretch smart foam”. This material is actually partially made of up-cycled tires and while this material may come from a car tire, it’s still super pliable and more flexible than any Billabong suit before.
The word carbon in the suit’s title isn’t just a marketing superlative, as it’s internal linear is actually 35% carbon. While this may seem strange, Carbon is actually an efficient conductor of heat and helps the linear to retain heat.The internal linear in general on this suit is comfortable and runs through 3/4 of the suit.
Overall, the suit delivers and I think the added bonus of it being produced with partially recycled materials is cool to see. A few employees have picked this suit up already and the feedback has been really positive. Be sure to check back for a full review.
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Quiksilver Highline Plus
“Back and Better”
The Highline Plus is an update of the Highline model that’s been popular for the past few years from Quiksilver. For 2018/2019, Quiksilver has outfitted this suit with their top F’N Light neoprene. While the name, “F’N light”, doesn’t take itself too seriously, it still lives up to it’s name and is surprisingly light and flexible.
Like most of the suits on this list, there’s an external fluid seam weld covering all of the glued and blind-stitched seams. However, this fluid seam weld is a slight cut above the rest as it’s a little but lighter.
Checking out the inside, Quiksilver has added a red thermal lining that they call “far infrared”. This lining helps with warmth and is comfortable as well. We’ve found this suit to run toasty, making it perfect for early morning sessions or when the wind picks up.
The Plus is offered only as chest zip in a few different thicknesses including a 6mm version for the freezing waters. Also worth noting the 3/2mm and 4/3mm version are only available in a unique color way while the hooded versions are blacked out.
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A long-time best-seller from O’Neill, and the only back zip on this list, 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 blind-stitched 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. We 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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“Modern Design, Old School Durability”
This suit is almost priced outside of what we’re calling a mid-range suit, but it’s too good not to mention. For just under $400 the Hotline Reflex is one of the biggest “sleeper” suits we sell. While Hotline is most know for their classic Ultra Hot Combo, the Reflex is their take on a modern performance suit.
Like the Ultra Hot Combo, the Reflex is built to withstand some serious abuse with a thick internal tape covering all the seams, a very sturdy zipper, and what they call the “Ring of Fire”. This Ring of Fire is basically an ultra-stitched circle around the chest entry panel. Chest zip suits experience a lot of stress at the entry panel and this extra stitching helps with the suit’s longevity and keeps you in the water.
The Reflex is surprisingly flexible, noticeably more so than the Ultra Hot Combo but not as much as a Psychotech for reference. If you’ve never worn a suit from Hotline before it’s always a good idea to double check your sizing. Their size chart runs off american sizing (ie: bigger) which can be very different than other companies.
What’s the difference between the Reflex 1.0 and 2.0?
Both suits are exactly the same, except the 2.0 version has a new plush thermal lining in the core for added warmth and comfort.
With a great range of flexibility, durability, and warmth, you can’t go wrong with the Reflex. I would highly recommend this suit to anyone looking for a suit that’s built to last.
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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!
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