A Quick Wetsuit Temp Guide & Thickness Chart

The best way to stay warm when you are in the water is by wearing a wetsuit. A wetsuit will keep your body temperature regulated, which not only helps you stay warmer but also protects you from hypothermia and other dangers that might arise if you were swimming without one.

However, it can be difficult to know what type of suit or thickness to choose for different types of climates or conditions. That’s why we created a wetsuit temp guide.

Wetsuit Temperature & Thickness Guide Basics:

Three main factors determine whether you should choose a thicker, thinner, or medium thickness wetsuit.

First of all, is the water temperature; secondly how long you will be in the water for and lastly, your personal preference (although this can be influenced by weather conditions).

Typically, if you intend to spend more than 60 minutes in the water then it’s advisable to get a wetsuit with an attached hood. If not then consider buying separate boots and gloves too. Also, ensure that your hands and feet are always kept warm.

Read Also:- Do Wetsuits Keep You Dry | The Comprehensive Guide

You could even opt for some accessories like neoprene socks which would help keep them at their ideal warmth so they don’t become uncomfortable while paddling out in cold conditions. Some suites even come with gloves included which can be very useful if you are just starting.

If the water temperature is below 70 degrees then consider getting a spring suit to help insulate your body and reduce muscle fatigue in colder conditions.

If however, the water is above 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 C) then opt for an X-CEL wetsuit instead because these suits do not restrict blood flow to your arms or legs like other models may due to them having fewer seams on the shoulders, back, and calves.

Read Also:- How Much Weight For Spearfishing: Tips for Successful Spearfishing

wetsuit temp guide

The thickness of each suit varies depending on how much insulation it provides; in general, suits range from 0.25mm up to 11mm thick. Generally speaking, though thicker neoprene offers more insulation and is more suited to colder water temperatures.

This is because thicker wetsuits allow the body to retain heat better than thinner ones, so if you’re surfing in cold conditions then consider a solid winter suit or an X-CEL one with at least 0.50mm thickness.

For warmer climates opt for something that’s less than 0.25mm thick as this will provide minimal insulation needed, especially considering your activity may be shorter (under 60 minutes) like kitesurfing.

Read Also:- How to Avoid Decompression Sickness: Expert Guide

If however, you plan on taking part in activities such as scuba diving, where you might need it longer (over 60 minutes), we would recommend getting a minimum of 0.40mm neoprene thickness; please note: both these numbers are for a full suit.

In warmer conditions, you might also want to consider wearing a rash vest over your wetsuit as it can help keep the water off and allow better ventilation, which will make paddling out much more bearable.

Some people even wear SPF clothing under their suits so they don’t get sunburned through them. That’s all there is to know about choosing what thickness or type of wetsuit to buy according to weather conditions and time spent in the water.

Read Also:- Scuba Diving Basics | Best Guide For Scuba Gear Care & Maintenance

Now that we have covered this information hopefully you feel confident enough to choose something suitable whether you are just starting or an experienced surfer.

The guide above should be used as a reference point only; please always double-check the thickness of your wetsuit if you are unsure.

We  Also mention the wetsuit temperature guide in Celsius in the Below table.

Wetsuit Thickness & Wetsuit Temp Guide

Water Temp (°F)Water Temp
Wetsuit ThicknessRecommended Wetsuit TypeSeal Type
65°- 75°18° – 24°0.5 mm – 2/1 mmTop / ShortyN/A
62°- 68°16° – 20°2 mm – 3/2 mmSpringsuit / Full SuitFlatlock
58°- 63°14° – 17°3/2 mm – 4/3 mmFull Suit + BootsSealed
52°- 58°11° – 14°4/3 mm – 5/4/3 mmFull Suit + Boots + Gloves + HoodSealed and Taped
43°- 52°6° – 11°5/4 mm – 5/4/3 mmFull Suit + Boots + Gloves + HoodSealed and Taped
42° and below6° and below6/5 mm +Full Suit + Boots + Gloves + HoodSealed and Taped


Wetsuit Thickness & Temperature Guide For Scuba Diving

If you are going to be scuba diving then it’s important that your wetsuit is thick enough and has the right type of material.

There are three different types: neoprene, nylon, and vulcanized rubber; which all vary in thickness and warmth they provide.

 Neoprene Wetsuits:

These suits offer excellent thermal protection for extremely cold conditions (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit) because there is no water circulation through them like thinner models might have if worn under ice or on-air dives where buoyancy control becomes more difficult without a wet suit.

Read Also:- 5 Best Affordable Wetsuits for Every Type of Swimmer [Buying Guide]

However, their range of motion can reduce underwater considerably unlike other materials such as Nylon or Vulcanized Rubber so consider this when choosing what kind of dive activity you will be partaking in.

 Nylon Wetsuits:

These suits are a good option for cold water diving as they allow enough movement and can keep you warm up to a maximum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is excellent considering that these materials have been around since the 1960s compared to neoprene suits that only came into play recently.

If however, your dive will be above this temperature then it may not offer much warmth so please check before buying if this is what you require.

  Vulcanized Rubber Wetsuits:

This material used to be very popular but does not provide nearly as much flexibility or insulation as other types because it contains many seams reducing its insulating properties drastically.

Read Also:- Top 6 Best Wetsuit for Swimming in Cold Water

It has now become more common with freedivers who go deep below the surface so they don’t need to move around much. Here is a diving wetsuit thickness guide chart.

Diving Wetsuit Thickness Guide Chart | Wetsuit Temp Guide

85 Degrees & AboveAw heck, dive in your swim trunks or bathing suit2 mm to 1 mm shorty
80 to 85 Degrees2 mm shorty to dive skin2 mm to 1 mm full suit
73 to 79 Degrees3 mm fullsuit to 2 mm shorty5 mm to 3 mm full suit
66 to 72 Degrees5 mm to 3 mm full suit7 mm to 5 mm full suit
50-65 Degrees8/7 mm semi-dry to 7 mm wetsuitDrysuit
50 Degrees and Below8/7 mm semi-dry or drysuitEnjoy the view of the water from the nearest coffee shop


Wetsuit Thickness & Temperature Guide For Surfing

If you are surfing, then your main concern should be about warmth and flexibility while in the water; neoprene is great for this because it has excellent insulation properties.

Read Also:- Top 10 Best 4/3 Wetsuit For Surfing

Neoprene also comes in different thicknesses: 0.25mm to 11mm thick wetsuits will allow you to stay warm and move around easily enough against the elements of nature such as strong currents or even sharks. So whether you surf close to home or far away from land we have a suit that suits your needs best.

Here is a surfing wetsuit thickness guide Chart.

Surfing Wetsuit Thickness Guide Chart | Wetsuit Temp Guide

Water temperature
in °C/°F
  Wetsuit Thickness   Destination
> 24 °C
> 75,2 °F
No wetsuit required,
Lycra or Rashguard
as UV protection etc.
 Hawaii, Philippines
22 – 24 °C
71,6 – 75,2 °F
1 – 2mm neoprene
 Ocean City/USA in summer
19 – 22 °C
66,2 – 75,2 °F
2mm shorty or
Mediter. Sea Mid Season, Gold Coast
17 – 20 °C
62,6 – 68 °F
2 mm fullsuit,
Long John or Jane
 South Africa
13 – 18 °C
55,4 – 64,4 °F
2 mm or 3/2 mm
full suit
, Algarve, France in Winter, Cape Town
10 – 14 °C
50 – 57,2 °F
4/3 mm full suit
+ 3 mm boots
+ 2 – 3 mm gloves
+ optional hood or cap
California / USA in winter, England,
8 – 12 °C
46,4 – 53,6 °F
5/4 mm hooded
full suit
+ 5 mm gloves
+ 5 mm boots
Cornwall / England in winter, Vancouver Island / Canada
< 8 °C
< 46,4 °F
6/5 or 6/4 hooded
full suit
+ 7 mm gloves
+ 7 mm boots
off to Antarctica

Wetsuit Thickness & Temperature Guide For Swimming

If you are swimming in the pool or open water then your most important concern is to stay warm and flexible; neoprene suits will do the best job at this because of their insulating properties.

Read Also:- Top 6 Best Wetsuit For Open Water Swimming

Neoprene comes in different thicknesses: 0.25mm, 0.50mm, 0.75mm to 11mm thick wetsuits that will allow you plenty of movement against strong currents or even sharks.

Here is a Chart of wetsuit thickness guide of swimming.

Wetsuit Thickness Guide Swimming Chart | Wetsuit Temp Guide

Water temperature
in °C/°F
Wetsuit ThicknessDestination
> 20 °C
> 68 °F
No wetsuit required or 1 mm shorty or a full suit
Hawaii Ironman, New York, or Noosa Triathlon
17 – 20 °C
62,6 – 68 °F
1 mm full suitLondon Triathlon in summer, Challenge Roth / Germany
13 – 17 °C
55,4 – 64,4 °F
2 mm full suitSan Francisco Triathlon Escape from Alcatraz or Wildflower, Wales Triathlon
8 – 13 °C
48,2 – 57,2 °F
3 – 4 mm full suitNorseman Triathlon in Norway
< 8 °C
< 46,4 °F
4 – 5 mm full suitNeptune steps in Glasgow


Wetsuit Thickness & Temperature Guide For Kayaking

If you are kayaking then your main concern will be warmth and flexibility; neoprene can provide both of these while still allowing plenty of movement.

Read Also:- 7 Best Wetsuits for Snorkeling & Kayaking: Review and Recommendations

Neoprene comes in different thicknesses: 0.25mm, 0.50mm, 0.75mm to 11mm thick wetsuits that will allow you enough movement against current or even sharks if the open water is cold enough for this type of activity.

Here is a wetsuit thickness guide kayaking Chart.

Wetsuit Thickness Guide Kayaking Chart | Wetsuit Temp Guide

Water Sports40°+60°+
General Watersports (Surf, Wake, Kite, Etc.)6/5/4mm Sealed3/2mm Sealed
SCUBA8/7mm Full 7mm John & Jacket5mm Full 3mm John & Jacket
Triathlon & Lap Swimming5/3mm Full5/3mm John
Kayak & Paddle5/4/3mm SealedNeoprene Top


Winter Wetsuit Thickness Guide

A 5/4mm wetsuit is the most common type for winter, and it offers slightly warmer protection than its thinner counterpart due to an additional 1 millimeter in thickness around key areas like arms.

Body panels are at least five-mil thick while other parts such as lower leg 4 mm fabrics provide extra insulation below the waterline when used during colder months of the year.

Read Also;- Best Wetsuit for Windsurfing & Winter: How to Pick the Right One

One way that people can keep warm on land or afloat without having too much bulk under clothing would be with sealant booties made from high-quality materials like kevlar (ultralight) nylon blends which resist abrasion but still allow sweat evaporation.

Spearfishing Wetsuit Thickness Guide

If you are into spearfishing then staying warm will be one of your main concerns; if that’s what you want, then wearing a wetsuit during cold months of the year should help accomplish this goal.

Read Also:- The Best TYR Wetsuits Review | Temperature & Sizing Chart

Neoprene comes in different thicknesses: 0.25mm to 11 millimeter thick suits which will allow plenty of movement against currents or even sharks.

So whether it’s shallow water training, open water kayaking, or surfing for long hours at sea level there is always something here for everyone out there who loves spending time on the water no matter how cool (or hot) outside may be.

Wetsuit Temp Guide Video Guide

FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

How Thick Should My Wetsuit Be?

wetsuits come in various thicknesses depending on the water temperature you will be exposed to. This is important because if your wetsuit is too thin for the conditions, you can risk hypothermia (loss of body heat), or even worse; having a thicker suit won’t make you warmer than one that’s thinner but it does give more protection against strong currents and/or sharks.

Is a 3mm Wetsuit OK For Winter?

A three-millimeter wetsuit can work well during the winter months of the year because they provide an additional layer of protection against cool winds and lower temperatures; thick enough to resist currents yet thin enough not to limit movement underwater. This type of suit might prove useful while out on the water kayaking or standing watch on a boat in cold weather.

Is A 4 3 Wetsuit Too Warm?

A four-millimeter wetsuit is too warm for winter and should be worn during warmer months of the year. These suits are tougher than their thinner counterparts which makes them resistant to abrasion and other types of damage that can result from contact with rocks, sea urchins, or even shark teeth.

just don’t expect it to serve as a floatation device if you fall overboard. They also offer plenty of range-of-motion against currents but might not provide enough protection against colder weather.

A 5mm wetsuit would work well during winter because they provide an additional layer of protection against cool winds and lower temperatures.

thick enough to resist currents yet thin enough not to limit movement underwater. This type of suit might prove useful while out on the water kayaking or standing watch on a boat in cold weather.

Final Thoughts

The next time you’re out in the water, take a minute to think about your wetsuit. If it’s too cold for you or just not quite right, then check out our above wetsuit temp guides and then Decide what type of wetsuit is best suited for different activities. We hope this helps.

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