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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.

Mares Smart Dive Computer Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Mares Smart Dive Computer Review Posted in: Between $251-$500, Dive Computers

New dive computers these days come laden with so many features that the dot-matrix display sometimes seems passe. It’s not, because it is still the display of choice for almost all computers, including new computers, but that doesn’t eliminate the problem of using the old system to efficiently and conveniently work with all those data options and widgets.

That is what Mares was clearly keeping in mind with the Smart. The number cruncher side of the device works as a multi-gas scuba computer and as a freediving computer, with all the now-expected capabilities, such as switching between imperial and metric, altitude adjustment, ascent monitor and alarm, and battery indicator. The computer operates on a simple two-button system, and has a depth limit of 150 m.

So far, so good, but plenty of dive computers have that stuff. What the Smart also has is a very crisp dot matrix display, and a display organization that is tight and effective. Consumers found it sleek, easy to use and easy to read, and Scuba Diving gave the Smart a Best Buy award for 2014.

Average Price: $400


Akona 7mm Quantum Stretch Wetsuit

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Akona 7mm Quantum Stretch Wetsuit Posted in: Between $251-$500, Wetsuits

Akona is a branch of Sherwood, the Quantum Stretch is their standard wetsuit line, and the 7mm version is the thickest version in that line. The suit has a sealed vertical zipper up the back, plus smoothskin O-rings on the wrists and ankles. From consumers and professional reviewers, the Quantum Stretch earned high marks for being super-stretchy and flexible. Scuba Diving didn’t give it an award, but they did name it one of the best wet suits they saw in 2014. Women’s, 5mm and 3 mm versions are also available.

Average Price: An added bonus is that the Akona 7mm Quantum Stretch is one of the cheapest of the thick wetsuits around. The suit is listed at $325, but often appears for sale for as little as $230.


Gear Keeper RT5-5901Retractor Snap Dive Gear Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Gear Keeper RT5-5901Retractor Snap Dive Gear Review Posted in: Below $100, Other Accessories

The Gear Keeper Retractor Snap is the kind of useful, inexpensive little accessory that almost never appears in flashy scuba diving magazines. The “retractor” part of the snap refers to the tough, auto-retracting nylon line, which allows you to pull out a chosen piece of gear for easy handling without having to unhook it. Take your dive camera: hook it on, pull out some line, and swing it around as you need to. You can even just let go of your camera on the spot if you suddenly need both hands without fear of losing it, because it is clipped on and tethered. In a pinch, the retractor snap can even be used to tether you to a line.

Simply put, this piece of gear is so cheap and so useful that if you have a big dive light (the kind you can’t put in a pocket) and/or a dive camera, you ought to have one.

Average Price: $13


Oceanic OCI Computer

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Oceanic OCI Computer Posted in: Dive Computers, Over $500

When a dive computer comes with a four digit price tag these days, it is a matter of course that it either has a color, not-dot-matrix display, an air hose transmitter, or both. With the Oceanic OCI, it’s option #2. It’s a wristwatch-style dive computer with a screw-in wireless transmitter for your hose, making it air integrated while replacing your gauges.

The number cruncher is loaded with features, including digital compass and two different dive algorithms but despite that field testers and consumers agree that its use is intuitive, the sort of thing you can figure out insofar as the basic operation goes without reference to the manual. Exploring the full capability of the computer, however, means thumbing through the booklet.

Using it is easy too, even with dive gloves, thanks to four chunky, steel-finish buttons.  Fans of the OC1 should pay close attention to this as a replacement, because it’s basically a somewhat updated computer sans the titanium housing. Scuba Diving named it a Tester’s Choice in 2014, and it has gotten top marks from owners.

Average Price: $1,200