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This is the Best Dive Gear for 2023

ScubaLab divers tested 104 pieces of gear this year—here are the top 27 performers in 7 categories.

By Robby Myers | Updated On September 5, 2023
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This is the Best Dive Gear for 2023

Dive Knives


Out of 16 knives, these five were a cut above the rest

Monica Medina

Dive Rite Ceramic Line Cutter


At first glance, this cutting tool may look like your typical line cutter, but it has a trick up its sleeve—a razor-sharp corrosion-proof ZrO2 ceramic blade. This cutter effortlessly slices through whatever catches in its narrow jaws and won’t rust no matter how long it sits in salt water. The Velcro-secured nylon sheath mounts to webbing up to 2 inches wide to keep the cutter handy and accessible. Capable, convenient and incredibly cost-effective, it was our Best Buy for cutting tools.

Riffe Edc 4.5


Full-length smooth and serrated cutting edges equip this blade to handle any underwater task. The rubbery rounded handle provides an excellent grip during heavy cutting, no matter which edge you’re using. The traction-lock sheath is secure and allows for easy removal and replacement. A favorite of testers, offering a great grip and impressive cutting performance, the EDC 4.5 was our Testers Choice for full-length dive knives.

Spyderco Salt 2 Green LC200N Wharncliffe


Deployed with just a flick of the thumb, this 3-inch full-flat-ground Wharncliffe blade makes short work of just about everything. Crafted with nitrogen-enriched LC200N steel, it’s also im- pervious to corrosion. The ergonomically shaped handle is covered in heavy, grippy texturing for excellent control and security of grip. The Salt 2 Green LC200N Wharncliffe was our Testers Choice for compact dive knives.

Tekna Rescue Edge


This handy cutter folds up when not in use so it can easily ride in a BC pocket. The 3-inch stainless-steel blade’s aggressively serrated edge quickly saws through most entanglements. Test divers loved the blunt “rescue-tip” design, as it allows the blade to slip into sensitive areas and saw through taut line without risking injury to the rescuer or victim. The Rescue Edge was our Testers Choice for cutting tools.

Seac Blunt


Outfitted with a 3⅜-inch uninterrupted smooth cutting edge, this titanium knife has plenty of bite. Aggressive serrated teeth adorning the opposite edge can be used to saw through thicker line. After spending 24 hours submerged in salt water, the blade still looked brand-new. Touting impressive cutting performance and corrosion resistance at a budget- friendly price, the Blunt was our Best Buy for compact dive knives.

Dive Lights


In a class of 22 dive lights, none could hold a candle to these four torches

Monica Medina

Dive Rite CX2


With a powerful, penetrating spot beam, this torch easily cuts through the darkness even in poor visibility. The ergonomic push button quickly cycles through four power levels and an emergency strobe. It took top score for ease of use. Testers really appreciated the variation in the power settings, which allows users to light up a cavern or illuminate their pressure gauge without blinding themselves. Powerful and a pleasure to use, the CX2 was our Testers Choice for full-size dive lights.

Sealife Sea Dragon 1300S


This light’s ergonomic, compact design features a generously sized textured handle that took the top score for comfort and security of grip. Settings include three power levels and two emergency strobes. Testers liked the variation between the light’s brightness settings. The light’s powerful hotspot easily pierces through the gloom but provides plenty of peripheral vision. With all-around great performance, the Mini 1300s was a favorite of test divers. It was our Best Buy for full-size lights.

Sherwood St1000


The brightest light in its category, this torch impressed with its powerful piercing beam and comfortable ergonomics. The design integrates the rounded head into the handle, which provides a comfortable, secure grip suitable for long periods of use. The light has two power levels, which testers felt were very distinct and useful. It also features an SOS mode. The light’s compact size is easy to carry and travel with. A built-in USB port at the back lets you charge the light without removing the battery. The ST1000 was our Testers Choice for compact dive lights.

Hog 1000 Lumen Rechargeable Light DL-20


With a single recessed push-button, this torch provides easy access to three power levels and three emergency strobes. The light’s design feels good in the hand and is compact with just enough of a handle to hold on to for a comfortable and secure grip. Test divers liked the light’s bright beam, which was among the brighter lights in its category. This capable torch was our Best Buy for compact dive lights.



In a high-presure test of seven regs, These two stood out

Monica Medina

Nex Monterey


The modular Monterey first stage can be upgraded with several add-ons, including more low-pressure ports, an environmental seal, and a rotating low-pressure turret. Paired with a tiny balanced adjustable second stage, the system is compact and lightweight. Testers praised the reg for its ease and dryness of breathing—excellent breathing simulator performance mirrored their observations. This customizable reg was a favorite of test divers thanks to its high performance and comfort. The Monterey was our Testers Choice for regulators.

XS Scuba Inspire


This reg consistently had some of the best work of breathing scores during our objective testing. Whether subjected to heavy breathing rates or extreme depths—or both—it moved air almost effortlessly. The first stage has four low-pressure ports on a swivel and two high-pressure ports. The second stage’s Venturi tames free-flow with ease, and the breathing adjustment has a ton of play for dialing in the perfect amount of resistance. With outstanding performance at a below-average pricepoint, the Inspire was our Best Buy.

Video Lights


These four products outshined the competition in a test of 13 underwater video lights

Monica Medina

Kraken Hydra 15000 WRGBU


This light outputs a ton of bright light distributed in an even, super-wide beam. Intuitive rear- mounted controls, which include a rotating dimmer switch with an integrated push-button and an LCD screen, provide access to 11 power levels and a rainbow of colors. The Hydra is remote control ready and can be used as a strobe. With ergonomic controls, plenty of power and myriad options for creative imaging, it was our Testers Choice for high power video lights.

Light & Motion Sola Photo 1200


This compact imaging light outputs a wide, even beam well-suited for use as a video light or a modeling light. The top-mounted sliding push switch is very responsive, quickly stepping through three distinct power levels of white and red light. LEDs indicate battery status and current setting. During our testing, the Sola outputted a steady 1,200-lumen beam even after an hour of use. It was our Testers Choice for low-power video lights.

Kraken Hydra 1500+ WSR


Packed with features, this light provides plenty of tools for underwater shooters. Testers loved that this light offers a 100-degree white flood, a 60-degree spot and a wide-angle red light, each with three different intensities. It has a user-enabled strobe-detection mode for divers using it as a focusing light, and three emergency strobes. With the Y/S mount removed, the light is easy to hand-hold for use as a primary dive. The Hydra 1500 was our Best Buy for low-power video lights.

Bigblue Dive Lights VTL4200P


This light provides a powerful 120-degree flood beam with access to four separate power levels and a single-intensity 10-degree spot. It is surprisingly compact for the power and functionality it offers. The long body is easy to maneuver when mounted to an arm and doubles as a grip for hand-held use. A favorite of testers, the VTL4200P was our Testers Choice for medium-power video lights.



Of the 11 BCs we tested, These four top performers floated to the top

Monica Medina

Scubapro Level


This neutrally buoyant BC is light on padding but very comfortable. The supportive wraparound air cell is stable and doesn’t squeeze or restrict motion when inflated. During our testing, it provided 36 pounds of buoyant lift in size medium. The harness has plenty of adjust-ability to fine-tune fit, and the integrated weights are simple and secure. The BC has numerous stowage options. Packed with features and performance, the Level was our Testers Choice for jacket BCs.

Sherwood Luna Magenta


This full-featured jacket utilizes several elements to better accommodate female divers, including a contoured air cell, shorter torso and adjustable sternum straps. Testers found it very comfortable in and out of the water. The streamlined air cell provides 26.5 pounds in size medium and has smooth responsive valves for easy buoyancy control. Dual-tank straps and a semi-rigid plate provide support while diving and let the BC fold for packing.Providing great comfort and performance, the Luna was our Testers Choice for women’s BCs.

Apeks Exotec


A lightweight aluminum plate provides the foundation for this rugged BC. Waist and shoulders can be repositioned on the plate to adjust fit, and the durable G-hook sternum strap can be engaged and disengaged with one hand. A heavy-duty pivoting lumbar support distributes weight evenly. Testers scored it excellent for comfort. The system offers 52 pounds of lift and has four responsive releases, six stainless D-rings and Sure Lock II weight pockets. Boasting impressive performance and an array of well-thought-out features, the ExoTec was our Testers Choice for back-plate/wing BCs.

Cressi Aquawing


A lean, mean dive machine, this BC is outfitted with an aluminum back plate, a 30-pound bladder and air-net shoulder pads. Lightweight and extremely comfortable, you won’t even think about it once it’s on. The bladder is streamlined and provides excellent attitude control and stability. Testers loved the easy-adjust two-piece crotch strap. The Plus model—pictured here—adds integrated weight pockets. A high-performance, low-profile dive system with maximum simplicity and comfort, the Aquawing was our Best Buy for back-plate/wings.

7 MM Wetsuits


Out of nine 7mm wetsuits, These two suits stood apart from the rest

Monica Medina

Akona Quantum Stretch 7mm


This suit’s super-stretchy neoprene provides excellent flexibility and a natural range of motion. It wraps the body like a second skin, adhering closely to minimize internal flushing, and the seals stop cold water dead in its tracks. The flexible construction makes it very easy to don and doff, especially for a 7 mm suit. Testers described the suit as “excellent, with lots of warmth, flexibility and comfort.” Offering outstanding performance and comfort at an attractive price, the Quantum Stretch was our Best Buy for 7 mm suits.

Fourth Element Xenos 7mm


Available in 15 men’s and women’s sizes, this suit is made with flexible neoprene that hugs the body to minimize flushing without restricting movement. It scored excellent in almost every category, including warmth and comfort. Internal ankle and wrist seals are comfortable and effective. A thermal lining in the chest provides additional warmth. Tapered ankles and smooth linings in the arms and legs aid in donning and doffing quickly. Exceptionally warm and comfortable, the Xenos was our Testers Choice for 7 mm suits.



After testing 26 masks, The winning four are clear to see

Monica Medina

Genesis Icon


With two tear-drop lenses that sit close to the eyes, this mask provides a great field of view. The low-volume design reduces drag and is very easy to clear and equalize. The silicone skirt has a frosted edge that lays comfortably against the skin and provides an effective seal that scored very good for comfort and dryness. Offering great performance at a below-average price, the Icon was our Best Buy for dual-lens masks.

Tusa Paragon S


This durable mask’s silicone skirt is soft and comfortable against the skin, forming a gentle but effective seal around the face that scored very good for comfort and dryness. The large lens has UV-420 and anti-reflective treatments and pro-vides an excellent field of view. Ergonomic buckles make for easy, secure strap adjustments. The Paragon S was our Testers Choice for single-lens masks.

Tusa Intega


A supple skirt and unique skirt-integrated fitting ring allow the Intega to fit a variety of face shapes and sizes. The highly effective, watertight seal scored very good for comfort and dryness. Ergonomic pinch buckles are user-friendly and help reduce hair entanglement. A favorite of testers with outstanding comfort and performance, the Intega was our Testers Choice for dual-lens masks.

Cressi F-Dual


This frameless mask features a high-grade silicone double feather-edge skirt. Testers liked the mask’s comfortable, lightweight feel in and out of the water. The mask skirt scored very good for dryness. It is super easy to clear and equalize. The tall, wide lens provides an excellent field of view in all directions. With solid all-around performance and comfort at an attractive price, the F-Dual was our Best Buy for single-lens masks.