Most divers have some kind of struggle when deciding which or what dive equipment to buy. So many debates and questions face us when we decide to buy our equipment.
What are the best brands ? Which BCD should I choose and why ? Which regulators ? What are the reviews like ? What colour shall I have ? What are the dive professionals using ? Why the difference in price ?
The first tip I would give is to see if it is worth buying any equipment. Are you a frequent diver ? If you dive frequently then it is ideal to get your own equipment. If you dive less than 10 dives per year then just renting may be cheaper or best only to get the main essentials. Your own mask, a dive computer and maybe some fins are always ideal and very personal bits of kit to use on each dive.
Some other points to consider are of course your budget and prioritize which kit to get first. If you are aiming to step into the technical diving world at some stage then choose your kit wisely.
Always try the same or very similar kit if available before buying it. Make sure that mask fits properly and the vision is good, make sure the fins suit your finning style, how do those regulators breathe on a dive and so on. Don't buy anything straight off the internet, so many people come diving with us and have so many issues with equipment because they have no real idea of fit or compatability for use.
Wherever possible visit a good, well stocked Dive Centre where you can discuss and try a range of products. Support your local Dive Centre by buying from them where possible and give them the chance to compete and think about the time they have spent helping you. The prices should be competitive in Dive Centres versus online shopping, and even if it is a fiver more than on the internet consider the time they have put in to help you, the after sales support and any extra charges online like delivery. Without your local Dive centres how are you going to dive in the future ? Just with online booking platforms ? We need our Dive centres to maintain a healthy industry overall.
Get inputs from experienced people and those with your best interest at heart. Choose a brand that has a local service center to easily help look after kit with quick replacement parts and maintenance.
Some brands are more expensive than others and many will say you get what you pay for, but make sure you don't just buy something expensive and only buy what you need to use. Dive computers are a good example of this.
You can build your kit up over time to spread the cost and give you more time to see or try what is out there. Go for your mask, computer and fins to start with maybe and then a suit if you are diving regularly in the same conditions. A good set of regulators is a good early to mid term purchase followed by a BCD and then accessories like a compass and a torch.
Invest wisely in your equipment and make sure you take care of it and have someone show you how to do this. A good professional will guide you on what is best for you personally.