OUR TOP PICK

scuba diving caps

Overall Rating

4.8  /5

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General Impression

Atop our diving hood review is this anatomical dive hood, which combines 5mm protection in critical heat loss areas with a 3mm bib and glide-skin seals around the neck and face. It’s designed with a unique HAVS (Hood Air Venting System) that uses one-way valves to release air build-up inside the hood while all of the seals are glued and sewn with high-quality nylon thread for extra strength and durability. It’s an ideal scuba hood for diving in both warm and cold-water conditions, with sizes ranging from XS to XXL.

THICKNESS: 3/5mm
MATERIALS: Nylon II neoprene rubber
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Warm and cold-water hood

Standout Features

  • 5mm double-layered protection in areas of critical heat loss
  • Seals are glued and sewn for long-term durability
  • Glide-skin seals ensure 100% waterproofing
  • 3D-shaped anatomical sculpting for the ultimate in comfort
BEST VALUE

scuba beanie

Overall Rating

4.5  /5

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General Impression

Available in a variety of thicknesses, this Neo Sport scuba hood is made from an extra soft, form-fitting stretch neoprene. A custom-trim face seal combines with strongly stitched seams to prevent any water from seeping in while the high-quality neoprene allows air to pass through. This diving hood is available in a range of sizes (from X-small to XX-large), together with 3/2mm, 5/3mm or 7/5mm models.

THICKNESS: 3/2mm, 5/3mm or 7/5mm
MATERIALS: Neoprene
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Tropical or cold water hood

Standout Features

  • Large bib easily tucks into your wetsuit
  • Face seal can be trimmed for a custom fit
  • Available in a variety of thicknesses
  • Design covers the chin while allowing you to use a regulator or snorkel

best dive hood

Overall Rating

4.9  /5

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General Impression

While the O’Neill 1.5mm Thin Skin Hood has been designed as a surfing hood for board sports, it’s also ideal for warm-water scuba diving and snorkeling. The 1.5mm metal-lite nylon 2 neoprene provides added warmth, as well as protection against harmful UV rays when at the water’s surface. The stretch-to-fit chinstrap fits snuggly around the base of the face, with a no-frills design that makes it easy to slip it on and off in seconds. Like all O’Neill wetsuit hoods, this scuba head cover is available in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from XS to XL.

THICKNESS: 1.5mm
MATERIALS: Nylon 2 neoprene
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Warm water hood

Standout Features

  • Flat-lock stitched seam construction that’s non-chaffing
  • Provides UV protection and added warmth
  • Durable neoprene that’s abrasion and compression-resistant
  • 50% stretch factor neoprene hat

cheap diving hood

Overall Rating

4.6  /5

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General Impression

The Henderson Lycra Dive Hood is designed for warm water divers wanting protection against abrasions, stings and UV rays, this lycra dive hood can also be used as an additional layer for cold water diving. Renowned for its stretch, strength, and durability, the premium-grade lycra is easy to don and remove, with non-chaffing, flat-lock stitching that won’t catch your hair. It comes in a one-size-fits-all design that will stretch to ensure it’s a comfortable scuba hood for all divers.

THICKNESS: N/A
MATERIALS: Lycra
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Warm water hood

Standout Features

  • Made from premium-grade lycra for complete freedom of movement
  • Protection against abrasions, stings and UV rays
  • Provides an added layer of warmth beneath other exposure gear
  • Durable and non-chaffing flat-lock stitching
  • Large bib for added protection

best snorkel hood

Overall Rating

4.4  /5

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General Impression

MARES is a trusted dive brand that’s put their years of experience into this well-designed neoprene diving hood. Perfect for cold-water conditions, it features a large bib that will easily tuck into your wetsuit and extra face coverage that won’t impede your mask. It’s available in a variety of sizes, ranging from S to XXL and is among the best scuba hoods for women on the market.

THICKNESS: 5mm
MATERIALS: Nylon 2 Neoprene Rubber
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Cold water hood

Standout Features

  • Blind-stitched on the outside for added strength and durability
  • Large bib tucks into your wetsuit to prevent water seeping in
  • Comfortably hugs the face while still allowing you to wear your mask

best wetsuit hood

Overall Rating

4.3  /5

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General Impression

The Coreskin Dive Hood, Ideal for situations when a 5mm hood is a surplus to requirement – this 3mm scuba, and snorkel hood – is snug fitting and stretchable. It’s made from three layers of fabric – an outer layer of lycra, a middle membrane, and inner polyester fleece – all of which are eco-friendly and odor-resistant. The four-way stretch fabric moves with you and is moisture-wicking to keep you dry, with flat-lock seams to prevent water seepage. These scuba dive hoods are available in a multitude of sizes, ranging from XS to XL.

THICKNESS: 3mm
MATERIALS: Lycra + fleece
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Warm and cold-water hood

Standout Features

  • Lycra + fleece material that’s stretchable and odor resistant
  • Moisture-wicking to keep you dry and comfortable
  • Intermediate thermal protection
  • Impermeable and breathable with a high-stretch membrane

best wetsuit hoods

Overall Rating

4.1  /5

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General Impression

A great warm water dive cap with a long neck, this simple wetsuit hood provides a good level of protection for both scuba diving and snorkeling. The flat-lock seam system not only prevents water from entering these wetsuit hoods but also reduces bunching, with an adjustable Velcro chinstrap to ensure the fit you prefer. The A POINT Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 1mm Sport Cap comes in a range of sizes, from X to XL.

THICKNESS: 1mm
MATERIALS: Neoprene
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Warm water hood

Standout Features

  • Constructed from a premium neoprene material
  • Flat-lock seams for added comfort
  • Adjustable Velcro chin strap for an easy fit

best surfing hood

Overall Rating

4.2  /5

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General Impression

Ideal for when you want to conserve heat loss from the head, these scuba beanies are easy to don thanks to their hook and loop closure. There’s added protection around the face and ears, with glued and blind-stitched seams for ensuring water does not seep in. The unique vent design allows for the release of trapped air while the loop is handy for hanging your hood up to dry. The Aqualung Deep Sea Hot Head Beanie Hood is available in sizes from XS to XXL.

THICKNESS: 3mm
MATERIALS: Neoprene
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Warm-water hood

Standout Features

  • 3mm neoprene that provides warmth in mild waters
  • Glued and blind-stitched seams for durability
  • Hook and loop closure positioned at the side of the neck for easy donning

best scuba dive hoods

Overall Rating

5.0  /5

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General Impression

If you’re diving in chilly conditions, then this 6.5mm hood from Mares is one of the best cold water hoods on the market. It’s made from a Trilastic mix, with a low-compression neoprene at the top of the head to reduce pressure and 3mm neoprene around the face and bib. A super-elastic neoprene is used on the neck and sides of the hood to enable easy donning and removal. The interior of the hood is lined with Sapphire plush that’s designed to enhance heat retention, with sizes ranging from XS to XL available.

THICKNESS: 6.5mm
MATERIALS: Neoprene
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Cold-water hood

Standout Features

  • Super-stretch panels for the ultimate in comfort
  • Sapphire plush lining on the interior for comfort and enhanced heat retention
  • 5mm hood with 3mm bib and skin-in face seal
  • Low compression neoprene used at the top of the hood

best neoprene hat

Overall Rating

4.9  /5

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General Impression

Keeping your body warm so you can dive for longer, this 7mm cold-water dive hood harnesses Celliant infrared technology to conserve heat. It combines Elasteck outer fabric with high loft Celliant inner fabric that reacts with your body’s heat, converting it to infrared energy and reflecting it back to your body. The hood is double glued and blind-stitched for long-term use, with a trimmable face and neck for the ultimate fit. It comes complete with a mask strap grip pad on the back of the hood to prevent your mask from slipping, making it one of the best scuba diving hoods available. Sizes range from S to XXL.

THICKNESS: 7mm
MATERIALS: Nylon and Celliant-lined neoprene rubber
TEMPERATURE SUITED TO: Cold-water hood

Standout Features

  • Elastek outer fabric for stretch and high-loft Celliant inner fabric
  • Double glued and blind-stitched seams for durability
  • Neck seal meets with your wetsuit collar or dry suit seal
  • Allows trapped air to escape without letting water enter

BUYERS GUIDE AND TIPS
Best Scuba Hoods

It’s estimated that around 60% of a diver’s body heat escapes through their heads, which is why investing in a dive hood can make all the difference. Regardless of whether you’re diving in warm or cold water, a hood can be beneficial, particularly when you consider that the rate at which water takes heat from the body is up to 20 times faster than air. By insulating your head and retaining body heat, you prevent fatigue (as your body won’t be working hard to replace lost heat) and be able to increase your bottom time.

Dive hood materials

The majority of dive hoods are made out of neoprene, which is a flexible and spongy rubber material that’s filled with bubbles. These bubbles trap the heat that’s produced by a diver’s body, preventing it from being lost to the outside water and keeping the head (and body) warm throughout the dive. It’s for this reason that neoprene has become such a popular material for dive gear.

However, you can also find thin dive hoods made from lycra, which are ideal for diving or snorkeling in warm water. They protect the head from UV rays or can be worn beneath a neoprene dive hood for extra warmth. Tech materials are also being produced for superb heat retention in 7mm cold water dive hoods, featuring a combination of nylon outers and synthetic-lined inners.

Cold-Water vs Warm-Water Hoods

Generally speaking, the colder the water is, the thicker the neoprene in your dive hood should be. If you’re not sure what to purchase, the general rule of thumb is that 70°F (21°C) water requires 1-3mm thickness while 60-70°F (15.5-21°C) needs 4-5 mm and 50-60°F (10-15.5°C) needs 6-7 mm thickness.

However, the effectiveness of the hood’s heat retention capabilities is also determined by its design. Most cold water hoods have an insulated neck and a large bib that can be tucked inside your wetsuit to eliminate water flow. Many are also designed with a snug fit around the forehead and jaw while still allowing your mask to fit and a regulator to be used comfortably. This ensures as little of the diver’s face is exposed to the cold as is logistically possible.

Aside from being thinner, warm water hoods usually cover less of the face and rarely come with a large bib. Some will also be made from lycra or nylon, which are not as good at insulating as neoprene but are less cumbersome and easier to don. Even if you’re not concerned about heat loss from your head while diving in warm waters, they can still offer useful protection against UV rays, stingers, and other sea irritants.

Finding the perfect fit

A dive hood should fit snuggly over your head and around the face to prevent water from flowing. But at the same time, it should not be too tight or uncomfortable in any way. Most modern dive hoods are made using an ultra-stretchy neoprene. This unique flexibility allows it to retract easily around your head when being donned which prevents water flowing in.

While most dive hoods are just slipped over the head, you can also find those with zippers along the back of the hood to make them easier to fit, as well as hook and clip straps that sit beneath the chin and secure at the side of the face. These are worth considering if you have long hair that can make donning and removing traditional dive hoods cumbersome.

 

Will a dive hood prevent hypothermia?

A fall in body temperature of just a few degrees can quickly lead to hypothermia, which can be a serious risk when diving in cold-water conditions. While most scuba divers would not think about getting in cold water without a wetsuit, overlooking the importance of a dive hood is more common. It’s at the extremities of the body that we lose a lot of heat, with the head one area that releases a high percentage. This is why protecting it with a hood is so important, helping to prevent heat from escaping the body and reducing the risk of hypothermia.

 

Can I still equalize while wearing a hood?

Some divers find it harder to equalize during descent while wearing a hood. This is due to the snug fit of the hood against the outer ear, which restricts the movement of water. This can be solved by inserting a finger under the hood near the ear to ease the flow of water or by cutting a hole inside the hood near the ear canal through the inner lining. This will allow the water to move freely while still leaving the outer fabric intact.

 

Do I need a hood with a bib?

Whether you need a bib or not will depend on the type and design of wetsuit you are wearing. In most cases, a hood with a bib that can be tucked into your wetsuit is a useful addition to prevent water seeping inside, as well as offering another layer of warmth. But in some cases, dry suits will have an insulated neck that is not suitable to bibs and a long-necked hood is a better choice.

 

How can I maintain my dive hood?

Just as you would rinse your wetsuit with fresh water after a dive, the same should be done with your hood to prolong its life. Salt will not only degrade the hood over time but can also cause irritation the next time you wear your hood. After rinsing, leave your hood out to dry away from direct sunlight, then store it somewhere that’s not subject to significant weight or pressure.

REACH OUT

As always, we create our content with you, fellow divers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next dive is a great one!

Pippa Strickland

Pip is a product expert, a degreed environmental scientist, and an adventure-style traveler originally from Australia. Pip has been an SSI-certified Divemaster for over 5 years, during which time she’s worked with hundreds of certified divers. She’s dived widely throughout Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines and the Middle East, with a particular passion for night diving. When she’s not diving, her key interests include surfing, trekking and gardening in her ever-growing veggie patch.

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