Scuba Gear Buying Advice
DiveTulsa does not sell gear.
You can count on our honest opinion on what gear we like, use and recommend.

For most types of gear, there are several manufacturers that make quality products. There is probably more than one right answer. Over time you'll develop your own preferences. You'll hear from a lot of divers that one brand or another is the best, we all have our opinions. Ask them why and try to find out what feature they really mean. There rarely is a 'best' but they may have a point that is worth finding out.

The best buying situation is where you get a fair price, proper warranty, ability to try things on and service for the gear after you buy it. Keep in mind that most scuba gear will need service, particularly BC's and Regulators. It is well worth a reasonable sacrifice in price to maintain an excellent working relationship with a shop who can service your gear.

Where to shop


Here are the basic places you should shop for gear:
• On-line / catalog scuba shops
• Local scuba shops
• On-line ads
• On-line auctions
• Other divers you know

Good Local Scuba Shops
(if you have one)
• Ability to try gear on
• Advice (remember though, the shop makes money on the brands that it sells )
• Personal service
(if you've chosen a quality shop they should be friendly and helpful)
• Immediate delivery
(If the shop has a good stock)
• Service - convenient and trusted service
• Not often the lowest price (see local tip above)
• Have to pay sales tax
• Not many shops have all sizes in stock
• Check delivery time if the shop has to order what you want
On-Line Shops

• Low price
• Don't have to pay sales tax
• Carries many brands
• Large stock of sizes

• You can't try the gear on as easily
• Shipping costs
• Need to check if you get manufacturer's warranty
On-Line Auctions
• Wide variety and ages gear
• Can find great prices, be careful that it just doesn't look inexpensive because it's an auction
• You can't try the gear on
• Need to know what size you need
• Need to judge quality from a photo and description
• Make sure you can still get the gear serviced, it may be older
Other divers
• Ability to try gear on
• Immediate delivery
• Can find great prices
• You'll have to judge the reputation of the seller, and what kind of care the gear has seen

Any of the listed buying sources can be good. They all have certain advantages.

Believe it or not, local dive shops have the potential to be better that all of the other choices. They are the only ones that can bring all of the advantages in one place. The challenge is fin ding one that actually does that. It's incredibly rare.

Succeeding at this requires the shop to be enlightened and to work hard at their advantages as well as minimizing their disadvantages. Not all shops are willing to do that, treasure the ones that are, if you have one in your town.

Expect a good price for what you want to buy. Be willing to trade a little bit on price for other advantages.

How do we judge the quality of dive shops?
• Attitude
• Superb customer service
• Friendly unrushed atmosphere
• Don't use 'internet fear' as a sales tactic (telling you scary things about warranties and that all the gear is last year's models)
• Works hard to be price competitive and to come close to or beat on-line prices.
• Carries a good selection of models and sizes IN STOCK. If the shop is going to order it for you, be specific about how long this will take. Most times if you order it yourself you'll get it a lot faster than if the shop orders it for you.