4/3 vs. 3/2 Wetsuit: The Complete Comparison

4 3 vs 3 2 Wetsuit The Complete Comparison

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If you’re in the market for a wetsuit, you’ll notice that they come in a range of different thicknesses. It can be a hassle to choose a suitable thickness for you.

4/3 and 3/2 are among the most common thickness levels for wetsuits. So, which one is better for you?

Look no further for the answer! Today’s article will help you select the suitable wetsuit thickness for your water adventures. Let’s dive into the details!

Read my wetsuit thickness guide.

What Do 4/3 and 3/2 Stand For?

The thickness of a wetsuit is basically the thickness of the neoprene layer inside it before applying the inside and outside lining. Neoprene thickness can be anywhere from 2 mm to 7 mm, depending on the type of suit.

Typically, the legs, arms, and shoulders of the suit are slightly thinner to allow flexibility. In other words, the neoprene thickness can vary from one part of the wetsuit to the other. That’s why manufacturers express the thickness of the suit by two or three digits.

In some cases, people refer to them as 4.3 and 3.2 suits. The first digit indicates the thickness of the neoprene in the torso area. On the other hand, the second digit specifies the thickness of the neoprene at the extremities.

So, a 4/3 suit’s main panels are 4 mm and 2 mm thick. Similarly, a 3/2 suit’s main panels are 3 mm and 2 mm.

Key Differences Between the 4/3 and the 3/2 Wetsuits

Let’s check out some of the key differences that can affect your choice between the 4/3 and the 3/2.


The main ingredient in a wetsuit is neoprene, which is treated, durable rubber. The thicker the neoprene layer, the less flexible it becomes.

However, this isn’t a bad thing, as not all activities or water spots require the same level of flexibility. For example, open-water swimmers and surfers need more movement than divers. That said, the 3/2 suits provide more freedom to the wearer than the 4/3.


Neoprene is an excellent insulator and heat regulator. Therefore, thicker suits can provide more warmth to the wearer. However, the extra warmth comes at the price of the wetsuit being heavier and less flexible.

Both suits can provide adequate warmth, but a 4/3 would do it better than a 3/2.

Water Temperature

Water temperature is perhaps the most crucial factor that can influence your choice of neoprene thickness. In fact, each thickness level is suitable for a particular range of water temperatures.

For instance, a 4/3 mm suit is suitable for water temperatures around 52°F to 58°F. Generally, we use the 4/3 suits around spring and summer.

On the other hand, a 3/2 mm suit is suitable for water temperatures around 58°F to 63°F. The 3/2 suits are also perfect for summer and spring.


Thickness has a small influence on the durability of a wetsuit.

Let me explain how:

Since neoprene is durable, the more neoprene a suit contains, the more rugged it becomes.

Therefore, thicker suits are less prone to direct damage and can also last longer. However, most wetsuits are durable enough, so it doesn’t make a big difference.

That said, a 4/3 suit is relatively more durable than a 3/2 suit.


The less flexible a suit is, the tighter it can feel. Nevertheless, thickness and flexibility don’t influence fit greatly. In some cases, you might need to opt for a bigger size when buying a thicker wetsuit.


4/3 wetsuits are suitable for cooler weather. They can become pretty heated on a sunny day. On the other hand, the 3/2 wetsuits are suitable for slightly warmer weather.

In some places with warm water, you can even use a 3/2 wetsuit all year long.


Thick wetsuits are basically pricier than thin wetsuits. That’s not because it contains more neoprene, but because thick wetsuits usually have more technologies that keep you warm.

As such, in most cases, a 4/3 suit will be pricier than a 3/2 one. Keep in mind that the pricing can vary from one brand to the other.

Similarities Between the 4/3 and the 3/2 Wetsuits

Since the difference between the 4/3 and the 3/2 wetsuits is only 1 mm, they’re quite similar.

Typically, they come as hooded or non-hooded full suits. You can rarely find spring suits with a 4/3 or a 3/2 thickness.

Additionally, you can wear them in spring or summer, depending on the water temperature.

Despite the 4/3 being thicker than the 3/2, they both achieve a good balance between flexibility and thickness.

4/3 vs. 3/2: Which Is Better for You?

The 4/3 and the 3/2 wetsuits aren’t that different from each other. So, it can be hard to pick one of them.

The first thing that you need to consider is the purpose of the wetsuit. Some water activities require more flexibility, while others prefer more warmth.

Then, check out the water temperature and weather in the area. You need to take your personal tolerance for cold into consideration as well.

Generally, if you want a more flexible suit, go for the 3/2. On the other hand, the 4/2 is suitable for colder conditions.

Does Wetsuit Thickness Matter?

The thickness of neoprene can make or break your experience. If you pick a wetsuit with a lower thickness than you need, you’ll feel cold, especially underwater. It can drain your energy, and you might get muscle cramps.

Similarly, choosing a thicker wetsuit than you need can cause overheating. That can lead to losing a lot of power, dehydration, and discomfort. That’s why you need to get a wetsuit with a suitable thickness.

Keep in mind that personal preference is essential. For example, if you feel like warmth is more important for you than flexibility, go for the thicker suit.


How Do We Measure Neoprene Thickness?

The neoprene is typically measured before applying the inside and outside lining of the wetsuit. So, you can expect the suit to be even thicker than the number.

However, it’s worth mentioning that some brands determine the thickness of the wetsuits by measuring both the neoprene layer and the lining. That’s why you need to check out how the manufacturer measures the thickness of its wetsuits before buying one.

Is the 4/3 Wetsuit Too Warm?

A 4/3 wetsuit doesn’t usually become too warm. In fact, it’s suitable for many weather conditions. In many countries, it can work as an all-season wetsuit.

Can a 3/2 Wetsuit Keep Me Warm?

If the water temperature is around 58°F to 63°F, the 3/2 will provide you with enough warmth. It also depends on the wind condition and your tolerance for the cold.

Is a Tight Wetsuit Too Thick?

Generally, the thickness of wetsuits has a low impact on the suit’s fit. Ideally, you want the suit to feel snug but not tight.

Wrapping Up

So, what’s the difference between 4/3 and 3/2 suits?

The 4/3 suits are one millimeter thicker than the 3/2 suits. In turn, they’re heavier and less flexible, but they provide better warmth.

On the other hand, 3/2 wetsuits are lighter and more flexible, but they don’t keep you as warm as the 4/3 suits.

Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson, a scuba diving enthusiast from San Diego, has spent over a decade exploring the underwater world across the globe. Sharing his passion through captivating stories and informative articles, Jack aims to inspire others to embark on their own scuba diving adventures and uncover the ocean's hidden treasures. Follow Jack on Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and Facebook or email him at Jack@diving-info.com

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