Buying used scuba gear in 2024 – Tips, Tricks, and the best places to buy second-hand

By Julius
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Scuba gear lined up on boat

Looking to buy used scuba gear in 2024?

There are lots of platforms and ways to buy second-hand equipment for any sport online and offline today.

But is doing so a good idea? And if so, what should you look out for?

If you have these questions, keep reading as we’ll look deeper into buying second-hand scuba gear online and offline. We’ll give you tips, tricks, look at pros. and cons, as well as the possible cost savings.

Of course, we’ll also show you the best places for bargains!

Should I buy used scuba gear?

Buying used or second-hand scuba gear can save you a lot of money, help you get your own dive equipment together quicker, and is also a great way to reduce the environmental impact of diving. However, be careful to only buy certified, quality scuba gear and service it regularly.

Buying second-hand scuba gear can be a great way to save money and dive into the underwater world quicker than getting it new.

It’s also a favorite way to start diving on a budget!

Many dive equipment pieces last a long time if serviced correctly. This means even if you buy an older kit, it’s probable that you will be able to use it for years to come.

Scuba tank valve
Many equipment pieces are used just as good as new.

The scuba gear market is also notoriously slow to change and make innovations. So in most cases, older BCDs, fins, regulators, and such won’t be a big step back from using gear as of 2024.

However, NEVER compromise on safety and quality for the sake of a bargain! We’ll look at how to pick the right bargain and such later but we want to stress this again:

Never compromise on safety and quality for the sake of a bargain!

What scuba gear can I buy second-hand?

Although you can buy any scuba gear second-hand, you should limit your purchases to basics like masks, fins, snorkels, and BCD, as well as accessories like knives, lights, SMBs, etc. For hygienic reasons, many prefer to buy neoprene and other textiles new. Used scuba regulators should be freshly serviced after purchase. Only buy used dive computers that use modern decompression tables.

Of course, you could buy your entire scuba kit used and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Scuba masks, fins, snorkels, BCDs, etc. are all perfectly fine to buy second-hand and there is not much that can go wrong. Granted, you made sure they are in good condition. On the other hand, you might feel a bit put off from buying a wetsuit some other diver has used (and peed into(!)) before.

Aqualung Calypso
Your local dive shop or center might sell used but freshly serviced equipment for cheap!

Pros and Cons of buying used scuba gear

Here are some pros and cons of buying used scuba gear:


  1. Cost Savings: Second-hand gear can be much more affordable than brand-new equipment. You can save anywhere from 20% to 60% compared to retail prices. Some might even come free!
  2. Environmentally Friendly: Buying second-hand is a form of recycling, reducing the demand for new gear to be produced.
  3. Quick Turnaround: With ready availability, you don’t have to wait for shipping from online stores or endure backorders.
  4. Tried and Tested: Unlike new gear that’s never been used, second-hand equipment is usually tried and tested so you know it works.
  5. Community: Many diving communities have active gear swap and buy-and-sell forums or groups that you can participate in. Not only will you get scuba gear for cheap but meet potential dive buddies!


  1. Limited Lifespan: Used gear typically has a shorter remaining lifespan compared to new equipment.
  2. Unknown History: You may not have a comprehensive record of maintenance, repairs, or the kind of environments the gear has been exposed to.
  3. Limited Warranty: Many warranties are non-transferable, so you may be left without this safety net.
  4. Incomplete Sets: Sometimes, gear may be missing essential accessories or parts, which means you’ll need to spend extra to make it functional.
  5. Hygiene: In the case of textiles and wearables like wetsuits, hoods, boots, etc. it’s more hygienic to buy new.
  6. No way to try it before buying: Especially if you buy from online platforms like eBay or Craigslist, there is no way to try before you buy. This might not be an issue for some equipment pieces, however.

Where to buy used scuba gear?

The best places to buy used gear are from your local dive shop that might offer a second-hand equipment sale, as well as from divers in your community. Other options are online platforms like eBay, or Craigslist, scuba diving forums, as well as social media groups. If you can, always inspect the gear in person before buying.

eBay is the biggest source of used scuba gear online and very popular among divers.

You’ll find hundreds of new entries every day and some of it is super cheap!

Craigslist, Reddit, Facebook Groups, and other social media and online platforms come second. There are great bargains to be made but buying here is often less secure than on eBay.

eBay scuba gear category
eBay has a LOT of scuba gear!

Most of the big diving forums have their own sections for buying and selling equipment or might offer an equipment swap.

Once again, your local dive ship is also a great source of used equipment. In many cases, dive centers

Reliable Sources:

  1. Dive Shops: Many offer trade-in programs and sell used gear that has been inspected and serviced.
  2. Online Forums and Marketplaces: Websites like ScubaBoard or even general platforms like eBay can have listings, but exercise caution.
  3. Social Media Groups: Specialized Facebook groups and subreddits may offer local deals.

Tips for buying used scuba gear

Here are some more tips for buying second-hand dive equipment.

Always note down the serial numbers of your gear for warranty, recalls, or in case of theft.

Ask for any available documentation including user manuals, original receipts, and maintenance records.

And most importantly:

Don’t rush any equipment purchase

Take your time when looking for second-hand gear. Hasty decisions can lead to wrong purchases and even greater costs than buying new in the first place.

Tips for Buying Online

Check Seller Reviews: Ensure the seller has good reviews and a history of selling scuba equipment!

Request Detailed Photos and Information: Ensure the listing includes high-quality images and a comprehensive description of the item’s condition.

This should not only be surface pictures but include close-up shots.

Buying used scuba regulators

Buying used scuba regulators can often grant you the biggest savings. However, they should either be sold with a certificate of a recent professional maintenance service, or you will have to take care of that afterward.

Never dive with a second hand scuba regulator that has not been serviced!

The risk of malfunction is far too great to be ignored or risked.

What to look for before buying:

  1. Inspect for Salt Residue: A well-maintained regulator shouldn’t show signs of salt or corrosion, especially around the first and second stages.
  2. Check the Mouthpiece: Look for signs of wear and tear; it’s an easy part to replace but could indicate how well the gear has been maintained.
  3. Breathing Test: With the permission of the seller, attach it to a tank and breathe through it on the surface. It should feel easy to breathe; if it feels tight or sticky, it may need servicing.
Look inside XTX200 scuba regulator first stage
Always check the filter when buying a used regulator!

Buying used scuba tanks

Scuba tanks follow the same pattern as scuba regulators and it should be easy for the seller to provide you with a certificate before purchasing. The usual maintenance interval is 5 years, so you have a good idea of what is appropriate.

Cylinders should be completely dry inside and out and show no signs of corrosion or other damage. Make sure it’s a CE-certified tank and uses a valve that fits your regulator.

Some general tips:

  1. Check Hydrostatic Test Date: Tanks need to be tested every five years. Make sure the test date is recent or negotiate the price down if it’s due for a test.
  2. Inspect for Rust: Check both inside (as much as you can see) and outside for signs of rust or corrosion.
  3. Check Valves: Make sure they open and close smoothly and don’t show signs of wear or leaks.

Buying used BCDs (Buoyancy Control Device)

BCDs are often the easiest to buy used as they are pretty indestructible anyway.

It takes some serious effort to damage a BCD so that it loses all its value but you can get pretty sweet bargains for them.

Some tips before you buy:

  1. Check for Leaks: Inflate the BCD and listen closely for leaks. Keep it inflated for an extended period to see if it deflates over time.
  2. Inspect All Clips and Zippers: Make sure that they are functional and not damaged, as these are often expensive to replace.
  3. Look for Repairs: Previous patches or stitching could be a sign of heavy use or potential weak points in the BCD.

Buying used dive computers

You can save quite some money if you can get a good dive computer for cheap.

Especially when newer versions come out, many divers sell their older models that are still in great shape.

Similarly to phones etc., if you don’t need the absolute latest, greatest tech, there are great bargains to be made.

Just be careful that the computer uses modern dive tables, has Nitrox capabilities, as well as a well-functioning display.

Some more tips:

  • Test Functionality: Turn on the computer or check the gauges to ensure they are working correctly. Dead batteries are usually easy to replace, but other issues may be expensive to fix.
  • Check for Scratches or Cracks: The screen should be easily readable, and cracks could be a sign of internal moisture damage.
  • Firmware/Software: Check if it’s up-to-date or if updates are available and supported for older models.

Buying used Wetsuits/Drysuits/other neoprene gear

Exposure suits are – in my opinion – the hardest equipment pieces to buy used, online and offline.

Sometimes you can get lucky, though, and someone is selling unused ones that were simply too large/small for them.

Even then, I personally don’t do it but if you want to, here are some tips:

  1. Inspect Seams: Check for any fraying or separation at the seams, as this could let water in and reduce thermal protection.
  2. Try It On: Fit is crucial for thermal protection. If possible, try on the suit to make sure it fits snugly but not restrictively.
  3. Check for Odors: A strong odor could indicate poor maintenance or issues with the material.
Neoprene suits on the ground
There are two types of dives: Those who pee in their suits, and those who lie…

Buying used Fins, Masks, and Snorkels

Like neoprene and anything I wear directly on my skin, I don’t usually buy these used.

However, they are often dirt cheap online, or maybe you get them as part of a convolute for free.

Look out for:

  1. Fit and Comfort: Especially for masks, make sure they fit well to ensure a good seal.
  2. Check for Damages: Look for cracks in the fins, chips in the mask glass, or bite marks on the snorkel mouthpiece.
  3. Straps and Buckles: Make sure they are in good condition and easily adjustable, as these are often points of failure.

Pricing Advice for Second-Hand Scuba Gear

First off, some general advice:

Research: Know the current retail price of the equipment you’re interested in. This gives you a basis for comparison.

Negotiate: Many sellers are willing to negotiate, especially if you’re buying multiple items.

Consider Total Cost: Factor in potential repair costs, missing parts, and the cost of any required accessories when determining the total expenditure.

Price Points

BCDs (Buoyancy Control Devices): Expect to pay around 40-70% of the retail price for a used BCD in good condition.

Regulators: Depending on the condition, age, and whether they are coldwater-certified, you’re looking at 50-75% of the original price.

Wetsuits/Drysuits: Since they endure less technical stress, these should be available for 30-50% of the retail price.

Dive Computers: Similar to other electronics, you should be able to get this at least 20-30% below retail!

Scuba divers equalizing ears while descending
Time to go for loooow prices. 😁


Buying second-hand scuba gear can be a very cost-effective way to equip yourself, but it’s crucial to be thorough in your inspections and cautious in your choices.

When in doubt, it’s usually better to just buy new and save yourself the disappointment if something is off.

If you are looking to buy new, here is our overview of the best scuba gear in 2024.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

©2024 Social Diving. All rights reserved. The content presented here is the exclusive property of Social Diving and may not be copied or distributed, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Social Diving.

Social Diving is your #1 online source for scuba diving, scuba travel, water sports, learning, and having fun in and under water. We have scuba online articles, review plenty of (scuba) gear, and regularly post travel guides around the world.


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