The Dive Otter

What About Used Gear?

Who doesn't like saving money or getting a good deal? If it's going to cost $350 for basic gear to get started and $100 to rent the remaining gear whenever I want to dive ...or... $2,000 to own my own equipment....can I buy used equipment and save myself some money?

Let's assume you were able to find everything used, how much would you save? Probably 25-30%. Scuba gear is generally either worthless on the used market or holds it value very well and thus not much of a reason to buy used. If you planned to spend ~$2,000 you could probably save maybe $500 if you bought used. So now it becomes should you buy used equipment...

For some things...sure. For others...maybe not.


The GearUsed?Why / Considerations?
Mask
No
A mask is a personal thing and everyones face is a different shape. It is unlikely, dare I saw impossible, to find a mask on the used market that properly fits your face.
Fins
Yes
Not much can go wrong with fins...if it's the kind you want. Sure...buy them used.
Snorkel
Yes
Absolutely...and then you'll probably never use it after your open water class.
Wetsuit
No
Unless the wetsuit has less than a handful of dives and it comes from someone you trust...I wouldn't. Wetsuits wear out. They lose their buoyancy and warmth with time, and they do not have replaceable parts. Lastly, a proper fit is key. Some wetsuit manufacturers offer dozens of sizes, which means finding the perfect fit on the used market in good condition is highly unlikely.
Gloves
Maybe
This would be less risky to buy used than a full wetsuit, just make sure the size is correct for your hand and the seams look to be holding.
Hood
Maybe
Other than avoiding anything that looks to be old, you should be fine. However, I don't see hoods on the used market very often.
Regulator Set
Maybe
These hold their value very well so you may not get much of a discount for used, unless you go very old or very used. Make sure whatever you buy can be serviced by a technician at your local dive shop. And for heaven sake...have it serviced before you dive it.
Computer
Yes
Not much can go wrong on a computer so long as it is not "flooded". You can have it serviced at your local dive shop for new ORings and battery.
BCD (Jacket)
Maybe
My first BCD was used. Worked just fine. Make sure whatever you can buy can be serviced at your local dive shop. And for heaven sake...have it serviced before you dive it. A jacket BCD has more "complicated" parts than a Backplate/Wing, so it is unlikely you can service it yourself so this is a "Maybe".
BCD (Backplate/Wing)
Yes
Not much can go wrong with a Backplate/Wing other than the wing component. So check it for leaks or damage before you buy. Everything else can be self maintenance with replacement parts off the Internet.
Weights
Yes
It's lead. Literally...if you can find some used..absolutely buy it.
Torch/Light
Yes
On the low end of the cost curve, there is not much of a used market. No harm in buying used if you can find them.
Tanks
Maybe
High risk when buying used. If possible, require a recent Hydro at a minimum before you purchase or factor that into the cost and if it fails...now what? I got my 4 tanks used for a screaming deal...but I took the risk they would fail Hydro.
Drysuit
Maybe
It's hard to say "No" for this because of how expensive they are, but I really want to. A high quality drysuit is generally a custom or semi-custom fitting. The odds of you finding a great fit and in good condition is going to be rare. But if you do find one...have it serviced / leak checked before you dive it.
Compass
Yes
On the low end of the market there isn't much of a reason to buy used. However, if you can find a Suunto SK8 that is used and in working order...buy it.