As advancements in wetsuit technology continue, surfers are increasingly gravitating towards the lighter, more flexible 4/3 hooded wetsuit to replace their heavier 5/4. With so many hooded 4/3 wetsuits now available, which one should you buy? Do you need a hood with a 4/3 wetsuit? We spend a lot of time in the water testing wetsuits, and a good 4/3 with a hood can make a difference in the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Central & Northern California), where water temps often hover around 50 degrees F. Though not everyone wants a wetsuit with a hood, a 4/3 hooded wetsuit is ideal for waters from 50 to 58 degrees, depending on your air temps and tolerance to cold. All that said, here’s our review of a few 4/3 hooded suits that are staff and customer favorites for 2023.
- O'Neill - Hyperfreak 4/3+ Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $409.95
- Rip Curl - E-Bomb 4/3 Zip Free Hooded Wetsuit - $369.95
- Billabong - Furnace Comp 4/3 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $439.95
- Buell - RB2 4/3 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $285.95+
- Vissla - Seven Seas 4/3 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $309.95
- O'Neill - Mutant Legend 4.5/3.5 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $479.95
O'Neill Hyperfreak - $409.95
"Quality + Insane Performance"
O’Neill has been in the wetsuit game for a long time, and in the opinion of many, they make the best hooded 4/3 wetsuit on the market. First and foremost, this wetsuit is insanely flexible and lightweight. O’Neill has perfected their TechnoButter neoprene (both TB3 and TB3x), and any suit that features this stuff is a great option. But the TB3x is where the suit shines. By far, TB3x is the most flexible neoprene on the market, and this wetsuit features it where it matters, in the arms & shoulders. This makes the FUZE entry even easier to get into, paddling much less fatiguing, and sessions longer.
Besides the neoprene, the Hyperfreak has a minimal design to cut down on cost and weight and increase its flexibility. This suit does not feature smooth skin and is taped internally with TB3x tape. The TB3x internal taping is plenty sufficient to seal the seams for extended use and maintains the flexibility of the wetsuit. All said and done for the price point, this is a lightweight performance wetsuit with a great fit and watertight entry, that is good for temps down to the low 50s. Hard to pass this wetsuit by if you’re looking for flexibility.
Highlights & Features
- Most Flexible 4/3 Hooded Wetsuit
- TB3x Neoprene in shoulders & arms
- Great fit (comfortable hood)
- TB3x internal tape
- FUZE Entry System for ease of use and watertight seal
For more info, check out our full O’Neill Hyperfreak Wetsuit Review.
Rip Curl E-Bomb - $369.95
"Zip Free Flexibility & Freedom"
The Rip Curl E-Bomb is our zip-free option in the 4/3 hooded wetsuit category. People often ask if the zip free is easier/harder to get into compared to a chest zip, and we generally find that after you get used to it, it’s about the same. Rip Curl has been doing the Zip Free entry for over a decade, and this iteration is close to perfect. The overall fit and seal of the entry are great, and the lack of a zipper and larger panels around the shoulders and arms make the suit extra stretchy and comfortable for paddling.
The E-Bomb is not quite the highest-end wetsuit from Rip Curl; however, it does utilize their E6 Neoprene which stands up against the best neoprenes in the wetsuit world by being both lightweight, flexible, and durable.
Overall construction and durability of the E-Bomb are high quality but not overbuilt. Rip Curl does not choose to tape every square inch of the wetsuit and completely ignores the outside of the seams (no external seam seal). This turns out to work well with the E6 taping used in high-stress areas, and our experience with Rip Curl seams, in general, has been great over the years. In terms of warmth, the E-Bomb does have a lightweight E6 liner throughout the entire suit, and when paired with water-tight seals at all possible entry points and seams, this thing is pretty toasty.
In the end, if you’re looking for something warm, comfortable, and stretchy this is an excellent option, and I would put this wetsuit right up there with the HyperFreak mentioned above.
Highlights & Features
- Zip Free Entry
- Lightweight & Flexible E6 Neoprene
- Large Neoprene Panels / Minimal Seams
- Magnetic Key Pocket
Read our full review of the Rip Curl E-Bomb Wetsuit.
Billabong Furnace Comp - $439.95
"Performance + Warmth"
Let’s start by just saying the Furnace Comp 4/3 Hooded is a great suit. It’s right up there with any other wetsuit in this price range from the big-hitting wetsuit companies. Recently it has been upgraded with Graphene technology, which improves upon the older carbon liners, making it retain heat longer and keep you warmer.
Besides the Graphene liner, we are impressed with how lightweight and flexible the Furnace Comp is. Billabong uses their top-of-the-line neoprene in this suit, and it stands up to other high-end neoprenes if it doesn’t completely beat them.
A few more thoughtful choices went into creating this well-rounded wetsuit. It doesn’t have a heavy-duty liner throughout the entire suit. Instead, it has a lightweight graphene lining in the torso and thighs and a more basic liner elsewhere.
Additionally, the taped seams do not double up anywhere, meaning they don’t use tape on the inside while using a seam weld on the outside in the same place. This means the stretch is maximized while your seams are 100% covered. All said and done, we’re stoked on this wetsuit, and we think you’ll be as well.
Highlights & Features
- Great value
- Exclusive Graphene Liner
- Very Lightweight
- Superflex Neo Tape
- Minimal Seams
- Smart Foam: made from upcycled car tires
Take a look at our full review of the Billabong Furnace Comp Wetsuit.
Buell RB2 - $285.95+
"Core Surf Gear + Killer Price"
The Buell RB2 has been around for a few years and has become one of our most-reviewed 5-star wetsuits. Both Cleanline staff and customers love this suit. Overall, the hooded 4/3 brings a lot to the table, including fully externally sealed seams, internal stress tape, and ample thermo lining. We have heard feedback that the hood is a bit tight, but most people find that the suit will loosen up after use.
Taking a look at the materials, the Ninja Neoprene is soft and stretchy, granting you freedom of movement and comfort. The only thing that could give this suit a little more warmth would be a smooth skin lining; however, these days, companies have taken feedback from surfers and left it out of many designs. Rounding out the RB2, for durability, you get reinforced knee pads, a quality zipper/entry, and a convenient key pocket—definitely a great suit at a medium price point.
Highlights & Features
- Limestone-Based Ninja Neoprene
- Full Coverage External Seam Weld
- Internal Stress Tape
- Smaller Core Surf Company
Take a look at our full review of the Buell RB2 Wetsuit.
Vissla Seven Seas - $309.95
"Design Aesthetics + Value"
Vissla is a relatively newer brand that has been picking up steam with offerings like the Seven Seas 4/3 Hooded for $309.95. This is one of the best prices out there on a solid 4/3 hooded wetsuit. It’s fully taped internally (except in the arms where you want the extra stretch), so you can feel confident the suit will hold up to the rigors of daily use.
There are two different liners (one in the body and one in the legs) which both help to keep you warm and comfortable. Externally, you’ll see the standard GBS seams, no special seam weld, but because of the internal tape, you don’t really need it. Considering this wetsuit is priced between entry-level and mid-range, it has many high-end features, and the neoprene is better than we would expect from similarly priced wetsuits. Still not top-of-the-line like you’ll find in $500 wetsuits but definitely plenty stretchy.
Overall the build quality feels solid, and the zipper is fairly heavy-duty and does not dislocate, so you don’t have to fumble around trying to start it with cold hands. A couple of other standard but nice features include reinforced knee pads and seals around the ankles and cuffs to help keep water out. All said and done; if you’re on a budget, it’s hard not to buy this suit.
Highlights & Features
- Entry-Level Pricing in a mid-range suit
- Thermal Brain Fuzz lining
- Smoothy back panel
- Super Stretch Neo Tape 2.0
- Eco-Friendly Limestone-based neoprene
For more info, check out our full Vissla Seven Seas Wetsuit Review.
O'Neill Mutant Legend - $479.95
O’Neill’s Mutant is one of the longest-running wetsuit models on this list, and over the years, this versatile offering has been perfected. The current version of the Mutant comes with TB3 and TB3x Neoprene and a thickness of 4.5/3.5. This is the wetsuit you want if you’re not 100% into wearing a hood all the time. The Mutant Legend comes with two different zip-in attachments: a hood and a regular neckpiece (no hood). Because the closure system has overlapping layers and a zipper attachment, you get a super watertight wetsuit whether you’re using the hood or the regular neck.
Besides this exclusive hood-optional feature, looking at the rest of the Mutant’s specs, you’ll find it’s a solid high-end wetsuit. 100% fluid seam welded on the exterior, with wind-blocking smooth skin on the front and back panels, as well as a technobutter air firewall liner in key areas. As a result, this is hands down, a watertight and super warm 4/3 wetsuit (technically 4.5mm/3.5mm). The TB3 neoprene has been a top neoprene in the wetsuit game for years, and the TB3x found in the shoulders of Mutant is the most flexible out there, making this suit a great performer when it comes to paddling and comfort.
All in all, this is a high-end wetsuit priced a bit below the top-of-the-line suits on the market, and a great selling point is the detachable hood system that allows you to have two wetsuits in one.
Highlights & Features
- Interchangeable Hood & Neck Piece
- TB3 Neoprene + TB3x in shoulders
- 8mm External Fluid Seam Weld
- Great water-tight fit
For more info check out our full O'Neill Mutant Legend 4.5/3.5mm Wetsuit Review.
Should I buy a wetsuit hood separately or buy a wetsuit with an attached hood?
We would recommend an attached hood if warmth is your main concern. The attached hood will let less water in therefore keeping you warmer. The benefit of having a detachable hood is that you can be more comfortable going hoodless when the water is closer to 55 - 60 degrees F. There are also some detachable hoods that offer less coverage and are a little bit more comfortable. Check out our wetsuit hoods over at our website, or read our wetsuit hood guide to learn more about hoods.
These are our top reviewed 4/3 Hooded Wetsuits of 2023. We think any of these wetsuits are a great choice as they all fit a slightly different need and price point. If you want to know which one is our best-seller, we'd have to say the Hyperfreak; however, there are definitely more options out there, so click the link below to view our full selection.
If you have any questions leave a comment below, or call us at 1-888-546-6176 for expert sizing advice and wetsuit information. Don’t forget to click through to our main website to read customer reviews as well.