PADI vs SDI Certifications | Which Should You Choose

Getting Started With Scuba Diving – Which Certifying Agency Should You Choose?

So you have decided you are interested in becoming a scuba diver. You are considering starting your training and the first thing you come across is the fact that there are multiple training agencies that offer Open Water Courses. What is the difference? Which should I choose? Are both accepted around the world? Let us answer these questions for you.

The first thing you should know is that all of the major dive agencies are governed by the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC). The WRSTC ensures that all of these agencies’ courses meet certain minimum requirements for all of their courses. This is then relayed to the instructors from each of those agencies, which is then passed unto the students. The fact of the matter is that the core curriculum in most of these courses is almost identical. So much so, that we often have students taking the PADI and SDI Courses alongside each other in the pool and during the open water dives with the same instructor completing both.

Why Is The PADI Course More Expensive?

The PADI eLearning portion of the course with Saguaro is priced at $175.50 while the SDI eLearning portion of their course is priced at $99. This is a significant difference and the only real explanation is that PADI has put a higher price point on their course. PADI is a much larger company with significantly more overhead and more marketing money being spent than SDI. If you buy the PADI eLearning Course directly through PADI, it will cost you $195. If you purchase the SDI eLearning Course directly through SDI, it will cost you $129. It certainly pays for you to shop through us rather than directly through the agencies!

With Saguaro Scuba we charge the exact same thing for your confined water portion ($104) and the 4 open water dives portion ($195) whether you are doing the PADI or SDI Certification. In total your SDI Certification will come out to $398 while the PADI Certification will come out to $474.50.

Are Both Certifications Accepted Around The World?

Absolutely. Any certification done with any of the agencies in the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) is accepted around the world. One great thing about SDI is that you will have an account with SDI where you can login and get a digital copy of your certification card if you ever happen to forget it on a trip. PADI offers a service to PADI Professionals where they can search up a customer’s certification based upon name and birthday.

Do Both Have Options For Continuing Education?

Of course! PADI has a full range of courses that run from Discover Scuba right up to the professional level. SDI offers very similar advanced learning options. One thing that makes SDI unique is that their sister company TDI (Technical Diving International) offers a range of technical diving learning opportunities should you be interested as well.

In Summary

Which certifying agency and which course you choose is a personal decision for most divers. The quality of the course and the information and the knowledge which you will gain is very similar in both options. We tend to recommend new students to go down the SDI route. The $60 you save on the course can get you started with a bit of your own dive equipment! Mask, fins, snorkel, and boots sets at Saguaro start at $169.