RAID Diving vs. PADI Diving – What are the Differences?

Are you looking to become certified as a new diver, to level up your skills, or even to become a diving instructor?

The first challenge is to decide which certification agency to go with. Though there is no “right” answer, there are a few factors that will make all the difference when considering where to get trained and certified.

There are multiple options to choose from, with around seven major recreational diving organizations in the world. However, two of the best options are PADI- or (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and RAID (Rebreather Association of International Divers).

PADI is the largest diving organization in the world, but is it the best? Let’s compare the factors that make up a high-quality scuba diving certification course by comparing the diving courses offered by PADI and RAID on four key factors: size, quality of certification, cost, and ease.

Padi Diving vs. Raid Diving

There are many small and technical differences between RAID diving and PADI diving, but these can be compared in four key factors: size, quality of certification, cost, and ease.


In terms of size, around 60-70% of global recreational divers have a PADI diving certification. Undeniably, it’s the largest diving federation in the world. In contrast, RAID is far smaller but is the fastest-growing diver training agency in the world. Both PADI and RAID diving are international accredited diving agencies, however, which means that you will be able to dive anywhere in the world with either of these certifications.

Is RAID better than PADI?

This is a slightly trickier issue, as quality will inevitably be somewhat subjective. However, while PADI tends to take a more broad approach to scuba diving courses, RAID is somewhat more in-depth. Both organisations offer certification courses in recreational diving, as well as multiple professional scuba diving certifications in Dubai. RAID also provides comprehensive and well respected tec diving courses; probably because of its technical diving origins, RAID tends to offer a more comprehensive education in all aspects of diving, using more modern teaching approaches. These include learning and teaching all skills in neutral buoyancy, learning good trim and buoyancy control right from the start, as well as learning a variety of different finning (kicking) techniques to allow fine control of position in the water. Therefore, RAID diving UAE is probably the best bet for people looking for a more comprehensive diving certification experience.


The cost of the theory manuals or e-learning modules for PADI courses can be quite expensive- typically in the hundreds of pounds in our region. Because RAID is 100% online, they do not have the same logistics overheads as PADI and are typically less than half the price of an equivalent PADI course, for far more detailed course materials. If you’d like to check that out for yourself, all the RAID courses are available for you to read for free on! Therefore, if you’re interested in getting into the details of the diving experience, RAID is definitely the better option.

Ease of use

While PADI offers online learning courses as an extension to their paper based courses, RAID has always been 100% online, which provides far more agility to keep the course materials up to date, as well as the platform for innovations such as the revolutionary ‘FRE-e-Learning’ courses at every diving level with a free account. RAID has also built probably the best online quality assurance system in the business, which means you will always get the best quality education.

Think Carefully When Selecting a Deep Diving Course

A deep diving course – regardless of which one you choose – it will take up a lot of time, cost a significant amount of money, and probably be a positive life-changing experience. Therefore, it’s important to think about which one will offer you the best experience, not the cheapest!

Here at Freestyle Divers, we’re proud to lead with RAID. Our goal is to produce real divers, not just certification cards! Our high-quality diving courses have created skilled, confident divers and an incredible, enriching culture. What’s more, we also run a UAE marine conservation academy that supports the local marine ecosystem.

To find out more about Freestyle Divers’ courses, please check out our website. We’re also happy to answer any queries or questions that you might have about our courses, so feel free to reach out!

What's your reaction?

Leave a comment