How to Choose the Best Scuba BCDs


Every diver knows that when it comes to diving, every piece of equipment is important. One such essential device is a BCD. In order to help you choose the right gear setup, we have put together a list of the best buoyancy compensator devices for you. Read on below to find out more about these devices and why they stand out!

Recommended Scuba Diving BCDs

Reviews of Scuba Diving BCDs

Underwater, a BCD, helps you get neutral buoyancy during your diving, allowing you to safely explore the depths of the ocean. Some top scuba diving BCDs have been reviewed down below for you to go through and choose from.

For Beginners

Beginners only need a very basic BCD. Some great options to choose from include:

Cressi Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator Device


Cressi Scuba Diving is issued to first-time divers by diving schools all over the world. It is a bulletproof product present in the market and comes with great features for you to enjoy. It is made for intense usage in all water conditions and has resistant characteristics along with excellent comfortability.

Due to the lightweight design and hydrodynamics, this BCD is easier to maneuver underwater. The low-profile gravity-integrated weight pockets present on this are easy to release and load. It also comes featured with side gravity pockets for weight ballast that has buckles with quick release when an emergency occurs.

Furthermore, this device comes with a semi-rigid, light backplate and has minimal thickness. This ensures that the erosion points are minimized on the internal fabric. The design leaves the handle easily accessible, and the cylinder remains perfectly centered along with straps and non-slip rubber inserts. This Cressi Aquapro+ BCD is manufactured and designed especially for beginners to use in snorkeling and scuba diving adventures.

  • The Aquapro+ is a Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator Device appreciates for the complete features and accessories and for helping greatly the diver to have a perfect balance underwater.
  • It is made for intense use (Nylon 420 Denier), in any water conditions, ensuring excellent comfort and resistance characteristics. Thanks to its hydrodynamic and light design it makes easier any movement and maneuvers underwater …

SEAC Ego Scuba Diving BCD


This SEAC Ego BCD is another entry-level BCD made from robust material and has plenty of amazing features. It comes with a lightweight design that is easy to transport and very comfortable to wear as well. It is designed to withstand the rigors of extended usage via a heavy-duty Cordura 1000 material.

This provides it with excellent resistance and supports constant exposure to water. Moreover, it has adjustable straps that allow you to fit it on your body easily. It comes in two different colors, red and black, which gives it a very stylish touch as well. Furthermore, the roomy pockets present on this device with Velcro closure flaps make it simple and quick to use.

  • Cordura 1000 to ensure maximum abrasion resistance.
  • Roomy pockets with velcro closures on flaps.
  • External size label for immediate identification (from XXXS to XL).
  • Material outer bladder: PU coated 1000 D Cordura Material inner bladder: PU coated 840 D Nylon
  • Dump valves: 3 with pull command D-rings: 4-25 mm in stainless steel Dry weight (size L): 3200 g (complete with hose and weight pocket) …

Travel-Friendly BCDs

If you wish to dive in waters across the globe or want to go on a scuba vacation, your best bet is a travel-friendly BCD. Some great options include:

Cressi Travel-Friendly Light Black


This Patrol BC is another impressive, lightweight BCD by Cressi and is very versatile for all kinds of diving activities. It is a robust product with good construction and has a low volume of transport that is flexible and strong. The harness system present on this device has a unisex design and is independent of the air bladder.

This diving device provides users with stability and releases oppression of the abdominal area, axillary, and chest due to the expansion of the bladder. It also comes integrated with a flat-lock air weight system that allows you to release the pockets easily. The device’s thickness is also reduced due to this lock system and provides you with total safety against any accidental losses.

Furthermore, this BCD has a direct system inflator with a metal filter in the air entrance under the cylindrical shape and stem around its valve. It is semi-flexible and light and doesn’t add weight or volume when fulfilling its function.

  • Pockets with zippers and bindings on the side lobes
  • The pockets fit perfectly into their places.
  • Spring closure (15 mm long) in case of any accidental snags
  • Capacity of up to 4.5 kg each with flexible weight
  • The 100% dorsal air chamber has the best buoyancy of the entire Cressi range

OCEANIC JETPACK


This Oceanic Jetpack is a two-in-one semi-dry, and BCD pack clipped together. Despite the fact that it comes with two functions in one, it doesn’t compromise on quality. The dry bag comes with ergonomic compartmentalization, which includes a main compartment and a laptop sleeve along with two easy-to-access external pockets. This device also has backpack straps that can be hidden away and water-resistant zippers.

The BCD itself provides good adjustability for a custom fit and has positioned weight pockets that are adjustable as well. Furthermore, it comes with a versatile power inflator that provides you with the optimum buoyancy control when diving along with the trim.

Plus, the air cells come featured with elastic bungee straps that keep back inflation low to assist with rapid deflation. This is another excellent traveling BCD and ensures the device’s lightweight nature.

  • BC: 30lbs lift.
  • 14 lbs dumpable weight / optional cylinder band trim weight.
  • 10lbs non-dumpable.
  • One size fits all = custom fit for everyone: adjustable harness, cummerbund and lumbar.
  • Adjustable position weight pockets.

Pro Scuba Diving BCDs

If you’re a pro diver, you can’t just pick any BCD; you need an advanced one. Some top options include:

Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD i300C


The Aqua Lung Pro HD comes with some excellent patented features that are clearly superb. The best feature present on this device is the next-level wrapture harness system, which makes use of the swivel shoulder buckles along with an ultra-thin backplate. These things both work together to provide you with excellent stability and stellar comfort.

The design of the rapture harness also limits how the BCD pushes your face forward towards the surface, which is an inconvenience that many back inflation BCDs have. Once out of the water, the rapture ensures the air cylinder sticks to the center of gravity on your body and transfers the weight to your hips, allowing you to stand upright.

Furthermore, the i3 control system allows you to deflate and inflate the BCD with a single touch. It also has a bladder retraction system that you can use by pulling the bladder’s side when deflating; this ensures that the unit is streamlined and helps reduce its drag considerably.

That’s still not all; this BCD is a great option for divers who want to get more experience and achieve a low profile underwater to master aqua-dynamics.

  • Includes: Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD Features: SureLock II Mechanical Weight Release System
  • Aqua Lung i300C Air, Nitrox Two Gauge Computer Console: Features 4 operating modes. Air, Nitrox, Gauge with run timer, and Free Dive with Nitrox mix to 50% O2
  • The Aqua Lung Pressure Gauge delivers both remaining air pressure and temperature in one easy-to-read display …

Scubapro Hydros Pro


SCUBAPRO Men’s BCD is another excellent device that integrates dive comfort, design, and convenience. This BCD is built for anyone who loves to dive, and it has a 2-in-1 design that is packable and has interchangeable straps.

Scuba Pro can mold comfortably around your body shape and provide you with unequaled load distribution and rock-solid stability with a super-streamlined profile. The backbone of this BCD holds the tank in place firmly and routes the LP and HP hoses, and provides users with clipping off points for their accessories.

This device combines a backup regulator with the buoyancy control system. The AIR2 inflator regulator provides air as smoothly as the primary second stage and makes it easily within your reach. The AIR2 inflator comfortably fits in your hand, and you can differentiate the inflate and deflate buttons by color and touch. It also has large bite tabs on the mouthpiece that give a good grip in high-stress situations.

  • Ultra Durable: Patented Injection Molded Monprene Gel Harness is extremely resistant to UV
  • chemicals and abrasion. The fabric-free harness uses no velcro or zippers.
  • BC-4-Life Modular Design: Customizable to add/remove weight systems
  • straps and pouches. Extended lifespan due to simplified repairs. Virtually every component …

Types of BCDs

Selecting your buoyancy control device is a big decision since it is an essential device, and it should be made properly. There are different kinds of BCDs present in the market for you to choose from, and each has its own features and usage. The common types of BCDs available include:

Jacket BCDs

The jacket style is one of the most common kinds of BCD present among divers in the last thirty years. This BCD comes in a wearable sleeveless jacket style and has an air bladder integrated with it that wraps around the diver completely. The configuration and types of this kind of device are numerous, but the basic function remains the same; the bladder wraps around the diver and inflates both sides, in front of and behind the diver.

This jacket-style BCD is extremely comfortable and provides the user with pockets for storage. It is also commonly found with pouches integrated with weight, which reduces the need to buy an independent weight belt.

Furthermore, these jacket BCDs are very stable with every position in the water, which makes them the best choice for all recreational divers in the world. The air cell present in this device surrounds your torso in a jacket-like manner. However, keep in mind that the jacket inflation is more suited for newer divers who need to maintain a vertical orientation or have to spend a lot of time on the surface.

Back-Inflate BCDs

Back-inflate BCDs come with an air bladder present on the back, which leaves the divers’ chest area uncluttered. Back inflate BCDs are ideal for positioning the diver in a horizontal flat face-down position that many divers strive for.

A back-inflation device places the bladder behind the diver, which many people find easier and comfortable to use. This allows you to get a better movement of your arms and also makes you feel less restrictive.

Another advantage of back inflation is that it allows the diver to enjoy a proper horizontal attitude when underwater. A nice horizontal position is streamlined, with the diver having less resistance when moving in the water and while swimming. It also prolongs the air supply and reduces workload.

Furthermore, like many modern BCDs present today, this back-inflate also comes with weight integration, which reduces the need for investing in a weight belt. Some traditional divers that are used to the jacket-style BCD may find this one different when on the surface, but the feeling will pass soon, and you will be able to enjoy the stability you will get in a horizontal position.

Travel BCDs

As the name suggests, travel BCDs are designed especially for traveling. They are incredibly lightweight and are easily packable and even fold smaller than traditional BCDs. The main focus of these devices is to reduce the weight of the traveling diver, so they are designed with a thinner material.

Also, the metal D-rings on such jackets are replaced with a polymer, and they have softer backplates instead of rigid ones. These BCDs make use of cylinders in order to provide them with a form, which makes them very portable and easier to carry around.

Things To Consider When Buying A BCD

Apart from knowing the different kinds of BCD present in the market, you also need to know your jacket’s style, fit, weight system, and lifting ability. Knowing these will help you choose the right BCD you won’t regret!

Lifting Capability

The lifting capability describes the amount of weight the BCD can compensate for. If you plan on diving when the water is warm, you don’t need to focus too much on the lift when buying a BCD. However, if you are diving in cold water or with a lot of load, then you will need to think about the weight.

Keep in mind that a BCD with little lift will make your shoulders and face drop close to the water when you are on the surface, which can cause stress during long diving and swimming plans or when you are waiting for the boat.

However, too little lift can also cause underwater issues as it makes you become less buoyant at depths. This is a very noticeable thing for divers who tend to use a lot of weight. If you are in doubt, then choose a BCD that has more lift than what you need.

Weight System

Most modern BCDs today come with a weight system integrated into them. Some devices use plastic trays and locking handles to keep your weight in place, whereas others use zippers and buckles with a quick-release mechanism. Regardless of the weight system integrated into your BCD, the most important thing to look for is how easily you can release the weight when at a depth.

Some hybrid BCD and other basic models do not have weight integration, so you must consider getting a traditional design. These traditional devices use a weight belt if you are trying to travel with little weight or learning how to dive. Make sure you choose the weight release system that you like and buy a BCD integrated with that system for a better diving experience.

Fit

When you are shopping for the best dive gear, another thing to consider is the right kind of fit. A BCD should fit you perfectly and wrap around your body snugly without squeezing or pinching you when full. If the BCD is empty, then it shouldn’t rotate or twist on your waist or shoulder. If it is possible, then trying a BCD before buying is a good idea.

Also, make sure that you choose one that provides you with a lot of room for making adjustments using straps and clips. This adjustment allows you to deal with weight fluctuation between your diving trips easily. Getting the right fit is very important and plays a very important role in your diving adventures.

Style/Type

A BCD comes in three different styles, hybrid designs, wing, and jacket. A jacket-style BCD fits over the shoulder and gets secured at your chest like any typical jacket. These are the most common models present and are a traditional design that most divers like. This style is also very common because it is used for rental gear since it is supportive, stable, and very easy to control. Jacket-style BCDs are very easy to wear and take off since they slide over your shoulder like any other winter jacket.

A wing BCD (which has a bladder and slim hardness) and Hybrid BCDs (back inflating BCDs that combine features from a wing and jacket) are less popular in the market. These are ideal for travel and technical diving. Wing and Hybrid BCDs are easy to pack, compact, and come with removable or flexible backplates and easy-to-roll up bladders. Both these styles promote good streamlining and trim underwater due to their form-fitting designs, which makes them popular with divers exploring environments like caves and shipwrecks.

Wing and Hybrid style devices are not restrictive, which makes them more comfortable to wear. These styles also secure and fix around your body with the help of thin webbing.

If you are planning to dive in very rough water conditions, then a jacket style will be more comfortable to wear. This design will push your shoulders and head up and out of the water, whereas the other two models will rotate your body and push your face towards the water surface.

Conclusion

Controlling buoyancy underwater is a very important skill to learn and achieve, and these buoyancy control devices help you in mastering it. You now know the different kinds of BCDs present in the market, and using the reviews mentioned above, you can find the one more suited to your needs. Remember to go through the buyer’s guide mentioned above and learn more about which features you should look out for and which features to avoid before making the final purchase!

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