Every diver wants to be sure of his or her safety and comfort before going under water. Snorkeling and scuba diving are fun adventures, but you have to be ready for anything. Invest in the best BCD for diving and you will never regret it. You can buy or you can rent. When you buy, you get it for keeps, and this gear does last a jolly long time.
Best BCD for Diving Reviews
BCD is an abbreviation for buoyancy compensator/control device. Divers wear BCDs to help control their movement in the water. It is all about weight and floating in the deep water. When you are under the water, you need neutral buoyancy so that you can stay at the level that you want. If you are diving close to the surface, you need positive buoyancy so that you can float. When you want to get to the bottom of the water, maybe you need negative buoyancy.
A BCD works like a submarine. When you want the submarine to descend, you open the ballast tanks and water from the ocean flows in. When you want the submarine to ascend to the surface they open the ballast tanks, pump in some air and the submarine rises. When descending, the captain does not want the submarine to hit the ocean bottom. Thus, they create a neutral buoyancy so that the submarine can only sink to a certain depth and hold her own there.
Enough about submarines… with the BCD, it comes in the form of a jacket, and it is worn below the scuba tank for diving. When you want to float at a certain depth in the water, you will let in air to the buoyancy control device. When you want to rise to the surface, you let in more air.
Once attached to the dive tank, it is deflated for the diver to descend to desired depth. Similarly, the diver inflates it to ascend to the surface of the water.
Now that you know what a BCD does, where can you buy the best one? Online of course. If you would like to experience the wonders of Mother Nature in the bowels of the ocean, buy a good BCD and the best dive computer. You will never regret making this investment.
Zeagle Ranger – Best Zeagle
The Zeagle Ranger is without doubt the best BCD for scuba diving, especially for people who love a rugged recreational buoyancy system. Many users recommend the device year after year. Its high quality, heavy-duty construction and weight integration provides an imitation to most of the BCs ever in history.
The jacket is adaptive and it can change to meet different diving needs. It easily transits between rugged cold-water diving, tropical travel diving and on to a technical diving. It is compatible with a variety of additional accessories including the bladders and pockets. You also have an easy time finding the perfect size accustomed for you from its Personal Fit System.
The construction material is nylon that has been reinforced with urethane and the welded seams assure you of its strength and durability. Its waist closure is simply a single buckle and the bladder has a light lift capacity. Zeagle Ranger is a comfortable and perfectly balanced device that gives an incredible service for a wide range of diving activities.
Cressi Start Jacket – BCD Scuba Diving
For a diver looking for a strong and durable BCD, your selection begins with the Cressi Start Jacket. The jacket is constructed using extremely strong material denier Condura 1000 and 500. It will last a long time.
Cressi is an Italian diving equipment maker, which is known for its quality and excellence. It also comes with excellent buoyancy. When you own this one, you are assured of many years of dependable use.
In case of excess pressure, the device allows you to relieve using three valves. The valves can be manually dumped, two using pull cords and the third one employ power mechanism. Instruments and accessories are comfortably attached on the plastic rings and snap hooks. Furthermore, accessories can also be kept in the large pockets with Velcro closures.
The straps, sternum and torso are adjustable and they are fitted with quick-release buckles. The diver will not feel the squeeze effect as the air cell is designed to inflate away from the body. On your back, you will be comfortable as the backpack is padded. However, it is too rigid to support the cylinder.
Hollis HD200 – Best Scuba BCD
Hollis HD200 is everything that an advanced sport diver could ask for. It brings a combination of technical and recreational features that will provide you with ultimate function and comfort. Its heavy-duty construction and design is enough assurance for its durability.
The device earns an excellent score for its innovative design. It is a lightweight backpack that is supported by a good number of straps. Even to the casual eye, you will see the traditional waist strap with stainless buckle and the nylon waist strap with quick release buckles. Others include the adjustable shoulder and sternum straps. The support is further reinforced with a neoprene comfort neck. The backpack is padded for comfort.
Divers like the HD200 for its weight pocket system. The system is divided into two; interchangeable quick release pockets and non-dump-able rear weight pockets. There are also zippered pockets and knife mounting grommets on both sides. This BC has many places where you can attach extra gear. You know how important that is when you are going under water for a scientific experience, or even for recreation. It is best for recreational as well as commercial divers.
Cressi Aquaride Pro – Best Scuba Diving BCD
Cressi Aquaride Pro stands out for its comfort. You can employ it in travelling as well as a wide range of diving activities. Its compact design can allow you to pack it for use in warm water in tropics while its lift and weight capacity ft make it good to use with a dry suit in cold water.
Its strong nylon construction material suits it to stand up to any required use of any diver. The hard-pack is featured with plenty of padding to offer you great comfort. The shoulder straps are adjustable and designed to resist any disturbance from the air cell. The chest strap and cummerbund are elastic to give you even more comfort.
While using this BCD, you can relieve excess pressure using three dump valves; two shoulder valves and a rear waist valve. Despite little accessories, the releasable pockets accommodate a bigger capacity. The pockets are furthermore, expandable with zip closure. Aquaride Pro is indeed one of the best in the recent generation of BCDs.
Oceanic Biolite – Best Travel BCD for Diving
If you are a traveler who prefers lightweight luggage, Ocean Biolite Travel B.C makes a perfect choice for you. It is an ultimate travel buoyancy compensator made in a great design aimed at comfort and convenience.
The BC keeps things simple to make diving a pleasure for you. If you would love to travel for a diving adventure in the Caribbean, Africa or Europe, you need the best travel BCD. They do not come any better than Oceanic Biolite.
It has a low profile backpack which makes it easy for the diver to fold it whenever travelling. The diving piece has brought to an end the days of weight belts with a streamlined integrated system. With this BC, it allows you to easily release weights with a single hand. The weight system is further reinforced by the front weight pocket, which has a capacity of 7.1 lbs.
Although its weight system can accommodate a relatively larger capacity, the BC itself has a small weight.
Adjustable, easy to put on and get off, can attach lots of gear on the BC and better yet, it is made for the traveler, this is a great investment. It is durable.
Sherwood Avid Scuba Dive BCD
If you are going for a clear water diving experience in California, this BCD is perfect for you. An advanced design of the weight release system has earned Sherwood Avid preference over the other BCDs. The ease and convenience with which you install and remove the pockets will make you love this diving piece. It is designed totally for comfort, functionality and dependability.
One feature that you will obviously love about it is the webbing. With this, you smoothly adjust both the shoulder and the waist straps. The trimmed weight pockets provide you easier access and adjustments. In addition to the exhaust valves allowing you emit excess pressure, they give it a stylish and contemporary look.
However, to efficiently use the BCD for diving, you are required to understand its operation. This may be the thought limitation to this BC. Counter to the limitation, you can consult with the operating manual provided during its purchase or with your diving instructor.
Cressi Start Pro 2.0 – Best Cressi BCD
Carry the Cressi name proudly on this BCD. It is boldly printed on the side. At the same time, get all the other wonderful Cressi features. Remember, this is one of the most well known brand names in the diving industry.
Resorts and dive schools love using the Cressi Start Pro 2.0. The jacket provides the desired stability and weight integration that suits the comfort and convenience of students and customers.
One thing that the divers will acknowledge this jacket for is its strength and durability. Its releasable weight pockets are uniquely featured in that you can release the buckles by simply squeezing them.
The cylinder can be properly held by the rigid back support, which is also padded to ensure that you dive comfortably. You can easily wear the backpack assisted by a grab handle. All the straps are adjustable and equipped with squeezable fast-release buckles.
Three over-pressure relief valves located at favorable intermittent positions; two on the left and right shoulder while the rear one is to the right of the air bladder. You can dump the two manually, using pull cords while the other by power inflator mechanism. This BCD is designed to provide you with comfort and safety and to trim your buoyancy when you are under the water.
Cressi Travelight Womens – Best BCD for Scuba Diving
The lightweight Cressi Travelight BCD is primarily designed to suit the needs of traveling ladies. Its construction and design is aimed at achieving portability, lightweight, required adjustments, durability and space for the attachment of extras. It comes with a minimal light and enough packing space. This is why many traveling ladies love this BCD.
With an eye on maintaining a minimal weight, it is constructed using lightweight material. The back support is largely padded to provide you with comfort as you fit it on your back. Much space is provided by its front pockets and no-detachable pockets at its back. The pockets are equipped with zip closures. The side gussets provide further space.
The jacket does not constrict your back as the air bladders inflate away from your body. The air getting into the air cell is filtered for sand by a metal filter. This filter is below the stem and a cylindrical filter around the valve.
When you pack this one for traveling, it will pack into a small, compact package. With two pockets with zippers for security, you have extra carrying space.
Scubapro Hydros Men’s – Best Scubapro BCD
Although this one is customized for men, Scubapro Hydros is also built to suit the needs of anyone who loves to dive. It combines wonderful structural features and it is designed to achieve the ultimate comfort and convenience you will ever need as a diver.
Its main strength is reflected in its durability. Its construction material stands up to abrasion, chemicals and UV light without showing any sign of their effects. The BCD is suitable for a wide range of diving activities. The straps are interchangeable and the backpack contains a room for your entire dive kit.
The Hydros Pro is adjustable such that it fits your body size. Furthermore, this BCD has been designed with body grip gel providing extreme comfort and stability. You can remove or add weight through its weight system. It is capable of lasting a long time. This is possible as almost each of its components can be replaced.
With minimal water retention, this BCD dries quickly. A few minutes out of the water, it will be dry. Another thing you will love about it is the near-zero buoyancy that needs less lead.
Dive Rite Nomad System Back Wing – Best Scuba Dive BCD
The Dive Rite Nomad represents a recent evolution in the world of BCD for diving. It perfectly matches the choice of divers looking for super durable devices. The exterior fabric material is resistant to any external destructor available in water.
The inflator and dumping valves are protected against damage by their under-wing positioning. The position sets them free from exposure thus safe. The wing allows the air to travel to the top dump without forming a bubble.
The webbing design ensures that the BCD comfortably fit almost any size diver. The shoulder straps are further equipped with pads for more durability.
Along the shoulder strap is a smooth channel that will allow you to easily access the exhaust valve’s pull dump cord to release excess pressure. The straps and fittings on the LS are removable if they need replacement in future.
For more security, this BCD for scuba diving also includes a crotch strap. Don’t worry, it is made in such a way to ensure maximum comfort you will hardly realize it is there.
Scubapro Litehawk BC – Best BCD for Scuba Diving
Freedom of movement is exactly what you get when you buy the Scubapro Litehawk. It is built for a range of functions and advantages, but one of them is floatation. In the world of scuba diving, nothing beats Litehawk for the ultimate back-floatation experience. It is a back wing BCD.
The jacket has a small weight, and comes in an ultra-slim design. It is soft, flexible and compact and you can easily pack it up when traveling. The straps are adjustable and they take the form of a belt.
The waist release buckle comfortably settles while the shoulder ones rotate allowing you to direct them under the arm. The sternum straps on the other hand exactly fit on your body as if the BCD was specifically made for you.
You can comfortably carry accessories using the two non-ditching pockets. The jacket further provides optional quick-release weight pockets. You can also clip additional diving gear on the D-rings. This BC provides the most comfortable and stable ride at depth.
Mares Prestige 2 BCD With MRS+ Jacket BCD Scuba
Mares Prestige is built of a material that is a combination of three kinds of polyurethane/1000 cordura to yield one of the strongest and sturdy jacket-style BCDs. It is designed to provide you with complete comfort and support, even when you are loaded with heavy tanks and many accessories.
It perfectly hugs your body and it is supported by abdominal closure and dual-adjustable chest strap. The weight release pockets are large, three-dimensional, self-draining, zippered and secured with release buckles. The bladder is enveloped for protection against damage.
No matter how many accessories you carry, this BCD comes with enough spots and places to attach all of them. There are webbings and stainless steel D-rings. The Ergo inflator has been designed to give this jacket-style BCD incredible buoyancy control.
The jacket provides maximum support for the diver’s adventure down the water. With grommets to hold your Mares diving knife you will be secure knowing you have some means of protection when you are down in the bowels of the ocean.
How to Buy the Best BCD for Diving
Buying the best BCD for your scuba diving experience requires some keenness especially because you will spend a good amount of money on this gear. However, the good news is that you will get more than enough value for your money. Diving, if you are not well equipped, can be a matter of life and death. That is why you need to make sure that you do it with the best of the gear available in the market.
Style of the BCD
To a casual looker, the BCD comes in just one style – the jacket-style, but nothing could be further from the truth. Some come in the jacket style, others back wing style and yet some come as a combination of both.
The jacket style BCD has the bladder inflating on the back, front and the sides and this gives the BCD good buoyancy all rounded.
The back wing BCDs only have an air bladder on the back. One benefit is that they are smaller and lighter and since they are designed to inflate outwards, you will hardly feel the squeeze on your chest the same way the jacket-style BCDs do.
The hybrid BCD is made of a little of both. The back takes up three quarters of the BCD while the front and sides take a quarter. It is best for tropical diving.
Some BCDs have the crotch strap, some do not have. Some for women have chest straps and some do not. There is a style and design to suit the needs of just about anyone.
The BCD price
While in many instances we say you should not sacrifice quality on the altar of price, it is important to know that you will spend a considerable amount of money on the BCD. Thus, you had better make sure it is well worth all the money that you will pay for it. Look around for a BCD that will suit your needs perfectly but one that will still be catered to by your budget. If the difference is in the hundreds of dollars, well, the costlier one had better be worth it. If you are a regular diving enthusiast, it would be better to pay more for a BCD that will last a long time but if you are a recreational diver who only does it in summer, well, a cheaper one should do just fine.
When you travel to dive
You may want to dive in the best places in the USA, but a time comes when you will want to try a different diving destination. Thus, you would need a travel BCD that is easy and small to pack, but still gives you the require buoyancy neutrality when you are in the water. Although there are BCDs made specifically for traveling, most of them can be used for traveling. It would just mean packing less luggage around them.
Will the BCD be integrated with weights?
Some BCDs come with weight pockets where you insert the weights. Some come without meaning that you would have to wear a weight belt. Most of the BCDs that we have reviewed here come with weight integration. When buying choose one that has a means of fast weight release system so that you can release the weights fast enough if there is an emergency and you have to ascend fast. If you would like the weight belt, go for the BCD that is not weight integrated.
If you are strapped for cash but would still like to buy a BCD for diving, look for the one that does not come with weight integration. Remember though that you will still pay for the weight belt.
Type of diving that you want to do
Cold water diving has needs different from those of warm water diving. In cold water, you will be wearing a heavier wetsuit, heavier boots and gloves. This means you will need more weight on the BCD so that it can counter the buoyancy that all these items bring along. So you need a BCD with heavier lift for cold water diving. For warm water diving, the opposite applies where you will need a BCD with a lighter lift.
Many people do not pay much mind to this, but then manufacturers today make some gender-specific BCDs. Women generally have a smaller torso and since the jacket-style BCDs are made to be strapped to the back in backpack style, it helps to choose one built for your gender. Another area where we may have an anatomical difference is the shoulders and chest, as well as the waist. BCDs come with shoulder and sternum straps. For men, these will be bigger and the vice versa will apply for the women. In addition, men have larger waists.
Because women have a bigger bosom, to avoid pressing their breasts, some of their BCDs do not come with chest straps.
Consider BCD user reviews
You can always trust what other users say about a certain product before you buy it. If many people say a lot of good things about a certain BCD, you can be sure that it is good for you and it will serve you well. However, if you find that a certain BCD has few or no reviews, then most probably it is new or it wasn’t good. Do keep an open mind even when reading the scuba BCD reviews because some people are biased, others might have used the gear wrongly and so on. Find a balance and make your decision consciously. Diving gear should be bought carefully.
Conclusion for Best Bcd for Diving
When looking for the best BCD for diving, take your time. When you are down in the water and an emergency occurs, your life will practically depend on the BCD that you have on you. Choose one carefully or even rent one if you have just started diving. However, buying is always advisable because you will have it for keeps.