A lot of people are now attracted to a very extreme sport called scuba diving. The rush of adrenalin offered by the sport or hobby is something not to be overlooked.
- Knowing the BCD Features and More
- Here are the features I've listed and their importance.
- Lift Requirements
- Integrated Weight System
- Pockets and Rings
- Dry Weight
- Alternate Inflator Regulators
- The BCD List: Choosing the Best Scuba BCD
Venturing into the depths of the sea is an experience worth undertaking! Imagine being able to witness the different environments underwater and the fantastic creatures that you can find there.
As a diver, it is your utmost priority to assure your safety during the entire diving adventure.
Especially that you are about to delve into an environment that is quite different from that on land and the surface waters, it is a must to have the necessary safety equipment, gears, and accessories in scuba diving.
These help you make sure your dive will be worry-free and very enjoyable. A listing of diving equipment will come in handy before finally deciding to take on the adventure.
One of the critical equipment to have during scuba diving is the Buoyancy Compensation Device or BCD. As the name of the equipment suggests, its function is to calibrate or adjust a diver’s buoyancy.
It offsets a diver’s negative buoyancy when underwater and maintains positive buoyancy when a diver is on the surface. It also secures the scuba tank to the diver’s body. This gives a spontaneous diving experience for your adventurous divers out there.
Knowing the BCD Features and More
I know you’ve probably browsed several sites trying to find the best scuba BCD for you. It is, I am sure, a whole lot of work trying to find the best for you. Guess what? I’ve done the job for you and have come up with a good list of the best scuba BCDs in the market.
But first, let me tell the features of a scuba BCD that we have to consider to have only the best of the best.
Here are the features I’ve listed and their importance.
When it comes to the size of a BCD, there is a slight difference between males and females. The female’s BCD is designed with shorter back support but without chest straps for the equipment not to compress the female’s chest.
There is a general size chart, but it is still best to check on the manufacturer’s size chart to be sure.
BCDs generally have two styles: the harness style and the wing style. The prior has its inflation pockets found at the front and back, suitable for recreational diving.
The wing style, on the other hand, has inflation bladders found at the back of the gear. It is advisable to use experienced and technical divers as the design tends to turn the diver face down.
BCDs have lift capacities. This refers to the amount of negative weight the BCD can float. It is essential to consider managing your weight for your diving experience.
Ensure the correct weight using the weight guide reference, depending on the type of dive you are doing.
Integrated Weight System
This is a feature some BCD models have. These models have weight integrated into the BCD, making it unnecessary to use a weight belt. This feature lessens the chance of the diver’s hips getting bruised.
Pockets and Rings
These rings greatly aid in attaching different diving accessories that will make the diving experience easier and more pleasant.
It is essential that these rings and pockets are strategically positioned and placed around the BCD for more comfortable reach and access.
Both for ease and carriage, it is good to consider the dry weight of the BCD. After cleaning it up after use, this will then be kept and stored. It is better to have lighter luggage, especially when traveling far to have your dive.
Alternate Inflator Regulators
BCDs usually come with a primary inflator/deflator mechanism that can be replaced to allow you to perform with a spare second stage regulator. This one is ideal for traveling divers. However, it is advisable if you check its compatibility with your BCD.
The BCD List: Choosing the Best Scuba BCD
Like what I promised, I got a list of the best scuba BCDs for you. Check them out!
- BCD, Low Pressure Hose, Owner's Manual
- Oceanic Ocean Pro BCD:
- Toughest BCD to Date by Oceanic
- Great BCD for Rugged Use
- Simplistic Design Means More Dependable BCD
Oceanic OceanPro is a jacket type BCD with a capacity of 18-38 lbs. from XS to XL. It is designed with eight D-rings and has small weight pockets perfect for both males and females.
The model has three dump valves and one air bladder. The good points for this model are that it can have integrated weight if the diver prefers to have one.
Also, it has excellent pocket spaces and has padding for comfortable use. But it would have also been better to have metal D-rings.
- PACKAGE INCLUDES: Cressi Start BC, Cressi AC2 XS2 Regulator-Yoke, Cressi XS Octopus with Hose, Cressi Mini Two Gauge Analog Console, (Imperial)
- START BCD: Ultra durable construction. 2 large pockets cargo pockets with velcro closure. Rigid padded backpack and carry handle. Three exhaust valves for buoyancy adjustment in any position. 2 technopolymer d-rings. 2 spring-clip holding rings. Octopus holder. Gauge holder.
- AC2 XS2 REGULATOR: Non-balanced first stage with high performance and reliability.Downstream system. Adjustable intermediate pressure from the out side of the regulator due to our patented ACs design.
- XS OCTOPUS: The XS second stage features a comfortable mouthpiece and an easy to purge button. Adjustable venturi effect. Easy maintenance. Jacketed Hose extremely light and flexible.
- MINI 2 GAUGE: Pressure gauge dial is color-coded in red, green and blue for instant readability. Reads pressures to 350 bar or 5000 psi. Mini-depth gauge reads to 70 meters (230 feet). Maximum depth indicator. Luminescent face on the depth gauge
This one is also a jacket type BCD with a capacity ranging from 29.2 lbs. to 45 lbs. with no integrated weights. It also has one air cell, three dump valves with two plastic D-rings, and the model is designed for both sexes.
What’s suitable for this BCD is that its waist strap is separate from the air bladder. Another reason that this is a valuable product is it comes with an inflator hose. You can easily disassemble this hose when cleaning.
Some issues are the shoulder pads that are a bit rough, and the chest strap is relatively high.
- MOLLE system for quick and easy attachment of gear and accessories, and back webbing
- Larger weight pockets and redesigned weight release. Added tank positioning strap
- Rubber row webbing helping secure tank with increased webbing width. Durable elastic material on the bladder to prevent excess bulk
- Additional padding using Open Cell foam on shoulder and lumbar. Accessory trim pockets. Knife mounting points on both sides
- 1000 Denier Nylon. 4 plastic D-rings. 34 lb lift capacity (sizes XS-MD). 42 lb lift capacity (sizes LG-XL)
Zeagle Scout is a back inflate type BCD that is designed for both female and male divers. It comes with a capacity of 24 lbs. with integrated weights. It has one dump valve, one air bladder, and four D-rings made from stainless steel.
It is designed for both female and male divers. The air bladder is easily washable using a hose and has a rear weight system. However, it has some disadvantages. Aside from it has hard-to-reach weight pockets, it has one lift capacity for all sizes.
- BCD, Low Pressure Hose and Owner's Manual
- Oceanic HERA Women's BC:
- Women's-Specific BC's Design
- Built-from-the-Ground-Up Around the Female-Form
- Just for Ladies:FitComfortHost of Female-Friendly FeaturesAbsolutely-Gorgeous Styling
Oceanic Hera is a BCD designed for women divers, which takes pride in its outstanding durability. The BCD is made from Cordura nylon, an excellent material for BCDs.
Also, it comes with combined benefits – jacket and rear inflation styles for comfortable usage in any diving position.
- Jacket-Style BC designed just for women with Weight Integration.
- Shoulder straps, Torso, Waist Band, Cummerbund, and Backpad all designed with the women's body in mind.
- Six (6) Stainless Steel D-Rings positioned throughout the BCD to hang accessories from.
- Two ditchable CQR3 weight pockets and two non-ditchable Trim Pockets.
- The Luna BCD is made by Sherwood Scuba, an American dive brand specializing in Life Support, Masks, Snorkels, and Fins since 1955.
Sherwood Luna is a jacket type BCD for women divers with a capacity ranging from 18 – 25 lbs with integrated weights. This model has a slimmer cut good for women with extra padding at the back of the neck.
It comes with three-piece stainless steel D-rings and zippered weight pockets with its very stylish design perfect for women divers who want to look good in their sport.
The capacity may not be sufficient for a dive in icy waters, and it has no right shoulder exhaust valve. Bad thing it’s not available in a variety of colors.
- Anatomical Shoulder Straps
- 40 mm buckles
- Hideaway pocket
- Fast folding System
- Flat lock system
It is a 4.6 lb.-wing type BCD with a capacity of 20.2 lbs. – making it one of the lightest BCDs available in the market today. It has four lightweight D-rings with integrated weights. It has one dump valve and one air bladder.
It is easy to pack with its fast folding system and has a soft backplate. The downside of its weight is that it has no provision for D-rings, especially the metal ones.
It has no belt or strap that you can tighten to secure around the waist. Also, it is not available in bigger sizes for the larger lady divers.
OCEANIC JETPACK TRAVEL
- 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.
This back-inflated BCD with a lift capacity of 30 lbs. has adjusted position weight pockets, harness, cummerbund, and lumbar support. It has elastic straps that will keep its back inflation bladder for fast deflation.
This also comes with an internal pull dump cable that is attached to a dump valve. This is also one of the most durable BCDs and rapidly dries, so no need to worry.
Not to forget from its list of unique features are its hideaway backpack straps and water-resistant zippers. You can also attach accessories in the daisy loops found on the right shoulder strap.
Some of you might still be keeping or inserting their BCD in another bag whenever they wanted to bring it along for scuba diving. It may apply to some but not this BCD. It is because it can be converted into a travel bag to carry your scuba gear and other amenities.
The issue that this BCD has was for not having aluminum D-rings and is a little heavier than other BCDs.
This one is named the best travel BCD made from 420 denier nylon known for its toughness and being lightweight. It has a soft backplate making it easy to pack.
This is good for photographer divers as it provides ease in movement while underwater. It has back air pockets and three dump deflation system and a clutter-free harness.
Also, it is of high quality but an incredibly lower price. It is available in two colors: blue and grey. This one’s also suitable for cave and wreck diving.
AQUA LUNG ZUMA TRAVEL
- Ultra lightweight; less than 4.4 lbs - Easy to pack into a suitcase
- Weight integration using the Aqualung SureLock II lock and release system
- Adjustable chest strap, Flat e valves for reduced bulk
- Easy access pockets fold down. 4 D-rings and attachment grommets for knife
- Right shoulder pull dump, Lower right pull dump, Padded spine and lumbar support
A BCD with a very minimalist cut has an exceptional compact down and can be packed in a tiny suitcase. It has an adjustable chest strap and is extra padded on the back – a comfortable design best for back and lumbar support.
The only flaw is that its D-rings are made of plastic. However, this one is customizable with your preferred add-ons. If you are after lightness, this one’s an excellent choice to pick. This one’s extra comfortable to wear, but its harness has no buckle release making it difficult for big divers to don and egress.
DIVE RITE TRAVEL-PAC
- Dive Rite TravelPac BC/BCD Lightweight Traveling Buoyancy Compensator
- Hardware is streamlined with one epaulet on the left shoulder, standard shoulder pivots, 2 bent chest D-rings, 2 waist D-rings and a stainless steel belt buckle.
- TransPac sideplates are narrower and give more room on the waist belt for accessories.
- Includes a chest strap, one standard 36-inch cam strap w/stainless buckle and 1.5-inch crotch strap.
This BCD features a unique design for maximum buoyancy and comfort for the unforgettable diving experience. It is exceptionally lightweight that is only 2.3 kg when it is dry.
It features a metal backplate wing that comes with an adjustable diving harness and an easy-to-clean air bladder. It has a crotch strap that can be adjusted and held in place to your exact body size. It comes with a 360-degree donut wing that makes it easier for divers to move around underwater.
It has an adjustable height as the waist and chest’s straps can be slip up. It is streamlined BCD excellent for buoyancy control, making it suitable for diving in caverns, overhead environments, and wrecks.
It is also easy to pack and comes with a camera strap, which is a great feature for photographers. It is a bit pricey but is still worth the value of your money.
- Total BCD weight is only 5.5 lbs
- Includes right shoulder carabiner adjustable positioning system
- Streamlined, Integrated Weight System accommodates up to 14 lbs
- Includes dual 7 lbs front weight pocket "Quick Drop" weight release system
- Low profile back pack makes it easy to fold in half for traveling purposes
This one has a 14.3 lbs. integrated weight system with a quick-release system and an awesome trim weight pocket. It is made of Bioflex material, making it incredibly comfortable, augmented by the torso and shoulder adjustment systems.
This easily conforms with any body size and shape. This also applies to the air bladders located at the back of the BCD, further improving your aqua dynamics. It also has a high lift capacity and minimum drag.
A flaw in this product is that its integrated weight system can’t hold much weight. Having only one strap that you can find on the top of the tank, there is a greater chance that the tank will move or even get detached from this type of BCD. Also, its air bladders are less bulky and stretch when inflated.
There they are. We hope this one will help you choose the scuba BCD that will address your needs as of the moment. Make sure it matches all your needs. It will guide your purchasing decisions that you will not regret in the future.
With this guide, I hope you’ll find the right piece of the best scuba BCD for your unforgettable dive. Take note that it will significantly depend on the type and preference of the diver.
When you’ve purchased a good BCD, make sure that you also take good care of it for a longer time than you’ll be able to make fair use of it. Remember to take the precautionary measures when having a fun activity. Have a great time with your adventure!