Buying the best BCD

Buying the best BCD

Buying the best BCD

The scuba BCD is an essential piece of diving equipment and is a must for all divers. If it is your first time diving then you can hire these from the diving center, however when you start to dive more often it becomes more comfortable to have your own.  BCD stands for buoyancy control device, this helps you maintain your balance in the water and it supports your tanks and air hoses securely.

There are three basic styles of BCD; jacket, front- adjustable and back- inflate. The right BCD for you depends on where you will use it and your level.  Here is a breakdown of types of BCD to help you with your decision.

The Stab Jacket

The stab jacket BCD is very popular among all levels of divers; it is the original design and can be used by a beginner and a highly certified diver. It has its name because it is known for its stability in the water at all depths. Other advantages to this style are that it is comfortable and easy to use; this means it needs minimal adjustments.

The Front – Adjustable BCD

This BCD is great because you can adjust the shoulders, chest and waist straps easily to get the perfect fit.  It has a ‘Y’ fit shoulder design that makes movement under the water more comfortable and it allows the diver more flexibility. This BCD is popular with new divers as it helps provide them with more security and confidence in the water. 

The Back – Inflate BCD

This BCD is known for the feeling of ‘freedom’ it provides the diver. Compared to other BCD this makes the diver feel like they are diving with no equipment at all. This is because the air cell is in the back of the jacket which ‘frees’ up the chest area for a more comfortable dive. This BCD is popular with people who dive often, photographers and other advanced divers. Back-inflate BCDs, like the Seahawk 2 or the unique HYDROS PRO, considered the best back-inflate BCD, also tend to naturally place you in the optimum swimming position at depth, and wearing one you will never suffer from body squeeze.

The BackPlate and Wing

The backplate and wing is not a typical BCD but it works in a similar way. A typical back plate system consists of three basic components: a scuba backplate to hold the tank, a diver’s harness to strap the back plate to the diver, and an air cell, or dive wing, to provide buoyant lift. These are usually used by technical divers.

BCD’s for women

Women have a different size and shape to men which can make finding the perfect BCD more difficult.  The good news is that there are now BCD specifically designed for women with smaller air bladders, shorter inflator hoses and curved shoulder strap to offer the best support for women. The Bella is a great example and is suitable for all levels of divers.

Brands of BCD

There are many popular brands delivering fantastic diving equipment. All include various designs of BCD’s. Divers usually have a personal preference for diving brands but the most popular brands are Cressi, Aqua Lung, ScubaPro, Aeris and Mares.

 Advice on how to choose your BCD 

The best advice we can give you when choosing your BCD is to choose based on your gender, purpose of diving and comfort.  For example if you are a cold water diver you must consider a BCD with more lift capacity as wearing a thicker wetsuit means you will need more weight. If you are only diving in warmer climates then a BCD with higher buoyancy lift may just be extra unnecessary drag. 

It is also important to consider how important certain features are to you. Some divers choose to use a BCD with integrated weight pockets while others prefer a BCD where these extra components can be removed to make the BCD more travel friendly. 

Overall take your time to choose the best option for you and don’t be intimidated by all the options!