The 10 Best Scuba BCD in 2023 – Recommended By Experts
Last Updated on March 1, 2023
When it comes to diving underwater, whether you are floating on mid-ocean or standing on the ocean floor near to shore, it is essential to keep yourself under control and maintain a constant float in the water.
A buoyancy control device shortened to BCD helps you to do so with ease. BCD is the last but not least piece of equipment to have for scuba diving. It is one of the most important gear that contributes a lot to improve your scuba diving.
This device allows you to move more friendly in the water and keep you in your desired area in the water. Scuba BCD neutralizes your buoyancy and gives you control under the water.
Besides, if you are new at diving and don’t know how to maintain a constant float, then the best scuba BCD can protect you from going down and give you confidence for the fearless moves.
So, to ensure a better diving experience as well as to get comfort moves in the water, you should not overlook this important piece of gear while going for diving.
Quick Answer – Top 10 Best Scuba BCD
1. Cressi R1 BCD Scuba Diving Package
3. CressiTravelight 15 LBS Scuba Diving Package
5. Cressi Start Jacket Style BCD
9. AquaLung Pro HD Weight Integrated BCD
10. Cressi Start Pro Jacket Style Scuba Diving BCD
Reviews of the Best Scuba BCD
While getting into the world of scuba diving, you should pay attention to the buoyancy. Because, with all of your gears and a lot of stress on the body, you will be weighted down into the water. And so, a buoyancy control device (BCD) is a simple way to control buoyancy and fluidly move in the water.
A proper fitting best scuba BCD goes with your weight adjustment gives desired control, and it makes your dive more comfortable and safe.
1. Cressi R1 BCD Scuba Diving Package
Cressi R1 diving package comes with a weight integrated BCD which is not only comfortable but also easy to use. This jacket-style BCD features padding in the back, lumbar area, underneath of shoulders, air cell slides on the cummerbund to eliminate body squeeze.
This rigid BCD with Lock Aid integrated weight system hold up to 20 lbs and delivers a stable ride indeed. Cressi R1 BCD is made of durable 500-Denier Cordura internally urethane laminated color-lock nylon material.
This BCD comes with a rigid and padded backpack equipped with built-in carry handle. It has two large sizes zippered pocket on each side for convenient storage of accessories.
The harness system with traditional squeeze-style quickly releases buckles and the adjustable straps on shoulder, chest and waist precisely adjust and fit the body.
The adjustable hook and loop fastener waist cummerbund provides extra comfort and security. The R1 features an inflator integrated pull dump on the left shoulder, a rear kidney and right shoulder pull dumps and manual deflation from the inflator assembly.
It provides two light alloy D-rings for easier attachment of accessories. This BCD comes with hose and owner manual and also available in five different sizes. The Cressi R1 provides 16.9 to 36 lbs lift depending on its size.
- Available in multiple sizes
- Two large zipped pocket
- Rigid padded back with built-in carry handle
- Alloy D-ring for attachments
- Internally urethane laminated bladder
- Zippers are not easy to unzip
2. Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD
Aqua Lung has all the features of a top-notch BCD which make it perfect for both beginner and veteran driver at a reasonable price. This BCD with full of features is made of fade-resistant material and so the colors last much longer.
The durable resistek material construction is lightweight but tough enough to withstand chlorine and saltwater deterioration. The lung’s integrated weight system clicks in securely and releases with a simple pull on a handle.
The zippered utility pockets on both sides can be used to carry lights, slates, underwater cameras or other accessories. The scooped octo pocket can securely keep your octo visible and streamlined without letting it drag along the ocean floor.
You push octo into the sleeve on any left or right side to keep the second stage stay in position but has a quick release. The left pocket allows keeping your gauge console streamlined.
The five stainless steel D-rings gives an endless option to attach accessories but doesn’t let to add much weight. The scuba regulator is designed to produce a comfortable breathing underwater experience.
The first stage of balanced-diaphragm is environmentally sealed to protect the regulator from saltwater deterioration. The second stage includes a comfo-bite mouthpiece and also has a venture knob to stop unwanted freeflow.
The exhaust tee with the built-in grid is for finer exhaust bubbles. The reinforced polycarbonate construction makes this BCD strong as well as durable. The unique designed ABS octo with quality breathing performance allows proper breathing.
The 39″ highly visible yellow hose and the 120-degree angle between hose and mouthpiece allow comfortable buddy breathing. The i300c 2 gauge dive computer console includes a dive computer module and submersible pressure gauge housed for easy instrument reading in low light.
The uncomplicated, intuitive and rugged design of i300c lets you focus on your dive, not your gears. The i300 with built-in backlight, flexible operating modes, easy to use interface and water activated on the switch gets you in the water and descending to your next adventure in no time.
Through Bluetooth, you can also use DiverLog app to share dive log information and connect with buddies on mobile devices. Data retention feature saves past settings and calculation between battery and changes.
Depending on size, this versatile, durable, as well as affordable BCD, provide a lift capacity of 24 lbs to 55 lbs. The Pro HD is a complete and cost-effective dive package to embark on endless underwater explorations. So, if you are looking for the best scuba BCD, then this might be your best choice indeed.
- Titan Scuba regulator uses a balanced diaphragm mechanism
- I300c computer air and Nitrox modes
- Pro HD BCD wrap-around jacket with high integration
- ABS Octopus combines good breathing
- The venture lever prevents unwanted freeflow.
- Need to pay attention to select the size that goes with you
3. CressiTravelight 15 LBS Scuba Diving Package
The CressiTravelight LBS scuba diving package is one of the scuba gear packages that includes a console integrated dive computer and traveling bag. This package contains buoyancy compensator device, first stage regulator, second stage regulator, alternate air source regulator, submersible pressure gauge, dive computer, small regulator bag, and gear bag.
CressiTravelight BCD has a fully padded soft and comfortable fitting backpack, 8 alloy D-rings, 9 relief valves. The lock aid mechanism offers a weight integrated system on the side pouch to carry up to 20 pounds of lead weights.
Back pockets can also accommodate an additional 10 pounds weight load. The inflation feature inflates bladder away from the body to prevent body construction. Cressi MC5 1st stage regulator with overcompensation diaphragm and semi-flexible elastomer sheath protects from the wear and tear of constant use and built on an ultralight material.
The 2nd stage regulator features downstream system with adjustable Venturini valve for pre-dive airflow adjustment through a large purge button, anti-friction lever, and anti-scratch surface. The Alternative air source uses the same mechanism as the 2nd stage.
The submersible pressure gauge with multi-color indicator mark expresses the units in bars and an integrated Leonardo C2 console dive computer which is both air and nitrox compatible can read up to 5000 psi.
The CressiTravelight with an anatomical shape is very lightweight and tight-fitting and also offers very little resistant to forward movement. It can be folded up in just a few seconds and fastened with a retractable strap to stow easily in the carry bag.
As the regulator set has electronic parts from the computer, so extra care is required while using and storing on gear up guide regulator bag. This scuba package comes with Akona adventure gear roller suitcase also.
- Set is durable for years of use
- Lightweight for travel
- Compact regulator set
- Carry on will also fit mask snorkel
- Kracken gear is built and tested to last
- Long sized fins don’t fit in guide regulator bag
4. Zeagle Ranger BCD
Zeagle Ranger BCD is one of the first BCDs that combine heavy-duty construction with high-quality materials. This is packed weight integration and back inflation into the mix.
This versatile BCD is the most copied buoyancy compensator which can be used for any diving. The air bladder in the back can produce a lift capacity of 44 pounds.
The standard weight system offers pockets with ripcord release. The integrated trim weight on the back can fill up to 20 pounds as well. Zeagle offers much storage space in it.
The zippered storage pockets have available space and also easy to reach. It provides 6 D-rings to attach additional accessories. It has 44 lbs lift capacity.
It allows you to custom build for the individual needs. This ranger BCD features 11′ grommets for mounting twin cylinders, adjustable elastic waist panels, lights, reels, etc.
This 8.4 pound weighs BCD not much heavy enough that you can’t fold it over and squeeze it into the travel bag. If you are looking for a strong recreational buoyancy system, and also want to meet your different diving needs, then Zeagle Ranger is a system you won’t outgrow.
- LP quick-disconnect hose
- Ripcord weight system
- Weight integrated back inflation design
- Torso adjustable shoulder
- Reinforced Cordura 1050 ballistic denier nylon bladder
- It is a little bit bulky
5. Cressi Start Jacket Style BCD
The Cressi Start BCD is an ultra-durable option which is built to last through many years to come. It has strong, bulletproof exterior and rigid padded back support with sternum strap that you can get your perfect fit.
High quality strong 500 and 1000 denier Cordura construction gives excellent buoyancy even the smaller sizes. This BCD is equipped with three over-pressure relief valves.
These valves are able to dump with a simple pull string manually. This scuba BCD provides two plastic D-rings, two additional snap hook and two large accessory pocket to attach or store gear to this device.
The waist strap is independent of air cell which does not have tight squeezing feeling. It adds extra comfort to this BCD. This 8 pounds lightweight BCD has up to 45 lbs lift capacity depending on sizes.
This BCD can withstand a lot of use and tear without a scratch. You may hardly find a better piece of gear like it for the beginners.
- More resistant to erosion
- Independent waist strap
- Inflator with a double air filtration system
- Lightweight and backpack system
- Three exhaust valves for buoyancy adjustment
- Plastic D-rings
6. Hollis HD-200 BCD
Hollis HD-200 is a bridge that fills the gap between recreational and technical diving. You can continuously use this hard-wearing wing BCD as you develop your skills.
The fixed Horseshoe C bladder is fixed to the harness which gives freedom of movement with keeping side pockets and integrated weights. The padded backpack is contoured for lumber.
The Velcro cummerbund adds a customizable level of comfort around the waist. Quick release crotch strap stops the BCD from riding up and rolled neoprene neck collar is smooth around the neck.
It comes with 2-shoulder pre-bent D-rings, 4-rear D rings, two lower hip D-ring and a crotch strap D-rings made of stainless steel to carry canister lights, bottles, suit inflator, reels; etc.
The integrated weight system uses pinch-clip release mechanism for a secure and quick release. Infront zipper pockets on both side feature knife grommets to attach a BCD knife.
The technical inflator features two simple inflatable/deflate buttons to an oval hose with a pull dump. One overpressure pulls dump at the right shoulder and rest one at the left kidney.
It has everything that an advanced sports diver need to have. The heavy-duty construction and innovative design provide ultimate comfort and function and also best fitted indeed.
- 2″ waist strap with stainless steel buckle
- 2″ Nylon waist strap with quick release buckle
- 1000 denier Cordura TM w/PU lamination outer shell
- 15mm urethane internal bladder
- Contoured and lightweight backpack with lumbar support
- Need to make some adjustment by adding crotch strap and metal waist buckle
7. Zeagle Stiletto BCD
Zeagle Stiletto BCD is a lightweight BCD, designed for both warm and temperate water diving. This rugged and full-featured BCD is made of extra durable reinforced 100 denier nylon fabric with urethane laminate inner.
Again, the radio frequency gives an extra level of protection against punctures or abrasion in the close environment. This BCD with Bx power inflator system requires no more struggling to get fresh water through the mouthpiece.
The Bx inflator also comes with 3/8″ threaded quick-disconnect low-pressure hose. The back inflator bladder supplies 35 lbs lift capacity which is sufficient for most average sized divers to use in their local environments.
The Ripcord weight system also includes 24 lbs releasable weight capacity and an additional 16 lbs non-releasable trim pocket capacity.
This BCD comes with five stainless steel D-rings for accessory attachment, adjustable dual position sternum strap, waist strap, and torso adjustable shoulder straps.
All the straps are equipped with side release buckles for easy donning and doffing. Again, Zeagle has two zippered pockets for storage of accessory items. Shoulder dump valve and lower overpressure dump valve made trimming buoyancy easy.
The stiletto BCD is ideal for both travel and local divers who want a lightweight but rugged system without compromising features.
- Lightweight design
- Weight integrated back inflation design
- Easy and quick donning and dopping
- Five stainless steel D-rings
- Two zippered utility pockets
- You may find some flaws in the materials
8. CressiAquaride Pro BCD
CressiAquaride Pro BCD is a dual purpose well-made BCD that is incredibly versatile and great for travel. This is a lightweight and compact BCD to be packed away for a warm water trip.
Again, it can be used for a wide assortment of diving. Aquaride pro houses enough lift, weight capacity and room to use with a dry suit in cold-weather conditions.
This all-around BCD for any occasion is constructed with durable 420 denier nylon to stand up to the daily use. The trimmed down style makes the usage easy and comfortable for a professional diver.
But any level of diver can use this BCD with a better fit. The hard pack frame with plenty of padding offers shoulder straps for better fit. This BCD is incredibly easy to don.
The cummerbund and chest strap are elastic to make you feel comfortable even when the air bladder is full. It also incorporates three dump valves, two shoulder valves, and rear waist valve.
The new integrated lock aid system is super smooth and secure integrated weight system also offers quick and easy release mechanism.
It provides two trim weights pockets and quickly attaches rear weight pockets with 5-pound weight capacity. The releasable pockets accommodate 20 lbs weight. This compact and easy to use BCD is full of features as well.
- Adjustable shoulder straps with steel D-rings
- Superlight rigged backpack with handle
- Three purge and overpressure valves
- Expandable sundries zip closure pockets
- Dual purpose BCD
- It only comes in blue color.
9. AquaLung Pro HD Weight Integrated BCD
AcquaLung Pro HD is a wrap-around jacket with weight integrated system. It comes with every feature that a BCD can have. Its advanced resistek materials can hold up to the rigors of salt and chlorine.
The flat valves also reduce water drag. This BCD provides two easy access pockets. The scooped pocket for the octopus makes it easy to deploy or stow away.
It also added a knife attachment point which is suitable for aqua lung knives. This BCD also comes with five stainless steel D-rings to attach accessories.
This proprietary backpack also offers a carrying handle and built-in traction to reduces tank slippage. Again, the positioning strap also allows setting the perfect height each time.
AcquaLung Pro provides excellent value, and so it is feature-rich for the price. Due to its advanced resistek materials, it is ready to go whenever you want to take. It also looks good as well.
- Best jacket style and back inflation
- E-valves reduce drag
- Pockets are secured with zipper
- Octo pockets securely stow your octopus
- Adjustable waistband
- It may not suit as travel BCD
10. Cressi Start Pro Jacket Style Scuba Diving BCD
Cressi Start Pro is designed as a Rental BCD which is ideal for beginners. This start pro gives stability, high-level buoyancy and weight integration to the students or customers of the resorts and dive schools.
The bullet-proof construction using 1000 and 500 Denier Cordura provides two unique gravity releasable weight pockets equipped with quick release buckles.
The rigid back support equipped with carrying handle is fully padded for comfort and proper cylinder stability. The quick release buckles help to easy donning and doffing.
It has three over-pressure relief valves which can be manually dumped. Start Pro is also equipped with streamline commando power inflator along with activated pull dump valve and 3/8” threaded hose.
The BCD comes with two large cargo pockets with hook and loop closure which are great for storage such as gloves, dive light and more. The inflator mechanism makes it environmentally sealed for less maintenance and higher reliability.
- Bulletproof for recreational divers
- Three relief/ overpressure valves
- Adjustable sternum shoulders
- Rigid, fully padded back support
- Quick and easy donning and doffing
- Techno-polymer D-rings
Scuba BCD Accessories
The jacket has side pockets where weights can be integrated into special supports that improve the diving experience and, in some cases, allow the conventional diving belt to be eliminated.
Back Pockets to Place Leads
Used by experienced divers to counteract the flotation effect of the Ala jacket, they are not removable.
Necessary to hang our diving accessories, choose a model that suits your needs. The metal rings are much more comfortable to use when hooking up the equipment and provide more excellent resistance.
They are used to store implements that we use during the dives; they can be closed with velcro or zip.
Jackets generally have two tie-down straps. There are models provided with an additional safety upper strip generally used when we use larger aluminum bottles.
Some new models present a change in the windpipe design, which eliminates the corrugated tube and incorporates it into one side of the vest. This system is a bit expensive, and its use will depend on your preferences.
What Types of BCDs Are There?
The types of Jackets that are available in the market:
It is the option most used by divers with less experience because it offers a better balance in the water, thanks to the bladders’ location, which are located on the back and the sides. Some models have weights on the sides that offer greater comfort than a belt.
As their name indicates, they are designed for easy transport when traveling, with the ability to be folded in half. They have fewer accessory rings and smaller pockets. Its disadvantage is the low level of buoyancy that makes it inefficient in cold water dives.
The hybrid presents characteristics of the conventional jacket and the travel jacket, allowing greater ease of transport, sacrificing the buoyancy level to a lesser degree.
This type of jacket is usually the most used by experienced divers; it only has a bladder on the back that allows greater control of buoyancy when diving. This vest tends to place the diver face down when he is on the surface, an effect that can be compensated with weights located at strategic points, which is why it requires a greater degree of experience for its use.
Scuba BCD FAQs
What is a BCD Scuba?
BCD refers to the buoyancy control device. Divers wear BCD while diving, and it is known as Bcd scuba. Bcd lets divers to create neutral buoyancy underwater. Plus, it helps divers to create positive buoyancy at the surface when needed. By wearing Bcd, divers can float comfortably. They can observe the scenery while drifting along effortlessly mid-water. The BCD also help divers hold their oxygen tanks. In short, BCD makes scuba diving more enjoyable.
How Does a BCD Work?
BCD works by adjusting air-volume in the bladder to control buoyancy. The bladder contains ambient pressure gas that comes from the diver’s breathing gas cylinder. Usually, it comes through the low-pressure hose or the diver’s mouth through the oral inflation valve. The BCD enables divers to inflate and deflate the air. So, they can sink or rise in the water as per their needs.
Do You Need a BCD to Dive?
All divers know that buoyancy control is the essential skill that they should master. They master the skill using the BCD; it lets them improve buoyancy control, reduce fatigue, and facilitate the enjoyment of diving. After mastering the buoyancy-control skill, some professional divers don’t use BCD. Instead, they connect themselves with lines, which are controlled by surface staff.
Support staff controls their descent and ascent using these lines. Another reason for connecting themselves with lines is these divers don’t need to achieve neutral buoyancy. Anyway, if you are a professional diver and confident about not facing negative buoyant, you may start diving without BCD. Otherwise, it is a crucial diving kit.
Why Do I Need to Wear BCD?
The significant reason for wearing Bcd is to achieve neutral buoyancy underwater. It is a state between floating and sinking. Divers reach this state by controlling their breathing with the help of BCD. Some divers can go diving without BCD, but very few can do that. Because overweight people tend to be positively buoyant and float, on the contrary, muscularly or skinny people are negatively buoyant and sink. Thus, to avert the escalation, BCD comes into the market and helps people of all types and ages to achieve neutral buoyancy.
What Size BCD Do I Need?
Scuba diving is fun if you have the right BCD. Having the right BCD will keep you safe while scuba diving and ensure your peace of mind underwater. But the problem is most divers, especially beginners, don’t know about the perfect BCD size according to their body measurement. Well, here we will describe how to get the accurate BCD size. The small size BCD is suitable for people whose waists are between 71 to 91 cm and heights are 1.55 to 1.65m.
The M size is ideal for divers with 83 to 101 cm waist and 1.65 to 1.77 m height. Accordingly, the L BCD Size is appropriate for people with 1.77 to 1.86m height and 91-112 waist. XL size is obviously right for a bit overweight people with 101-122 waistline and 1.79-1.89 height. Lastly, overweight people with 112 to 132 waist and 1.79-1.89 height should purchase 2XL BCD.
Can You Dive Without a BCD?
Yes, you can dive without a BCD, but it isn’t recommended. Based on the expert’s guidelines, divers shouldn’t dive without BCD until they master buoyancy skills. If you are confident enough to control breathing, you may opt for scuba diving without using a BCD. Remember, there is always a risk of being negatively buoyant, so every diver should use BCD to avoid that.
Do You Need a BCD With a Drysuit?
Many divers have the misconception that if they have a drysuit, they don’t need BCD. It isn’t entirely right, though. For buoyancy control, one must use the BCD. It helps divers to float on the surface, and with that, it deals with the loss of suit buoyancy. So, divers should use the BCD besides wearing the drysuit.
If you look at the drysuit’s primary purpose, you will notice that it helps divers stay warm and resist them from being pressed at depth. And BCD helps them to float comfortably underwater. Both diving equipment can make scuba diving more comfortable and enjoyable.
What is the Lift Capacity of a BCD?
Lift capacity indicates the BCD’s weight capacity. It refers to the measurement of how much weight the BCD can hold while its bladder is inflated. It is said that choosing the BCD according to its lift capacity is pretty complicated. Thus, many beginner divers fail to accomplish the task of BCD selection. However, here is a general guideline to determine the BCD as per its lift capacity.
People who tend to go for tropical diving with no wetsuit protection should use 8-12 kg BCDs. Recreational divers with wetsuit or drysuit need to use 10-12 kg BCDs. Technical divers should opt for BCDs that have a lift capacity from 20 to 40kg. To simplify, a diver should select a BCD with 10kg more lift than the total weight worn. For instance, divers who wear 30 kg of weight should use BCD with 40 kg lift capacity.
How Long Does a Scuba BCD Last?
A high-quality scuba BCD may last up to ten years if you take proper care of it. Some BCDs, such as wing style BCDs, tend to last more than ten years thanks to their rugged structure. In summary, with good maintenance and care, your BCDs will last for more years than you expect.
How Much is a BCD?
It entirely depends on the diver’s needs. If a diver plans to dive while on vacation, he might need a full gear set, which is quite expensive. And it isn’t right for a diver to invest a huge amount of money who prefer diving only once or twice a year. However, divers who dive frequently can get the full set at a reasonable price.
They can select a basic BCD set that will cost around $600 to $1,500. They can reduce diving-equipment costs. Instead of purchasing the full set, they can start with the essential gears such as masks, fins, snorkels, exposure suits, etc.
As it is one of the most expensive and safety-relevant investments, you should pay more attention to choose the perfect one among all. Besides, there are many models of BCD with different features available in the market, so it might be difficult for you to make the right decision. And so, we have shared our review on best scuba BCD. We hope, after wearing any of this BCD from our list, you will feel more comfortable and secure while diving.
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