5 Best Scuba BCDs in 2017

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What Are The Best Scuba BCDs? – Let’s Review!

Whether you are floating on the surface, standing on the ocean floor or just maintaining a constant float mid ocean, it is important that you can do so with ease. That is the job of your BCD. A buoyancy control device, commonly shortened to BCD, is a device that gives you control underwater. Neutralizing your buoyancy when underwater and giving you a positive buoyancy when on the surface, the point of a BCD is to keep you in your desired area while in the water.

Your properly fitting BCD combined with your weight system will give you the control you desire. This is also where your tank will attach to. This is an important piece of equipment, that’s why it is highly recommended that you get the best scuba BCD on the market.

To help with your search we have constructed a list of the best BCD’s to make sure you enjoy your time in the water. We recommend doing your research and getting one that properly fits you and your needs.

Here Is the Chart for the 5 Best Scuba BCDs

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The Top 5 Scuba BCDs Are….

1Cressi Start BCD


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This BCD is built to last through many years to come. The Cressi Start BCD has a strong, almost bulletproof, exterior which makes it an ultra durable option. A rigid padded back supports you and the adjustable sternum strap makes it so that you can get your perfect fit. Being constructed using high quality strong 500 and 1000 denier Cordura gives this BCD excellent buoyancy, even the smaller sizes. This BCD comes equipped with three over-pressure relief valves. All three of these come able to manually dump with a simple pull string. You will be able to attach more gear to this device with the use of the two plastic D rings, the two large accessory pockets and the additional two snap hooks. The waist strap assembly is independent from the air cell which makes it so that when inflated you do not have a tight squeezing feeling. This gives added comfort to this BCD. Scuba BCD reviews are raving about the value you get with this purchase.

Weight: 8 lbs

Style: Jacket

Materials: 500 and 1000 Denier Cordura

What makes this BCD stand out:

  • Excellent value
  • Power inflator mechanism
  • Easy to access packs

2Cressi Travelight BCD

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This is much more lightweight and compact than your traditional BCD. This Cressi option adds comfort and allows almost any diver to use it. Providing a good balance and trim under the water gives this BCD an all around lift. The bladder is made using 210 denier nylon which provides added strength without weighing you down. Light alloys won’t weigh you down but will provide a total of eight D-rings for added storage. Travel BCD reviews recommend this product as the lightweight design allows you to pack this set up with you no matter where your travels take you. Two rear trim pockets and two large accessory pockets allow you to bring more gear with you such as knives and dive lights. A padded back panel sits comfortable against your skin and is flexible enough to move with you. Adjustable straps on the on the shoulder, chest and waist ensure that you get the perfect fit for your body. You will feel extra secure with a velcro waist band.

Weight: 5.5 lbs

Style: Jacket

Materials: 210 Denier Nylon

What makes this BCD stand out:

  • Ultra lightweight design
  • Lots of storage

3Zeagle Stiletto BCD with the Ripcord Weight System

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The Zeagle Stiletto BCD has been designed for recreational diving and features a high quality strapping system with a lightweight frame. This will give you a perfect fit no matter your diving style. The Zeagle Stiletto BCD is designed for a single tank that is perfect for warm and cold water environments alike. A strong 1000 Denier nylon bladder ensures a durable build that is resistant to abrasion and tears making it perfect for dives against reefs or sharp material. Stainless steel D-rings add to the high quality design and will give you peace of mind with their durability even at high depths. A padded lumbar support system keeps your back comfortable while soft shoulder straps ensure the same for your arms. You can tell the quality of this rig by the warranty.

Weight: 7.4 lbs

Style: Back

Materials: 1000 Denier nylon

What makes this BCD stand out:

  • High quality material
  • Stainless steel D-rings
  • Lightweight design

4Scubapro Knighthawk BC w/ Air II for Scuba Divers

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This is a high quality BCD with loads of added features. A large pack that wraps around your waist and D-rings strategically placed throughout the pack give you the ability to customize your load. The strong 1000 denier nylon will stand the test of time and creates a lightweight system that you can rely on in any circumstance. Loops on both straps give you the option of having your air straps on either side. All of the buckles are adjustable to create your perfect setup. Coming in 5 different sizes the Scubapro Knighthawk is guaranteed to fit you perfectly. A simple squeeze and pull system allows you to quickly release your ballast weights in case of an emergency. According to buoyancy compensator reviews this is one of the best BCDs on the market.

Weight: 8 lbs

Style: Back

Materials: 1000 Denier nylon, neoprene neck pad

What makes this BCD stand out:

  • Extra storage pouch
  • Lots of D-rings
  • Fully adjustable straps

5AquaLung Pro HD Weight Integrated BCD

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The affordable price makes this a great BCD for beginners. But don’t be fooled by the price, this AquaLung BCD is a quality rig. Loaded with features like D-rings and utility pockets this is a full featured pack that you won’t be outgrowing anytime soon. The patented puncture, fade and tear resistant material has been specially designed to last for years. A fully adjustable waist strap combined with its 6 sizes ensure this will fit any person. Features like a squeeze lock knife and reflector kit make it easy to create a personalized look and feel. Built in features like a quick release for the weights and an adjustable tank strap give you a great starting point to build off of. This is a great BCD for a value price.

Weight: 8 lbs

Style: Jacket

Materials: ResisteK material

What makes this BCD stand out:

  • Large utility packs
  • Fully adjustable tank and waist strap
  • Sleek look

What is a BCD?

What is a BCD

A BCD is a buoyancy control device (also known as a buoyancy compensator). Essentially it is a piece of equipment that allows you to move up and down in the water. Bladders will increase or decrease with air which will make you more or less buoyant. These essential scuba diving pieces of equipment look like vests and contain features that will keep you safe during your time underwater.

How to choose your BCD

When buying your scuba gear you are going to want to opt for top of the line gear. This includes the best BCD. When looking for yours consider the following features:

Style

Would you be most comfortable in a jacket, a back inflation (wing) or a hybrid setup?

Jacket

This will give you a tight feeling, similar to wearing a big winter jacket. When you inflate this type of BCD the front and back will inflate engulfing your body. For beginners it is often recommended to opt for this style as it creates a good buoyancy for all diving conditions and environments. This style also provides the most control in the easiest manner during your dive.

Back Inflation

This style is commonly referred to as wings as it only inflates the back portion of your device. It is often a more comfortable feel because it will feel as if you’re not wearing a BCD. This style is recommended for experienced divers as it often puts you in a face down stance when floating on the surface.

Hybrid

A mix of the jacket and wing style, this BCD will inflate ¾ in the back and ¼ in the front. This style reduces the amount of air in the front part of the rig. It will keep you in a more vertical position which most divers will appreciate.

Type of water

The temperature of the water you are diving in will affect the type of BCD you should buy. The first thing that gets affected is the lift capacity. This is a measurement of weight the BCD can hold when on the surface when fully inflated. While diving in colder water you will be wearing a thicker wetsuit meaning you will need a BCD with a higher lift capacity to counteract the higher buoyancy. This is important as it will ensure you can navigate through the water with ease.

Type of BCD

There are a few different types of BCD’s on the market depending on your focus of use.

General Purpose

This is the best choice for those who dive primarily in cold water. For those who dive in dry suits or thick wetsuits this type of BCD provides enough lift and has integrated weight systems to keep you diving with ease. While this is the heaviest option it has tons of storage and areas where you can attach more gear.

Travel

The lightest of the BCDs on the market, these are great for those who like to travel with their gear. A low profile design allows you to fold these BCDs to fit easily in your luggage. This style typically doesn’t allow for as much lift capacity as other models.

Dual Purpose

The best of both worlds this style is compact enough to be able to travel with while still providing enough lift capacity to have you easily navigating the waters. Not folding as small as the travel BCD, this lightweight option allows you to still wear a thick wetsuit or even a dry suit while keeping you diving smoothly.

Size

This is always an important feature when considering scuba equipment but is even more important when considering a BCD. You will want to find one that fits comfortably and fits snug to your body. We recommend, especially if buying online, that you invest in a BCD with adjustable straps that allow the device to adjust to the perfect fit for you. Take into consideration the thickness of your wetsuit or drysuit you plan to wear on your dive.

Weight Integration

A weight belt is just another accessory to bring along on your dive. Being able to ditch this accessory and simply add your weights into the pockets of your BCD will relieve the bulk on your body. This is especially desirable when diving in cold water and you are already wearing a thick wetsuit.  

Fit

When buying your BCD most models will specifically state if it is made for men or women. This is only important because of the length of the BCD. Men’s styles are made with a longer length to allow for mens longer torsos while women BCDs in turn have shorter back lengths. In the women’s style your tank will not rest on the base of your spine. During dives this will make your tank feel lighter and less strenuous.

The BCDs designed for women also have a unique design for the chest straps, and the width and shape of the shoulder straps. This will fit much more comfortably as it compensates for women’s unique shape.

Globo Surf Overview

Ensuring you get the right BCD for you is a crucial first step of scuba diving. Once you complete your first dive lesson you will want to think about getting your own gear. Understanding and being comfortable with this piece of equipment goes a long way in giving you confidence and peace of mind while under the water’s surface.

Do you dive with a BCD on our list? Let us know the features that you love about it in the comment section below.

Last Update on the 6th of March 2017

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!

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