Top 8 Best Scuba BCDs for 2019

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Scuba Dive with Ease Using One of These 8 Buoyancy Control Devices

Depending on what you are going for, scuba diving can be an uplifting and relaxing experience or a thrill ride from start to finish. However, in order to enjoy the fun of diving, you need to wear and use the proper equipment while you are underwater. Some of those devices are cutting-edge gadgets like the dive computer. Others are crucial for the experience, such as a buoyancy control device (BCD) for scuba.

A scuba BCD is a requirement for diving which lets you descend and ascend in and out of the water in a safe manner.  However, many buoyancy control devices are relatively expensive, so choosing the perfect one is a must. It doesn’t help the situation that there are so many features with various scuba diving BCD. For someone buying their first or a replacement, getting the best value for the money is essential.

Today were are going to look at the top eight scuba BCDs on the market. We’ll go over what makes them unique and who they are designed for. We will also look into the ins and outs of BCDs, in general, so you have a better idea of what to look for when choosing one for yourself. First, let’s look at the best BCDS for diving and what they each offer.

Best BCD Reviews & Comparisons

 NameNumber of D-RingsLift Capacity
Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD I300C Dive Computer Titan / ABS Regulator Set5 Stainless-Steel24 to 55 Pounds Depending on Size
Cressi Start Jacket Style BCD4 Technopolymer29 to 45 Pounds Depending on Size
Hollis HD-200 BCD9 Stainless-Steel35 to 45 Pounds Depending on Size
Cressi Aquaride Pro BCD6 Stainless-Steel18 to 43 Pounds Depending on Size
Scubapro Litehawk BC w/ BPI for Scuba Divers4 Aluminum30 to 40 Pounds Depending on Size
Cressi R1 Weight with Integrated BCD6 Alloy17 to 36 Pounds Depending on Size
Genesis Drift Jacket Style Buoyancy Compensator4 Aluminum24 to 40 Pounds Depending on Size
Scubapro Hydros Pro Men’s BCD w/ Balanced Inflator4 Metal30 to 40 Pounds Depending on Size

Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD I300C Dive Computer Titan / ABS Regulator Set

The Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD I300C comes as a jack that wraps around you and features weight integration. This could easily be classified as the best travel BCD as it comes at a great value. It has a large number of features at a reasonable price. With the Resistek material, it can handle chlorine and salt without losing its looks or capabilities.

While the Pro HD comes in only a single color (black/blue/charcoal), it comes in a total of six different sizes from extra-small to extra-large. It comes with a Titan regular with durability, lightweight feel, and functionality that makes it easy to breathe under the water. The affordable price brings a lot to the table with affordability and easy maintenance.

This buoyancy control device comes with I300C diving computer which includes a user-changeable battery, easy-to-use interface, built-in backlight, and several operating modes. It also activates upon reaching the water, so you don’t have to stress about fiddling with things to get into the water and enjoy your time there.

Pros:

  • Accurate profile ensured by automatic altitude adjustment
  • Easy start to dive due to water activation feature
  • Offers optional deep stop with countdown timer

Cons:

  • Does not include a digital compass
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Cressi Start Jacket Style BCD

Simplicity and reliability matter when it comes to a diving BCD because scuba diving can be seriously complex. The good news is that Cressi is a manufacturer known for offering great BCDs for users of all skill levels. This scuba dive BCD is created from durable 1000-denier nylon and can take a large amount of abuse. It also has a lot of detail that a diver will appreciate.

This BCD has a back panel that is rigid and prevents gas and air tanks from pressing into your back. Users get a safer, more comfortable experience when using the Cressi Start Jacket while diving. The material of the diving jacket is padded so it won’t rub up against your spine.

To control buoyancy, you need valves for dumping air, inflation, and over-pressurization, all of which come standard and make this a good choice for beginners. With three overpressure valves, even the newest diver is safe if the wrong amount of gas is used. There are also ripcords to dump air on your own if you prefer.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use with added buoyancy for beginners
  • Comfortable to wear with exceptional back support
  • Created from a heavy-duty material for durability

Cons:

  • D-rings are manufactured from plastic rather than metal
  • Does not include an integrated weight system
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Hollis HD-200 BCD

The Hollis HD-200 BCD for diving is well-constructed to offer durability and long-lasting comfort. It’s completely appropriate for a beginner but has the features you’ll want as you progress in scuba diving. The small and medium HD-200 offers 35 pounds of lift while the large and extra-large boasts 45 pounds of lift. While it is durable, it’s also comfortable with a mold and contour backpack with lumbar support and a neoprene rolled neck.

It comes with a weight strap with crotch strap and stainless-steel buckle. The sternum strap can be mounted in two locations and the cummerbund and shoulder straps are removable. The straps at the crotch, torso, and sternum offer quick release buckles to easily get the BCD vest on and off.

There are plenty of points to add accessories with two D-rings on the shoulders, two at the lower hips, one at the crotch, and four on the back. All are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel. There are also large zippered pockets on each day with grommets for mounting knives.

Pros:

  • Features large utility pockets
  • Created with heavy-duty construction
  • Offers a back pad and lumbar support for comfort

Cons:

  • Some may find it overly bulky and heavy
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Cressi Aquaride Pro BCD

As with all BCDs from Cressi, the Aquaride is a comfortable companion while spending time under the water. It can be used for traveling and for all sorts of diving activities. It has a lightweight and compact design which makes it easy to happy and use in warm water, but it has enough lift and weight capacity to also work well with a dry suit during the colder winter months.

This contender for best scuba BCD is made of a strong nylon material so it can stand up to the needs of any kind of diver. The hardpack is sturdy and durable with lots of padding to offer the highest degree of comfort. It has adjustable shoulder straps to resist disturbance with the air cell. The cummerbund and chest strap are both elastic to make the BCD even more comfortable to wear and use.

There are three different dump valves on this Cressi BCD with two on the shoulders and one on the rear waist. The releasable pockets are large and accommodate a decent capacity and are expandable using a zip closure. All in all, this is a great BCD for a beginner or more experienced user.

Pros:

  • Well-made to be rugged and dependable
  • Offers a comfortable fit even over long periods of diving
  • Includes plenty of quality D-rings

Cons:

  • Some users wish for a more customizable fit
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Scubapro Litehawk BC w/ BPI for Scuba Divers

The Litehawk might be the best Scubapro BCD on the market today. It is built to offer the top in freedom of movement. It can easily be used for all sorts of situations, one of which is simple flotation. This is a back-wing BCD and it offers an excellent back flotation experience. It has an ultra slim design and weights very little. With the compact nature along with the softness and flexibility of the BCD, it’s easy to pack for travel.

The straps are designed to be a belt and are adjustable for comfort. The shoulder straps rotate while the waist release buckle settles. The straps for the sternum can be adjusted to fit your body perfectly as if it were a device made only for you.

There are two large pockets to hold all of your accessories and quick-release weight pockets that can be used as you need it. There are also D-rings available to clip all your extra diving gear too. You can expect this divers BC to offer a stable and comfortable ride no matter how deep you delve into the water.

Pros:

  • Extremely streamlined and lightweight
  • Stays tight when deflated due to bungee system
  • Inflator offers a secondary air source regulator

Cons:

  • Back inflate design may not be ideal for beginners
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Cressi R1 Weight with Integrated BCD

As you’ve probably noticed, Cressi is one of the most popular brand names when it comes to BCDs. This Cressi R1 is a simple to use and comfortable BCD that works well for those who are moving past beginner status in scuba diving. The most notable thing to know about this BCD is that it has an integrated weight system. Rather than needing to use a weight belt, the R1 does it all for you.

The R1 has a Lock Aid mechanism which makes it easy to add and remove weights to the jacket. It is worth being aware that all of the pockets for weight are located in the front. Most divers enjoy this type of weight system because it offers more freedom. With other systems, it’s possible to lose a weight in the ocean, but Lock Aid removes that concern.

This is an ergonomic and comfortable BCD but uses heavy-duty 500 denier nylon which helps prevent wear and tear. It also has lumbar support to prevent back pain from the weight of the tanks. The entire back is rigid to offer a better weight distribution.

Pros:

  • Offers adjustable shoulder straps for a great fit
  • Features two large pockets for diving accessories
  • Waist can be adjusted for a better fit

Cons:

  • Does not come with added weight
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Genesis Drift Jacket Style Buoyancy Compensator

As a scuba diving BCD, you might expect the best options to cost a lot of dough. However, some of the best BCD offer you a large value for the money you spend. There’s no need to search everywhere to find them because the Genesis Drift is a great example. It comes at a reasonable price while being comfortable to wear and offering all the essentials you need.

This BCD features an integrated weight system and incorporate a total of two easy-release pockets for the weight. These are fairly simple to use, which is important if you end up in an emergency or an accident. Beyond the weight system, it also has a quality harness system with adjustable shoulder straps, removable sternum strap, and adjustable waist strap.

The exterior of the product is durable through the use of 420 denier nylon, which is a great value considering the price. The interior of the BCD uses a urethane lamination. There might be BCDs out there with more bells and whistles, but when price matters, it doesn’t get much better than the Drift.

Pros:

  • Radio frequency welded seams for durability and long life
  • Power inflator mechanism allows easy control over buoyancy
  • Gravity style pockets to store diving accessories

Cons:

  • Comes in four sizes instead of the normal five
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Scubapro Hydros Pro Men’s BCD w/ Balanced Inflator

One of the top qualities that people love about Scubapro Hydros is that it has very little water retention. That means once you come up out of the water, you don’t have to wait for ages for it to dry out. It also has a nearly zero buoyancy for less need for lead. The BCD is made to fit your body and has been designed with body grip gel for stability and comfort.

While this is a durable item that will last a long time, what makes it even better is that fact that the components can be replaced as needed. However, the construction material is capable of standing up to UV light, abrasion, and chemicals with ease.

This Hydros BCD can be used for all sorts of activities and will be comfortable while doing so. It has interchangeable straps and a backpack with room for everything you have in your dive kit. This leads to a product that is convenient, comfortable, and filled with high-quality features.

Pros:

  • Compact with instant dry surface ideal for transport
  • Neutrally-buoyant and lightweight
  • Offers a good grip while being comfortable

Cons:

  • Price may be too high for some divers
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How to Choose the Right Scuba BCD for Your Needs

You are going to find buoyance control devices that come in three styles: back inflation, jacket, or hybrid. The most well-known is the jacket style where the BCD is inflated in the back, front, and sides. It tends to be the best option for those new to scuba diving as they are simple to control at the surface and make a user more streamlined.

As you might expect, back inflation models inflate only on the back and tend to be more lightweight. They are comfortable and allow you to move in a freer manner. This is typically the option used by dive travelers. The hybrid model combines the two styles. Choosing which is right for you is a good start to choosing the right BCD, but other things come into play, as well.

BCD Fit

A large number of BCDs have separate versions for men and women. Women’s models bit differently through the shape of the shoulder straps, the position of the chest straps, and the length of the back.

Where male or female, you want your BCD to be snug when it is inflated. If your BCD is too large, it can drag in the water and cause problems. Since you need to close your buckles and straps while inflated on shore, you want to make sure there is plenty of room to breathe.

scuba equipment

BCD Weight

Those who plan to travel to partake in diving will want to consider the size and weight of your BCD as a compact, lightweight option is the best choice. This will take up less room in your luggage and won’t have all the extra harness points and straps. Back inflation BCDs are the most common choice for those who do a large amount of traveling to scuba dive.

Lift Capacity

Another important thing to consider is the lift capacity of the BCD. This refers to how much the BCD can hold when inflated fully while at the surface. Calculating how much lift capacity you need will depend upon a few factors, including whether you’re in cold water and wearing a thicker wetsuit. The thicker suit requires a higher capacity than a thin suit. For those in tropical waters, you may need less lift capacity due to wearing a thin wetsuit.

Putting it All Together

When you consider all the factors above, you’ll have a good idea of what sort of BCD will work best for your needs. Think about the weight, lift capacity, style, and fit of BCD that fits what type of diving you want to do. All of the eight BCDs above are exceptional quality and you can likely find one that fits your needs. And once you’ve managed to find the right one, you’re that much closer to enjoying your time under the water.

2019-04-29T06:19:12+00:00By |Water|
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