Best scuba BCD

Best Scuba BCD – Our Selection & Guide for 2021

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The main attraction of scuba diving for many people is the opportunity to explore the underwater world. But your exploration underwater would be tricky, at best, if you are unable to remain at a particular depth and are instead sinking to the ocean floor or floating useless at the surface.

A Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) is vital scuba gear that will help you maintain neutral buoyancy when ascending, descending, or exploring the depths. Neutral buoyancy occurs when your weight is equal to the volume of water you displace so you are neither sinking nor floating.

There’s more to BCDs as they also help secure your scuba tank, hold ballast weights, and assists in routing your air hoses. All of the above shows how important CDs are and why it’s important to choose a quality one.

The good news is that choosing a BCD is fairly simple. However, there are some factors, which will be discussed later in this article, that you must put into consideration when buying a BCD.

Below you’ll find a list of the best scuba BCDs, their pros, cons, and a buying guide to help you choose one that’s right for you. Here we go.

The 7 Best Scuba BCDs for 2021

Zeagle Scout BCD

Zeagle Scout BCD with Inflator, Hose & RE Valve BC Scuba Dive Diving Diver (MEDIUM Waist 33-41" Torso 18-22")

$399.95  in stock
4 new from $399.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 18, 2021 2:24 pm

The Zeagle Scout is one of the best scuba BCDs on the market. Weighing 3.6 kg / 6.6 lbs, the Zeagle Scout is lightweight and easy to pack making it perfect for traveling divers that want a compact BCD.

Diving with the Zeagle Scout is like diving with no equipment at all as the lightweight design creates a feeling of total diving freedom. The chest region is unclustered and the hydro-drag is reduced to the barest minimum.

The Zeagle Scout comes with a back inflating system that’s easy to use and wraps snugly around your shoulder and hips to reduce drag underwater. Also, the back inflating system helps minimize unwanted motion underwater and allows you to easily maintain neutral buoyancy.

Comfortable, effortless buoyancy, easy maneuverability, and top-notch durability. There’s no reason not to go for the Zeagle Scout.

 Specifications

  • Type: back-inflate
  • Weight: 6.7 lbs / 3 kg
  • Lift capacity: 20 lbs / 9 kg

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Easy to adjust.
  • Comfortable.
  • Easy maneuverability.
  • Superb durability.

Cons

  • The weight pockets in the back are not accessible by the diver.

Cressi Start BCD

Cressi Start, Black/Blue, XS

$279.95
$202.39
 in stock
2 new from $202.39
Amazon.com
as of September 18, 2021 2:24 pm

The Cressi Start is another quality scuba diving BCD you should take a look at. Made of 1000 Denier Cordura (outside panel) and 500 Denier (inside layer) alongside the durable construction, the Cressi Start is one of the most durable BCDs on the market. Many rental scuba diving shops use the Cressi Start because of its superb durability.

Another benefit of this BCD is that it’s easy to use. It’s also perfect for shore diving, thanks to the hollow backplate and built-in handle, as well as cold water diving due to its impressive lift capacity and traditional weight system.

There are two large cargo pockets on this BCD that can hold the pressure gauge and the octopus. You’ll also find 32 mm D-rings that can be attached to various accessories. And I like the waist strap design which makes it easy to adjust this BCD.

 Specifications

  • Type: jacket style
  • Weight: 4.8 – 6.2 lbs / 2.1 – 2.8 kg depending on size
  • Lift capacity: Up to 45 lbs / 20.4 kg depending on size

Pros

  • Large handle makes this BCD easy to carry.
  • Easy to adjust.
  • The integrated weight system is simple and easy to use.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • The D-rings are made of plastic which is not as durable as metals.

AquaLung Pro HD BCD

Aqualung Pro HD Weight Integrated BCD (Extra Large)

$499.00  in stock
11 new from $499.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 18, 2021 2:24 pm

Aqualung is renowned for producing quality scuba diving gear and the Aqualung Pro HD BCD is no exception. Thanks to the high-quality denier fabric used to manufacture this BCD, it can take a lot of abuse and is less likely to fade over time.

I like that Aqualung designed their air pockets to have some structure that prevents them from moving around. The high-quality fabric and durable construction mean the Aqualung Pro HD can securely support your scuba tank without it rolling from side to side.

You’ll also find integrated weights and trim pockets on this BCD. The trim pockets are useful for storing small weight that can help you achieve better neutral buoyancy so you can position your body however you like without any problem. And you can be certain of getting enough lift for cold water diving.

 Specifications

  • Type: jacket style
  • Weight: 10 lbs / 4.5 kg
  • Lift capacity: 28 lbs / 13 kg for size M (medium)

Pros

  • Very stable and easy to adjust.
  • Comfortable.
  • Integrated weight system.
  • Five D-rings.
  • Superb durability.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Hollis HD-200 BCDOur Top Pick

Hollis HD200 BC/BCD Weight Integrated Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator (Medium)

$639.95  in stock
11 new from $639.95
Amazon.com
as of September 18, 2021 2:24 pm

The Hollis HD 200 is a scuba diving BCD that bridges the gap between recreational and technical diving. If you are looking for a scuba BCD you can grow with as you improve your diving skills, the HD200 will make an excellent choice.

Chances are that the HD200 is an upgrade to your current scuba BCD. Featuring a padded wraparound design, this scuba BCD is designed for your comfort as it provides lumbar support and allows you to adjust your level of comfort thanks to the velcro cummberbund.

The HD200 also features an integrated weight system that comes with a pinch dip release mechanism that allows you to quickly and securely release weights. There are also zippered pockets on this BCD where ton can store small accessories like a dive knife.

I must also mention that the HD200 will securely hold your scuba tank in place and the technical inflator comes with two simple inflate/deflate buttons.

 Specifications

  • Type: Back inflate
  • Weight: 10 lbs / 4.3 kg
  • Lift capacity: 33 – 37 lbs / 15 – 17 kg depending on size

Pros

  • Superb support and comfort.
  • Integrated weight system.
  • Zippered pockets.
  • 8 D-rings.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Oceanic Jetpack BCD

OCEANIC JETPACK COMPLETE SCUBA DIVING TRAVEL SYSTEM BC/BCD DRY BACKPACK

$539.95  in stock
5 new from $539.95
Amazon.com
as of September 18, 2021 2:24 pm

The Oceanic Jetpack BCD is different from all the other BCDs on this list as it’s essentially a BCD-backpack hybrid that’s designed to make transporting your BCD and other scuba diving gear convenient. This means this Jetpack comes with two different packages of which one is a BCD and the other is a detachable backpack. Check the pictures on Amazon to better understand the design of the Oceanic Jetpack.

You’ll see that the Oceanic Jetpack is designed to trabcoerm from a travel bag that’s able to contain most of your scuba diving gear to a compact and lightweight BCD. It’s a smart and innovative design.

It’s comfortable to use the Jetpack BCD thanks to the back inflation style and high-quality material are quick-drying while also being durable. There’s also the cumber bun, which is usually not present in most travel BCD, that provides an additional layer of security.

The backpack is very spacious and will easily contain all your personal items or other scuba gear.

 Specifications

  • Type: Back inflate
  • Weight: 6.25 lbs / 4.8 kg (Without backpack)
  • Lift capacity: 30 lbs / 13.6 kg

Pros

  • BCD-backpack hybrid.
  • Easy to transport.
  • The backpack can hold your scuba gear.
  • Comfortable, quick-drying, and durable.

Cons

  • No D-rings.

Cressi Travelight BCD

Cressi Travelight, Black/Blue, M

$429.95  in stock
6 new from $429.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 18, 2021 2:24 pm

Another wonderful scuba BCD from Cressi. This scuba diving BCD is compact and lightweight making it perfect for travel. The back of this BCD is also padded ensuring you’ll have a comfortable and enjoyable diving experience.

I like that this BCD features Cressi’s Lock Aid integrated weight system and is capable of holding 20 lbs (9kg) weight in the front pockets while the back pockets can hold about 10 lbs (4.5 kg).

This BCD is available in a variety of colors allowing you to choose one that matches your diving outfit. There are also two zippered pockets for storing small accessories.

Thanks to the 210 denier nylon used to manufacture this BCD, it’s very durable and long-lasting.

 Specifications

  • Type: Back inflate
  • Weight: 6 lbs / 2.7 kg
  • Lift capacity: 13.5 – 36 lbs / 6 – 17 kg depending on size

Pros

  • Incredibly lightweight.
  • Comfortable.
  • Several D-rings.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD

Scubapro Hydros Pro w/Air 2 Mens Scuba BCD

$1,139.00  in stock
10 new from $1,139.00
Amazon.com
as of September 18, 2021 2:24 pm

I end this list with the ScubaPro, a quality BCD that’s one of a kind. Thanks to the package design of this BCD, it’s easy to transport. There’s also a travel backpack in the package that can hold your entire diving kit making the Scubapro Hydros an ideal travel BCD.

Your scuba tank is also held firmly in place by this BCD and there are routes for HP and LP hoses. Also, this BCD comes with clipping-off points for your accessories.

When it comes to comfort, this diving BCD is designed to mold to your body shape, providing unequaled load distribution and superb stability. And you can be certain you are going to be using this BCD for a long time thanks to the Monprene construction.

 Specifications

  • Type: Back inflate
  • Weight: 11.4 lbs / 5.1 kg
  • Lift capacity: 36 lbs / 17 kg

Pros

  • Easy to transport.
  • Comfortable to wear.
  • Superb performance.
  • Easily accessible D-rings.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Best Scuba BCDs – The Guide 

What Is a Scuba BCD?

A Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) is an essential scuba diving gear that serves many purposes like securely holding your scuba tank, maintaining neutral buoyancy underwater, routing the air hoses, and secure ballast weights thanks to its integrated weight system. All these make scuba BCDs the cornerstone of a scuba diving rig.

What Are The Different Types of BCDs?

Scuba BCDs are available in different styles which will be discussed below:

Jacket BCD: As the name implies, jacket style BCDs are very similar to a life jacket and feature a bladder system that inflates around you. Also, jacket-style BCDs come with more D-rings and pockets to keep small diving items.

This BCD design is very comfortable and offers unparalleled stability.

Back-inflate BCD: Back-inflate BCDs come with bladder systems that are positioned at the back. This offers more freedom of movement allowing you to move easier in the water and there is less bulkiness due to the position of the bladder system. However, back inflate BCDs tend to have fewer pockets/D-rings.

Front adjustable BCD: Front adjustable BCDs are literally designed to embrace you as the bladder system is positioned in front of you, under your arms, and around your waist. This type of BCD has adjustable closings (shoulder, chest, and waist straps) at the front and it offers more control, security, and stability.

Hybrid BCD: Combines the elements of the jacket style and back inflation BCDs to produce a product that offers better buoyancy control and more comfort. Hybrid BCDs offer superb performance in any water body.

Travel BCDs: These are lightweight and compact BCDs that are designed to travel. They are easy to pack, offer less buoyant lift, and have small pouches for ballast weights. If you dive while on vacation or in warm-water locales, you’ll do well to go for a travel BCD.

Women’s BCD: Specifically designed for female scuba divers. While most BCDs are unisex, some women may have a hard time finding a perfect fit due to the unique shape and size of the female body.

Backplate/Wing style BCD: This type of BCD is used for technical diving and features a metal backplate, harness, as well as detachable air bladders surrounding the backplate. They can be used for single or double tank configuration.

How To Choose Your Scuba BCD?

Below are factors to consider when choosing a scuba BCD:

Comfort and Fit

It’s important you buy a BCD that is comfortable and fits you snugly. And this requires you to buy a BCD of proper fit. If your BCD is too big, chances are that it’ll be floating around your ears especially when you are on the surface. On the other hand, a very small BCD is not only uncomfortable but difficult to adjust underwater.

Read about a brand’s sizing before you buy a BCD. However, divers have reported that buying BCDs in the same size as their T-shirts fits well.

BCD Weight

The weight of a BCD is something to consider if you travel to dive sites. There are travel BCDs that are lightweight, compact, easy to pack in a dive bag, and stay within weight restrictions if you are traveling by air. However, travel BCDs offer less lift and carry smaller weights. As a result, they can only be used in warm waters.

You’ll need BCDs with more lift capacity to dive in cold water. Buying a hybrid BCD will provide the needed lift and hybrid BCDs have the benefit of not being as bulky as general-purpose BCDs although they are still heavier than travel BCDs.

If the weight of your BCD isn’t a concern, you can go for general purpose BCDs when diving in cold water.

Lift Capacity

You need to pay attention to the lift capacity of your BCD especially if you’ll be diving in cold water. The lift capacity of a BCD is a measurement of the total weight the BCD can support on the surface with the bladder fully inflated.

The implication of this is that cold water diving gear like wetsuits, gloves, boots, and hoods are generally thicker than that of warm water diving which translates to more weight for the BCD to counteract for higher buoyancy.

Warm water diving will require BCDs that offer 12 – 24 pounds of lift while cold water diving requires more with a range of 20 – 40 pounds.

Integrated Weight Systems

BCDs with integrated weight systems have designated pockets that can hold weights. The manufacturer will specify the total amount of weight the BCD can hold.

You’ll need to choose a BCD with this feature if you don’t like wearing weight belts. Check that the weight system is easy to operate and that there is a quick release system to dump the weights in case of an emergency.

Dump Valves

A dump valve helps offset increased buoyancy as you ascend by removing air from your BCD. This helps you maintain neutral buoyancy during ascent.

Pockets

Pockets on scuba BCDs can be used to hold weights or small scuba items like dive compasses or computers. The number of pockets on a BCD depends on the size and type of the BCD. Travel BCDs, for example, generally have fewer pockets because of their compact design. Check a BCD before buying to know if it has enough pockets to hold your items.

Final Thoughts

Scuba BCDs can seem like complicated devices and many divers have found themselves overwhelmed when buying one. This article aims to help you understand the different features of scuba BCDs and help you select one that’s right for you by giving you a list of the best BCDs available on the market.

If you still have any questions, feel free to reach me through the comment section.

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