Buoyancy Compensator: Why so Important

Scuba diving is an exciting activity that can become a way of life. More people across the globe are getting into scuba diving. Enjoying the ocean life and getting to know what’s below the waves. One piece of scuba equipment you will need is a scuba diving BCD (Buoyancy Compensator Device). Which is a crucial piece of scuba gear. To help you make your choice we have spent a number of hours with this gear, checking it out, ensuring this is the right gear for you.

A quick run down on what Buoyancy Compensator’s we will be reviewing

 

             

Cressi Durable Start Jacket 

               

Cressi Start Pro Jacket 

               

Cressi Travel-Friendly 

             

Cressi Travelight 

             

AquaLung Pro 

       

Scubapro Hydros 

 

Your Scuba BCD (Buoyancy Compensator Device) is a key part of your underwater life support system. Also referred to as a BC (Buoyancy Compensator).

The buoyancy compensator device or BCD for short. Is primarily used to help the diver maintain neutral buoyancy underwater during the scuba dive. The secondary function of the BCD is to float the diver and equipment on the surface. Allowing the diver to rest at the surface and perform surface swims to dive sites.

Diving in cold water requires the use of thicker wetsuits. This requires ample weight to offset the buoyancy. The BCD will need enough lift capacity to compensate for the loss of that buoyancy at depth. Common features for most Buoyancy Compensators include. A variety of shoulder and waist adjustments to help you custom fit the BCD to your body. Quick releases on the shoulders make for easy removal.

Trim weight pockets typically in the back of the BCD. Which allows the diver to balance the placement of weight. Trim weight pockets are usually NOT diver ditch-able and are used for trim only. Integrated weight systems where the weight is carried in pockets of the BCD. and can be ditched by the diver in an emergency. Other models require the diver to wear a separate weight belt. Number of D-rings, easy access pockets, shoulder dump valves & lumbar support pad. Along with adjustable cummerbunds. These are all features that make the BCD’s more comfortable and easier to use.

There can be a number of different types of Buoyancy compensators. It can be a bit overwhelming looking at all the categories. (Travel, Back Inflate, Jacket, Women’s, etc.) While trying to determine what’s right for you.

Here is a small guide to enable you to identify the differences.

Travel BCDs. – These are our lightest weight Scuba BCs intended to make dive travel, less cumbersome. With airline weight restrictions. You’ll quickly appreciate the streamlined design and lighter weight of these models. Because you know the benefits of diving gear you know whether you’re close to home or halfway across the world. When you invest in a Travel Scuba BCD you up your game in diving skills and safety. Lighter weight and easy to pack, a Travel BCD can be used everyday or specifically for travel. Either way, you’ll be thankful for the streamlined design & lighter weight. With less space necessary for your gear. These also usually fall into either Back inflate or Jacket Style BCDs.

Back Inflate BCDs – This style Scuba BCD has a bladder in the back that inflates when you press the inflation button on your BC. All of the air is in the back of this BC which makes staying horizontal in the water easier. Because of the design. This style of Scuba BCD can feel a little less restrictive, allowing you to move easier in the water. Note that this style usually has less pockets and D-rings than the Jacket Style. Which makes this style more streamlined. Also referred to as the minimalist diver’s BC. Some of the Back Inflate Scuba BCD might also fall into the Travel BCD category.

Jacket Style BCDs – Designed more like a life jacket. This style has a bladder or bladder system that inflates around you – back, front, and sides. This style also tends to have more pockets and D-rings compared to other styles.

Hybrid BCDs – Offer a blend of the Jacket Style and the Back Inflate Style.

Women’s BCDs – Made to fit the curves of a woman’s body. These Scuba BCDs are designed with narrower shoulder straps. Adjustment points lower on the torso for the shoulder straps. The chest strap is also usually located a little higher. Some models even have a chest strap that can be adjusted up or down horizontally for added comfort. Finally, most of these are made to fit the curves of a woman’s body in the waist area. All these details combine to make for a more comfortable fit. Some of these might fall into the Travel BCD category. Most of them will fall into either Back Inflate or Jacket Style BCDs as well.

BCD Integrated Octo/Inflator. –  Some manufacturers make the BC inflator hose, so you can add an integrated Octo to your BCD at the end of your inflator hose. This allows you to be more streamlined and you always know right where your Octo is in an emergency. If your regulator gets pulled from your mouth for any reason, you’ve always got your safe second close at hand. This setup also makes it easier to breathe off your BC if the need arises.

As with all things Scuba, consider first what types of dives you’ll be doing. That alone will go a long way to helping determine which Scuba BCD is right for you. From there, it’s all about style and what’s most comfortable.

So let’s take a look at some scuba BCD and review what makes a good BCD diving gear.

 

 

 

Cressi Durable Start Jacket 

 

First up is the Cressi start jacket. Made in resistance 1000 Denier Cordura (outside panel) and 500 Denier (inside layer). Ideal for Dive Centers where the jackets are often inflated to their maximum capacity. The size is clearly visible on the shoulder strap.

The Denier Nylon Cordura is more resistant to erosion caused by long-term friction and extends the duration of the weldings, as it is harder than Nylon.

The waist strap is independent of the air bladder. The strap can be tightened while the jacket is deflated without squeezing the diver’s stomach when the jacket is inflated.

Inflator with double air filtration system; under the hose connection stem and around the valve. The inflator can easily be rinsed to remove sand and other debris.The backplate system is made by ultra-durable thermoplastic, truly small and compact for lightness. A rubber damper helps grip the tank, a second tank strap can be added. A nylon locator strap is included to ensure proper tank position every time.

3 exhaust valves for buoyancy adjustment in any position.

2 large cargo pockets with Velcro closure. On top of each pocket there is a compartment for holding the pressure gauge and the octopus.

 

 

 

 

What worked well

What didn’t

  It is extremely durable.

  The tank holds securely to the back plate

  The two side pockets are plenty large.

  The back padding is very comfortable

  The low-pressure inflator is easy to use by mouth

  It’s impossible to get all of the air out of the thing.

  The strap for the tank does not work properly, the tank has fallen off multiple times.

 

Click Here to check it out

 

 

 

 

 

Cressi Start Pro Jacket 

 

Next is the Cressi Pro Jacket. Made in resistance 1000 Denier Cordura (outside panel) and 500 Denier (inside layer). Ideal for Dive Centers where the jackets are often inflated to their maximum capacity. The size is clearly visible on the shoulder strap.

The Denier Nylon Cordura is more resistant to erosion caused by long-term friction and extends the duration of the weldings, as it is harder than Nylon.

The waist strap is independent of the air bladder. The strap can be tightened while the jacket is deflated without squeezing the diver’s stomach when the jacket is inflated.

Inflator with double air filtration system; under the hose connection stem and around the valve. The inflator can easily be rinse to remove sand and other debris.

The Backplate system is constructed by ultra-durable thermoplastic, truly small and compact for exceptional lightness. A Rubber damper helps grip the tank and a second tank strap can be added. A nylon locator strap is included to ensure proper tank position

3 exhaust valves for buoyancy adjustment in any position.

Integrated weight system. This is a very simple, durable and easy weight management system. It is a gravity pocket system that enables the diver to autonomously manage the weights and release them quickly in case of emergency. Very useful for diving cent

 

 

 

What worked well

What didn’t

  Plenty of pockets and really rugged.

  The weight pockets are very useful

  Provides good weight management

  Its an easy and simple design

  The cummerbund strap can be tight

 

Click Here to check it out

 

 

 

 

Cressi Travel-Friendly 

 

The Patrol is a dorsal volume B.C.D., very versatile for all types of diving, with a robust but lightweight construction at the same time and with a low volume of transport but strong and very flexible.

The harness system has a unisex design and is independent of the air bladder. It provides stability and releases all oppression of the chest, axillary and abdominal area, due to the expansion of the bladder to the outside and surrounding the tank.

High-lift capacity dorsal air bladder but with an external volume of stowage always contained, thanks to the elastic containment tensioners that work to facilitate the deflation and avoid displacement of the air during the dive.

Completely covered with comfortable neutral buoyancy padding, made of a closed-cell material that avoids the accumulation of water or air and, therefore, reduces the inherent buoyancy in the jacket and facilitates quick drying.

Unlike many BCD considered as “travel jackets”, the stability of the tank underwater is not compromised thanks to the configuration of the air chamber that acts as a guide for the tank.

The weight system LAS (Lock Aid System) 2.0, is more integrated into the profile and its thickness is reduced. It guarantees the maximum facility of insertion and releasing of the weight with total safety against accidental losses.

Direct System Inflator: Double metal filter in the air entrance under the stem and cylindrical shape around the valve. It is very light and semi-flexible to fulfill its function without adding weight or volume to it.

 

 

 

What worked well

What didn’t

  It is built like a tank.

  Represents good value for money

  This BCD is strong and comfortable

  The workmanship is solid

  The weight bags can be easily filled with the standard belt weights, they snap neatly and can also be easily removed

  Integrated weight pockets are undersized

  lead bags are too heavy

 

Click Here to check it out

 

 

 

 

Cressi Travelight 

 

The Cressi Travelight is designed for divers passionate about travel. The basic design was drawn from the Cressi Flex BCD, the first worldwide travel BCD in the Scuba Industry. With a dry weight of only 6 lbs (2.7 kg), this BCD is a traveler’s dream. The back is amply padded for a comfortable fit. The BCD uses Cressi´s Lock Aid integrated weight system and can store 20 lbs (9 kg) in the front pockets and an additional 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in the fixed back pockets.

This BCD includes:

Fast folding system

2 zippered pockets

2 rear weight carrying pockets

Soft, padded back, with double strap for tank security

Three discharge and pressure valves

Rear release valve with control brought to the front

40 mm buckles. Flat lock-aid system.

Light alloy d-rings

 

 

What worked well

What didn’t

  Very comfortable cummerbund, waist and shoulder straps

  It folds up to an easy to manage size for travel

  The dump pulls are located intuitively

  It has all the features of the heavy/bulky BCD but at least half the weight

  Great tank security

  Plenty of attachment points

  The weights pop out as you jump in the water

  Pockets started ripping on it’s third dive.

Click Here to check it out

 

 

 

AquaLung Pro 

 

The AquaLung Sure Lock II Mechanical Weight Release System  provides a safe, single pull release. With Sure Lock, your weights are secure in the BC. Once engaged, the only way to release the weight is to pull on the handle.

A proprietary backpack has a built in carrying handle and a traction pad to reduce tank slippage. 

The large, utility pockets found on either side of the Pro HD have two-way zippers with zipper pulls. There is an attachment loop inside the left pocket. The waistband is adjustable in the back to accommodate a wide range of waist sizes.

The low profile flat valves reduce drag when moving through the water. Fixed pockets on the tank band increase weight capacity and help provide proper trim in the water.

Features 5 stainless steel D-rings for all of your accessories. 

 

What worked well

What didn’t

The side pockets are spacious

Very durable construction

The D rings are a handy to keep everything organized

The cylinder band is well-designed

The fit and comfort of this AquaLung Pro HD is very good

Despite the pouches clicking into place, they seem to slide out very easily

Click Here to check it out

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scubapro Hydros 

 

The HYDROS PRO BCD from SCUBAPRO is built for anyone who loves to dive. Its 2-in-1 BCD design, interchangeable straps, packable design, and included backpack make the HYDROS PRO the perfect BCD for any destination—from the warm waters of the tropics to temperate and cold waters the world over.

Take Control

The backbone of a scuba rig, the buoyancy compensator device (BCD) holds the tank firmly in place, routes HP and LP hoses, and provides clipping-off points for accessories.

The HYDROS PRO BCD molds comfortably to your specific body shape and provides unequaled load distribution, a super-streamlined profile and rock-solid stability.

Includes AIR2 Inflator Reg

Combining a backup regulator with a buoyancy control system, the AIR2 inflator reg delivers air as smoothly as most primary second stages and is always within easy reach.

The AIR2 power inflator fits comfortably in the hand, and the large inflate and deflate buttons can be differentiated by both color and touch. Large bite tabs on the mouthpiece provide a secure grip in high-stress situations.

 

 

 

What worked well

What didn’t

  It’s very light and it comes in a very nice and convenient carrying bag

  You can’t even feel it in the water

  Very compact, and a true back inflate

  Great craftsmanship very functional

  Less weight is required and with the shoulder weight compartment it’s easy to adjust and customize the horizontal angle buoyancy

  It has plenty of lift and it can be configured in many different configuration (it’s fully customizable)

  Does not come with a low pressure hose.

 

Click Here to check it out

 

Conclusion

 

So that is our review of the best Buoyancy Compensator. We hope this has provided you with further information. That we can help you to make a decision that will make your next dive experience a great one.

Out of the six Buoyancy Compensators, we have reviewed. We actually found it hard to choose just one so we chose two. Both were simple, well made BCD’s. Lightweight with good weight management along with some great feedback. Overall we all agreed the Scubapro hydros & the Cressi start pro were out top picks.

 

We would love to hear your thoughts & feedback on masks you have purchased.

 

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