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.
How To Choose A Scuba BCD – Buying Guide
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 The Best Scuba BCD – Buying Guide
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:
Would you be most comfortable in a jacket, a back inflation (wing) or a hybrid setup?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Globo Surf Scuba BCDs Review