Buoyancy control device in short BCD, or jacket, is a system that allows a diver to control his or her neutral hovering while scuba diving.
Controlling your buoyancy underwater is an important skill, if not the most important, to master and to achieve positive, neutral or negative buoyancy as a diver to not bump into any corals, fish, rocks, sharks or turtles, and disturb or even worse destroy them. A perfect buoyancy control is essential for a Diver!
There are a few different types of BCD’s on the Market which I will explain here further down but first there are some technical terms on a BCD which are important to know if you’d like to invest in a BCD you’ll know what the description of a BCD actually means.
A scuba BCD is just an air bladder that lets you control your buoyancy underwater by inflating or deflating your BCD. The Bladder are air-filled pockets connected to each other which are surrounding you.
Besides controlling your buoyancy, scuba BCD’s also store your dive accessories, in Pockets with zippers or Velcro as well as D-Rings. Keep your regulators and octopuses organized and prevent them from dangling.
Buckles are made mostly from plastic and keep your BCD where it supposed to be, or make it easier to take it off or put on.
Cummerbund is a Velcro in front of your Belly it keeps the BCD on your back when diving and inflating so it doesn’t float off.
The BCD Backplate is mostly made of Plastic due to weight and holds your Tank securely with a strap if properly closed.
Some later BCD’s are weight integrated which means they have specialized pockets for carrying the Lead weights with a fast release mechanism in case of an emergency.
If in case you inflated the BCD with too much air you can pull the string of your Dump Valve and a valve placed on your shoulder will open and will let a lot of air out quickly. Mostly there is one on each shoulder where on the left shoulder its integrated in the inflator hose which you would pull to open it. On your right side it usually is a small button the size of a big marble to pull.
Some BCD’s also have a Dump Valve on the lower right bottom side in case you need to deflate while head over Diving.
These Dump Valves also act as over pressure valve in case the BCD is inflated to heavily.
An Air2 is a fully equipped Regulator which is attached to the end of the Corrugated tube and acts as an inflator/deflator and an emergency regulator in case your main Regulator fails.
Male or Female BCD?
Most BCD’s are unisex, meaning they work for both men and women. However, there are a few Lady BCD’s available. Because a women’s cut is narrower at the shoulder and wider at the hips than a mans.
The basic material used in the construction of BCD’s is nylon, or a variation often called. Cordura®, this being the brand name of a company that specializes in tough fabrics made from, among other things, nylon. Some manufacturers may highlight their extra polyurethane (PU) coating, which aids resistance to abrasion.
‘Denier’ is a term which may be more familiar to readers. It is a measure of how densely the fibers of a particular fabric are woven, with the lower end of the scale being less dense – and therefore lighter, but less durable – than the higher end.
Recreational Jacket Style BCD
Set up Travel BCD
This is the most common BCD type for warm water recreational diving. It is also the type that you were probably given to use when you got your scuba diving license. Many Dive Center use them to teach due to reliability and robustness. Also because it’s easier to learn buoyancy control in these type of BCD’s than in a Wing for example.
The air bladder wraps around the diver from the back to the front.
Packed Travel BCD
A travel BCD is like a normal diving BCD except more lightweight and smaller to pack.
Nowadays with most airlines charging exponentially excess luggage or reducing their free carry on luggage you are left with leaving some Dive Equipment at home or renting it expensive from the Dive Center but we all know that you’d rather use your own equipment which you are familiar with and know it does fit like a glove.
So now more than ever it’s important to look for light weight BCD’s
Semi Wing BCD
Semi Wing BCD
The design includes a Metal, Aluminum or Stainless Steel backplate, harness and detachable air bladd
Advanced divers might prefer Semi wing BCD’s because it allows for more arm movement and you can remain horizontal underwater.
This is because the air bladder is placed on the back.
The weight is also lighter than a normal style Jacket BCD while it is still equipped with D-Rings, Weight Pockets, and Side Pockets.
The design includes a Metal, Aluminum or Stainless Steel backplate, harness and detachable air bladder surrounding the backplate.
This type of BCD originates from technical diving, where divers are using a twinset of two tanks or a rebreather. In recent years, wing-style BCD’s have appeared in single-tank diving and made its way into recreational diving.
Like a jacket Style BCD the shape is still like a sleeveless vest with pockets around the waist but the front is more streamlined because there is no air bladder in the front.
Due to a very small water resistance, low drag reduces the effort needed to move through the water. The less effort, the better our air consumption and the more time we get on our underwater adventure. However the Wing Style is more expensive and has less storage space if at some at all.
The Stabilizing Jacket remains the BCD style choice of experienced and professional divers because of its dynamic control system. Stabilizing Jackets reject the idea of air bladders within BCDs; instead, they use internal air passages that basically embrace the diver and allow air to remain dynamic inside the jacket. This air flows freely to the jacket’s highest point, which allows the diver to basically rotate around a bubble. This adds stability and creates ease of motion for the diver.
Care and cleaning
After a dive in salt water, fresh water or a swimming pool, you should always rinse the jacket thoroughly with fresh water; you should operate all drains and inlets while rinsing so that the remaining salt water or residual dirt is flushed out.
BCD’s should also always be rinsed inside. Because every time you press the inflator while diving, some salt water runs backwards into the bladder and it collects there.
Hold the water hose on the inflator opening and press it until some water has collected inside the BCD. Then the BCD is shaken back and forth so that the fresh water that has just been poured in, is distributed in the BCD and the salt water is rinsed out.
To get the water out of the BCD, the BCD is inflated with a little air by the inflator and turned upside down so that the inflator is the lowest point of the BCD then just press the inflator button so that the water can run out. This can be repeated two to three times depending on how much the jacket has been used and how long you want to store it.
Then you should inflate the BCD a little and hang it up to dry for about 1 week, depending on the environment, before stowing it.
Time to reveal our Top 10 Best Buoyancy Control Device in 2021
- The R1 is designed for scuba divers who want a very complete yet light, hydrodynamic and affordable jacket.
- Made of durable 500-Denier Cordura, ideal for rental solutions or for an intense use.
- It comes with a Rigid Back Pack that is Padded-and-is-Equipped with a Built-In Carry Handle.
- It has 3-exhaust valves for easier buoyancy adjustments, 2 Large Zipped Pockets on either side of the BCD for Convenient-Storage of Accessories.
- The R1 Harness System uses Traditional Squeeze-Style Buckles and Adjustable Straps on the Shoulders, Chest and Waist for Precise-Adjustment-and-Fit.
- A Velcro Adjustable Waist Cummerbund provides Extra-Security and a superior comfort to any other Bc in the same category.
Scubapro Litehawk BCD
- Back flotation technology positions air bladder in the back
- providing exceptional freedom of movement around chest and shoulders
- 3-dump deflation system enables divers to dump air from a variety of underwater positions
- Streamlined air cell technology
- Automatic volume control of air cell through compression straps
Cressi Aquaride BCD
- The Aquaride is a scuba diving BCD which combines a traditional structure with great ascensional capacity due to its particular pattern that oversizes the lobes and is extended to the hips.
- Its profile is especially hydrodynamic which turns it into a jacket with an unusual relationship between ascensional capacity, stowage volume and underwater facility of advance.
- It’s also a very equilibrated model in terms of lightness, resistance, pocket capacity, and comfort.
- This all-water jacket incorporates the 2.0 version of Cressi’s weight system Lock Aid System, now just as safe and easy to manage but with a lighter structure that allows using the jacket also without the weight system.
- On the dorsal side of the jacket, two weight pockets allow a perfect layout of the weight in the axis with the tank. The semi-rigid backpack fulfills its function of stabilizing the tank almost without adding weight and with a minimum volume.
- The accessories’ provision is really complete: abdominal elastic adjustable strap and completely separated from the sack, attractive back pack’s pad of neutral buoyancy, stainless steel D-rings with an angular design and “Y” hose carrier.
- The Aquaride is designed in Italy and manufactured in Hungary by Cressi. Cressi is a brand pioneer in scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming equipment since 1946.
Cressi Ace BCD
- The Ace is an impressively lightweight, high lift capacity, rear inflation scuba diving BCD that is anatomically designed for maximum comfort and durability.
- Development of rear-mounted air cell made in strong 420 Denier Nylon.
- Integrated Cressi Flat-lock Aid weight System.
- Max weight for pocket: 4.5 kg – 9.9 lb. 2 rear ballast pouches.
- It features 4 50 mm aluminum D-rings on the shoulder straps, 4 25 mm stainless steel D-rings (2 on the pockets and 2 on the lower part of the harness).
- Ultralight rigid back plate with carrying handle.
- Multipurpose zip pockets.
- Next generation anatomical inflator with hose retainer. 50 mm quick-release buckled shoulder straps.
- The Ace is designed and made in Hungary by Cressi. Cressi is a brand pioneer in scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming equipment since 1946.
Scubapro Level Quick Cinch BCD
- EndurTex Nylon Construction: High-tenacity 420 nylon fabric bladder is lightweight yet extremely durable. Front Adjustable Style: Wraparound bladder comfortably hugs your body without squeeze.
- Adjustable Straps & Cummberbund: Convenient swiveling shoulder buckle straps
- Quick-Release Integrated Weight Pouches: Each pouch holds up to 5kg of ballast and feature high-security 40mm flat buckles.Super Cinch Tank Buckle System: Securely locks the tank in solid for maximum stability at depth.
- Two Large Pockets with Velcro Closures: Offer lots of cargo-carrying capacity
- Four Stainless Steel D-Rings
Mares Dragon SLS BCD
- Jacket Style BCD – Excellent Fit and Performance – 420 Cordura Nylon Construction – Superbly Comfortable & Stable, Yet Tough and Durable
- Air Cell Slides-On-Shoulders, Increased Comfort when Inflated – Lift: 42.5 lbs. (19.3 kg), Size Large
- Mares Slide & Lock System (SLS): Ultimate Weight-Release System – Visual Confirmation of Proper Weight Pouch Insertion – No Guessing in Pre-Dive Gear Check – Sturdy Zipper Closures – Works/w Soft or Hard Weight
- SLS Weight Capacities of 9 lbs. and 13 lbs. (4 kg and 6 kg), Size Dependent, Each Pocket
- Rear Smart Trim Weight Non-Releasable Pockets
Scubapro Hydros-X BCD
- HYDROS X is based on the same modular Monprene harness and backpack design popularized by the Hydros Pro back-inflation BCD.
- NEW EndurTex high-tenacity 420 nylon fabric bladder is lightweight yet extremely durable.
- Monprene thermoplastic harness is extremely resistant to UV, chemicals and abrasion, plus it doesnât absorb water to minimize drying time.
- Rotating quick-release shoulder buckles allow you to route your shoulder straps to optimize fit.Super Cinch tank buckle system locks the tank in solid for maximum stability at depth. Integrated front weight system is based on the same Monprene pockets found on the HYDROS PRO.
- Two big zippered cargo pockets offer great gear-carrying capacity and are easily accessible even when the weight pouches are fully loaded.Two stainless steel D-rings provide clip-on points for additional gear. Includes Multi-Mount Accessory Matrix with multiple D-rings and mounting points that easily attach various dive accessories.
Oceanic Atmos BCD
- BCD, LP Hose, Owner’s Manual
- Durably-Constructed, Full-Featured Hybrid Air-Cell BC
- Unique, Hybrid Rear Bladder: Air Shifts, for Max. Lift & Proper Orientation
- 31 lbs. to 60 lbs. (14.6 kg to 27.2 kg) of Lift (Size Dependent)
- 20 lbs. (9 kg) Releasable Weight Pinch & Release System
Scubapro X-Black BCD with Air2
- Constructed of a combination of durable 1000 denier and 420 denier nylon for long-term wear.
- Adjustable cummerbund compensates for suit compression, ensuring a snug fit at varying depths.
- Non-rotating quick-release shoulder buckles optimize strap routing to maximize fit.
- Airnet backpack is water-draining and comfortable during long dives.
- AirFlex system with special bladder delivers enormous buoyant lift capacity.
Scubapro Hydros Pro w/ 5th Gen. Air2 BCD
- Ultra Durable: Patented Injection Molded Monprene Gel Harness is extremely resistant to UV
- chemicals and abrasion. The fabric-free harness uses no velcro or zippers.
- BC-4-Life Modular Design: Customizable to add/remove weight systems
- straps and pouches. Extended lifespan due to simplified repairs. Virtually every component
- including buckles
Additional BCD Equipment
Cressi Versatile Diving Knife
- The Grip Titanium is a small-sized knife with a titanium blade that last longer and is easy to use; perfect for spearfishing and scuba diving.
- Titanium Blade is rust resistant and features high precision sharpened tip.
- One side is an extra rigid serrated blade for sawing, the other side is a skillfully crafted straight blade.
- It features an ergonomic non-slip handle grip and a hole to add a lanyard (not included).
- The knife comes with a sheath that Sheath included that can be attached to the BCD shoulder strap.
- 2 velcro bcd mount straps (2 in/5cm) and a hose mount are included.
- Sport type: Outdoor Lifestyle
Scuba Choice Scuba Diving 4′ Neon Yellow Surface Marker Signal Tube
- Material: Nylon with TPU Size: 5″ (W) x 4′ (L)
- Plastic Clip included
- Fits in BCD pocket or clip
- Easy to use oral inflate
- “Diver Below’ print
Scubapro Premium Retractor
- 110cm extension
- Force 0.5 Kg
- Stainless Steel Bolt Snap Hook
Double Ended Bolt Snap Hooks, 3-1/2 Inch Marine Grade
- PREMIUM QUALITY The Double Ended Bolt Snap Hooks are all made by Marine Grade 316 Stainless Steel, rugged and corrosion resistant. Widely used in both indoors and outside application and also can be used in seawater environments.
- HEAVY DUTY DOUBLE END SNAP The double end snap has a portable size: overall length 90mm (3-1/2in), Width: 24mm (15/16inch) and Snap Opening 10mm(13/32inch). However Maximum load capacity of the pully is up to 110lbs (50kg).
- EASY TO USE Double-ended design makes bolt snaps more versatile. Spring-loaded bolts provide secure closure & easy-open thumb lever. It’s easy to trigger the snap hooks by one handed and moves freely and smoothly, allowing for easy on/off.
- WIDE APPLICATION The Trigger Snaps are designed as a useful hook for rope, chain, straps, animal leashes, horse tack and other home, farm and recreational applications. Also, can be used for a gate latch, a bucket hanger, hanging feed tubs, hay bags in the stall and many other various similar situations. Perfect for connecting your diving accessories to your BCD.
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEE The package includes 2Pcs 3-1/2 Inch Marine Grade Double End Scuba Diving Clips.
- We stand by our quality commitment and will guarantee you 100% satisfaction of the Trigger Chain Clips.
- Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is any question. We will do our best to solve the problem as soon as possible.
- Give it a good shake and its loud rattling will turn heads.
- Magnetic end-stopper keeps the shaker from rattling when you need to keep quiet.
- Attach it to your BCD with the included clip.
- Compact, convenient and easy to use.
This was our Equipment Guide and list of the Best BCD Buoyancy Control Device in 2021! We hope you enjoyed the article. Please consider sharing this with your friends or on your social platforms. Leave us a Comment which is your favorite BCD.
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