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Best BCDs For Scuba Diving In 2021

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There is nothing quite like the joy of diving deep into the mystery and beauty of the open water, whether it is in a quarry, sea, or lake.

There is also nothing quite so complicated as learning about all the different scuba gear you might need to experience the rare joy for yourself.

One of the tools you will need for a scuba dive is a buoyancy compensator device, or a BCD.

If you are interested in recreational diving, technical diving, or anything in between and looking into getting a BCD device for yourself, read on to discover the best BCDs on the market in 2021.

Is a BCD Worth Buying?

While most beginner divers might not be too familiar with BCDs, experienced divers can attest that buoyancy control is a crucial aspect that ensures you have a safe, successful dive.

A BCD resembles an inflatable jacket and comes equipped with an air bladder that helps you achieve neutral buoyancy and positive buoyancy as needed.

The air bladder inside a buoyancy compensator works in much the same way as a fishs’ internal swim bladder, but for scuba divers.

Consequently, a BCD is a must-buy for every type of dive.

You can rent or borrow BCDs from others, but the fit of your BDC is a critical tool that ensures the safety and quality of your diving experience.

What We Looked For

For this review on the best BCDs for scuba diving in 2021, we researched tons of different BCDs, though we could have reviewed almost double this.

We have attempted to narrow our research and review criteria to more specific metrics that will help you pinpoint which is the best BCD for you.

Type of BCDs

There are multiple types of BCDs available, so let’s look at the most common types first:

1. Jacket BCD

Jacket style BCD look just like a life jacket.

They have air bladder systems that inflate in the front, the back, and the sides.

2. Back-Inflate BCDs

Back-inflate models boast an air bladder located on the back of the inflate BCD.

Back-inflate BCDs help divers stay horizontal when in the water.

3. Wing BCD

These wing buoyancy compensators include the bare minimum of a harness, an air bladder, and a backplate.

4. Travel BCDs

As the name implies, this BCD style works best for scuba divers traveling longer distances to their dive sights.

They are streamlined for ultimate portability.

5. Hybrid BCDs

These BCDs are an innovative mix between the back-inflate style design and the jacket-style design.

Use Case

There are many different types of BCDs available for purchase, each one designed for unique use cases.

Case in point, a technical diver will need a different BCD than a recreational diver, and warm water divers will need their own specific BCD as opposed to cold water diving.

An accurate fit is necessary for scuba BCD to work correctly, which means gender can be a deciding factor when choosing the right BCD to suit your needs.

For example, BCDs made for women are crafted to fit the curve and shape of the female body.

They tend to have narrower shoulder straps, and their adjustments are located lower down on the shoulder straps from the torso.


Though BCDs can range high in price, their staying power justifies the expense.

You should always research the materials your potential BCD is made of (even down to the adjustable straps and the inflator hose) to ensure that there aren’t any cheap materials used in the design and manufacturing process.

Manufacturer Reputation

There are a dizzying amount of companies that make and sell BCDs.

The best manufacturers to consider when looking for your BCD are the ones with long histories of good business practices and high levels of customer satisfaction.

Best BCD Brands

Though we’ll be covering more than these four brands in the rest of this post, of all the BCD brands you might choose from, these are the best and brightest among them.


Scubapro is a part of Johnson’s Outdoor Family, which includes other well-known outdoor retailers like Eureka!, Humminbird, Johnson Outdoors, and Ocean Kayak, among others.

Their website boasts that the company’s products surpass industry standards for testing and certifications and will provide divers with stability and a comfortable fit at any depth.

They offer a veritable smorgasbord of BCD options for whatever kind of diver you are.

They also provide customers with an online BCD Finder that can help you narrow down just what kind of BCD you need.

Feel confident buying your new scuba gear from a company that’s managed to invent their own innovative heavy-duty stabilizing BCD jackets.

Atomic Aquatics

Founded in 1996, Atomic Aquatics strives to be the best of the best in the scuba gear industry.

They stand for passion, precision, and performance and aim to adhere to the highest design standards, the best manufacturing processes, and the finest quality materials.

They utilize a mix of traditional pencil sketches and advanced CAD technology to bring their most ambitious product ideas to life.

Atomic Aquatics has won several awards around the world and has been recognized by many different industrial design juries, including the globally renowned Red Dot Awards.


The story of Cressi Scuba Diving Equipment started back in 1939 with two men who both loved the sea.

The Cressi brothers were also blessed with the gifts of technical design and building things with their hands.

They started their journey making spearguns and crafting masks which helped with hunting the spoils of the sea that dwelt close to their hometown.

By 1946 they had managed to secure quite the following for their products and so they founded the Cressi company out of Genoa, Italy.

Their long history of craftsmanship and ingenuity ensures that no matter what innovations they present, they’ll always stick to the Cressi family values that won them success with the Italian spearfishing community all those years ago.


In the 1970s, a skydiver named Dennis Bulin had the idea to meld his design knowledge of scuba diving and skydiving to design a sort of ripcord for his BCD, and the result of those experiments birthed a new company with a unique name, Zeagle.

Since its inception, the company has remained true to its commitment to originality and innovation and even debuted the world’s first Ripcord Release System.

They also patented a Personal Fit System™ to ensure a perfect fit every time.

Zeagle’s PFS works because their BCDs are made from interchangeable parts.

This lets a Zeagle dealer custom-fit you with exactly the right kind of buoyancy control to make your wildest scuba diving dreams a reality.

Best Budget BCDs

Now that we’ve gone over the best of the best in the BCD industry, we’re going to look into different categories of BCDs.

For the first category, we’ll cover the BCDs that give you the most bang for your buck.


Our Pick
SHERWOOD SCUBA Silhouette BCD, X-Large
9.4/10Our Score
  • Top-choice of dive schools and rental shops worldwide
  • Rugged, dependable, durable, and affordable design
  • One great entry-level personal bcd
  • Large velcro pocket for storage of accessories
  • Easy-to-use and maintain sherwood oral and power inflator mechanism

This entry-level BCD is a jacket-style buoyancy compensator that uses color-coded accent piping for quick and accurate sizing.

This feature makes the Sherwood a favorite of scuba rental departments everywhere, along with its durability and its simple design.


  • Price: $352.00
  • Type: Jacket -style
  • Integrated Weights: No
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 2
  • Number of D-Rings: 2 (Plastic)

What We Like

  • Ultra-comfortable cummerbund.
  • Built-in handle for portability.
  • The 3D-designed bladder is very effective.

What We Don’t Like

  • Only one pocket for storage, even if it is oversized.
  • Some mild chafing from the shoulder straps.
  • Only two dump valves are included.

Cressi Durable Start Jacket-Style BCD

Runner Up
Cressi Start Pro 2.0 Jacket Style BCD Ideal for Beginners with Quick-Release Weight Integrated Pocke
9.4/10Our Score
  • Made in resistance 1000 denier cordura (outside panel) and 500 denier (inside layer). ideal for dive
  • The denier nylon cordura is more resistant to erosion caused by long-term friction and extends the 
  • The waist strap is independent of the air bladder. the strap can be tightened while the jacket is 
  • Inflator with double air filtration system; under the hose connection stem and around the valve. the
  • The backplate system is constructed by ultra-durable thermoplastic truly small and compact for except
  • 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
  • 2 large pockets close with ykk zippers. on top of each pocket there is a compartment for hold the pr
  • 2 technopolymer d-rings of 50mm available in the shoulder straps ideal to fasten clip accessories. 4
  • The start pro 2.0 bcd is designed in italy and made in hungary by cressi. ce certification en 250 e

The Cressi Start backplate system is designed with durable thermoplastic and is truly light and compact, making it another great starting BCD for beginner divers.

The Cressi Start’s nylon locator straps make certain that a diver’s tank is positioned properly for every single dive.

It boasts 3 exhaust valves for pinpointed buoyancy control in whatever position you need it.


  • Price: $234
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: No
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 3
  • Number of D-Rings: 2 (Plastic)

What We Like

  • Amazing value for the purchase price.
  • The air bladder is conveniently separated from the waist strap.
  • Easy to clean inflator hose.

What We Don’t Like

  • The chest strap sits a bit too high.
  • Lack of metal D rings.
  • The design might cause chafing in some areas.

Oceanic OceanPro BCD

Oceanic OceanPro BCD (Large)
  • Bcd, low pressure hose, owner's manual
  • Oceanic ocean pro bcd:
  • Toughest bcd to date by oceanic
  • Great bcd for rugged use
  • Simplistic design means more dependable bcd

This fairly priced BCD has a simple yet effective design that was named ScubaLab’s Best Buy in the Best Buy in Scuba Diving’s July 2015 BCD Review.

This model is often used in training and rental departments for all different types of scuba diver needs.


  • Price: $514.95
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 3
  • Number of D-Rings: 8 (Plastic)

What We Like

  • Choice of an integrated weight system if desired.
  • Lots of storage space in multiple pockets.
  • Lots of D rings compared to other budget BCDs.

What We Don’t Like

  • The design would be much better if D rings were made of metal.
  • Its alternate inflator option can be cumbersome and awkward, though some divers prefer it.
  • The OceanPro’s handles stick out slightly and can get caught on kelp or seaweed.

Best Jacket-Style BCDs

Though all of the BCD choices in the last section were jacket-style BCDs, the ones we’ll go over in this section won’t be nearly as affordable.

They will all have more features than the budget-friendly BCD options.

Zeagle Covert XT BCD

Our Pick
Zeagle Covert XT CBD (Large)
9.4/10Our Score
  • Molle system for quick and easy attachment of gear and accessories, and back webbing
  • Larger weight pockets and redesigned weight release. added tank positioning strap
  • Rubber row webbing helping secure tank with increased webbing width. durable elastic material on the
  • Additional padding using open cell foam on shoulder and lumbar. accessory trim pockets. knife mounti
  • 1000 denier nylon. 4 plastic d-rings. 34 lb lift capacity (sizes xs-md). 42 lb lift capacity (sizes

This is an excellent BCD choice for traveling scuba divers, and it’s also a very sturdy and ruggedly designed BCD that comes with a reinforced MOLLE system.

A MOLLE system is an acronym for “modular lightweight load-carrying equipment.”


  • Price: $459.95
  • Type: Back-Inflate
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 3
  • Number of D-Rings: 4 (plastic)

What We Like

  • The improved elastic material of the air bladder prevents streamlined size.
  • Rubber row webbing helps to firmly secure your tank.
  • Knife mounting points on both sides.

What We Don’t Like

  • Only 4 plastic D rings for the high price.
  • Can get a bit heavy on longer dives.
  • The MOLLE system can make sizing slightly difficult.


Runner Up
SHERWOOD SCUBA Avid BCD, Jacket Style, Accessory Ready for Flashlight, Knife, and Console Retractor
9.4/10Our Score
  • High adjustable jacket syle bcd with weight integration and non-ditchable trim pockets
  • 11 stainless steel d-rings to clip additional accessories wherever you may wish
  • Two tank bands for added tank security and added tank stability
  • 11 sizes to ensure the correct fit
  • The avid is made by sherwood scuba, an american dive brand specializing in life support, masks, snor

Another offering from Sherwood has plenty of useful features and boasts a crazy comfortable fit and forward-thinking designs.

This jacket-style BCD’s hydrodynamic bladder provides a wonderfully ergonomic buoyancy compensator.

It also has a padded, neoprene, neck roll and won’t bother you, even during long dives.


  • Price: $633.00
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 3
  • Number of D-Rings: 6 D-Rings (Stainless Steel)

What We Like

  • 3D-designed air bladder provides top-of-the-line stability.
  • Extremely comfortable, adjustable shoulder straps.
  • The updated weight release system is super easy and convenient.

What We Don’t Like

  • The cummerbund can be hard to adjust for larger-sized people.
  • One of the heavier, bulkier models in this category.
  • Large price discrepancies between different sizes.

Zeagle Halo w/Inflator and Hose

Zeagle Halo BCD
  • Bcd - low-pressure hose - owner's manual - zeagle 1 year limited warranty
  • Zeagle halo bcd
  • Designed for the serious recreational diver
  • Fully-featured jacket style bcd
  • Personal fit system: interchangeable components replaceable shoulder sections unisex desig

The Zeagle Halo model can be trusted to perform and be very safe even during some of the most harrowing diving emergencies.

The Ripcord Weight System is a quick and effective way to control your ascent, even one-handed; with one motion, you can dump weight on both sides.


  • Price: $399
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 2
  • Number of D-Rings: 7

What We Like

  • Radio Frequency welded seams give you the utmost confidence.
  • Depth compensating cummerbund can be adjusted for maximum comfort.
  • The air bladder interior is very easy to clean.

What We Don’t Like

  • The quick disconnect hose can be finicky.
  • This product can only be shipped to an address in the continental United States.
  • Might be a bit overwhelming for beginner divers.

Best Wing BCDs

Though they love scuba diving, many divers might attest that they aren’t very big fans of jacket BCDs, and those types of divers tend to consider wing models as a better choice.

When divers progress from recreational diving to technical diving, many switch to wing BCDs from jacket-style BCDs.

Wing style BCDs consist of a harness, a wing, a bladder, a backplate, and webbing, and all of them are solidly secured to a diver’s body.

Wing BCDs are designed with a backplate that provides optimal weight distribution and helps you dive deeper than ever before.

Scubapro Hydros Pro

Our Pick
Scubapro HYDROS PRO BCD with BPI, Men, Black, Large
9.4/10Our Score
  • Ultra durable:patented injection molded monprene gel harness is extremely resistant to uv, chemicals
  • "bc-4-life" modular design:customizable to add/remove weight systems, straps and pouches. extended 
  • Instant dry:ideal for travel due to less water retention and lower post-dive weight.
  • Neutrally buoyant:near-zero inherent buoyancy requires less lead, resulting in better buoyancy
  • Dual-compound backplate:provides the ultimate in stability and comfort. single tank band system allow

The Scubapro Hydros Pro is made of a moldable material called Monprene® and has an adjustable fit with several attachment points, so it’s both more comfortable and customizable than many other models.

It comes with a backpack that’s large enough for your whole dive kit and its unique design provides lots of durability.


  • Price: $1,099 USD
  • Type: Back-Inflate
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 3
  • Number of D-Rings: 4 (Stainless Steel)

What We Like

  • Quick-dry technology ensures the BCD will dry much faster than many other BCD models.
  • Always fits comfortably, even for larger sized people
  • Stands up to the most extreme climate conditions.

What We Don’t Like

  • The empty air cell tends to slip a bit when diving.
  • No backup second stage on the inflator.
  • One of the highest price tags on our list.

Atomic BC2 BCD

Runner Up
Atomic BC2 Backmounted BC Vest (Large)
9.4/10Our Score
  • Atomic bc2 bcd from divers discount florida
  • Divers discount florida ships this product with full mfg warranty iws-30 lb capacity (20 lbs diver r

The first thing you’ll notice about the Atomic BC2 is its lovely matte finish and strong, durable, quality of materials.

The Atomic BC2 can hold almost double the pressure of a standard BCD.

The BCD’s innovative EZ-LOK weight release system makes it quick and easy to add weights in or out of the water.

Its polyurethane-coated material can quickly absorb water like nylon webbing.


  • Price: $1499.95
  • Type: Back-Inflate
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 2
  • Number of D-Rings: 316 D Rings (titanium PVD coating)

What We Like

  • Adjustable lumbar pad for support and comfort.
  • Made with double laminated, polyurethane-coated fabric and corrosion-resistant materials for the ultimate durability.
  • Replaceable inner bladder for a longer BCD life.

What We Don’t Like

  • Dive knives can be somewhat difficult to attach.
  • Pocket space could be a tad bigger.
  • The extremely expensive price tag might be too high for some, despite the quality.

Apeks WTX Single Cylinder Donut Wing

In 2014, Apeks designed an ultraviolet plate with a SureLock weight system that soon gained lots of attention for the company and their scuba diving products.

Since then, the Apeks WTX has earned a reputation for comfort, stability, and durability.


  • Price: $375 – $395
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 2
  • Number of Dump Valves: 1
  • Number of D-Rings: 6 (stainless steel)

What We Like

  • Contains everything you need for any snorkeling or scuba diving adventure.
  • Cylinder wings make for a stable, smooth, dive every single time.
  • Boasts a useful safety cable that helps to prevent hyper-extension.

What We Don’t Like

  • Its narrow fit can potentially cause the BCD to not seal properly.
  • The face masks can occasionally get cloudy and foggy.
  • Can have small leaks, but they are managed well by a built-in purge handle.

Best Hybrid BCDs

As mentioned earlier, hybrid-style BCDs are a combination of the best design elements of back-inflate BCDs as well as jacket-style BCDs.

The shape of the air bladders in a hybrid BCD helps divers easily maintain a trim position while scuba diving, as well as providing a comfortable surface float function as well.

Scubapro Litehawk BC

Our Pick
Scubapro Litehawk BC w/Air 2 - Medium/Large for Scuba Divers
9.4/10Our Score
  • Numerous performance features: deliver comfort & easy handling
  • Elastic cords automatically control the size and keep the air cell streamlined when partially inflat
  • Low-drag, low profile progressively-shaped air cell on a light back flotation bc
  • Adjustable belt-style waist strap with nylon lightweight buckle
  • Lightweight, perfect for travel: just 5.2 lbs / 2,36 kg

This lightweight, flexible, hybrid-style BCD can easily be used for traveling to long-distance dives or for a local trip to a small lake or quarry.

Whatever you need it for, the Litehawk can deliver.

Its quick-release rotating shoulder buckle lets you route your straps under your arms for enhanced comfort, along with a two-position sternum strap.


  • Price: $499.00
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 3
  • Number of D-Rings: 4 (Aluminum)

What We Like

  • Denier nylon construction ensures a high-quality, long-lasting BCD for the price.
  • Enjoy the ultimate stability with Litehawk’s multiple band and strap system.
  • An ergonomic harness provides greater freedom of movement.

What We Don’t Like

  • Litehawk’s design could make boat storage a bit of a hassle.
  • Storage pockets could stand to be larger for more space.
  • You could experience problems with the fit of this BCD if you are very slim or petite.

Oceanic Hera BCD

Runner Up
Oceanic HERA 2015 Women's BCD, Small
9.4/10Our Score
  • Bcd, low pressure hose and owner's manual
  • Oceanic hera women's bc:
  • Women's-specific bc's design
  • Built-from-the-ground-up around the female-form
  • Just for ladies:fitcomforthost of female-friendly featuresabsolutely-gorgeous styling

The first BCD on our list which is marketed exclusively to women, the Oceanic Hera BCD has a patented adjustable positioning system and makes use of lightweight materials.

It provides lots of storage room and a top-of-the-line integrated weight system that all create a seamless, comfortable diving experience.


  • Price: $629.95
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 2
  • Number of D-Rings: 4 (Stainless Steel)

What We Like

  • The thoughtful design is great for female divers and fits their body shapes almost perfectly.
  • The Hera is an ultra customizable BCD with tons of available features to personalize it as you need.
  • This BCD’s mask is great in that it very rarely fogs and provides amazing visibility.

What We Don’t Like

  • There is no option to buy a larger snorkel attachment.
  • The lack of a traditional hose might turn off some divers.
  • Taller women divers might find the design restrictive.

Best BCDs for Travel

Though there are many BCD models which can be used when traveling, there are certain types that are designed with far-flung diving destinations in mind from the start.

Compared to other BCDs, they might be missing some features or bells and whistles, but that sacrifice is made for the convenience of a travel.

This makes it a breeze to cart with you anywhere, no matter how far your journey might take you.

Dive Rite Hydro Lite BC Lightweight Traveling BCD

Our Pick
Dive Rite Hydro Lite BC Lightweight Traveling BCD Buoyancy Compensator Device, Large, Black/Blue (HL
9.4/10Our Score
  • Mountaineering style harness - a mountaineering backpack style harness keeps the rig stable and guar
  • Streamlined aircell- an integrated 30 lb lift aircell provides the ideal amount of lift for a diver,
  • Durable materials - extremely rugged, the hydro lite aircell is designed for the long-term using a 6
  • Dual tank straps- for added stability the hydro lite features dual tank straps, as well as a tank he
  • Includes - an integrated lumbar pad, hip pads, and shoulder pads are included for additional comfort

Dive Right’s Hydro Lite BCD is a lightweight buoyancy compensator for the single tank diver on the go.

The Hydro Lite’s dynamic wing design and soft backplate provide you with all-in-one convenience, and the BCD is singularly portable and easy to store.


  • Price: $589.00
  • Type: Back-Inflate
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 1
  • Number of D-Rings: 4

What We Like

  • The quality of the material is excellent and includes a 600 denier polyester outer bag and a 210 denier nylon inner bladder.
  • A mountaineering style harness provides lots of stability and comfort.
  • The Hydro Lite comes with 5 available harness sizes from small to XXL for easy adjustability, even for in-between sizes.

What We Don’t Like

  • As it was specifically designed for warm water diving, you might have some trouble in colder temperatures.
  • The velcro stabilizer strap might be too short and could potentially need replacing.
  • The quick-release buckles on the integrated weight system can be finicky at times.

Hollis LTS Light Travel System BCD

Runner Up
Hollis LTS Light Travel System Rear Inflation BCD (Large)
9.4/10Our Score
  • Ideal for traveling divers, weighs only 5 lbs (2.27 kg)
  • 30 lbs (13.6 kg) of lift capacity. comfortable backpad
  • Chest and hip d-rings for accessories or sling bottle
  • Rugged 1000d nylon outer cover with 420d internal bladder
  • 5lbs dumpable integrated weight system

Taking notes from their popular HD200 model, Hollis has created a perfectly designed BCD for traveling divers.

With its simple yet effective design, rugged construction, and ergonomic fit, this travel BCD is super simple to take anywhere and won’t let you down on those magical destination dives.


  • Price: $474.95
  • Type: Back-Inflate
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 1
  • Number of D-Rings: 2

What We Like

  • This BCD is versatile enough to use for almost any single tank dive experience.
  • The inner tubing is extremely flexible and well made.
  • Hollis’ customer service team is always dedicated, passionate, and helpful

What We Don’t Like

  • Lifting capacity can be disappointing compared to other travel BCDs.
  • Its pockets can carry no more than 6 pounds at any given time.
  • The Hollis LTS D-ring placements can be somewhat awkward.

Cressi Travelight Back Inflation BCD

Cressi Travel-Friendly Light Back Inflation BCD for Scuba Diving | Patrol: Designed in Italy
  • Pockets with zippers and bindings on the side lobes
  • The pockets fit perfectly into their places.
  • Spring closure (15 mm long) in case of any accidental snags
  • Capacity of up to 4.5 kg each with flexible weight
  • The 100% dorsal air chamber has the best buoyancy of the entire cressi range

Cressi offers one of the best choices in BCD gear if you’re looking for comfort, portability, lightness, and flexibility.

The Cressi Travelight is a great purchase for divers who need a lightweight, easy to-carry BCD unit and who don’t want to compromise very much on quality and design.


  • Price: $429.95
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 2
  • Number of D-Rings: 8

What We Like

  • The Travelight design is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever reviewed.
  • There are plenty of d-rings for a travel BCD.
  • For all its features, the Travelight is still amazingly compact and portable.

What We Don’t Like

  • You may need extra weights to offset excess buoyancy.
  • Your customer service experience could be a bit of a hassle given Cressi’s international location.
  • The quality of the storage pocket design could be much better.

Bonus BCD Picks

We’ve covered quite a few different BCD models in this review.

As we draw to a close, we just wanted to add a few more bonus picks aimed at specialized divers who might need a BCD for something other than recreational purposes.

Dive Rite Transpac XT/EXP (Best BCD for Cave Diving)

Cave diving can be an otherworldly, beautiful experience for any diver.

The Dive Rite Transpac is our top pick for scuba divers who want to explore an exhilarating cave dive adventure.


  • Price: $369.00
  • Type: Back-Inflate
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 2
  • Number of Dump Valves: 1
  • Number of D-Rings: 4

What We Like

  • The Transpac’s double foam pads assure you won’t have to deal with excessive chafing.
  • Transpac’s versatility for use with single tanks, double tanks, rebreathers, and side mounts is simply amazing.
  • Its cutting-edge load distribution technology provides you with all the stability you’ll ever need.

What We Don’t Like

  • The wrap-around hip belt can be a bit complicated to get just right.
  • The mesh airflow channels might need a bit more cleaning and attention compared to similar models.
  • The Transpac’s nylon webbing could have been designed to be a bit more rugged.

Hollis HTS 2 (Best BCD for Wreck Diving)

Hollis HTS 2 Harness (X-Large)
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps w/ quick release buckles; comfort back pad w/ lubar support
  • Stainless steel d-rings and cam buckle included; adjustable sternum strap w/ 2 chest mounting positi
  • Accommodates new s25 &s38 wings w/out sata
  • System weight (harness only): 8 lbs (3.6 kg)
  • This is the harness only; wing/bladder not included

If you’re more interested in exploring the breathtaking views of a shipwreck deep below the waves, the Hollis HTS 2 is the best BCD pick for you.


  • Price: $349.95
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 1
  • Number of D-Rings: 2 (stainless steel)

What We Like

  • This BCD is extremely durable and will last you for years and years to come.
  • The ease of customization is unmatched by almost any other comparable model.
  • The adjustable sternum strap is a lifesaver when it comes to comfort.

What We Don’t Like

  • The added carry handle can be a bit cumbersome at times.
  • Its removable webbing cross strap might cause some discomfort and chafing.
  • This BCD is a bit on the heavier side, making travel use slightly less convenient.

Scubapro X-Black (Best BCD for Instructors)

Scubapro X-Black BCD with AIR2 - Medium
  • 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.

This BCD model from Scubapro is perfect for scuba diving instructors.

It’s extremely comfortable even after hours of wear, is very forgiving, will last for a long time, and provides plenty of lift just where you need it.


  • Price: $1,189.00
  • Type: Jacket-Style
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 1
  • Number of Dump Valves: 2
  • Number of D-Rings: 7

What We Like

  • The non-rotating, quick-release shoulder buckles provide you with the perfect fit.
  • The X-Black’s bladder had extremely powerful lift capacity.
  • Three oversized zippered pockets give you plenty of extra storage space.

What We Don’t Like

  • Though it’s great for diving instructors, the price point is very high.
  • Built-in grommets could have benefitted from better design.
  • You may need extra weight to compensate for the powerful lift capacity.

xDeep NX PROJECT (Best BCD for Twin Tanks)

xDeep NX Project Double Tanks Scuba Diving BCD (S, Stainless Steel)
  • Greater lift with less drag. the nx project has sufficient lift to support multiple stage diving wit
  • Unrestricted access to valves and perfect hose routing. in an emergency situation every second count
  • Nx inflator design is so compact that upper wing size can be also reduced granting clean and broad a
  • First ergonomic backplate. the new nx series back plate is more comfortable, more stable and more pr
  • Small backplate is perfect for divers below 5' 8" / 175 cm of height / large backplate is for divers

If you’re in the market for a BCD that works best with twin tanks as opposed to single tanks, take a look at the celebrated xDeep NX PROJECT to find double the fun and excitement on your next dive.


  • Price: $679.00
  • Type: Back-Inflate
  • Integrated Weights: Yes
  • Number or Air Bladders: 2
  • Number of Dump Valves: 2
  • Number of D-Rings: 2

What We Like

  • The NX PROJECT boasts the most comfortable backplate yet from xDeep.
  • Unrestricted access to your valves is essential in emergencies.
  • Perfect for almost any technical diving experience; recreational use is great too.

What We Don’t Like

  • You may run into issues trying to wear a dry suit with this BCD model.
  • Some users say it adds too much lift to the lower body on deeper dives.
  • The wing placement may be a bit too high for some divers.

How Do I Choose a BCD?

Even with a comprehensive review like this one at your fingertips, there are still other factors you will need to consider to find the best BCD for your unique situation.

Before you go making that big purchase, here are a few more pointers that might help you avoid choosing the wrong one.

Identify What You’ll Be Doing With the BCD

Are you diving in a pool? Open water? How deep do you want to go?

Do you need it for personal use, work, school?

To find just the right BCD for you, you will first need to identify exactly what you’re using it for to find one that will suit all your needs.

Find a Comfortable Fit You Like

We’ve talked about how important a good fit is when buying a BCD but to reiterate, if your device doesn’t fit you well, no matter how well made it is, your diving experience will suffer.

It’s best to buy your BCD in a brick-and-mortar scuba shop to ensure a good fit, but if you have to buy one, be sure to stick to your precise height and weight measurements.

How Do You Size a BCD?

When choosing a BCD, it is important to remember that every brand and model might include its own unique size chart, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sizing a BCD.

As an example, back-inflate BCDs are a little more forgiving when it comes to fit as opposed to jacket-style BCDs.

When choosing a jacket-style BCD, be sure to measure for both the vests and the shoulder units of the buoyancy compensator.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re like many other BCD enthusiasts, you might still have quite a few questions about BCDs in general.

Here’s a couple of frequently asked questions about BCDs that you might want to know.

What kind of BCD does the military use?

The US military is allowed to use any BCD mentioned on the Approved for Naval Usage (ANU) listing.

Aqua Lung, SCUBAPRO, and Zeagle are some of the most popular brands used by the US military today.

How much lift should your BCD have?

Whatever BCD you decide on, make sure that it has at least 56lbs of lift.

However, in tropical conditions, you might only need about 6-10lbs of lift.

Your Big Takeaways

Now that you’ve learned more about BCDs, why they’re important, what brands are most popular, and what features our top picks bring to the table, you can go find a BCD of your very own.

No more unfamiliar rentals or borrowing scuba gear!

Just remember to size your BCD correctly and to know exactly what you’re going to use it for before deciding.

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