Best BCD Reviews 2018 – Complete Guide To Buoyancy Control Devices

Samuel Blake
Written by Samuel Blake

BEST BCD REVIEWS 2017A BCD is known by many names and is also sometimes referred to as a BC.

Well, a rose by any other name still smells as sweet and it doesn’t matter what you call the BCD, it is a vital part of your scuba gear.

It helps you control your buoyancy, holds all of your gear in place, and makes sure that your tank is not cumbersome.

In other words, it’s an indispensable part of your scuba ensemble.

This means that any old one will not do – you need the best BCD at your disposal.

This will improve your diving experience, ensure your safety, and will allow you to use your BCD for longer too.

Best BCD 2018

To cut down on your search time on the best buoyancy control device (BCD), here are the ones that you should be considering; I’ve also included the best lightweight travel bcd and best back inflate bcd.

Last update on 2019-01-17 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cressi Start BCD

Last update on 2019-01-17 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Cressi Start BCD was not named by accident.

If you are a beginner who is looking to buy their first scuba gear, then the Start’s a good place to… well, start.

What I like most about the Start is that you can tell that it is a BCD that has been designed and created well.

From every angle, this is a high quality product.

This includes the actual composition of the BCD where it is constructed from both 500 and 1000 denier Condura.

For those who are not aware of it, this material is incredibly tough and is even resistant to most types of damages and scratches.

You will also find it quite easy to secure the tank into the BCD.

Once you have done that, you will find that the tank will remain secure and not move around at all.

As the bladder is a great deal larger than normal, you can expect a good amount of lift while using the BCD.

This makes floating a lot easier, particularly for those who are just starting out.

When you consider the price that you pay for this BCD, it is almost a steal.

Especially when you think off how long it is going to last you, it is difficult to think of any other option. As mentioned, however, I would not recommend this to individuals who are experienced divers.

This is because there is no integrated weight system. If you are used to diving with one, you will find yourself having to use a weight belt to make up for this feature instead.


  • 500 and 1000 denier Condura construction
  • Padded backpack
  • Three release valves

Sherwood Avid 400 Dive BCD

Last update on 2019-01-17 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I like that while the Sherwood Avid 400 BCD is the best of the best, you don’t have to sell your first born to be able to afford it.

Instead, for the features that it offers, it is actually quite reasonably price.

So, what does the AVD400 have for you?

Well, this model does feature an updated weight release system.

This makes it easier for you to add and remove the pockets. The overall design of the jacket-style BCD means that you have got pockets of air wrapped all around your body. This makes it much more comfortable for you to float along.

With the help of the 3D air cell as well as the suspension straps, you will not have to deal with any squeeze. When it is fully inflated, you get to experience a proper and continuous fit.

The air cell is composed from 1000 Denier that is also laminated with urethane. This makes it completely air tight, not to mention insanely durable as well.

The dump valves are well placed. The dump/overpressure valves can easily be used thanks to the pull dump handles.

The third valve is assimilated into the power inflator system.

Altogether, there are about seven sizes that you can choose from with this BCD. They range from XS to 3XL. This means that regardless of your size, you are certainly going to be able to find a jacket that fits you.


  • Power inflator system
  • Convenient weight management system
  • 3D air cell design
  • Multiple sizes

Scubapro Litehawk BCD

Last update on 2019-01-17 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Scubapro Litehawk is aptly named.

Now, you may not necessarily feel like you are flying.

There is no denying, however, that you will certainly feel as though a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

From the moment that you set eyes on this BCD, it is clear that it is a lightweight model.

The company has opted for a more streamlined look that allows it appear as light as it actually is.

What I especially like about this BCD is just how supported you feel once you are strapped in.

This affords you a greater sense of control and stability once you are submerged in the water.

It is also surprisingly soft and comfortable as well.

Despite this, the BCD is hardy, made from 420 Denier that improves its durability.

The rear air cell is quite low profile which helps to increase the range of motion that you experience.

Simultaneously, you also reduce the amount of drag that you incur. It also boasts a three dump deflation that allows you to dump air regardless of your position underwater.

There are also two pockets which provide you with ample space to carry what you need.

There are four aluminum D rings which make it possible for you to clip on even more items. There are three size options available but are overall able to cater to about six different body sizes.

The adjustable straps on the BCD mean that you will have a tight fit regardless of your size.

I really would recommend this BCD for those who have to travel a lot to get to their favorite dive spots. If you are travelling by plane, you can cut down on the amount of weight that you have to carry with this.


  • 420 denier nylon construction
  • Three dump deflation system
  • Low profile rear air cell
  • Pockets and aluminum D rings
  • Three sizes available

Cressi Aquapro 5 BCD – Best Back Inflate BCD

Last update on 2019-01-17 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a BCD that will last you a while, the Cressi Aquapro 5 is certainly a contender for the position. The 420 Denier nylon composition along with the

The 420 Denier nylon composition along with the self-draining mesh fabric on the BCD jacket, you can be sure it last you longer.

The weight pockets that are used with this BCD are quite unique.

They are attached to the accessory pockets and can be released, should you require it.

They are each capable of holding about six pounds each. Just by squeezing the buckles, the pockets can be removed.

One of the most important things about a BCD is that it is able to provide you with stability as well as to prevent the cylinder from moving around.

The Aquapro 5 does this by making sure that the back support is fully rigid.

You don’t have to worry, however, as you don’t have to compromise your comfort.

The well-padded support means that you will not feel anything.

The back support is compounded by the harness which also adds to the stability of the cylinder.

It plays a key role in ensuring that the air cell is inflated away from you so that no constriction occurs.

There are three dump valves that are appropriately located so that it can be used regardless of your position in the water. There are several D-rings to allow you to have as many attachments as you would like.


  • 420 Denier nylon
  • Gravity weight pockets
  • Three exhaust valves
  • Squeeze proof harness

Cressi Travelight BCD – Best Lightweight Travel BCD

Last update on 2019-01-17 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Cressi Travelight is meant for those who travel by air most of the time.

The overall weight of the entire system is just a hair heavier than that of the Scubapro Litehawk.

The Cressi does make for a cheaper option, however, if you are someone who travels quite often.

Also, it is not just the weight that makes the Travelight conducive to travel.

It is also the fact that it can be easily folded and stored in your luggage. How about once you move away from the travel aspect?

Does the Travelight still hold up?

Well, it uses 210 denier nylon with the BCD.

This makes it lightweight and does maintain some durability.

However, you cannot expect it to be as strong as the other versions which boast 400 denier.

This does have an advantage being that it allows the BCD to feel more streamlined underwater.

In particular, I noticed that there was a lot less resistance as a result. Light though it may be, this BCD is not lacking in features.

It has an integrated Lock Aid weight system.

This allows you to add the weight to the BCD to make it more stable for the conditions that you will be diving in.

The BCD has three release and pressure valves. The rear release valve has been placed at the front which makes it easier for you to use while diving. There are

There are zip up pockets and D-rings to help you carry other items as you dive.


  • Lightweight 210 denier nylon
  • Integrated lock aid system
  • Three release valves
  • Zip up pockets, D-rings

Cressi Air Travel 2.0

Last update on 2019-01-17 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yes, it’s a bit of a repeating theme as the Cressi Air Travel 2.0 is another BCD that is designed to accompany on your plane journey.

If you are an avid scuba diver, there is no denying that you probably will have to do quite a bit of flying to get to those gorgeous diving sites.

This makes it quite worth it to invest in a BCD that is going to make it easier and cheaper for you to get there.

The Cressi Air Travel clocks in at about 5.5 pounds which is actually quite incredible.

It’s quite compact and actually can be folded into your hand luggage!

If you are wondering how the Air Travel matches up to the Travelight, it does have one big advantage – the durability factor!

This is because the Air Travel is made from 420 denier nylon.

This means that it’s going to be able to withstand a good deal more wear and tear than its counterpart.

At the same time, you are probably going to have to shell out a lot more for the privilege.

In addition to being quite light, the Air Travel is also quite streamlined.

This, in part, is due to the elastic air cell as well as the power inflator.

A lot of the typical Cressi features such as the rigid yet padded back support remains in place.

You will also find the Lock Aid System integrated weight pockets which allow you to customize the added weight.


  • Streamlined power inflator and elastic cell
  • 420 denier nylon composition
  • 5.5 pounds
  • Cargo pockets and D-rings

What Are The Different Types of BCDs

If you were to make a clear ruling, I would probably say that there are two main types of BCDs. These are the jacket BCDs and the back mounted BCDs.

Jacket style BCDs are where the air bladders wrap from the back, all the way to the front. Typically, the largest portion of the bladder is located along the side of the diver. The most common types of BCDs are the jacket styled ones.

This is for many reasons including the fact that this is what most divers were taught in.

At the same time, they also tend to be the design that is the most comfortable. Especially as it allows divers to stand in a vertical position when they are at the surface.

This is most suitable for recreational divers who do most of their diving in warmer waters.

Then you have the back mounted variety. The air bladders are located on the back (as the name suggests) beside the tank.

Due to the lift capacity and the greater freedom of movement, these are quite popular among technical divers.

This is because technical divers tend to have more weight to carry and therefore need a greater lift.

It can be a little daunting with these BCDs, however, as they tend to keep the diver in a facedown position. This could be a problem should an emergency situation arise.

Some would like to classify the travel BCDs as an entire category differently.

Although these BCDs do tend to be lighter than the typical options, there usually have the same features. In some instances, however, there are variations to accommodate the lighter weight that these BCDs are trying to maintain.

How To Choose A Good BCD

best bcd

There are several things to consider when trying to find the right BCD for you.

One of these is the price of the gear.

For the most part, the BCDs do tend to have a lot in common, which is why you may want to stay in the more medium price range.

Of course, if you wanted added durability or are looking for additional features, you will have to pay a higher price.

As long as the BCD is safe, good quality, and has everything that you need, an adequate price for you should be fine.

Unless you are a technical diver, I would advise you to stick with the jacket style.

You will find it to be more comfortable and easier to use.

Not to mention, it will mirror the experience that you had when you were getting certified.

Now another important feature with your BCD is the size.

It is important to make sure that the BCD will fit tightly around.

This is why you should make sure that your measurements and the ones offered by the manufacturer line up. If you are a woman, you may find it easier to wear a BCD that has been designed specifically for women.

Not only are these jackets shorter, they also have straps that fit under the bust instead of over it. This could greatly improve your comfort level while diving.

You should also check that you can easily reach all of the necessary features.

This includes the mechanisms for the dump valves.

You should not have to struggle to get ahold of them.

The next thing on your list should be to make sure that there are enough of pockets to carry anything that you may need.

You should be able to tightly secure these pockets so that you don’t lose anything.

You are also going to need to rely on D-rings a lot so it’s a good idea to make sure that they are made from materials that will not corrode easily.

How to Use a BCD

It is important that you learn how to wear and use a BCD by a professional instructor.

They will cover all of the important information that you will need to know before you dive, during your dive, and after you dive.

Most of this is lifesaving information and it is vital that you are aware of it. You should not rely on a friend or someone else to teach you the ropes. Always go to a proper dive class to learn the right way.

Now each BCD is different but they more or less have the same key components. This includes the mechanism to inflate and deflate the BCD. Nonetheless, if you are using a BCD for the first time, give it a practice run on the surface.

Make sure that you know precisely where everything is located.

Prior to jumping in the water, I would suggest inflating the BCD just a little.

This way, you will be able to float once you are in. One of the first things that you will have to master is the actual buoyancy act itself.

This requires you to either inflate or deflate the BCD a little by little.

This will prevent you from bouncing up and down too rapidly.

A good thing to remember is to either inflate or deflate a little and then wait for something to happen.

Once there has been a response, you can then continue to inflate or deflate.

This article has you primed to pick out the BCD that is best for you and your diving needs.

Good luck and happy diving!

About the author

Samuel Blake

Samuel Blake

My name is Samuel Blake. I am the founder of this scuba blog. I have been a diver for over 5 years. I care about helping you choose and decide on the best diving products.

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