Best Scuba BCDs in 2022

dive bcds 2022

Most novice divers tend to rent their dive equipment until they get at least a few dives using differing kits under their belt. However, once you really go in for scuba diving and start building your personal gear preference, it makes a lot of sense to purchase your own equipment. Buying a BCD is one of the best investments you can make, as it will help you to become a more comfortable, confident, and efficient diver. Learning such little details as where your pockets and D-rings are, how exactly your weight system works, etc. will add to your safety and the overall enjoyment during the dive.

That being said, with so many options available on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. So, to help you choose the best buoyancy compensator for your setup, we’ve put together this list with short reviews of some of the best BCDs out there.

Best Budget Scuba Diving BCDs

  • Cressi Start Pro
  • Cressi Patrol
  • Seac Smart

Best Mid-Range Scuba Diving BCDs

  • Cressi Travelight
  • Seac EQ-PRO
  • Seac Modular Max

Best High-End Scuba Diving BCDs

  • ScubaPro X-Black
  • Atomic Aquatics BC1

Best Scuba BCDs - Comparison Chart

BCDStyleWeight IntegratedLift Capacity (LBS)Dry Weight (LBS)Number of D-RingsPrice
Cressi Start ProJacketYes29-455.4-6.36 (plastic)$
Cressi PatrolBack InflateYes29-515.7-6.46 (plastic)$
Seac SmartJacketYes21-406.86 (stainless steel)$
Cressi TravelightJacketYes13-365.3-5.78 (light alloy)$$
Seac EQ-PROJacketYes22-367.78 (stainless steel)$$
Seac Modular MaxBack InflateNo446.84 (anodized aluminum)$$
ScubaPro X-BlackJacketYes38-659.5-10.38 (aluminum)$$$
Atomic Aquatics BC1JacketYes31-489.2-11.210 (stainless steel with Titanium coating)$$$

Best Budget Scuba Diving BCDs

Cressi Start Pro Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Start Pro Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Start Pro Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Start Pro Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Start Pro Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Start Pro Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE

Cressi Start Pro 2.0 BCD

$339.95

Best Budget Jacket Style BCD

Pros:

  • The waist strap is separate from the air bladder
  • Integrated weight system
  • Generous pocket space
  • Extreme durability
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Plastic D-rings
  • The chest strap can be a bit too high

Cressi Start has long been the BCD of choice for many divers on a budget. It is comfortable, practical, and virtually bullet-proof. The Start Pro is the upgraded version of Cressi’s classic design. The Pro version offers the same benefits as its predecessor, but also comes with a safe, simple, and reliable integrated weight system and notably improved looks.

The BC is manufactured from 1000 and 500 denier Cordura and includes external weight pockets as well as two large capacity zipper pockets that can easily fit a spare mask or a DSMB. With the waist strap being separate from the air bladder and cummerbund, it is possible to tighten the strap while the jacket is deflated without constricting the diver's stomach when the jacket is inflated. There is also a new upper dump valve with a non-return system to avoid water infiltration, even when the BCD is deflated. 

Thanks to its highly functional design, extreme durability, and fantastic price point, Cressi Smart Pro is the perfect option for beginner divers that will keep performing time and time again. 

Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Patrol BCD - DIPNDIVE

Cressi Patrol BCD

$379.95

Best Budget Back Inflation BCD

Pros:

  • Comfortable padded harness independent of the inflatable area
  • Integrated weight system
  • Streamlined design
  • Outstanding stability
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Plastic D-rings

Cressi Patrol is an impressively compact and lightweight, back inflation BCD that offers convenience during travel without sacrificing performance and durability. A plushy anatomically designed harness is completely independent of the inflatable area, which provides great stability and freedom of movement. Thanks to this arrangement, the harness is equally comfortable to wear for both men and women. Additionally, with the retaining elastics on the dorsal air chamber, the BC always stays streamlined, creating very little drag.

The Patrol comes with Cressi’s Lock Aid integrated weight system, which is known for its security and ease of ditching. The upper vacuum valve with a non-return system prevents the accidental entrance of water into the BC chamber. Six D-rings and a spacious roll-up pocket provide room for all the necessary accessories.

Offering a lot of value for its modest price, the Patrol has rightly become one of the favorite rear inflation BCDs for divers on a budget.

Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Seac Smart Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE

Seac Smart Scuba BCD

$399.00

Best Value for Money

Pros:

  • Supportive padded harness
  • Integrated weight system
  • Adjustable sternum strap
  • Excellent attitude control
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • The opening of the cargo pocket can feel a bit narrow, especially when the BCD is inflated

Seac Smart is an easy-to-use, yet very practical BCD that is great for beginner divers. It has a comfortable and supportive harness with quick-dry padding all over the backplate. The two-position adjustable sternum strap and an elasticated cummerbund pull the BCD together and help hold it securely in place.

Fitted with a new gravity integrated weight release system, Seac Smart offers optional ballast weight management - a set-up that is both effective and efficient. Thanks to the PU-coated 1000D Cordura on the outside and 500D Cordura on the inside of the bladder, this BCD is very durable. There are also plenty of options to store or clip your accessories. Six stainless steel D-rings and two large cargo pockets are well-placed and easy to access.

Most importantly, Seac Smart shows excellent attitude control and offers rock-solid stability. With such a solid performance, as well as comfort and convenience at a below-average price, this BCD became the winner in our best value for money category. 

Best Mid-Range Scuba Diving BCDs

Cressi Travelight BCD
Cressi Travelight BCD
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight BCD
Cressi Travelight BCD
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE
Cressi Travelight Buoyancy Compensator - DIPNDIVE

Cressi Travelight BCD

$469.95

Best BCD for Travel

Pros:

  • Unique FAST folding system
  • Incredibly lightweight and compact
  • Integrated weight system + trim weight pockets
  • 2 full-size accessory pockets and 8 D-rings for plenty of storage
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Can feel a bit smaller than many of the other BCDs in the same size 

Cressi Travelight is a BCD designed specifically for traveling divers but with all the features of a general-purpose compensator. It’s made of lightweight yet rugged materials - a combination of 420 and 210 denier nylon on the bladder and light alloy for the D-rings. Being incredibly compact in size and one of the lightest BCDs on the market, Travelight is extraordinarily practical for transport with space and weight restrictions. The BC can be easily packed down into a very small carrying bag.

Notably, the Travelight includes a full Integrated Lock Aid Quick-Release Weight System that holds up to 20 lbs (9 kg) of weight. There are also two additional rear non-releasable trim weight pockets for easier positioning underwater. Plenty of D-rings and two full-size zipper pockets (the items often missing from other travel BCDs) allow for enough space to store all of the essential dive accessories.

As for its in-water performance, Cressi Travelight has very nice hydrodynamics, creating barely any drag. It has an anatomical cut and fits snugly to the body. All in all, comfort, high quality, and thoughtful design touches make this the best value Travel BCD.

Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD - DIPNDIVE

Seac EQ-PRO Scuba Diving BCD

$519.00

Best for Comfort and Stability

Pros:

  • Independent bladder that slides along the harness
  • Integrated weight system + trim weight pockets
  • 2 full-size accessory pockets and 8 D-rings for plenty of storage
  • Functional, low-drag design
  • Excellent fit for both male and female divers

Cons:

  • Has a bit of extra inherent buoyancy
  • Could benefit from an adjustable tank valve strap

Seac EQ-PRO is an ultra-practical full-featured BCD for those, who want to dive with comfort. It has a tidy profile and feels very streamlined in the water. Thanks to the 3D mesh inserts that fully envelope the shoulder straps, the BC has a snug comfortable fit, yet doesn’t squeeze or rub. Additionally, with the adjustable sternum, and waist straps as well as the swinging shoulder buckles it conforms nicely to the contours of different bodies, thus being a great choice for both men and women. 

The EQ-PRO features an independent bladder that has improved hydrodynamics as well as the ability to slide on the harness. This results in the pocket area remaining firmly on the diver’s hips, while the rest of the bladder can move without compressing the abdomen when the BCD is inflated. The shoulder straps are attached dirrectly to the backplate, preventing the BCD from warping when the straps are tightened and keeping the weight distributed correctly. An integrated weight system and generous accessory storage space round out this BCDs impressive feature set. 

All in all, the EQ-PRO offers excellent stability and has a well-balanced feel.

Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE
Seac Modular Max Travel BCD - DIPNDIVE

Seac Modular Max Travel BCD

$549.00

Best Wing BCD

Pros:

  • Freely customizable setup
  • Possibility to use with dual tanks
  • Good surface floating position for a wing BCD
  • Quick-release trim weight pockets
  • Great freedom of movement in the water

Cons:

  • No pull dump integrated into the power inflator
  • The air cell creates a bit of drag

The Modular Max by Seac is a fully customizable wing BCD, ideal for use with dual tanks. It features a soft backpack stiffened by a removable steel frame and a 44-pound doughnut double-bladder in durable 1680D ballistic Cordura nylon. The standard equipment for the Modular Max also includes the detachable shoulder straps, two quick-release trim weight pockets, 4 anodized aluminum D-Rings, and belly buckle in stainless steel. One of the best things about this BCD is that all of its components are interchangeable, making it possible to create just the rig you want. Standard-gauge eyelets and other connectors allow the Seac Modular to accommodate a range of different wings and backpacks as well as add accessories according to your needs. 

The BCD disassembles quickly, takes up little space and is fairly lightweight, which places it into the category of equipment suitable for travel.

Best High-End Scuba Diving BCDs

ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE
ScubaPro X-Black BCD with AIR2 V GEN - DIPNDIVE

ScubaPro X-Black BCD

$1,189.00

Best for Control and Convenience

Pros:

  • Huge amount of buoyant lift
  • Simple, yet effective integrated weight system
  • Rock-solid stability and excellent buoyancy management
  • Lots of cargo-carrying capability
  • Equiped with AIR2 V Gen Breathable Inflator, one of the best inflators on the market

Cons:

  • The BCD is rather on a heavy side
  • The side panels are more than 12 inches top to bottom and can feel too large for smaller divers

The X-Black by ScubaPro is a really tough and functional BCD. With its heavy-duty materials, black-on-black palette and hefty size, this BC looks like it was made to handle even the most aggressive diving. At the same time, the X-Black satisfyingly cozy. Thanks to its ergonomic cut, nice cushioning and adjustable cummerbund, this BCD is one of the most comfortable models on the market. Furthermore, the ScubaPro's exclusive AirFlex system delivers enormous buoyant lift capacity and, together with the AIR2 V Gen Breathable Inflator, simplifies buoyancy control and helps guarantee an extremely stable ride at depth.

Some of the other convenience features include the Super Cinch tank buckle; simple, yet effective integrated weight system; three large zippered pockets; a zippered cummerbund pouch and built-in knife grommets. Despite its overall size and large side panels, the x-Black travels smoothly and easily through the water. A corsetlike network of bungees keeps the air cell well in check and make the BCD surprisingly streamlined.

Overall, the X-Black is a great all-around BCD, ideal for divers who want a reliable piece of gear that will last them through the years and years of adventure.

Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE
Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD - DIPNDIVE

Atomic Aquatics BC1 BCD

$1,499.95

Best BCD Design

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and well-built BCD
  • Packed with innovative features
  • Comfortable to wear in and out of the water
  • Shows excellent performance in terms of stability and control
  • Offers generous accessory storage space

Cons:

  • A hefty price tag
  • The inflator has to be purchased separately
  • A bit heavy

The BC1 by Atomic Aquatics is a true masterpiece of buoyancy compensator design. There’s innovation almost everywhere you look - from the patented EZ-Lok weight release system to sand-resistant pocket zippers. The BC1 is about unique materials and new engineering solutions. It sports a double-laminated polyurethane coated waterproof fabric that sheds water and resists abrasion, tears and punctures. All of the plastics on this BCD are engineering grade, and metals are corrosion resistant. Thanks to this, the BC1 needs little maintenance and has an extremely long life.

It is also packed with features that are a gear geek’s dream: ratcheting tank band, titanium-coated D-rings, low-friction pull dumps with nonfloating knobs, and integrated weights that click in and out like the door of a luxury car. 

Aside from all of the BC1’s bells and whistles, it has a standout performance in water. The BC1 excels in all of the qualities the good BCD needs - stability, comfort, and control. With all of this in mind, the BC1 is a great option for divers who enjoy the best things in life and are ready to pay for them.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published