The best advice beginners receive is to buy their equipment. On the one hand, masks, fins, and even wetsuits are relatively straightforward purchases. The right BCD for a beginner is not.
So which is the right BCD for beginners? What features should they look for? What is a good fit for a BCD? What kind of weight pocket are best? So read on to find out the best scuba diving BCD for beginners.
What Is A Scuba Diving BCD
A scuba diving BCD, also known as a buoyancy control device, is a piece of scuba diving gear that helps to regulate your buoyancy underwater. It is typically made from a durable material such as neoprene and has several pockets and straps to help keep everything in place.
The BCD is inflated using a low-pressure hose from the first stage of your scuba diving regulator and can be deflated when you want to descend. By controlling the amount of air in the BCD, you can easily adjust your buoyancy and float at any depth.
It is an essential piece of gear for any scuba diver.
Best Wing Style BCD: xDeep ZEOS Deluxe Single Tank Scuba Diving BCD
If you are looking for a wing-style BCD for beginners, the xDeep ZEOS is an excellent option. Coming from one of the pioneers of Sidemount diving xDeep, the ZEOS is full of innovative features in a robust package with a classic proven design. The ZEOS is an excellent choice for divers who want to dive using a long hose system. Using the ZEOS can also reduce the weight on their belt due to the stainless steel backplate in the system. Features of the xDeep ZEOS include:
- Two cam bands for total security when attaching your cylinder.
- Double shell wing from durability and toughness.
- Available in two lift capacities, 38 lbs (17 kg) and 28 lbs (13 kg), to suit every diver’s needs.
- Three lengths of inflator hose to fine-tune and dial in the perfect configuration.
- Fully adjustable harness to fit almost every diver’s shape and size.
- ITW Nexus buckles are made from corrosion-resistant polyacetal.
- 3D mesh shoulder straps and back plate for great comfort.
- Choice of steel or aluminum backplate.
- Secure weight pockets
- Integrated left D-ring
Easy setup, one size fits all with a wide range of adjustments to ensure always perfect fit regardless of body size and characteristics. Ideal for beginners and experienced divers alike. Easy to travel with due to the compact design. Most modular recreational scuba diving BCD on the market. Choose between various weight pockets and many great dive accessories built and designed for this system.
Best Budget Option: Cressi Start
Regarding the budget options for the best BCD for beginners, you can’t go far wrong with the Cressi Start. While it is a budget option, it is no slouch and is packed with features you would normally associate with a much more premium BCD. Made from Denier Nylon Cordura, the BCD is a robust offering that will last the casual diver years of use. This robustness comes from the fact that it was designed with dive schools in mind, which extract the most from their gear and demand that it is as tough as possible. Features of the Cressi Start include:
- Made with exterior 1000 Denier Cordura panels, with a 500 Denier interior layer.
- Double filtration on the inflator system with one location of the connection and one around the valve.
- The inflater can be easily removed for maintenance and cleaning.
- Independent waist strap, meaning the jacket doesn’t tighten when you inflate your jacket.
- 3 dump valves for ease of use in any position in the water.
- 2 large pockets with Velcro closures. Each pocket also has a pressure gauge and octopus mounting location.
Best Premium BCD: Zeagle Ranger
The Zeagle Ranger is the standout premium BCD for almost every level of diver, including beginners. The BCD is a wing design making it the perfect one-stop solution for recreational and regular technical diving. Also, the BCD is rugged, with a proven track record of durability that spans many years of recreational and technical diving. To cope with the demands of diving single or double tanks, there are optional tank band attachments to ease mounting and demounting. One of the standout features of the Zeagle Ranger that many divers report is that many swear that it is the most comfortable BCD they have ever worn. Features of the Zeagel Ranger Include:
- Made from Ultra durable nylon.
- Wing-style BCD helps develop the perfect trim when diving.
- 8 stainless steel D-rings in multiple locations for ease of mounting accessories and stage cylinders if needed.
- 2 zipped pockets for stowing accessories and spares.
- Comes as standard with a huge 44lb/20Kg lift capacity. More is available upon request.
- Integrated weight pockets.
- 3 dump valves to enable easy buoyancy control in any position in the water.
- Crew fit Low-pressure inflator for easy removal and cleaning out the bladder interior with fresh water.
The BCD that set the standard raises the bar with extra features. It now comes standard in Black or Smoke Gray, a good-looking, rich color that compliments any suit or other gear color combination. The shoulder is designed with the new super-duty Airloc buckle that will swivel to adjust the harness to the body s contour to eliminate binding and restriction of movement at the chest and underarm areas.
Best All-Rounder BCD: Oceanic OceanPro BCD
If you are looking for a perfect all-around BCD that will see you through many levels of diving. Then the Oceanic OceanPro BCD is a great option and one of the best BCD for beginners. An industry workhorse, the model is popular with many divers especially dive pros, and is a regular on many dive operator rental racks worldwide. The Oceanic OceanPro BCD is renowned for being tough and rugged and has a proven track record of withstanding the most challenging diving environments. Features of the BCD include:
- Ultra-rugged made from 1000D denier fadeless nylon construction.
- Integrated a backpack with an inbuilt carrying handle.
- Comfortable padded shoulder harness.
- Integrated QLR4 weight pockets.
- Two large zipped pockets for easy stowing of accessories.
- 10lbs/~4.5Kg trim weight pockets.
Built Like a Tank. An economical jacket for the diver who wants to keep it simple, the OceanPro features the same quality workmanship, comfort, and fit that you expect from Oceanic. An economical jacket for the diver who wants to keep it simple, the Oceanpro BC features the same quality workmanship, comfort, and fit that you expect from Oceanic s gear.
Best BCD For Women: Cressi Travelight
Specialist BCDs designed to accommodate the female form only started appearing relatively recently over the last decade. The Cressi Travelight is by far one of the best women’s BCDs across the board, suits every level of female, and is one of the best BCDs for beginners. Not only is the BCD a super comfortable fit for most women, but it is also ideal for travel. A size M tips the scales at a minuscule 2.5 kg/5.5 lbs, making it the perfect travel companion. Features of the Cressi Travelight include:
- An air bladder is designed to laterally distribute the air for enhanced balance and control.
- Adjustable shoulder straps for comfort.
- A wide cummerbund that does not ride up the diver’s torso.
- 50mm/2 inch wide quick-release buckles for ease of removal.
- Feature the ergonomic Cressi Inflator Flat hose and handle.
- Double filtration on the inflator to prevent particulate ingress.
- Integrated Weight Lock-Aid System 2.0 pockets capable of carrying 9.9 lbs/4.5 kg each.
- 2 large side pockets for easy storage of additional items and accessories.
- 2 rear trim pockets for fine-tuning the divers’ trim and position in the water.
The Cressi Travelight is designed for divers passionate about travel. The basic design was drawn from the Cressi Flex BCD, the first worldwide travel BCD in the Scuba Industry. With a dry weight of only 6 lbs (2.7 kg), this BCD is a traveler’s dream. The back is amply padded for a comfortable fit. The BCD uses Cressi´s Lock Aid integrated weight system and can store 20 lbs (9 kg) in the front pockets and an additional 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in the fixed back pockets.
So there you have it! Our top 5 picks for the best scuba diving BCD for beginners. These BCDs are great choices to help beginner divers feel more comfortable and confident in the water.
Do you have a favorite scuba diving BCD for beginners? Let us know on our social media channels! We love hearing from our readers about their own experiences with dive gear.