Best BCD Reviews and Comparison 2016
A BCD allows you to add or release gas from a bladder so you can adjust your buoyancy. You can float, stay suspended or slow down at will. The BCD is, or is integrated with, the harness that holds the scuba tank on your back and the accompanying components into a single autonomous unit.
Also known as: buoyancy compensator, buoyancy compensating device, BC, vest, jacket, wings.
BCD has 3 main functions –
- Influencing the buoyancy of the surface diver and underwater, by injecting the air contained in the bottle or by expelling via various purges.
- Allow to offset the loss or gain buoyancy of the suit due to the pressure of the water, floating on the surface before and after the dive, or even get to safety.
- Allow to set or store equipment, through hooks or pockets.
For example, you inflate your BCD ( positive buoyancy ) so as not to run and to keep your head above water. The air is then purged to obtain negative buoyancy and thereby causes immersion and descent to the seabed. Arrived at the depth of change (ideally slightly before), the vest will be gradually inflated to prevent the diver to continue going down or touch the bottom.
BCD Comparison Chart 2016
WHAT TYPES OF BCDs ARE THERE?
Among the BCDs there are a number of different types, which differ primarily by the shape and position of various equipment. What types of buoyancy compensators are available and how do they differ?
The most common among the BCD is probably still the ADV Jacket (Adjustable Divers Vest). Such a balancing jacket will have you probably already used with your dive training.
The key feature in an ADV jacket is a bubble that virtually wraps around your body and thus is an integral part of the BCD. It runs from your hips, under the arms and upper and lower back.
Most models of ADV Jackets also have a solid back pack made of plastic to which the scuba tank is attached. They are very flexible and fit with adjustable straps on any body shape.
Dive Wing Jacket
The distinctive feature of a Wing Jackets is the “wing” bubble. This is usually separately on a portable system with a stable backpack (harness & backplate) attached. The separate attachment to the back allows the air bubble to be substantially greater than in a ADV Jacket. Thus it has have considerably more buoyancy. In addition, the location of the air bubble on the back of the diver provides for better horizontal position under water.
A professional Wing Jacket is primarily intended for use in technical diving.
This type of buoyancy compensator is a mixture of an ADV and a Wing Jacket. It thus has a patch on the back air bubble. It has a belt & carrying system in contrast to a classical Wing Jacket where the bubble is fastened. The position of the bubble at the back is much easier to keep in the horizontal position in the water.
An absolute exotic among the BCD and not particularly widespread is the Stabilizer Jacket. In this type of BCD, the bubble passes over the shoulder of the diver.
Fairly new is the Side mount Jacket. In this type of BCD, the holders for the tanks sit on the sides of the body and ensures a convenient way to reach the tanks underwater. A bubble is often installed in the lower back of the diver.
How to Choose the Best BCD
BUOYANCY – To test this criterion, inflate your lifejacket. It is important that access to the tools to be as streamlined as possible, with priority given direct access to the inflator, the purges and the rings.
COMFORT – The back packs are often rigid. It is important to choose a buoyancy compensator adapted to your body. If the vest does not move once worn then it is good for your back. The multi-adjustable waist belt is the most important element in determining the size to choose. The adjustable padded shoulder straps make the vest more pleasant. There are also models of buoyancy compensators designed for women. They do not compress the chest.
FUNCTIONALITY – The need for storage space on a BCD is often proportional to the autonomy of the diver. Thus, the more rings a vest has, it has more storage space and meets the increased needs of the diver. But beware this also affects its weight, making the vest heavier.
STRENGTH – Jackets are subject to many constraints, on surface and underwater. The strength of the materials is thus another selection criterion. However, the latter varies from one jacket to another.
Enjoy the freedom of gliding in the ocean current along coral encrusted walls, through underwater canyons, exploring timeless shipwrecks or absorbing the stillness and tranquility of a freshwater lake. Wherever you are, you can enjoy your scuba diving if you are confident that you have selected your diving gear wisely.