Help Choosing a BCD

Try Before You Buy

How to Choose the Best BCD

In scuba diving, your Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) is not just a piece of equipment; it's your underwater ally. It helps you float and glide effortlessly, hover in place, or ascend and descend as needed, making it an essential part of your dive experience.

The key to unlocking your best dive lies in finding the right BCD that fits like a second skin while offering optimal functionality. The importance of comfort and correct fit cannot be overstated. A too-small BCD can squeeze and restrict movement, while one too-large might ride up on your shoulders, compromising your control and safety underwater.

That's why we emphasize the 'try before you buy' approach at Abyss Scuba Diving. We offer in-store fittings to ensure that your BCD fits you perfectly and aligns with your diving style. For those who prefer a hands-on approach, we also have demonstrator BCDs available for trial.

Remember, a well-fitted BCD enhances your diving comfort and contributes to better control of buoyancy, increased safety, and, ultimately, a more enjoyable dive. So, don't hesitate to take advantage of these services and make an informed choice. After all, your underwater adventure deserves the best preparation and support.

 Bouyancy control is the key to enjoyable diving

Back Inflate type of BCD.

Back Inflate BCDs are particularly popular among Sydney divers. Unlike other types of BCDs, back inflate models exclusively inflate at the rear, eliminating any squeezing effect. They're incredibly comfortable and promote perfect horizontal trim by minimizing air movement within the air cell.

Crucially, back-inflate BCDs outshine jacket-style BCDs in providing superior trim control. This feature significantly reduces potential damage to coral and sponge gardens, making them an ideal choice for eco-conscious divers. By reducing bulk, back-inflate BCDs make you more streamlined in the water, improving air consumption, extending dive times, and minimising the risk of accidentally disturbing marine ecosystems. If you're a diver committed to protecting our underwater world, choosing a back-inflate BCD could be a significant step towards more eco-friendly diving practices.

Jacket Style BCD

The jacket-style BCD is the most commonly used type by dive schools and resorts. It features inflation from the back, sides, and front, encompassing the diver for maximum comfort. This type of buoyancy device offers excellent surface stability and typically includes large zippered pockets compared to the rear inflation option. If you require storage and hanging points as a diver, this could be your ideal choice.

A Hybrid type of BCD

The Hybrid is a more recent type of BCD that is gaining in popularity. This BCD takes the best features to form the Back and Jacket style BCD and combines them into one.

The Hybrid is mostly rear inflation to give the benefits of streamlining and comfort whilst still giving some surround and rear inflation to give surface support but with less clutter than the Jacket models.  Our most popular Ladies BCD is a Hybrid type and gets great reviews from those that try it.


Sidemount systems allow you to dive with your tanks under your arms at your side instead of positioning on the back. This style of diving has evolved from Cave Diving in very tight areas to become a popular choice for technical divers looking at a more flexible option than heavy double tanks on their backs. Our Tec Instructors all prefer Sidemount over the traditional Backplate and Wing due to its flexibility and ease of getting the perfect trim.

Backplate and Wing

The Backplate and Wing is a versatile BCD that can be set up for both Recreational and Tec diving depending on your choice of Wings to suit a single or double tank configuration. If you plan to move from Recreational to Tec Diving, this could be a good option for you.

Integrated Weight System: A Game-Changer for Divers

One of the significant advancements in modern BCD's design is the incorporation of integrated weight systems. Unlike the traditional "weight belt" setup, most contemporary BCDs come equipped with an integrated weight system, enhancing divers' comfort and convenience.

Integrated weight pockets eliminate the need for a separate weight belt, reducing the gear you need to manage. This streamlined approach allows for a more comfortable and less cumbersome dive experience. With the weight-integrated pockets evenly distributed across your body, it's easier to maintain balance and achieve optimal buoyancy.

Intergrated weight pockets aren't just about comfort but also about control. Additional weight pockets provide divers with greater stability and better control while navigating the underwater world. The ability to fine-tune your buoyancy by adjusting the weights in these pockets can make your dive more enjoyable and safer.

The Integrated weight system has revolutionized the diving experience, offering divers the benefit of a more comfortable, controlled, and streamlined adventure beneath the waves. So when choosing your next BCD, consider the benefits of an integrated weight system - it might just transform your dive.

Other Considerations include the following;

The required lift capacity for diving depends on factors such as the dive location and the level of exposure protection needed. In warmer tropical waters, recreational divers usually require less insulation and weight, allowing them to opt for a lighter BCD with lower lift capacity. However, when engaging in technical diving in cold water with multiple cylinders, a BCD with higher lift capacity becomes necessary.

The role of trim is crucial in diving, so it's always advisable to ensure that the chosen unit comes equipped with trim weight pockets.


Material considerations when choosing a BCD

BCDs are often exposed to Salt Water, Chlorine and harsh UV light, so the material can break down over time. It’s best to look at thicker, harder, wearing materials if you want a BCD that is going to last, typically 1000 denier Cordura is very hardwearing, as is Bioflex (this also stretches, so is comfortable ) and Polyurethane like on the Atomic BC1 and BC2 will give years and years of trouble-free diving.


Pockets and D Rings

If you are a diver that carries a lot of accessories, the pocket size and location can be important, some divers prefer to clip important accessories like SMB’s onto stainless steel d rings for ease of accessibility.

Choosing The Best The Best BCD For You

So, if you have read through the above and now have an idea of which model may best suit the diving you are doing or plan to do, please give us a call or, better still, drop into our store to let one of our team of expert Instructors walk you through the best models that you should consider.

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of our Demonstrator BCDs, so you can go for a Dive and try for yourself to ensure you are making the right choice!

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