Your buoyancy control device is one of the most important pieces of scuba gear. But you can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Most BCDs are designed with a man’s body in mind, not a woman’s. The best BCD for women has a few fundamental differences to its design.

While women can wear any BCD, one designed especially for women can make diving much easier and more comfortable by offering features like lumbar support and better suited adjustment straps.

So, what does a woman need to look for in a BCD? Here at The Adventures Junkies, our goal is to make life easier for you and your decision making when it comes to scuba diving gear. In this guide, we’ll help you determine the most important considerations and things to look out for in a BCD, as well as show you a selection of the top models of the year.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

BCDs Regulators | Gauges | Masks | Fins | Dry Snorkels

Wetsuits |  Boots | Gloves | Drysuits

Travel Bags | SMBs | Knives | Lights | Compasses

RebreathersDPVs | Tanks | Watches | Computers

Cameras | Housings | Lenses | Strobes

 

 

 

 

QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BCDS FOR WOMEN

1. MARES HYBRID 

2. OCEANIC HERA

3. SCUBAPRO LADYHAWK

4. SCUBAPRO BELLA

5. ZEAGLE ZENA 

6. DIVE RITE TRANSPAC 

7. CRESSI TRAVELIGHT 

8. TUSA JASMINE

9. SHERWOOD LUNA

10. OCEANIC BIOLITE

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BCDS FOR WOMEN

PICTURE
BCD
BEST FOR
STYLE
CAPACITY
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
BCD
BEST FOR
STYLE
CAPACITY
PRICE
RATING
Mares Hybrid
Overall
Jacket
26lbs
$$
4.9
Oceanic Hera
Overall
Hybrid
20lbs
$$$
4.7
Scubapro Ladyhawk
Overall
Back Inflation
20lbs
$$$
4.5
Scubapro Bella
Overall
Jacket
20lbs
$$$
4.7
Zeagle Zena
Travel
Back Inflation
24lbs
$$
4.7
Dive Rite Transpac
Travel
Back Inflation
4lbs
$$$
4.6
Cressi Travelight
Travel
Jacket
20lbs
$
4.7
Tusa Jasmine
Budget
Jacket
N/A
$
4.1
Sherwood Luna
Budget
Jacket
16lbs
$
4.0
Oceanic Biolite
Budget
Back Inflation
14lbs
$
4.9

 

 

 

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WOMEN’S BCDs REVIEWS

MARES HYBRID

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Divers with lower back pain

TYPE: Jacket

WEIGHT: 8.4 lbs (2.8 Kg)

PROS: Comfortable system, lightweight and transportable, adjustable straps, ergonomic transport handle, 7 D-rings, designed to take pressure off lower back

CONS: Pockets not particularly durable

 

 

 

OCEANIC HERA

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Divers wanting an ergonomic BCD

TYPE: Hybrid

WEIGHT: 7.9 lbs – 8.3 lbs (3.5kg – 3.8kg)

PROS: Ergonomic design, plenty of attachments points, durable materials, lots of storage

CONS: Bulky for travel, heavy

 

 

 

SCUBAPRO LADYHAWK

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Divers needing a more streamlined BCD

TYPE: Back inflation

WEIGHT: 7.2lbs – 8.1lbs (3.3kg – 3.7kg)

PROS: Comfortable, lightweight, adjustable, not too bulky

CONS: Only one pocket, lack of attachment points, reasonably heavy

 

 

 

SCUBAPRO BELLA

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Comfort

TYPE: Jacket

WEIGHT: 8.3lbs – 9.1lbs (3.8kg – 4.1kg)

PROS: Easy to adjust, lots of attachment points, spine pad

CONS: Small pockets, heavy

 

 

 

ZEAGLE ZENA

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Divers who want a zip front

TYPE: Back inflator

WEIGHT: 6.2lbs (2.8kg)

PROS: Lightweight, streamlined, easy to move around in

CONS: No sternum strap, not as durable as other models

 

 

 

DIVE RITE TRANSPAC

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Frequent divers needing a rugged design

TYPE: Back inflator

WEIGHT: Unavailable

PROS: Rugged but streamlined design, comfortable, foam lumbar support, good number of attachment points

CONS: Weight pockets are optional extras to add on to the waist belt

 

 

 

CRESSI TRAVELIGHT

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Travellers who want a jacket style BCD

TYPE: Jacket

WEIGHT: 5.5 lbs (2.3kg)

PROS: Comfortable, lightweight, durable, packs down well, lots of attachment points

CONS: Size runs a little large, pockets not very durable

 

 

 

TUSA JASMINE

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Young female divers, teenage divers

TYPE: Jacket

WEIGHT: Unavailable

PROS: Comfortable, well padded on straps, lightweight

CONS: Not much pocket room after adding weights

 

 

 

SHERWOOD LUNA

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: New divers looking for affordable first BCD

TYPE: Jacket

WEIGHT: 7.6 lb – 7.9 lb (3.4kg – 3.5kg)

PROS: Affordable, comfortable, fits well

CONS: Not as durable as more expensive BCDs, small pockets

 

 

 

OCEANIC BIOLITE

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonLeisurePro

BEST FOR: Travel

TYPE: Back inflation

WEIGHT: 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)

PROS: Lightweight and compact, ideal for travel, folds up well,

CONS: No pockets, not ideal for newer divers

 

 

PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIP


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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BCDS FOR WOMEN

FIT

A BCD should be snug when inflated, but not so tight that it constricts your breathing. When fully deflated, it shouldn’t be so loose that it drags and causes resistance. This will affect your buoyancy control and ability to stay streamlined when diving. Always remember to fully inflate a BCD when trying it on for size.

BCDs designed for women have better lumber support as they’re are built for the shape of a woman’s body and where her center of gravity is, which tends to be based in the center of the pelvis, compared to a man’s center of gravity around the sternum. Standard BCDs can cause some women back pain due to the positioning of the strap around the tank.

 

ADJUSTMENT STRAPS AND POCKETS

Look for a BCD that has several attachment straps and pockets. You’ll want to be able to store dive accessories, such as your knife and torch, whistles, lights or surface markers, so they don’t drag and potentially damage marine life or affect your buoyancy. You also want lots of D-rings as an attachment point to keep your hands free when diving.

Attachment straps allow for micro adjustments to ensure your BCD fits well and is comfortable.

 

WEIGHT INTEGRATED

A weight integrated BCD has pockets for your weights, rather than having to wear a weight belt. These days, most BCDs are weight integrated, which is much more comfortable than having to wear weights directly around your hips.

 

STYLE

There are different kinds of BCD designs, including jacket, back inflation or a hybrid of the two. Jackets tend to be the most popular and are best for beginners as they are easier to control at the surface, as well as offer better buoyancy control for those starting off. With a jacket, the entire BCD is inflated, where the back inflation is only the rear section.

Back inflation BCDs are far more lightweight as there’s less to them, which makes them ideal for travel or space saving. However, they can take a bit more effort to stabilize and get used to. They do allow divers to move around more freely than a jacket style. Alternatively, you can choose a hybrid version of the two.

 

BUDGET

BCDs aren’t cheap – they’re one of the more expensive items to buy. But that doesn’t mean you need to fork out for the most expensive version as there are plenty of affordable options available. Expect to pay at least $300 at the lower end of the scale, or upwards of $1000 for the top-of-the-range styles.

 

LIFT CAPACITY

Your lift capacity is how much the BCD can hold when it is fully inflated at the surface. How much you’ll need will depend on your wetsuit, for example, if you are diving in a colder climate and wearing a thicker suit, you will need a higher lift capacity.

You won’t need as much if you’re planning on diving tropical destinations as your suit will be much lighter and thinner.

Best BCD for Women -Scuba Diving Gear and Equipment Posts – Dive Products and Accessories

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