Being able to breathe underwater is the most important function of scuba equipment. Our trusty scuba tanks allow us to do just that. If you’ve only been diving out dive centers, you may have never had the option of choosing a tank. So now that you are ready to buy one of your own, how do you know what is the best scuba tank for you?

Scuba tanks come in many different sizes and styles. Just like the rest of the gear, some are options are better suited for you and others are not. In this guide, you’ll learn what to consider when buying a tank. We’ll show you the best models so you can find one that fits your size, air consumption and style of diving.

 

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST SCUBA TANK

PICTURE
TANK
MATERIAL
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
TANK
MATERIAL
PRICE
RATING
tank1
Catalina 63 CF
Aluminum
$
4.5
Faber 80 CF High Pressure
Steel
$$
5.0
tank_am
Luxfer 80 CF
Aluminum
$
4.5
Faber 85 CF Low Pressure
Steel
$$
4.5
Faber 23 CF High Pressure
Steel
$
4.0
Faber 100 CF High Pressure
Steel
$$$
5.0
tank2
Luxfer 100 CF Tank
Aluminum
$$
4.0
tank3
Faber 117 CF High Pressure
Steel
$$$
4.0

 

SCUBA DIVING TANKS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SCUBA TANK

 

1. SIZE

The capacity of a scuba cylinder is an important consideration. There is no perfect size tank for all diving types and all divers. Pony or bailout bottles can range from 6 – 40 cubic feet. Back mounted cylinders range from 45 – 130 cubic feet plus.

The standard aluminum 80 cubic foot cylinder is the most popular size for recreational divers worldwide. This tank is the top choice for dive shops and dive resorts because they can buy them in bulk for cheap. 

The smaller 63 cubic foot tanks are a popular choice for students who are just learning to dive. This size is also attractive to smaller adult divers, kids or people who tend to do shallow or short dives.

If you consume a lot of air and want to increase your bottom time, it’s common to dive with larger tanks. 100 cubic foot or even 117 cubic foot tanks are good options for this. These tanks are also popular among sport nitrox divers who stay at depth for longer periods of time.

 

2. MATERIAL

Scuba cylinders are made either from aluminum or steel.

Aluminum cylinders are negatively buoyant when full and positively buoyant as the diver consumes air. Being positively buoyant towards the end of the dive can make the safety stop a challenge. A diver will need to use more weights to avoid floating to the surface at the end of the dive.

Steel cylinders go from being negatively buoyant when full to either negatively buoyant or neutrally buoyant when empty. A diver using a steel tank will need to wear fewer weights. Steel tanks also tend to have a higher fill capacity.

Aluminum tanks are not as sturdy as steel ones. Aluminum is softer than steel which makes them susceptible to dents and damages.

The downside to steel tanks they are more vulnerable to rust in the presence of moisture. Also, they are more sensitive to improper filling techniques.

If properly maintained, steel tanks tend to last longer than aluminum tanks. Steel tanks are usually more expensive than aluminum tanks. But if budget is not a concern, steel tanks are the way to go.

 

3. LOW PRESSURE OR HIGH PRESSURE

The pressure in a scuba tank is measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) or Bar, in metric. PSI/ Bar refers to the amount of compressed air in the scuba cylinder. The pressure in a dive tank can range between 2400 PSI up to 3500 PSI (165 – 240 Bar).

Low-pressure steel tanks have a pressure range between 2400 PSI to 2700 PSI (165 – 186 Bar). Low-pressure tanks are the easiest to handle. These types of tanks are best for technical and nitrox divers who use the method of partial pressure blending to create the desired gas mix.

High-pressure cylinders are a new trend. High-pressure tanks allow for a large gas capacity in a smaller size. High-pressure steel tanks will have a pressure range between 3300 PSI to 3500 PSI (227 – 240 Bar).

A drawback of high-pressure scuba cylinders is that they require more metal to maintain the higher amount of compressed air inside. This means that a high-pressure tank is typically as big as a normal low-pressure one and is also heavier.

 

4. VALVES

The tank valve controls the amount of air flowing from your tank and connects it to your regulator. The ‘K’ valve is the most popular type of valve used on scuba cylinders. K valves are the simplest of all valves. This valve has a system using a convertible insert that screws in to make it a yoke valve, and screws out to make a DIN valve.

If the tank valve is exceptionally hard to turn or is loose, it will need a service. It is also good to check that valve tank connection for leaks. The best way to do this is to submerge the tank in water and check the connection area for bubbles. If there are bubbles, it means there’s a crack in the tank thread.

 

5. OXYGEN COMPATIBILITY

Certain manufacturers only make scuba cylinders that are suitable to use with air (20.9% oxygen). If you want to dive with a higher percentage of oxygen, such as a Nitrox mix, you need to buy a tank that is compatible with higher percentages of oxygen. The valve needs to be oxygen compatible as well. For a tank to be oxygen compatible, it needs to be oxygen cleaned and serviced by a trained professional and labeled as such. 

 

 

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SCUBA TANKS REVIEWS

THE 8 BEST SCUBA TANKS OF THE YEAR

 

CATALINA 63 CUBIC FOOT ALUMINUM

tank1

 

Check out the latest price on:
LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Smaller divers or short, shallow dives

VALVE TYPE: Pro K Valve

NITROX COMPATIBLE: Up to 40%

PROS: Light weight and small – good for children and learning

CONS: Not good for long ocean dives

 

FABER 80 HIGH-PRESSURE STEEL TANK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Advanced / Recreational divers

VALVE TYPE: Faber K Convertible Valve

NITROX COMPATIBLE: Up to 40%

PROS: Best all around tank suitable for most types of diving

CONS: Steel can rust over time if not properly looked after

 

LUXFER 80 CUBIC FOOT ALUMINUM TANK

tank_am

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Great for shorter recreational divers. Also top choice for side mount diving.

VALVE TYPE: Pro K Valve

NITROX COMPATIBLE: 23.5%

PROS: 3 inches shorter than other 80 cubic foot models. Also available in a rainbow of colors!

CONS: A little heavier than other 80 cubic foot models. Very positively buoyant towards the end of a dive

 

FABER 85 LOW-PRESSURE STEEL TANK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Advanced / Casual Recreational divers

VALVE TYPE: Pro K Valve

NITROX COMPATIBLE: Up to 40%

PROS: Steel tank allows for better weight distribution

CONS: Smaller sized tanks loose neutral buoyancy towards end of the dive

 

FABER 23 HIGH-PRESSURE STEEL TANK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Small stage, bailout or redundant air supply tank

VALVE TYPE: Pro K Valve

NITROX COMPATIBLE: Up to 40%

PROS: Steel tank allows for better weight distribution

CONS: Circular tank bottom so can’t stand on its own

 

FABER 100 HIGH-PRESSURE STEEL TANK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Sport Nitrox Divers

VALVE TYPE: DIN / K-Type Valve

NITROX COMPATIBLE: Up to 40%

PROS: Will give you extra bottom time if you consume a lot of air

CONS: Heavy large duty tank, more drag in the water

 

LUXFER 100 ALUMINUM TANK

tank2

Check out the latest price on:
LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Recreational divers who consume a lot of air and want to increase bottom time

VALVE TYPE: Pro Valve

NITROX COMPATIBLE: Up to 23.5%

PROS: Will give you extra bottom time if you consume a lot of air

CONS: Lighter than steel 100 CF tank and still negatively buoyant when empty

 

 

FABER 117 CUBIC FOOT STEEL TANK

tank3

Check out the latest price on:
LeisurePro

BEST FOR: Sport Nitrox Divers

VALVE TYPE: DIN / K-Type

NITROX COMPATIBLE: Up to 40%

PROS: Allows for more bottom time when breathing nitrox at depth due to large size

CONS: Super heavy and extra large tank. Can cause back pain

 

 


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The 8 Best Scuba Tanks of 2017 – Scuba Diving Gear and Equipment Posts – Dive Products and Accessories
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