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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.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out the Best Scuba Regulators

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Quick Answer - The Best Scuba Tanks

  1. Catalina 63 CF
  2. Faber 80 CF High Pressure
  3. Luxfer 80 CF
  4. Faber 85 CF Low Pressure
  5. Faber 23 CF High Pressure
  6. Faber 100 CF High Pressure
  7. Luxfer 100 CF Tank
  8. Faber 117 CF High Pressure

Comparison Table - Best Scuba Tank

PictureNameMaterialPriceRating
Catalina 63 CFAluminum$4.5
Faber 80 CF High PressureSteel$$5.0
Luxfer 80 CFAluminum$4.5
Faber 85 CF Low PressureSteel$$4.5
Faber 23 CF High PressureSteel$4.0
Faber 100 CF High PressureSteel$$$5.0
Luxfer 100 CF TankAluminum$$4.0
Faber 117 CF High PressureSteel$$$4.0
PictureNameMaterialPriceRating

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Reviews - The Best Tanks for Scuba Diving

Catalina 63 CF

Specs
  • Material: Aluminum
Features
  • Nitrox compatible up to 40%
  • Pro K Valve type

BEST FOR: SMALLER DIVERS OR SHORT, SHALLOW DIVES

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

CONS: Not good for long ocean dives

Faber 80 CF High Pressure

Specs
  • Material: Steel
Features
  • Nitrox compatible up to 40%
  • Faber K Convertible Valve type

BEST FOR: ADVANCED / RECREATIONAL DIVERS

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

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

Luxfer 80 CF

Specs
  • Material: Aluminum
Features
  • Nitrox compatible to 23.5%
  • Pro K Valve type

BEST FOR: SHORTER RECREATIONAL DIVERS AND SIDE MOUNT DIVING

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 CF Low Pressure

Specs
  • Material: Steel
Features
  • Nitrox compatible up to 40%
  • Pro K Valve type

BEST FOR: ADVANCED / CASUAL RECREATIONAL DIVERS

PROS: Steel tank allows for better weight distribution

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

Faber 23 CF High Pressure

Specs
  • Material: Steel
Features
  • Nitrox compatible up to 40%
  • Pro K Valve type

BEST FOR: SMALL STAGE, BAILOUT OR REDUNDANT AIR SUPPLY TANK

PROS: Steel tank allows for better weight distribution

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

Faber 100 CF High Pressure

Specs
  • Material: Steel
Features
  • Nitrox compatible up to 40%
  • DIN/K-Type Valve

BEST FOR: SPORT NITROX DIVERS

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 CF Tank

Specs
  • Material: Aluminum
Features
  • Nitrox compatible up to 23.5%
  • Pro Valve type

BEST FOR: RECREATIONAL DIVERS WHO CONSUME A LOT OF AIR AND WANT TO INCREASE BOTTOM TIME

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 CF High Pressure

Specs
  • Material: Steel
Features
  • Nitrox compatible up to 40%
  • DIN/K-Type valve

BEST FOR: SPORT NITROX DIVERS

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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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SCUBA TANKS

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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. 

 

 

READ MORE

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

Scuba Regulators | Scuba Gauges

Scuba Diving Gear Packages By Level

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