Best BCDs for Women

The 5 Best BCDs for Women

We examine the best BCD’s for women and explain what to look for when buying one.

As a female diver, you’ve likely experienced frustrations with buoyancy control devices (BCDs) which are usually made with the male physique in mind. We know such devices can be too tight or uncomfortable with straps in the wrong places for women.

We understand. You shouldn’t have to settle for what you can find or what a dive shop has for rent. Your dive gear should be comfortable and reliable from the moment you put it on to the moment you take it off.

In this article we will:

  • go over whether you should buy your own BCD;
  • look at what you should consider when selecting the right BCD for you; and
  • make our personal recommendations to the best BCDs for women with different needs in mind.

Who should buy a BCD?

If you are reading this article, chances are you fall into one of two camps. You are either an experienced diver looking to replace your BCD, or you are new to diving and buying your first BCD.

However if you are in the second camp, you may not need to buy one yet. A BCD is generally not one of the first pieces of equipment that you will buy as a new diver. They are bulky and heavy and take up a lot of space in a suitcase. Most likely, unless you do a lot of diving or are going through dive master training, you won’t need to take your own. So, if you are here looking for your first BCD, there are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How often do you plan to go diving?
  • Are you traveling for advanced training (dive master, advanced open water, etc)?
  • When you travel, do you like to go light and backpack or do you take a suitcase?

If you are going to be diving often, then a BCD might be a good investment. You will be using it often so you have a chance to become comfortable with it and you can save money on rental fees.

But, if you only dive a few times a year or every few years, then the BCDs you can rent from a dive shop will suffice. They may not be the most comfortable, but for the few dives you will be doing, they will do the job.

On the other hand, if you are doing advanced dive training, having your own equipment is essential. You want to be comfortable with your equipment and you want to know that it is always maintained correctly.

As for travel, if you are a backpacker, a BCD is not a great piece of dive equipment to be dragging around. There are a few exceptions to this with a few BCDs made specifically for backpackers. But, the vast majority of the best BCDs for women do not fall into this category. If you usually bring a suitcase when you travel, you will have a bit more room to work with.

What you should look for in a BCD

There are a few things to take into consideration which will make finding the right BCD much easier. These are:

  1. Weight of the BCD
  2. Size
  3. Where the straps are
  4. Integrated Weight Systems
  5. How many D-rings or extra pockets
  6. Durability

Weight and Size

If you plan on traveling quite a bit and bringing your BCD with you, the lighter it is the better. You want to find something that packs up tight and doesn’t add too much weight to your checked in luggage because whilst there are a few things which you can carry on such as your regulator, dive computer, mask, and snorkel,  your BCD will have to be packed into your checked bag which can add a lot of weight. 

This can add significant costs to your trip. Excess baggage fees can be up to a hundred dollars or more on many major carriers. So, it is best to keep the size and weight to a minimum so that you can avoid the fees and use that money for what you love, diving.

Strap Location and Integrated Weight Systems

This is a major complaint that many women have with BCD’s. The straps are uncomfortable and getting to weight belts can be a problem.

Why? Because men’s and unisex BCD’s aren’t made for the many different shapes and sizes of women. This creates problems such as straps that dig into the chest. Or, longer back trim that can position the tank lower in an uncomfortable place. Not good.

Also, if the BCD doesn’t have an integrated weight system, you are going to be using a weight belt. These can dig into your hips further and can make moving around uncomfortable. Worst of all, you may have trouble getting to your weight belt in an emergency situation.

So, you want to look at your specific needs. Do you have a larger bust size? Best to get a BCD where the top straps are adjustable. This will allow you to move them around and avoid having pressure in the wrong areas.

Do you have larger hips? Then you probably want to get rid of the weight belt and find a BCD that has an integrated weight system. These are compartments on either side of the BCD which have an attachable pouch. Weights are added into the pouch and then clipped into the compartment.

The best part, in the event of an emergency, you don’t have to root around under your BCD to find the release clip. Instead, you pull out the pouches which hold the weights and drop them.

D-rings and Extra Pockets

Having extra pockets and D-rings is a major plus. There are a few extras which many divers like to go down with that can be a hassle to carry. These include:

  • Dive Knives
  • Dive Slates
  • Anti-fog
  • Whistles
  • Dive Torches
  • Dive Reels and Surface Markers

There is plenty more you might want to bring with you on a dive but these are the main items. If you are an experienced diver, you’ve already experienced not having enough D-rings. As a new diver, just wait.

The solution to this is to find a BCD that has at least one extra pocket for packing things and at least four D-rings. These extra D-rings can streamline your set up and improve your experience.

Durability

This is major. There are so many BCD’s out there that aren’t worth buying. At best, you’ll get a few dives before they start coming apart at the seams, or worse, blow open.

You need to make sure that whichever BCD you choose, it is going to last you for many years of diving. Part of this is going to be how well you maintain your it. But, having one made from quality material is important for long term use as well.

Remember that quality cost money. Don’t immediately go for the cheapest option. Go for the most durable. If this means that you have to shell out some extra money, it’s worth it. Afterall, you are trusting your life with this equipment.

The 5 Best BCDs For Women In 2019

Now that you know what to look for, let’s go over our list of the best BCDs for women in 2019. We’ve evaluated each one to make sure it fits the above criteria. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each BCD so that you can make a completely informed decision.

#1 Sherwood Luna Lun7

SHERWOOD SCUBA Luna Women's Weight Integrated...
  • Jacket-Style BC designed just for women with...
  • Shoulder straps, Torso, Waist Band, Cummerbund,...
  • Six (6) Stainless Steel D-Rings positioned...
  • Two ditchable CQR3 weight pockets and two...
  • The Luna BCD is made by Sherwood Scuba, an...

We’re big fans of Sherwood products. In general, they use quality materials and their equipment is well put together. The Lun7 is no different and fits all the discussed criteria.

This is Sherwood’s newest version of their luna BCD. It is part of their Tiffany line of women’s scuba products. So, if you are into having matching equipment, this fits the bill. You can buy matching fins, mask, and snorkel extra.

We like
  • The Lun7 is durable and well constructed. The BCD is made from thick nylon and padding. The D-rings are stainless steel and the inflator hose is made of durable materials.
  • There is plenty of room for accessories. The Lun7 has three stainless steel D-rings that are easily accessible. One is on the strap opposite the inflator hose on the right shoulder. The other two are on the bottom of the BCD below the weight pockets. There are also two zippered pockets for added non-releasing trim weight. These pockets can double as storage if you don’t need the weight.
  • You can ditch the weight belt. The Lun7 comes with Sherwood’s CQR-3 integrated weight system. This comes with two weight compartments on either side with detachable pouches. The weight capacity is 7.25kg (16lbs) with the option to add up to 4.5kg (10lbs) in the trim pockets. In the event of emergency, the CQR-3 is quick release allowing you to quickly pull the weight pouches.
We don't like
  • Sherwood BCDs can be expensive. The Lun7 is no different. This is a medium priced BCD and may not be the best option if you are on a budget. As we discussed above, price shouldn’t be the first thing you consider when buying equipment. Safety, reliability, and durability should be. But, there are cheaper options which we will go over that are just as durable.
  • The Lun7 ranges between 3.5kg (7.8lbs) and 3.8kg (8.4lbs) depending on the size you choose. This isn’t the heaviest of BCDs but also not the lightest. Along with your other equipment, this can add weight to your checked baggage.
  • The total weight capacity for the Lun7 is 11.79kg (26lbs). There is 7.25kg (16lbs) of releasable weight and 4.5kg (10lbs) of non-releasable trim weight. For some women this may not be enough. Make sure to know how much weight you need before purchasing this so that you don’t have to use an added weight belt.

#2 Aqua Lung Pearl

Aqua Lung Pearl Women's BCD (Small,...
  • Wrapture harness system
  • Surelock ii weights are integrated
  • 3 stainless steel d-rings, 1 plastic d-ring
  • 2 pockets with zippers

Aqua Lung is a household name for divers and their Pearl BCD is one of the bestselling BCDs for women. That should tell you something. Women all over the world have chosen this BCD because of the comfort and durability it offers. It is definitely one of the first BCDs you should consider when looking for a new one.

We like
  • This is the perfect BCD for women with a larger bust size. The PEARL comes with an integrated sports bra for extra support. You will have a more comfortable and streamlined dive without straps digging in you.
  • The PEARL has four D-rings which makes it great for newer divers who don’t have too much extra equipment. The one drawback about the D-rings is that they are plastic and not steel. But, the PEARL is durable overall so this shouldn’t be a problem
  • No weight belt necessary. The PEARL has an integrated weight system that is easy to use. The weight system allows for 9kg (20lbs) of releasable weight in the pouches. The trim weight pockets can hold between 2.7kg (6lbs) and 4.5kg (10lbs) depending on the BCD size.
We don't like
  • Like the Sherwood Lun7, the PEARL comes in at a dry weight of around 3.6kg (8lbs). Again, this doesn’t make the list of heaviest BCD’s on the market, but it also isn’t the lightest. This might make for a good travel BCD if you don’t plan on taking a lot of extra stuff.
  • This is a medium range BCD as far as pricing. As with the Sherwood Lun7, there are cheaper alternatives that are of similar quality. While this is a great option for new divers due to it’s durability, it may not be the best option if you are on a tight budget.
  • As mentioned, three of the four D-rings are plastic. This means there is a higher likelihood of them breaking. This doesn’t mean that they are going to be easier to break, only that they will not be as durable as stainless steel.

Here is a video review of the PEARL.

#3 Zeagle Zena

Zeagle Zena Women's BC
3 Reviews
Zeagle Zena Women's BC
  • BCD, LP Quick-Disconnect Hose
  • Zeagle Zena Women's BC
  • Buoyancy System Designed for Woman
  • Twin Waist & Hip Band System: Securely Position...
  • Front Zippered Panels: Provide Outstanding Fit and...

The Zena was designed with women in mind. The design is unique compared to most BCDs in that it has a zip up front as opposed to the traditional jacket. This is the lightest BCDs on our list which makes it an excellent option if you are looking for a BCD to travel with.

We like
  • Coming in at 2.7kg (6lbs), this is a light BCD and great for travel. As an added bonus, the backplate on the Zena folds so that you can roll this BCD up to help save space. This makes it a great option for packing in your suitcase. It can also save you a few pounds on the total weight of your dive set up.
  • This is a great option for women of all sizes. The BCD zips up in the front with the front panel attaching to the back via adjustable straps. You can get the BCD on and adjust it to your exact comfort level.
  • This BCD, like the others on our list, comes with an integrated weight system. With this you can skip that uncomfortable dive belt. The releasable weight pouches can support 10.9kg (24lbs) of weight. The non-releasable weight pockets can hold 7.26kg (16lbs) of weight for a total of 40 lbs of weight.
We don't like
  • Because the design for this BCD is so different than most, it may not be the best option for new divers. If you are buying your first BCD, you may want to look at one of the other options on this list.
  • This is an expensive BCD. The materials are durable and it is well designed with women in mind. But, if you are looking for a BCD on a budget, this isn’t it.
  • Some women have complained that the release valves are difficult to get to. The pulls for the release valves are in the back. A few women have mentioned that they had to roll over so that they were face down to access them. They further noted that this could be a difficult task when diving in strong currents.

Here is a video review of the Zeagle Zena BCD.

#4 Scubapro Bella

SCUBAPRO Bella w/Balanced Inflator - Black/Pink...
1 Reviews
SCUBAPRO Bella w/Balanced Inflator - Black/Pink...
  • Designed and sized for women divers. Constructed...
  • New Y-Fit shoulders with a triangular stainless...
  • Four large pre-bent stainless steel D-rings, along...
  • Two large zippered pockets provide lots of...
  • Two rear trim pouches allow you to achieve a...

This BCD has it all. It’s durable and comes with enough D-rings and pockets to pack everything you need on a dive. Combine that with the fact it’s made by Scubapro, one of the leading manufacturers of scuba equipment, and you have an awesome BCD you can use for years.

We like
  • This BCD comes with six stainless steel D-rings on top of the zippered pockets. This means you can carry your light, knife, anti-fog, surface marker, and anything else with ease.
  • This BCD conforms well to a woman’s body. Most mens and unisex BCDs dig in around the hips. The Bella is cut so that the bottom rests on the hips without digging in.
  • This is another BCD on our list with an integrated weight system. You don’t have to worry about dealing with pesky weight belts that are hard to put on and dig into your hips. The releasable weight pouches hold a total of 9kg (20lbs). You can add an extra 3.6kg to 4.5kg (8lbs to 10lbs) to the trim pockets which are non-releasable.
We don't like
  • This is the most expensive BCD on this list. It is durable and has the most options as far as D-rings and pockets and other comforts. But, this all comes at a price. If you are on a tight budget this may not be the best BCD for you.
  • The Bella is one of the heaviest BCDs on this list. It comes in at a total dry weight of 3.97kg (8.75lbs). It is also bulky. If you are a smaller woman you may find this BCD to be a little heavy and uncomfortable. Instead, you may find the Aqua Lung Pearl to be a better option.
  • Some users have complained that the shoulder straps for the Bella are quite far apart. This could be uncomfortable for smaller women who may find the straps loose fitting. This combined with the weight and the bulk makes it a better option for larger women.

Here is a video review of the Scubapro Bella.

#5 TUSA Tina

TUSA Tina BCD with AWLS III, Pink, Small
1 Reviews
TUSA Tina BCD with AWLS III, Pink, Small
  • High-cut waist design
  • Comfort back and shoulder padding
  • Advanced weight loading system ((No Suggestions)....
  • New repositionable d-rings offer the ability to...
  • Independent harness system 

If you are looking for a durable BCD but have a tight budget, this is the one. The TUSA Tina combines quality and durability with comfort. It’s a great option if you are a new diver looking to buy your first BCD. The design is basic making it easy to use and maintain while still giving you the features you expect on a good BCD.

We like
  • This is the cheapest BCD on our list. Depending on where you are buying it from, it can be hundreds of dollars less than the other options we’ve listed. As we mentioned, money shouldn’t be the first factor you look at when buying a BCD, quality should be. Thankfully, the TUSA Tina is a quality BCD at a low price.
  • The dry weight for the Tina is 2.72kg (6lbs) to 3.4kg (7.1lbs). This ties it with the Zeagle Zena as the lightest BCD on the list. Unlike the Zena, the Tina is simple and easy to use for beginner divers.
  • There a total of five D-rings. This makes it comparable to the other BCDs on this list without the higher price tag. One downside is that only one of these D-rings is steel with the rest being resin filled.
We don't like
  • Even though the Tina is lightweight, it is a bit bulky. This BCD isn’t going to fold up well in a suitcase and may not be the best option for extended travel.
  • This BCD doesn’t hold a lot of weight. You can load the integrated weight system with 4.54kg (10lbs) of total weight. There are two trim pockets which can hold up to 2.3kg (5lbs) of non-releasable weight. This comes in to a total of 6.57kg (15lbs) of weight. If you know that you are going to need more weight this may not be the best BCD for you. For further weight you will have to don a weight belt.
  • Some users have complained about the lack of color options for the Tusa Tina. There are only two color options, black and pink. If you want to have more options, one of the other BCDs on this list may be a better choice.

Here is a video review of the TUSA Tina.

Our recommendation for women’s best BCD is..

We recommend the Aqua Lung PEARL. It’s designed with women in mind and cut in a way that will be comfortable for women of all sizes. Unlike Zeagle Zena Women's BC, our second choice, it is easy to use for both new and experienced divers. Also, the price is reasonable for the level of quality you can expect from Aqua Lung products.

Closing out

These five BCDs represent some of the best the market has to offer. But, this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are plenty of BCD’s on the market made for women. Do you feel that we missed one? We love to hear from divers like you. Let us know in the comments if you have a recommendation for this list or if you have experience with one of these BCDs you would like to share.

Last update on 2019-10-15 at 10:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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