Choosing a BCD

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Choosing a BCD

Choosing a BCD (Buoyancy Control Device)


Hi everyone,


When looking for a new BCD or getting your very first one can be confusing to some with regards to which style or brand should you get? There are quite a few options out there so we thought we would help you out with  little information about all the different aspects of a BCD to help you make a decision that you will be happy with.


Rear Inflation:


Rear Inflation, back inflation or winged BCD’s are all the same style they are just called different things by different people. This style BCD inflates only on the back where the wing or donut is which eliminates any squeezing that you get when using a jacket style. They are very much like a backpack where you have more freedom of movement and are not confined. Many divers who get claustrophobic will prefer this style along with divers who are wearing a thick wetsuit to prevent any more compression. The Rear inflation style is great for any diver who wants to be more streamline. E.G wreck diving, Tech diving and travelling.


Jacket Style:


The Jacket style is where the air is inflated behind and around the entire jacket which give you a snug and secure feeling. These are the most popular style for divers as well as dive schools and hire equipment due to the feeling of being contained within the jacket. They are also popular due to the pockets are generally larger than the rear inflation BCD’s as many divers like to keep bits and pieces in the pockets including safety sausage, torch, compass etc. The Jackets style give the best surface stability out of all the BCD styles.




The Hybrid styles are a blend of the Rear and Jacket style BCD’s. They are not the most popular as divers tend to prefer one or the other style rather than in between. The Hybrids have mostly rear inflation with a little surrounding side inflation.


Tech Gear:


Tech BCD’s generally comes in pieces so they can be designed specifically for each individual diver. The major parts will be the Back plate, Donut (bladder) and harness. There are added extras that you can add on for example padding, pockets, side mount accessories and more. The Tech harness mounting systems are extremely streamline, light weight and minimal, perfect for cave diving, wreck diving and travelling. If you are someone who wants to customise your gear, then Tech is the way to go.  


Weight Integrated:


Most recreational BCD’s now a days have weight integration which are pockets that hold your weights to help you head underwater. They are secured in the BCD via some type of clip of Velcro depending on the brand. The old-style weight belts would shift around, bruise your hips and you would be constantly tightening the deeper you went. With the weight integration systems there is none of that. They are comfortable and easy to use.




The Jacket style BCD’s generally have the largest pockets, however the hybrid and rear inflation do come with but they tend to be small roll out styles pockets. The Tech BCD’S can be customised with adding small pockets on to the harness webbing.




Some of the brands that we keep here at Dive Warehouse include Mares, Cressi, Oceanic, Aqualung and Tusa. We have recreational and tech gear instore and can special order any style in if what we have instore is not suitable. All of our friendly staff are here to help get you your perfect BCD.


Happy Diving!





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