This wrist watch style dive computer by Oceanic is great for new and experienced divers alike. The Oceanic OCi dive computer is a wristwatch style computer. It features 4 buttons that allow you convenient on-screen navigation. The display is large enough to be seen under water, and the backlight works well at depth to illuminate the display. Some may find the display is a little too small compared to the larger touch-screen style dive computers.
The optional wireless air integration makes this an excellent moderately priced dive computer. The wireless air integration limits the hoses that you will have surrounding you making your dive seem less cumbersome. With 4 air mixes and nitrox optional, this dive computer allows even those who prefer deeper dives or higher percentages of oxygen to utilize a moderately priced dive computer.
Has everything a new diver needs and everything an experienced diver wants.
Watch sized to be worn all the time yet a little bulky if you have a small wrist.
Ease of Use
Navigation through four buttons.
Moderately priced. Optional wireless integration adds to price if required.
We Don't Like
The Oceanic OCi scuba diving computer is a fantastic midpoint dive watch. It comes with almost everything that you would need including air integration and battery hot-swap. Though the watch may be a little bit bulky for small framed people, it can be worn everyday for those who prefer to wear only one watch for all purposes. This makes it very convenient when tracking altitude and flight times.
If you’re looking for a watch with a large memory, the OCi is not going to be the watch for you. It only stores 24 dives at a time before you need to upload your dives into your dive log. A long diving trip may require that you download your dives while still on the boat.
Altogether this device is perfect for the average diver. New divers are going to find that this has more features than they will probably use. More experienced divers are going to see that this watch by Oceanic has everything that they need. If you require an LCD screen or larger display you may want to look at a higher pricepoint watch.
While we overall like that a dive computer can be worn as a wrist watch, in this case we're not certain about it. The device offers so much functionality that it feels like a large screen would be beneficial.
However, the display is easy to read and clearly setup. The navigation is performed through four buttons and it's easy and intuitive to step through the menu choices to get where you want to be.
The OCi comes in a variety of color choices:
When looking at the Oceanic OCi, you’re going to find it has many features. Oceanic claims that the “I” stands for incredible. That’s not far from the truth considering the pricepoint for the watch and the features that are available.
It offers four different dive modes:
You can activate the watch with the push of a button or use the water activation system included on the watch.
The maximum depth for the Oceanic OCi dive computer is 180 m or 495 ft when working in the gauge or free dive mode. When working in the normal operating mode, the maximum depth is 330 ft or 100 m. There is a deep stop with countdown timer allowing you to see your multiple safety stop times without difficulty. The optional two countdown timer for deep dives is half maximum depth for dives 80 feet or greater.
There is both temperature display as well as compass included on the Oceanic OCi dive computer. The other displays include air time remaining, nitrogen tissue loading bar graph, oxygen loading bar graph, no decompression time remaining, air time remaining, and O2 times. This allows you to customize your display to your personal preference.
The backlight on the Oceanic OCi is automatic and uses the OceanicGlo backlight technology. The time that the backlight is on is adjustable by the user. This allows you to maximize the life of the battery by limiting the backlight time.
The OCi dive computer uses the CR2450 battery, and the transmitter uses a 3.6V CR2 battery. The battery life for the dive computer is 300 hours, and the transmitter has a battery life of 1500 hrs. Hot-swap is available on the Oceanic OCi dive computer allowing you to retain all dives when changing the battery. There is a low battery indicator, which is a graphic display on the dive watch. The only downside to the battery options on the Oceanic OCi dive computer is that the manufacturer recommends pressure testing by either the dealer or the factory when replacing the battery.
There are several alarms available on the Oceanic OCi dive computer. You can set:
There are also high O2 and high PO2 alarms as well as your normal alarm clock and safety stop alarms.
The Oceanic OCi dive computer allows you to display time in either 12 or 24-hour format. There is a calendar available on board as well as the 24-hour time to fly countdown. This easily allows you to track dates and times, especially when tracking flight information.
Oceanic uses exclusive dual algorithm technology to power the OCi dive watch. You can choose between the Pelagic DSAT (Spencer/Powell data basis) or Pelagic Z+ (Buhlmann ZHL-16C data basis) algorithms to get the most out of your dive.
The OCi dive computer has the capability to switch between four nitrox mixes. The mixes can go from 21 to 100% O2. The wireless transmitter has the capability to switch between four independent transmitters for the difference O2 mixes allowing you to easily swap tanks and dive without changing the settings on your transmitter or computer.
There is automatic altitude adjustments featured on the Oceanic OCi dive computer. The altitude algorithm basis is NOAA, as well as the O2 limit basis. The automatic altitude adjustment is 610 to 4200 m allowing you to rely on your Oceanic to safely prompt you for flight countdown and altitude adjustments.
The on-unit dive log of the Oceanic OCi dive computer has the capacity to hold 24 dives. Included with the dive computer is the Oceanic log computer PC or Mac download and upload settings.
The Oceanic download memory capacity is 1 MB total. You can connect your Oceanic dive computer to your Mac or PC with a USB cable.
The biggest feature that is missing from the Oceanic OCi dive computer is the lack of an ascent rate exceeded alarm. In addition to that, we also wish that the battery was user replaceable on this dive computer. Having to take the computer to a dive shop to be pressure tested to change the computer can be a hassle.
There is a lot to like about the Oceanic OCi dive computer because it has a ton of features in a small package. For those who don’t like a lot of bulk on their diving gear but want a lot of features in their dive computer, this is going to be the ideal moderately priced dive computer. While it is missing a user replaced battery, that can be easily overlooked when you consider all the other features that are included in this dive computer.
Most times you will find the best price at Amazon. Check the current pricing and customer reviews by clicking on the button below.
The reviews for the Oceanic OCi dive computer are positive. If you would like to take a look at all of the things users of this dive computer, have to say about the watch take a look here.
Suunto Vyper Novo
80 m / 262 ft
180 m / 495 ft
120 m / 394 ft
Free Dive Mode
(Oxygen 21 - 100%)
(Oxygen 21 - 100%)
(Oxygen 21 - 100%)
~ 140 hrs
Battery Life (Avg)
1.5 years avg
1.5 years avg
30 - 40 Hours
Check out our detailed review of the Suunto Vyper Novo for more information.
If you’re looking for a moderately priced dive computer that has everything you need to plan a dive, then the Oceanic OCi dive computer is going to be exactly what you need. It has all of the features you would expect from a more expensive watch like wireless air integration and battery hot-swap. But it doesn’t take up too much room because it still maintains the watch style wrist mount.
For being such a small dive computer, it has plenty of features. New divers are going to have everything they need and more. Experienced divers will probably find that this dive watch has everything they want. The multiple settings and display options allow you to program different dive settings for various dive environments. Making it easy for you to dive multiple locations without reprogramming your watch.
People who do not want to spend a ton of money for wireless air integration are going to really enjoy the Oceanic OCi dive computer because you can get a lot of features without spending a lot of money. The computer doesn’t take up a ton of space on your wrists, so it minimizes the bulk you carry around with you at depth. For the minimalist diver, this dive computer is going to be perfect.
If you like to be able to view bar graphs and displays while underwater this watch is not for you. Those people who need larger LCD or OLED displays to be able to view their time at depth will dislike the small display on the screen. The four-button system can be frustrating for those who are used to touchscreen interfaces.
More technical divers may find that this computer lacks the appropriate displays they need or want. Without being able to display everything at the same time, like you would be able to do on a larger dive computer, technical divers may find that they just want a little bit more from the Oceanic OCi scuba computer. But for the pricepoint, it is exactly where it needs to be both in functionality and design.
Atomic Aquatics are known for the top-of-the-line quality and technology when it comes to dive gear. This reputation is reflected in all their equipment including their regulators like the Atomic Aquatics Z3 Regulator.
Yet, they are also known for these features and design to come at a premium price. However, the Z3 is a relatively affordable high-end product with no compromises in quality.
All Atomic Aquatics regulators leverage the same principles in their design. Combining top-quality materials with solid construction to produce long-lasting regulators that work and that have low maintenance requirements.
The Z3’s lower price point is due to using materials that are high-quality but not quite as top-of-the-line as what they use in their highest-end regulators. This design features for example the use of a specific plating process where a layer of Zirconium (hence the ‘Z’ designation) is on top of a chrome layer on brass. This increases the resistance to corrosion by a factor of 3 to 4 resulting in a long-lasting design with low maintenance.
While not as high-end as the titanium used on their top regulators, it’s a great compromise to achieve a long-lasting regulator at a reasonable price. It will outlast many of the competitor products while not completely reaching the performance levels of the titanium designs. Yet, for nearly all recreational divers this is a more than satisfying design and material choice!
Let’s have a detailed look at the components of this regulator in the following sections.
The first stage is a compact design using chrome plated brass and stainless steel as the materials of choice. It uses Atomics’ Jet Seat high-flow piston design to provide the diver with a natural breathing experience.
The Jet Seat system is unique to Atomic. There are no sharp edges used for the piston design increasing the durability and reducing any maintenance needs. The piston is also self-lubricating providing a practically friction-free design to further reduce maintenance requirements. This design in combination with the high-quality materials increases the maintenance interval to 2 years or 300 dives (whichever is first).
The first stage can also optionally be purchased being factory sealed. This keeps silt, sand and other contaminants out and prevents mechanical failures. It also improves the capabilities of the regulator to not freeze in cold conditions. You can get the first stage either as a DIN or Yoke design depending on your needs!
The Z3 offers two high-pressure ports and seven low-pressure ports on a fixed cap. More than enough ports to connect all kinds of gear requiring pressurized gas. It is compatible for Nitrox diving with mixes of up to 40%.
The second stage of the Z3 consists of a housing crafted from high-grade polymers. The internal components are made from zirconium and chrome plated brass and titanium elements. This material mix offers a long-lasting, corrosion-resistant second stage.
Atomic also included their seat-saving orifice. The valve is lifted away from its seat when the regulator is not used. The result is that the pieces don’t get fused during the periods where you don’t use it and that leads to prolonged usage and life of the gear.
Compared to the predecessor, the Z2, Atomic added a swivel connector to the regulator. This allows the hose to move up to a 30 degree angle reducing the pull on the regulator. The swivel has a specific PVD coating which prevents scratches that in turn could prevent movement. It’s a lot more comfortable to wear and use.
The second stage also comes with a single adjustment knob. It allows to rapidly de-tune the valve if necessary. It is designed to provide a balanced linear flow to make breathing comfortable and effortless in all conditions and depths. The Z3 has a high-flow case which is designed to optimize the breathing effort irrelevant of the depth.
The front cover is made from two different materials and comes in a variety of colors. The entire front plate of the second stage of the Z3 is used to purge it if needed. The mouthpiece is made from different silicone elements with bite tabs made from harder material to prevent wear and tear such as biting through it.
The Z3 regulator kit offers a 2 year or 300 dive service interval. It also comes with Atomic Aquatics' limited lifetime warranty.
Most divers will combine their new Atomic Z3 regulator with a lower cost octopus regulator. A good choice to add to the Z3 is the Mares MV Octopus Diving Regulator. It’s light and compact and easily connects to the first stage of the Z3.
Most divers will travel with their regulator and it is strongly advised to get a regulator bag to keep your gear safe. The Atomic Aquatics Deluxe Regulator bag is the perfect storage and travel companion to make sure your Z3 regulator stays safe.
You will usually find the lowest price for the Atomic Z3 on Amazon.com. They typically also have the widest selection of colors available.
The first stage is available as either a DIN or a yoke design. You can also get them sealed which prevents outside contamination.
If you’re looking for superior design combined with a solid material mix and a reasonable price then the Atomic Aquatics Z3 regulator is what you’re looking for. It offers all the design features you get with the (way) more expensive T3.
The difference being that the T3 uses titanium throughout which reduces the weight and is practically corrosion free. If you can live with a little more weight and a bit more maintenance to prevent corrosion then the Z3 is the way to go.
You get the famed Atomic Aquatics design and quality in an affordable package without compromises. The regulator comes with a limited lifetime warranty and requires service only every two-years or 300 dives which significantly lowers your maintenance costs!
If you hold both masks and look at them you’ll realize that they are both high-quality products. Yet, there’s one big difference. No, not the different colors…
The Seaview 180 Degree has a leg up to the Easybreath simply by having a GoPro mount as part of the mask. No fussing around with 3rd party mounts or having to hold the GoPro in your hands. You put it directly on the mask and it films what you see. It’s hard to see that there’d be anything easier than that.
The first full-face snorkel mask was the Tribord Easybreath. It took the snorkel market and turned it upside down.
The design was simple and removed many obstacles that existed in the past preventing people from starting to take up snorkeling. The major news was the much larger field of view through the panoramic lens and the ability to breathe through mouth and nose.
All that combined with high-quality materials that guaranteed a comfortable fit made it the best choice for any snorkel mask. Well, until another competitor, Seaview, decided to make a mask of similar quality yet add the GoPro mount.
And that’s when it started that at least a large number of people looking for a top-quality full-face snorkel mask turned to the Seaview 180 Degree instead of the Tribord Easybreath. Now, that’s not to say that nobody gets the Easybreath anymore. Far from it. It overall is still one, if not the, most bought snorkel mask you can find.
And when it comes to comfort, visibility and quality, it still sets the gold standard. In our opinion together with the Seaview 180 and not by itself anymore.
You might ask why would you even consider getting a Tribord when the Seaview is just as good and offers the GoPro mount? Well, there’s a few good reasons. If you don’t have a GoProd then there’s no need to have a mask with a mount.
There’s also the point that GoPro might come out with a new camera next year that requires a different mount. Likely? Not really but you never know… In that case you’re better off with a 3rd party mount as you can simply switch that out versus having to buy a completely new mask.
The biggest point for getting a Tribord mask is that it comes in more sizes. Especially if you’re trying to get a mask for your children, then you might not find a good fitting size on the Seaview. You won’t have that problem with the Easybreath!
Another advantage of the Tribord is that it basically is impossible to fog it up. The breathing mechanism is so clever that there’s practically never any fogging inside the mask. The Seaview is nearly as good but there are situations where it can fog up. That can be annoying as you have to take it off and get the fogging taken care of.
Another advantage of the Tribord is that the tip of the snorkel is a bright signaling color. At first glance this might not seem important at all but if you’re snorkeling in crowded waters then it can be a good thing to have that bright orange part sticking out of the water and making you instantly visible to others around you.
If you have a GoPro and want to use it to make videos of your snorkel experience then the Seaview 180 Degree is the mask to go with. Otherwise, it depends. Both masks are of similar quality and make.
If you are a heavy breather then the Easybreath might be better suited for you. It practically never fogs up and breathing heavy won’t change that. The Seaview sometimes does get foggy.
Yet, for small faces the Tribord has better sizing and might fit more comfortable. The bright orange tip of the snorkel is a slight advantage.
No matter which of these two masks you pick, you’ll be happy with your purchase. Both are priced around the same and are overall very affordable. Both will provide you with an excellent snorkeling experience.
The Oceanic Geo 2.0 dive computer is a neatly designed device that you can wear as a watch every day. It’s made with the beginner to mid-range recreational diver in mind and has the dual-algorithm that Oceanic is known for.
The price reflects the market it targets and so do the features. You won’t find any features you’d expect from a high-end scuba diving computer like air integration, etc. For the range and market it targets, it is a great device and fulfills the requirements you have.
Targeting the beginner to mid-level recreational diver.
Wrist dive computer sized as a watch.
Ease of Use
Four buttons along the outside making it easy to use even with gloves.
Fairly priced for the features offered.
We Don't Like
The Oceanic Geo 2.0 is a great scuba computer for beginners and medium experiences/mid-level recreational divers. It offers a lot of features you expect from a device in that range. One of the best certainly being that it supports two different algorithms. Yet, it also has some downsides as the log book is rather small and there’s no ability for air integration. The logbook issue is easily overcome by offloading the data to a computer and the missing air integration is really not surprising considering the price point.
The display is somewhat cramped yet easy to read and understand. The four buttons to navigate through the menus are nicely spaced and intuitively allow to go from menu item to menu item.
The Geo 2.0 is available in four different color combinations:
It is worn at the wrist and it is sized so you can use it as an everyday watch. This makes it a great investment as you get more out of the device. However, it also reduces the screen size and that can in dark and murky waters cause a little trouble to read the information. It’s overall a question of personal style.
The limited real estate on the screen results in the important data being somewhat smaller compared to large sized devices. This is compensated through the fact that you can wear the Geo all day long and every day. The important information is showing on the screen so there’s not much navigating through different screens needed when you’re under water.
It offers four different dive modes:
The Geo only comes as a wrist scuba computer. Oceanic offers no console variant of it. If you want a low cost console computer from Oceanic then you have to look at the VEO 2.0. It offers less capabilities but is designed as a console device.
The screen shows all important data like depth, time, temperature without having to scroll through any menus. All data is available at a glance yet due to the smaller screen size it can at times take a second to be able to clearly read it when you’re in somewhat darker environments.
It is designed as a entry-level to mid-range scuba computer and does not offer high-end capabilities like air integration, compass, etc. The display offers a low battery indicator reminding you to replace the battery before going down on a dive.
One of the really nice advantages is that you can change the battery yourself. This otherwise can be a real hassle when you have to send it in to a service center. Being able to replace the battery yourself saves you money and time.
It’s easy to master the navigation on this device. Two buttons are used to step forward/back in the menu tree and to select a specific setting. One button is used to save a setting while the fourth button is there to switch on the backlight. It’ll only take you a few minutes to get used to the navigation. The buttons are spaced out far enough to ensure that you press the right button even with gloves.
The Oceanic Geo 2.0 has the necessary audible and visual alarms that you’d expect and which differ based on the operational modes. For air or nitrox diving the alarms you can set are:
The Geo 2.0 can handle two gas mixes with up to 100% oxygen levels. You can set the pO2 limits to be between 1.2 and 1.6 bar.
The maximum operational depth for Air/Nitrox diving is 100 m (328 ft) and for Gauge it is 120 m (393 ft). It also has altitude adjustments that it selects automatically based on your altitude before a dive. The maximum altitude that can be handled is 4,270 m (14,000 ft).
The algorithm is where all Oceanic personal scuba computers shine. They offer dual algorithms allowing to switch between them at will. This is a great feature if you dive with a buddy that has his own computer which calculates based on a specific model. You at least will be able to somewhat get the calculations in sync!
The algorithm you can select is either the Buhlmann ZHL-16c based PZ+ or a DSAT based model. The DSAT variant is better suited when you want to pick a liberal recreational dive algorithm. The Buhlmann algorithm is more conservative. You also can adjust the conservatism of either of the calculation models by yourself to achieve a more conservative dive profile.
When used as a daily watch you can set the Time mode. All background calculations and measurements will be stopped and you can use the Geo 2.0 like a standard wrist watch.
The dive log is somewhat limited. You can save dive data for up to 24 dives. Data sampling can be set to either happen at 2, 15, 30 or 60 second intervals.
You can transfer the data from your dives to your computer. There is an optional connector required and you can then analyze your dive data on your computer to review dives and/or plan future dives. The Geo 2.0 also has a quick select of the last dive so you get a fast view on the data without having to search through the menu.
Being an entry-level to mid-range diver computer, the Oceanic Geo 2.0 is certainly missing some features. You don’t get air integration and no built-in compass. This are features you can get and expect from higher-end devices which then also cost you a lot more money.
There’s not much you’ll be missing with regards to features when you compare the Oceanic Geo 2.0 with other scuba computers in the same category. You won’t be able to grow the capabilities of this device over time as you can’t add for example air integration. However, you do get a solid diving computer with a complete set of features that satisfy the needs of beginner and recreational divers.
The highlight of the Geo 2.0, as for all Oceanic dive computers, is that they offer two different algorithms. This allows you to pick a more liberal or conservative calculation model while you additionally can adjust the conservatism settings for the algorithm that you picked.
If you are a beginner of mid-level diver then this is without a doubt a great dive computer. It offers the right set of features you will need and some more. If you require more sophisticated features like air integration then this is not the right device for you.
You will usually get the best price and service through Amazon. Click the button below to find the current pricing and check further reviews.
Overwhelmingly, you only find great reviews online. Divers that bought this device are happy. Most anyone is impressed with the features offered and specifically being able to select between two different algorithms. This helps tremendously if your dive buddy uses a different brand as you can pick an algorithm that nearly matches your buddy’s. This way you don’t have to constantly wonder whether his or your alarms going off are the right ones!
Suunto Zoop Novo
Oceanic Geo 2.0
80 m / 262 ft
80 m / 262 ft
120 m / 394 ft
Free Dive Mode
(Oxygen 21 - 50%)
(Oxygen 21 - 10%)
(Oxygen 21 - 99%)
~ 140 hrs
~ 24 dives
~ 70 hrs
Battery Life (Avg)
1.5 years avg
1.5 years avg
1.5 years avg
The Oceanic Geo 2.0 is a great scuba dive computer for a recreational diver that wants to also use it as a daily watch. It’s fully featured to satisfy the needs of a beginner to mid-level diver and is priced right.
Being sized as a wrist watch reduces the available screen size. It’s still capable to display all important information in one screen but the data is not displayed as large as it is on an oversized version. Displaying any data as a bar graph definitely shows the limits of the small screen.
It is amazing that Oceanic packed their dual algorithm technology into such a convenient and small device. There was and is no compromising on this end and on safety features due to the size.
You’ll have to look upwards when looking for additional features. These will cost a bunch more and you will have to ask yourself whether you truly need those features. For most divers it’s perfectly fine to have a console with a pressure gauge and a compass in addition to a wrist scuba diving computer.
If you do require those higher end features then have a look at the Oceanic OCi that offers everything you need. Alternatively, you can then also check the Suunto Vyper Novo which also offers a complete set of features at a reasonable price.
Looking at both of these full-face dive masks next to each other, then you certainly can see the resemblance. Some might even think these are twins. Yet, they are not and we’ll have a closer look at their background and differences.
The Tribord Easybreath was and is the original full-face snorkel mask. It introduced this unique design to the world and offered the experience of snorkeling to a whole new group of people.
Before this mask you had to have a standard scuba diving mask and snorkel. For many people this was rather uncomfortable as they couldn’t breathe through their nose but had to use their mouth. And in more than one instance the snorkel would fill up with water and people instead of air sucked water.
It’s also for many people not that much fun to constantly having to bite onto the mouth piece of the snorkel. Your teeth keep it in place and without the bite, the snorkel might just not do its job.
A wrong sitting mouth piece can actually cause quite some discomfort and you might get the inside of your mouth irritated. Or, if you bite too hard your jaws might start to hurt.
This turned off a lot of people from even trying to snorkel. The thought of an uncomfortable mask in combination with water gushing into your mouth was just not doing it.
The combination of all these downsides has led many people to not even try to snorkel or to simply give it up after one or a couple of trips.
Tribord developed the full-face mask and it actually addressed a lot of these issues. First, the mask covers your whole face and you can breathe through your mouth or nose.
The larger mask also allows a larger field of view lifting the underwater experience to a completely new level. You can see pretty much as much to the right, left, up and down as you can without wearing a mask. This is quite a difference compared to a standard scuba mask.
Lastly, this all got combined with a dry snorkel that is permanently attached to the top of the mask. The dry snorkel will not allow water in and the placement allows for a very comfortable snorkeling experience.
They also added a purge valve allowing you to quickly get rid of all water that somehow might have found its way into the mask. Press it and blow and the water is reliably forced out of the mask. Very easy to perform and you don’t have to take the mask off or adjust it in any way.
You might ask yourself why we haven’t yet brought up much about the Ocean Reef Aria. It’s newer in design compared to the Easybreath. One would expect that it should be better.
Unfortunately, it’s not. It just simply a knock-off of the Tribord and doesn’t really add anything that would suggest that you should use the Aria over the Easybreath.
You might certainly prefer the grey and orange color scheme of the Aria vs. the different colors you can get the Easybreath in. However, besides those cosmetics there's nothing that would technically lift the Aria above the original mask.
Having said that, the Ocean Reef is a high-quality mask and there’s nothing wrong with it. It just feels like yet another one that tries to imitate the Tribord design without adding anything at all. Well, except for the additional dollars that are required to get it!
In our opinion, we suggest that you get the original mask for the simple reasons that the purge mechanism in our opinion is slightly better. But that’s not all, the Easybreath is usually also cheaper than the Aria and why would you want to spend more for a knock-off that doesn’t feel as capable as the original?
If you are on a vacation and want to try out snorkeling but can only get your hands on the Ocean Reef Aria, then by all means get it. It’s a good mask and you won’t regret having it!
A lot of scuba gear is very technical and the most technical of them all are your regulators. Well, besides your personal diving computer that is.
Your regulator should also be one of the first pieces of gear you purchase. Why? Well, how do you feel about using a mouthpiece that others have used and you have no idea who that might have been? Yes, it’s been cleaned but…
It’s also essential as one of your first items to get simply because it’s the part of your gear that allows you to breath. As that’s very important under water, you might consider it your possibly most important piece of gear overall! And, as it does allow you to breathe under water, you want to make sure you get a good piece of equipment and that you maintain it to keep it in good shape!
This buying guide will educate you on the different pieces of your regulator. These are the first and second stage, the octo and the hoses. Lastly, we’ll quickly touch on the different gauge options you have to control your air use and what you have left.
You will usually purchase your first and second stage regulators as a package. That makes sense as you want those two pieces to match and work flawlessly with each other! You’ll know exactly what to buy when you’re through with this guide.
The first stage of a regulator for scuba diving is designed to reduce the air pressure from the tank into a more manageable pressure that can be used in flexible hoses. This pressure level is called intermediate pressure.
It is attached directly to the valve on the tank. Your tank has the air or gas mix under high pressure and the first stage regulates that pressure going into the hose right after that. The first stage is also the point where you attach your gauge for air pressure or your wireless air transmitter for your dive computer as well as your BC and octo!
There are some differences in first stages when you’re looking to buy. Here’s an overview of what you have to consider and what the different options mean for you.
Your first consideration is the type of how you attach your first stage to your tank. Many regulators are available as either DIN or yoke.
A DIN first stage screw directly into the tank valve. This is the safest way to connect your first stage to a tank valve. Not only does it sit safely due to being screwed in but it also restricts any movement of the high-pressure O-ring seal that prevents air from escaping. This system is mostly used by technical divers as it can handle higher tank pressures.
The yoke system is somewhat simpler but fully sufficient for recreational diving. In this setup the regulator is slipped over the top of the valve and then secured and held in place with a large bolt. It’s somewhat easier to handle and safe to use in recreational diving.
Most tanks that you can rent will have a yoke attachment. A DIN regulator requires a compatible tank and not all dive shops have them. However, if you have a DIN regulator you can get a simple and low-cost adapter to convert it to a yoke system if the tank does not allow to use a DIN regulator.
You definitely want to purchase such a converter if you opt to buy a DIN regulator. You might otherwise find out the hard way that the available tanks in the dive shop will be of no use to you!
In the past you had a pretty significant different in performance between these two types of systems. In the meantime most of these differences have been minimized and most (recreational) divers cannot distinguish once they’re under water.
The difference is simply in how they work and how much they cost. A balanced regulator delivers the air at a constant pressure to the second stage and the diver. It is in no way affected by the pressure of the water surrounding you or the pressure of the air in the tank itself!
An unbalanced system relies on the surrounding pressure as well as the pressure inside the tank. Modern unbalanced systems minimize those effects and you barely notice a difference.
Having said that, most divers prefer a balanced setup if they can afford it. Otherwise, opt for a high-quality unbalanced type and you’ll barely notice a difference in recreational dive environments.
Yet again there are two different types of setups that are used to connect the high pressure air into lower pressure for the second stage regulator and other attachments. Both setups work fine for most recreational diving.
Piston regulators are overall simpler as they have a minimal amount of moving parts. This enhances the durability and reduces maintenance costs. However, most of these first stage regulators allow water into them and as such you have a higher level of care after a dive to keep them clean and prevent corrosion.
Diaphragm regulators have more moving components and usually are not as durable as piston regulators. However, they are much cheaper to manufacture which usually results in a lower price for you.
They come in two different flavors. You can get them either as environmentally sealed or unsealed. If you only dive in the tropics then an unsealed regulator is perfectly fine. If you want to mix up your dive environments then you’re better off using an environmentally sealed setup.
For a recreational diver it makes the most sense to look for an environmentally sealed first stage diaphragm regulator that has a long warranty. Also make sure to use a well-known brand so you know you can get spare parts if needed!
Most modern first stage regulators will have enough ports to allow you to connect your second stage, your gauge or computer and your BCD as well as a port for the octopus regulator if needed.
If you dive with a dry suit or need more ports to connect additional accessories and devices then you have to make sure that your first stage has enough ports to handle everything want to connect!
The second stage is the piece of the setup which you have in your mouth and that allows you to breathe. You’ll often see this second stage being referred to as the regulator. It takes the air from the first stage (through a hose) and reduces the pressure so you can comfortably breathe.
Similar to the first stage you can either have a diaphragm or piston setup in your second stage. Your second stage also has a purge button, a mouth piece and an exhaust valve. The purge button allows you to clear any water from the setup. The exhaust valve allows your exhaled air to escape and finally the mouthpiece allows you to keep the regulator securely in your mouth without having to hold on to it.
But there are additional things to consider and look for when you’re looking at the second stage.
The purge button is there to allow you to clear your regulator. Pressing it forces the water out of the second stage so you can breathe easily.
You want to make sure that your regulator has a large enough purge button so that you can conveniently press it when needed. If the button is too small then you might have to fumble trying to press it if you’re wearing dive gloves.
You can often find a number of controls on your regulator. First, you can have the possibility to adjust the air flow so you can fine tune the amount of air being delivered for your breathing. This is helpful when you dive deeper as it allows to make sure that you can comfortably breathe.
Another adjustment that is commonly found is to be able to set the regulator into ‘dive mode’. If you switch this mode off while you’re above the surface then it prevents air to free flow. It’s harder to breathe in that case but you’re not wasting air.
These adjustment controls are in most circumstances ‘nice-to-have’ features that you can live without especially if you’re recreationally diving.
The weight of the second stage can be of importance to you. It’s the piece of equipment that you hold with your mouth and teeth and it can over time cause fatigue of the jaw.
Overall, the second stage is of neutral buoyancy and as such the weight under water should be of limited concern. However, above water a heavy regulator can be somewhat tedious to wear and deal with.
The mouth piece must fit comfortable. Most modern second stage regulators have ergonomically shaped mouth pieces and as such you should be fine.
For repairs you want the mouth piece to be replaceable. This is pretty much true for all new regulators but you have to have a look at how the mouth piece connects to the rest of the hardware. You can find proprietary mounting options or zip ties. In any case, you want to make sure you have the right spare parts in your repair kit!
The octopus is nothing else than a spare or alternate second stage regulator. It is used to allow your dive buddy to breathe if he or she runs out of air or if your second stage regulator fails for whatever reason.
These octo regulators are only to be used as a backup and as such are usually less complex and of simpler design as your primary second stage regulator. In a typical dive setting you will never use your octo as it’s only there for emergencies.
Dive standards do require that the octo is easily accessible and clearly visible. Most octo’s are bright in color to make them stand out and to be easily identifiable. Most of today’s BCD’s also have a pocket to store the octo for easy access in case of an emergency.
One of the things that is easily overseen with octo regulators is that they require the same care and maintenance as your other gear. Make sure to keep your octo clean and perform all pre-dive and post-dive checks and maintenance steps that you also perform on your standard second stage regulator!
Your regulator setup not only consists of the first and second stage but also comes with a bunch of different hoses to connect both stages as well as additional accessories.
This is usually a medium pressure hose that is used to connect the two stages. For many years the only available option you had was a rubber hose.
In the last few years many manufacturers started to provide braided hoses. However, there has been a few instances where these types of hoses had to be recalled and as such divers today still tend to prefer a rubber hose.
A braided hose has some advantages though. They are usually lighter and more flexible and as such more convenient to deal with. A new braided hose should also be more durable than a rubber hose.
This type of hose connects the first stage to your BCD. You’ll need this link in order to be able to regulate your buoyancy through your BCD. You can either get a rubber hose or braided hoses which are lightweight and bendable.
Some BCD’s come with an octo regulator built into the inflator. In that case you will usually require a special connector. You want to be aware of that when ordering your hoses.
You will usually have at least one gauge to monitor your tank pressure. Some divers prefer to use a analog gauge as well as a dive computer with air integration to monitor the pressure in their tank.
These hoses are usually high pressure hoses. If you’re choosing an air-integrated dive computer that has a wireless setup then your pressure monitor will sit directly on the first stage and wirelessly send the data to your dive computer. This will save you from dealing with yet another hose. However, it does make some divers uneasy to think of a non-mechanical way to measure how much air is left!
Most of the well-known brands will have regulator setups that are sufficient for any recreational diver. If you can then spend a few extra-bucks to get a setup of the highest quality. If you get a first stage with a DIN connector then make sure that you do purchase an adapter to make it usable with a yoke connector to ensure you won’t have to watch your buddies dive while you stay on land!
Fins are an essential part of your scuba gear. They propel you underwater and make or break your dive experience.
If you don’t own your own set of scuba fins you will rely on the dive shop to have some to rent. In many cases, you’ll end up with lower quality fins that kind of fit but are not really comfortable. It can seriously put a damper on your dive experience!
Having your own gear and having it fit perfectly is important in scuba diving. The familiarity you gain with your gear improves your precision during dives and builds your trust into your gear.
Scuba fins should be comfortable and provide you with the ability to transform the power from your kicks into forward motion. Along with that they should be easy to put on and off, to transport and certainly sturdy enough to last a long time.
Last but not least they have to fit your dive style. Our guide to the best scuba diving fins will provide you with the information you need to get the best fins that match your diving style.
If you’re in a hurry then here’s the short list of the top 10 scuba diving fins.
Below you can find the details on each of these best 10 scuba dive fins. Please also check out our Buyer’s Guide for Dive Fins as well as our short overview of important things to consider when buying new fins.
The Aqua Lung Stratos 3 is a full foot dive fin that is durable and affordable. It’s comfortable and easy to put on and off. The inside of the foot pocket is finished with a special material that makes sure that you get in and out easily while not slipping out during a dive.
The bending point is close to the front of your foot. This way the entire fin is used for a powerful kick with the least amount of effort.
The Stratos 3 comes in six different sizes and you shouldn’t have an issue finding the best fit for your size. The toe area offers a lot of space which makes it very comfortable to wear. The overall design and build quality is impeccable.
The Aqua Lung Stratos 3 is best used for dives in warm tropical waters. It’s our best choice for a full foot scuba diving fin for warm waters.
The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus are open heel scuba fins. They have a bungee strap so you’re able to quickly get in and out of them. The huge advantage is also that you won’t have to adjust any straps. Simply slide in and let the bungee strap do the rest.
This fin is made from somewhat stiffer material which is combined with four soft channels to provide the most possible thrust when kicking. The blade is overall a little more stiff than other dive fins. However, it creates a lot of thrust with each kick!
These scuba fins come in four different sizes and a large variety of colors. You’ll find the perfect fit amongst those four sizes as the bungee strap makes sure that you’re securely in the fin once you put it on.
The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus is a great all-around choice for diving. It works well in warm and cold environments. It’s our overall best choice for a dive fin.
The first thing you’ll see when you look at the DiveRite XT is that it’s surprisingly non-flashy looking. Most newer fins have shapes and designs and color schemes that make them look ‘cool’. These fins are just what you see – excellent scuba diving fins.
They are specifically designed for strong and ripping currents and tougher conditions. They are made from a Monoprene blend which is used by DiveRite since the 1990’s in some of their best performing fins. The XT fins are designed as open heel fins with spring heel straps made from reinforced steel springs. This design provides a tight fit while being able to get in and out quickly.
The blades are designed to maximize the thrust with every kick while making sure that they stay stable in rough conditions. The DiveRite XT fins are a great choice for technical divers in varying conditions.
The ScubaPro Seawing Nova offers a unique design. They combine the advantages of paddle fins and split fins. The design provides the thrust of a paddle fins with the comfort and efficiency of a split fin.
The design is unique in that it offers a joint in the blade that maximizes thrust while reducing drag through a pivoting motion. The fins offer tapered edges which make it useable for different kicking styles. The bungee strap makes it easy to get in and out of the fins and have the perfect fit.
The fins come in five different sizes and a variety of color choices. The well designed and sturdy bungee strap ensures a perfect fit.
There’s no question that these are some of the best fins you can buy. However, the complex design results in one of the highest prices you can find for any scuba diving fins.
Atomic Aquatics is known for their high-end design of scuba gear and the Atomic Aquatics full foot split fins make no exception when it comes to quality. However, compared to other scuba gear from this manufacturer, they are actually affordable.
These fins have a full foot split design. During a kick the split blade changes shape into a pair of wings. These wings reduce drag when slicing through the water while creating thrust to propel you forward. This works great in calm waters but does not provide enough thrust in strong currents.
Overall these fins allow you to move through the water with less effort. They can help to reduce air consumption during a dive.
They come in six different sizes and two color combinations. Make sure to study the sizing information with your shoe size to find the best fit.
The Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split Fins are a great choice for diving in calm warm waters. The split fin design reduces drag and helps you to conserve energy and air.
The Tusa Solla is an open heel paddle fin that has some very interesting features. It uses a thermoplastic elastomer mixing hard and soft materials within the blade. The same combination of different stiffness levels is used in the side rails and the foot pocket. This improves the thrust while reducing the energy required to generate that thrust.
The fins use an anatomically formed strap to secure your foot to the fin. While it’s not a bungee strap, it’s still easy to use and fits the back of your heel perfectly and comfortably.
The paddles are medium in size which provides a good compromise between maneuverability and thrust. The Tusa Solla is pretty affordable and definitely worth a look.
The Mares X-Stream is one of the newer dive fins on the market. It is an open heel paddle scuba fin that has a comfortable foot pocket. The shape of the blade is rather unique and it is designed for less turbulence while you’re diving.
The X-Stream works on a similar split mechanism as the ScubaPro Seawing Nova in that it has a flex area right in front of the foot pocket that allows the blade to act like a split blade. This way the fin provides the thrust of a paddle fin with the reduced effort and drag from split fins.
The strap is designed to provide a secure closure while your foot is in the fin. It’s comfortable to close and initially needs adjustment. A bungee strap would be a good change but the standard strap works fine.
The blade transfers your kick and transforms it into a powerful thrust forward. It features a center channel that is designed to force the water down the blade instead of allowing it to spill over the sides. This reduces the energy needed to propel yourself through the water.
The Mares X-Stream come in four different sizes and a variety of different colors. They are not the cheapest pair of fins on the market but you get high-tech fins for a good price. They are certainly not more expensive compared to other high-quality fins on the market!
The Cressi FROG Plus fins are open heel paddle fins. Coming from Cressi you can trust to get highest quality and latest technology.
That’s not different for these fins. They are combining several materials into one fin to optimize the flow of water during a kick and reduce the drag.
They are designed to require the lowest amount of energy for each powerful thrust. The combination of the different materials provides strength and flexibility as needed during each kick.
The strap is adjustable and allows to get in and out of the fins quick and easy. While not a bungee strap, it’s still easy to initially adjust and use.
The Cressi FROG Plus comes in four different sizes and a few different colors. They are very affordable in price and made of highest quality products.
The Sherwood Triton looks at first glance like a pretty old-fashioned scuba fin. However, it is anything than that. These are open heel paddle fins with an adjustable strap.
It features three vents in front of the foot pocket that are designed to increase the thrust on the downward motion of the kick. They also decrease the drag on the upward motion of the kick. This increases the thrust while reducing the energy needed to both kick and recover.
The strap is adjustable and offers quick-release buckles. The large heel pull tab makes it easy to put the fins on or take them off. A great feature of these fins is that they float. They are positively buoyant so they won’t sink to the bottom should you ever lose one in the water.
The Sherwood Triton comes in three different sizes and is only available in black. They are not any of those futuristic looking fins but rather look like fins from old times. Yet, when it comes to the power they produce they are top of the line. Due to their light weight they offer great flexibility when it comes to diving, snorkeling or even surface swimming with fins.
Pricing of the Sherwood Triton is what you would expect of a high-quality pair of fins. They won’t break the bank but are also not the cheapest fins you can find.
The Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 are open heel split blade fins with a patented fin design. The blades are angled at 27 degrees. In combination with the three material design this creates a powerful thrust during a kick.
The blades are designed to provide a powerful thrust while using the least amount of energy. They combine three different materials to provide the stiffness where needed while offering the flexibility at other places. This allows to provide a quick response to any movement.
The foot pocket is developed to increase the power transfer to the blades for improved performance. The multi-compound design of the pocket increases the comfort as well as improves the transfer of power to the fins.
The Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 comes in three sizes and four colors. Pricing for these fins is great for the quality you will get.
Without repeating the information you can find in the Scuba Fin Buying Guide, let’s have a quick look at the important factors you should consider when buying a new pair of scuba fins.
Full foot dive fins are usually better for snorkeling and for warm waters. You will have a harder time to get a tight fit compared to open heel fins.
Check out our Buying Guide for Scuba Fins for more information on those two kinds of foot pockets.
Split fins are a relatively new invention and innovation. They work like a propeller when you kick and the advantages are that you need less energy for a kick. However, in rough currents the power is simply not transferred as well and you won’t be able to maneuver quite as good as with a paddle fin.
You can find more information on split fins vs. regular fins to help you make the best choice!
The overall size of the fins can become an issue when you want to bring them for traveling. Most fins are ok to bring but some, specifically fins for freediving, are simply too large to pack. The ones reviewed above will all somehow fit into a suitcase but none of them are specifically designed for travel.
You can get travel fins which are either shorter or can be disassembled. This can be an important factor for you but you might consider trying to find a way to pack our preferred fins instead of compromising on either the quality or performance of your fins.
There’s not much else to consider except that you need to make sure that you get fins that fit comfortable while keeping your foot secure in the foot pocket. Nothing’s worse than losing a fin during a dive!
Make sure that you get the right size of fins for your size of foot. If you wear booties during diving then take the additional size of those into consideration.
Lastly, and the least important consideration, is whether you want to get fins in a specific color. Color or patterns on the fins have no impact at all on the quality of the fin. However, if you have a specific color scheme going then you might not want to disrupt your colors of your wet suit, etc. with fins that don’t match at all.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scuba fins. All of the fins we highlighted above are great fins.
In the end you will have to find out for yourself what style of diving you perform, in what surroundings you dive and how often you dive. It makes sense to have your own gear no matter what. As long as you don't specialize into specific types of diving you might simply go for fins that work in a variety of conditions.
Scuba dive fins are an essential piece in the puzzle of getting all your dive gear. They are essential pieces of equipment whether you scuba dive, snorkel or free dive. For all three sports you need fins to propel yourself through the water.
Fins make it easier and reduce the effort that is required to have your body being propelled through the water. Whether it’s on the surface when you snorkel or deep down into the depths when you scuba dive or free dive.
Under water your legs do nearly all of the work to get you moving forward or down. The fins support the legs in being an extension that is optimized to need the least amount of muscle for the most amount of propulsion.
There are some minor and some major differences between the different fins you can buy. Some of them are due to the different sports they target while others are regarding to a completely different design of the fins.
This guide explains all the different fin options to you. The goal is for you to be able to decide on the best fins for your kind of dive or snorkel sport. We’re looking at the overall differences by sport, by foot pocket design and by fin design.
You want to look at different kinds of fins depending on your kind of sport, whether it’s snorkeling, scuba or free diving. These different sports have small but distinctive different requirements for the fins you want to use.
During snorkeling you will not or not often submerge. As you don’t need the added energy to go deep down under water, you will also not need a set of long fins. Fins for snorkeling are shorter and somewhat simpler than scuba or free-dive fins.
Not going under water requires less energy. Having long (or simply wrong) fins will make you feel like you are fighting your fins. If that is the case then try to go for shorter and lighter fins. They will be more comfortable and precise when aiding you during your snorkel excursions.
When you scuba dive you need more power coming from your scuba fins. You need the additional power to be able to get down under water quick and with the least amount of effort.
Fins for scuba diving are usually around the same length as snorkel fins. They might be stiffer or have a slightly different design. Some scuba fins are a little longer than fins for snorkeling. Scuba fins do overall require more leg strength to effectively produce a powerful kick under water.
Free diving requires a lot more propulsion than scuba diving or snorkeling. During free diving you try to dive very deep without using any air supply except for the air in your lungs.
This requires to get down and back up as fast as possible. Therefore, free diving fins are usually longer to provide the strongest possible propulsion for each kick.
This significantly reduces the amount of kicks required during descent or ascent and therefore conserves oxygen. Longer fins help achieve this goal but also do require that your legs are strong enough to generate such powerful kicks.
You can find two different types of foot pockets when looking at fins for snorkeling or diving. First, there’s the full-foot design. The other type is the open heel fin. Both are very different in their design and in their use for specific environments and conditions.
Looking at full foot fins you will see that they are basically shoes with an attached fin. You slide into them like you slide into a shoe.
The problem is that if you’re not having a great fit then there’s nothing else you could adjust to make them fit better. When they fit correctly then they are the most comfortable type you can get.
They are best used in warm waters and for snorkeling. You will have an easy time to put them on or to get out of them. You also won’t need to wear booties.
These kinds are the most used for scuba diving. Instead of a heel like in a shoe you have a strap around the heel to keep your foot in place.
Even if not diving in really cold water you will usually wear open heel fins with booties. That means that you have to measure for fit while wearing your booties!
Open heel fins have the great advantage that you usually can replace the straps if they break. Full foot fins have to be thrown away if the heel breaks as there’s nothing that can be replaced. Being able to replace the straps is important when you consider that many of these scuba fins end up being quite expensive.
Most open heel fins have larger blades compared to full foot fins. The blade is often also stiffer. The combination of these two factors results in more thrust with each kick.
The larger blade and with that the larger fin makes it harder to travel though. They don’t fit as easily into your suitcase anymore and they usually also weigh more. If you travel a lot you want to consider both weight and length and possibly get a shorter and also lighter fin.
There are typically two different styles of blades to consider. You can either get split fins or paddle fins. Paddle fins are the most common ones and were the first type of fins used for scuba diving. Split fins are a relatively new invention and are seen more and more often.
Paddle fins are usually the most affordable kind of fin. They’ve been around for decades and are a proven design. The stiffness of the blade depends on the manufacturer but mostly all of these kinds of fins are easy to use and provide a controllable kick.
Split fins are designed to require less effort when kicking while producing the same thrust as a paddle fin. They are a great choice if you have ankle problems or you can’t generate a powerful kick. They are best used in calm waters. In heavy currents they get harder to use. Otherwise they can reduce your air consumption due to less effort to produce a kick.
You can check out our Split Fins vs. Regular Fins article going into the differences and backgrounds behind both of these fin styles.
There are sub-types for each of these two main types. One of those is the channel blade fin. These fins have very stiff outside rails and the center area is flexible. They are probably not best suited for the beginner as they require a good understanding of your own kick strength. They can also be on the expensive side so you want to make sure you dive a lot in order to get your money’s worth.
Another sub type of fins are the ones with long blades for free diving or spearfishing. The only difference to paddle fins is that the blades are longer and provide more thrust.
The forward propulsion is generated through the blade of the fin. There are a variety of different designs and shapes of blades that are all having the same goal: provide as much propulsion and thrust under water as possible with the least amount of energy spent.
You can find numerous designs of blades. Some will have rails on the side for higher stiffness, others will have stiffer and softer areas throughout. You can even find blades with vents to reduce drag. You often also can see ribs on the blades which increase the firmness.
Shapes range from futuristic shapes coming out of computer programs to designs that resemble nature. Split fins have completely different shapes of the blades compared to paddle fins.
While all this can be confusing, be aware that as a beginner or recreational diver, you will not necessarily get much benefit out of using the latest and greatest with more or less ribs or rails. Many of these designs work very well in some situations but then on the other hand have disadvantages in other places.
The stiffness of the blade is a rather subjective matter. If you are a strong guy with a strong kick then you will definitely prefer and need a stiffer blade.
However, a smaller diver with less strength in the kick will need a less stiff blade. That is not to say that this diver couldn’t deal with a stiff blade. The stiffer blade runs the risk though that it wears a beginner or smaller person out.
In the end for the beginner or recreational diver it comes down to getting a somewhat less stiff blade. Most of the standard fins you can find online will suffice. You won’t run into any issues with fins from any of the best dive gear manufacturers.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to fins. If you are a recreational diver or just beginning with the sport then you actually might have the least issues finding fins for yourself. Stick with the readily available and highly rated fins and you will have many enjoyable dives ahead of you!
No matter what kind of fins you get, make sure that you mark them with a waterproof pen. You might be surprised how many divers will have the same fins as you do when you go onto a dive boat. And you definitely want to be able to end up with your fins again.
If you get open heel fins then make sure that you also buy replacement straps. It’s a good idea to have them with you and available when you dive as you never know when your straps might break. As luck has it, they will usually rip at the worst time and you’ll be glad that you can instantly replace them!
Select highly rated brand name fins that you can get online and you should end up being fine. We would suggest that you pick open heeled fins and if you just start with the sport or only dive once in a while then stick to blade fins. Split fins are great but do require some more experience.
The Aqua Lung Axiom is a jacket style BCD that has been introduced to the market years ago. It has since then been has been available now for a few years. It is available with two different inflation systems. You can either use the Aqualung i3 or the Powerline system.
The BCD has an easy-to-adjust harness and is built solidly with high quality materials. The tank attachment is easy and works well. Additionally, you get reasonably large pockets and a large number of D-rings to attach additional accessories.
Ease of Use
Simple to use and wide range of adjustments
Good price. Version with i3 System is more expensive.
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The Aqua Lung Axiom is one of the best jacket style BCD's around. It comes with an excellent harness that provides a lot of options to adjust and find the perfect fit. You can get it with two different inflation systems and in seven different sizes. Overall you can't go wrong with this BCD as a recreational diver!
The Aqua Lung Axiom has been available now for a few years. It is available with an i3 inflation system as well as the Powerline system that is used by Aqua Lung.
The i3 system uses a convenient lever mounted on the side to inflate or deflate the air cell. The Powerline setup is designed like a classic inflation system coming over the shoulder and connecting to your tank. The mouthpiece on the i3 system is something to get used to but otherwise it’s a great and efficient system to have!
The Axiom has been constantly improved over the years and is still one of the best and most comfortable BC’s around. It is a weight integrated jacket BCD.
It is a very comfortable jacket BCD that provides great comfort and fit. It offers Aqualungs proprietary Wrapture Harness System. It offers a swivel buckle harness. It also has an adjustable sternum strap so you can find the optimal fit.
The integrated SureLock II weight system can handle weights up to 30 pounds. In addition you have 10 pounds of non-ditchable weight for trim in the back. The SureLock II integrated weight system had been recalled years ago but it is safe in today’s version!
The BC has a specific air cell design. The result is one of the most streamlined jacket BCD’s you can get. The valves are flat and have a low profile to reduce drag in the water. During deflation the sides of the bladder are pulled in to optimize drag and keep the BC streamlined.
The BC offers three pockets for storage. Two close with a zipper. In addition there are numerous D-rings available to attach additional dive accessories.
A great features of this BCD is that it is offered in a whopping 7 (!) different sizes. There’s practically no chance that there’s not a size that fits you!
Besides all the features already mentioned you also get an octo holder and Aqua Lungs GripLock tank band. The harness can be adjusted to provide the perfect fit and the Wrapture system makes it easy to prevent the tank from riding up to the surface while also keeping it close to your center of gravity. The weight is transferred to your hips so you can stand up straight in comfort.
The i3 system to inflate or deflate the Axiom is a unique system. It combines the usage for inflation and deflation into a single lever. It is positioned on the side where you can easily reach it.
The deflate position on the lever opens up the exhaust valves to deflate the air bladder. These valves are designed flat to have a low profile and reduce drag under water. The lever is sensitive to allow you to make very find adjustments if needed.
The position of the lever need some getting used to but you’ll soon find out that it’s very conveniently located on the side. The i3 system comes with an oral inflator that is positioned over the shoulder. You want to familiarize yourself with it. While you usually won’t use it, it is essential that you know your gear and as such know how to use it!
The Powerline inflation system is definitely more what you know from other BC’s. It sits on your left shoulder and connects to your tank with a standard low-pressure hose.
The system is very reliable and easy to use. Beginners will prefer it as it is similar to inflation/deflation systems you will find on BC’s from other brands. It also is around $100 cheaper than the i3 system.
The Axiom has three pockets. Two of them close with a zipper. One is a small pocket inside a pocket to allow to store personal belongings.
The two pockets are large enough to allow to store some small dive accessories like a dive light, etc. You can probably fit dive gloves in there also if needed.
The BC provides quite a few D-Rings to use to attach dive accessories to it. It has 5 stainless steel D-rings as attachment points. In addition you get one (Powerline system) or 2 (i3 system) plastic D-rings to use for additional attachments.
Lastly, the BCD has a convenient knife attachment point on the left lobe. It’s designed to accommodate a variety of Aqualung knives.
The harness system of the Axiom allows for easy adjustments. You’ll be able to find the perfect fit through adjusting the various straps.
The Wrapture harness system allows a comfortable fit and weight distribution above and under water. You can stand straight above water while the tank is kept tight to your center of gravity. Under water the GripLock tank band makes sure that the tank stays in its optimal position.
The jacket is comfortable and sturdy. Being a jacket style BCD makes it somewhat bulky and not the best choice if you want to travel with it.
The swiveling connector of the shoulder straps make it easy to rotate the straps into the right position. This helps to find the perfect position of the harness and the jacket.
Best pricing for the Aqua Lung Axiom BCD online and most likely on Amazon. You can find all seven sizes there to get the perfect one for you.
There are also a number of combination packages with dive computers, etc. available on Amazon. Have a look to save yourself a bunch of money.
There are overall only positive ratings of people having bought this BCD. As a recreational diver, this is one of the best pieces of dive gear you can get that will last you for years to come!
There’s not many other BCD’s for recreational divers that are as comfortable and easy to use as the Aqualung Axiom. The streamlined design helps when you’re under water.
There’s not much bad to say about this BC. It’s built sturdy and it has been on the market (with improvements) for a few years now. It’s simply one of the best jacket style BCD’s you can get and is a great choice for a recreational diver!
The Zeagle Ranger BCD is the most copied buoyancy compensator in history. It was the first to combine heavy duty construction with highest quality materials and packed weight integration and back inflation into the mix. It’s a very versatile BCD that you’ll be able to use for pretty much any kind of diving.
While it’s not overly heavy at 8.4 pounds dry, it’s a little bulky. If you’re looking for a travel BCD then this might not be your best choice. However, pretty much any other use you have for a BCD and this one fits the bill!
Back Inflated BCD
Ease of Use
Easy to use with lots of variability.
Reasonably priced for the quality and sturdiness you get.
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The Zeagle Ranger BCD might just be one of the best back inflate BCD’s you can find. It combines great materials with rock-solid design and superb weight management. There’s really nothing to find that you wouldn’t like on this BCD. The only exception is if you travel a lot. Then it might be a little bulky to carry around. Otherwise, you won’t go wrong with this BCD!
The Zeagle Ranger has no particular best use. It excels under pretty much any condition and can be setup and used for nearly any kind of diving.
The air bladder is in the back. It can produce a lift capacity of up to 44 pounds. The standard weight system has pockets with a rip cord release. You can add 30 pounds of weights to the BCD. Lastly, you also have integrated trim weight on the back that you can fill up to 20 pounds.
There’s also a lot of storage space available in this BCD. The storage pockets are zippered and easy to reach. Additionally, you have six metal D-rings available to attach additional accessories.
This BCD has a lift capacity of 44 lbs. It weighs 8.4 lbs. dry. However, even though it’s not that heavy, you can’t fold it over or otherwise squeeze it into a travel bag easily.
The Ranger integrates the BX power inflation system from Zeagle. It’s easy and reliable and considered one of the best inflation systems available.
The single bladder is in the back and provides 44 pounds of lift. However, the Ranger can be reconfigured and you can instead use a dual bladder system in the back with up to 2 times 85 pounds of lift!
The BX Power Inflator makes it easy to clean out the bladder. You can simply attach a garden hose and wash the bladder out.
You can easily attach the inflator system to your first stage regulator through the 3/8” low pressure connector. It’s a quick connect system that makes it easy to attach and remove the inflation system from the regulator.
The Ranger has two large utility pockets on the size. They close with zippers and are roomy enough to keep small dive accessories like dive lights, etc. in them.
You can additionally attach scuba accessories and gear at the various D-rings. The Ranger has 6 steel D-Rings for that purpose. Four of them are found on the shoulders and two on the vest.
The whole BCD is designed for maximum flexibility. This is not only the case for the large variety of configurations (one or two bottles, setups for tropical or cold-water diving, etc.) but also to allow to fit the BCD to you like a glove.
The Ranger has a Personal Fit System (PFS) that allows you to adjust pretty much any element of the harness and BCD until it fits you perfectly. With regards to adjustments it provides shoulder straps that can be adjusted, a sternum strap that is adjustable in dual positions and an elastic cummerbund. All buckles have side releases where you simply squeeze to open them.
You will typically find the best prices for the Zeagle Ranger BCD online and specifically on Amazon. You’ll be able to find different color setups and sizes based on your needs.
At times you can also find combination packages of the BCD with an octo or a regulator. Check these out to save a bunch of money!
There is basically nothing negative being said about this BCD by anyone owning and using it. The only complaint you can find is that it is somewhat bulky and doesn’t travel easily. Otherwise, divers are able to adjust it to their needs and body and it performs without fail. Positive remarks are always centered around the flexibility and the toughness.
If you’re willing to overlook the somewhat hard time you'll have packing the Zeagle Rangerthe BCD for travel then you don’t have to look any further. This is the BCD that others have to compete with.
The flexible setup allows it to grow with your needs over the years. And yes, it will be able to grow with you as it’s built sturdy and with tough and high-quality materials. Start with a single tank setup and later switch to dual tanks. It also has many other configuration abilities that you will appreciate over the course of years to come.