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Best Scuba Diving Fins

The Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Scuba Fins

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.

The 10 Best Scuba Diving Fins

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.

Aqua Lung Stratos 3 – Best Full Foot Scuba Fins for Warm Waters

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.

Aqua Lung Stratos 3 Full Foot Fins

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.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus – Best Overall Open Heel Scuba Fins

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!

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel Bungee Strap Fin

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.

DiveRite XT – Best Open Heel Scuba Fins for Technical Diving

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.

DIVE RITE XT SCUBA FINS

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.

ScubaPro Seawing Nova – Best High Thrust Split Fins

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.

Scuba Pro Seawing Nova Open Heel Fins

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 – Best Split 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.

Atomic Aquatics High Performance Full Foot Split Fin

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.

Tusa Solla – Best Affordable Scuba Fins

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.

TUSA Open Heel Solla Dive Fins

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.

Mares X-Stream – Best Fins for Reduced Turbulence

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.

Mares X-Stream Open Heel 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!

Cressi FROG Plus – Best Overall Paddle Fins

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.

Cressi FROG PLUS Open Heel Fins for Scuba Diving

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.

Sherwood Triton – Best ‘Old Style’ Dive Fins

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.

Sherwood Triton Fins

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.

Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 – Best New Split Fins

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.

Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 Fins

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.

Things to Consider when Buying New Scuba Diving Fins

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 or Open Heel 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 of Paddle Fins?

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!

Size

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.

Other Considerations

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.

Conclusion

​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 Fin Buying Guide

What Fins are Best to Buy?

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.

Different Types of Fins for Different Sports

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.

Snorkel Fins

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.

HEAD Mares Volo One Adjustable Snorkeling 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.

Scuba Diving Fins

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.

Cressi PRO LIGHT Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins

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 Fins

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.

Cressi Gara 3000 LD Fins

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.

Foot Pocket Types

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.

Full-Foot Fins

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.

Cressi PLUMA Full Foot Lightweight Fins for Diving and Snorkeling

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.

Open Heel Fins

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!

U.S. Divers Proflex FX Fin

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.

Styles of Fins

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.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel Bungee Strap Fin

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.

Atomic Aquatics Split Fins

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.

Other Factors to Consider

Blade Design

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.

Stiffness of the Blade

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.

Conclusion

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.

Aqualung Axiom BCD Review

Review of the Aqua Lung Axiom Buoyancy Compensator

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.

Aqua Lung Axiom i3 BCD

Review Summary of the Aqua Lung Axiom BCD

Type

Jacket system

Ease of Use

Simple to use and wide range of adjustments

Price Level

Good price. Version with i3 System is more expensive.

We Like

  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Two different inflation systems available
  • Large number of sizes
  • Easy to use integrated weight system

We Don't Like

  • Being a jacket system makes it overall bulky.

Summary:

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!

Aqua Lung Axiom BCD





Overview

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!

Technical Specifications

  • Jacket style BCD
  • Three pockets with zippers
  • Five stainless steel D-rings
  • Lift is between 27 to 48 pounds (depending on size)
  • SureLock II integrated weight system
  • Up to 30 pounds of integrated weights that can be released
  • Up to 10 pounds of non-ditchable trim weight
  • Weight of around 10 pounds

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.

Inflation System

i3 Inflation

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!

Powerline Inflation

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.

Storage

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.

Adjustments and Comfort

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.

Where to Buy?

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.

Customer Feedback

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!

Conclusion

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!

Zeagle Ranger BCD Review

Review of the Zeagle Ranger Buoyancy Compensator

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!

Zeagle Ranger Black and Red Scuba Diving BC

Review Summary of the Zeagle Ranger BCD

Type

Back Inflated BCD

Ease of Use

Easy to use with lots of variability.

Price Level

Reasonably priced for the quality and sturdiness you get.

We Like

  • Tremendous flexibility
  • Sturdy construction and highest quality materials
  • Many different configurations
  • Excellent integrated weight system

We Don't Like

  • Somewhat bulky, not easy to travel with

Summary:

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!

Zeagle Ranger BCD





Overview

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.

Technical Specifications

  • Back inflated BCD
  • Two side pockets with zippers
  • Six metal D-rings on shoulders and vest
  • Personal Fit System (PFS) with numerous adjustments through straps
  • 44 lbs. lift capacity with single bladder
  • 30 lbs. integrated weight system
  • 20 lbs. trim weights in back
  • Single or dual tank setup

Inflation System

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.

Storage

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.

Adjustments and Comfort

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.

Where to Buy?

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!

Customer Feedback

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.

Conclusion

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.

Cressi Goa Dive Computer Review

Cressi introduced the new Goa dive computer earlier this year. It’s a wrist watch sized device that comes packed with functionality.

It’s not available yet in the US so we evaluated the technical specs as they are available at this time. Based on that information it seems like you’re looking at similar features as in a Cressi Leonardo that is sized as a watch that you can wear every day.


Review Summary of the Cressi Goa Dive Computer

Experience Level

For the beginner and recreational diver.

STYLE

Wrist watch sized to be worn every day.

Ease of Use

Simple two button navigation allowing quick menu access.

Price Level

Reasonably priced for the features it offers.

We Like

  • Can be worn as a day-to-day watch
  • Large numbers on display for quick reading
  • Large number of dive modes
  • Can be completely reset

We Don't Like

  • No air integration capability
  • No built-in digital compass

Summary:

Based on what is known at this time as well as assuming that most of the features match the Leonardo, you’ll be looking at a great dive computer for beginners and recreational divers. Many divers never require the missing features like air integration or a compass and as such this might just end up being the only one you ever get.

Cressi Goa Dive Computer Black and Blue

The Cressi Goa is available in a number of color combinations: black, black/grey, black/blue, white/pink and white/grey. You'll be able to find a stylish color combo that you can wear every day.




Capabilities

The Cressi Goa supports the following dive modes:

  • Air
  • Nitrox
  • Gauge
  • Free Dive
  • Off Mode
Cressi Goa Scuba Computer White and Pink

The Cressi Goa has a diameter of only 48 mm making it a great size to use and wear as an everyday watch. It features a high contrast display with large numbers to make it easy to read under any circumstance.

As you would expect, the display is backlit for dark environments. The time can display in 12/24 time format and it has a calendar function.

Navigation on the Goa is managed through two buttons on the side. The navigation is easy and straightforward.

The Goa offers a number of alarms that are both visual as also audible:

  • ​Breach of ascent speed
  • Decompression ceiling violation
  • pO2 limit violation
  • Low battery

A great feature included in the Goa, similar to the Leonardo, is that the computer can be completely reset. This makes it a perfect device for dive shops as they are able to perform the reset between different divers. At that moment no dive history is in the memory anymore and the calculations for decompression, etc. start from zero.

Technical Capabilities

The Cressi Goa can handle Air and Nitrox diving. You can switch between nitrox and air during desaturation.

The operational max. depth is 120 meters/393 feet. Additionally, the Goa provides altitude adjustments. It also includes no fly time calculations as well as a surf time and a desaturation calculator.

The algorithm used is Cressi’s RGBM. It can be adjusted for different conservatism settings. Cressi’s algorithm has a long history and is proven to be safe and sound.

Dive Log and Connectivity

The dive log is reasonably large. You can keep dive data for the last 50 dives for each category. So, you can save 50 air dives, 50 nitrox dives, etc. That’s plenty of capacity to store data on the dive computer itself.

Missing Functionality

If you are a beginner or a recreational diver without the need for multiple gases then this could very well be the dive computer for you. If you are already considering switching to technical diving then this will not be the right device for you.

It’s not to be expected to have air integration for a dive computer in this category. It is also not necessary to have it. It’s pushing the price point up a lot to have wireless air integration and it quickly becomes uneconomical for most divers.

A built-in compass is also a nice-to-have feature that is missing. However, assuming you have a console with a compass and a pressure gauge does already take care of both of the missing features for the Cressi Goa.

Features/Specifications

  • Two button navigation
  • Air/Nitrox capable
  • Five different dive modes (air, nitrox, gauge, free diving, off)
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm with adjustments for additional conservatism settings
  • Maximum operational depth of 120 meters/393 feet
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm based on a modified Haldne and Wienke model
  • Maximum depth display to 120 meters/393 feet
  • Data displayed in either metric or imperial units
  • Dive log of up to 50 dives for each mode
  • You can change the battery yourself
Cessi Goa Dive Computer Black

Pros and Cons

The Goa does have the features you’d expect from a recreational dive computer. Judging the features based on the Leonardo, you’ll be able to get a great dive computer for the money. In the case of the Goa you even get more features in a smaller package for some more money.

Pros

  • Simple dual button navigation
  • Small size, can be worn as a daily watch
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm with conservatism settings
  • Different Dive Modes(air, nitrox, gauge, freediving and off)
  • Complete reset capability

Cons

  • No air integration
  • No compass

Assuming that the features match at least the functionality that the Leonardo provides, then you can take it that this is a great dive computer. The couple of missing features are nothing you'll be missing in a scuba computer in that price range.

Where to Buy?

The Goa is not yet available. As with any purchases you will usually get the lowest price on Amazon. In addition to the best pricing you also typically have the widest selection of different colors on there.

Another advantage of Amazon is that you can get free two-day shipping if you are a Prime member. It’s also easy to return or exchange products if they’re not what you expected or if they’re not working.

Cressi Goa Dive Computer White and Grey

Comparing the Cressi Goa

The comparison chart below shows the differences between the Cressi Goa, the Cressi Giotto and the Suunto Zoop Novo.

Suunto Zoop Novo

Cressi Goa

Cressi Giotto

Suunto Zoop Novo
Cressi Goa Wrist Computer Black and Grey
Cressi Giotto Dive Computer black-yellow

Max. Depth

80 m / 262 ft

120 m / 394 ft

120 m / 394 ft

Nitrox Capable

Free Dive Mode

Gas Mixes

1 gas

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

1 gas

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

  2 gases

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

Connectivity

USB

Special Adapter

USB

Compass

Bezel

Composite

Stainless steel

Composite

Case

Composite

Composite

Composite

Log Size

~ 140 hrs

~ 50 dives

~ 70 hrs

Visual Alarms

Audible Alarms

Battery Life (Avg)

1.5 years avg

2 years avg

1.5 years avg

Conclusion

Expecting the Cressi Goa to be a dive computer with more features than the Leonardo yet all packed into a smaller package makes us believe that it’ll be a great device to have. Based on the technical data you can expect a lot of functionality in a small device for a great price. We’ll be updating this review with further details once they get available and we’re able to verify the claims.

Whom is the CRESSI Goa not for?

​If you are into technical diving then you will need features that the Goa doesn't offer. You might want to consider looking at the Suunto Vyper Novo in that case as a great choice.

Best Dive Computer under $500

Finding the best dive computer under $500 should not be a challenge. That is if you are looking for a DC for recreational diving. Don’t expect to get a device that has features that you’ll need for technical diving.

We cover what you can expect from a device at that price point and what you won’t get. Lastly, we showcase three dive computers that stay under the $500 mark.

Mares Smart Wrist Dive Computer

What Features can you expect?

At this price point you’ll get the basics. You can expect a reliable device that will keep you safe during a dive.

Regarding specific features you can expect the following:

RGBM with Adjustments

A safe RGBM algorithm that continuously calculates your dive data to keep your dive within healthy limits. Pretty much each dive computer manufacturer has their own variation of a RGBM algorithm.

Some are more conservative than others. If you dive with a buddy that has a DC from a different brand then you have to expect your dive limit calculations to be different!

Most algorithms also offer the ability to change the conservatism of the calculations. The settings allow to change the limits within the algorithm to be more conservative which ultimately means they end up providing you a larger safety margin.

One or Multiple Gas Mixes

Most dive computers in this price range will provide the ability to have one nitrox mix. Usually they support oxygen levels up to 50%.

For most beginners and recreational divers being able to manage one gas mix is good enough. If you’re relatively new to the sport then diving with a single gas mix will cover you for usually the first few years if not even for a lifetime.

You find more and more dive computers that can handle up to two gas mixes. Most newer models are capable to do that. Depending on your dive needs this might or might not be an important feature for you. For recreational diving it often is of less importance to have this feature.

Audible and Visual Alarms

All dive computers in this price range offer various audible and visual alarms. Typically, you can expect the following types of alarms to be setup for a dive:

  • Dive Time​
  • High pO2
  • Violation of decompression ceiling
  • Maximum depth violation
  • Ascent too fast

These are the alarms that are most important for a recreational diver and they are usually all covered by a DC at this price point.

Dive Log

You should expect the DC to have a solid dive log with enough memory to store dive data for at least 20 dives. Some models even provide enough capacity for over 100 hours of dive data to be collected.

Usually, the dive data will be collected at a fixed rate. Some models will allow to adjust the collection rate.

Connectivity to Computer (optional)

Dive computers offering a dive log will also offer the (optional) ability to connect the DC to your computer. All brands have their own software to install on your PC and in most cases you can get the software for Windows or for the Mac.

What will you be missing?

Dive Planner

Usually you will not find a built-in dive planner in this price category. However, you should be able to offload the data to your computer and perform dive plans on the PC.

Air integration

Air integration is nothing you will find in this price category. You might get lucky and find a DC on sale that is capable of air integration but you most certainly will not get a device that has an air transmitter included.

Digital Compass

Integrated digital compasses are something you will have to look at the next price level. Usually, these devices will be more in the $800 to $1,000 range where you can see digital compasses being part of the feature set of the DC.

The 5 Best Dive Computers under $500

Let’s have a quick look at the 5 best dive computers under $500 below. These are not ranked in a specific order but do show our picks for the best wrist scuba computers in that price category.

Mares Smart Wrist Dive Computer

The Mares Smart is a wrist watch sized dive computer that packs a lot of features. It’s one of the few dive computers in this category that actually can handle two gas mixes.

Mares Smart Dive Computer - Black/Grey

Click here to find the lowest price for the Mares Smart

It checks off all the required features you’d expect in this class. The dive log on the Smart can hold around 36 hours of dive data that you can then transfer to your PC or Mac for further analysis or to plan future dives.

Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air/Nitrox Scuba Computer Watch

The Oceanic Geo 2.0 is a feature rich dive computer in this price category. It offers Oceanic’s unique dual algorithm. This allows you to switch between two different algorithms allowing you to pick the one you feel more comfortable with.

Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air-Nitrox Dive Computer Watch

Click here to find the lowest price for the Oceanic Geo 2.0

This feature also is great if you dive with a buddy that has a different dive computer. Chances are that one of your algorithms will match that of your buddies DC and as such you won’t get conflicting data and alarms.

The Geo 2.0 is also capable of handling two gas mixes. It can even go up to 100% oxygen on the mixes which is quite unique at this price point. The dive log is capable of keeping the data of up to 24 dives.

Suunto Zoop Novo Dive Computer

The Zoop Novo is the updated model of the very successful Zoop. It is a huge upgrade in capabilities and it definitely is one of the best entry-level dive computers you can find.

Suunto Zoop Novo - Black

Click here to find the lowest price for the Suunto Zoop Novo

It can handle one gas mix up to 50% oxygen. The dive log can keep an astonishing 140 hours of dive data. Connected to your PC you can also upload the data to Suunto’s Movescount portal where you can enrich the dive data with pictures and video and share it with friends and family.

Click here to find our detailed review of the Suunto Zoop Novo.​

Aqua Lung i200 Scuba Dive Computer

The i200 is the entry level dive computer from Aqua Lung. It offers all the features you expect and quite a little more. Similar as the Mares Smart, it’s roughly the size of a wrist watch.

Aqua Lung i200 Scuba Dive Computer

Click here to find the lowest price for the Aqua Lung i200

It handles up to two gas mixes with up to 100% oxygen. The dive log is capable of handling the data for up to 24 dives. The optional connection to your computer enables you to download the dive data from the device to your computer.

Cressi Giotto Watch Scuba Computer

The Cressi Giotto is one of the entry-level dive computers by Cressi. The level underneath it is the Giotto which is probably the most complete beginner and entry-level dive computer available.

Cressi Giotto Dive Computer Black-Red

Click here to find the lowest price for the Cressi Giotto

The Giotto is capable of handling two gas mixes with oxygen levels up to 99%. That’s more than sufficient for recreational diving. The dive log is generously sized at up to 70 hours of data to be stored. Connecting the Giotto to your computer allows you to download the dive data for further analysis and to plan future dives.

Click here to find our detailed review of the Cressi Giotto!

Conclusion

There’s a good selection of highly capable dive computers in the category under $500. Looking at any of the five devices shown above as well as the many other scuba computers in this price range will provide you with a solid dive computer that’ll last you for years to come.

Which device you eventually pick depends somewhat on your personal preferences. Ask yourself whether you want an oversized device like the Suunto Zoop Novo or the Cressi Giotto. Or do you prefer a watch sized model like any of the other three? Larger displays often allow for better reading of the information on the screen under water. It also often means that it’s easy for you to switch the battery. Watch sized dive computers often have to be sent to a service center or to a dive shop to have the battery changed.

Let us know what dive computer you like best under $500 in the comments below. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Best BCD for Women

How to find the Best BCD for a Woman

BCD’s traditionally had been designed for men. This often made them uncomfortable to wear for women even if they used small sized versions.

Over the years more and more labels introduced BCD’s specifically designed for women. Usually, they differ in length, width of shoulder straps, cummerbund, etc.

A women’s BCD needs to be easy to handle on the surface and easy to adjust to get a snug/perfect fit. In addition it certainly needs to be stable and easy to control in the water. This does also mean that a specific BCD is the best for one woman but not necessarily for another. It depends on size, adjustment abilities, weight, etc. Last but not least, it depends on personal preference.

So, to say that there’s a Best BCD for women might end up not being the case. There are a number of great BCD’s but the best of those you will have to find for yourself.

BCD for Women Buyer’s Guide

You will get closer to finding your best BCD by taking the following criteria/suggestions into consideration.

Sizes

Make sure to look for BCD’s that have a number of different sizes. That’ll make it easier to find a matching size that will fit perfectly. Check the sizing charts for each BCD as a large size women’s BCD probably matches a small or even an X-small men’s size!

Weight System

If the BCD has an integrated weight system then you want to make sure that you can easily ditch the weights if you need to. Most BCD’s with integrated weight systems have mechanical latches to ditch the weights if necessary.

Lift

Any BCD needs to be able to produce lift through an air cell to counteract the integrated weights. The lift usually depends on the size of the BCD and for most starts at 25’ish pounds.

Remote Exhaust Valves

No, these are not really ‘remote’. Remove valves simply means that there are exhaust valves on the BCD that are on different locations than the primary valve on the shoulder. Most BCD’s have two of these remote exhaust valves. If you end up in too rapid of an ascent then you can overcome it by bleeding air through these valves.

Our List of Best BCD’s for Women

The following BCD’s are designed specifically for women and received overall good reviews. They are from name-brand companies that produce high-quality and reliable scuba gear.

Zeagle Zena

The Zeagle Zena is a lightweight back inflated BCD. Its low weight and the ability to be folded makes it a great BCD for travel.

The Zena features an innovative zip-jacket system. This system has the front panel of the BCD attached to the back panel with adjustable straps. You adjust those straps once you put the BCD one and have the front zippered up to get a perfect fit.

Zeagle Zena Women BCD

Click to find the lowest price for the Zeagle Zena

The Zena weighs 6.2 pounds. It offers four metal D-rings as well as an integrated weight system. The weight system consists of a rip cord system on the sides and non-ditchable trim pockets on the tank straps.

For storage it provides a detachable and expandable mesh pocket on the front. It’s large enough to hold a dive light or to put small items in from a dive. Yet, if you don’t want to bring it then you can simply remove it.

Pros

  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Super-comfortable and secure front panel with zipper
  • Adjustable straps to provide a perfect fit

Cons

  • Not a lot of storage space

Scubapro Ladyhawk

The Scubapro Ladyhawk has been available for a few years now and has seen some continuous improvements and changes. It features a back inflation system and is designed specifically for women.

Scubapro Ladyhawk BC

Click to find the lowest price for the Scubapro Ladyhawk

It offers padded shoulder and a narrow neck yoke specifically sized for women. It also has rotating shoulder buckles with a quick-release mechanism to route the straps perfectly for a snug and tight fit while still being comfortable to wear.

The Ladyhawk weighs between 7.2 and 8.1 pounds depending on the size. It features four metal D-rings to attach gear and accessories to. It has an integrated weight system. The weight pockets are secured with a quick release system that allows you ditch them easily if necessary.

Storage on this BCD is ok. It offers one zippered storage pouch that is large enough in size to hold a few essential scuba accessories.

Pros

  • Large range of sizes
  • Various color options
  • Sturdy and comfortable
  • Streamlined design

Cons

  • Oversized buckles for weights. Smaller buckles might make it easier to ditch weights if needed.

Aqua Lung Pearl

The Aqua Lung Pearl is one of the best-selling BCD for women. It’s designed and shaped specifically to fit women and even sports the integrated, proprietary and patented sports bra to improve the fit and comfort.

Aqua Lung Pearl Scuba Diving Womens BC

Click to find the lowest price for the Aqua Lung Pearl

This BC is a hybrid-style system that combines the advantages of the back inflate and jacket systems. It’s a very streamlined design where even the valves are designed to be flat. All straps are easily adjustable to get you to find the perfect fit. The BC is available in a range of sizes so you can find the perfect one.

The Pearl features an integrated weight system and Aqua Lung’s SureLock II weight pockets which align themselves. Ditching the weights is easy with a single pull release.

The latest version of this BC has a larger zipper on the storage pockets which makes it easier to handle under water. There are two pockets to store accessories which is plenty for any BCD. You will find 4 D-Rings on this BCD but they are made from plastic.

Pros

  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Great integrated weight system
  • Large range of available sizes

Cons

  • Plastic D-Rings

Oceanic Hera

The Oceanic Hera is a compact, streamlined BCD that is specifically designed for women. It’s a hybrid BC that combines a back-inflated system with a jacket. The BC features Oceanic’s patented custom fit harness. With it you can adjust the shoulder strap length and cummerbund to fit a shorter woman’s torso.

Oceanic Hera Women BC

Click to find the lowest price for the Oceanic Hera

The Hera has an integrated weight management system. The pouches for the weights feature mechanical latches as well as Velcro closures. Both are easily unlatched if you need to ditch the weight yet are also very securely linked to the BC.

There are two rather large pockets on this BC. They close with zippers so any accessories you place in them are secure. The pockets are large enough so you can put your dive light, pocket snorkel, etc. into them. There are four D-Rings made out of steel which means there’s no risk that they might break.

Pros

  • Compact design that works for travel
  • Easy to adjust and to find the perfect fit
  • Easy to fill and use integrated weight system
  • Large pockets

Cons

  • Could be a little on the bulky side around the waist if you are very petite

Cressi Ultralight Lady

The Cressi Ultralight Lady is a back-inflated BCD specifically designed for travel and in women’s size. It’s one of the lightest, if not the lightest BCD’s you can find. It merely weighs 4.6 pounds and you can squeeze it to fit into a duffel bag that you can bring onto a flight.

Cressi Ultralight Lady BCD

Click to find the lowest price for the Cressi Ultralight Lady

The Ultralight Lady is easily adjustable to get the best fit available. It features a padded back and an integrated weight system. Of all the BCD’s it’s the least colorful with only a few purple/lilac stripes on the BCD.

It is a very compact built BCD and as such there’s unfortunately barely any storage space on it. The pocket is small and even the D-Rings are made out of plastic to save weight. The trade-off for being that light is that you miss on some heavier and higher quality accessories and attachment points. Yet, for travel this is the BCD to use!

Pros

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Easy to adjust and carry

Cons

  • D-Rings made of plastic
  • Material overall a little thinner and less durable than on other BCD’s

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to BCD’s for women. That is true for both men and women. Women might even have a harder time to find the perfectly fitting BCD.

However, all the ones listed above will allow you to feel comfortable under water and on land. You want to make sure that you get a BCD that is the right size for your body. Then adjust it to fit for you and you should end up feeling secure and good with any of these BC’s.

We’d love to hear from you and your experiences. Please leave a comment below and share your personal experiences and your personal picks for the best BCD for women!

Cressi Start BCD Review

Review of the Cressi Start Buoyancy Compensator

The Cressi Start BCD is designed for beginner divers. That doesn’t mean it’s not a durable and solidly built BCD. Quite the opposite which also makes it a great choice for rental shops to have.

This BCD is simple and sturdy. And it comes at a great price! This makes it a great choice for the first BCD to have as a diver. The bladder is quite large and provides a lot of lift.

Cressi Start BCD

Review Summary of the Cressi Start BCD

Type

Jacket BCD

Ease of Use

Easy adjustments, sturdy build

Price Level

Very affordable BCD yet high quality build

We Like

  • Easy adjustments
  • Very durable build
  • Large handle to carry BCD
  • Great for rental shops

We Don't Like

  • No integrated weight system
  • Plastic D-Rings

Summary:

The Cressi Start BCD is just what the name says. It’s a BCD for beginners and due to the ease of use and sturdy build it’s a great choice for dive shops to rent out. It is built sturdy and with high quality materials that can take a beating. What is lacking is an integrated weight system that you get with pricier BCD’s. It would also be preferable to have metal D-rings instead of the plastic ones on the BCD. Not a big deal but metal simply is sturdier while the plastic ones definitely are of high-quality! All these low-issue complaints aside, you get a sturdy and well-designed BCD for a low amount of money!

Cressi Start BCD





Overview

The Cressi Start is designed as a buoyancy compensator for beginner divers. For this target group it offers everything you can ask for and quite a bit more.

One would not expect such a high-quality of a BCD for the price. The materials used are tough and resistant and make it a great BCD for rental shops. The jacket is constructed from very rugged materials, namely 500 and 1000 denier Condura. This piece of equipment can withstand a lot of use and tear without as much as a scratch!

The BCD comes with all the necessities you’d expect. It has two large pockets for storage and a number of D-rings to attach small gear. What it does not have is an integrated weight system. You’ll have to look at more expensive BC’s for that. That shouldn’t be that big of an issue assuming that you’re a beginner diver. You most likely got your certification through using a weight belt and are used to that anyway.

The Start is reasonably light at around 8 pounds of weight. The lift capacity depends on the size of the BCD you’re getting and goes up to 45 lbs. A nice feature is the large and sturdy handle that allow to pick up the BCD easily.

Technical Specifications

  • Jacket style BCD
  • Two large pockets with Velcro closings
  • Four plastic D-rings
  • Adjustable straps with quick release buckles
  • Up to 45 lbs lift capacity (depending on size)
  • Large carry handle for BCD and tank

Inflation System

The Start uses Cressi’s power inflation system. It has three over-pressure relief/dump valves. Two are located on the shoulders (one left, one right) and the third is round on the rear of the air cell on the right side. The two shoulder valves can be manually dumped with pull cords. The back one is used through the power inflator system.

The BCD has a 3/8” low pressure hose connector allowing to attach it to the first stage regulator. Setup and connection are easily handled even by a novice diver.

Storage

Cressi’s Start has two large side pockets. They close with a Velcro strap and are large enough to keep small dive accessories like a dive light, gloves, etc.

In addition there are four D-rings to attach other small dive accessories. Two are found on the shoulders and the other two are on the sides. You can use any of those to attach accessories or snap in hooks for dive gear like a console. They are built from high-quality plastic but are not made from stainless steel!

Adjustments and Comfort

The jacket/harness is easily adjusted to the diver. Similar to most modern jacket BCD’s it offers a 4 release design. The cummerbund is easily adjustable and provides padding for great mid-section support. It also makes sure that the weight is evenly distributed.

All straps on the jacket are adjustable to allow you to fit it perfectly. These straps are the sternum straps, torso and waist straps. All straps come with quick-release buckles.

The cummerbund/waist strap is independently attached to the back-plate and does not interfere with the air cell. This allows the air bubble to inflate away from the diver without creating a squeeze effect when it gets inflated.

Where to Buy?

You usually can find the best prices for the Cressi Start BCD on Amazon. There’s also a travel pack with the BCD and regulator and a dive bag available. You can usually save some money on such a package compared to buying all components separately.

Customer Feedback

The overall feedback for the Cressi Start is positive. It’s one of the most reviews BCD’s you can find as it’s a very popular piece of equipment.

The only real complaint that we found was that the owner did not get all the air out of the BCD. Honestly, there’s no reason why you couldn’t complete empty the air cell out so our assumption is that it was handled wrong or that the BCD was defective for any reason.

The majority of feedback you can find is super-positive. There’s practically no complaints to be found that would prevent you from considering to buy this BCD.

Conclusion

If you’re beginning with diving then the Cressi Start is a fantastic BCD. If you’re looking for a back-inflated BCD then you have to look elsewhere. Otherwise, you won’t find anything better for the price!

You’ll get a sturdy and well-built BCD that will not let you down for years to come. Eventually you might miss an integrated weight system or would like to have stainless steel D-Rings. However, if you’re used to a weight belt you might never consider another BCD in the first place. You do get a lot of BCD for the money and it’s hard to find a better piece of gear for a beginner!

Zeagle Scout BCD Review

Review of the Zeagle Scout Buoyancy Compensator

The Zeagle Scout BCD has been around for a while. It is a lightweight system which makes it perfect for travel.

Even though this BCD is light in weight, it is sturdy and built with highest quality materials. The Scout is designed as a low-profile back inflated BCD. It consists of a single air bladder in the back. You also find the integrated weight system in the mid to lower back.

Zeagle Scout BCD

Review Summary of the Zeagle Scout BCD

Type

Back Inflation BCD

Ease of Use

Easy to adjust and use.

Price Level

Very affordable BCD for the features provided.

We Like

  • Easy adjustments
  • Lightweight and small
  • Low profile back inflate BCD

We Don't Like

  • Weight pockets in back not accessible by diver

Summary:

The Zeagle Scout BCD is easy to use and transport. Its low profile build and light weight make it a great choice for travel and warm water diving. It offers sufficient storage space and has a built-in weight system. The material quality is of highest standard which will make it your BCD for the next years to come. The only downside is that the weight system is positioned in the back which does not allow you to reach the weights and ditch them if necessary. Pricing is very competitive and you will have a hard time finding a cheaper BCD in this class.

Zeagle Scout BCD





Overview

The Zeagle Scout is best used for warm environments and for travel. It’s low in weight and offers a low-profile design. The single air bladder is in the back.

The integrated weight system is found in the middle-lower back. It’s capable of storing up to 16 pounds in the weight pockets. This is unfortunately a rather bad place for keeping all the weight on this BCD. There is no way for a diver to reach the weights if they’d have to be ditched. In case of an emergency it would thus either have to be your dive buddy that can remove them or you’d have to drop the whole BCD. It’s understood that this should never happen but it is something you might want to consider. You might want to at least have some weights in the storage pockets or use a weight belt. Both are easy to reach if you had to.

Lift capacity on this BCD is 24 lbs. The dry weight of this BCD is 6.7 pounds. A nice feature is that you can fold the BCD down so it’s a compact package for traveling.

Technical Specifications

  • Low profile back inflated BCD
  • Two pockets with zipper
  • Four D-rings for attachments
  • Adjustable straps
  • 24 lbs lift capacity with single bladder
  • 16 lbs integrated weight system

Inflation System

The Scout has Zeagle’s Bx power inflator system. It’s been used on many of Zeagle’s BCD’s and has received high praise from many divers.

It is super easy to clean as you can hook up a garden hose to rinse out the bladder. There’s no need to try to get fresh water through the mouth piece of the inflator. You can simply rinse it out and clean it with the garden hose.

The inflator comes with a 3/8” low pressure hose. It offers a quick disconnect mechanism and you can easily attach that to the first stage regulator.

Storage

Zeagle’s Scout offers sufficient storage capacity with two rather large pockets that close with zippers. There’s enough storage space in these pockets for a dive light, gloves and other small accessories.

Other accessories can be attached to the four D-rings. Two of them are on the shoulders and two on the waist. They are sturdy in build so you can attach pretty much any kind of dive accessory you might need to bring.

Adjustments and Comfort

The harness offers a variety of adjustment possibilities to provide a custom fit for you. The waist, sternum and torso straps are all adjustable. The Velcro cummerbund can be adjusted to three positions to increase the overall comfort of this BCD.

The straps buckles are all equipped with side releases that simply need to be squeezed for opening. This offers easy closing of the straps when you put the BCD on or take it off.

Where to Buy?

Best prices of the Zeagle Scout BCD are typically found on Amazon. In addition to the base BCD you can also find a couple of different packages where the BCD is combined with a regulator and/or octo. This can save you some money if you need to get both pieces of gear.

Customer Feedback

When you look at the reviews of divers owning this BCD, the feedback is overall very positive. Some complain about the cummerbund bunching up in the back or the sturdiness not being there compared to other, heavier BCD’s. The main issue there seems to be that it’s harder to put the BCD on as it’s not as stiff.

However, the majority of divers that use this BCD love it. They love the compact size and low weight which makes it easy to travel with.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a reliable, high quality BCD which you can take with you on your travels then the Zeagle Scout is a great choice. It will be your dive companion for years to come and will not let you down.

It offers all the features you’d expect of a BC and really has no downsides. The only criticism is based on the location of the integrated weight system. It’s positioned in the back which makes it unreachable during a dive. If you need to ditch weight you will have your dive buddy take care of that. You can get easily around that by using the two pockets to store weights or by using a weight belt.

Suunto Vyper Air Dive Computer Review

The Suunto Vyper Air is the third member of the Vyper Dive Computer Family. It's not as capable as the Vyper Novo yet has air integration and a compass built in which separates it from the Suunto Vyper.

While it is an oversized dive watch, it does have a lot more resemblance to a watch than the other two models in the Vyper family. Yet, it is pretty large and roughly the same size as the Vyper model is.

Suunto Vyper Air Black

Review Summary of the Suuntu Vyper Air Dive Computer

Experience Level

For the recreational diver with medium dive experience.

STYLE

Oversized dive watch.

Ease of Use

Optimized and simplified navigation with four buttons.

Price Level

Overall pretty good price for the functionality you get.

We Like

  • Display shows all important data simultaneously
  • Simplified four button navigation
  • Sufficient features for beginner and experienced divers
  • Optional Air Integration
  • Integrated compass
  • Handles two gas mixes

We Don't Like

  • Too large to wear as a watch

Summary:

The Suunto Vyper Air is squarely placed between the Vyper and the Vyper Novo with regards to capabilities. However, looking at the price, this dive computer is much closer to the Vyper. If you skip the air transmitter (which you can buy later) then you get a very capable device for a very good price!

Suunto Vyper Air Dive Computer

The Vyper Air is only available as a wrist dive computer. It does not come mounted in a console.





Capabilities

The Suunto Vyper Air offers all important data on a large dot-matrix screen.

 This dive computer offers three different dive modes:

  • Air
  • Nitrox
  • Gauge
Suunto Vyper Air Black

The Suunto Vyper Air offers all features you would need as a recreational diver. Even if you start diving with different gas mixes, this is a dive computer that will work for you.

All visual alarms including a low battery indicator display on the main screen. There's no need to navigate to other menus to get alarm information. The battery can be changed by yourself which avoids having to take the scuba computer to a service center or dive shop.

Navigation on the Vyper Air is simple and streamlined. You have four buttons available to go to the different menus or to switch on the backlight. Even with thick dive gloves you will not have a problem to make sure that you hit the right button.

The Vyper Air has a full list of important alarms available. They are both visual and audible alarms. Here's the list of alerts that will warn you when limits are exceeded:

  • Dive Time
  • Maximum Depth
  • Tank pressure (with wireless transmitter)
  • High pO2
  • Decompression ceiling violation
  • Too fast ascent
  • CNS/OTU (OLF) 80% / 100%
  • Switch gas (better gas is available)

Technical Capabilities

​The Suunto Vyper Air is capable of handling two gas mixes between 21% and 99% oxygen. The pO2 limits can be set in the range from 1.2 to 1.6 bar.

The max. operational depth is 100 m (328 ft). The Vyper Air has adjustments for diving at high altitudes up to 3,000 meters (9,843 feet). The altitude can be set in four different steps. Setting the altitude correctly allows the algorithm to perform its calculations correctly.

The algorithm is Suunto's own RGBM. All Suunto dive computers use a variant of this algorithm. You can adjust the conservatism of the algorithm with two different settings. This provides higher safety margins during your dives if you prefer them.

Dive Log and Connectivity

​The dive log could be a little bigger. You can hold dive data up to 42 hours. That's if you use the standard sampling rate of 20 seconds. You can also adjust the rate to 1, 10, 20, 30 or 60 seconds.

You can link the Suunto Vyper Air to your computer by using a USB connection. The Suunto DM5 software which has to be installed on the computer can download the dive data. You can then analyze the data from past drives as well as plan out future dives.

Through the DM5 software you also have the ability to upload the data to the Movescount portal from Suunto. The data can be enriched with information like photos and videos and you can share it with others on the portal.

Missing Functionality

The SUUNTO Vyper Air has all features that you would need as a recreational diver. It can handle up to two gas mixes with for most dive situations is enough. In addition you do get air integration and a compass.

Features/Specifications

  • Streamlined navigation with four buttons
  • Visible and audible alarms when limits get exceeded
  • All important data displayed at a glance
  • Air, Nitrox and Gauge modes supported
  • Two gas mixes from 21% to 99%
  • pPO2 limits adjustable between 1.2 and 1.6 bars
  • Suunto RGBM algorithm
  • 2 settings to adjust conservatism of algorithm
  • 100 meters/328 feet operational depth
  • Set Altitude up to 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in four different steps
  • Data in either imperial or metric units
  • Up to 42 hours of dive log data at a sampling rate of 20 seconds
  • Sampling rate configurable to be 10, 20, 30 or 60 seconds
  • Battery can be replaced by user

Pros and Cons

The Vyper Air is a pretty complete dive computer. You get every functionality you need as a recreational diver.

You can save money now by getting the dive computer without the wireless transmitters. You can buy them at a later point in time (if at all) when you're ready to use air integration.

Pros

  • Easy navigation with a four button setups
  • Adjustable Suunto RGBM algorithm with two steps
  • Three dive modes (Air, Nitrox and Gauge)
  • Complete features set for recreational diver
  • Optional air integration
  • Integrated compass
  • Two gas mixes

Cons

  • Not a wrist watch

Recreational divers should not require more features than what the Vyper Air has to offer. The functionalities provided cover everything you could ask for.

Where to Buy?

The best prices and selection is usually found on Amazon. You can click the button below to find the lowest prices for the Suunto Vyper Air.

Customer Feedback

Looking at the customer reviews of people that bought this scuba computer shows that this is a great device. The feedback is very positive. Most complaints are about the device not working when they unpack it. With Amazon it's easy to simply return the dive computer and get a new one that works. You might run into issues with returns/exchanges with some other smaller online retailers.

Suunto Vyper Air with Air Integration

Comparing the Suunto Vyper Air

The chart below provides a quick comparison of the Suunto Vyper Air, Suunto Vyper and the Suunto Vyper Novo dive computers.

Suunto Vyper

Suunto Vyper Air

Suunto Vyper Novo

Suunto Vyper Dive Computer
Suunto Vyper Air Dive Computer
Suunto Vyper Novo Dive Computer Black

Max. Depth

100 m / 328 ft

100 m / 328 ft

80 m / 262 ft

Nitrox Capable

Free Dive Mode

Gas Mixes

  1gas

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

  2 gases

(Oxygen 21 - 99%)

  3 gases

(Oxygen 21 - 99%)

Connectivity

USB

USB

USB

Compass

Bezel

Composite

Composite

Composite

Case

Composite

Composite

Composite

Log Size

~ 36 hrs

~ 42 hrs

~ 140 hrs

Visual Alarms

Audible Alarms

Battery Life (Avg)

1.5 years avg

1.5 years avg

1.5 years avg

For more information you can check out our review of the Suunto Vyper Novo and of the Suunto Vyper Dive Computer.

Conclusion

​The Suunto Vyper Air provides all the features a recreational diver would need. Ant it all comes at a very reasonable price.

You get a full-featured dive computer that works reliably. The optional air integration allows to expand the capabilities at a later time when you require them.​

If you want most of the features offered by the Vyper Air but don't need a compass, air integration and to use two gas mixes then have a look at the review of the Suunto Vyper or even of the Suunto Zoop Novo. The Vyper is around the same price as the Vyper Air while the Zoop Novo is quite a bit cheaper.

Whom is the SUUNTO Vyper Air not for?

The Vyper Air satisfies the requirements that any recreational diver has. Technical divers might require more than two gas mixes but otherwise you get all functions you can think of.

It's a dive computer that has enough features for any experience level. Even a beginner could invest in it and then add air integration at a later time.

Having all functions that are required results in a dive computer that will support you during your dives for years to come. The Suunto Vyper Air offers what you need and all that at a really great price!

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