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.
We Don't Like
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.
We Don't Like
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.
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.
For the beginner and recreational diver.
Wrist watch sized to be worn every day.
Ease of Use
Simple two button navigation allowing quick menu access.
Reasonably priced for the features it offers.
We Don't Like
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.
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.
The Cressi Goa supports the following dive modes:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Suunto Zoop Novo
80 m / 262 ft
120 m / 394 ft
120 m / 394 ft
Free Dive Mode
(Oxygen 21 - 50%)
(Oxygen 21 - 50%)
(Oxygen 21 - 50%)
~ 140 hrs
~ 50 dives
~ 70 hrs
Battery Life (Avg)
1.5 years avg
2 years avg
1.5 years avg
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You will get closer to finding your best BCD by taking the following criteria/suggestions into consideration.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Ease of Use
Easy adjustments, sturdy build
Very affordable BCD yet high quality build
We Don't Like
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Back Inflation BCD
Ease of Use
Easy to adjust and use.
Very affordable BCD for the features provided.
We Don't Like
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the recreational diver with medium dive experience.
Oversized dive watch.
Ease of Use
Optimized and simplified navigation with four buttons.
Overall pretty good price for the functionality you get.
We Don't Like
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!
The Vyper Air is only available as a wrist dive computer. It does not come mounted in a console.
The Suunto Vyper Air offers all important data on a large dot-matrix screen.
This dive computer offers three different dive modes:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recreational divers should not require more features than what the Vyper Air has to offer. The functionalities provided cover everything you could ask for.
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.
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
Suunto Vyper Novo
100 m / 328 ft
100 m / 328 ft
80 m / 262 ft
Free Dive Mode
(Oxygen 21 - 50%)
(Oxygen 21 - 99%)
(Oxygen 21 - 99%)
~ 36 hrs
~ 42 hrs
~ 140 hrs
Battery Life (Avg)
1.5 years avg
1.5 years avg
1.5 years avg
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.
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!
The Aqualung Dimension i3 is not the newest BCD on the market. It’s been around for a few years now but it still is one of the best and most reliable BCD’s you can find.
The Dimension i3 is a back inflated BCD. It’s pretty light which makes it a good choice for traveling with it. It features the i3 inflation system which allows you to use a small lever to inflate or deflate.
Back inflated BCD
Ease of Use
Simple to use with good features.
Good price for a dive computer with this functionality.
We Don't Like
The Aqualung Dimension i3 is as close to a perfect BCD as you can get. The i3 inflation system is easy to use. The adjustment capabilities on this BCD allow you to find the best fit possible. The only downside is the limited storage space. That's easy to compensate by using attachable pockets.
The Dimension series is very comfortable to wear and use. The harness system connects to shoulder buckles that swivel. These attach to a solid backpack with a lumbar support system that adjusts itself. Even years after it had been introduced you’ll have a hard time finding a BCD that is more comfortable to wear.
Additionally, it offers a lot of attachment points as well as ditchable and tank band trim pouches. It does come with the SureLock II integrated weight system which had been recalled a few years ago by Aqualung. However, any BCD with this system that you can buy today is safe and had been replaced by the manufacturer.
A downside is that the BCD does not offer a lot of built-in storage space. You’ll pretty much get one small pouch that closes with a zipper and one pocket with a Velcro closure.
The BCD also features an octo holder, an adjustable tank strap and a console sleeve. The harness offers various adjustment possibilities so you can make it fit perfectly.
The i3 inflation and deflation system from Aqualung is one of the best systems on the market. It combines the inflator and deflator into a single lever. It’s positioned to be easily reached and operated.
Putting the lever into the deflate position opens the exhaust valves which are designed to have a low profile. This allows the air to escape no matter what position you’re in. The adjustments are sensitive enough to allow to make very small adjustments as needed.
It takes a minute to get used to the i3 system and the position on the BCD. However, once you have it down it’s a much more convenient location and design than you’ve experienced with other BC’s.
The oral inflator is positioned over the shoulder and needs a little getting used to. It comes with a long hose. If you leave it out the hose floats and ends up being in the way. Storing during a dive is somewhat cumbersome. For recreational diving that shouldn’t be a problem as it’s not meant to be used regularly during a dive.
Storage is somewhat limited with this BCD. You have two pockets which are on top of each other. The other side of the BCD is holding the i3 inflator which results in there being no space on that side.
There’s a small pocket that closes with a zipper. It’s unfortunately really too small to be used for anything reasonably sized.
The second pocket closes with a Velcro strap. It can fold up if not used so it won’t be in the way. It’s larger and can even be used to put extra weight into it. However, consider that the pocket is on the side and if you put extra weight into it you won’t be evenly balanced under water.
The BCD makes up for the lack of pockets by offering 4 D-rings which you can use to attach external pockets and gear to. Lastly, the pocket for the octo is easy to use. It keeps the octo safe and prevents it from coming loose.
Lastly, the BCD offers a console sleeve on the side of the BCD. It helps you to keep your console with the gauges tight to the jacket so they stay in reach.
Comfort is another area where this BCD shines. It is easily adjusted until you have it fit perfectly. All adjustments are in the right places so it’s easy to use and setup. The chest strap is attached through a rail system. You can move it up or down until it sits in the right spot. The waist strap easily adjusts to fit your body and sit tight.
The jacket is light which makes it even more comfortable to wear and use. Additionally, it makes it a great BCD for traveling.
One thing you need to get used to with this BCD is that the tank strap is very low around the tank. Much lower than with most other BC’s. Make sure not to place the strap too high or you’ll have the jacket to get bunched up and you won’t get a comfortable fit. Positioned correctly, the BCD will fit like a glove when all other adjustments are set.
The shoulder straps connect with a swivel. This allows for easy rotation and helps to situate the harness and jacket. The tank valve strap on the back is also used as the handle to carry the BCD.
Being a back inflate BCD it does get used to if you’re used to a jacket BCD. It is different to handle when you’re out of the water as the bladder on the back will push you forward. It makes it harder to stay upright in the water due to that. Under water that’s no problem and most divers do prefer the back inflated BCD due to the support it provides.
You'll usually find the lowest price for the Aqualung Dimension i3 on Amazon. There you also can find scuba packages that include consoles, regulators, octopus, dive computer, etc. Check out the various packages to save a bundle and get a great set of gear!
Customer reviews anywhere on the internet are overwhelmingly positive. It's basically impossible to find a negative review for this outstanding BCD.
This is a great BCD. Short and simple. It’s not perfect but you’ll have a hard time finding one that fits better.
The Vyper Novo and the Zoop Novo are the successors of the Vyper and Zoop. Each in their own category added a lot more features than the predecessor models. You can however still buy the Zoop and Vyper today in case you are looking for dive computers that cost less.
In this comparison we wanted to have a look at the differences between the two models. They do target very different divers with regards to their experience.
The Zoop Novo is designed for the beginner diver. It has sufficient capabilities to work for most recreational divers. Once you want to start technical diving and need multiple gas mixes as well as air integration you want to have a closer look at the Vyper Novo.
At first glance you'd think these two dive computers are twins. They do look very similar yet the Vyper Novo is a little larger in diameter and height compared to the Zoop Novo.
Both dive computers are designed to be worn at the wrist. The Zoop Novo is also available as a console version if you prefer to use your dive computer in the console.
The size difference between the two dive computers is not as large as the comparison above suggests. The diameter of Vyper Novo is around 0.2 inches larger than the Zoop Novo. The Zoop Novo comes in three different colors (Blue, Lime, Black) while the Vyper Novo comes in Black and White.
The displays on both devices are very similar in quality. They are large and provide the essential information on one screen. Both have backlights and also are phosphor-luminescent so they glow in the dark if you shine your dive light onto them. The Zoop Novo is lacking a number of features that the Vyper Novo has and that explains the different data being displayed.
The list of features has been significantly expanded. The Vyper Novo is a true high-end dive computer now. The Vyper is barely above the entry-level in comparison.
The Vyper Novo provides a lot more features than the Zoop Novo. It's designed for a completely different type of diver. The features provided satisfy most technical and recreational divers. The Zoop is designed as an entry-level dive computer that targets beginner divers and divers that don't need the ability to dive with several gas mixes or have air integration.
While the Zoop Novo is capable of handling Nitrox up to 50%, the Vyper Novo can handle three different gas mixes up to 100% oxygen. Additionally, each of these three gas mixes (tanks) can be wirelessly integrated to track the dive time remaining. The Vyper Novo also has a digital compass integrated.
Both offer five modes - air, nitrox, gauge, free diving and off. The log capacity in both dive computers is the same at 140 hours at a sampling rate of 20 seconds. Sampling rates are adjustable.
The algorithm in both models can handle Deep Stops which the predecessors could not deal with. The Vyper Novo's version of the Suunto RGBM can deal with three different gas mixes compared to the one gas mix in the Zoop Novo. Both dive computers support two conservatism adjustment settings to the base algorithm to make it more conservative.
The Vyper Novo and the Zoop Novo do not really compare. They have completely different feature sets and target different experience levels and types of divers. The Vyper Novo is full-featured dive computer with all the bells and whistles you can ask for. Considering that you can add the air integration at a later time it is not that outrageously expensive. It's certainly a lot more in cost than the Zoop Novo.
If you are just starting with diving or don't dive very often the the Zoop Novo is a great device for you. The feature set will be enough for the next years to come and who knows what new kinds of dive computers we will have by then.
When you have a few years of diving experience and you do technical dives with multiple gas mixes then the Vyper Novo is a great companion for your dives. The optional air integration makes it easy to track your gas consumption during a dive.
If you are not that experienced yet but you are already thinking of dives using multiple gases then you might consider getting the Vyper Novo even though you might not use its advanced right at this moment. You will save money though as you're not buying an entry-level dive computer just to then having to trade up in a year or so.