Best BCD for Women
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. To get a better idea on which criteria to consider overall for buying a BCD, have a look at our buyer’s guide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Available in a variety of colors
- Super-comfortable and secure front panel with zipper
- Adjustable straps to provide a perfect fit
- Not a lot of storage space
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.
- Large range of sizes
- Various color options
- Sturdy and comfortable
- Streamlined design
- 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.
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.
- Very comfortable to wear
- Great integrated weight system
- Large range of available sizes
- Plastic D-Rings
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.
- 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
- 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.
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!
- Very compact and lightweight
- Easy to adjust and carry
- D-Rings made of plastic
- Material overall a little thinner and less durable than on other BCD’s
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!