Are Scuba Tanks Heavy?

Last Updated: February 21, 2023

Scuba diving is an extremely entertaining and rewarding activity. It allows you to discover and explore the beauty of the world under the sea. You also get to meet interesting people along the way and create beautiful friendships.

While professional divers may be used to the rules of scuba diving and can handle their own equipment, people who are beginners may not. The equipment needed for scuba diving is usually a pretty heavy set and can intimidate a person who has no prior experience.

Among all the tubes, goggles, and straps, the heaviest equipment is, without a doubt, the scuba tank. They may look very heavy, but I assure you they are not.

Let’s break down the details and give you the gist of how heavy a scuba tank really is. So, read on.

How Heavy is a Scuba Tank?

heavy scuba tank?

A scuba tank normally weighs between 26 pounds (11 kilograms) to 40 pounds (18 kilograms) above the surface of the water. The weight of the cylinder is determined by a lot of factors, including the material of the tank, the quality of it, and how you use it.

You may find scuba tanks to be heavy when transporting them and when you are above the surface of the water. But don’t worry! Because once you get into the water, the buoyancy of the water will make the tank feel weightless on your back. So you don’t have to worry about the weight dragging you down.

How Much Does a Scuba Tank Weigh When It’s Empty and Full?

A scuba tank does weigh more with air, as air has mass. Hence scuba tank weight full vs. empty is quite significant. The weight difference between a filled scuba tank and an empty one is roughly about 5.9 pounds which is 2.6 kilograms.

Also read: How Long Do Scuba Tanks Last?

Steel vs Aluminium Scuba Tanks: What is The Difference?

Aluminum and steel are the 2 most common metals used in making scuba cylinders. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of both types.

Steel Scuba Tanks

  • Steel air tanks are comparatively negatively buoyant than aluminum tanks. When you dive with a steel tank, there is no additional weight. This gives you better control of the buoyancy.
  • Steel tanks of higher volume are more or less the same size as aluminum tanks, if not even smaller.
  • Steel is a stronger metal.
  • The inner wall of a steel air cylinder is much thinner than that of an aluminum one. This gives you space to store more oxygen.
  • Steel tanks are so much more expensive than aluminum tanks.
  • Inside of the steel tank might rust.

Aluminium Scuba Tanks

  • More affordable.
  • Preferred for beginners while they learn how to scuba dive.
  • Corrosion-resistant.
  • Aluminum tanks are more positively buoyant. So when you are underwater, you are carrying a little extra weight, but some will float when empty.
  • The walls are a lot thicker than the steel tanks.
  • Aluminum scuba cylinders are also heavier and bigger than steel cylinders.

If you want to know the exact numerical differences between these 2 types of air cylinders, have a look at the scuba tank weight chart here.

Final Thoughts

Scuba tanks can seem very heavy to look at and feel, especially if you are someone who is diving for the first time. However, this will only be the case when you are above the water.

Due to the buoyancy and the pressure of water, the tank will feel almost weightless when you start diving. If you want an even lighter scuba tank, go for a steel one as it is much smaller than the aluminum tanks.

That being said, even if you do try scuba diving with an aluminum tank, you will still be able to handle it with ease under the water. So, you have nothing to worry about.

You should do a weight check before your dive anyway to figure out the weight you need for proper buoyancy.

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