Best Scuba BCDs For Women – Reviews & Feature Guide

There’s an unparalleled thrill in being underwater, just you and the deep, vast blue world.

In that scenario, safety should be the least of your concern, as ideally, the diving equipment should take care of that. And it goes without saying that a BCD is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment to make your diving experience safe and comfortable.

But with so many options on the market, the odds of picking the perfect one are next to impossible, especially for women. So, to simplify things for you, I’m here with a review of the best women’s scuba BCDs.

Although, I have not tested these products myself (for obvious male-related reasons), I have picked the brains of couple of my female coleagues to find out what BCDs they like and why. And adding to that my “expert” opinion, this comprehensive review-based guide is the result.

Dive in for more details.

Best Women’s Scuba BCD – Top 5 Reviewed

1. Oceanic Biolite Ladies BCD

To start off, I have a travel BCD for women from the well-established aquatic equipment brand Oceanic. The brand manufactures accessible, modern, reliable, and user-friendly dive gear for professionals and recreational divers, so that they can truly appreciate the wonders of aquatic life.

What I like about it

Right off the bat, I like the lightweight build of this buoyancy compensator that weighed only 5.5 pounds. It is designed for comfort and can be folded in half to fit in a carry bag. So, if you’re planning a travel adventure that calls for light luggage, this one is your best bet.

Available in pink, it comes in four different sizes – extra small, small, medium, and large. Not sure if it will fit you? You can rest assured as it comes with an adjustable carabiner shoulder positioning system.

Additionally, it is made of Bioflex stretchable material that conforms and flexes to your physique. What’s more, it creates minimal drag while diving, owing to its airtight nature and small air cell.

What could be better?

My only complaint with this otherwise excellent travel BCD is that the sternum strap is self-adjusting, so you won’t be able to loosen it. So, remember that while it is good for your safety, it can be a tad uncomfortable at times.

PROS
  • Has a pinch and release system that handles 14 pounds
  • Bioflex build, with Cordura patches
  • Lightweight, easy to carry
  • Depth compensating straps
CONS
  • The sternum strap cannot be manually adjusted
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2. TUSA Tina

Founded in 1952, TUSA is a scuba gear company serving customers with durable equipment made from the finest quality material for decades. Its incomparable commitment to innovation and quality is evident in its products, making it stand out from others.

What I like about it

The special high-cut waist design for women impressed me the most, as it made wearing lead weight more comfortable. And the fast-drying back and shoulder pads with thick cushioning add convenience, so that you don’t feel burdened while diving. Additionally, its Advanced Weight Loading System takes the weight off the back, making the BCD super light.

I also like the unique Harness Stabilizing System that provides unparalleled tank stability and buoyancy control. It eliminates the chances of tank rolls and snugly holds the cylinder in its position. As a result, the tank remains closer to the body, giving you better control while reducing the weight.

Lastly, it has a two-point cam strap for quick adjustment that stays in place while looping the buckle.

What could be better?

Although the BCD has top-notch features, I would have liked it better if it came with a handy carry bag. Therefore, you’ll have to spare some extra bucks if you want one. And while carry bags are easily available, choosing a suitable one and separately ordering it is a bit of a hassle.

PROS
  • Third gen AWLS
  • Harness system isolates the straps from the air cell
  • High cut waist support system
  • Next level comfort and convenience
CONS
  • Doesn’t come with a carry bag
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3. Zeagle Zena

Next on the list is another high-quality BCD with women specific features. Built on innovation, the brand has a mission statement to set new standards for aquatic safety and performance. It scrutinizes every material and stitch, striving to provide top-quality long-lasting scuba gear.

What I like about it

One of the biggest reasons this BCD made it to my list is the personal fit system that can be tweaked according to your personal needs. You can input exact specifications like chest size, waist size, and torso length for maximum comfort.

What’s more, it is made with ballistic nylon for ultimate abrasion resistance and durability. You’d be surprised to know that this material was originally used for WWII fighter pilots, so you need not worry about its safety underwater.

Additionally, the Ripcord system can be operated single-handedly in emergencies, allowing you to drop your weights quickly and control buoyancy. And when deployed, the weights can be then used in the next dive as opposed to other models that ditch them on the ocean bed.

What could be better?

I couldn’t help but complain a bit about the steep price tag of this female BCD. If you’re on a tight budget, maybe this one isn’t the ideal choice for you. But I’ll have to admit that its durability more than compensates for its high price.

PROS
  • Elastic and zipper controlled front panels
  • Capacity bladder of 31 pounds
  • Lightweight; weighing 6.2 pounds
  • Variety of colored front panels
CONS
  • More expensive than other options
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4. Cressi Start Pro

The penultimate women’s BCD is from a brand that has been on the market since 1946. It is an ideal option for beginners who don’t want to spend too much on diving equipment. Plus, it has received excellent reviews from dive centers and customers, so you can rely on its product quality.

What I like about it

What makes the Cressi Start Pro stand out from the rest is its 420 Denier nylon interior and 500 Denier Cordura exterior. These materials add to the durability, ensuring that they last for multiple diving seasons.

So, need extra storage space for a long session? No worries, as this one has two large multi-purpose zipper pockets along with a ballast-carrying pocket on the outside.

The product is also high on safety, thanks to its three pressure valves and quick-to-open security buckle. Its double-strapped waistband and additional safety strap make it safe for first-time users.

Furthermore, the backpack is compact and lean with exceptional flexibility, not to forget its snug tank anchoring with a thermoplastic damper.

What could be better?

No doubt the Cressi is durable, but the D-rings are made of plastic instead of steel. So, they may have a shorter lifespan and need a replacement after a while. But that is a negligible drawback, and the rings can easily be bought at a nominal price.

PROS
  • Large multi-purpose pockets
  • Adjustable safety straps
  • Strong build, durable material
  • Three pressure valves
CONS
  • Plastic D-rings
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5. Mares Kaila SLS

I’ll end the list with the Kaila SLS Womens BCD from Mares, a brand that promises to offer diving gear with advanced performance and superior technology. The product focuses on comfort, stability, and durability. And it is a suitable choice for professional female divers looking for advanced features and added safety for longer diving sessions.

What I like about it

Featuring the latest lock and slide ballast system, Mares Kaila has increased and stable holding surfaces. It is also equipped with a quick locking system for maximum safety. And there’s enough space to carry 17 to 26 pounds – from extra small to large sizes.

Furthermore, its fit is praiseworthy because of the distinct separation of the straps from the bag. This provides enhanced stability and a wider movement range, even if you adjust it underwater. There’s a buckle on the shoulder strap, which can be moved on the belt, ensuring minimum shoulder traction during inflation.

What’s more, the position of the corrugator can also be adjusted, so you can keep it restrained to the body or further away.

What could be better?

Just like the Zeagle Zena, this BCD is also quite pricey and won’t be for those on a budget. However, if you are a professional, you can consider getting this one, as it is equipped with quite a few special features. Beginners, on the other hand, won’t be able to use most of its advanced qualities.

PROS
  • New SLS system
  • Steel D-rings
  • Adjustable waistband
  • Corrugated tube is adjustable
CONS
  • Steep price tag
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BCD Features To Consider For Women

Here are a few factors worth considering before buying a ladies BCD:

1. Comfort

The most important feature about a BCD is its comfort, for which a lot of things are responsible. Fit, design, strap adjustability, drying speed, back support, among many other factors, decide its overall snugness.

So, ensure looking into these specifications before purchasing, as these details are usually mentioned in the product description.

2. Safety

It’s crucial that the BCD is safe and is made of sturdy material that won’t get damaged in high water pressure. There are several systems like Harness Stabilizing and SLS that add to user safety. Some have pressure relief valves and easy weight dumping mechanisms. Therefore, go with the option that has all these features in place so that you can dive without worries.

3. Weight

A light BCD is easier to handle below water and won’t strain your back. Keep in mind that the lighter it is, the easier it will be for you to dive, so get one that won’t overburden you.

Some new designs have breastplates and back support systems that will only add to your convenience.

4. Durability

When you buy a scuba BCD, you’d want it to last for at least a few years, so get one that is made of robust material like Codura or Biolite. These are currently the most durable ones on the market and are known to remain damage-free for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Difference Between Men’s and Women’s BCDs?

The major difference between a female and male body that affects the BCD is the shape. Women’s backs are shorter, shoulders are narrower, and hips are wider as compared to men’s.

An ill-fitting or too long body compensator can make diving unsafe, on top of affecting comfort. That’s why women’s BCDs have shorter waist cuts so that they stay above the hips without putting pressure on the weight belt.

Moreover, they are lighter, offer added back support, and have adjustable sternum straps to ensure maximum comfort.

What is The Lightest BCD?

According to my research, the Oceanic Biolite is the lightest option on the market. It weighs only 5.5 pounds and can accommodate up to 14 pounds.

How Well Do Unisex BCDs Fit?

Unisex BCDs are quite ill-fitting because they don’t cater to women’s specific needs. They are heavier and do not have a high waist cut, which drives them into the weight belt, making it uncomfortable for the female diver. Moreover, they don’t fit on shorter backs and extend lower than BCDs should, which affects the dive safety.

Conclusion

Body compensator devices are vital to keeping you safe while you explore the aquatic world and vast marine life.

And female BCDs are specially designed to fit their bodies and ensure the utmost comfort and safety.

Before calling it a day, I’ll let you in on my favorite picks. Unarguably, the Oceanic Biolite is my top recommendation, owing to its sturdy and lightweight Bioflex build. If you like traveling and exploring new diving spots, this BCD is your best bet.

Also, TUSA Tina is a competent choice with its quick-drying shoulder pads and Harness Stabilizing System. And I’ll sign off on that note, hoping this guide will help you make a smart choice.