How to choose your diving buoyancy compensator

The different types of buoyancy compensator 

Wraparound diving buoyancy compensator

Adjustable wraparound buoyancy compensator

As its name suggests, this type of BCD is designed so that the volume of air is distributed over the entire surface of the body it covers. This provides a high level of buoyancy as well as better support if you are in an upright position. It usually features a backpack that is often padded for comfort. With its waist strap and adjustable shoulder straps, this buoyancy compensator is easy to adjust and adapts to fit all body shapes (men or women). It has large side pockets and some models even have integrated quick-release weight pockets. 

Back inflation buoyancy compensator 

This buoyancy compensator is a type of BCD mostly used for technical diving such as cave diving, wreck diving, etc. But they are becoming increasingly widespread. They are also quite popular with photographers because the front part is unobstructed and it lets you move freely underwater. The bladder, located at the back, leaves the diver's torso free and the tightening and adjustment is independent of inflation. In addition, this type of buoyancy compensator helps keep the diver horizontal when underwater.

Back inflation diving buoyancy compensator
Travel diving buoyancy compensator

"Travel" buoyancy compensator

Generally, this type of buoyancy compensator does not have a rigid backpack, which makes it easier to fold up. Very light and ultra compact, it can be either an adjustable or back-inflation type. It is the ideal BCD if you are going on a diving holiday for example. 

How to choose your diving buoyancy compensator

Other diving buoyancy compensator choice criteria 

How to choose your diving buoyancy compensator
Our tips on how to look after your diving buoyancy compensator

Looking after your buoyancy compensator 

As with any diving equipment, don't forget to maintain your gear!~The secret to a long-lasting buoyancy compensator starts with using it properly. Avoid overloading your BCD with weights and always remember to carry your cylinder by the handle. After each dive, always rinse your BCD with clean water. At the end of every season, prepare your BCD for winter storage while you wait for the return of sunnier days!~With it being a fairly technical piece of diving equipment, you will need to get it serviced by an approved centre every 2 years in addition to general maintenance.

Anne, diving sales assistant Decathlon Bouc-Bel-Air, France


Diving sales assistant - decathlon bouc-bel-air, france - level 3 ffessm and subea sub-editor

When trying on your future buoyancy compensator, remember to always inflate it fully! This way, you will be sure which size is most suitable for you and you can see if you are able to easily access the rings, inflator, etc.