The Difference Between BCDs | Which is Right for You?

In the diving industry today, there are a million and one different BCDs available. But in order to make things clearer, there are really just three different categories of BCDs. a semi-wing bcd, a wing style, and a jacket style. We will outline the advantages and disadvantages of each of the three in detail. Please visit to view the original article.


Jacket style BCD

The jacket-style BCD, which is still the most common among divers, comes first. The fact that you are surrounded by an air-filled bladder is one of its primary characteristics. Therefore, when you inflate the BC, it will also inflate on the sides and the rear.

What we enjoy about BCDs in the jacket style:

  • On the surface, you are remarkably steady. With a jacket-style BCD, maintaining balance on the ground is effortless.
  • It is simple to switch diving positions when underwater. If you wish to swim on your side or back, for example, this is simple to achieve.
  • Weight integration is almost universal in jacket-style bcds.
  • The large pockets and numerous d-rings found in jacket design BCDs make it simple to transport extras.

What we dislike about BCDs in the jacket style:

  • You're not in the best diving position. Because of where the weight pockets and bladder are located, you prefer to swim with your legs somewhat pointing downward.
  • Having the pockets and weight pockets under your arms limits your range of motion. These limit how freely you can move your arms.
  • Some divers dislike how their fully inflated BCD compresses them.

A jacket-style BCD example:

  1. Scubapro X-Black

Wing style BCD

Though it has its roots in technical diving, the wing-style BCD is growing in popularity. A wing is essentially devoid of any elements deemed superfluous for diving. So all that is left is the bladder, backplate, and harness. The key feature is that the bladder is positioned on the back and is completely unnoticeable when inflated.

What we appreciate about a BCD with wings:

  • A wing style forces you to dive face-first because it only inflates on your back. The ideal and most efficient diving position is this one. Your fins not pointing down means you won't be throwing up any sand or dust, which is a huge advantage.
  • Although the harness doesn't seem like much, it is quite comfortable if it is properly adjusted to your size.
  • A wing style BCD gives you a lot of freedom of movement around your arms because it is devoid of everything that is not necessary.
  • Every component can be changed. Therefore, if you need a new harness, all you need to do is purchase a new one rather than replacing the entire wing.
  • Technical and recreational dives can both be performed with a wing (and a twin set).

What we dislike about a BCD with wings:

  • Setting the harness's size is challenging. It is irritating to constantly modify the size of your harness, especially if you frequently switch between a wetsuit and a dry suit.
  • Because the shoulder straps on a wing style BCD are not adjustable, it is more difficult to put it on.
  • On a proper wing, there are no pockets and no weight integration. The majority of technical divers have pockets on their dry suit's legs because of this.
  • The tendency of a wing to shove you face down in the water on the surface is something you need to get used to. The bladder is situated in the back, which explains this. Leaning back a little bit can quickly cure this.

Semi-wing Style BCD

The semi-wing BCD is essentially a cross between the jacket and wing styles of BCDs. With the bladder on your back, you may "skydive" through the water while simultaneously having enormous pockets and weight integration. The majority of semi-wings also feature a typical adjustable harness.

What we enjoy about a BCD with semi-wings:

  • A semi-wing and a full wing both dive quite similarly. The prone position is ideal for not kicking up any sand or dust and provides excellent streamlining.
  • There are enough pockets and d-rings to store all the necessary accessories.
  • The majority of semi-wings integrate their weight.
  • The adjustable harness on a semi-wing is identical to that on a jacket-style BCD. As a result, you don't need to spend a lot of time adjusting your harness while switching between a dry suit and a wetsuit.
  • Because most semi-wings have bungees around the bladder, which compress the bladder as it deflates, it is simpler to deflate them.

What we dislike about a BCD with semi-wings:

  • Technical diving is impossible while using a semi-wing. Some of them let you mount a 7x7 twin set on them, but that's about the maximum size.
  • Unless you have purchased the Aqualung Outlaw or Rogue, there is no way to replace individual elements like the bladder or a backplate.
Examples of semi-wing BCDs:
  1. Aqualung Outlaw
  2. Scubapro Hydros Pro
  3. Mares Pure SLS
  4. Scubapro Seahawk

Which BCD is therefore best for you? This is the million dollar question, and there is no right or wrong answer because it depends on the individual. Personally, I enjoy the freedom of the wing style BCD, which makes it my go-to BCD when I dive recreationally. But because it resembles what the pupils are wearing, I choose a jacket-style BCD when I teach scuba to students.

Try one of each type if you can before deciding which is best for you because this does not necessarily mean that it applies to you.


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