The Best BCDs for Women 2019

Women’s BCDs are buoyancy control devices that have been specially designed to fit around the female physique.

If you’re a woman of the scuba variety and you’re ready to purchase your own diving bcd; it makes sense to go ahead and get one that’s as comfortable as possible for you – right?

Of course, with so…many…women’s bcds out there its’ not always easy to tell the dud bcds from the high performers.

Things get even tricker when you realise that some women’s bcds are for a certain type of gal – such as being sculpted for bustier girls – or, on the contrary designed for petite girls’ frames.

That’s why we’ve tried and tested dozens of womens bcds and brutally reviewed every feature of them down to the last D-ring.

Below, we summarise our favourite 6 models – the very Best BCDs for women on the market right now:

Woman diver on boat with bcd gives the ok sign.
Perky women at a dive store, holding her chosen travel bcd.

QUICK LOOK - Best Women's BCD's

Check Latest PriceModel Best forPriceDiving Squad Rating:
Click HereScubaPro Hydros Women’s BCDFantastic All Rounder$$$9.9/ 10
Click HereCressi Travelight BCD for WomenCheap Budget$9/ 10
Click HereAqua Lung Pearl BCD for WomenPerfect Buoyancy Control$$8.4 / 10
Click HereMares Kaila Women’s BCDDurability$$6.3 / 10
Click HereZeagle Zena BCD for WomenCurvy girls$$9.1/ 10
Click HereAqua Lung Soul I3Petite girls$$9.4 / 10

Best Women's BCD Reviews

Scubapro Hydros BCD for Women

$$$

9.9/10

Quick Look:

  • Modular design for easy customisation.

  • Virtually every component is replaceable = extended lifespan.

  • Instant dry design means less water retention.

  • Injection moulded harness and dual compound backplate for comfort, stability and flexibility.

  • Large range of colour options.

  • LIFT CAPACITY: 16 – 18kg (36 – 40lbs)
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.9kg (6.5 lb)
  • WEIGHT SYSTEM: Integrated

Review: In addition to being tailored to fit round a female build, the Scubapro Hydros is an exceptionally comfortable bcd, thanks to being created using a fluid form 3D gel system.

Normally, bcds are manufactured using a CMT (Cut, Trim, Make) process whereby multiple layers of fabric, foam and cutting are cut to shape and stitched together, then finished with edging tape and detailing.

Scubapros innovative new fluid-form 3d gel system replaces the CMT process by moulding harness components in soft, highly resilient thermoplastic elastomer and then assembling them using a modular, mechanical process. 

This results in a bcd with numerous features that provide, comfort, stability, manoeuvrability and buoyancy control to enhance the overall diving experience:

The gel conforms to the body resulting in an ergonomic fit and highly efficient load distribution, free of pressure points. The monoprene harness retains virtually no water so it weighs less post dive and quickly dries.

The fabric free construction provides excellent resistance to UV and chemicals and because it’s modular it offers divers a “BC-4-Life” that’s customisable and easy to repair. 

So: insane comfort & buoyancy control, exceptional durability, a lightweight and ergonomic design plus formidable customisation – these are the reasons the Scubapro Hydros comes first place as our absolute best bcd for women.

PROS

  • Created with exclusive & innovative manufacturing process (fluid form 3D gel system) for exceptional comfort and ease of diving.

  • Highly durable.

  • Very customisable.

CONS

  • Expensive

Cressi Travelight BCD for Women

$

9/10

Quick Look:

  • Adjustable Height (waist and chest straps that slide up and down).

  • Lightweight and has folding backplate for ease of packing.

  • Pushbutton design is easy to use = great for beginners.

  • Anti-sand design prevents stem and filter from getting blocked.

  • FAST folding system means it rapidly folds down.

  • LIFT CAPACITY: 6.3kg – 16.3kg (14lb -36 lb)
  • STYLE: Jacket
  • DRY WEIGHT: 3kg (6.65lb)
  • WEIGHT SYSTEM: Integrated

Review: In addition to being a great women’s bcd, this is also one of our favourite travel bcds due to the minimalist design and FAST folding system, which make it incredibly easy to pack. It will easily roll up and fit in your day bag! 

The “Cressi Travelight lady” version is specifically tailored to a female cut and offers a comfortably padded, female wraparound fit which can be adjusted to a variety of heights and sizes.

It includes a direct system inflator, which has a recalibrated speed of inflation and an anti-sand design. A pushbutton design also makes it simple and easy to use for beginners. 

This bcd also features deep pockets with zipper closure to ensure your equipment stays secure as well as 8 ultra light alloy D rings for further equipment attachment. 

This is a relatively cheap bcd; as a result we found it to be not quite so tough as others, but it is still strong enough to last a considerable time. Cressi,  with their bulletproof reputation have succeed yet again at creating another great yet affordable all-rounder. 

PROS

  • Cushioned interior makes it exceptionally comfortable

  • Lightweight and easy to pack

  • Budget friendly

  • Adjusts to a variety of sizes and heights

CONS

  • Not the lightest

  • Not as durable as some bcds.

Aqua Lung Pearl BCD for Women

$$

8.4/10
aqua lung pearl bcd for women

Quick Look:

  • More support with integrated sports bra

  • Flat valves for reduced drag

  • Unique design featuring hybrid air cell and combined back-inflation wing with jacket style

  • Additional weight pockets with single pull release for emergencies

  • LIFT CAPACITY: 10.4 – 20kg (23-44lbs)
  • STYLE: Jacket
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.2kg (5 lb)
  • WEIGHT SYSTEM: Integrated

Review: The pearl incorporates a unique design that employs a hybrid air cell to combine a back inflation wing with a wraparound style jacket. This results in a much sleeker bcd with low profile edges that rise above the hips. 

The advantages of this is increased lift in a small, lightweight package as well as better stability and buoyancy control throughout the dive. 

With an adjustable waist band, specially curved shoulder straps and an integrated sports bra, this is a formidably comfortable bcd for female divers to wear, as well as highly customisable for the perfect fit.

It comes equipped with an Aqua Lungs Powerline Inflator; with an increased fill weight this is now one of the highest air flows in the industry. This is an environmentally sealed unit for less maintenance and sports integrated hose clips for attachment to the LP hose to give streamline and low profile. 

Two large, lobe pockets with zippers as well as four D-rings are ideal for keeping your accessories secure. A mid priced bcd, the pearls unique design is something you will either love or hate. 

PROS

  • Unique design for improved stability, streamline and buoyancy control

  • Durable

CONS

  • A little bulky

  • Only 1 colour range

Mares Kaila

$$

6.3/10

Quick Look:

  • Comfortable: plush lining with padded back and collar.

  • Elastic cummerbund

  • Torso adjustable swivel shoulder straps & adjustable weight and chest straps. 

  • LIFT CAPACITY: 16.3 kg (35.9lbs)
  • STYLE: Jacket
  • DRY WEIGHT: 4kg (8lb)
  • WEIGHT SYSTEM: Integrated

Review: The Mares Kaila is undeniably a very comfortable bcd; this is thanks to the plush lining with padded back and collar as well as the elastic cummerbund. It’s equipped with smart trim weight positioning for a balanced feel underwater. 

It’s design has been tightly tailored to reduce drag, placing much of the air cell around the tank. Furthermore, the air cell is contoured to significantly reduce the feeling of the bladder under your arms and give comfortable surface flotation. 

This is a sturdy and durable bcd with a strong aesthetic design that will surely appeal to some, whilst putting others off. It all comes down to personal preference. 

There were a few features of this bcd that we weren’t’ huge fans of. For one thing it has a bulky design – combine this with a dry weight of 4kg and it’s far from an ideal travel bcd.

It also has limited pocket space and to add further inconvenience it’s weight pockets have been known to detach, which can be more than a little disconcerting when it happens during a dive!

All in all the Mares Kaila is still a pretty good bcd – if comfort is your number one priority, followed by durability this is a good choice, but it is certainly less convenient to pack than other bcds and somewhat lacking in ergonomic features. 

PROS

  • Extra comfortable

  • Highly durable

  • Provides visual confirmation of proper weight pouch distribution

CONS

  • Bulky & heavy

  • Can not take much weight and weight pockets may detach

  • “Loud” aesthetics will appeal to some and not others

Zeagle Zena

$$

9.1/10

Quick Look:

  • Streamlined profile reduces bulk.

  • Great option for curvier female divers.

  • Twin waist and hip band system positions weights below waist level.

  • Waist and chest fitted for women.

  • Torso has been fit for enhanced comfort.

  • LIFT CAPACITY: 13.6kg (31 lbs)
  • STYLE: Jacket
  • DRY WEIGHT: 3.6kg (8lb)
  • WEIGHT SYSTEM: Integrated

Review: Specially designed by female divers for female divers, the Zena bcd was created to offset the following problem women experience with conventional bcd’s:

Women’s bodies have a defined waist where a waistband must fasten in order to secure a bc. At the same time however, women usually have a shorter torso length and a lower centre of buoyancy compared to men. 

Traditional bcds should ideally be worn lower for maximum balance and comfort but many women find they must wear them higher, around the narrowest part of their waist in order to get a secure fit, thereby reducing comfort and upsetting their aqua-dynamics. 

This issue has been totally resolved with the Zena; thanks to its twin waist and hip band system, which allows women to securely position the weights and buoyancy below waist level, around their body’s centre of buoyancy.

Now they get the best of both worlds: a secure and safe fit plus maximum comfort, buoyancy and manoeuvrability when diving.

The unique front-zipping closure will accommodate even the bustiest of divers without digging in under the arms, whilst the adjustable waist and hip straps customise a perfect custom fit, regardless of body type. 

PROS

  • Unique twin waist and hip band design gives optimum fit for women

  • Maximum comfort and buoyancy

  • Streamlined profile reduces bulk

  • Very well suited for curvy girls

CONS

  • A little on the heavy side

  • May be less advantageous to more petite divers (see next review).

Aqua Lung Soul I3

$$

9.4/10

Quick Look:

  • Extra short backplate makes this an excellent choice for petite women.

  • Adjustable height (waist and chest straps slide up and down).

  • Unique one touch i3 control system for inflation and deflation.

  • Flexible backplate for easy packing.

  • Mounting Grommets to store accessories.

  • LIFT CAPACITY: 10 – 19kg (22 – 42lbs)
  • STYLE: Jacket
  • DRY WEIGHT: 2.7 – 3.6kg (6 -8lb)
  • WEIGHT SYSTEM: Integrated

Review: The Aqua Lung Soul I3 is a fantastic choice for petite divers thanks to it’s extra short backplate, which also helps to keep a low centre of gravity; meaning it won’t ride up on the surface nor slide around on your back underwater.

Such a design also makes this a great bcd for shore diving or long walks whilst wearing scuba equipment.

The swivelling shoulder straps, inward tilted harness and height adjustable waist and chest straps mean that it can be customised to fit your exact body type, result in an extremely comfortable fit. 

The unique I3 one-touch design is a lever located at hip level and eliminates the need for an inflator hose. Simply lift up to inflate and push down to dump air from the jackets vents simultaneously, regardless of your body position.

Simple and easy to use, this will certainly appeal to some divers whilst possibly putting off those who prefer a more traditional inflator hose. Although unusual, we found it a very straightforward, beginner friendly feature and  had no qualms with it!

All you petite girls out there, who find that conventional sized women bcds to slide around too much, the Aqua Lung Soul I3 is the extremely comfortable and ergonomic answer to your prayers. 

PROS

  • Exceptionally well sculpted for petite women.

  • Maintains low centre of gravity.

  • Easy to adjust.

  • Mounting grommets to attach gear, makes this great for photographers.

  • Simple to use i3 inflator system

CONS

  • Lack of traditional inflator hose may irritate some

  • A little on the heavy side

  • Less suited to tall divers

Women's BCD FAQ

  • Q: What’s the difference between women’s and men’s bcds?
  • A: The main difference between women’s and men’s bcds is fit. You see, men have bigger physiques and traditionally bcds have catered to guy’s needs.

    A women’s bcd cut is narrower around the shoulders and has a little extra and hip chest space, while the back plates usually have heavier padding. The result, a BCD that will mould around a female body, helping achieve maximum comfort.

    A bcd for smaller women will have a different design that places the straps and buckles in better places to make them secure for a petite woman’s shoulders and waist.

  • Q: How do I clean and maintain my Women’s BCD?

  • A: Rinse it with fresh water after every dive trip to prevent salt corrosion. The BCD, hose and insider bladder (unless environmentally sealed), should all get rinsed.

    Check the buttons to ensure they function properly. Once finished cleaning, you can inflate and dry your bcd. If any of this is a struggle you can always consider professional servicing to keep it maintained.

  • Q: Do I have to get. a women’s bcd?
  • A: Nope! Some women find a unisex bcd is comfortable enough, and depending on the make, may have some special features that particularly appeal to them. It all comes down to a matter of personal preference as well and build.  

  • Q: What are the parts of a women’s BCD?
  • A: The BCD consists of one main jacket that you can attach your gear to. Different bcds come with. a variety of. features which we’ve described in the next section below:

Women's BCD Features explained:

Size

Womens bcds come in a range of sizes all the way from extra small to extra large. Most bcd manufacturer companies include a size chart on their website, which you can use to determine the best size for you (after you’ve taken your measurements that is!).

Weight System

The majority of modern ladies bcds have an integrated weight system, including all of the models we’ve reviewed here. This is handy as a an integrated system can remove the need for a diving belt. Easily accessible and quickly releasable weights are an imperative component of a safe and easy to use bcd; we’ve only chosen models that incorporate this feature. 

Lift

Lift refers to how much weight a bcd can offset. If it doesn’t have enough lift, it won’t hold your head and shoulders high above water when on the surface and can cause problems with buoyancy control below water. If uncertain, it’s best to go for a bcd with more lift than less. 

Style

The most common styles of bcd for women’s bcds are jacket. Jacket bcds are similar to a vest and they are the most easy to take on and off. Because they provide comfort and stability they are a great choice for beginners but are also loved by dive veterans as well.

Fit

This is a crucial feature of womens bcds. Female bcds have been designed with smaller and female proprotined bodies in mind. Most female bcds have higher chest and waist straps, an angled shoulder harness, short backplate and additional padding. 

A bcd should fit snuggly but not too tightly. It should not slide aroudn the. shoulders or waist when being worn. 

Pockets

You’ll be wanting these for additional storage space with your bcd. If you like to bring a dive knife, the bcd pocket is a. great place to keep it .

Mounting Grommets

If you like quick access to your dive gear, mounting grommets are your answer as they allow you to hang your equipment on the outside of a bcd, rather than store it i a pocket. 

Flexible Backplate

This is the most comfortable bcd design for women as it will curve and move with your body. Plus, the flexibility will prevent the backplate from grinding against your back and sides. 

Modular Design

This is where every piece of the bcd. can be separately changed and replaced allowing for the ultimate customisation as well as an extended lifespan. 

Diving Squad Debriefing

Avast! You’ve laid eyes on the absolute best women’s bcds on the market, come to known them better than you know yourself as you blast through our crushing reviews listing each models features, advantages, disadvantages and more. 

You’ve ridden with the Diving Squad through thick and thin, over waves small and mighty as you cruise through our FAQ and witnessed each and every bcd feature explained. Seriously nice job. 

Rest assured that we frequently scourge the market for the newest models and update our content, so the article you’ve read today details the most cutting edge recent best women’s bcd’s.

We hope you’ve found this a useful read and that whichever women’s bcd you come to call your own, you’ll love it and enjoy many years of scuba adventures together. Diving Squad Out.

Written by:

Alex

Alex

Scuba fanatic. Travel ecstatic. Erratic. The name's Alex.

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