Scuba Diving Gear
By Natalie Gibb
Every diver's life depends upon one thing – his gear. Diving is an equipment dependent sport. No matter how experienced a diver is, if his gear fails he could face a dangerous situation. The journey to safe diving begins with equipment selection. It is invalid to describe a piece of gear as “good” or “bad”. Instead, divers need to consider whether gear works well for their individual needs and the conditions they expect to dive. Once a diver chooses gear, he needs to learn to use it properly. Divers should understand how their dive gear works, how to assemble and check it for fit and function, and how to manipulate it underwater. Here's what you need to know about scuba diving gear.
Dive Gear Basics
Before you read in-depth articles about specific pieces of scuba diving gear, check out this quick links to dive gear basics, including what gear you need to scuba diving and the fundamentals of scuba diving equipment configuration.
Buoyancy Compensators (BCs/BCDs)
Buoyancy Compensators (also know as Buoyancy Control Devices, BCs or BCDs) allow divers to float on the surface of the water and to control their depth during a dive. The most common style of buoyancy compensator is a vest or jacket-style device that connects the scuba tank to the diver. However, many alternative styles of buoyancy compensators exist, such a the backplate/wings combination commonly used in technical diving and the classic horse-collar design. This section includes information to help you select and understand buoyancy compensators.
- BCD Basics - What Does "BCD" Mean and What Does a BCD Do?
- How to Choose a BCD
- Buoyancy Compensators Designed For Travelers
- Vest-Style vs Back Inflation Buoyancy Compensators
- Diving Tip: 4 Easy Ways to Deflate a BCD
- Review: SCUBAPRO X-TEK Form TEK Buoyancy System
Just like fish, scuba divers have a wide variety of fins. There are blade fins, split fins, open-heel fins and closed-heel fins. Divers can use free diving fins or turtle fins, fins with spring straps or fins with booties. For a relatively simple piece of gear, there is quite an assortment of scuba fin styles and features available to recreational divers. Here's some basic information divers should know about scuba diving fins.
- Review: Cressi Master Frog Diving Fins
- Review: SCUBAPRO Twin Jet Fins
- Review: SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova Fins
Scuba diving lights come in a wide range styles, from hand-held to canister lights. Learn about the different purposes for carrying a dive light, as well as which type of light will work best for you. This section is intended to educate divers who are in the market for a light, or who simply want to learn more.
- Why Do You Need a Dive Light?
- Recreational Dive Lights
- Technical Diving, Videography and Photography Lights
- Light Strength - Lumens vs Watts
Scuba masks are our window to the underwater world. An extremely personal part of a diver's gear, a mask that fits well is one of most difficult pieces of equipment to find. A good scuba mask makes such a difference that people who have found their perfect mask frequently refuse to dive with any other. Here is basic information about scuba masks, as well as how to find and care for your ideal mask.
- 10 Best Scuba Diving Masks
- 6 Things to Know About Scuba Masks
- How to Choose a Scuba Diving Mask
- Learn to Try on a Scuba Mask for Fit and Function
- Using Corrective Lenses With Scuba Masks
- Overcome the Fear of Water in Your Mask
- Should You Get a Back-Up Mask?
- How Do Scuba Masks Help Divers to See Underwater
- 8 Ways to Prevent a Scuba Mask From Fogging
- Why Does Spit Keep A Scuba Mask From Fogging?
- Review: Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Crystal Mask
- Review: Omer Alien Mask
- Review: Omer Zero Cubed Mask
- Review: SCUBAPRO Spectra Mask
Snorkels are recommended safety gear for scuba diving. When the surface is rough, a snorkel can be used as a back-up breathing apparatus, allowing a diver to breathe even if he has difficulty getting his head above the waves. Divers can also use snorkels to scout dive sites, or enjoy a little extra in-water time between dives.
Scuba diving tanks are designed to hold large volumes of air (or other breathing gasses) compressed to an extremely high pressure. A standard aluminum 80 cubic foot scuba tank holds about the same amount of air as a small phone booth. Amazing! Learn more about the features and styles of scuba diving tanks in this section.
- Keep Water Out of Your Scuba Tank
- Steel vs Aluminum Tanks
- FAQ: How Long Does a Tank Last?
- What Can You Do With a Decommissioned Scuba Tank?
Before there were buoyancy compensators, fancy dive computers, and pink fins, there were regulators. Scuba regulators are the piece of dive gear that enables a diver to breathe underwater. These complex little devices come in a variety of styles, and not every regulator is appropriate for every kind of diving. A diver should understand the basic parts and functions of a scuba diving regulator, and learn to select a regulator that fits his diving needs. Here is some basic regulator information to help you out.
- What is a Scuba Diving Regulator? Definition and Basic Parts of a Regulator
- How Does a Scuba Diving Regulator Work?
- Piston vs Diaphragm First Stages
- Balanced vs Unbalanced Regulators
- Alternate Air Sources Types
- Where to Stow Alternate Air Sources
- What Is the Difference Between a DIN and a Yoke Regulator?
- 8 Types of Regulator Mouthpieces
- The Pre-Dive/Dive Adjustment - What Does It Really Do?
- Long Hose vs Short Hose Regulator Configuration
- The Best Way to Secure Your Alternate Air Source
- Reduce Jaw Fatigue With Regulator Swivels
- Scuba Diving Gauges
Wetsuits and Drysuits
Most scuba divers wear a wetsuit. Wetsuits provide thermal protection for divers and protect divers from injuries caused by accidental contact with the underwater environment. A wide variety of wetsuits are available, and choosing the perfect wetsuit can be tricky! Be sure to check out several wetsuits before purchase, and always try on a wetsuit before buying it.
- Basics: How Does a Wetsuit Keep You Warm?
- Advice: What Should You Wear Under Your Wetsuit?
- Tips: How to Put on a Tight Wetsuit Easily
- Review: Radiator Wetsuits
- Review: BARE Wetsuits
- Review: White's Fusion Drysuits
- Do You Pee in Your Wetsuit? Share Your Response!
- Freediving Wetsuits
Scuba Gear Reviews
Do you have a favorite piece of dive gear that you want to recommend to the world? Do you want to know what other divers have to say about their scuba gear? Review dive equipment using the simple Equipment Review Form below, or check out the links below to see what other divers have to say about their gear.
- Review Dive Gear
- Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Crystal Mask
- Cressi Master Frog Diving Fins
- Mares Excel Plus Diving Fins
- Omer Alien Diving Mask
- Omer Zero Cubed Diving Mask
- Radiator Wetsuits
- SCUBAPRO Spectra Mask
- ScubaPro Twin Jet Fins
- SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova Fins
- SCUBAPRO X-TEK Form TEK Buoyancy System
- SCUBAPRO Galileo SOL Dive Computer
- White's Fusion Drysuits
Dive Gear Recalls
Official recalls issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).