It may seem paradoxical that a scuba diver needs to put several pounds of extra weight on for a dive. After all, they have a heavy tank strapped to their back and other gear which surely makes up the weight?! The truth is that some scuba diving gear is so buoyant. Which is why divers need to wear weights to be able to stay underwater.
When it comes to choosing weights for scuba diving, personal preference is involved more than anything else.
With some many different types of diving weights available on the market, it can be hard to pick the best dive belts and weights for you. You need to think about what kind of diving you will be doing, the different types of choices there are, weigh up differences between weight belts vs integrated weight systems and then purchase your scuba accessories around that.
Different Types of Scuba Diving Weights
Ideally, we recommend that you try out different types of diving weights to see which suits your style best before you invest in one. Rent out a number of different weight belts to help test your buoyancy as well as your trim.
In the following post, we want to help you out a little by discussing the many options of scuba diving weights out there on the market today. From your traditional weight belt and lead blocks to more advanced integrated weight systems which can now be found on some BCD models.
1. Pocket Belts
Pocket diving weight belts are belts made from normal nylon and feature several pockets. These are easy to use; you simply insert or remove the weights you need to adjust your buoyancy.
Another benefit is that they don’t tend to dig into your side, making them a comfortable alternative to a lead block belt.
2. Lead Shot Belts
Diving lead shot belts are a pouch or pocket that are filled with round-shaped lead shots until you have the required weight. The main benefit of using this type is they are very comfortable, especially in comparison to block belts, more on them below.
Many divers, once they switch to a shot-style belt, continue to use them. You can buy a choice of rectangular or cylindrical pouches depending on what you prefer. The downside about this option is that it can be hard to alter the weight as buoyancy changes. That means that you need to buy additional weights to deal with this.
3. Lead Block Belts
By far, the most common kind of scuba diving weight belt is the lead block belt. This features two to three-inch nylon belts and quick-release buckle that lead weights are laced through or attached to.
These weigh between 2 and 15-pounds. These are the cheapest kind of scuba diving weight belt and known for being uncomfortable as the weights can dig into your hips.
4. Integrated Weight Systems
Integrated weight systems are the kind built into certain BCDs. This basically means you don’t need to carry weights in a separate belt.
They are also a lot more comfortable to wear than weight belts when you are diving. The main disadvantage is that it bulks up and weighs down your BCD.
5. Brace Systems
Brace systems feature a harness belt and either include or don’t include a backplate that special quick-release weights are attached to in order to distribute weight over a wider area.
A major benefit of brace systems is that they are perfect for divers who have back issues because the weight is evenly distributed and are more comfortable than wearing a belt on your hips.
The brace systems that have steel backplates also help to distribute the tank’s weight evenly. They also have the benefit that if you encounter an emergency you can quickly remove the pouches and weight bags.
Divers that use twin tanks often opt for v-weights. It features a triangular/v-shaped weight of lead that is positioned between two cylinders and keeps the weight away from your lower back.
As a result, you may find them more comfortable and you don’t need to wear weight belts. The downside is that you can’t release v-weights quickly if you need to make a quick ascent.
Another type of v-weight is positioned on a backplate. This is a great choice if you are diving with one tank but need a harness and backplate belt system.
7. Tail Weights
Tail weights are basically the same thing as v-weights. They are placed much lower down on twin tanks and offer you a lot more trim. The advantage of tail weights is that they help you to stay in a stable horizontal position more easily because the weight is distributed evenly far lower down.
In recent years, there have been tail weights available that lead weight belts can be attached to and that are in the form of end caps on scuba air tanks.
8. Ankle Weights
Ankle weights are used to help minimize the stress diving can cause on your back and help lower the fin and leg buoyancy which means you can have a more relaxing and therefore enjoyable diving experience.
One of the problems divers often have is their legs float upwards and it’s much harder to control buoyancy as a result. That’s when you need to use ankle weights. You need to make sure though that ankle weights fit securely around your legs and invest in one that has easy-release buckles.