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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.
05
September

IST T-120 LED Dive Light Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on IST T-120 LED Dive Light Review Posted in: Between $101-$250, Dive Lights

While it might have a high price tag, the IST T-120 is a compact, high performance little marvel of a dive light. Less than six inches (15 cm) long and weighing only 0.6 lbs (277 g), this dive light is small. Even women divers will find the light small, light, and handy.

However, that size does not compromise the light’s performance. The 10-watt LED bulb produces 750 lumens of white light, more than enough for general purpose recreational use. Machined from a single block of marine-grade aluminum and sporting double o-ring seals, the T-120 is as tough as it is small, and rated for 328 feet (100 m). This makes it not just a compact-but-fully functional choice for recreational divers, but a high-powered back-up light for tec divers as well. Rounding out the pretty picture is the 70 minutes of burn time off of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

The one drawback is the price tag. For recreational divers in particular, who may or may not care about reducing size and weight so much, something bigger, cheaper and just as powerful might prove a better choice. However, if you need a durable dive light that produces a ton of light and fits easily in your pocket, the T-120 deserves serious consideration.

Average Price: $250

 

03
September

Liquidvision Kaon Dive Computer Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Liquidvision Kaon Dive Computer Review Posted in: Dive Computers, Over $500

You might never have heard of Liquidvision, but the Canadian company has made quite a splash in dive computing, as its product line has never relied on old fashioned black and white dot matrix displays. Liquidvision has been in color from the start, and the wristwatch-style Kaon is the latest evolution in their product line.

Two main features set the Kaon apart from other dive computers. The display is full-color OLED screen, and with those glowing color letters and numbers, there is no need for backlighting in dark places. The Kaon is also a button-less computer, using tap-controls instead.

The Kaon is also quite compact, and rated for 660 feet (200 m), and has an intuitive menu-and-navigation organization to go with the finger-tap controls. Modes include Rec, Tec and Gauge, and the computer can store three gas mixes. The battery is replaceable rather than rechargeable, but no tools are needed, and the Kaon was designed to make the battery swap easier and more reliable than is usually the case for so many dive computer designs.

Some owners have reported that the Kaon’s tap sensitivity is a problem once the computer is on dry land, stating they can’t turn the computer on without dunking it in water. Liquidvision states this is a software problem and they are working on fixing the bug. While that is a drawback, it should be noted that no bugs with the tap-control system have been reported once the unit is in the water and in use.

Average Price: The Liquidvision Kaon is listed at C$825. Remember that under current exchange rates, the Canadian dollar is actually stronger than the U.S. dollar, so that comes to about $840 in American currency.

20
August

Mares Carbon 52 Regulator Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Mares Carbon 52 Regulator Review Posted in: Over $500, Scuba Regulators

 The Carbon 52 is the latest upgrade in Mares’ line of carbon fiber, lightweight-but-rugged premium regulators. The package combines the Carbon second stage from the earlier Carbon 42 with the MR52 first stage used in the Abyss 52 regulator.

It should be noted right off the bat that the Abyss 52’s MR52 first stage is not the same unit as used in the renowned Abyss Navy 22 or the record-setting Abyss 22 Extreme (the latter is now available for less than $450, by the way). While a high-end regulator, the Carbon 52 is not quite that high end.

The MR52 is a balanced diaphragm first stage, using Mares’ dynamic flow control technology to maximize air delivery, while the natural convection channel reduces ice build-up in cold water. The unit comes with 2 HP and 4 LP ports. Excepting the fittings, the unbalanced second stage is made entirely from carbon fiber, making it lightweight despite its somewhat bulky size. That mouthpiece comes with a braided hose.

The field testers at Scuba Diving had few complaints and gave it generally high marks, dubbing it the “Darth Vader” for its cool appearance and rating it higher than the Abyss 52. Thus far, consumers have had little bad to say about the Carbon 52.

Average Price: $900

10
August

Best BCDs

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Best BCDs Posted in: BCDs, Dive Gear Tips, Scuba Product Guides
Aqualung Axiom i3 BCD

The Axiom i3, the best sport BCD around.

Updated September 16, 2013

The BCD sits in the same stratum as a regulator, in that its usually expensive and one of the two items a diver must have as part of their kit if they want to get away rentals.

Today, BCDs come in many shapes and sizes, and in the last couple of years serious innovations have taken place in terms of inflation control technology. To pick out the best BCD from all that diversity, a diver needs to consider their priorities at least as much as their budget.

– To see all our BCD reviews, click here –

Top 5 BCDs

1. Aqua Lung Axiom I3: * Hands down, the most exciting thing to happen to BCDs in the last couple of years has been Aqua Lung’s introduction of its i3 inflator technology, banishing the sometimes-awkward corrugated hose to the past, and the top of Aqua Lung’s i3 line is the Axiom. The bottom line on this BCD is that it has so many features that it would be a high-end winner even without the i3 tech. Throw that in, and you’ve got the best recreational BCD around.

2. Cressi Travelight: * Although it is a travel BCD, it is better to look at the Cressi Travelight as a jack of all trades. It’s comfy, light enough to put in checked baggage with little worry, and unlike most travel BCDs, it has integrated weights. The Travelight isn’t the toughest BCD around, or the lightest, and the lift capacity is merely average. However, being a jack of all trades necessarily means not excelling at anything. Still, it’s do-anything capability made the Travelight a favorite with field-reviewers, and you’ll be hard pressed to find something as all-around flexible as this.

3. Sherwood AxisThe Sherwood Axis is billed as a BCD light enough for travel, but with the lift for cold water use, and it lives up to that billing. The wedge-shaped air cell is streamlined while packing plenty of lift, and the BCD has all the expected frills of a modern, general-purpose BCD: integrated weights, comfy padding, lots of cargo-carrying rings and pockets. While not as light or as compact as a true travel BCD, it’s not exactly a bulky item either. You might not be able to fit it into a carry-on, but you could easily squirrel it away into an ordinary check-on bag.

4. Cressi Start Pro: * Although marketed primarily as a BCD for rental inventory, the Start Pro has a number of features that make it logical for many private kits as well. It’s simple (the integrated weight system is the simplest available anywhere), tough, and comfy, and all of that comes at a reasonable price tag.

5. Tusa BCJ-2100: * The BCJ-2100 is a winner on one count, and one count only. While this jacket-style BCD is about as no-frills as no-frills can get, it is probably going to be the cheapest BCD you are liable to find on the market that is new, comes from a major brand name manufacturer, and has a decent warranty attached.

* Held over from 2012’s list