Estimated Diving Weight Buoyancy Calculator

My name’s Austin, and I created OtterAquatics to help readers become better divers, help them buy their first gear, and plan their next dive vacation!

  • Last Update : October 25, 2022

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So you know you need to wear weights for scuba diving otherwise you wouldn’t be able to do it down.

But if you’re wearing too much weight then achieving neutral buoyancy becomes challenging.

And you’ll end up wasting a ton of your precious air to maintain it.

Not to mention the additional effort required to drag around that all that unnecessary weight.

So the question is how much weight do you need for scuba diving?

While the answer is different for every diver, the goal is exactly the same. You want to have just enough weight to dive safely and efficiently but not an ounce more.

And that’s why we’ve created this calculator to help you figure out the amount of weight you need for diving.

How To Use The OtterAquatics Weight Calculator

All you need to do is input your weight, in either lbs or kgs, and a little bit about yourself, your equipment, and the type of water you’ll be diving in.

Press calculate and viola!

Our weight calculator will tell you how much weight you need to wear when you go diving with that setup.

But before you head off diving, it’s important to note that a weight calculator is just an estimate of how many weights you will need.

It’s a great starting point. But a weight calculator will never be able to give you the precise amount of weight you need for scuba diving.

So we highly recommend that you conduct a buoyancy check when trying the results from our weight calculator. From there you can easily add or subtract to find the optimal amount of weight you need for your dive.

There are several other factors that will affect the amount of weight you need for diving that weight calculators don’t take into account.

For example, if you’re wearing a brand new wetsuit you’ll need more weight than if you’re wearing an identical wetsuit has been used for over a thousand dives.

Similarly, the weight and buoyancy of your BCD, fins, and other accessories such as a dive knife, flashlight, or underwater camera, will also impact how much weight you need for diving.

And that’s why you’ve always got to test out the results you get from a weight calculator.

Why Is Proper Weighting When Scuba Diving Important?

Being properly weighted is essential if you want to dive safely and efficiently.

Of course, you already know that if you don’t wear enough weight you won’t be able to get down at the start of the dive. Or you’ll struggle to stay down at the end when your tank is nearing empty.

Not only is floating up all the time frustrating, but it can also be dangerous.

If you’re not able to complete your safety, or emergency decompression stops, or ascend too fast then you’re at much greater risk of decompression illness. Not to mention the risks of popping up without an SMB inflated.

Now you might be thinking…

“I’ll just make sure I am overweighted so I can get down and stay safe.”

But it’s really not ideal to be diving overweighted either.

When you’re overweighted you’ll have to add a lot more air to your BCD to find your neutral buoyancy. This means you’ll burn through your air much quicker and end up with shorter dives.

And even if you have the best air consumption in the world, you’re making your dive harder than it needs to be. Carrying that additional weight increases your drag in the water, further increasing your air consumption, and adding to post-dive fatigue.

Trust us, this is not something you want if you’re trying to make the most of 4 dives a day on a liveaboard. Or have to kick against a strong current!

Proper weighting when diving is the foundation of good buoyancy control. Wearing the right amount of weight when diving helps you to descend and ascend smoothly. It also allows you to easily maintain your position during your safety stop.

And with the correct weighting your overall positioning in the water, aka your trim, will be optimized making you as streamlined as possible.

As a result of all of this, you will be able to move much more efficiently underwater. Which leads to improved air consumption and longer, more comfortable dives!

Scuba Weights Calculator – Perfect Dive Weight For You

Scuba Weights Calculator Perfect Dive Weight For You 1

Is there a simple scuba weights calculator? You will be surprised that you do not need any professional assistance to calculate how much weight you need for diving, to achieve neutral buoyancy. According to Archimedes, “Any object when fully or partly submerged in a fluid will be buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”

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Why do you need to calculate your scuba weight for diving?

Well, the idea is to go down smoothly, you know, like a hot knife slices through butter. However, that is not possible when you have your buoyancy control device on, a scuba diving drysuit and other items that are generally engineered to be buoyant. That is why you need scuba diving weights to help you descend. But just how much weights do you need?

In scuba diving, for one to dive like a pro, they must be able to achieve the optimum buoyancy control. In order for a diver to be able to achieve the perfect buoyancy control, they must first learn how to conquer the buoyancy force by offsetting it with their weighting. This is in terms of the amount of weight you put in your pockets and the amount of lead on the weight belt.

You must also bear in mind that you will have other weight on you. For example, your diving knife adds weight.

Dive weights calculator

Dive weights calculator

If you are able to determine just the right amount of weight that you are supposed to carry, you will be required to inflate your BCD just a little, which will translate to minimal drag and better efficiency. In addition, minimal inflation of your BC will mean that as you go deeper, the lesser the buoyancy shift and the fewer the adjustments that you will be required to make.

This therefore means that buoyancy control is a very crucial skill for every diver. Mastering how to control your buoyancy precisely will make you float and fin through any water depth without being required to use your hands.

Achieving perfect control is mostly determined by the amount of your dive weight. The amount of dive weight needed to achieve this varies from one diver to the other. However, the main goal is for a diver to carry adequate weight that will allow them to perform safely and effectively at just any given depth.

But just how do you determine the right amount of weight to counterbalance your buoyancy and achieve a neutral buoyancy?

Here is how you should do it:

Weigh Your Body – Scuba weights calculator

The first step is to weigh yourself while only putting on your swimsuit. You should do this while hanging motionless in the water in order to know the amount of weight that you will require to achieve neutral buoyancy.

For most divers, the added weight required will be equal to about 6 percent to 8 percent of their total body weight when diving in fresh water and about 8 to 10 percent when diving in salty water. More added weight will be required when diving in salty water since the water is denser.

Weigh yourself in a scuba diving suit

Put on an exposure suit preferably a scuba diving wet suit that has a thickness of more than 4mm to increase your buoyancy. Get inside the water and take your weight just as you did in the above step.

Find out the weight of your BCD

Find out the weight of your BCD

The next step after determining your body weight is to determine the weight of your BC (Buoyancy Compensator vest/jacket). BCs are a great source of buoyancy and mostly the models have a lot of padding. A few years back, BCs used to carry a standard weight of 4 pounds of buoyancy, which meant that a diver was only required to add 4 pounds of lead on their weight belt to counterbalance that. However, modern BCs feature lesser intrinsic buoyancy.

In order to determine the inherent buoyancy of your BC, immerse it in the water while opening all the exhaust valves in order to release air out of the bladder. Press the padded shoulder and back and pocket areas to release all the air.

Gently rotate the jacket to allow any air that might be trapped in to escape while taking your time to ensure that water has completely displaced all the air in the BC. When you can no longer see any bubbles, let go of the BC into the water. If your BC comes to the surface, you will have to add some more weight until it will be able to hang in the water neutrally buoyant. Ensure you keep a count of how much weight that was required to achieve that.

Scuba tank weight

In this step, you are supposed to determine the weight of your scuba diving tank. This is because different tanks differ in buoyancy features depending on their material. For example, steel tanks differ from aluminum tanks in buoyancy. The steel scuba tank maintains negative buoyancy all through the dive, whether it is empty or full. It is 3 pounds negative when it is empty and 9 pounds negative when it is full.

An aluminum diving tank on the other hand is 1.6 pounds negative when it is full and 2.8 pounds positively buoyant when it is at 500 psi. To counter these discrepancies, you have to use diving weights when using an aluminum scuba tank. Many people just prefer to use a steel tank, but then aluminum too has its advantages and wearing dive weights is much better and cheaper than buying a new tank.

Weigh the rest of dive items – Diving gear weight

Here, you will be required to take the weight of anything else that you will taking with you underwater. These may be things like scuba diving fins, diving lights, dive tank regulator and diving computer.

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Gather all of them in a mesh diving bag that has neutral buoyancy and immerse the bag in water. This is to mainly determine whether the total weight of those items is positively buoyant. If the mesh bag floats on the water surface, add on some extra weight until it achieves neutral buoyancy.

Wear diving gear

Wear diving gear

Wear all the above gear that you were weighing individually. Step into the water and check your buoyancy with all the gear on. If all goes as it is supposed to be according to the procedures undertaken above, you should be able to float in a relaxed way at the forehead level. If you exhale, you should begin to sink slowly and if you cannot sink make the correct adjustments and you will be ready to go.

Salt water vs. fresh water

If you mostly dive in fresh waters, ensure that you do your diving weight calculations in fresh waters too. The same should apply for divers who dive in salty waters such as in the oceans. If you do both, your added weight should range from 4 to 7 pounds from fresh water to salty water.

Other tips

When your gear contains little neoprene or none at all, your buoyancy will minimally be affected by depth. This means that you can reduce your weight without increasing your positive buoyancy too much when going up. Neoprene on the other hand compresses with depth, thus changing your buoyancy. Therefore, you will be required to be adjusting your buoyancy by inflating or deflating your BC at different water depths.

You do not need professional assistance for scuba weights calculator. This, as you have no doubt seen here, is something that you can do on your own. Should you calculate your scuba weights requirements every time you are diving? Not really. Once you know your buoyancy with all the gear on, you can know whether to add or remove weights.

How Much Does Scuba Gear Cost?

how much does scuba gear cost

Scuba gear cost will range between $1000-$5000 for a full set of gear. Similar to most product lines there is a wide range of scuba gear from economical to very high end. Depending on the type of scuba diving you will be doing will depend on the type of gear you will need. Different types of diving and different types of weather require specific types of scuba diving gear. Most dive shops rent scuba gear. You do not need to own your own gear to participate.

First lets start with the basics. If you are considering purchasing scuba gear the core items will be a regulator (first & second stage), buoyancy compensator device (BCD), octopus (safe second), depth/air pressure gauge, fins, mask, and snorkel.

In addition to these core items you may consider a wet suit, dry suit, rash guards, scuba tanks, and a dive computer.

Buoyancy Compensator Device BCD Cost

Your BCD is the foundation of your scuba gear setup. It holds your weights and tank, routes your hoses, and serves as the connection point for additional gear you bring with you. There are many different types of BCD’s. Some focus most on comfort while others are designed for traveling or efficiency in the water. The first question to ask yourself is if you want gear designed to travel. This will quickly narrow down your search. Travel BCD’s are lighter weight and can fold up much tighter than a conventional BCD not designed for travel. Check out our article, What type of buoyancy compensator BCD should i buy to learn more.

BCD costs will range from the entry level of $350 and go up to almost $1500. The majority will fall in the $500-$700 range. The main differences you will find is the type of materials that are used to build the vest. Nowadays integrated weight systems, attachment points, and general design are relatively similar throughout the different price ranges. The higher end BCD’s use better materials that will last longer, are lighter, and even dry quicker. Many of the more expensive options are now being built as “BCD for life”. These options typically are built in a way where everything is replaceable. If you lose a weight pocket or break a strap you can simply replace that individual piece.

Scuba Regulator Cost

The scuba diving regulator consists of two parts. The first stage connects directly to the scuba tank. The second stage connects to the first stage and is the piece you put into your mouth and breathe out of. The type of regulator that you choose will depend on the conditions you dive in. For example if you will be doing cold water diving where there is a chance of freezing you would want a diaphragm design versus a piston design. In most cases you will purchase the first and second stage as a combination pack. Another major difference is balanced versus unbalanced regulators. A balanced regulator will provide air at a consistent rate regardless of your depth or remaining air amount. Whereas an unbalanced regulator will have a noticeable difference the deeper you go and as your tank gets closer to empty. Balanced regulators are generally more expensive.

Scuba regulator costs will range between $200 to more than $2000. The majority of first and second stage setups will cost around $500-$700. On the higher end regulators will be built out of titanium. Other features to expect on higher end models will be venturi controls, lighter weight, and smaller size. The warranty can also have an impact on the pricing. Some companies offer parts for life on regulators that are routinely maintained.

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Mask, Fins, Snorkel Cost

Mask, Fins, and Snorkel costs vary by style and brand. For many people these are the first items they buy when start scuba diving. While all three are needed for scuba diving the mask is probably the most important.

Scuba Mask Cost

Which mask you buy will depend on the mask that fits your face best. The other factor will be if you need a prescription mask to correct your vision. You will not be able to wear conventional glasses under your mask. You can wear contact lenses however there is differing opinions as to whether or not this is a smart idea. Before purchasing your scuba mask you should try it on and make sure your nose fits and an air tight seal is created.

Scuba goggles will range from $50-$300. Most people find a mask for less than $100. If you need corrective lenses the mask and lens will cost $125-$500. Lenses alone range from $50-$300.

Scuba Fins Cost

The cost of scuba fins will vary between $25-$300. There are several different style fins. Most scuba divers prefer fins that slide over your scuba boots but some prefer fins that go directly onto a bare foot. Fins come in all different colors, lengths, and designs for different types of water movement. The fin material and the buckle design and material will vary across the different price points. Fins range in size to ensure a correct fit. Fins are what enable you to move through the water efficiently so a proper fit is very important.

Snorkel Cost

The cost of a snorkel will range from $5-$75. The differences in price will reflect brand and style. The three common styles are conventional, dry, and semi-dry. Each style has different benefits. Conventional snorkels also come in foldable or rollable style. This provides the diver with the option to store it in a BCD pocket or attach to the BCD. A snorkel is required to complete the Open Water Diver Course. Often times we see people diving without one after being certified. Think twice before going diving without a snorkel. You may not need it every dive but there will come a time when your happy you have it.

Wet Suits, Dry Suits, Rash Guard Costs

Nearly every type of scuba gear has a fair argument as to why it is the most important piece of gear you will buy. This is most definitely the case for your scuba clothing. Especially if you dive in colder water. If you are cold you will not enjoy your day of diving. If you are really cold this can result in serious safety issues.

The pricing for wet suits and dry suits vary greatly. There are several different styles, thicknesses, and features that determine pricing.

Wet suit cost will range between $50 up to more than $1000. Dry suit costs will range from about $1000 to more than $3000.

If you are diving in warm water a bathing suit may be all that you need to stay warm. Even in warm water environments it is a good idea to consider wearing a rash guard. A rash guard will protect against marine life stings, abrasions, and in some cases offer UV protection from the sun. Rash guard costs will range from $30 to more than $100.

Dive Computer Cost

The cost of a dive computer will vary greatly depending on the features you want or need. Depending on the type of scuba diving you do you may or may not need a dive computer. If you are not doing deep dives then an air/depth gauge is sufficient. If you plan to dive deep or enroll in the advanced open water diver course you will need a computer. The two main differences in dive computers are air integrated or non air integrated. If your dive computer is air integrated then your air pressure, bottom time, safety stop time, deco time, and surface interval time will all be automatically calculated according to the dive table or your own personal settings. This is a great feature to have. Whereas non air integrated dive computer will provide you with an analog reading of air pressure and depth. All additional calculations will need to be completed manually. Non air integrated dive computers cost around $400. Gauges only cost around $250. Air integrated dive computers cost $500-$1500+.

How Much Does Scuba Gear Cost Summary

As you can see the price range for a set of scuba gear can vary greatly. Often times you can save 10%-20% when you buy everything together as a package. If you are on a tight budget the purchase price can seem overwhelming. In this case you should prioritize your purchases. The most important factor is safety and being comfortable. If you dive in cold water your first purchase should probably be a wet suit. The next most important piece of scuba gear is your mask. After this it really just depends on whats most important to you. If you are not on a tight budget then planning to spend $3000-$4500 will get a really nice set of gear designed to last for a very long time. For those not on a budget at all and are seeking the highest quality gear costs in excess of $5000 can easily be reached.




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