The Cressi Start BCD Review – Is It Any Good?

Cressi Start BCD

Product: Cressi Start BCD Review

Type: Jacket Style
Cheapest Place to Buy: 

Colours: Black with Red Accent
Weight: Depends on the size (6 – 8 lbs.)
Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large

Owner’s Manual: Yes
Warranty: 1 Year Limited

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Cressi Start BCD Overview

Investing in the best dive BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) is crucial if you want to have great dive experiences.  Not only does the BCD give you the ability to experience what it’s like to be underwater, but it also helps to control your buoyancy.

You can inflate your BCD at the surface giving you positive buoyancy, deflate it to reduce your buoyancy to descend underwater and slightly inflate to achieve neutral buoyancy.

I have an old BCD I would like to retire. It’s been a Sherwood Silhoutte jacket style, but I’m ready for a new one. I can’t give you any information personally on the Cressi Start BCD but I want to share this with you because it’s one of the ones I’m interested in.

In this Cressi Start BCD, I’ll tell you their pros and cons, what customer purchasers have said and where you can go online to get the best price on this.

By the end of this review, you should have a pretty clear idea if this Cesssi Start BCD is the right BCD for you!

The Cressi Start BCD Review

Cressi Integrated Pressure Gauge Compartment

Cressi has been around for a long time… founded in 1946, Genoa, Italy, they are one of the largest manufacturers of all types of water sports equipment. Serving markets ranging from free diving, snorkeling, spearfishing and of course scuba diving.

I went on Cressi’s site and everything from this point on is what Cressi claims you get for this BCD.

Cressi describes this BCD as meeting the needs of dive shops and recreational divers because it’s supposed to be durable and simple to use. They also claim it’s affordable, highly durable and reliable.

In addition, they claim this BCD to have the following features:

1) Air bladder is constructed out of Cordura 1000 Deniers on the shoulder pads, on the outside and pockets. On the inside, it’s 500 Deniers. The material is supposed to be durable enough to handle rental usage.

2) Pockets are large to store dive accessories and secured by zippers with large handle.

3) The backpack is semi-rigid, durable, very light and padded to make it comfortable. It’s solid and supports tank stability.

4) Chest straps to secure the BCD.

5) Integrated pressure gauge and octopus compartments to help prevent dragging and help the diver be more streamlined.

6) The waist strap and cummerbund is free of the air bladder so when you inflate the bladder it’s not constricting.

7) The right shoulder pad show the BCD size, visible enough and handy for dive shop operators

8) The inflator which has 2 air filtration system can be disassembled easily for removal of small particles like sand and cleaning (get this done at dive shop).

9) Torso-shoulder straps with quick release buckles can be adjusted for proper fitting

10) Sternum strap with quick release buckles can be adjusted for proper fitting.

11) Single Cam Tank Band

12) 2 D-rings that are plastic in addition to 2 snap hooks to hold dive accessories.

13) 3 relief dump valves with pull cords for over-pressurization to remove excess air from the bladder. You can find them on the top right and left shoulders. The 3rd is located at the back of the bladder on the lower right.

14) Power inflator mechanism to put air into bladder.

15) Low pressure quick-disconnect hose

16) Easy to put on and take off because the straps all have side release buckles that can be easily squeezed.

17) Lift capacities, depending on the sizes are:
     X-Small = 13.3kg/29.3lbs
     Small = 14.3kg/31.5lbs
     Medium = 15.3kg/33.7lbs
     Large = 17.3kg/38lbs
     X-Large = 20.4kg/45lbs

18) Stability because it’s a jacket style

Well there you go… I know this sound pretty impressive and you’re probably thinking, wow…they put a lot of technical thought into this BCD!

The real question is, does the Cressi Start BCD actually perform the way they say it’s been advertised?

What Other Customer Purchasers Had To Say about their Cressi Start BCD!

I went to Amazon,com and this is what I found…

From Amazon

1) Total of 46 Customer Purchaser Reviews
2) 26 Questions were answered by the supplier

4.5 out of 5 Stars
87% gave 5 Stars
7% gave 4 Stars
2% gave 3 Stars
4% gave 1 Star

Then I went into Leisure Pro (an affiliate for Cressi) and this is what I found…

From Leisure Pro

1) Total of 48 Customer Purchaser Reviews

30 people gave 5 Stars
15 people gave 4 Stars
2 people gave 3 Stars
1 person gave 1 Star

96% of the customer purchasers who responded on Leisure Pro said they would recommend the Cressi Start BCD.

The Pros

I read all the reviews from Amazon and Leisure Pro and summarized them all here. What divers said…

1) This diver gave 5 stars and commented as saying the BCD is ‘amazing for the recreational diver’ and also said it was a great price. He goes on to say he purchases everything he reviews. He said that in order to receive five stars, the product needs to meet greater than 90% of the claims stated by the manufacturer.

He purchased the Cressi Start BCD and used it on a dive during which he got entangled in some vegetation. His dive buddy while in the process of helping him, accidently dragged his knife along the side of the BCD.

When they surfaced and checked the BCD, it had no scratch. He calls this a ‘beast of a BCD… extremely durable’. Also said it was no wonder dive shops use this to rent.

He went on to say that the lift capacity of 33.7lbs was more than ample for cold water diving. In addition, he said it kept him upright on the surface. He found there was plenty of room in the pockets, and D-rings to store his dive light, safety tube, and camera.

The diver also said while it lacked Integrated Weights, he considered this  a ‘BONUS’ because he says it much easier to ditch the weight belt than it is to ditch 2 or more integrated weight pouches.

He says ‘SIMPLE’ is better, the BCD feels comfortable and that the tank stays on securely. Also goes on to say the 3 purge valves are all easy to get access to and that the oral inflator was also easy to use.

Says if you’re a tech diver you need to look at other products for that type of diving.

2) Will not go wrong with this one, great BCD for a beginner. Well designed.

3) Very strong material.

4) Light weight.

5) Met all the expectations.

6) Experienced diver realizing the less complexity the better and doesn’t like the Integrated Weight system. She purchased this for herself and after doing some dives with this, she purchased one for her husband.

She likes where the deflator button is located at the top of the hose and so it’s not confusing with the inflator button. She likes the big pockets and cummerbund.

7) Many divers said they highly recommend.

8) Expect to get quality product not the bells and whistles.

9) Wife is so happy with it she doesn’t want another one until it wears out.

10) Very comfortable.

11) Diver said he uses on wreck dives, deep dives, and night dives.

12) Easy to use.

13) Does what it’s supposed to do.

14) Pro diver says it’s better than most expensive ones and uses it as his primary BCD.

15) Supports the tank and provides flotation.

16) Diver rents these at dive shop and so impressed he had to purchased one.

17) Perfect for diving without a wetsuit, very streamlined.

18) Easy to put on and take off. Instructor uses this BCD because easy to take off and on and make adjustments.

19) Diver is amazed at the quality. Said air dumps and inflator are easy to use and it keeps you upright with air evenly distributed around the unit. Said it holds a lot of air.

20) BCD is quick drying.

21) Plastic D-rings are durable enough to hold a small camera or flashlight. This diver says if this one got damaged would definitely buy another one.


1) Diver says when at the surface with an inflated BC, he found the BCD tended to put him in face down position instead up being upright. The diver gave 3 stars.

2) Diver is a not a fan of this BCD due to not being able to get all the air out of the BCD. He said he tried the release valves.

3) Sizing appears to be an issue. Some divers said the manufacturer’s sizing seems to be 1 standard size above. These divers gave ratings of 4 or 5 stars.

4) Rough on the neck. Diver had to return because it chafed his neck ‘badly’… still calls it a great first BCD and gave 2 stars.

Another diver said the edges around the shoulder pads seemed quite rough against the tee shirt but felt it would be fine when wearing a wetsuit. This diver gave 5 stars.

5) Diver likes this BCD but his wife didn’t like the ‘rough’ material. He said he would buy it again but go a size smaller. Gave 4 stars.

6) Diver says the hoses and other parts are not strong and sturdy so you need to be careful. This diver rated at 4 stars and said no issues diving and a good BCD.


I rated the Cressi Start BCD as 4.4 out of 5 Stars.

Here’s how I came up with the score.

Cressi BCD Jackets Size Chart

First, I deducted .2 points in regards to the manufacturer’s standard sizing. Some divers were finding the size they ordered should have been one size smaller. Here is Cressi’s Size Chart …

Second, I deducted .2 points in regards to the material being rough around the neck area. You should never have to experience any kind of chafing on your skin from the material.  You shouldn’t be confined to wearing a wetsuit to dive with a BCD.

Third, I have no idea why the diver was not able to be in vertical position at the surface. Jacket style BCD’s are designed to keep you upright, vertically at the surface.  One diver experienced this and so I took .1 points off.

Fourth, the diver who had trouble getting all the air out of the bladder.  I’m assuming this diver was either trying to descend or perhaps near the end of his dive which in this case, the tank would have less air and is lighter. This could cause the diver to perhaps find it harder to stay down with the dive group.

If the diver was able to be in a more vertical position at least shoulders upward, it’s easier to hold the inflator hose upward and push the deflate button. If he was in horizontal position he could pull on the release valve at the back side.

I usually find divers who are having this problem are just not doing it right and not noticing what body position they’re in. I decided not to deduct any points on this.

Fifth, the diver who said the hoses and other parts didn’t look sturdy and not strong but had no issues diving. This was coming from one diver and he still gave it 4 stars. No complains from other divers. Other divers all thought the BCD was very durable and strong. No points deducted.

The remaining 4.5 points were rewarded as follows:

1) I was amazed by the number of divers who said they would recommend this product. Some have even said they would purchase another one. The fact they stated this tells me that the manufactures claims have been proven. Majority of divers say it has met their expectations.

The durability, strength of the material, and functionality has passed for dive shops to rent to divers who are new to diving to the very experienced recreational divers. They wouldn’t even be renting these BCDs if the servicing and maintenance was not easy. Even dive professionals have purchased this.

If you’re looking for a BCD that’s a jacket style with no integrated weights and is simple, no ‘bells and whistles’, very durable and great for new divers, recreational divers and pro divers, the Cressi Start BCD may be the right one for you. 

I did some research on where you can go to purchase this BCD and I’ve come up Amazon as the best place because of their FREE shipping.  

If you have had any experiences good or bad with the BCD, I really would like to hear from you. Any questions or comments would be great as well… simply put them in the comment box below!


17 thoughts on “The Cressi Start BCD Review – Is It Any Good?”

  1. Oh wow! Great-looking page and sooooo full of information. You really have done your homework and made it so easy for everyone else. It’s been a while since I saw a review so full of pertinent information on a product, I don’t think you’ve left anything out. And, I love the way you breakdown how you come up with your star ranking! Don’t see that very often.

    Thank you for putting in so much homework into this and taking the hard work out of the research for your readers!


  2. I’m a new diver and I was very happy to read your review on this BCD. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on dive gear yet not until I get more comfortable with diving. I’m look for a BCD similar to what I’ve been renting at dive shops and this Cressi Start BCD seems to be the right one. I don’t need the bells and whistles because the rental ones weren’t fancy and they were very functional and easy to use.

    Thanks very much! I’ll be making a decision very soon.

    I- Pam

    • Hi Pam,

      Thank you for your comment! Nice to meet a fellow diver! This Cressi Start BCD is one of the top for new divers and even experience divers enjoy it too because of it’s simplicity and is very durable. It’s a great investment for a very functional BCD.

      Please let me know if you have any questions.

  3. Hi Monica

    I’ve been a diver for a while now but to make it easy I have tended just to use the hire shops for my equipment. I’m looking to get my own gear and get off the beaten path a bit, would you consider this BCD to be reliable as I would much rather spend a little more that have the vest fail on me when I need it most.

    • Hi Dom,

      Thank you for your comment and I appreciate your great question.

      The Cressi Start BCD is very reliable. A lot of dive shops use this as rentals because it is very functional, durable and easy to use. It doesn’t have the integrated weight system. No bells and whistles… Some professional dive instructors have purchased this as well for their personal use according to the reviews. It really depends on what type of diving you want to do. If you’re into technical diving like wreck diving, cave diving… then go for a high end BCD with the integrated weights. For that, you would want to consider going with a different style of BCD… you might be interested in the link below

      I hope this helps and if you have any more questions, please let me know. I’m happy to help!!



  4. I agree the jacket style bcd is great! For the experienced and novice alike. What I am curious about this make is how easy it is to control your buoyancy on the fly. I’ve yet to find one that I can easily reduce buoyancy and still have a steady camera. Always some fumbling.. maybe I’m just too green lol

    • Hi Rob,

      Thank you for your comment! The more dives you do the more control you will have on your buoyancy. The amount of weights and how you breathe can be a big factor.

      If you like, check out my post on buoyancy…

      I hope it helps you and let me know if you have any questions after reading it.



  5. I’m a new diver and been looking at purchasing my own BCD and after reading your post on the Cressi I feel I’m educated now! After reading the pros and cons I can see how this BCD is more suitable to my needs. I don’t mind wearing a weight belt because that’s how I learned anyway. It looks much like the rental BCD I was wearing when I was learning and so I think I’ll feel more comfortable purchasing this as my first BCD. Thanks for the review!

    • Hi Andrew, thank you for your comment! I’m glad I was able to help you decide on the Cressi Start BCD. It’s strong and very durable and will last for years. Very easy to use and will give you all the functionality you will ever need without the bells and whistles. You won’t regret making this your choice!

  6. Hi, really good review.

    While I do like the look of the Cressi Start I don’t think its suits my needs too well. Not a problem with the BCD Its just not designed for what I need.

    As most of my Diving is done on vacations I need a BCD that is ultra light as not to take up precious luggage KG. Could you recommend a really light travel BCD ?

    • Hi Steve, thank you for your great comment and question.

      I see you are an experienced diver.  Yes, I understand what you’re saying on not taking up precious room in your suitcase… I’m feeling that myself. There are BCDs that are very lightweight and I think you will like Cressi’s Travel Light BCD jacket style weights around 5-6.2 lbs. depending on the size and then there is Cressi’s Ultralight back inflate BCD which is about a pound lighter. Both will fold up nicely in your suitcase. I’m just in the process now of ordering Cressi’s Ultralight back inflate BCD for myself as mine is now getting slightly worn out. 

      I’ll be making a review of it in the next couple of weeks and so I hope you’ll check it out.



  7. Hi there,

    I enjoyed how thorough you were with this review! Even including the cons. I’m actually looking seriously at this one and glad I was able to read this. Great job thanks.

    • Hi,

      Thank you for your great comment. I’m really happy to hear you’re serious on the Cressi Start BCD. It’s extremely durable and reliable and the price is definitely affordable. Let me know if you have any questions.



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