In our previous post, we talked about the advantages of renting scuba tanks — primarily for convenience — but you might want to consider owning your own cylinders, the actual term for what we generally refer to as tanks. Today we’re going to talk about buying tanks for the sport diver.
However, even if you have to fly to dive, you should still consider owning your own tanks if you own your other gear to spare you the hassle of having to rent anything. And if properly maintained, you’ll know your tank is likely in better shape than almost anything you can rent.
Tank capacity, meaning how much air it can hold, is measured in cubic feet of air (cf). The standard tank you see in every dive shop around the world is an aluminum 80, meaning it can hold 80 cubic feet of air (which technically becomes about 77 cf when filled to 3000 psi).
On the flip side, if you need more capacity, consider an aluminum 100.
Another option to explore is high-pressure tanks, which can be either aluminum or steel but can be filled to 3442 psi or 3500 psi, which is more than the standard 3000 psi. Just know these tend to be harder on regulators and valves, increasing the likelihood of a failure. Some dive boats may not be able to fill them beyond 3000 psi as well.
There are some other differences as well:
The biggest concern for steel is cost and rust, so that’s why most divers choose aluminum. However, aluminum can corrode too, which can damage the tank, and due to its buoyant tendencies, some divers prefer steel.
Regardless of the tanks you choose, and yes, you should consider buying two since a typical day of diving involves at least two dives, you will need to have them inspected and maintained properly.
Most dive shops will not fill tanks that don’t have current visual inspection and hydro stickers.
Still not sure? Give us a call at 972-820-7667 or stop by our Scuba Toys in Carrollton, Texas and we can help. Check out our online inventory of tanks too!
Do you own your own tanks? If so, let us know what choice you made in the comments section below!
Next up, we’ll delve into what you need to know about diving with Nitrox, so stay tuned!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/elzey/