Steel vs aluminum scuba tanks

In case you’re hoping to take that jump and buy your first scuba tank or diving chamber, there are a couple of things you should consider—the first is the thing that sort of material it ought to be made of dependent on your own particular diving needs.

You’ve likely previously heard that there are two kinds of metals generally utilized for scuba tanks: steel and aluminum.

Be that as it may, what’s the distinction between these two, and which one will best suit your style of diving? In this article, we talk about a couple of variables you have to consider while picking among steel and aluminum tanks.

What’s better steel or aluminum scuba tanks – brief overview of the differences

Whatever tank you pick will probably have a limit of 80 cubic feet of gas at 3000psi, as per most assembling gauges.

scuba tanksPin

That implies that the tank you purchase may have an alternate weight and divider thickness yet it will even now hold an indistinguishable measure of pressurized gas from some other of a similar holding limit. So here are the more noteworthy contrasts between the two:

Aluminum Tanks. As a metal, aluminum is gentler and more flexible than steel. Along these lines, tanks made of aluminum have thicker dividers to shield from scratches and harm.

This makes them somewhat heavier on dry land, in the vicinity and will influence lightness, as we’ll see later on.

Steel Tanks. Steel is a progressively inflexible kind of metal, giving it a higher protection from harm than aluminum.

Thus, the dividers can be more slender and the tank is lighter than others available. This distinction in the material additionally makes these tanks littler than the aluminum ones.

steel vs aluminum scuba tanksPin

Size and Weight of scuba tanks

While picking among steel and aluminum scuba tanks, it’s critical to think about dry weight and size, as these can influence your lightness and by and large solace.

In scuba diving, dry weight alludes to how much a tank burdens land—and it’s something you’re going to need to consider in the event that you plan on carrying your tank around when you’re not in water.

Steel is more grounded and more tough than aluminum, which is the reason tanks made with the last typically have thicker dividers to make up for the decreased elasticity. Be that as it may, this makes them heavier than steel tanks.

A standard steel chamber with a limit of 80 cubic feet (cf) will weigh around 28 to 30 pounds, while its aluminum partner will ordinarily gauge somewhere close to 31 to 35 pounds.

Size is likewise a significant thought with regards to picking a tank, particularly in case you’re on the littler or shorter side.

Huge chambers (and once in a while even the standard ones) can be too large for youthful divers or littler female divers, which can bring about them hitting their heads or legs on the tank while submerged.

Since less material is expected to make them, steel tanks are generally somewhat littler and lighter than aluminum. Most steel and aluminum tanks have a distance across of 7.25 inches, with a stature of around 20 to 30 inches.

steel scuba tanksPin

Capacity and Pressure dive tanks

A scuba tank’s ability is dictated by its size and weight rating. Most tanks have limits going from 50 to 120 cf, with different packed gaseous tensions: low-pressure (LP) with 2400-2650 psi, standard weight with 3000 psi, and high-pressure (HP) at 3300-3500 psi.

Standard aluminum tanks regularly have a limit of 80 cf, with a standard assistance weight of 3000 psi—yet ordinarily not higher than 3300 psi.

This is on the grounds that the higher the weight, the thicker the tank dividers should be to contain the gas securely.

In the event that you incline toward a higher weight tank, steel is typically the perfect decision. An HP steel tank can hold more air than its low-pressure partner, in addition to it’s lighter and increasingly conservative.

Be that as it may, remember that while HP tanks may appear the better choice, LP tanks have a couple of focal points that might be essential to certain divers.

To begin with, there are a lot of tank fill stations that are not prepared to fill HP tanks appropriately. Second, higher weights cause more weight on the controller and valve segments—despite the fact that this is ordinarily not, at this point an issue with the present current HP tanks.

A decent, adaptable alternative is to buy a high-limit HP steel tank and routinely underfilling it to a much lower psi than its greatest weight rating.

This gives you enough gas for your dive while diminishing weight on your other hardware, and gives you the alternative of filling to a higher psi when your dive requires it.

scuba tankPin

Durability & Longevity of scuba cylinders

As recently referenced, aluminum is a gentler metal than steel, which implies it will imprint, break, or scratch all the more effectively—for the most part in the tank neck.

All things considered, aluminum is still generally favored the world over for being increasingly prudent and simpler to keep up.

With appropriate upkeep, steel tanks are bound to last longer than aluminum ones. Because of the metal’s denser creation, steel is a lot harder and more harm safe. In any case, contrasted with aluminum, it very well may be increasingly inclined to consumption—especially when presented to saltwater.

Steel tanks can likewise be harmed if dampness is presented during the fill procedure, as this can cause oxidation later on. They require intermittent tumbling to expel oxidation from the inside.

Either type will in any case require the equivalent visual and hydro reviews. Check your neighborhood necessities to decide how every now and again you ought to have your tank assessed.

Ordinary examinations are fundamental as they will uncover any potential splits or imperfections in the tank structure before they become risky.

Scuba tank and Buoyancy

The sort of tank you pick will likewise influence your lightness and weighting. Aluminum tanks are contrarily light when they are full, however, they become all the more emphatically light as air is expended. This implies when an aluminum tank is vacant, it will buoy to the surface.

Steel tanks likewise start off adversely light, however they commonly remain so all through a large portion of the term of the dive.

They will in the end become all the more impartially light, however not by much. They additionally won’t coast as aluminum tanks will in general do once purged.

In any case, remember this is fairly reliant on the particular steel tank maker. On the off chance that you are calibrating your lightness to where you’re figuring changes in tank pressure, make certain to confirm the lightness attributes of a tank before buying.

Divers may need to include weight whether or not the tank is steel or aluminum, and the measure of extra weight will rely upon the tank’s certain endless supply of the dive.

This is basic to accomplish impartial lightness during the dive and to have the option to securely finish decompression stops (on the off chance that you have to play out any) during rising.

One thing to remember whether you plan on diving in various waterways is that regardless of what kind of tank you have, whether steel or aluminum, any item is all the more normally light in saltwater since it is denser than freshwater.

history of scuba diving tanksPin

Scuba tank price

One of the last deciding elements while picking a tank to dive with is the cost of the tank. Aluminum tanks are typically more affordable than equivalent steel tanks, settling on them a phenomenal decision for recreational diving and divers on a tight spending plan.

Be that as it may, while steel tanks do cost more, they regularly last more and are progressively equipped for supporting longer dives with expanded pneumatic forces.

How should you properly maintain your Scuba Tank?

Rust is regularly referenced as a downside to a steel tank. On the off chance that saltwater gets into a tank, it will rust, and it won’t take long for the rust to debilitate the tank.

Aluminum tanks have a comparative issue, yet when this procedure occurs in aluminum it shapes a covering that keeps the procedure from proceeding.

In any case, on the off chance that you don’t get saltwater in the tank, at that point it won’t rust. In the event that a steel tank begins to rust as a result of dampness noticeable all around, a procedure called tumbling can be utilized to evacuate any rust that is beginning to construct.

Since aluminum tanks are milder than steel, they are increasingly inclined to outside scratches from dealing with them.

The two styles of tanks when appropriately thought about will keep going quite a while, however, steel tanks do have a more extended future.

weight difference between steel and aluminumPin

Which tank is best for you?

The decision among aluminum and steel tanks is one that numerous divers should make throughout their professions. Here’s a last takeaway that may assist you with settling on a choice:

Aluminum scuba tank

Experts: less expensive, progressively well known for amateurs, and the standard for recreational use.

Cons: heavier, with thicker development to compensate for its progressively flexible development, normally somewhat bigger than steel, positive lightness

Steel scuba tank

Experts: longer life expectancy, progressively impervious to harm, lighter and with negative lightness.

Cons: costly, powerless to rust.

As usual, converse with your nearby dive shop, ask your locale, and learn as much as possible before settling on an ultimate conclusion!

scuba tank weightPin

Example: diver that weights 160 pounds wearing a 3 mm wetsuit

On the off chance that we utilize the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy rule, this diver needs 8 pounds of weight to be impartially light.

The objective is for the diver to complete the dive with 750 psi (50bar) remaining and being impartial light without air in the BCD at 15 feet/5 meters.

At the point when he puts on an aluminum tank, he becomes about 1.5 pounds adversely light. Without air in his BCD, he will gradually sink. Sooner or later, he will add air to his BCD to recapture nonpartisan lightness and stop his plunge.

As he utilizes his air, the tank changes from a negative to a positive light state, when he has utilized around 33% of his air, the Luxer 80 is impartially light, and the diver should expel all air from the BCD to stay unbiased.

As he utilizes more air, he will turn out to be emphatically light and begin to skim up. As we referenced previously, he will use about 4.5 pounds of air-breathing down to 750 psi.

So beginning with a 1.5 negative and expelling 4.5 pounds of air implies the diver needs to add 3 pounds of weight to return to his unbiased lightness weight.

This diver will require 11 beats on his belt when utilizing an aluminum Luxfer 80 chamber. Presently a similar diver puts on a full steel tank gauging 13 pounds.

Without air in his BCD, he would sink like a stone so he would need to add air to redress. In the wake of breathing his air down to the 750 PSI level, his tank is as yet 8.5 pounds negative.

To be nonpartisan at 750 psi, he should expel that 8.5 pounds from his weight belt. End dependent on the model over: A diver changing from an aluminum tank to steel will require 11 pounds less on his belt.

cheap scuba tanksPin

Conclusion: should you pick Steel vs Aluminum Scuba Tank

In the wake of perusing this examination article, you’re presumably believing that steel is superior to aluminum.

In any case, this isn’t really the situation. Each diver has one of a kind needs, so you have to consider your own before settling on an official choice.

One approach to make sense of it is to lease the two kinds of tanks on various events—see which one works best for you.

Likewise, in case you’re purchasing a pre-owned tank, check it for current review stickers and markings.

Gauge the upsides and downsides of buying a pre-owned tank that might not have been all around thought about over purchasing another one that would be relied upon to last through a huge number of dives.

YouTube video
Sara Jonson photo

Author: Sara Jonson

Hey! I’m Sara, diver passionate about exploring the world and sharing tips along the way. I have been lucky to dive in unbeliveble places over the globe and i hope all of the info you find ib my diving blog will help you to plan your next dive adventure:)