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Jacques Cousteau called his 1940s invention “the aqualung.” Today, we say “cylinder” or “tank.” Some cylinders, like the 80 Cf Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi are galvanized steel; others are aluminum. When purchasing a scuba tank for personal use, the most significant decision to make is what type, steel or aluminum. But how do you choose between these two vastly different materials?
All tanks have different buoyancy factors. Tanks that are too small, too big, don’t fit, or have unfamiliar buoyancy characteristics, can turn simple floating into panic and struggle.
Most aluminum cylinders are negatively buoyant when full and are neutral or positively buoyant when empty. Having too much buoyancy at the end of your dive makes ascending slowly very challenging. You often need lead weights to avoid floating to the surface.
However, most steel cylinders are negatively buoyant throughout the dive and end up close to neutrally buoyant when the tank is empty. Therefore, if you are diving with a steel tank, you’ll need fewer weights.
Aluminum is a softer metal than steel, putting tanks made of it at risk for dents and damage during your dive. If you are diving around platforms, wrecks, or caves, you’ll want to consider a steel tank. Steel tanks have their own problems, though.
They are more expensive and more vulnerable to corrosion like rust. Also, they’re notoriously difficult to fill. Though, if properly maintained, steel tanks do last longer than aluminum cylinders.
What are some features of the 80 CF Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 Psi?
Features and Specs of the 80 CF Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 Psi
Manufactured as FX80DVB, the 80 Cf Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi is an 80 cubic feet capacity high-pressure steel tank that is the next generation of cylinder technology.
High-pressure tanks are compatible with any regulator. Current hydro testing verifies its compatibility with both pro-valve (standard) yoke and DIN compatible yoke fittings. It includes a self-draining tank boot to steady the 3,442 pounds per square inch of pressure.
The 80 Cf Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi is Nitrox compatible up to 40 percent. Galvanized chromium molybdenum steel treated with zinc and epoxy coating for a corrosion-resistant finish.
Remember, there is no galvanization on the insides of steel tanks. This would create a health hazard. So, be wary of any brands that claim otherwise. Zinc or other epoxy coatings applied to exteriors add protection.
The dimensions of the 80 Cf Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi tank are 7.24 inches with a length of 20.87 inches. This tank is a substantial 28.6 pounds when empty. Negative buoyancy of the container during your dive allows you to explore with ease without the need for additional lead weights.
While at the same time having enough buoyancy when empty to get you to the surface safely. The tank’s buoyancy when full is -8.05 pounds, and when empty it is -1.74 pounds. This weight almost meets the standards of buoyancy neutral.
Reviews, rating, and pricing
The Blue Steel Faber tank receives mostly positive reviews on Amazon. It’s rated 4.3 out of 5 stars. One five star reviewer says that they use this tank for all Nitrox dives and confirms that it is a quality tank. You can expect to pay between $300 and $350 for this product.
About the Blue Steel Faber brand
The Blue Steel Corporation began an exclusive joint partnership Faber Industries to build steel tanks in 2004. Currently, Blue Steel headquarters are in Maple Shade, New Jersey.
Kaplan Industries, another arm of Faber, started making industrial compressed gas cylinders over 50 years ago. Faber Industries was established in Italy back in 1972.
Right now, Faber is the world’s leading producer of solid steel, seamless high-pressure cylinders for the scuba diving industry.
Alternatives to the 80 Cubic Feet Scuba Dive Tank by Faber
Perhaps a steel tank is not for you. Are you considering buying an aluminum tank instead? Here are three additional choices of similar size and grade tanks available to fit your scuba needs or preferences.
This aluminum cylinder by Luxfer has an 80 cubic feet capacity with high-pressure of 3,300 pounds per square inch pressure certification. For more than 50 years Luxfer has been the world’s leading manufacturer of aluminum scuba cylinders. Their first cylinders resulted from a collaboration with legendary underwater adventurer Jacques Cousteau.
Features, ratings, reviews, and pricing
This cylinder is pro-valve compatible with a standard yoke or DIN fittings. The tank is Nitrox ready. It has current VIP inspection and hydro testing stickers guaranteed for at least one year from purchase.
Some reviewers report that they lost a year on their inspection sticker. However, the company states they ship cylinders that are good for at least one year.
The maximum fill pressure for the LALN80 is 3,300 pounds per square inch with a total capacity of 80 cubic feet. The tank is 25.5 inches in length, and the diameter is 7.25 inches. The weight of an empty tank is 34.7 pounds.
Buoyancy for a full tank is -5.8 pounds. While empty, the buoyancy is zero pounds, making it genuinely neutral. The cylinder is high-strength aluminum 6061-T6 alloy. Luxfer manufactures all seamless aluminum alloy tanks per U.S. Department of Transportation requirements. If you intend to use your tank for Nitrox the company asks that you specify upon ordering.
One reviewer gives the tank 5 stars, stating it is the best 3,300 pounds available. Overall, the tank rates 5 out of 5 stars with 8 written reviews available. One hundred percent of reviews are 5-star. The cylinder costs between $250 and $300.
Pros of the LALN80
- Neutral buoyancy when empty making it an excellent choice for a staging tank
- Meets all industry standards
- Popular, well-known brand
- It’s cost-efficient.
- Certified for oxygen and Nitrox
Cons of the LALN80
- Customers complain of losing a year on the two-year sticker
2. Sea Pearls AL80
Sea Pearls can’t claim a connection with Jaques Cousteau, but for over 40 years, Sea Pearls has been making its name in the diving industry. Known mostly for their vinyl dipped lead diving weights, they have been tiptoeing into the cylinder space ever since merging with XS Scuba in 2007. Sea Pearls is a U.S. company with a manufacturing plant facility in Minnesota.
Features, ratings, reviews, and pricing
In many ways, the AL80 is comparable to both the Luxfer and 80 Cf Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi cylinder. However, one difference is that the Sea Pearls AL80 only rates for a maximum pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch. The dimensions are 8 inches in diameter, and the length is 30.3 inches with the valve apparatus. It has a weight of 46.2 pounds. When empty, the tank is neutrally buoyant.
This model cylinder is very popular with the airsoft crowd, and most of the reviews reflect this. However, we found several reports related to diving.
One 5-star reviewer said that the bright yellow painted cylinder served him well during dives as it is easily recognized and highly visible while submerged. The Sea Pearls AL80 gets 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 100 percent 5-star reviews. This cylinder costs between $200 and $250.
Pros of the AL80
- Brightly colored tanks (purple, electric blue, safety yellow, neon green)
- Nitrox or oxygen
- Neutrally buoyant
- VIP and Hydrox tested (current two-year sticker)
Cons of the AL80
- Slightly lower pressure capacity
- You can request a color choice but are not guaranteed to get it
3. Catalina Cylinders C80
A scuba tank is arguably your most important piece of diving gear. The 80 cubic foot tank is one of the most common sizes used in recreational diving. Still, cylinders made by different manufacturers vary in size and buoyancy. Catalina Cylinders appear stockier than other tanks. Their tanks come in a variety of color options including brushed metal, yellow, white, black, blue, hot pink, and green.
Features, ratings, reviews, and pricing
The C80 tank has a rating of 3,300 pounds per square inch of pressure and a capacity of 80 cubic feet. The tank is 25.5 inches in length with the valve. The tank weighs 22.6 pounds when empty and 34.7 pounds when filled. When full, its buoyancy is -5.78 pounds and neutral when discharged.
On Amazon, this tank is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars. There are 73 percent 5-star reviews. One 5-star reviewer says that the deal was so good he bought two. He recommends upgrading to Nitrox ready and replacing the standard valve with a K-valve. The C80 tank costs between $200 and $250.
Pros of the C80
- Pro-valve standard
- Upgrade to convertible K-valve
- Economically priced
- Multiple color options
- Nitrox ready upon request
Cons of the C80
- One customer complained of an outdated VIP and Hydrox testing sticker
The Good and the Bad
Two other factors to consider are weight and buoyancy. Aluminum is lighter than steel, but this may not be a cause for concern. In fact, if you usually dive with weights, shifting to a steel tank may alleviate the need to add those. Here are a few of the pros and cons for the 80 CF Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi cylinder.
Pros of the FX80DVB
- It comes with a fitted tank boot which allows it to sit on flat surfaces
- The valve is convertible
- The tank is lightweight compared to other steel tanks
- The tank is almost buoyancy neutral; when empty the tank is -1.74 pounds submerged
Cons of the FX80DVB
- The boot is black rubberized plastic — some customers don’t like this look
- Only available in a brushed metal finish — no colors
- More expensive than other similar capacity tanks
When choosing between the tanks we reviewed, it comes down to choosing between steel and aluminum. Each option has its merits. Aluminum cylinders are less expensive than steel tanks. However, aluminum scuba cylinders are more prone to getting dinged, dented and are generally less durable.
However, steel tanks are affected by corrosion and rust. Coatings and galvanization do help, but due to sea air and salt water, they are more challenging to maintain.
If you are diving in or around structures, steel tanks like the 80 Cf Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi are worth the added hassle.
Of course, they are more expensive than their aluminum counterparts but more durable and therefore, safer. Keep rust and corrosion at bay by having regular inspections and providing proper care and maintenance.
In all, the 80 Cf Scuba Dive Tank Faber Blue Steel Hp 3442 psi is an impressive tank. It is lightweight and nearly buoyancy neutral. The Faber name carries a lot of clout due to the quality of their products.
Customer satisfaction for this tank is impressive. And though we scrounged high and low, there were very few negative comments, reviews, or criticisms.