Aluminum vs steel tanks

General banter about diving and why we love it.
av8tor
Hi, I'm New To NWDC!
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:56 am

Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by av8tor » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:56 pm

Newly certified and slowly collecting my own gear. The next purchase will be tanks. What would be the best option for the PNW area, ie salt water durability, temperature, depth, size, weight, etc. Steel or Aluminum? I intend to progress to AOW when I gain more experience and want to purchase equipment that I can utilize for deeper dives including possibly nitrox.

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7773
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by CaptnJack » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:02 pm

Forget aluminum for now. Its only 77cf of gas and you then need extra lead to sink the bouyant tank. You'll have least reserve of anyone you're diving with.

lp95s, hp100s or hp119s will all serve you well now and into the future. hot dipped galvanized being preferable to painted.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

Alaska-Herb
Aquaphile
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Alaska-Herb » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:27 pm

The one piece of gear that I regret buying the most was my HP AL 100 tank. I bought it because that was the big boy that the shop had to rent and it was what I was used to. That tank now sits in the back of the tank farm and waits until my kids come to dive and every tank is pressed into service.

If you are an extra sized person Like I am then
Buy a HP 100 , HP 119 or if you really want some air a Hp130.

If you are not extra sized then I also really like my lp 85 's they are nice sized tanks for all sizes and I have never had a short fill like i get with my HP tanks sometimes.

User avatar
fmerkel
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1031
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:45 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by fmerkel » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:24 pm

For 'average' NW diver steel 100's (HP=lighter, LP=heavier) are pretty much standard.
If you want more air go 119 or 130 for big guys.
To Air is Human,
To Respire, Divine.

User avatar
mancub
Dive-aholic
Posts: 269
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:01 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by mancub » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:11 pm

I'll tag in and double the "yay" for HP100. If you want to try a HP100, I am down to go for a dive and let you try one.

Jacob

User avatar
Linedog
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1268
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:53 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Linedog » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:39 pm

Please don't waste your money on aluminum tanks, I have 3 sitting in my garage collecting dust! But my 2 HP130's get used when I dive!
Pop tarts and gravy,
It's what's for breakfast.

User avatar
json
Aquaphile
Posts: 168
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:15 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by json » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:48 pm

Steel all the way, much better for our cold water.
Procastination is like masterbaition,it's all good until you realize your only screwing yourself!

User avatar
eliseaboo
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1002
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:50 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by eliseaboo » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:59 pm

Linedog wrote:Please don't waste your money on aluminum tanks, I have 3 sitting in my garage collecting dust! But my 2 HP130's get used when I dive!


Oh really...*hmm*

The answer to the original question depends on how much (or little) you breathe. I do dive an AL80, but I know I have low air consumption and I tend to get cold before I run low on air. I also am perfectly content in the top 50 feet of water. If I were you, I would take advantage of the generous offers to try out other divers' tanks before deciding on something. You'll get a feel for how heavy they are, how they sit on your back, things like that. You can rent tanks still while deciding and looking around for used tanks.

User avatar
Novice
Dive-aholic
Posts: 213
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 11:33 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Novice » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:26 pm

I am also one of those folks that have several (3) AL 80s collecting dust. Maybe they will be stages someday... I have HP 100s that are great. But try different tanks, if you do decide that AL 80s are ok for you the one advantage is that since most people do not prefer them with the heavy exposure suits we wear here they should be cheap, like pocket lint cheap. I paid $25 each for my used 80s. Don't pay much more than that if buying aluminum.

User avatar
Gdog
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 3776
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Gdog » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:32 pm

Elise, I have heard about how little your comsumption is. However, I own and dive 4 AL80 tanks. One of the few dive gear purchases I wish I could take back. For all the above reasons, I wish I would have invested in steel. Sigh....

Blow-N-Bubbles
Aquaphile
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Blow-N-Bubbles » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:35 pm

+1 for Steel HP 100's preferably w/ pro valves ......some HP 100's have a smaller neck and you have to run DIN only. Aqua Lung is one of those ( at least mine are ) I learned the hard way, but my AL 80's are spare tanks for visitors.
“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.”

User avatar
BASSMAN
I've Got Gills
Posts: 5803
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:55 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by BASSMAN » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:27 pm

If I was going to buy tanks again, it would be a couple of Steel 119's.
I currently use steel 100's but I would like just a little more air, for the deeper dives.
130 is also on the future shopping list.
Hi, my name is Keith, and I'm a Dive Addict! :supz:

Scuba Jon
Just Settling In
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:46 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Scuba Jon » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:40 pm

It is all a personal preference thing. I personally have 8 AL80's and 3 steel HP100's. Most of my dives are with the 80's but I do use the 100's occasionally. I have two for them set up for nitrox so those get used when I want to stay deeper longer. If you are not sure what you really want, try them both and then decide from there.

User avatar
spudgunman
Compulsive Diver
Posts: 389
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:08 pm

Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by spudgunman » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:51 am

Try before you buy! I am a happy 130 diver on every dive but for example my wife couldn't even walk with one on her back! (or lift it out of the car) If you ever wanna test dive a 130 mine are always ready for a dive just pm me and we can go out! If you breech the 100hp consider your dive locations (shore dive walking vs boat dive fall off sideboard) you can also make up a cool tank hauler cart!

Additionally I have never regretted the 130 I miss them dearly when I travel.

For me personally ending negative is a huge requirement for any tank.
Kelly(boy)
_____
Per TOS: I explicitly ask you to feel free to criticize me constructively or just because you want to pick on me.

User avatar
mancub
Dive-aholic
Posts: 269
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:01 am

Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by mancub » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:35 am

Av8er, spudgunman and whoever is reading this thread!

I am sure there are multiple people who are in the process of purchasing tanks or thinking about changing their rig. Maybe we could plan a little tank demo dive with a few different styles for people to test. I've got a HP100 and HP119 for someone to try.

Would this be helpful for people? Just an idea.

User avatar
BASSMAN
I've Got Gills
Posts: 5803
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:55 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by BASSMAN » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:00 pm

Maybe @ the next club dive!
Good idea! :supz:
Hi, my name is Keith, and I'm a Dive Addict! :supz:

User avatar
LCF
I've Got Gills
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 5:05 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by LCF » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:44 pm

I felt very sorry for the guy today wearing the jacket BC and the Al80, who needed 46 pounds (and we weight checked it) to dive comfortably. He could have shed six pounds by switching to steel, and another three by switching to a backplate.

I'd be happy to bring tanks to a "tank tasting". We have HP100s, LP95s, HP130s, HP120s, Al80s, LP72s, and a few other odd tanks sitting around.
"Sometimes, when your world is going sideways, the second best thing to everything working out right, is knowing you are loved..." ljjames

User avatar
Jeff Pack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 3057
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:51 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Jeff Pack » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:37 am

Before I got squared away, and quit listening to some folks I shouldnt have, I was carrying 42 pounds, with ankle weights, and a steel 95 with my ScubaPro weight integrated BC.

Now I dive with my 95, BP, and 32 pounds. I can actually dive 30, but I get real floaty at the end, and 31-32 makes it abit easier to manage
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

User avatar
scubnewb
Compulsive Diver
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:34 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by scubnewb » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:45 pm

***Chiming In*** :calvin:

As a recently certified diver: I purchased 2 AL80's

Heres how I looked at it when I bought my first tanks a couple months ago. I couldnt afford to drop 4,5,6 or even 700+ dollars on a pair of steel tanks for a few reasons.

One I am also a newer diver and am only OW certified so I dont really go deeper then 60 feet and on a rare occasion I might go to 80 feet for a brief moment when my dive buddy "accidently" tends to wander a little deeper then planned :smt064 so on average a dive for me usually last about 45 mins with my AL80 and that is a pretty nice dive in my opinion.

With that in mind and looking at tanks and funds I also concidered how often am I really gonna dive, will this be something I may not like as much as I thought after a number of dives, does my life allow me to dive as often as i hope if I do really enjoy this sport, what if something happens and i have a scare that puts me out the water indefinitly, do I want to dump such a large amount of cash on some expensive tanks right now when I dont know the answer to all these questions and I have other things the money could go to (bills, kids, debt, collee loans etc etc)?

So after considering it all I figured that if i picked up some AL80's and dove them for awhile and really figured out what my life as a diver was gonna look like I could handle the couple hundred bucks I would be putting out. It didnt matter if i loved or hated diving in the end, or if life just kept me out the water, or what happened in general. In the end 200 bucks was not gonna hurt me so I picked up 2 Catalina AL 80's that were basically brand new, one still had platic on it. They were manufactured in 1994 and the gentleman who purchased them passed away before using them so they sat in a garage until his son found them and sold them. I dumped the money in to having them VIP & Hydro'd and am a little over $200 into them currently which I hould be able to get back out of them if i decided to sell them curently.

In the end I am very happy with my current tanks, now I am a bit farther down the road in my diving, I still dive them every dive and am at about the point where i am ready to commit to more expensive tanks as I have found my diving rythm and know the answers to alot of my questions i had before I picked up these tanks.

Now what will I do with these tanks? will i sell em as i think I am moving to HP 100's well I dont know, maybe I will sell them to another diver who is where i was a while back when looking at tanks. Maybe I will just keep them for loaners for people who dont have tanks but want to dive anyhow and dont like renting lol... maybe I will just keep em for the rare days when I decide to do more then one or two tank dives. Maybe I will double em up and try diving them that way, maybe they will get used for staging... i dont know. either way for the low cost and minimal commitment that I felt when i bought them i think they were a great buy/value.

Just some friendly advice from someone who isnt all hung up on the YOU MUST HAVE THIS CUZ I DO AND THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS attitude... :stir:

Good luck, and if you decide to try out some AL80s or pick some up there are a number you can find on this board and craigslist...



av8tor wrote:Newly certified and slowly collecting my own gear. The next purchase will be tanks. What would be the best option for the PNW area, ie salt water durability, temperature, depth, size, weight, etc. Steel or Aluminum? I intend to progress to AOW when I gain more experience and want to purchase equipment that I can utilize for deeper dives including possibly nitrox.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do."
-Confucius

User avatar
eliseaboo
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1002
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:50 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by eliseaboo » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:36 pm

scubnewb: Side mount side mount side mount!! :stir:

User avatar
scubnewb
Compulsive Diver
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:34 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by scubnewb » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:43 pm

Yes this has crossed my mind for sure :tomnic:

eliseaboo wrote:scubnewb: Side mount side mount side mount!! :stir:
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do."
-Confucius

User avatar
Nwbrewer
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4537
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:59 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by Nwbrewer » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:53 am

Just some friendly advice from someone who isnt all hung up on the YOU MUST HAVE THIS CUZ I DO AND THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS attitude... :stir:


I don't think this is really fair to the above posters. I saw a lot of people with very valid reasons for recommending steel tanks. If your budget is super tight, grab some 80's and go diving, that's what i first started with, but I very rapidly discovered that there were good reasons why people here use steel tanks primarily.

As for SM diving al80's, while using super light tanks is fun, adding 10LBS of lead when going from a single 119 to double al80's kind of sucks.... I want some HP 100's.

To the OP, try a few different kinds of tanks and see what works for you. If you can make it up to MMM or something I'll loan you my 119 to try out.
"Screw "annual" service,... I get them serviced when they break." - CaptnJack (paraphrased)


"you do realize you're supposed to mix the :koolaid: with water and drink it, not snort the powder directly from the packet, right? :smt064 " - Spatman

User avatar
vs920
Frequent Bubbler
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:05 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by vs920 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:20 am

I thought the comment was a bit off base also; but if you’re walking the middle of the fence you can see his point. I do.
I personally dive with steel. I have two HP 80’s that I love for shallower dives and a monster HP 120.
Galvanized is the way to go in my opinion; nothing can get under the coating and corrode the tank.
And there’s a lot to be said for being negative with an empty tank.

User avatar
spatman
I've Got Gills
Posts: 10881
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:06 am

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by spatman » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:08 am

scubnewb wrote:***Chiming In*** :calvin:

As a recently certified diver: I purchased 2 AL80's

:blah: :blah: :blah:

Just some friendly advice from someone who isnt all hung up on the YOU MUST HAVE THIS CUZ I DO AND THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS attitude... :stir:


Offering opinions does not equal cramming dogma down someone's throat. There is a lot of collective experience, wisdom, and generosity among the divers on this forum, and it behooves any new diver to ask questions and choose a directions from the answers and offers given.
Image

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7773
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Aluminum vs steel tanks

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:19 am

Nwbrewer wrote:As for SM diving al80's, while using super light tanks is fun, adding 10LBS of lead when going from a single 119 to double al80's kind of sucks.... I want some HP 100's.


I haven't used an AL80 as a single tank in a long time. Packing on more lead to dive with less gas is just plain silly. Used AL80s are fairly common because most moderately experienced recreational divers don't like them. Used hp100s are like hen's teeth because everyone loves them. Go figure.

Sure, if the only way you're going to be diving is to get some sort of tank for as little as possible get yourself some used AL80s off CL. Just make sure they were born post 1990 (a cutoff point for some shops to fill them). If money isn't super tight, find some slightly larger steel tanks and have less total mass on your back and waist for more gas.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

Post Reply