How to Choose The Best Dive Regulator
So, you probably want to know what are the best dive regulators out there, right? Well, that's why we've put together these scuba regulator reviews to help you with the process.
Finding a good diving regulator might be not as easy as it sounds. There are many different models and specs you can get caught up on.
If you want to improve your experience underwater getting your own set of scuba gear is a quick and easy way to do it. When you have your own kit, everything fits you better and you'll be more comfortable diving with it. We've already explained how to choose scuba gear such as dive computers, dive masks or dive fins to suit your needs best. Now it's time to talk about finding the best scuba regulator on the market.
My recommendation is to keep it simple. Think about where and how you're going to use it, and what features you would like to have, then check the models that fill those needs best. This is generally a much better approach than just buying what other divers use or the most expensive model, thinking that it will be the best choice for you.
6 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST DIVING REGULATOR
1. WARM VS COLD WATER
But if you plan to dive in cold water, you will need a SEALED REGULATOR. The reason is because at low temperatures the water could freeze inside the first stage, blocking air flow. An environmental seal also keeps salt, sediment and other contaminants from entering the first stage.
For tropical destinations like the Caribbean, almost any regulator will do. An UNSEALED REGULATOR means that the water can get into the first stage which is totally fine when diving in warm water. These models have the main advantage of being cheaper than the rest.
The first thing you need to consider when it comes to choosing a dive regulator is the water temperature where you plan to dive.
2. DIAPHRAGM OR PISTON
PISTON FIRST STAGES are built with less moving parts and that's what makes them more reliable. They are the preferred choice for deep divers but they tend to be more expensive than the DIAPHRAGM MODELS.
The first stage can have a diaphragm or piston construction. For recreational divers either one is fine, although there are some things to consider.
3. BALANCED OR UNBALANCED
Entry level regulators are normally unbalanced but also cheaper to service. A balanced regulator is easier to breathe from which makes your dive more enjoyable. Getting a balanced regulator is something I do recommend to invest in if you have the budget for it.
A balanced regulator has a consistent air flow no matter how much air is left in the tank or the depth you are at. An unbalanced dive regulator will become harder to breathe from the deeper you go and when there is less air left in the tank.
4. DIN OR YOKE VALVE
With the YOKE VALVE the regulator is screwed over the tank. It's also called A-clamp and it's more commonly used all over the world. It's also much easier to screw a regulator into a tank with this type of valve.
There are two different fittings to attach your regulator to the tank: DIN and YOKE.
With the DIN SYSTEM the regulator is screwed directly into the tank. This creates a stronger seal, used a lot by cold water divers and it's more common in Europe.
If you decide to go for a DIN system, you can get an adapter to use your DIN regulator on a Yoke valve tank. This gives you the flexibility to use it with any type of tank valve.
5. NUMBER OF PORTS
Having 2 high pressure ports can come in handy if you have (or plan to get in the future) and dive computer with transmitter as you'll need an extra port to attach it.
Most of the regulators for scuba diving will come with 4 low-pressure ports and 1 (maybe 2) high pressure ports. The more ports you have, the easier it will be to set up your gear comfortably.
Being comfortable while diving is the best way to enjoy your time underwater. When getting a regulator think about some aspects. How hard you need to bite to keep it in your mouth? Do the bubbles go into your face when you exhale? Is the hose too short that it pulls you back when you turn your head?
These problems are normally fixed by replacing different accessories like getting a different mouth piece or a longer hose. Just keep those in mind when looking for the best dive regulator that fits your needs.