Looking to find the best scuba regulators? Excellent! You’ve obviously come to the right website. Listed below are our top selections (in no particular order). We hope you find the right regulator for you!
The ScubaPro MK2+/R195
Our Top Pick: This model features a reversible hose attachment and both a downstream valve and downstream piston. Its body is plated in chrome and has a purge button, along with a notably large diaphragm. View prices and more details here…
The Mares MV Octopus
Also Great: This model by Mares laboratories is far the best scuba diving regulator. Its symmetrical design makes it usable on both the right and left sides. Its minimal and lightweight design make it comfortable and a great addition to your personal diving gear. View prices and more details here…
The Scuba Choice Palantic AS206
Also Great: The Scuba Choice Palantic AS206 has a large purge button and comes with 36in, 350 PSI hose. It sits at a very affordable price point and is extremely lightweight. View prices and more details here…
The Cressi Sub Elipse Titanium
Also Great: This models larger size allows for a large diaphragm, resulting in less effort to take in breath! Its featured as the “industry’s lightest second stage”. It also has two strategically positioned high-pressure and four low-pressure ports. View prices and more details here…
The Mares Instinct 12S
Also Great: This model’s exhale port is strategically positioned on the side so bubbles will never block your view. It has four low-pressure ports and is designed for consistent flow. View prices and more details here…
The Different Types of Scuba Regulators and Gear
Scuba Regulator Mouthpieces:
A Scuba regulator mouthpiece is part of the breathing apparatus that a Scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) diver places inside his mouth, gripping it tightly to ensure a watertight seal between his mouth and the breathing set. This equipment is made of a small, flattened-oval tube which is supposed to be placed between his lips, with a flange on the free end of the mouthpiece that should fit right between the Scuba diver’s lips and his gums and tooth. Two projections having enlarged ends extending from the flange are to be gripped between his teeth. Commonly available regulator mouthpieces consist of two untextured, small tabs that a diver has to bite into in order to place the regulator properly inside his mouth. Such mouthpieces fit perfectly inside most of the divers’ mouths, with smaller versions available for children. Other popular regulator mouthpieces available in the market include the Tooth-Covering Mouthpiece, the Minimalist Mouthpiece, the Bridged Mouthpiece, the Long Bite Mouthpiece, the Cushioned Mouthpiece, the “Winged” Bite Tab Mouthpiece and the Customizable Mouthpiece.
Scuba Regulator Packages/Sets:
The Scuba Regulator Package/set is the set of equipment that will help you breathe underwater without any interference and is composed of a diving regulator with 3 parts- first stage with piston or diaphragm, yoke or DIN valve; second stage and air hose. A Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPG), a low pressure inflator hose (LPI) and a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) also form part of the regulator set. Regulators are of two essential types- unsealed and sealed. The unsealed regulators are preferred for diving in warm water such as the Caribbean and the sealed regulators are highly advisable for diving in cold water as the water may freeze and block the flow of air. Sealed regulators also prevent contaminants such as sediment and salt from flowing into the first stage. Diving regulators function in two stages and the first stage may be based on piston or diaphragm construction. Although, the latter is preferred for deep sea divers, it is more expensive than the former first stage construction. Another jargon commonly associated with regulators is “balanced” and “unbalanced”; while the “unbalanced” regulator is used mainly for diving up to 18m under water, the “balanced” regulator comes with consistent flow of air can be used for deep sea diving.
Second Stage Scuba Regulators:
The second stage of the Scuba regulator comprises of a Purge Button, a Plastic Chamber that has a rubber diaphragm on the outer part which is in direct contact with the ambient water pressure, an Exhaust Valve and an Inner Valve connected to a lever (movable). This second stage of the regulator is connected to the first stage’s intermediate-pressure chamber with the help of a hose.
In the operation taking place in the second stage firstly, you will inhale and lower the pressure inside the second stage of the regulator to a level below the ambient water pressure. Next, the water pressure will put pressure onto the diaphragm membrane, moving the lever. After this, the movement of the lever will open the inlet valve. As this happens, the air will flow from the tank into the second stage of the regulator, and enter your lungs via the mouthpiece. As you exhale, the pressure within the second stage will exceed the ambient water pressure and then push on to the diaphragm membrane. This will cause the membrane to move away and allow the lever to get back to the normal position, closing the inlet valve. The pressure exerted on the second stage will cause the exhaust valve to open and allow the exhaled air to exit the second stage. The process repeats every time you breathe through the diving regulator.
First Stage Scuba Regulators:
The first stage of a Scuba regulator is primarily a valve that functions to lower to the air pressure entering from the ‘Scuba Tank’. Its function is similar to a regular water tap that controls the force of water pressure pushing its way into a faucet. Similarly, the first stage regulator reduces the air pressure gushing out of tank at 2000psi into approximately 140psi. The pressure chambers within the first stage regulator are separated by pistons or valves. Based on the ‘ambient water pressure’ (that changes with the depth of water) the first stage of the regulator will make changes in the rate of flow of air pressure. It closes at lower pressure and opens up at higher pressure. This in turn ensures that all the devices that use your air (such as the hose for inflating BCD) function in normal manner at all depths.
Scuba Regulator Bags (For Storing Your Regulator For Travel):
A sturdy Scuba Regulator bag ideally protects your Scuba equipment for all kinds of traveling, be it to the nearest dive site or gearing up for a plane trip to the tropics. The main bag should be large and firm enough to hold all the equipment and have the ability to resist salt water. You may also require secondary bags like a mesh bag (lightweight) for the fins, mask and snorkel, or a heavily padded bag to carry the regulator. Opting for sturdy bags with heavy-duty fabric along with reinforced stitching can protect the bags from heavy pointy, dive gear as well function properly under wet conditions. The hardware and fasteners like handles, clips and zippers should also be corrosion-resistant and durable so that they can endure the environment and stress during diving. If you plan an air travel you have to make sure that the breakable items such as the mask are padded properly. Empty and dry your bags before you store it for the next diving adventure.
Double Hose Scuba Regulators:
The Double Hose Scuba Regulators have been introduced in the market to replace the existing single hose design. This double hose regulator has a remarkable resemblance to the vintage scuba and offers greater durability that the single hose regulator owing to its composition of specialty metals and modern polymers. The Double Hose Scuba Regulator also allows additional Scuba diving equipment such as Submersible pressure gauge (SPG), to be attached for better Scuba diving experience. Another important fact to be noted about the double hose regulator is that its performance in icy waters does not depreciate as the single hose regulator.
Tankless Scuba Regulators:
The Tankless Scuba Regulator is one of the most recent developments in Scuba Diving. Although, the idea is still making its way in the market, a multinational organization has developed a cutting-edge technology based ‘artificial gills’. The technology works to help breathe underwater owing to the ‘Microporous Hollow Fiber’. The threads of the fiber have holes, each of which are smaller than a water molecule, allowing the oxygen in and keeping the water out. Next, the ‘micro compressor’ extracts as well as stores the oxygen so that you can breathe in a normal way underwater. This micro compressor works through a powerfully modified lithium-ion based battery. This is the most technological advancement made in any Scuba Diving equipment.
Scuba Regulator Hoses:
A Scuba Regulator hose functions to carry the breathing gas from first stage of regulator to the demand valve or regulator’s second stage that is held by the diver in his mouth, or is attached to the diving helmet or a full face mask. A Scuba Regulator Hose plug can only be screwed to a 5Nm of Torque without applying much force. Regulator Hoses can either be low pressure or high pressure types. While the low pressure hose has a large bore hole to allow improved flow of air, the high pressure hose has a pinhole sized bore. The small size of the high pressure hose bore is because of the high pressure that the hose has to deal with to keep the internal volume minimal. Another feature of the Regulator Hose is its length which is dependent on the intended use of the Hose. On one hand, the longer hose reduces the strain on the diver’s jaw and neck but extra long Hoses will drag and produce a snag hazard; on the other the shorter hose can spruce up the hose routing, however, it limits flexibility.
Scuba Regulator Service Kits:
The Scuba Regulator Service kit contains all the necessary spare parts and service kits for upkeep and maintenance of scuba diving regulators. Spare parts for first stage and second stage regulators are mainly available in such kits. While there are many service kits available in the market, it is highly recommended that you opt for genuine or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) service kits matching the brand of your Scuba Regulator. Improper regulator servicing can lead to grievous injury or even death.
Titanium Scuba Regulators:
A Titanium Scuba Regulator is light in weight, highly durable and extremely corrosion resistant. Titanium Scuba Regulators are comparably lighter in weight than other metals that are used for making scuba regulators. Some of the titanium regulators in the market are completely made out of titanium (both internal and body components), while others have titanium in the body only. Titanium Scuba Regulators are also comparatively more expensive than other regulators. Titanium Scuba Regulators are highly recommended for diving professionals and regular divers and not for those who dive once or twice a year.
Scuba diving, an adventurous sport, a passion, that has transformed from the professional lines through the amateur underwater photographers, to the individuals who has passion for water adventure sports. Scuba diving is carried out with the help of a self-sustained underwater breathing apparatus, scuba regulator to breathe underwater.
Scuba Regulators main function is to reduce the high pressure air in scuba tank (compressed air tank) to a breathable pressure. The scuba regulators consist of two stages in general that function in tandem. It’s the first stage that is attached to the diver’s yoke that regulates the air pressure. This regulation of air pressure is possible as the air exits the tank before air actually enters the air hose. The air is delivered into the diver’s mouth and waste is removed (air or any other material) as required with the help of the mouth piece and purge valve making up the second stage.
Piston vs Diaphragm based Regulators
Regulators use either a piston assembly or a diaphragm assembly. The piston assembly based regulators are known to offer very good air flow rate and are generally made up of one moving part, making it more reliable and less expensive to maintain. The best scuba regulators are usually piston assembly based. While the diaphragm assembly is made up of multiple moving parts and is simpler to manufacture, making it cheaper for purchasing but tend to offer lower performance.
Balanced Regulator vs Unbalanced Regulator
Balanced Scuba Regulator offers steady breathing experience as opposed to the Unbalanced Scuba Regulator. The balanced regulator equalizes the pressure on both sides of the valve in order to compensate for decreasing tank pressure and depth. The unbalanced scuba regulator might cause the diver to struggle to breathe in, with the air in the tank diminishing. This leads to difference in pressure accompanied with the increasing pressure on the body as one descends deeper. The best scuba regulators typically come with balanced regulators that are considered by professionals.
The mouthpiece is a more crucial piece than one would normally consider it to be. If the mouthpiece of a scuba regulator is too big or too small, the diver might end up facing real hard time to breathe. This also leaves the diver with post-dive jaw pain. The best scuba regulators mouthpieces are manufactured ergonomically. This improves the breathing experience of the divers to a contented level leaving them without the post-dive jaw pain.
Tank, Ambient and Intermediate Pressures
Tank pressure is the air pressure that is maintained in the scuba tank. The air inside the scuba tank is usually highly pressured making it possible for the diver to carry more air for a deeper scuba dive. The mechanisms usually operate at 90 – 140 psi, while a full scuba tank is pressurized closely to 3000 psi.
Ambient pressure is the pressure experienced by the diver around him/her. The ambient pressure experienced increases with the increase in depth of the diver and vice versa. As the ambient pressure is variable with variable depths, the best scuba regulators are expected to function consequently with variable pressure during ascent and descent of the diver.
Intermediate pressure is the pressure output from the first stage to the second stage. The intermediate pressure is usually above 125 – 150 psi than the ambient pressure, which is variable.
One can choose the best scuba regulators from various scuba regulators, as they are subjected to perform exceedingly well during precise series of depths and breathing rates tests.
Interesting Facts about Scuba Regulators:
The terms J and K valve were not used to refer a shape or a function, but rather, “J” was referred to constant reserve valve and “K” was referred to non-reserve valve in the 1950s AquaLung catalogs.
The buoyancy of the two hoses, in the initial “Double-hose” regulators was compensated by carrying more weight with the gear.
The initial scuba dive was great for underwater photography and less intruding to marine life as the exhaled was vented from the back of the diver’s head with the help of double-hose regulators which consisted an exhaust hose and air-delivery hose.
With the absence of pressure gauges, the mechanism in J valve was designed to stop the airflow at 500psi. When the diver was informed about the low gas supply, he/she would pull up a lever to open the valve in order to surface using the remaining air.
The 1950s AquaLung was initially developed for the under demolition to be carried out by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan during the World War II.