This post contains affiliate links. The Salt Sirens earns from qualifying purchases.
A scuba diving regulator supplies oxygen from your air tank to your body through a hose and mouthpiece. It one of the most essential pieces of scuba diving equipment. In this guide, we’ll share the best scuba diving regulators on the market and offer tips on how to choose the best regulator for you.
This regulator is ideal for traveling divers. The Aqua Lung Mikron is the smallest regulator from Aqua Lung. The ACD feature keeps water from entering the first stage inlet and the regulator is environmentally sealed. Available in DIN and yoke. Warranty qualifies for free parts for life. Comes with extra mouthpiece for those with a smaller bite. As a downside, this regulator is not as durable as some of the other standard size regulators on the market.
The Atomic ST1 is the ideal regulator for sport divers, built from solid stainless steel and titanium. The grade 316 stainless steel is twice as strong as brass and resistant to corrosion. The Atomic ST1 has a 5-port swivel turret 1st stage, 2 year service interval, and adjustable flow. Comes in six colors. Limited lifetime warranty. It is extremely durable and breaths easy. Some divers might like how it disperses bubbles away from the line of vision.
You might notice that this regulator makes a frequent appearance among dive instructors and guides. Easy to maintain, the Cressi Master T10-SC is also environmentally sealed and resistant to corrosion. Adjustable breathing effort. Because it is one of the best all-around regulators for divers, you’ll find that it’s very durable, lightweight, and comfortable enough for everyday use.
The Oceanic Zeo is a pneumatically-balanced regulator that can handle serious depth without changing airflow. Its main appeal is its emphasis on comfort, with a mechanism that helps recirculate moisture into the throat. The mouthpiece also moves easier to prevent jaw fatigue. The regulator is compact, breathes smoothly, and perfect for cold water diving. The only downside is that the air flow adjustment can be a challenge to gauge at first.
Deep 6 is a smaller brand that is starting to gain a cult following — who flaunt their noticeable orange-accented gear. Their signature model regulator offers easy breathing that punches above its price point. Many divers have dropped their brand loyalty to other larger brands in exchange for Deep 6. This regulator comes with free service kits and workships.
The popular workhorse among regulators, the Scubapro MK25 EVO A700 is a top-of-the-line regulator that can handle serious depth, cold temperatures, and breaths easy in nearly all conditions. If you want a regulator that can keep up with even the most intense diving, this is a clear winner. Some specs include an air balanced piston first stage and anti-freeze construction.
One of the best scuba regulators for travel, the Cressi XS Compact is just that, compact. It’s also ideal for new divers who want a no fuss, no frills regulator as part of their first dive package. The second stage housing is made from non-corrosive polymers. The mouthpiece is crafted from soft silicone, offering a comfortable fit. This regular is highly durable despite its small size and made for everyday use.
The Apeks MTX-R is a great regulator for cold water divers and those who want a regulator that can handle extreme and variable conditions. It has military-grade durability and meets all requirements of the Navy Experimental Dive Unit (NEDU). Environmentally sealed and easy to service, this is one of the best scuba diving regulators for those who need a regulator that will work in dearly all conditions. The hose is nylon braided and is therefore more flexible than traditional rubber hoses.
Given its name, you can reasonably assume that the Sherwood Blizzard Pro is one of the best cold water diving regulators on the market—and it clocks in at one of the more affordable price points. The regulator has been on the market for the past 30+ years, but major updates to the model were made within the past few years. It has a dry seal function that keeps the regulator from being affected by salt, particles, or chlorine. The regulator is robust, easy to service, and a classic among professional divers.
One of the best-value scuba regulators around, the Hollis DC7 makes for a great all-around regulator for those diving in warm waters especially—though it does meet the CE standard for cold water as well. This regulator propels bubbles away from the line of sight and breathes easy. The braided hose system is also a more durable alternative to the traditional rubber hoses offered on other scuba regulators within this price range.
Things to consider when buying the best scuba regulator
Major brands have high safety standards for scuba regulators. In order to be put on the market, each make and model of regulator must withstand rigorous testing. This is important because an expensive regulator doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a safer or better option. The price of a regulator is influenced by many things, but safety is not one of them.
Basic regulators are perfect for recreational divers in warm water. The special features apply more to dive professionals, cave divers, cold water divers, and those looking to push the limits of what their equipment can do.
Cold vs. warm water diving
Different scuba diving regulators have different thresholds when it comes to water temperature. When the water is cold, around or below 15°C, it can lead to a freeflowing regulator. If you think you might be diving in cold water, it’s best to pay a little bit more for a regulator that can handle the cold temperatures.
Coldwater regulators are sealed to withstand low temperatures – but they also are best for divers in murky environments, where the regulator could be prone to collecting tiny debris. The same sealing that protects the regulator against cold also keeps particles out.
Balanced versus unbalanced
In general, balanced regulators are better – but they are of course, pricier. An unbalanced regulator breathes more unevenly when divers share air, at depth, or when the tank pressure decreases. Unbalanced regulators also typically cost less to service.
A balanced regulator breathes evenly throughout the dive, no matter the other variables. If you plan to technical dive or dive at more serious depth, it’s worth investing in a balanced regulator.
Piston versus diaphragm
A piston has only one moving part attached to the first stage, so it is easier to service. However, this set-up allows some water into the first stage, so it requires more frequent care to prevent against corrosion. They are also slightly more durable than diaphragm regulators.
A diaphragm regulator is made up of more parts, but is a top choice if its environmentally sealed. A sealed diaphragm regulator tends to last longer in cold water or silty water compared to a piston diaphragm. The issue is that diaphragm regulators tend to be more expensive to service.
Tank mount types
There are two types of tank mounts that vary between regions.
Yoke: This is the most common type of air tank mount. This is the most common type of mount in the world.
DIN: This type of air tank mount is popular among tech divers and cave divers as it tends to have less drag and is more secure. They are also more compact.
Many tanks accept both regulator mounts. If you purchase one type but want to cover your bases, invest in a tank mount adapter.
It might help to think of your regulator like a faucet. Some regulators have an easy, solid airflow. Others have more resistance. Some regulators are adjustable, so you can control the flow of air as you like.
Octopus and hose length
Most regulators are set to have the primary hose and the octopus hose be the same length. Some regulators don’t have an octopus (secondary hose) and some hose lengths are adjustable. More flexible hoses are great if you travel, as they are easier to fold and stow away.
Dive guides and instructors might feel more comfortable diving with a longer second stage should one of their divers need it. Others, like technical divers, might want to focus on being as compact and hydrodynamic as possible.
Is the regulator comfortable to carry in your mouth? If it seems heavy at first, remember that it will be weightless underwater. Some mouthpieces are made to allow you to have a natural bite – but they don’t fit every mouth.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions about dive regulators
What is a scuba diving regulator and how does it work?
A scuba diving regulator works by supplying air from your tank to your lungs through well crafted system.
How do you use a scuba diving regulator?
You use a scuba diving regulator by attaching the regulator to your air tank. You breathe from the tank through a hose with a mouthpiece attached on the end of it. Scuba diving regulators are also used to inflate your BCD (buoyancy control device). The BCD keeps you from sinking or floating while in the water, allowing you to stay neutrally buoyant.
During your scuba diving course, an instructor will teach you exactly how to use a scuba diving regulator.
What are the parts of a scuba regulator?
A scuba regulator has four main parts: 1) First stage: the part that connects to the air tank 2) Second stage: the part that connects to the mouthpiece 3) Octopus: an alternate air hose 4) BCD inflator hose: supplies air to your buoyancy control device
This post contains affiliate links. This means we may earn a commission on any product purchased at no extra cost to you.