The regulator is one of the most important pieces of gear you will own. When there is something wrong with your regulator this will most certainly end your dive and maybe even get you in a heap of trouble. Choosing a scuba regulator on which you can depend and which fulfills your needs can be a harrowing task. In todays market there are dozens of regulators out there but which one is the right one for you? No worries, we are here to help.
After selling diving gear for more than over a decade I’ve learned there are a few things you want to ask yourself before purchasing a new regulator. Different divers have different needs and it can very well be that a entry level regulator is all you need. One thing to keep in mind though is that I would suggest you always spend as much of your budget as you can on your reg since it is one of the most important pieces of gear you will buy.
Over the years regulators have become more and more safe. I can confidently say that there are no more dangerous regulators out there. Especially if you are choosing a scuba regulator of one of the bigger brands. If you use your regulator for what it is designed for than you should be fine.
Question 1: How cold is the water you’ll be diving in?
Water which is below 10 degrees Celsius/50 degrees Fahrenheit is considered to be cold water. Diving in such conditions is extra demanding on your reg-set and it needs to be environmentally sealed. This prevents the regulator from freezing which will result in a free flow. An extra benefit of environmentally sealed regulators is that they are completely sealed and no debris or sand can get into the first stage, potentially causing a malfunction. Sealed regulators tend to be a bit more expensive but will give you great piece of mind when diving regularly in cold conditions.
If you only dive in warmer conditions like the tropics or the mediterranean you could go for a regulator which is not sealed . They tend to be cheaper and why pay for a function you are not gonna use. Remember though, if in the future you are gonna dive in colder waters you might want to change out the reg!
Question 2: Which part of the world are you diving in?
Din or Yoke?
Different parts of the world use different types of connections. In the caribbean and the US the Yoke or A-Clamp system is common. In most of Europe and Asia they tend to use DIN. My suggestion would be, always buy a DIN regulator. The connection to the tank is much stronger and most DIN regulators can be used with 300 bar/4500 psi tanks. This is one of the reason why many technical divers use a DIN style regulator.
If you do live in a yoke area then it is possible to get an adapter which tend to cost around $ 30,- bucks. This adapter transforms you DIN style regulator into a yoke. The simple fact is that you can always transform you DIN regulator into a yoke one but you can never transform a yoke into a DIN style.
Another consideration is which brand to choose. A big part in this is choosing a scuba regulator which can be serviced somewhere near you. All to often we saw a client enter our dive shop with a Sherwood regulator. Excellent regulator but not sold in Europe hence no way for us to get the parts needed to service it. Let alone get the training to be able to service it. Ask your local dive shop what brands they service and consider buying it there. If you are in doubt the big brands tend to be serviceable everywhere.
Question 3: How far will you take your diving?
What are your intentions for diving? Are you just gonna do recreational diving or are you gonna venture into the technical side of the sport? This is something to consider since it can save you a ton of money once you are ready to hop on the technical diving train.
If you have the ambition to eventually do some technical diving you might want to infest in a regulator which is ready for that. Of course most technical diving is done with multiple regulators but at least you already have one which is one less to buy when you make the switch. Also you can consider using a technical style SPG and even a longhouse setup.
If you’re sure you won’t do any technical diving in the future then you can choose to go for a regulator in the mid section or the lower section depending on your other needs.
Looking for a new regulator? Maybe the Mares Fusion 52x is something for you. Check out our full review here.