SUMMARY TABLE

Name

Image

Price

Rating

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OUR TOP PICK

SCUBAPRO
MK25/A700

most reliable scuba regulator

4.9  /5

BEST VALUE

OCEANIC
Alpha 8

best scuba regulator under $300

4.6  /5

AQUA LUNG
Titan

scuba regulator reviews 2019

4.4  /5

AQUA LUNG
Calypso

aqualung calypso

4.6  /5

scuba regulator sets

Overall Rating

4.9  /5

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General Impression

Built to deliver a steady and low-effort supply of air in all dive conditions, these Scubapro regulators are among the best dive regulators on the market. The MK25 EVO first stage ensures air is instantly delivered on demand (regardless of how cold the water is) while the A700 second stage ensures effortless inhalation and exhalation.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2.3 lbs
VALVE: Yoke or DIN
FIRST STAGE: Balanced
SEALED: Yes
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Five

Standout Features

  • Outstanding performance in all temperatures and conditions
  • Air-balanced design that’s easy to breathe regardless of position
  • Flow-through-piston that delivers more air to the second stage
  • Superior ultra-high airflow system

regulator scuba diving

Overall Rating

4.6  /5

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General Impression

A firm favorite of dive rental shops and resorts, the Oceanic Alpha 8 is an inexpensive regulator that’s been designed to perform to the U.S. Navy’s Class A standards at 198 feet. These Oceanic regulators compete with far more expensive regulators when it comes to underwater performance while also being incredibly affordable to maintain and service.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2 lbs
VALVE: Yoke
FIRST STAGE: Non-balanced
SEALED: No
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • Orthodontic mouthpiece to eliminate jaw fatigue
  • Nitrox compatible (up to 40%) straight out of the box
  • Inexpensive to maintain due to affordable diving regulator parts

cheap regulator

Overall Rating

4.4  /5

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General Impression

Now in its third generation, the Aqua Lung Titan features a comfortable and easy-breathing design that’s garnered it a reputation as one of the best regulators available. The T-shaped first stage is compact and created for optimal hose routings while the easy-to-grip Venturi knob stops unwanted free flow. The latest edition of this scuba regulator also features a quick disconnect hose fitting, which allows it to be used either right or left handed without requiring additional parts.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2.8 lbs
VALVE: Yoke or DIN
FIRST STAGE: Balanced
SEALED: Yes
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • Comfo-bite mouthpiece to reduce jaw fatigue
  • Balanced diaphragm mechanism for ease of breathing and consistency
  • Comfortable, lightweight and easy breathing regulator
  • Compatible for either a right or left-hand fit

aqualung regulator reviews

Overall Rating

4.8  /5

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General Impression

The Calypso has been popular with dive operators for years and is one of the best scuba regulators for entry-level divers. The latest model maintains the lightweight and compact design for which these Aqua Lung regulators have become renowned, with a few subtle improvements. It’s built with minimal components to ensure affordable maintenance and features side openings that prevent free flow when facing into currents.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2.1 lbs
VALVE: Yoke
FIRST STAGE: Not balanced
SEALED: No
HP PORTS: One
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • Compact and lightweight design for beginner divers
  • Easy and affordable to maintain
  • Comfobite mouthpiece to reduce jaw fatigue
  • High-flow piston technology for reliability and solid performance

best scubapro regulator

Overall Rating

4.5  /5

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General Impression

One of the most affordable regulators on the market, this lightweight model is designed by Italian dive brand Cressi who have been in the game since 1946. The simple design of this Cressi regulator ensures low-cost maintenance and it consistently receives high praise in scuba regulator reviews. It’s crafted from high-quality materials, guaranteeing a sound performance for recreational diving in warm water conditions.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2.2 lbs
VALVE: Yoke
FIRST STAGE: Not balanced
SEALED: No
HP PORTS: One
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • Affordable and reliable for beginners
  • Made from non-corrosive and long-lasting materials
  • Comfortable mouthpiece and easy-purge button

cheap scuba regulator

Overall Rating

4.9  /5

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General Impression

Pairing a T-10 first stage with a lightweight second stage, the Cressi Master has garnered a reputation for being one of the most comfortable and best scuba regulators in its price bracket. The hose routing is streamlined thanks to the compact arrangement of ports, with easy-to-access mechanisms that make maintenance a breeze.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2.3 lbs
VALVE: Yoke or DIN
FIRST STAGE: Balanced
SEALED: Yes
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • Hyper-balanced diaphragm design with a watertight chamber
  • Top-mounted Venturi switch that’s easy to operate
  • Environmentally sealed to protect against icing in cold water and contaminants

diving respirator

Overall Rating

4.3  /5

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General Impression

An impressive cold-water regulator, the Mares Fusion 52X features a double DFC system that provides a consistent flow of air at any depth. The all-metal design is extremely long lasting while the high thermal conductivity reduces any dry mouth feeling during your dive. Lightweight and extremely soft hoses ensure freedom of movement when using this Mares regulator and it’s equipped with an ACT (Advanced Coating Technology) valve that can withstand even the most extreme conditions.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2.1 lbs
VALVE: Yoke or DIN
FIRST STAGE: Balanced
SEALED: Yes
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • Soft hypoallergenic silicone mouthpiece that reduces jaw fatigue
  • NCC (Natural Convection Channel) system enhances cold water performance
  • VAD (Vortex Assisted Design) for easy breathing at all depths

regulator review

Overall Rating

4.6  /5

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General Impression

Easily adaptable for warm or cold-water diving, the Hollis 500SE DC7 offers smooth breathing, even at depths below 150 feet. An overbalanced first stage provides greater intermediate pressure to the second stage, with optimum airflow even under extreme conditions. This Hollis regulator can be positioned either left or right depending on your preference, making it one of the best diving regulators on the market.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 3.2 lbs
VALVE: Yoke or DIN
FIRST STAGE: Balanced
SEALED: Yes
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • Can be mounted from the right or left for a custom setup
  • Orthodontic mouthpiece for reduced jaw fatigue
  • Environmental sealing prevents internal corrosion, contaminants and icing
  • Designed to withstand the rigors of cold-water diving
  • Easy to disassemble underwater in case of silt filling the second stage

top rated scuba regulators

Overall Rating

4.9  /5

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General Impression

Completely sealed and available in either a Yoke or DIN configuration, the Zeagle F8 regulator is renowned for offering comfort, without sacrificing on performance. It features an easy-to-grip mouthpiece and balanced design for obstruction-free breathing while being constructed from durable materials that will stand the test of time.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 3.4 lbs
VALVE: Yoke or DIN
FIRST STAGE: Balanced
SEALED: Yes
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Five

Standout Features

  • Compact and lightweight second stage
  • Ergonomic mouthpiece made from soft silicone
  • New inhalation design for faster response times

mares regulator reviews

Overall Rating

4.9  /5

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General Impression

Designed to withstand extreme temperatures (even under ice) is this rugged scuba diver regulator. It boasts CWD technology in the first stage to keep water away from the internal cavity while a mesh cover in the second stage reduces the impact of water flow and prevents free flows in strong currents. It’s undoubtedly one of the best scuba regulators on the market for cold-water diving.

Specifications

WEIGHT: 2.6 lbs
VALVE: Yoke or DIN
FIRST STAGE: Balanced
SEALED: Yes
HP PORTS: Two
LP PORTS: Four

Standout Features

  • High thermal conductivity for cold water diving
  • DFC (Dynamic Flow Control) technology to maximize air delivery in extreme conditions
  • Heavy-duty metal design for long-lasting durability
  • VAD (Vortex Assisted Design) for easy breathing at all depths

BUYERS GUIDE AND TIPS
Best Scuba Regulator

Scuba regulators are complex systems, which means they’re also one of the most expensive pieces of scuba equipment to buy. That’s why understanding how they work and their different features is important before making your choice to ensure your money is well spent.

How scuba regulators work

Scuba diving regulators are designed to reduce the high-pressure air in a scuba tank to an ambient pressure that can be safely breathed by humans. Air in a fully filled scuba tank has a pressure rating of 3,000 psi or 205 bars while the respiratory tract of humans is designed for breathing air at a pressure set at 1 bar.

When you turn on the valve of your scuba tank, the high-pressure air contained inside will gush into the first stage of your regulator, which delivers air to the low-pressure ports at 250 to 300 psi (17 to 20 bars). From here, the air is led to the second stage regulator via a low-pressure hose where it’s reduced to a pressure of 15 to 20 psi (1 to 1.3 bar). It’s now breathable for humans and the air is released out of what are known as “demand valves” when the diver inhales.

A scuba regulator set will also have a low-pressure inflator hose that connects to your BCD, allowing you to inflate and deflate your vest to maintain the correct buoyancy underwater.

What is an “octopus”?

An “octopus” is an alternate air source that’s now a mandatory piece of scuba diving equipment. Some dive regulators will come with an alternative air source while others need to be bought separately. They’re normally a bright yellow color so that they’re easily distinguished underwater and can be used as a backup air source if your or your dive buddies’ regulator malfunctions.

What is the advantage of a long low pressure hose?

Regulator low pressure hoses are usually one meter in length while the “octopus” is 1.2 meters, which is fine for most recreational diving. If you’re into technical diving or plan on exploring caves, then a longer low-pressure hose can come in useful as it can be wrapped around your neck, well away from obstructions in tight spaces.

Submersible Pressure Gauges

A submersible pressure gauge displays the air content of your tank and is essential for knowing when you’re running low on air and need to begin your ascent. All scuba regulators are mounted with a submersible pressure gauge while some are also fitted with a compass and a dive computer that displays your underwater time, current and maximum depths, water temperature and surface interval times. A submersible pressure gauge is utilized with the first stage and connected via a high-pressure line, with some systems using a gauge console that offers a more accurate reading of your remaining air.

DIN vs Yoke Valves

Most scuba regulators are fitted with a Yoke valve that is screwed over the tank and is favored by most divers and dive shops for the ease of screwing in. However, you can also opt for a DIN valve, which screws directly into the tank to create a strong seal and is favored for deep and cold-water diving. A DIN valve needs to be fitted with a DIN-fitted scuba tank valve, although adapters for alternating between DIN and Yoke valves are readily available. If you’re going to be diving in both warm and cold water, opt for a DIN system and just use a Yoke valve adapter when necessary.

What type of diving will you be doing?

While most scuba regulators are designed to function at any depth, some are specifically made to respond to the high water pressure demands of deep diving. Others are designed to be used for ice diving when exposed to below freezing temperatures and are often heavier than standard regulators. If you’re doing mostly recreational diving in tropical or cool waters, then a standard regulator will do the job.

Unsealed vs Sealed Regulators

Most regulators are unsealed, which means the water can get into the first stage. These are fine if you’re diving in tropical destinations and will mostly be exposed to warm water. Sealed regulators are designed to prevent cold water from entering the first stage where it can freeze and block the air flow. They come with the addition of an environmental seal that won’t let saltwater or debris inside, making them not only more durable but also more expensive compared to unsealed regulators.

Diaphragm vs Piston

The first stage of a regulator is designed with either a diaphragm or piston construction, with the latter having less moving parts and generally considered more reliable for deep divers. However, they’re also more expensive than diaphragm models, which are perfectly safe and reliable for those diving within recreational limits.

Balanced vs Unbalanced

A balanced regulator means that it will have a consistent airflow no matter how deep you are or how much air is left in your tank. An unbalanced regulator, on the other hand, will become harder to breathe from as you descend deeper or as the level of air in your tank gets low. Most entry-level regulators are unbalanced and are cheaper to service. However, it’s worth investing in a balanced regulator as it will be much more pleasurable to dive with and avoid you laboring for breath.

Number of Ports

Most dive regulators will be equipped with at least four low-pressure ports, plus one or two high-pressure ports. Generally speaking, the more ports you have, the easier it will be to set up your scuba gear the way you want and adapt your kit as you become more experienced. If you’ve got a dive computer with a transmitter, keep in mind that you’ll need at least two high-pressure ports.

Other things to consider when buying a scuba regulator..

Comfort is key in the water, so you want to ensure that the regulator you buy is going to be as user-friendly as possible. Look for a mouthpiece that fits securely and doesn’t require you to bite down firmly (which can rapidly lead to jaw fatigue) and avoid heavy mouthpieces that are prone to falling out. Also, ensure the length of the hoses will allow you to move freely underwater and turn your head when necessary.

You want to avoid regulators that blow bubbles directly into your face on exhale, which can be annoying and reduce your visibility underwater, leading to dangerous situations. It’s also worth taking into account how noisy the regulator is when breathing, which can be distracting for some divers.

Scuba Regulator Maintenance

As scuba regulators are complex and somewhat delicate pieces of equipment, they need to be cared for and maintained if you want them to last as long as possible. When you finish your dive, always dry the dust cap by blowing on it or by releasing a shot of air from your tank, then place it firmly back on your regulator. The unit should then be rinsed in warm, freshwater and hung up to dry away from direct sunlight. Once it’s completely dry, it can then be stored away, ready for your next dive.

REACH OUT

As always, we create our content with you, fellow divers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next dive is a great one!

Pippa Strickland

Pip is a product expert, a degreed environmental scientist, and an adventure-style traveler originally from Australia. Pip has been an SSI-certified Divemaster for over 5 years, during which time she’s worked with hundreds of certified divers. She’s dived widely throughout Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines and the Middle East, with a particular passion for night diving. When she’s not diving, her key interests include surfing, trekking and gardening in her ever-growing veggie patch.

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