Best Scuba Regulator Reviews of 2017 – Definitive Buyer Guide Included

best scuba regulator reviewWhen I first started scuba diving, I had no choice but to borrow or rent out my equipment.

Not only was this is a costly practice it was also quite unappealing.

On a whole, I am not a big fan of reusing things that have been previously used by hordes of strangers.

More than anything, I was always a bit squeamish of using the regulators.

This was why when I began my PADI certification, one of the first things that I did was to get my own gear.

It was only then that I realized just how difficult to find the best scuba regulator.

Being older and wiser, however, I now have the experience to help out others in this situation.

Check out the list below to see my top scuba regulator are:

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Scubapro MK25/S600 Scuba Diving Regulator

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Scubapro is all about improving on what is great so that they can achieve perfection.

This is why this is the fifth edition for this model.

Now, this is not to say that the MK25/2600 is perfect. I do feel, however, that it is pretty close to that.

Let me explain why…

I really liked the fact that it was easy to breathe with this regulator. This is due to several components including the extremely stable intermediate pressure offered by the MK25 first stage as well as the air performance of the S600 second stage. This results in a constant and high air flow at all times.

The diver adjustable inhalation control feature also allows you to customize your breathing effort to make your diving experience more comfortable.

There is also a VIVA dive/pre-dive switch that you can utilize when you are not in the water to prevent the free-flowing of air.

I also found that super flow hose means that the air delivery to you is also incredibly smooth.

Inhalation and exhalation is also improved with the means of the high flow exhaust valve.

If you are headed towards chilly waters, then the MK25/2600 is what you need. There is anti-freeze protection to help you overcome the elements.

It is also extremely corrosion resistant, making it quite resilient as well.

Specs:

  • Diver Adjustable venturi
  • Diver adjustable airflow
  • Balanced first and second stage
  • Ergonomic safegrip mouthpiece
Scubapro MK25/S600 Scuba Diving Regulator
8 Reviews
Scubapro MK25/S600 Scuba Diving Regulator
  • 2010 SCUBALAB TESTERS CHOICE!
  • Paired with the air balanced high performance S600 second stage, this system is our top performer.

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Atomic Aquatics Z3 Regulator

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Z line in the Atomic Aquatics range is the cheapest option.

The ‘Z’ denotes the use of the cheaper zirconium and the Z3 regulator is the latest of its designs.

This regulator is a great example of how the price is not always an indicator of performance. While you may be paying less, you are not losing out on any of the performance typically expected from Atomic Aquatics. The most significant feature of the Z3 first stage is the Atomic Jet Seat high-flow piston. This means that you are treated to a high flow of air that continues to be steady throughout your entire diving expedition. The first stage materials are made from chrome plated brass and stainless steel.

The second stage components are titanium and zirconium plated. There is a new high flow second stage case. This allows divers to reduce their breathing efforts at a variety of depths beneath the surface. Regardless of if you are only a couple of feet down or much further below, you will find it equally easy to breathe.

The Z3 also comes equipped with the Comfort Swivel. This gives divers greater freedom to move their head while their regulator is in their mouth. The mouthpiece is dual silicone complete with tear resistant bite tabs to make it last longer.

Specs:

  • First stage Atomic Jet seat high flow piston
  • High flow Second Stage Case
  • Comfort Swivel
  • Dual silicone mouthpiece with tear resistant bite tabs
Atomic Aquatics Z3 Regulator
5 Reviews
Atomic Aquatics Z3 Regulator
  • High performance regulator, Nitrox compatible to 40%
  • "Seat Saving" Orifice for extended service intervals
  • First stage is made from chrome-plated brass and stainless steel
  • Comfort swivel 2nd stage hose, Diver Adjustable Airflow
  • All internal components are made of Corrosion resistant machined brass with zirconium and titanium plating

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aqualung Legend LUX Scuba Regulator

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With the Aqualung Legend LUX regulator, it is easy to feel like the manufacturers have thought of everything.

This is because, for the most part, they really have.

The Legend LUX has opted for an over-balanced diaphragm design instead of a piston feature. The advantage here of allowing a greater volume of air to pass through the system to compensate for increased gas density at greater depths. This means that even when you dive deeper, you will still find it quite easy to breathe.

I also like that the first stage is environmentally sealed, protecting it from water, sand, silt, and other contaminants.

Not only does this cut down on maintenance, it can also prevent the buildup of ice. This actually makes the Legend LUX quite useful in colder climates. This is compounded by the presence of the Auto-Closure Device system as well.

Now, what I would applaud about the second stage is the Master Breathing System which is essentially a combination of the venturi effect with the inhalation adjustment. This is merged with a knob that can be toggled between Min and Max for the desired effect. One of the reasons that you will find it easier to breathe with the Legend LUX is the pneumatically balanced second stage.

The jaw fatigue that is associated with holding a regulator in your mouth for a long time is negated with the Comfo-bite mouthpiece.

Specs:

  • Over balanced diaphragm feature
  • Environmentally sealed first stage
  • Auto-Closure Device system
  • Master Breathing System
  • Comfo-bite mouthpiece
Aqua Lung Legend LUX - Yoke Regulator
5 Reviews
Aqua Lung Legend LUX - Yoke Regulator
  • Safer for elevated percentages of oxygen
  • Compatible with up to 40% O2 right out of the box
  • Pneumatically-balanced second stage results in smooth, easy breathing
  • The Comfo-bite mouthpiece virtually eliminates jaw-fatigue

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Atomic Aquatics T3 Titanium Scuba Regulator

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I talked about one of the cheapest Atomic Aquatics regulator with the Z3. Now it’s time to discuss the decidedly pricier T3 regulator.

The T series fancy themselves as being regulators that are considerably lightweight. Well, the T3 is the lightest of them all, which is no small feat.

After all, if you could reduce the amount of weight that you need to take on every time you dive, most divers would jump at the opportunity.

You also get the Atomic Aquatics patented Jet Seat piston. This works on a variety of levels including allowing the diver to breathe more smoothly and naturally. It also reduces the amount of maintenance that the regulator has to undergo.

The factory sealed first stage means that the system is protected from contaminants, sand, and also from freezing.

The second stage follows the same themes as the first stage – weight saving and reduced maintenance.

The reduced weight is due to the majority of the components being made from titanium. As for the lowered servicing need, this is where the Seat Saving Orifice comes into play. A valve moves the orifice away from the seat when the regulator is not being used. Therefore, there is less wear and tear over time.

In terms of comfort, the balanced valve system minimizes the breathing restriction that you experience. The comfort swivel also allows for greater movement and less resistance.

My other favorite feature would be the Automatic Flow Control which is used instead of the venture. This means that you don’t need to manually adjust anything when diving or ascending.

Specs:

  • Lightweight titanium components
  • Factory sealed first stage
  • Atomic Jet Seat piston
  • Seat Saving Orifice feature
  • Automatic Flow Control element
Atomic T3 Titanium Scuba Regulator (Yoke, Sealed)
3 Reviews
Atomic T3 Titanium Scuba Regulator (Yoke, Sealed)
  • The T3 forges a new Titanium standard as the absolute finest regulator you can own, regardless of price.
  • 3-Year / 300-Dive Service Interval Non-contingent Lifetime Warranty
  • LIGHTER component parts - The first-stage yoke is designed using minimal material. All second-stage component parts have...
  • First and second stage components are precision-machined from solid titanium billet.
  • High-flow second stage case and lever design significantly lowers breathing effort at any depth from shallow water to

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Scubapro MK21/S560 Regulator

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Can’t afford the MK25/S600 but still want to enjoy what Scubapro has to offer?

Well, then the MK21/S560 may be right up your alley. This model is also great if you are looking for a lighter alternative as well.

Although compact, the MK21 still has that air balanced flow through piston in the first stage. This means that regardless of far down you are diving, what your tank pressure is like, or what your breathing rate is, air flow will be consistent.

The MK21 has external fins on the chrome brass body. This results in a thermal exchange which greatly helps with the resistance to freezing.

Moving onto the air balanced S560 second stage, you are able to equalize the inhalation. This is despite the pressure in the tank or the depth which you are diving at. The high flow exhaust valve allows you to minimize the amount of the effort that you expend with breathing, particularly during exhalation.

Your inhalation rate can also be customized with the help of a diver-adjustable inhalation effort knob. To avoid the free flowing of air when the regulator is not be used, the dive/pre-dive switch can be used.

The orthodontic mouthpiece is also quite comfortable when placed in your mouth. This comfort does not in any way inhibit the flow of air to you, however.

If I was going to recommend the MK21/S560 to anyone, I would suggest it to divers who travel a lot. Particularly at this weight, you will be able to cut down on those airline baggage fees.

Specs:

  • Lightweight
  • Air balanced flow through piston
  • External fins for thermal exchange
  • Air balanced second stage
  • Diver adjustable inhalation
  • Dive/pre-dive switch
Scubapro MK21/S560 Regulator
6 Reviews
Scubapro MK21/S560 Regulator
  • New compact sized piston -controlled first stage
  • Close to 20% smaller than our MK25
  • Mid-range piston 1st stage offering the best compromise for the right price and the right performance.
  • Lightweight techno-polymer barrel
  • Second Stage

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cressi Sub Ellipse Titanium Regulator

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Sub Ellipse regulator can easily be described as the budget option on this list.

It is by far the cheapest option available.

While the Sub Ellipse may be cheaper, there is no denying that it has a lot of merits, even when compared to the other titans in this article.

So, what are they?

This is certainly one a light regulator and this is largely due to the techno polymer elastomer components dominating the first stage system. Although there are titanium parts, many of the elements are made from the polymer material. The first stage has also been protected against both corrosion as well as friction. This allows you to go a longer time without having to service the regulator.

This regulator also minimizes the drop in intermediate pressure. This means that in spite of considerable diving depths and lowered tank pressure, you will still be able to experience superior performance.

This regulator also functions really well in colder climes and will not result in ice buildup.

Overall, for the price that you are paying, you are actually getting a really good deal out of the Cressi Sub Ellipse.

At this price range, of course, there are bound to be a few issues. The most voiced complaint is regarding the mouthpiece, although this is not something that everyone has found fault with. Some find to be a little too small although this can easily be remedied with a larger replacement.

Specs:

  • Lightweight
  • Anti-friction and anti-corrosion
  • Reduced drop in intermediate pressure
  • Titanium inserts
Sale
Cressi Sub Elipse Titanium Scuba Regulators - Dive Regulator
14 Reviews
Cressi Sub Elipse Titanium Scuba Regulators - Dive Regulator
  • New Valve Design
  • Reduced Mechnical Friction
  • Modular Component is easily Replaceable
  • Hinged Cover Assembly with locking cam
  • Titanium Inserts

Last update on 2017-07-20 / Affiliate links, Prices, Reviews & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Scuba Regulators

Unfortunately, it is not all that easy to classify regulators into set categories. To make it a little simpler, however, I am going to start off with the first stage of the regulators. Now, the first stage is the part that is attached to the diver’s tank via a yoke or a DIN fitting. It is in control of regulating air pressure.

The first stages can either be divided into piston or diaphragm. They are responsible for making sure that the air pressure is reduced from high pressure to moderate pressure in the first stage. Both piston and diaphragm can also be broken down to unbalanced, balanced, and even overbalanced.

To start things off, let’s discuss the main differences between piston and diaphragm first stages. The piston system uses a rigid piston to move the air. They usually have at least some parts that are exposed to the water. The diaphragm system, on the other hand, has a soft diaphragm move the air. The moving parts tend to be removed from the environment.

As mentioned, these two systems can be further divided into balanced, unbalanced, and overbalanced.

So, what does this mean?

You will first need to understand that both the diaphragm and piston system have a valve-spring construction.

This consists of a high-pressure valve, a seat assembly, as well as a spring. A balanced first stage has an equal amount of pressure on both sides of this valve-spring compilation.

This means that regardless of the external conditions, the pressure sent to the diver remains constant. With an unbalanced system, however, the pressure is unequal. This means that if the diver is diving deeper or if the tank pressure drops, the diver will have to make a greater effort to breathe.

Overbalanced is something that is becoming more popular, especially amongst deep divers. Here, instead of keeping the supplied air constant, you get more air supplied to you the deeper that you dive. This, in turn, makes it easier to breathe.

The second stage system can also be differentiated into balanced and unbalanced.

I will not go into this too deeply as your first stage choice largely impacts the second stage choice as well. There are some regulators that allow you to essentially mix and match. For the most part, however, divers do tend to prefer to get them as a set.

Most second stage systems do offer user adjustable settings. The most typical one that you can find is the venturi setting. This is also known as the dive/pre-dive setting. This prevents the free-flow of air when you are on the surface. It can also help you if the currents in the area are particularly strong.

How To Choose The Best Regulator For You

There is no getting around the fact that scuba gear is not cheap and regulators certainly aren’t.

Therefore, I would start off by saying that you should choose the regulator that you can afford.

The list above shows that saving money does not mean compromising quality.

You can manage to find a balance between the two.

In terms of piston vs. diaphragm, I would say that the choice is largely up to what you feel comfortable with. More often than not, you are likely to pick a particular system solely based on your appreciation for the manufacturer’s designs or features. It also largely depends on the quality of the regulators that you are comparing.

If they are both high in quality, you will find that they perform quite similarly. If they are not, however, you may find that the piston system will offer you greater air flow.

For the balanced, unbalanced, and overbalanced, it is a matter of price and what you are looking for.

As you can imagine unbalanced systems tend to be cheaper. If you are going to be diving deep, however, or don’t want breathing to get difficult when tank pressure drops, you should go with a balanced or overbalanced system.

Before deciding on a regulator, you should decide what kind of environment you will be swimming in.

For instance, are the temperatures going to be quite low or is the water going to be dirty?

To your advantage, most regulators come equipped with anti-freezing abilities and environmental kits. That being said, there are some that are a little more up to the task than others.

Last but not least, I would focus on the mouthpiece. If you are planning on diving for a couple of hours at least, you are going to need a comfortable mouthpiece. Otherwise, you will experience discomfort and perhaps even fatigue.

How to Use Your Regulator

I would caution you to always learn how to scuba dive with a professional instructor.

This ensures that you will learn how to do it properly and will also learn about the important safety information. This includes how to use your scuba regulator.

Nonetheless, here are some key points that you need to know;

The first is to always make sure that the regulator is placed the right way up. A quick and easy way to do this is to glance at the logo on your second stage system. If it is facing the right way up, you are good to go.

Once the mouthpiece is in your mouth, exhale. This will clear out any sand or water that may be residing in it. Then you can take your first breath underwater. Try to breathe a little slower as well as more deeply while you are diving. This will help you to conserve your air.

Now, there is one thing that must never do while you are underwater and the regulator is in your mouth. You should never hold your breath. This could be quite dangerous while diving.

So this is what you need to know about regulators including which ones that you should get.

Remember to get your regulator maintained whenever the manufacturer says that you should.

Not only will this help you use it for longer, it will also keep you safe.

Have I missed anything out?

Have you bought any from the lists above?

Why not tell me the regulator you bought and the deciding factor. It will help me write better reviews going forward.

Please drop me a line below to contribute.

About the author

Samuel Blake

Samuel Blake

My name is Samuel Blake. I am the founder of this scuba blog. I have been a diver for over 5 years. I care about helping you choose and decide on the best diving products.

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