How to Pick Out the Best Regulator for your Style of Diving

When buying dive equipment, it’s important to pick out products that best fit your experience level, style and needs. At Total Diving, we understand the level of commitment needed to purchase brand new equipment, and are dedicated to helping you choose what’s best for you. However, not all equipment is made equally. While there are many brands that exist in the scuba diving industry, some of them are better suited for different kinds of equipment, which is why we compiled a list of the best regulators around. That being said, which one is right for you?

The regulators featured in this list are all top-tier pieces of equipment that will protect you from problems underwater. Your regulator is your lifeline and that is the most important thing to remember when choosing a new one! Trusting in well-known and tested brands is what will make a big difference when choosing a regulator. The other important questions to ask when choosing a regulator involve thinking about the kind of diver you are! Not all of us want to dive under ice in freezing conditions, and not all of us just want to dive in the south . However, the good news is that there is a regulator for every kind of diver.

 

Not All Regulators Are Created Equal

Regulators on today’s market range from the most basic of equipment, to high-end models with new features that makes breathing easier than ever.Some people may think that different brands only mean a difference in logo. The reality is that different brands use different kinds of technology to provide a more functional and safer experience underwater. There are a few technical features that are worth understanding before purchasing a new regulator.

Sealed or unsealed

Regulators can either be sealed or unsealed at the first stage. The first stage is where the regulator attaches to the cylinder. There is a popular belief that if you decide to only go warm water diving, that you can save some money by buying an unsealed regulator. While this may be the case for a very small number of divers, we encourage anybody looking to buy a new regulator to make sure it’s sealed for a few reasons. Firstly, sealed regulators help keep contaminated water out of the first stage. For a piece of equipment that your life depends on, it seems like a better idea to make sure that contaminants stay out. Secondly, sealed regulators perform much better in deeper water and in cold water. It might be easy to say you’ll only ever dive in warm water when you’re looking at prices in store. However, you’ll never really know what kind of diving you like until you try! Don’t limit yourself by getting an unsealed regulator. Finally, even if you take great care of an unsealed regulator, our technicians can still tell the difference when opening one up. Getting rid of corrosion and ensuring the parts are functioning smoothly is a lot more difficult with regulators that aren’t sealed.

Balanced, unbalanced or overbalanced

Another frequently asked question is whether buying a balanced, unbalanced or overbalanced regulator is better. Balanced regulators and unbalanced regulators have different amounts of pressure exerted on different parts inside the first stage, like the springs and the pistons. Essentially, the medium pressure in the first stage in an unbalanced regulator moves unevenly through the regulator, making breathing harder when your tank is almost empty or at lower depths. Balanced regulators allow for breathing to be easier because the medium pressure is constant and is not as affected by outside conditions. Overbalanced regulators make the medium pressure increase as you dive deeper, making them perfect for deep divers and adventurers. Basically, the advantages to buying a balanced regulator is that it’s easier to breathe and extends the range of the regulators capabilities. Although unbalanced regulators are cheaper, we encourage divers to opt for overbalanced regulators so as not to limit their potential diving.  

The hardcore adventurer- MTX-R

The Apeks MTX-R is a military-grade regulator made specifically for those who like to venture far and wide in their diving. It features 2 high pressure ports and 5 medium pressure ports for various technical and recreational configurations, as well as an oversized, overbalanced diaphragm designed specifically for cold water environments. The innovative end-cap was added to the diaphragm to allow the diver to go deeper in colder temperatures. The MTX-R is the only regulator on the consumer market that can perform in near-freezing water at depths of over 190 feet. By preventing ice build up, the MTX-R also meets the military requirements set out by the NEDU (Navy Experimental Dive Unit). This regulator is perfect for divers that want a piece of equipment suited for adventure!

The traveller- XL4

The XL4 form Apeks is the perfect regulator for the traveller! It’s extremely lightweight and compact, and is suitable for diving in any environment, including cold water, thanks to its overbalanced design. The XL4 was conceived by Apeks with the idea of having a regulator small enough to bring anywhere, but with the capability of a full size. The first stage looks like a smaller version of the MTX-R, while the second stage is made almost exclusively of a lightweight plastic. The XL4 is also extremely, versatile, and can be used as a stage regulator for technical diving. Essentially, the XL4 is a great high-performance option for divers looking to keep their suitcases light.

Back to basics- Core Supreme and ATX 40

Not every diver has a specific interest or need. That’s why we also carry a range of regulators that are suitable for a wide range of different environments and won’t break the bank.

The Core Supreme from Aqua Lung is both efficient and affordable. It includes top-tier features such as the Auto Closure Device on its first stage to prevent corrosive water from entering, a balanced first stage diaphragm for superior performance at intermediate depths and a pneumatically balanced second stage for smooth and easy breathing. The Core offers great value as it was rate “superior” on the ANSTI breathing machine.

The ATX40 from Apeks works to improve your diving over a rental regulator by providing a smooth and quiet breathing experience. This regulator is safe for diving in cold water, has an overbalanced diaphragm, 1 high pressure port and 4 medium pressure ports. The advantage of the ATX40 over the Core Supreme is that the ATX40 has an environmental dry system to keep out contamination and resist freezing.

All-time favourite- Legend LX Supreme

The Legend LX Supreme from Aqua Lung is a regulator that has stood the test of time. It’s a favourite among divers who just want the best, no matter where they’ll be diving. The Legend embodies these qualities: ease of breathing, control and peak performance. Recreational divers agree that the Legend is one of the best regulators ever imagined. It has superior cold water capability with its unique overbalanced diaphragm, an Auto Closure Device to block out contaminants, and also includes a lip shield on the second stage for cold water diving. The Legend also comes as part of the Aqua Lung Twilight collection for women. It’s truly a regulator suited to those who do not have a specific preference to their “style” of diving, but want the best of the best.

Christina Papageorgakopoulos
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