The Prime Scuba

SCUBA REGULATORS BUYING GUIDE

Scuba Regulators
If you want to breathe underwater (and what diver doesn’t?), you’ll need a good scuba regulator. When you’re shopping for one, though, the first thing you’ll notice is that prices vary drastically. You can get a scuba regulator for as low as $200 or as much as $2,000 or more. The smaller ones aren’t necessarily bad. They’re just better suited for a specific type of diver. What works well for you, may not work well for another diver. So, consider all the facts before making your purchase. 

Components

The scuba regulator usually consists of three parts. The first, the first stage, is usually sold separate from the other two. The air hose and the second stage are often sold together. The first stage is the part that attaches to the diver’s tank. This is what regulates the air pressure as it flows from the tank into the air hose. It is a critical piece of scuba equipment, so you don’t want to skimp here. On the other end of the air hose, you’ll find the second stage. This is what delivers the air into the diver’s mouth and removes waste as necessary. 

Purge Button

The purge button, or exhaust valve, is found on the second stage of your regulator. This piece allows the diver’s exhaled air to exit the regulator. When you see the bubbles coming out of a diver’s mouthpiece under water, it comes from the purge button. If water enters the second stage, divers use the purge button to clear it out. Look for a regulator that has an easy-to-use purge button, and remember that you’ll be pushing it while wearing gloves. 

Well, now that we’ve covered the basics, you have some choices.

Mouthpiece

Many divers underestimate the importance of this piece of equipment… until they find themselves under water with the wrong one. When choosing a mouthpiece, make sure it’s comfortable; not too large or small. Try to choose a mouthpiece that was ergonomically designed. This will help your jaw stay in a natural position, which will help to avoid jaw pain. 

Regardless of which mouthpiece you choose, be sure to keep a spare in your dive bag. This piece of equipment tends to wear down over time and needs to be replaced frequently, especially when a diver is in the bad habit of biting down hard on it. 

Diaphragm or Piston

Both the diaphragm and piston control and reduce air pressure in the first stage. Because of this, either one is a suitable choice for most divers – but not for all. If you need an especially high flow of air in any situation, the piston can perform better than the diaphragm regulator.

The piston regulator usually has fewer moving parts than diaphragm regulators, often only one. You might be tempted to think this means it will be cheaper, but that’s not the case. Actually, the piston is more difficult to manufacture, so it’s more of an upfront investment. However, it is less expensive to maintain. The bottom line is that if you’re just a recreational diver, you can probably get away with purchasing a diaphragm regulator. But if you’re a serious diver, you’ll probably prefer a piston. 

DIN or Yoke

The din and yoke are two types of fittings that attach the first stage to the air tank. Yoke couplings are the most common and are almost always the preferred choice for aluminum 80 air tanks. 

Din couplings are the only choice for high-pressure tanks. They screw right into the tank’s valve and prevent the high-pressure o-ring from protruding. 

Whether you have a yoke or DIN coupler, you can use any tank by purchasing an adaptor. A yoke adaptor can work with a DIN regulator and a DIN adapter can work with a yoke regulator. Ideally, though, you want to buy the right type of regulator for the tank you’ll be using more often. No one really wants an extra piece of equipment between their mouth and air supply.