How to choose your regulator

Hello again, I’ve really been smashing out the posts this week. I hope you appreciate this slight peak in production as it will likely dwindle and fade again soon enough ūüėČ

Regulators people. That’s the topic of the day. With so many high quality regulators on the market nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find a bad one considering the rigorous testing all are put through before going on the shelves.

However this doesn’t mean that all regulators are equal! But how do you choose? There are several key points to consider before separating with your hard earned cash with most regulators costing a pretty penny or two, which leads me to my first point…

Cost is probably the most important element to consider when choosing a spanky new reg. As much as we would all love the Atomic T2X £1000 is a lot to spend for a lot of people. So price ranges? There are probably 3 distinct brackets that i would classify regulators in which are as follows

£0 Р400 Cheaper

£400 -650 Mid Range

£650 + More Expensive

Its especially important to know your budget before you go and break the bank! But does a higher price mean higher quality? Not necessarily as the functionality of regulators past a certain point are so similar that there is no¬†discernible¬†different in how it functions. However what IS different are the materials, weight, styling and much more which i’ll attempt to iron out below ūüôā

DIN or International A-Clamp¬†are the 2 most common cyclinder to 1st stage fitting. With DIN being used mostly in Europe and A-Clamp the rest of the world the main consideration should be ‘what does my local dive shop use/rent out?’

Or if your luckly enough to own a cyclinder of your own god hopes you buy the right 1st stage to fit it…if not maybe you should reconsider if your suitable for diving…

One last little consideration is that it’s possible to convert DIN to A-clamp via an adaptor which screws onto the regulator. These are especially handy if you use DIN in your country and then go of galavanting off to Turks and Caicos (thanks for the invite…)

Ports are especially important. The number of ports on the first stage determine ultimately the set up of the rest of your equipment. High pressure ports are ports that are at tank pressure so are used by your SPG or integrated dive computer (ooooooooooo). Low pressure ports are for you BCD regulator and octopus (redundant second stage) and in colder waters, dry suits.

Environmental Seals are another important thing to consider. This feature is especially useful when you’re going to be diving in colder waters. It protects the first stage from water outside hence preventing the formation of ice crystal and consequently free-flows. if you ask me water inside anything isn’t a good idea to try and get a regulator thats environmentally sealed!

Unbalanced vs Balanced. This feature affects both 1st and 2nd stages of the regulator. Unbalanced systems are affected by cylinder pressure and ambient pressure (pressure around you at any given moment i.e. depth). This means that it becomes marginally harder to breathe as depth increases or the cylinder depletes.

Balanced systems conversely offer a much consistent performance at any depth or pressure by using the cylinder pressure to directly oppose the opening of the first stage valve. Clever huh!

Lastly there is a mystical third system called Over balanced. This system increases the flow as depth (or pressure increases). This system is used more on the¬†technical side of things. The diver has to be away of free flows however and will start the dive with the ‘inhalation adjuster’ on a higher resistance and graduation lower it as they descend.

Venturi Control gives you an option to control the flow of air inside the second stage. The control is helpful for water entries and stopping free flows from you octopus! In the positive position + it give the best performance and least resistance on the diaphragm handy for effortless airflow once in the water. In the negative Рposition where it increases pressure on the diaphragm therefore helps reduce free flow.

Weight of regulator is something to consider. How much do you travel and do you take your stuff with you or rent there? Due to new lightweight materials there is actually a vast difference between the weight of regulators and when you can shave 0.5kg here and there, it adds up. However this size 0 regulators are more costly despite there being less of them. Weird huh?

Nitrox.¬†If you haven’t done your course yet then why not you silly sausage! Regardless of this, the majority of regulators are designed to cope to up to 40% Oxygen.This isn’t set in stone though, so always check the instruction manual or the website for more information.¬†You can however get EANx regulators rater all the way to 100% Oxygen.

WARNING:¬†be careful when buying a regulator specifically for nitrox since a new rule in the E.U means that a special cylinder valve was created in order to stop normal regulators from being hooked up to Nitrox tanks, which is¬†ridiculous considering all are marked and all divers know not to dive of nitrox if not trained. So please please check before being disappointed ūüôā

A few final considerations for you all. What are your local dive shop qualified to service? Most good dive shops will have equipment technicians for all the big brands but its worth double checking as it could save you travelling or posting the regs away which can be costly!

Finally pick a style that you like because everyone wants to look like a badass. A sexy diver is a happy diver and a happy diver is a safer diver (unless they’re narked :P)

hope you enjoyed this beast and if there’s anything I’ve missed or any thing else worth mentioning or clarifying then please comment below.

Rob

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3 responses to “How to choose your regulator

  1. Another good buying tip is can you do small repairs yourself, such as changing o-rings etc, Apex Regs are really good for this as the mouth piece unit is very accessible where as others such as Mares are much more difficult.

  2. BTW i have Apex ATX 40 DS4 Reg with an ATX 40 Octopus, Highly recommended as a first set of regs. Probably the top regs in the budget category, you can get them both for around £250 bargain!!!

  3. I totally agree with the ATX 40’s. Punch well above their weight! Also great point about repairs, if the only thing that’s stopping you from diving is a faulty o-ring and you can fix it yourself…crisis averted.

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