A regulator is about your most important piece of scuba gear as it enables you to breathe safely underwater and connects to other parts of your gear. You should consider buying one if you don’t own one already.
Why? Because if not well-maintained, regulators are prone to failure. You’ll know if yours is well-maintained, but what about those ones that are used over and over in rental shops around the globe?
However, the wide diversity of styles, shapes, and features out there can bring a sort of paralysis of choice. We’ll help you figure it out in today’s post!
You have two options in first stages, either a piston or a diaphragm to control and reduce air pressure from high to moderate pressure. Both designs work equally well, but there are a few differences:
Most regulators have four or five low pressure ports and one or two high pressure ports. The first four usually attach to the hoses connected to your second stage mouthpiece, alternate air source, BCD inflator and a dry suit inflator.
The high pressure port is for your pressure gauge and if you have two, your dive computer. Consider your diving needs before you buy to make sure the regulator has the sufficient number of ports.
Even if you aren’t diving with Nitrox now, that may change so you should consider a reg that can handle Nitrox. Fortunately, many on the market today do, and they aren’t necessarily going to max your credit card. Check out this Hollis 500SE with a variety of features, including Nitrox compatibility.
Yes, all of these technical specifications are important but the most important factor is comfort and ease of use, as buying equipment you can’t enjoy and use comfortably is fruitless. That being said, if you find a regulator you really like but the mouthpiece isn’t comfortable, it’s easy and inexpensive to switch it out for a more comfortable one.
Figuring out what features to pay for and what features you can pass on isn’t easy. Think about your typical diving conditions and how many accessories you may want to attach to your regulator.
We covered the basics here but there are other features to consider. Your best bet is to talk to an expert before you lay down any cash.
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What did you wish you knew before you bought your first regulator? Let our readers know in the comments section below!