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  • Writer's pictureMako

Best Scuba Regulator

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

Best scuba regulators

Many webpages have been written about the “Best Suba Regulators”. But how do you assess what is the best for YOU? Most people will have different requirements, different uses, different budgets, different expectations.

The only common link is that we all want to breathe underwater, easily and safely.

Underwater, your life depends (literally) on the scuba regulator you use. Although all regulators do the same job, not all of them are equal. When selecting the most suitable regulator for your needs, the choice depends on several factors such as your budget, level of qualification and diving experience, and the conditions in which you plan to dive.

  • Budget

Most of the major and well-established scuba regulators manufacturers offer equipment that ranges from “budget” to “top end”. And all their products can be considered as safe if conditions and applications they are designed for are not exceeded. Personally, I do not cut corners on equipment that is designed to support life under water. Spend as much as you can afford while taking into consideration all other factors such as the various environments you plan to dive in, and your experience.

  • Diving environment

If you are planning only recreational diving in relatively shallow warm waters, you do not need to pay a premium for regulators that are specifically designed to handle cold conditions or different type of gases (about those in another blog article). Any basic or mid-range regulator from a reputable manufacturer will cover your requirements. See the equipment page of this website for some suggestions (

On the other hand, if you are planning to dive in cold waters or are interested in technical diving best to buy top of the range equipment.

  • Level of qualification

Whether you are freshly qualified diver or an experienced techie, the basic requirements will be always the same – reliability and safety. However, your diving profiles and hence demand on the regulator will be very different. Here your level of qualification and experience might be influencing the regulator design and its cost.

Regulator design

There are several different types of regulators depending on the various operating mechanisms and variety of features they have. The very basic designs one should take into consideration when buying a regulator are as follows:

a. Balanced v. Unbalanced Regulators

A balanced regulator is always the preferable option. Most entry level regulators are unbalanced. The more expensive regulators are generally balanced. This sounds significant; however, at depths of 20 meters or less, the difference between the two is hardly noticeable.

Balanced regulators compensate for depth and decreasing air tank pressure by equalizing the air pressure on both sides of the valve. An unbalanced regulator will make breathing harder as depth increases and/or tank pressure decreases.

Why are all regulators not balanced? One factor is the cost involved, from the manufacturing perspective, and from yours as the buyer.

If you can possibly afford it, always choose a balanced regulator. It will certainly improve the overall quality of your dives.

b. Piston v. Diaphragm Regulators

These terms refer to the way the first stage of your regulator reduces tank pressure to an intermediate pressure.

Piston Regulators offer a greater air flow rate and generally have only one moving part. They are normally more expensive, but their overall maintenance cost is lower.

Diaphragm Regulators have several moving parts. They are less costly to manufacture, therefore tend to be cheaper. Diaphragm Regulators are often used in cold waters, as they are less likely to free flow in a cold environment.

So, when you start thinking about buying the best regulator, keep in mind that it must be the best for YOU.


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