What's in a regulator?

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ScubaFLee

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Hello.
Trying to learn more about gear basics. I'm at the point where my hand me down gear is no longer serviceable and I'm buying my own. First order of business is to replace the Primary 2nd stage which is no longer serviceable.

What considerations do you have when buying a new reg? What features do folks look for? What makes a "good reg" "good"?

Links to articles and things are welcome!
 

archman

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Low Bulk. Low weight. Personal ergonomics with the purge button and venturi lever.
 

jmcgilroy

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I'm a service tech with factory certified training in 4 brands and I've opened up and inspected most other brands. The "availability of service" that was mentioned by Marie3 is good advice. Factory parts are sometimes limited to those dive shops that stock that brand name. If they can't get a factory part, they might resort to aftermarket products (frankly, those might be just as good...but who knows, right?) Other than that, extreme cold water diving requires specific reg's and so does deeper diving. My opinion...(others may disagree) but some low-end reg's get difficult to breathe at deeper, even recreational limits dives, say past 100 ft. or so. A piston reg is easier to service than a diaphragm and is less-costly. A balanced-piston reg would be my choice if I was on a budget and I would spend the extra $ over an un-balanced system.
 

Lorenzoid

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Unless you have special needs, such as a reg suitable for diving in extremely cold water, all of the major brands are "good"; they all work as well as each other as far as most divers would be able to discern. There are gear reviews out there that measure "work of breathing" on a test machine (ScubaLab in Scuba Diving magazine, for example), but most divers diving at average recreational depths won't discern a difference.

Cost is obviously a major consideration for most divers. If you see a good deal on a major brand, consider taking it. Sometimes we see SB members post a question about a deal they find, asking if it's good.

Consider how you will have them serviced, which is typically every year or two. Unless you plan to learn to service regulators yourself, consider giving a lot of weight in your decision on what brand to buy to whatever brand(s) your local dive shop sells and services.

I don't know if you have already read some previous threads on the topic of choosing regs, but here is a sampling:






 

lowflyer

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Regulators being essential for survival underwater has driven me to not skimp price-wise when buying them. By your dive count it appears you are new to diving; so keep in mind you likely don't yet know what diving adventures you will have down the road. I have dived in temps near 80 deg. and also in the mid 30s. I have dived deep and shallow. This type of diving, which is not uncommon and which you may very likely experience, requires a good reg. not based on price.

You will get a lot of opinions on which are good regs. My last purchases were Signature series from Deep6. I have dived them deep and near freezing cold. Because of their business model they can sell them at decent prices. Just my opinion, but in any case study the options and consider the price seconday if you possibly can.
 

Nemrod

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You do not need to buy the most expensive regulator. All current regulators from the major brands are "good" and most are excellent at all price points.

For cold/dirty water an environmentally sealed diaphragm first stage is nice to have.

If you plan to advance into technical diving look at the Scubapro G260 with a Mark 19 or Mark 25 first stages.

If you want price to performance and light for travel the Aqua Lung Core Supreme (was the Titan LX).

If you want a top of the line regulator for recreational diving that is at the very top of the performance heap, the Aqua Lung Legend series, any of them.

If you want a cheap but absolutely reliable regulator a Scubapro R195 or an Aqua Lung Titan.

If you want to possibly service your own equipment (you can service any equipment but some brands make it easier to get parts as a consumer) you might look at Dive-Rite, Hog, Deep Six etc.

There is no need to over complicate your choice. A major brand that has parts and service support everywhere might be important to a traveling diver, a tech diver who mostly does local diving might prefer something they can service themselves and matches their buddies equipment for interchangeabilty, not generally a factor for recreational SCUBA. Do not allow the "it is life support equipment" sway you into buying regulaotrs based on $ amounts as being supposedly better. An AL Core will breath as easily as a Scubapro G260 at half the price point, I know because I own a Core and have dived a G260. And I want a G260 badly, not because I need one but just because I am a regulator nut! And my wife's Legend breaths easier and very slightly smoother than either, all are rated excellent in the ANSTI WOB tests.

James
 

Couv

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My friend @halocline wrote a very informative primer that will help you on your quest to understand regulators. I'll attach it below.
 

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  • A Beginner’s Guide to Scuba Regulators.pdf
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runsongas

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you may want to specify what regs you are looking to replace. if they just happen to be an old scubapro mk5/109, those are still very much serviceable even if your LDS doesn't want to deal with it.
 

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