A good Scuba regulator is one of the most important pieces of your dive gear, and you need something reliable. No regulator, no dive. Bad regulator, ruined dive, or worse.

Scuba diving regulators are quite literally the lifeline between you and your air source while you’re underwater.

If you are an avid diver you will agree that it’s not always ideal to be renting/using the regulators and other abused gear from dive shops on your trips!

 

best dive regulator

But with so many different shapes, sizes, and designs available, buying a new regulator can be a little overwhelming. Especially when it comes to the more expensive component of your personal scuba diving gear.

And that’s why we’ve done all the hard work for you.

AT A GLANCE: OUR TOP PICKS FOR REGULATORS

I’ve done hundreds of dives without my own dive gear, and I got by ok, but it was always a hassle. Finding the right sizes, comfortable mouthpieces, second stages that don’t free flow constantly and more, was always a problem.

Once I decided to get all my own gear, each piece perfect for me, my dive experiences improved greatly. No more shabby gear, no more first time learning new gear, no more wasting money on rentals.

In this guide to the best scuba regulators, we will review some of the best options on the market for the year, from various top brands.

Plus we’ll cover how to choose your own scuba diving regulator so that you can find the best for you!

So let’s dive in.

The Best Scuba Regulators

QUICK COMPARISON
Aqua Lung Legend LUX Supreme
  • Beautifully constructed & very eye catching design
  • Superior build quality
  • Great performer
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Aqua Lung Mikron
  • Great design
  • Very tough construction
  • Good for kids
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Apeks Flight
  • Lightest regulator in the world
  • Compact size
  • Built well & performs well
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Zeagle F8
  • Well-designed diaphragm membrane
  • Highly reliable
  • Comfortable mouthpiece
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Sherwood SR2
  • Attractive chrome finish
  • Great breathing performance
  • Looks great on any BCD
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ScubaPro MK25
  • Beautifully constructed
  • Reliable & durable
  • Effortless breathing at any depth
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Cressi T10-SC Cromo Master
  • Super comfortable in the mouth
  • Budget friendly
  • Durable design
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Atomic Aquatics B2 W/ Swivel
  • Very comfortable second stage
  • Lots of port options
  • Dependable breathability
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Mares Abyss 22 Navy II
  • Slender all metal design
  • Performs in all conditions
  • Simplistic yet beautiful design
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Before Buying a SCUBA Regulator

Still not sure what one to go with, with so many great options? There are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect regulator for you, so let’s go through those, and then we will just give our recommendations and all-time favorites, that you can’t go wrong with.

NOTEThere is nothing wrong with older models. You can check out the links above and search for models of the same brand.

Your Budget

Obviously, you should think about your budget, check the prices in the links above, and that will be a big factor. But obviously, since there are a lot of options around the same prices, there will be more factors to think about.

How often will you dive

If you are diving frequently, are a Divemaster or instructor, you are going to want a good regulator that will last, and you can easily justify investing in the best. If you are diving a few times a year, you don’t need the most top-of-the-line.

Best Scuba Regulators

  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 232 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 4
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

Aqua Lung is arguably the best dive gear manufacturer in the world, and at the moment, the Legend LUX Supreme is their best regulator. You can’t go wrong with this amazing piece of equipment, and will never be disappointed.

The only down-side for some is the price tag, well over $1000 with the octopus and gauge, but if you want the best, this is it.

Also get the octopus & air gauge.

What we love

  • Beautifully constructed
  • Very eye catching design
  • Superior build quality
  • Great performer
  • Comfortable mouthpiece
  • Easy to operate

Downsides

  • Some may find the mouth shield a little annoying

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  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 230 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 4
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

The Mikron is another awesome regulator by Aqua Lung and the one I use personally. For me, it is the perfect regulator, almost as good as the Legend, but quite a bit cheaper.

It also has a relatively smaller-sized first stage and octopus, which makes it easy to pack and travel with.

Also get the octopus & air gauge.

What we love

  • Great design
  • Lightweight
  • Great for travel
  • Good for kids
  • Very tough construction
  • Will last a long time

Downsides

  • Bubble may obstruct view due to small design

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with Worldwide Shipping

  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 230 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 4
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

The Apeks Flight is reportedly the lightest regulator in the world. It’s made using advanced composite materials selected for their optimum strength to weight ratio and is extremely easy to use.

The Flight is ideal for transportation and travel, and despite its compact size its breathe performance is exceptional.

Also get the octopus and the air gauge.

What we love

  • Lightest regulator in the world
  • Great for travel
  • Exceptional air flow
  • Compact size
  • Smooth breathe
  • Extremely comfortable mouthpiece
  • built well & performs well

Downsides

  • Bubble can obstruct the view due to size
  • Small design not for everyone

with Worldwide Shipping

  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 230 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 5
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

This is Zeagle’s new flagship regulator model with a completely new platform second stage design. The F8 name is derived from the well-established Zeagle Flathead series regulators.

Totally new design, Zeagle’s best performing regulator ever with more than 20 new improvements. Zeagle’s regulators are US-made, built under strict controls for quality in Zeagle’s own factory, using state of the art technology.

Also get the octopus and the air gauge

What we love

  • Travel Friendly
  • Well-designed diaphragm membrane
  • Breathes incredibly smoothly
  • Highly reliable
  • Large adjustable air flow
  • Very compact first stage
  • Comfortable mouthpiece
  • Efficient exhaust
  • Durable

Downsides

  • Some complaints about its overall effect in cold water
  • Some complain that the 2nd stage can look a little cheap compared to other flag ship models

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

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  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 240 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 5
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

The SR2 regulator continues the legacy the SR1 created. It packs advanced technology into a compact case, employing contemporary styling and utilizing a multitude of cutting-edge materials to bring to you a superior high-performance regulator system.

Superior breathing performance the SR2 is more technically advanced and more attractive than its predecessor.

Also get the octopus and the air gauge

What we love

  • Great chrome finish
  • Great breathing performance
  • Looks great on any BCD
  • Large adjustable air flow
  • durable build quality
  • Easy to use
  • Long lasting

Downsides

  • Some users complain the mouthpiece is too small
  • Second stage is rather heavy

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

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  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 220 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 5
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Extended Thermal Insulating System
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

You didn’t think we would forget ScubaPro, one of the best brands out there, did you?

This guy is a little on the expensive side, but that’s what you get with one of the world’s leading companies.

The MK25 EVO teamed with Scubapro’s exceptional A700, offers Superior Ultra-High Airflow System for Maximum Performance in All-Temperatures and Diving-Conditions. Scubapro has been the Leader in the Evolution of piston-controlled first stages since its beginning; the MK25 EVO carries on this heritage with an array of patented features ensuring unfailing performance.

Also get the octopus and the air gauge.

What we love

  • Beautifully constructed
  • Chrome finish is very attractive
  • Effortless breathing at any depth
  • Reliable & durable
  • Very comfortable mouthpiece
  • Well built using only the best materials
  • Large easy to use purge button

Downsides

  • Fairly expensive

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

with Worldwide Shipping

  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 230 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 5
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

The Cressi AC10V Master Cromo Regulator reintroduces the famed AC10V balanced piston first stage coupled with the acclaimed Master Cromo second stage regulator.

This isn’t the highest-rated regulator on this list, but it is probably the cheapest. Cressi is known for catering to the everyday divers as opposed to specialty equipment, so if that’s you it could be what you need.

Also get the octopus and the air gauge.

What we love

  • Great price point
  • Large purge button
  • Super comfortable in the mouth
  • Exquisite chrome finish
  • Budget friendly
  • Durable design
  • Very well made
  • Jacketed hose extremely light and flexible

Downsides

  • Performance not quite up to par with the higher end models

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping

  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 230 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 5
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: Yes
  • Venturi Switch: Yes
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

 

Ergonomically designed to be the world’s most comfortable second stage, the B2 is the next generation of the highly acclaimed Atomic B1 regulator.

The B1 regulators have received more accolades from the diving press and independent test reviews than any other regulator in history for both performance and ergonomics.

The B2 shares the identical first and second stage design and performance as the T1, the most notable difference being the metal (titanium) used in the T1.

Also get the octopus and the air gauge

What we love

  • Very comfortable second stage
  • Great swivel
  • Lots of port options
  • Dependable breathability
  • Easy to set up
  • Great build quality

Downsides

  • Pricey
  • Servicing can be tricky

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping

  • Valve: DIN / Yoke
  • Max pressure: Din 300 bar / Yoke 230 bar
  • High pressure ports: 2
  • Low pressure ports: 4
  • First stage: Balance
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Externally adjustable intermediate pressure: No
  • Venturi Switch: Vortex Assisted Design
  • Nitrox Ready: Up to 40%

This reg is the Mares answer for every condition. With careful analysis and evaluation of what happens in cold water, Mares has designed a product to guarantee top performance and reliability under the toughest conditions, including diving under the ice.

The first stage is a balanced diaphragm design that is environmentally sealed. The benefit of this type of first stage design is that none of the internal parts are exposed to contaminants such as salt, sand, chlorine, or pool acids.

Also get the octopus and the air gauge.


THE REGULATOR

What we love

  • Slender all metal design
  • Reliable & Durable
  • Performs in all conditions
  • Specifically designed for cold water
  • Approved by the US Navy
  • Freeze proof
  • Reduced free flows
  • Simplistic yet beautiful design
  • Perfect for hardcore divers

Downsides

  • Heavy & Bulky
  • Can be awkward for travel
  • Non adjustable second stage

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

with Worldwide Shipping

NOTE: Most of the regulators above only come with the second and first stages and the connecting hose. If that’s the case, then you will still need the air gauge and hose, and an octopus and hose. Maybe a fancy gauge like this one from Suunto or something simple like this one.

Pay attention to whether you want BAR or PSI on your gauge. If you want, you can even get wireless air that transmits to your dive computer. A good octopus would be something like this.

How to choose the best scuba diving regulators

best scuba diving regulator

When it comes to buying your own scuba diving regulators, there is an overwhelming amount of makes, models, and advice out there. Ultimately the best scuba diving regulators will depend on the type of diving you plan on doing.

Of course, price is also a factor. But your regulators are the main thing that keeps you alive while scuba diving. So it’s definitely not the piece of scuba diving gear you want to be stingy with.

When buying scuba diving regulators, each of the parts above can be purchased separately. But it’s much more common, and often more cost-effective, to buy a set.

In general, these are the key questions to consider when you’re buying your own scuba diving regulators. These few simple questions will help narrow down your choices and cut out the regulators that aren’t suitable for you.

Should you buy a Yoke or DIN Regulator?

The short answer is that it depends on where you’ll be diving:

If you’re a recreational diver who mostly dives in warm waters then go for a yoke regulator. Most of the cylinders in North America and tropical diving locations will have yoke valves.

If you do most of your diving in Europe or are interested in technical diving, then go for a DIN regulator. The majority of cylinders in Europe feature a DIN valve and technical diving requires your regulators to withstand higher pressures.

And if you’re still not sure whether to buy a yoke or a DIN regulator let’s take a close look at the difference between the two types of scuba diving regulators.

What is the difference between a yoke and a DIN regulator?

scuba diving yoke first stage

It’s all about how the first stage connects to the cylinder valve. The first stage of a yoke regulator sits on top of the valve and is clamped in place with a screw.  Whereas the first stage of a DIN regulator first stage will screw directly into a threaded opening in the cylinder valve.

The main difference between a yoke and a DIN is their ability to handle high pressure. A DIN can handle up to 300 bars (4350 PSI), whereas a yoke has a maximum working capacity of 200 bars (2900 PSI).

A quick and easy way to tell the difference between a yoke and a DIN regulator is the position of the O-ring. In a yoke regulator, the O-ring is found in the tank valve, whereas on a DIN regulator the O-ring is found on the first stage.

What are the benefits of a din regulator?

DIN first stage regulator

As we mentioned already, DIN regulators can handle up to 300 bar which can mean more air for your dive (if you’re using a cylinder that can be filled up to 300 bar).

In a DIN regulator, the sealing o-ring sits inside the first stage. So it is much less exposed to dust and other contaminants than with a yoke regulator.

Depending on the brand, a DIN regulator can be significantly lighter than the yoke alternative. The big lump of metal that creates the ‘A’ clamp on a yoke first stage can end up adding a surprising amount of weight.

And lastly, DIN is the preferred regulator fitting for technical diving.

What are the benefits of a YOKE regulator?

The main reason for choosing a yoke regulator over a DIN is for ease of compatibility with cylinders in North America and tropical diving locations.

Your choice is not final

DIn to yoke adaptor

DIN regulators can be converted to yoke, and yoke regulators can be converted to a DIN system by a knowledgeable technician.

Alternatively, you can easily use a DIN regulator on a yolk cylinder valve using a yoke adaptor. Although this can be a little bulky causing the first stage to stick out which may bump your head.

Many modern cylinder valves can also be easily converted from yoke to DIN by removing the insert using an alan key.

Should you buy a balanced or unbalanced regulator?

Balanced regulators perform better at depth and when your cylinder is low on air. So we’d always recommend buying a balanced regulator. Most scuba diving regulators nowadays are balanced or even overbalanced.

Without getting too technical, a balanced first stage will breathe consistently easy at depth or with a low tank pressure. A balanced regulator has extra components that compensate for the additional water pressure to maintain or even increase, the regulators’ performance at depth. This can be at just the first stage, or at both the first and second stages of the regulators for optimal performance.

Whereas unbalanced scuba diving regulators will slightly drop in performance the deeper you dive or when the cylinder pressure is below 50 bar (725 PSI). This means that an unbalanced regulator will feel slightly harder to breathe from. (But you should be ending your dive by that point!)

Because unbalanced regulators are a simpler mechanism, they are, of course, cheaper and easier to maintain. If price is a big factor, then you may want to consider buying a balanced first stage and an unbalanced second stage. The first stage does most of the work so you can balance performance with your budget.

Do you need an environmentally sealed regulator?

An environmental seal is basically an additional chamber around the first stage that is filled with silicone oil or another non-freeze liquid. This prevents freeflow and protects the moving parts of the first stage from freezing when diving in cold water. And by cold we mean below 50°F or 10°C. A little too chilly for us Scuba Otters but whatever floats your boat!.

If you’re regularly braving these temperatures then it’s recommended you buy an environmentally sealed regulator.

An environmental seal also has the added benefit of preventing any saltwater or debris from getting inside the first stage, minimizing maintenance concerns.

However, environmentally sealed regulators are more expensive, both to buy, and service. So an environmentally sealed regulator is only worth buying if you’ll be regularly scuba diving in very cold waters.

Will you be traveling frequently?

And lastly, if you intend to travel with your dive gear, then the weight of the scuba diving regulators is worth considering.

Although a heavy-duty, full metal regulator will be very robust, it’ll also weigh twice as much as a compact regulator made from lightweight materials.

So to make sure you’re not slapped with excess baggage fees on your next liveaboard trip, look for the lightweight regulator sets.

What is a scuba diving Regulator?

 

Simply put, scuba diving regulators are a series of hoses and stages that regulate the pressure of the air in your cylinder. So that you can breathe easily underwater. Hence the name regulators!

Scuba diving regulators reduce the high-pressure air from your cylinder and deliver it to your mouth, BCD, and other pieces of dive gear at a safe pressure.

Together, the regulators and the cylinder make up a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, more commonly known as SCUBA. Without both of these pieces of equipment, we wouldn’t be able to breathe underwater.

What are the different parts of a scuba diving regulator?

best scuba diving regulator

With different sections, functions, and a wide variety of given names, scuba diving regulators can appear a little tricky.

So let’s break it down and take a closer look at each section of scuba diving regulators.

Standard scuba regulators usually consist of 5 main parts:

  • First Stage
  • Primary Second Stage
  • Alternate Second Stage
  • Low-Pressure Inflator Hose
  • Submersible Pressure Gauge

Regulator First Stage

best scuba diving regulator

The function of the first stage is to take the high-pressure air in the cylinder and reduce it to an intermediate pressure (usually around 150 PSI or 10 BAR) to deliver into the hoses.

This pressure is still too high to breathe from, which takes us on to the second stage. But before we move on, there’s a bit more you need to know about the first stage of a scuba diving regulator.

Scuba diving regulators use either a piston or diaphragm mechanism in the first stage. These mechanisms are how regulators ‘sense’ the change in pressure as you descend and control the air from your cylinder.

The first stage can be balanced or unbalanced which affects the regulators’ performance at depth. And will feature either a yoke, (sometimes referred to as an A-clamp) or a DIN connection.

Primary Second Stage

Scuba Diving Regulator Second Stage

Often referred to as your regulator, this is the part that you put in your mouth and breathe from.

The primary second stage takes the intermediate pressure from the first stage via a hose and reduces it to ambient pressure, (the pressure you’re currently under) so you can breathe easily.

A regulator’s second stage features a mouthpiece, exhaust valve, and purge button. There will also be an adjustable knob that allows you to increase and decrease the airflow, making it easier or harder to breathe from.

Similar to the first stage, the regulator’s second stage can also be balanced or unbalanced. With a balanced second stage further improving the regulators’ performance at depth.

Alternate Second Stage

Alternate Second Stage Scuba Diving Regulator

Sometimes known as the Octopus, the alternate second stage works exactly the same as the primary second stage.

It is simply a back up if you have a problem with your primary second stage or if your buddy is out of air. Your buddy can then breathe from your alternate second stage whilst you make a safe ascent.

The general rule is that your alternate second stage is brightly colored so it’s easy to spot in an emergency.

Low-Pressure Inflator Hose (LPI)

low pressure inflator hose

Running from your regulator first stage, this hose attaches to the inflator on your BCD allowing you to add air from your tank into your BCD to regulate your buoyancy.

If you’re diving in a drysuit, you will also have a second low-pressure inflator hose that allows you to add air to equalize your drysuit.

Submersible Pressure Gauge aKA SPG

regulator pressure gauge

Attached to the first stage via a hose, the pressure gauge shows you how much air pressure you have in your tank. Of course, the first stage does not reduce the pressure coming into the gauge.

Scuba diving regulators may also have a depth gauge, dive computer, or compass mounted alongside the pressure gauge forming what is known as an instrument console.

Want to see the different parts of the scuba regulator in action?

 

So now you understand what scuba diving regulators are and how the different sections work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re a beginner diver or an experienced dive professional, choosing the right scuba diving regulators will dramatically improve your whole dive experience.

And now you know exactly how to pick the best scuba diving regulators for your needs.

Now you’ve found the perfect regulator for you, why not check out our reviews on a nice new BCD to go with it. If you you’re looking for equipment specifically for travelling then checkout our list of the best travel BCDs

What regulators did you choose? Let us know in the comments!

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Alexa Worswick Administrator

Alexa Worswick is a PADI + SSI scuba instructor, experienced freediver, and travel writer. With over 15 years of scuba diving experience in many locations across 3 different continents, she’s now based in Indonesia.

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Comments

Excellent article, love it. Please add me to your list if you send regular articles.

Alexa Worswick

Hi Jorge,

Thanks for your comment, happy to hear you enjoyed the article. We’ll add your email to our list so you’ll get any updates about new content and if there are any topics you’re interested in hearing more about, please let us know – we’re always looking for input from our readers.

Thanks,
Alexa