Top 10 Best Scuba Regulator of 2018 (Comparison Chart, Guide, Reviews)
A scuba regulator is one of the most important pieces of dive gear you can own as a diver. It literally is your lifeline underwater. Allowing you to breathe safely and comfortably from the high-pressure gasses stored in your dive tank.
However, buying a new regulator is not as easy as it sounds. There are literally hundreds to choose from, as well as many different brands, styles, and features to consider. The whole thing can seem overwhelming at first.
Not to fret thou, we have done most of the heavy lifting for you. After reading countless ratings and reviews, we have compiled a list of 10 best scuba regulators on the make today to make your choice a lot easier. You will also find quick buyers guide as well as reviews to help you make the right choice.
What You Will Find
- Comparison chart of the top 10 scuba regulator and how they stack up against each other.
- Buying Guide to help you select the regulator that’s best for your diving needs.
- Expert reviews of each regulator and what you should expect.
Best Scuba Regulator Comparison Chart
Below is a comparison chart of the best scuba regulators we found. In it, you will find regulator from all price point, high-end ($$$ = Above 600), midrange ($$= $400-$600), and entry-level ($=Under 400) to ensure there is a reg to meet every diver.
|Regulator||Price Range||1st Stage Type||Ports||2nd Stage Type||Adjustable |
|Adjustable Venturi||Cold Water Rated|
|Atomic T3||$$$||Balanced Piston||2HP|5LP||Balanced||Yes||Atomatic||Yes|
|Scubapro Mk25 Evo A700||$$$||Balanced Piston||2HP|5LP||Balanced||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Aqua Lung Legend LX||$$$||Over-Balanced Diaphragm||2HP|4LP||Balanced||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sherwood SR2||$$||Balanced Piston||2HP|5LP||Balanced||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Aqua Lung Core||$$||Balanced Diaphragm||2HP|4LP||Balanced||No||Yes||Supreme Version|
|Cressi Compact Pro/MC9 SC||$$||Balanced Diaphragm||2HP|4LP||Unbalanced||No||Yes||Yes|
|Hollis 100LX DC3||$$||Balanced Diaphragm||2HP|4LP||Balanced||No||Yes||Yes|
|Scubapro MK2 EVO R195||$||Unbalanced Piston||1HP|4LP||Unbalanced||No||Yes||Yes|
|Mares Rover 2s||$||Unbalanced Piston||1HP|4LP||Unbalanced||No||No||No|
|Sherwood Brut Pro ||$||Balanced Piston||2HP|4LP||Balanced||No||No||No|
Compare More Scuba Regulators
Compare features side by side to find the best regulator for your needs
What To Consider When Choosing A Regulator
Your dive regulator is the most important dive gear you can own. You will be trusting your life to it every time you go below the water. However, due to technical advances in materials and manufacturing, regulators have become pretty much fail safe.
Regulators today go through rigorous safety testing to ensure they work perfectly every time. Especially those from top brands. So, as long as you stick to the major brand, safety should not be much of a concern when choosing your reg.
But first…. There are still a few questions you must ask your self before making a choice.
What’s The Temperature of the Water?
- Warm water: If you’re planning on doing most of your dives in warm tropical waters, there is not much to worry about. Pretty much all scuba regulator will work flawlessly in cold water.
- Cold water: When planning to dive in cold water, dives 50°F (10°C) and below, it always a good idea to find out if your regulator is rated to perform at these temperatures. These regs are generally environmentally sealed to keep out the cold water from coming in contact with the internal components of the first stage and impeding its performance. Metal second stages are also great for cold water dives because of their thermal conductivity properties.
How Will I Mount My Regulator?
There are basically only two ways you can mount your dive regulator to a scuba tank, DIN or Yoke. However, almost all regulators on the market today are available in both versions.
- Yoke (A-Clamp): With this system, the regulator is mounted over and around the tank valve. It is the most popular of the two mounting option, especially in North America. The only advantage Yoke has over DIN is that it is more popular.
- DIN: With a DIN setup, the regulator is screwed directly into the tank valve. This makes a more reliable connection, while at the same time being more streamlined. For this reason, they are very popular with tech divers. You will also find this setup more in European countries.
If you do decide to go with a DIN system, there are DIN to Yoke adapter that will allow your DIN Regulator to work on a Yoke valve. This way you can get the best of both worlds.
What Performance and Breathing Resistance Do I Need?
While all regulators are designed to give you enough air to survive. Not all regulators are created equal, and not all regulators will perform the same. You might want a regulator that give you air more readily than others, or one that than can adjust breathing resistance on the fly.
- Unbalanced: An unbalanced regulator generally loses performance the deeper you go and when there is less air remaining the dive tank. However, due to technological advances over the years, these changes are hardly noticeable at recreational depths. Unbalanced systems are commonly found on entry-level regulators, and is generally recommended for warm, shallower dives.
- Balanced: A balanced regulator system will deliver consistent airflow no matter how deep you are or how much air you have remaining in your tank. These generally found on mid-range to high-end regulators and can either be a Piston or Diaphragm design.
- Diver Adjustable Setting: These are generally found on higher end dive regulators. It allows you to customize your breathing in real time.
- Venturi Switch: Prevents free flows on the surface, while enhancing breathing performance underwater.
- Inhalation adjustment knob: Allows you to fine-tune your breathing by increasing or decreasing your inhalation resistance with the turn of a Knob.
Where Will You be doing Most of Your Diving?
- Locally: There is not much to consider if you will be doing most of your diving locally. Pretty much any regulator will work just fine.
- Travel: If you plan on traveling for most of your diving you might want to consider a compact and lightweight scuba regulator. Also, braided hoses save more spaces than traditional rubber hoses.
Adequate Ports For My Peripherals
Lastly, you want to be sure you have adequate ports for peripherals. A standard regulator setup for recreational diving as a primary second stage, a backup octopus, a high-pressure gauge, and a BC inflation hose. Today most regulators come with 4 low-pressure (LP) ports and 1 or 2 high pressure (HP) ports.
Scuba Regulator Reviews
Atomic T3 Scuba Regulator
The Atomic T3 Regulator is precision machined from titanium to make it one of the lightest full sized regulator today. It also, provides the same unprecedented performance and reliability the Atomic "T" series is famous for, and now comes with a 3 years/300 dive not contingent on service life time warranty. This is the reg to get if you're looking for the very best. Its
light wait and corrosion free characteristics also makes it the perfect reg for traveling divers.
- First and second stage components precision machined from solid Titanium for durability and bullet proof reliability.
- Sealed balanced piston first stage keeps water and other contaminants from impeding its performance
- Pneumatically balanced 2nd stage delevers effortless breathing
- Titanium 2nd Stage Comfort Swivel help reduce jaw fatigue and unwanted hose tugging
- Automatic flow control allows for hand free Venturi control
- Rapid adjustment knob for breathing resistance
- 3 years / 300 dive service interval
The Atomic T3 is by far the absolute best I've ever used, and I've used many on my way up through the certifications. It breathes like nothing I've used before , light weight very comfortable , it's an extremely well made piece of equipment . Yes, it is expensive, but once you own one you'll see where that money went.
The MK25 EVO/A700 is Scubapro's flagship regulator system. It pairs their top performing Mk25 EVO balanced first stage with the all metal casing of the A700 second stage for effortless breathing and performance even in cold water conditions. It has 5 low-pressure ports on a swivel and opposing high-pressure ports, allowing you to mount the regulator up or down. A great buy if your looking for a high performance regulator.
- Stunning chrome plated brass body
- Balanced 1st and 2nd stage for exceptional breathing performance
- Extended Thermal Isolation System (XTIS) increase cold water performance by 30%
- Diver adjustable Venturi switch to control unwanted free flows on the surface
- Diver adjustable inhalation effort resistance to fine tune your breathing on the go.
I own two of theses regs on and use them on a twin tank system. Out of the box quality was great. At 80 plus feet in mid 40 degree water set on minimum flow they still have excellent ease of breathing. I am looking forward to exploring the further potential of these regulators.
Aqua Lung Legend LX
The Aqua Lung Legend LX offer the same easy to breathe and high performance features of the LUX without the hard to scratch PVD finish. It comes standard with Aqua Lung patented "ACD" system which closes automatically when you take it off the tank to keep out water and dust. This is a great choice if you looking for a reg that performs well, looks sharp, and built to last. It is also available in a supreme version with additional cold water features.
- Auto Closure Device (ACD) keeps water and other contaminants out of the first stage even when no dust cap is on.
- Pneumatically balanced 2nd stage delivers effortless breathing
- Master Breathing System (MBS) controls both the Venturi effect and breathing efforts on the fly
- Ergonomic Comfo-Bite mouthpiece eliminates Jaw fatigue
After approx 50 deep dives I rate this as top notch. Best I have used in 20 years of diving. Durable breaths effortlessly at depth, no free flow, no issues. The auto closure device is great, prevents contamination into first stage during cleaning and accidental water exposure.
Sherwood Scuba SR2
The SR2 is the top performing regulator in Sherwood Scuba's regulator line. An upgrade version of the SR1, its more technologically advance and attractive than it's predecessor, offering superior berating performance.It features a sealed first stage with 360° swivel, and a single adjustment knob to control both Venturi and breathing resistance. This is an excellent regulator that my surprise you with it's compact size and effortless breathing.
- Five low-pressure ports on a 360° swivel for optimum hose routing and comfort
- Pneumatically Balanced 2nd stage delvers effort less breathing
- Single adjustment knob for Venturi and Breathing resistance makes breathing adjustment fast and easy.
I have been reading reviews and weighing the options for a month or two. the SR2 was not always on the top of each list but it was listed in every list I came across. It is smaller and lighter then I expected which was a very nice surprise. I personally didn't find any issue with the mouthpiece, referenced in another review, it works well for me. The 1st stage is a little on the heavy side but that should be expected since it does swivel.
Aqua Lung Core
The core is Aqua Lung's new mid-range regulator. As like many regulators in this price range there is no user adjustment except for a Venturi switch. However, It does come with Aqua Lung ACD system, a feature that was only offer on Aqua Lung's high-end regulators. The amazing breathing paired with an attractive price point, gives you the best value for your money. It is also available in a supreme version that is environmentally sealed, has a lip shield, and detuned for cold water diving.
- Auto Closure Device (ACD) keeps unwanted water and other contaminants out of the first stage when remove from the tank.
- Large Venturi Switch to control free flows
- Ergonomic Comfo-Bite mouthpiece
Excellent regulator that breathes very easily. The ports are a bit tight if you have a transmitter, but otherwise, no complaints!
Cressi Compact Pro/MC9 SC
The Cressi Compact Pro/MC9 SC offers maximum performance in a compact package. The MC9 SC first Stage has a compact, hyper-balanced, environmentally Seal, chrome plated brass body covered by a Elastomer skin to prevent scratches and dings. The Compact Pro second stage is also very lightweight with an easy to use purge cover, and Venturi lever. An excellent buy if you're looking for an all around regulator, as well as one that is more suited for Travelling
- Reliable Down Stream 2nd stage
- User adjustable Venturi Switch to control free-flow on the surface
- Compact and lightweight 2nd stage eliminate jaw fatigue
- Overall lightweight design makes it perfect for an all around travel regulator
I'm a Cressi fan all the way, tried many others to be sure, but came back and and purchased this regulator for it's durability and ease of use
The Hollis 100LX/DC3 looks more expensive than it really is due to its high polished chrome, smart design, and breaded hose. The DC3 over-balanced first stage delivers superior performance by providing more gas the deeper you go. While the 100LX second stage is pneumatically balanced for smooth, effortless breathing. If you're looking for simple high-performance reg for a fraction of the cost look no further.
- Adjustable Venturi Switch
- Balanced Diaphragm designed
- Excellent cold water performance
I dive cold fresh water quarries,off the coast of North Carolina, Mexico and the Caribbean. I found them to be just as reliable as any Apeks, Atomic or other high end regulator for the fraction of the cost. I have been diving dunce 1997. This is a simple reliable design, that meets the needs for both tech and recreational diving.
Scubapro MK2 EVO/R195
The Scubapro MK2 EVO / R195 bulletproof reliability and minimal maintenance make it the system of choice for demanding dive centers as well as new divers. The MK2 first stage has been around from since the early 1960's, hand has been upgraded many time to improve performance and reliability. Paired with the upgraded R195, this regulator setup would be perfect as your first regulator or back-up regulator. It also it now rated for cold water use due to Scubapro's XTIS system.
- Flow by piston design 1st stage
- Classic Unbalanced downstream demand valve 2nd stage
- CE cold water approved up to 3360psi
A little bit heavy for travel, but performs well and is comfortable. i would go for the DIN 300 fitting. as the A clamp is becoming more and more scarce.
Mares Rover 2s
The Rover 2 is a great entry-level regulator from Mares. While it's first stage is unbalance, it's Dynamic Flow Control (DFC) minimizes the drop in intermediate pressure on inhalation. Mares claims this allow them to you a more simpler and reliable second stage without sacrificing performance. Over all it is a fantastic entry level regulator that breathes pretty good, and offer excellent value for your money.
- Unbalanced Piston First Stage with Dynamic Flow Control (DFC) for consistent performance
- Chrome plated brass body with sandblasted finish to increase scratch resistance.
- The Mid-Sized Techno-Polymer Second Stage is surprisingly lightweight.
- Simple, ye
t reliable unbalanced 2nd stage valve system
Bought his as my first Req. Finally got into diving. I saw and reviewed many regs. And really for the price you can't beat it. I have taken it up to 112 ft and it works perfectly. From a shore dive, to a deep dive pretty reliable. I haven't really had a bad experience and its been a year later.
Sherwood Brut Pro
The Sherwood Brut Pro has been totally redesigned from top to bottom to deliver better breathing performance than it’s predecessor while still staying true to the Brut’s reputation as being a rugged and reliable regulator that is easy to maintain. It features an environmentally sealed first stage, that prevents water and other contaminant from entering the fist stage. And, is also completely balanced, a feature not found on may entry-level regulators. This makes it an excellent choice if you're looking for a fist time regulator that is easy to breathe.
- Pneumatically balanced 2nd stage design
- Nitrox compatible to 40% oxygen
- Environmentally Sealed 1st Stage
- Mechanically balanced flow by piston 1st Stage
I was really impressed with the ease of breathing with this regulator. For the money, I don't think I could have found anything better.