Best Diving Regulator – 7 options for easy scuba

Bruno Sergio, professional diver and co-owner of Best Spot dive center in Azores gives his expert advice on choosing the best diving regulator.

One of the things I will always advise is to choose the best diving regulator were you can get a good service for maintenance. It’s most annoying being unable to find a local service center and having to send it away, potentially costing days or weeks to return.

Also the more simple the regulator, which are normally the lower cost versions, servicing is cheaper with parts being lower cost to replace. But this comes with another cost, which is lower performance.

You also have to take into account that with a higher performance diving regulator, it’s easier to breath in difficult conditions such as strong currents or in deeper waters or even when your tank is getting low on air.

So my choices below are ordered: performance, maintenance and price (by this order) as you have to think it will be where you will be breathing from underwater so don’t scrimp on costs if you can avoid that. Also if properly maintained it can be a piece of equipment for life so if you make a good investment it ends up being great value per use.

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Buying a regulator means buying first stage and second stage, but you also need to add an octopus (extra second stage) for safety. Some countries, specify that for cold water dives it is mandatory to have two independent first stages, each one with is second stage (also if you want to go for tec diving or side mount configuration.)

If you are in the market for a new diving computer, I wrote a guide to those too : Best diving computer for beginners – 6 reviewed

Apeks best diving regulators


Best Diving Regulator for Environmentally friendly manufacture

Reasons to buy: Environmental friendly, Compact and light weight second stage, Excellent performance, Components of second stage will not allow scratching it so easily

Reasons to avoid: Price (it should be cheaper to promote the eco choice), If Apeks maintenance is not available in your area

We had to start with this regulator because its pushing the market in a different way. When the oceans are full of plastic making a regulator out of Bio based polymers that are made from non-petroleum based sources as also the second stage polymers are made from post consumer recycled waste, can be the starting point for a changing path for the manufacturer of scuba gear. This trend it is also being followed on the neoprene suits but we will get back to that in a future article.

Beside being an eco friendly regulator, we are looking to a top regulator with a small size but very strong air flow. Dry chamber prevents water coming into contact with the 1st stage spring to stop freezing and an over compensating 1st stage allows for maximum performance at depth. It has a unique over-balanced diaphragm design which means as the diver descends, the over-balancing feature allows the medium pressure gas in the hose to increase at a faster rate than ambient witch results in superior performance at depth.

• Mechanism: Dry Chamber Membrane
• Number of ports: 2HP + 4MP
• Tested Depth: not specified
• Temperature Range: 4 to 55ºC
• Weight – 905g
• Overall work of breathing (WOB) scores – Avg. 0.90 joules/liter

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AQUALUNG LEG3ND best diving regulator


Best Diving Regulator for top brand performance

Reasons to buy: Top brand regulator, Excellent performance even in cold water

Reasons to avoid: Flow of air is progressive and some divers like the regulator to deliver always top air. The surface can get scratched easily so if you’re not careful it can look like an old regulator fast. High price can be prohibitive

What is good you don’t change you just keep improving. This is one of the lowest on the Leg3nd Aqualung regulators to have and even do its great. Over this model you get the Leg3nd MBS model (Master Breathing System – Integrated control of the venturi effect and inhalation effort control means that one adjustment completes both tasks.

It comes with an ACD system meaning auto closure device that will close the first stage avoiding water or debris to go in… goodbye dust cap. A de-ice system prevents ice to form which allows the regulator to be used in more cold waters with an exceptional cold-water performance.

It haves an overbalanced diaphragm to help to keep the air flow always at a top rate no matter the level of air pressure in your tank.

• Mechanism: Dry Chamber Membrane
• Number of ports: 2HP + 4MP
• Tested Depth: not specified
• Temperature Range: not specified
• Weight – 747 g
• Overall work of breathing (WOB) scores – Avg. 0.70 joules/liter

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ATOMIC AQUATICS T3 best diving regulator


Best Diving Regulator for minimal service intervals

Reasons to buy: 3 Years or 300 dives without service required, Atomic Comfort Swivel which allows 30° rotational movement

Reasons to avoid: High Price,  Difficult to find service

The T3 is a new Titanium standard for the T3. The T3 delivers unprecedented reliability and performance. Incredibly lightweight and corrosion-resistant materials make the T3 a perfect choice for travel in exotic remote locations, where finding service can be difficult.

Atomic Comfort Swivel which allows 30° rotational movement without hose binding or kinking is one of the most One of the most acclaimed features by divers.

The AFC (automatic flow control) is so advanced that eliminates the manual adjustment normally needed to regulate venturi effect as you dive deeper. No dials to turn or buttons to push ‚ but we include a rapid adjustment knob for rare special situations.

• Mechanism: Atomic exclusive balanced Jet Seat high-flow piston.
• Number of ports: 2HP + 5MP
• Tested Depth: not specified
• Temperature Range: not specified
• Weight – 816 g (yoke version)
• Overall work of breathing (WOB) scores – not specified

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BEUCHAT VR300 best diving regulator


Best Diving Regulator for tight budgets

Reasons to buy: Affordable, Entry level regulator

Reasons to avoid: Only can be used up to 230 bar of tank pressure, Weight

VR300 is a top of range regulator from Beuchat that combines advanced technology and cold resistance. Simple mechanism and all made in EU (France)

This regulator can be a good option if you have a price limitation and you don’t want to start with a first big investment.

Even though Beuchat its more recognised in the world of spearfishing it has enough experience in scuba diving to allow us to trust in the regulator.

• Mechanism: Balanced diaphragm
• Number of ports: 2HP + 4MP
• Tested Depth: not specified
• Temperature Range: Cold (not specified)
• Weight – 1020 g
• Overall work of breathing (WOB) scores – not specified

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Mares Abyss 22 Navy II Regulator best diving

Mares Abyss 22 Navy II Regulator

Reasons to buy: Special navy edition – Highly tested for extreme conditions, affordable

Reasons to avoid: You can only have one port for the second main stage so it does not allow changing 1st stage position, unless used on the down port. Weight

The Abyss 22 Navy II scuba diving regulator is especially designed to withstand the most extreme diving situations faced by US Navy forces around the world. The regulator comes with a special kit for diving in extremely cold water. The second stage is coated with a special fluoropolymer resin finish.

The Abyss 22 Navy II regulator guarantees flawless performance, even under ice. The result is a reliable and durable regulator, ideal for diving in even the most extreme.

It was used in the deep-solo-dive record-breaking to 313m and award-winning regulator because of its unfaltering reliability and performance.

MESH GRID Patented design which reduces the impact of water flow onto the second stage diaphragm, thus eliminating free flows even when facing strong currents.

VAD – Vortex Assisted Design which is air bypass tube delivers air to the mouthpiece creating a swirling vortex with a low pressure area in the center that keeps the diaphragm down during inhalation, for very sensitive and easy breathing at all depths.

• Mechanism: Balanced Diaphragm
• Number of ports: 2HP + 1LP 1/2” + 3 LP 3/8”
• Tested Depth: 313m
• Temperature Range: below 3ºC
• Weight – 1337 g
• Overall work of breathing (WOB) scores: not specified

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Oceanic Delta 5 EDX Yoke Regulator best diving

Oceanic Delta 5 EDX Yoke Regulator

Reasons to buy: Lifetime Warranty with Free Parts for Life with 30 day satisfaction guarantee, Price & Design

Reasons to avoid: Not a heavy duty regulator use for scratches, Maintenance availability in your area

Oceanic keeps the name in what they believe to be their top regulator. The Delta 5 is of remarkably reliable, durable and smoothly breathing.

It comes with the standard patented Dynamic Adjustment Technology that, once set by the diver, provides consistent airflow at any depth.

This latest edition though has an updated, all metal pneumatic valve providing super smooth breathing performance in any condition.

Maintenance is recommended every 2 years as most of the brands at the moment.

It was difficult to find any specifications related to this regulator witch seems to be a top secret thing. It would be nice to have all the brands to give more technical specifications about their gear.

One of the things that calls the attention in this regulator is the design. Smooth lines with amazing finish and simplicity makes our eyes to jump.

• Mechanism: Balanced diaphragm first stage eDX is environmentally sealed
• Number of ports: 2HP + 4LP
• Tested Depth: not specified
• Temperature Range: not specified
• Weight – not specified
• Overall work of breathing (WOB) scores: not specified

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Scubapro MK25 EVO 700

Best Diving Regulator for top of the range performance

Reasons to buy: Front Cover of the Second Stage made of Carbon fiber, Lightweight and durability

Reasons to avoid: High Price, Top of the scale in Scubapro

The very best high-performance MK25 EVO/CARBON BLACK is the best breathing regulator from all scubapro line and that is why our choice to included here. Personally I rather prefer to give some more extra money for a top regulator then less for a low level on the brand as after all this is were your air will be coming from.

The fact that it is a full metal regulator allows the heat exchange that makes the second stage a perfect choice for cold waters. In this case the fact that the front cover of the second stage is replaced by a carbon fiber (similar to racing cars or airplanes), that is extremely lightweight and can resist substantial shocks without damage.

The A700 Carbon air-balanced valve technology and over sized exhaust valve work in conjunction with sectional exhaust tee, a first-rate purge and responsive user controls to create a tech-tough breather with effortless inhalation and an ease of exhalation that is unmatched. It’s now just lighter and tougher.

The first stage MK25 EVO is widely considered as an excellent first stage with great performance with air balanced flow using a piston delivers effortless airflow no matter how deep, how is your breathing rate or how low is your tank pressure. It comes with an Ultra Freeze Resistant Extended Thermal Insulating System (XTIS) that allows full isolation of the mechanical internal parts.

Both parts have a Black Coating that it is scratch and corrosion resistant.

• Mechanism: Piston
• Number of ports: 2HP + 5LP (allows first stage different positions)
• Tested Depth: not specified
• Temperature Range: cold water (temperature not specified)
• Weight: 798g (DIN System)
• Overall work of breathing (WOB) scores: 2000lts/min

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What to look for in a regulator:

Cold Water vs Warm Water

This could be an important feature if you are diving in cold water and then jumping for warm water diving. Some regulators are prepared and design to work in extreme cold environments, in a way they cant get frozen and end up not giving you the vital air you need underwater, that means they will work in a mild cold temperature situation with no troubles. If you will be a diver that ends up doing cold dives take this in account. If it is just a warm water diver as more simple as better.

Easy Breathing

This is probably the main feature when looking for one. The best thing will be to be able to try them before, but it can be difficult to access different brands and equipment’s. So you will have to rely on what the manufacturer says about it and in other divers opinions.

Weight and Size

Specially if the idea will be traveling all grams count, but also the second stage it can create a weight effect underwater that some divers don’t like. Some divers don’t like to have a big second stage on their mouths as some of them can end up being slightly heavier during a longer dive or as bigger they are more dragging they will do, this is going way out of the common use. In general.

Price Range

How much do you want to spend? This can be the starting point for your choices but again remember that you will invest on something to last and were you will be breathing from. If you think normally rental gear is the most cheap but also the long lasting one. But get something better for you and feel the comfort of a top level regulator.


In terms of daily or travel use any of them is ok to give a go as you can easily fit an adapter on the tank valve or on the regulator and adapt it to your needs. In terms of safety YOKE is more safe as the way it attaches to the valve it is close to impossible to end up with screw problems. The DIN regulators protect the oring inside of the valve so it will be more safe in terms of not getting the oring to burst (common when using a YOKE valve)


This is the way of the first stage to work. The opening of the air can be triggered on the first stage by a piston type of mechanism or a membrane. Regulators with membrane have the advantage of being sealed witch means that the water would not go in the system to induce with the pressure the mechanism to work. This is important if you will be diving in a very muddy environment or with many debris in the water, but also if you will be diving in very cold water, as the dry membrane will not allow the regulator to frozen.

Inhalation Effort Control

This will allow you to control how much air you get from your regulator. The most simple models don’t have this so this is a feature to be founded on top brand regulators. Even do you should dive with the system always fully open (venturi and inhalation effort control) to minimize any inhalation effort but facing a strong current or deep water the regulator may over flow so you can always have the option to reduce it.

If you want to read about more diving equipment read my guide to diving computers: Best diving computer for beginners – 6 reviewed


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