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Best regulator for the money

Discussion in 'Regulators' started by rgiles, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. rgiles

    rgiles Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles area
    Looking for a good regulator at a good value..... so let me ask...

    Just getting back into diving after a 30 year lay off. Can't believe how complicated everything has become. Finished my Advanced and at age 50++ I don't want to be bothered with a hard to breath regulators, which is what I have now. Unbalanced everything...

    So, if a regulator has a balanced first and second stage, diver adjustable air flow, large enough second stage (for air volume), never diving in water below 40 degrees, is a name brand, THEN why spend huge money on a regulator??? If they are available for $300.00 then why spend much, much more??????

    Don't mean to sound ignorant, I know this is a life threatening sport but if one does the job.... shouldn't it do the job??

  2. couv

    couv Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: 13th floor of the Ivory Tower
    Hello R Giles, (go to the bottom and skip the boring part)

    Shortly, you will be swamped with advise about buying a regulator, mostly by people who own a brand and are very fond of it. One thing to keep in mind about regulators is that most are great at what they do. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? That won't be easy, but it will be fun and entertaining. Soon you will find out there are quite a few gurus on this board in each section. It's helpful to pick out a few of them and read lots of their post and you will be off to a very good start. In the regulator section I can highly recommend the post of (in no particular order) Awap, DA Aquamaster, Captain, Pescador775 and Luis H ©Õhere are lots of others but that will keep you busy for a while.

    At any rate, you want a regulator brand that has a good track record for keeping parts available for each model. Of course unless you intend to DIY, you also want a regulator that can be serviced by your local dive shop and lots of locations in the world. The two best companies in both regards are Aqualung and Scubapro.

    My recommendation for the average recreational diver, i.e. not freezing water, 150 feet or less, is a simple non balanced piston 1st stage such as the Scuba Pro MK 2 (or Aqualung Calypso, Mares R2, Sherwood Brut, Oceanic SP4 and a few others.) This simple design is usually inexpensive, nearly bullet proof, easy to get parts for and easy and inexpensive to service. It is also easy to DIY because it requires only a few o-rings and a seat. Yes, the unbalanced design will increase the breathing effort at low tank pressure, but I view this as a good thing especially for new or inexperienced divers. See this thread: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/regulators/87374-scuba-pro-r190-2.html
    Additionally, if/when one wants to start more advanced diving where high concentrations of oxygen will be used this type regulator can be moved to that application.

    For a second stage I like an adjustable and balanced unit. This provides the ability to have the regulator tuned to minimum inhalation resistance with the option of the diver increasing the resistance it if he/she finds the need to. Having said that, a straight forward classic downstream design with a simple to replace set of o-rings and button soft seat can be highly recommended as it is a tried and true design, parts are usually available and almost anyone can service them.

    It is a good idea to have the same manufactures 1st and 2nd stage to make getting service less complicated.

    For more demanding diving and high end/higher performance (higher price) regulators see the following link for DA's excellent advice.

    You could/should ignor all of the above and PM DA Aquamaster and see if he has any rebuilts to sell.....you can't go wrong there.

  3. rgiles

    rgiles Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles area
    Thanks couv. I hear ya about the swamped with advice on brand and purchase etc.... I really want to support my LDS cause they have been good to me and developing dive buddies. So why not a 300 vs 600++++ reg? And you are right, could just stick with my unbalanced at least until it needs servicing in 10 months, then put that $ into a new reg.

  4. evad

    evad Solo Diver

    You can get a Zeagle Flathead VI for $360.00 @ Zeagleexpress.com. They'll also sell you service kits.
  5. ArcticDiver

    ArcticDiver Solo Diver

    You are right on as far as I'm concerned...if it does the job...why change? I dive with folks who have regs from the latest to ancient. All seem happy with them.

    If what you have works, to me the best route is to just use what you have until you get back into the sport a wee bit further. You never can tell what wonderful opportunities that will pique your interest. Once you see what they are then you can go shopping. By then, too, you will have a pretty good idea what will satisfy your needs best and, most important, make your wants happier.
  6. fl-diver

    fl-diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Florida
    I agree with the "why buy a $600.00 reg?" argument. So my answer is to buy a Titan LX. It can be found online for less than $300.00.
    I love mine that I actually bought used about 5 years ago.
    I think the legends are really cool but then you get into the expensive range.
  7. rstofer

    rstofer Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northern California
    You need to wait for DAAquamaster to respond. It seems to me that water near 40 deg F is getting to the point where regulator freezing is a concern. It isn't that the surrounding water is freezing just that the moisture in the air (in the tank) is freezing inside the first stage (or second stage) as it expands.

    I don't know where temperature becomes a concern but I have been thinking about the problem in regard to 50 deg F water. I suspect it also has a lot to do with regulator construction. Metal versus plastic with metal to be preferred. It has to do with first stage construction - fins and such to conduct as much heat as possible from the water to the internals. Same with the 2d stage.

    If 40 deg F is a possibility, you probably need some expert advice.

  8. rgiles

    rgiles Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles area
    Really good advice. I should clarify the 40 degree water. I don't ever plan on going anywhere near 40 degrees I just thoought that would clarify I'm absolutely never doing ice diving withought rethinking my entire rig. Then money would be not object - I like to be steamy warm.

    The farthest North I can see is visiting my kids in Nor Cal. So what high 40's low 50's??

  9. tflaris

    tflaris Liveaboard

    # of Dives:
    Location: Neptune Beach, FLorida USA
    ScubaPro MK25 S600

    Apeks XTX 200

    Just my 2 cents
  10. shoturtle

    shoturtle Loggerhead Turtle

    pretty much all modern balance reg breath well. To you reg for 300 dollars and under you actually have a bunch of good regs. They need computer and machine to measure the differences between them. So it will come down to what features you want in your reg and the type of diving you do. Here are just a couple of examples of good sub 300 dollar reg out there

    oceanic gt3
    cressi ellipse titanium or Alaska
    tusa rs230 or rs240
    AquaLung titan
    Aeris A1
    Genesis gs2000

    I would suggest that you go to the Leisurepro website and look at the regs, you will see a bunch of regs with their spec and features there. It is a good start to research and narrowing down what you are looking for in your price range. I agree that there really is no need to buy a 600 dollar reg if you do not need it. And allot of times you are really paying for the marketing for the 600 dollar regs

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