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How do you find a good regulator? I know the key is to find one that breathes easily, but how do you find one like that when you are buying online? Which model seems to be the best for folks with smaller mouths? Which seems to be the best in general? And where to find the best deal?
I also ready somewhere that scubatoys offers a discount to scubaboard members, but how do you get this discount?
Michelle, how much do you want to spend? There's a wide range of regulators and prices. Generally, the more expensive they are, the better they breathe. As for fitting in your mouth, that's the mouthpiece. Even if the reg comes with a large mouthpiece, you can just change that out to one that's small enough for you. There's also a comments section on ScubaToys order page. I've let them know in the past I'm a ScubaBoard member there and received the discount.
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There are alot of choices out there; as far as the mouth size thing, that's entirely an issue with the mouthpiece; reg size has nothing to do with comfort. Although the wide selection of good regs available makes it difficult or impossible to know which one is "best" for you, the good news is that any of the reputable companies, like Scubapro, Aqualung, Zeagle, Oceanic, Mares, etc all make good quality affordable regs, and they will all work well in rec diving.
MK17 is amazing, very good for cold and deep water. MK25 is also good, but not as good in cold water. One thing I don't like about the MK17 is the hose routing, weird HP/LP holes position makes routing a huge PITA.
I guess you've answered your own question, read review first before buying, or feedback from the users (preferably not the sellers).
There is a v. interesting review offered by the July issue of the Diver magazine.
The top scored regulator is not the most expensive model (ease of breathing, WOB), it does worth to take a look!!! There was an issue about this: is it possible that some of the local magazines are biased? When the Diver magazine came out, it did confirm that some brands are in fact v. good (same as the local magazine's comment) and the review added some insights about the performance of different regulators on the market. Also, the review confirmed some ideas given by some users here.
If you do not need to get a copy, just look it up at your nearest library. Diver magazine from UK.