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We love to scuba dive! Most of our diving has been done in colder waters of the Atlantic, the English Channel and UK's inland sites like Chepstow or Vobster. Still, some of us enjoy travelling around the world to exotic, tropical destinations, and we can appreciate equipment that delivers reliable performance yet is light and durable.
Nowadays we are spoiled with a wide choice of scuba diving regulators. Competition on the market is fierce, and each brand tries to offer some unique solutions in their products. Working with the best diving brands in the UK allows us to have a closer look at all the fantastic diving equipment and test dive sets locally. So let's have a look at our top ten regulator picks.
HIGH PERFORMANCE TRAVEL REGULATOR WITH COLD WATER CAPABILITIES
The Scubapro MK17 EVO C370 is a high-performance regulator with an environmental seal that prevents impurities from entering the first stage and makes it more suitable for cold water diving. An oversized cap and heat exchanging fins improve anti-freeze properties. It contains two high-pressure and four high flow low-pressure ports to attach all the necessary scuba equipment.
The second stage also ticks all the boxes for a well-performing quality regulator like Pre-dive/Dive venturi control and diver adjustable inhalation. The C370 second stage is made out of fibreglass reinforced nylon casing with the streamlined tee. All the features contribute to this set being one of the best value for money scuba diving regulators.
Its compact size makes it ideal for travel but the cold water features make it equally at home in sub 10°C water temperatures.
AFFORDABLE, SIMPLE, RELIABLE
The Scubapro MK2+ EVO R195 is one of the most affordable sets in Scubapro's range but still offers features of more expensive rigs and has a focus on simplicity and reliability thanks to only a few moving parts. Looking at the chrome-plated first stage, you can notice that it has the same Patented XTIS system you will find in more expensive models. XTIS, together with an insulating sleeve and anti-freeze cap, make this regulator, even more, freeze-resistant.
The first and second stages are linked together with a high-flow hose with a larger than standard inner diameter to increase airflow and efficiency. The second stage uses a classic downstream valve which comes with a VIVA switch to control free flows. Everything is locked in a rigid, good looking and compact casing.
We think this regulator is best scuba regulator for beginners but will also be well suited for other applications serving as a superb deco cylinder or bailout cylinder regulator.
TRIED AND TESTED PERFORMANCE
In our opinion, the Scubapro MK25 Evo S600 is one of the best regulators for UK diving. It is also Scubapro's best selling scuba regulator combination.
The beautiful chrome plated MK25 first stage is not only good looking but has improved cold water diving qualities by implemented Scubapro's XTIS system - (External Thermal Insulating System) which delays the formation of ice when diving in frigid waters. Equipped with two high-pressure ports and five high-flow low-pressure ports on a swivel turret allows flexibility in setting your hoses with ease.
The S600 second stage fits well within this configuration, and it's made out of reinforced technopolymer and stainless steel. The regulator allows for customisation via the dedicated VIVA system ( Venturi-Initiated Vacuum Assist) with pre-dive/ dive positions as well as diver inhalation effort adjustment. The S600 is completed with a decent size hard-wearing purge button and ergonomic orthodontic mouthpiece.
This well tested and award-winning cold water performance scuba regulator will make every cold-water diver uber happy.
THE MASSIVELY OVER-ACHIEVER
Unbelievably the Mares Dual ADJ 52X was developed as an entry-level regulator but this power house can give any high performance regulator a run for its money. It's compact and lightweight design also makes it a superb travel regulator.
It is manufactured from top quality materials and 52X first stage features two angled high-pressure and four low-pressure ports for the best set-up. Mares utilise their unique environmental sealing - AST system, which makes sure the first stage stays as dry and as contaminant-free as possible when not pressurised.
The first and second stages are linked with new Mares braided Flexihoses which save a not insignificant amount of weight compared to traditional style rubber hoses. The stylish second stage with its large purge button allows the diver to adjust the inhalation effort required to open the valve via the control knob. It also has a PAD - Pneumatically Assisted Design which prevents potential free flows.
In our opinion Mares is a fantastic piece of equipment with a lot of original features pack in a very reasonably priced scuba regulator.
A COLDWATER WORKHORSE
The Apeks XTX50 DST doesn't need an introduction. It has been a workhorse of thousands of UK divers for years now.
The DST first stage is a well tested, dry-sealed system for cold water diving performance below 10°C. It features two high-pressure ports and four low-pressure ports with a rotating turret for optimal hose routing. There is also an option for the fifth low pressure port that may be very handy in some styles of diving like sidemount.
The XTX50 second stage offers customisation with its unique Diver Changeable Exhaust system (DCE) allowing a diver to change sizes of tees if necessary. The stage also allows further adjustment and can be set as a right-hand or left-hand side configuration by a qualified technician. The stage also has heat exchanger on the inlet for an improved cold water performance; and a venturi control system for better gas delivery adjustment.
The Apeks XTX50 DST is a very versatile regulator used by both recreational and technical divers and is one of the best mid-range cold-water regulators we sell. It is also one of the best regulators for stage tanks, deco and bailout tanks.
RESPECT CREATES LEGENDS
The Legend range (now called Aqua Lung Leg3nd because it is the third generation of the line) are high performance regulators designed to offer one of the best breathes available and look good doing it. The line includes three models; the Leg3nd, the Leg3nd MBS and the Leg3nd Elite, all built on the same basic platform but adding features so you go up the scale.
The Leg3nd's first stage is fully environmentally sealed with patented ACD device (Auto Closure Device) to prevent water and contaminants entering the stage, thus extending its life. The regulator is beautifully designed with some practical add-ons like metal ribs to improve its cold-water performance. There are four low-pressure and two high-pressure ports which are positioned at an angle to help better hose routing.
The second stage has a lovely compact design but with a purge button large enough to comfortably engage it when wearing thick dry gloves. The quality of finish is top-notch with additional heat exchanging fins and venturi regulation for diving performance. All finished with Comfo-BiteTM mouthpiece to reduce jaw fatigue on longer dives.
Some of us have owned and dived it for some time, and the smoothness of breathing this regulator delivers at any given depth down to 70m is genuinely phenomenal, so this is one has to own a place in the best scuba diving regulator hall of fame!
COMPACT & LIGHTWEIGHT COLDWATER PERFORMANCE
The Apeks XL4+ regulator looks lightweight and the compact first stage is based on the expedition tested DS4. It is streamlined and environmentally sealed for better cold-water performance. It also features two high-pressure and four low-pressure ports which will equip you with a good range of hose routing options for different diving styles. It also sports an oversized endcap to boost its anti-freeze properties.
The second stage is lightweight, and its flexible hose reduces the weight of the set and gives it a modern appearance. It also delivers classic features like Venturi control for free flow control and Apek's Comfo-Bite mouthpiece for reduced jaw fatigue even on longer dives or decompression stops.
This is an excellent value for money scuba regulator with Apeks reliability and performance and will appeal to those who are frequent travellers as well as technical divers.
UNBELIEVABLY SMALL BUT STILL PACKS A PUNCH
If you are travelling a lot and weight saving is crucial in your adventures, the Aqua Lung Mikron may be the perfect choice for you. Aqua Lung designed the Mikron specifically for a travelling diver; therefore, it is the lightest and smallest in the company's collection. Let's have a closer look at the set-up.
Aqua Lung Mikron's balanced first stage features 2 high pressure and 4 low pressure ports and an Auto Closure Device (ACD) which extends the first stage longevity by keeping water out of the first stage when not pressurised. It is also safer if Nitrox is your gas of choice.
The second stage is really compact but still manages to have a large purge button. The second stage stage performance is smooth even in colder water and the adjustment control works well in freeflow prevention. The whole set is furnished with braided nylon hoses to save weight even further. Aqua Lung's patented Comfo-Bite mouthpiece reduces jaw fatigue.
The Mikron is perfect for the travelling diver who expects excellent warm water performance but has a limited budget.
The original MTX (Military Technical eXtreme) was built to pass some pretty intense criteria for military use. The retail version was the MTX-R (Recreational) which is a pre-configured regulator that didn't allow for diver adjustments. The latest version, the MTX-RC finally adds that diver control to the second stage.
The Apeks MTX-RC is an excellent looking regulator, and its hard not to notice that the Apeks put a lot of effort and money into making it a true performer!
The first stage looks great in the satin finish and has been built to have as much heat-transferring fins as possible for better anti-freeze properties. It also features a top cap for higher ice buildup resistance over its hydrostatic diaphragm. MTX-RC delivers good positioning of its two high pressure and five low pressure ports allowing this reg to be one of the best scuba regulators for technical and sidemount applications.
The second stage has a definite 'technical' look to it and features Apek's Diver Changeable Exhaust system (DCE). The second stage now features both venturi and inhalation adjustment controls to customise breathing performance to diver's needs. Apex MTX-RC regulator has qualities of the best cold-water scuba regulator, and maybe the most versatile scuba regulator.
The Atomic T3 Regulator may come with a hefty price tag but Atomic design and engineering delivers some fantastic and unique features in this, lightest of its class, regulator.
The first stage is made out of a single block of titanium and, unlike similar flow-through piston first stages, is actually environmentally sealed to improve cold water diving performance. Even the machining of the A-Clamp to reduce weight shows the length that Atomic have gone to. The first stage has a good selection and location of high and low-pressure ports allowing a diver to customise hose set-up well.
A lot of the second stage components are also manufactured from titanium for weight and anti-corrosion purposes. It offers unique patent like Automatic Flow Control for smooth air delivery at any given depth, and Atomic Comfort Swivel releases some of the tension from your jaw muscles during your dives.
With Atomic's "Jet Set" and "Seat Saving Orifice" solutions they recommend a three year or 300 dives service intervals, so that's a money saver. The Atomic T3 Regulator is genuinely a worthy contender to be the best hi-tech scuba regulator there is.