Apeks is the number one diving regulator brand in the UK for good reason, but the range can offer a daunting variety of choices to the new diver with multiple first and second stage configurations. Here’s an easy to understand guide to help choose the right reg for you.
First off, a little bit of background about Apeks and why they’re great: Apeks was formed in the 70s in the UK and has quickly grown into one of the most popular regulator manufacturers, not just in the UK, but globally too. They have a hard-won reputation for making high quality, extremely reliable diving equipment that makes them a popular choice with instructors, tec divers and recreational divers.
Even today all their regulators are still manufactured from scratch in a state-of-the-art factory in Blackburn. On top of that they have made a strong commitment to protecting the environment. From manufacturing to packaging, almost anything that can be recycled during the production process is, along with a 0% hazardous waste to landfill policy. They also have a large solar farm at the factory too.
What do all these stage sets mean?
Quite simply a stage 2 set is a standard first and second stage regulator along with the reg hose. A stage 3 includes the octopus and a stage 4 includes a gauge.
What are all the different ranges about?
Apeks has three core lines of regulator, the MTX (MTX-R & MTX-RC), XL4 and XTX ranges alongside a couple of others. Within these there’s something for every diver and budget. Let’s look at them all in a bit more detail:
The Apeks XL4 Regulator range, which were introduced in 2017, has a lot of great features and is probably the best all-rounder of all their regulators. It’s based on Apeks’ trusty DS4 first stage but with improved cold-water resistance provided by the over-moulded end cap.
The really nifty bit is the second stage which is compact and lightweight whilst still providing an excellent breathe. Besides colour (the XL4+ is white) the only difference between the two regulators in the range is that the XL4+ has two high pressure ports whilst the XL4 has only one.
This is handy if you intend to run an SPG and a transmitter off the same reg but otherwise performance is identical. The XL4 is also very light, weighing in at under a kilo for a DIN first and second stage. If you want a modern regulator that you can use for all applications with a great price tag too, then the XL4 is hard to beat.
Isn’t MTX the military one? Well sort of. MTX was initially born from a brief to produce a regulator that would pass the Navy Experimental Diving Unit test (NEDU) which is a bonkers test for regulators where they must perform in 0.3 deg C of water at 60m with a massive flow rate. You can see a video of the MTX 1st stage in action on the test here. As part of this project the MTX-R was released to the market and Apeks now have two regulators in the range, the MTX-R and the MTX-RC.
M stands for ‘military’ and the R stands for ‘recreational’ (the ‘TX’ part of the regs, means ‘tec extreme’)! So, what’s the difference? The C on MTX-RC stands for ‘control’ which in this case means a venturi switch and breathing control.
Which one should you go for then? Well the MTX-R is essentially the brute of the range, technician set not to free-flow, it has heat sinks pretty much everywhere and a recessed purge button reducing the chance of accidentally knocking it open. This is the reg that will withstand anything you throw at it. As a result, it’s popular with tec divers, particularly sidemount divers, some of whom like the lack of twiddly knobs when switching regulators. If you’re going to be doing lots of cold-water diving or just like the idea of indestructible then the MTX-R is for you.
The addition of the MTX-RC to the range now gives you the the cold water performance of the standard MTX-R, when all the breathing controls are dialled in, but also gives you the option to lighten up the breathe for those occasions when you’re swimming around in some nice, warm blue water. The MTX-RC is the top end reg of the range, it looks fantastic too and if you’ve got the cash then the MTX-RC is basically the only regulator you’ll ever need to own as it will let you do anything you decide to do in your diving career.
The Apeks XTX Regulator range has been the mainstay of the Apeks range for some time now and comprises a number of different configurations. The whole range is cold water rated and in terms of performance is relatively similar. There are a few key differences to help you decide which one is right for you:
- XTX40: This regulator only has a venturi switch on the second stage. It is available on the DST first stage which has a swivel turret which gives more options when hose routing or the DS4 which has fixed port positions.
- XTX50: In addition to the venturi this regulator has a breathing control knob. It will almost exclusively be available with the DST first stage.
- XTX200: All the features of the XTX50 but has a forged 1st stage which has improved port routing.
- Tungsten: An XTX200 which has a tungsten coating giving it an incredibly durable finish.
Apeks manufacture a choice of two matching octopuses. The XTX40 octopus has a venturi switch whilst the XTX50 octopus has the breathing control too, most divers tend to opt for the simpler XTX40 octopus.
Essentially your choice here comes down to budget and whether you want to be able to adjust the breathing controls. If you do want adjustability, then the XTX50 is for you and if you want that with a bit of bling then XTX200 regulator is the way to go.
There are a couple of other considerations in the Apeks regulator range. For divers on a major budget who don’t care about looks and are happy with a regulator with a single HP port then the ATX40 DS4 offers a wallet friendly option.
In a niche of its own is the Apeks Flight Regulator. This is the lightest regulator in the world and is a good travel option for warm water divers looking to maximise their weight allowance.
That was easy!
Yes, it was but if you do have any questions about Apeks regulators then don’t hesitate to drop us a line at the shop where our expert staff will be happy to help!