The only thing that allows us to breathe underwater is the regulator which makes it a crucial bit a kit. It handles taking the high pressure air from your cylinder, reduces it down in two stages and delivers it to your when you need it.
It is also a central connection point for a lot of your diving equipment including your cylinder, BCD, alternate air source or octopus, submersible pressure gauge (SPG) or console, drysuit and even your dive computer via a hose or wireless transmitter. There is a lot to think about and so much choice when it comes to choosing your regulator so head over to our Regulator Guide for plenty of helpful information and advice.
Standard Scuba Regulator Features
A set of diving regulators has some typical features and components that you'll see anywhere in the world. The configuration and look may be different but they will be there in one form or another.
- First stage – This connects to your cylinder valve and reduces the very high pressure air stored in there to an intermediate pressure of typically between 9 and 10 bar before distributing it down the hoses.
- Second stage – This is the component fitting with the mouthpiece you breathe from. It is some times also referred to as a demand valve because it gives you air when you demand it (inhale) at the exact pressure you need for breathing comfortably.
- Alternate air source / Octopus – A redundant second stage that provides an easy way to share air in case you need to help another diver. Not all alternate air sources look like regulators. Some are incorporated within the inflator controls of your BCD to ensure quick and easy locating and also eliminates a hose.
- Low-pressure inflator hoses – These hoses deliver to your BCD and / or drysuit, allowing the buoyancy to be increased by simply pushing a button to inject air.
- SPG / Console – A high pressure hose is connected to a dedicated port on your first stage, allowing the pressure remaining in the cylinder to be displayed on a contents gauge. If you have an air integrated dive computer you might also have a wireless transmitter fitted into one of your high pressure ports.
Optional and Desirable Features
- Scuba regulators are typically available with two different methods of connection to the cylinder valve; DIN which is a screw in connection or Yoke (or A-Clamp) which clamps over the cylinder valve. There are adaptors to make DIN regulators work with a yoke valve but not the other way round.
- Environmental seals isolate the internal components from the outside world, protecting them from salt, sediment and other contaminants and also helps to prevent freezing in cold temperatures.
- Most dive regulators can be used with enriched air nitrox (EANx) with an mixture of up to 40% oxygen but some regulators are required to be specially cleaned and certain components replaced before they are safe to use. Most regulators must go through this process for use with mixes above 40% oxygen.
- Adjustable second stages allow you to fine-tune breathing by adjusting the effort required to open the valve during inhalation.
- Adjustable venturi control via a dive/predive switch makes your second stage temporarily less sensitive so it doesn’t free-flow. This is particularly useful when entering the water and for an alternate air source that isn't in use.
How to Choose Your Scuba Diving Regulator
The most important thing to remember when choosing your scuba regulator is pick one that offers you the performance you need for the environments where you’ll dive, and can be easily serviced locally to you or where you dive the most. Don't forget to read our guide to Choosing A Regulator for plenty of helpful tips and useful information to help you make an informed decision.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Know whether DIN or yoke connections are typical for tanks in your area, and look for the same connection on your regulator.
- Think about all the pieces of equipment will be part of your regulator package to make sure there are enough ports on the first stage to accommodate everything.
- Think about where you will be diving. Is it hot or cold? The temperature may limit your choice in relation to their certified temperature rating.
Taking Care Of Your Scuba Diving Regulator
- Ideally your regulators should be assembled by a certified technician. If you are ordering a number of regulator components from us you will be asked during the checkout process whether you would like us to assemble and test them or not.
- Register the warranty with the manufacturer. Some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties that must be activated.
- Try to think about how you will be securing your regulators during the dive. Clips, retractors and lanyards all help to prevent your regulators from being dragged through the mud and grit.
- After a dive make sure you wash your regulators off with warm water to ensure salt crystals do not form and eventually damage your equipment. Make sure the dust cap is securely fitted and the purge button is not pushed whilst washing.
- Let your regulator dry completely, out of direct sunlight.
- When storing, allow the hoses to form large, gentle curves rather than tight loops or bends. Keep flat if possible.
- Service your regulators at an authorised dealer or service centre in accordance with the owner's manual. If you purchased your regulators from us we will send you a helpful reminder when your regulators are due a service.