14 Best Scuba Regulators in 2023 – Reviewed & How to Choose

5. 14 Best Scuba Regulators
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The lifeline between you and your air source while you are underwater is a scuba diving regulator. An essential and expensive piece of diving equipment, a scuba diving regulator is one of the more frequently rented items.

But if you’re diving frequently enough, there are many benefits and maybe even some savings in getting a regulator of your own.

But because there are so many different options for shapes, sizes, and designs, buying a new regulator can be very confusing, especially given that it’s one of the most pricey parts of your personal scuba diving equipment. We’ve done all the legwork so you can choose with ease below.

These are the best scuba regulators 2023 for every budget:

  • Best value scuba regulator: Aqua Lung Mikron
  • Best budget regulator: APEKS XT50 DST
  • Best mid-range scuba regulator: HOLLIS DC7 500SE
  • Best sidemount scuba regulator: Cressi AC2
  • Best premium scuba regulator: Mares Abyss 22 Navy II

Best Scuba Regulators

Aqua Lung Mikron


  • Great design
  • Lightweight
  • Great for travel
  • Good for kids
  • Very tough construction
  • Will last a long time


  • Bubble may obstruct view due to small design

The Aqua Lung Mikron is another fantastic regulator, and it’s the one I personally use. For me, it is the ideal regulator; it is nearly as good as the Legend but costs half as much. Additionally, it has a balanced second stage. You can choose whether it comes with a DIN setup or a yoke setup, and honestly, unless you are diving in frigid water, it makes no difference.

All types of liquids cannot exit the first stage thanks to the Auto Closure Device, which automatically closes. It is safe in environments with high oxygen concentrations and also prevents the internal lube from being washed out.

Additionally, it has the smallest Aqualung Regulator on the market, which makes it the smallest and easiest to pack and travel with. It is one of the most recognizable and simple-to-service regulators available because it is made entirely of AquaLung components. If you’re in a bind, you can have someone knowledgeable do it for you or bring it to a trained professional.

Apeks Xt50 Dst


  • Cold-water friendly, extremely adjustable, nitrogen-compatible


  • Might be overkill for tropical waters, slightly heavy

Two high pressure ports and four low pressure ports are standard on the Apeks XT50 DST regulator, and you can upgrade to five if you’d like.

Due to the generous pressure, the low-pressure ports are actually more like medium-pressure ports and are situated on a rotating turret for optimal placement. Furthermore, the braided flexi hoses themselves further lessen the likelihood of bends and kinks. These features make this an awesome regulator for sidemount and twin tank diving, but it doesn’t stop there…

The valve has a patented heat exchanger that removes the chill from cold gas and makes use of the warmth in the water, and this first stage is completely sealed against the environment. The large venturi lever and grippy effort control switch, which are simple to use (even when wearing gloves), as well as these features make this reg an excellent choice for cold weather.

The additive used in the second stage’s construction is another feature we’d like to highlight because it offers protection against virtually all water-borne pathogens, which is crucial if you find yourself stuck with a dangerous diving task in murky waters.

The second stage can be converted to a left-handed configuration by taking it to a skilled technician, which is good news for any lefties out there. Additionally nitrogen-compatible, this regulation is offered in DIN and yoke configurations. Oh, and if you want to reduce bulk, you can choose between a small exhaust tee and a larger tee that will reduce bubble interference (this one is standard).

In conclusion, this highly customizable regulator is well-liked by both recreational and technical divers because it can handle a wide variety of setups and conditions. There is actually not much that this regulator can’t do, and yet the cost is much lower than many other “techy” regulators on the market. What a winner!

Hollis Dc7 500se


  • Side exhaust reduces bubble distortion, suitable for cold-water diving, great for photographers and technical divers, stylish


  • Heavy

Your best underwater photos no longer need to be marred by bubble distortion thanks to the Hollis DC7 500SE. This regulator is a definite winner for photographers because its side exhaust valve sends those bothersome bubbles to the side.

It’s also a well-liked option for divers who value comfort because of the patented orthodontic mouthpiece, which requires little effort to keep in place, and the fixed hose routing that’s ideal for sidemount diving (which is probably as close to freediving as you can get with a tank!).). The hoses are lightweight and flexible, so you won’t have to struggle to keep them in place.

This regulator has an overbalanced first stage and is also environmentally sealed, so you can be sure of a consistent gas supply throughout your dive, even in cold water. Oh, and it’s also nitrox-compatible. We also appreciate that it has a second high-pressure port and, like the majority of Hollis products, a fashionable overall design.

Although the weight of this heavy-duty regulator may deter travelers with limited luggage space, if cold-water diving, photography, or even just comfort are your top priorities, then we believe it is worth the extra baggage.

Cressi AC2

The Cressi AC2 features a second stage regulator with a breakthrough patented design that results in less breathing effort for the diver. This diving regulator is designed for travel because it is made of components that are incredibly light and high-impact thermoplastic materials.

Mares Rover 12 S

The Mares Rover 12 S is a great economical buy for the diver on a budget. It is a straightforward dive regulator and octopus that is ergonomic, durable, and resistant.

Mares Abyss 22 Navy II


  • Slender all metal design
  • Reliable & Durable
  • Performs in all conditions
  • Specifically designed for cold water
  • Approved by the US Navy
  • Freeze proof
  • Reduced free flows
  • Simplistic yet beautiful design
  • Perfect for hardcore divers


  • Heavy & Bulky
  • Can be awkward for travel
  • Non adjustable second stage

The Mares solution to every problem is this regulator. A true workhorse, it is renowned for accomplishments like the deepest dive on earth. Mares has created a product with top performance and dependability under the most demanding circumstances, including diving beneath the ice, by carefully analyzing and evaluating what occurs in cold water.

An environmentally sealed balanced diaphragm design makes up the first stage. The advantage of this kind of first-stage design is that none of the internal components are exposed to impurities like salt, sand, chlorine, or pool acids. Additionally, it has two fixed-angle high-pressure ports and two low-pressure ports each with four low-pressure ports.

This regulator’s overall performance was improved and it became lighter by eliminating all the metal that was structurally necessary to it (don’t worry, it still looks cool). Additionally, by increasing the surface area, the thermal properties were enhanced.

Hollis 200LX DCX

The main regulator for Hollis is this one. Any demanding aquatic environment you might encounter will be able to withstand it. The PVD coating on the outer casing ensures that it will last for many years of use without displaying any signs of wear and tear.

Hollis offers a lifetime warranty and free parts for life because they are so confident in this rule.

Aqua Lung Calypso Classic

Due to its extreme durability, dependability, ease of maintenance, and excellent performance for the price, dive centers all over the world adore this classic Aqualung regulator.

ScubaPro MK25 Evo

The ScubaPro MK25 Evo is a popular regulator that has endured the test of time, and dive instructors frequently use it because they are confident in its dependability.

It can be used for a variety of diving activities and thrives in both warm and cold water.

Mares Rover 2S

The Mares rover is a popular dive shop choice as well, and for good reason. It can withstand some severe blows and is dependable and hard-working. It also breathes well.

The Fluid Dynamic Deflector system and VAD (vortex assist design) exclusive to Mares result in a breath quality that is effortless and more akin to a balanced regular than a basic unbalanced reg. This regulation is sensitive to air demand due to the novel system.

Cressi AC2/XS2

With this AC2 first stage and XS2 second stage, it’s really impossible to make a mistake. Both are made of the kind of premium components we would anticipate from Cressi and are sturdy. These regulators are no different from the majority of Cressi’s scuba equipment, which is known for its dependability.

Because it isn’t loaded with bells and whistles that beginning divers don’t need, this regulator is easy to use and maintain, and maintenance costs are typically low.

Aqua Lung Mikron

Without sacrificing quality or breathability, this regulator has been specifically created to be incredibly lightweight. This piece of equipment won’t be cumbersome if you dive frequently and board airplanes.

Apeks XTX40

Without a couple (or three) Apeks, it wouldn’t be a list of the best regulators. One of the company’s reasonably priced models is the XTX40. Even though the price is very alluring, people tend to view it as a high-end item.

The XTX40 offers a lot of value for your money and is adored by both techies and recreational divers for its dependable deco reg performance.

Atomic Aquatics Z2

Although Atomic Aquatics may not be as well-known as some of the other brands we’ve highlighted here, they’ve been making waves in the dive gear industry since the 1990s. The company uses zirconium to plate the chrome and brass bases of the first stage, which is represented by the letter “Z” in the product name.

Although the Z2 is one of Atomic’s more affordable regulators, it still provides the same performance and exceptional breathability as their more expensive regulators.

How Does a Regulator Work?

The most complicated piece of your scuba gear is the regulator. Actually, it is founded on a fairly fundamental idea. A regulator, on the other hand, is constructed using contemporary high-precision engineering techniques.

The regulator modifies the tank’s compressed air to the pressure needed for breathing by adding or subtracting air to suit our needs. When we breathe in, the regulator only releases the air we just took in.

A Regulator Consists Mainly of the Following Parts:

First stage: This is the piece that is attached to the tank. The air pressure is decreased in the first stage to an intermediate pressure.

Second stage: This is the nozzle that we breathe through. The intermediate air pressure is lowered in the second stage until it is just right for us to breathe normally.

Second alternative stage: Like the second stage, this operates exactly the same. To share air with friends in an emergency is common.

Hoses: Hoses provide air to the regulator’s various components, including the second stage, the BCD (so it can be inflated), and the manometer (which regulates how much air is left in the tank).

Scuba Diving Regulator Buying Guide

With so many fantastic options, are you still unsure which regulator to choose?

In order to assist you in selecting the ideal regulator for you, we created a buying guide.

Identify Budget

Prior to anything else, you should determine and consider your budget.

When all expenses are taken into account, how much can you comfortably spend on your regulator?

As we learned above, purchasing a regulator is more complicated than simply purchasing your first and second stages. A pressure gauge and an octopus are also required. Your budget should account for this expense.

Links to the octopus and air gauge that go with each regulator are included, and the regulators are sorted by price.

How Often Will You Dive

You will want a good regulator that will last if you dive frequently, are a Divemaster, or are an instructor. You can easily justify spending more money on the best if you fall into one of these categories. You don’t need the best regulator if you only dive a few times a year. Maybe even renting would work!

DIN Vs Yoke

As you shop for a scuba diving regulator, the next decision you must make is whether to get a Yoke or DIN model.

Where you will be diving determines the short answer to the Din vs. Yoke debate.

Choose a yoke regulator if you’re a recreational diver who dives primarily in warm water. Yoke valves are typically found on diving cylinders in tropical dive sites and North America.

If you do most of your diving in Europe or are interested in technical diving, then go for a DIN regulator. The majority of cylinders in Europe have a DIN valve, and technical diving calls for regulators that can withstand higher pressures.

Should You Buy a Balanced Or Unbalanced Regulator?

Once you’ve determined whether DIN or Yoke is best for you, you need to choose between a balanced and an unbalanced regulator.

We would always advise purchasing a balanced regulator. Most scuba diving regulators nowadays are balanced or even overbalanced.

Without getting too technical, a balanced first stage will consistently breathe easily when submerged or under low tank pressure.

A balanced regulator has additional parts that account for the increased water pressure in order to maintain or even improve the regulator’s performance at depth.

For optimum performance, this can occur at either the first stage of the regulators only or at both the first and second stages.

As you dive deeper or when the cylinder pressure drops below 50 bar (725 PSI), unbalanced scuba diving regulators’ performance will slightly decline.

This implies that breathing through an unbalanced regulator will feel a little more difficult. (However, by that time, you ought to be finishing your dive.)

Unbalanced regulators are naturally less expensive and simpler to maintain because they have a simpler mechanism.

If cost is a major consideration, you might want to think about purchasing a first stage that is balanced and a second stage that is unbalanced. So that you can balance performance with your budget, the first stage handles the bulk of the work.

Do You Need An Environmentally Sealed Regulator?

An environmental seal is basically an additional chamber around the first stage that is filled with silicone oil or another non-freeze liquid.

This stops free flow and shields the first stage’s moving parts from freezing when submerged in cold water. Cold is defined as temperatures below 50°F, or 10°C. We find it a little chilly, but do as you please!

We advise purchasing an environmentally sealed regulator if you frequently endure these temperatures.

An environmental seal also has the additional benefit of preventing any saltwater or debris from entering the first stage, reducing maintenance concerns.

Although they cost more to buy and maintain, environmentally sealed regulators.

Therefore, if you plan to regularly scuba dive in extremely cold waters, you should only invest in an environmentally sealed regulator.

Will You Be Traveling Frequently?

The weight of the scuba diving regulators is another factor to take into account if you plan to travel with your dive gear.

A compact regulator made of lightweight materials weighs half as much as a heavy-duty, fully metal regulator, despite being twice as robust.

Therefore, look for the lightweight regulator sets on your next liveaboard trip to ensure that you avoid being charged for excess baggage.

How to Care for Your Regulator

The bond where the hoses are connected to the first stage is where regulators are most susceptible to failure. It’s crucial that you periodically check to see if the hose protections are in good shape.

Verify that everything is safely attached to your BCD. Allowing items like the manometer or the second alternative stage to hang while diving increases the risk of them hitting the bottom.

Immediately following each dive, wash your regulator with fresh water. The first stage shouldn’t be completely submerged. Simply use some water to wash it.

After cleaning your regulator, store it in a dry area out of the sun.

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