You’ve got your diving certification and you just love diving. Now you are considering to purchase your own diving equipment. But which should be your first purchase? Any experienced diver will probably tell you that the regulator or the dive computer should be your first purchase.
If the regulator is your first choice, then you should consider a few aspects when choosing it. This article will go through the most important features that will help you chose the right regulator for you, based on your diving preferences.
One of the main features to consider when choosing a regulator is the mounting capabilities. World Wide, there are two different types: the classic Yoke and DIN (Deutsche Industri Norm). The Yoke option is popular in North America while DIN is a choice offered in Europe. The difference between them is that DIN screws in the gas tank and the Yoke version clamps on the tank.
Divers experience that for deep dives or tech dives, the best solution is the DIN regulators. The connection from this type of regulators tends to be stronger and they do not entangle that easy. Moreover, the DIN regulators can be converted to Yoke with the purchase of an adaptor. Now depending on your dive locations, you can consider either option, since the Yoke regulators can also be converted to DIN using an adaptor. which is usually an extra purchase.
Balanced or unbalanced regulator
When it comes to a piece of equipment as important as the regulator, the price should not be the decision making factor. Of course, the finances will always play a role in the decision making, but for this life support system, you should first consider your needs before the price.
Unbalanced regulators are usually found at the lower end of the price spectrum. These tend to breathe a bit harder when you are at deeper depths, when the pressure in the gas tank drops or when two divers breathe at the same. The balanced regulators will breathe evenly during the dive, no matter the changes around you. If you are usually diving deep and in challenging waters (cold or with strong currents), then the optimal solution for you would be a balanced regulator.
Built to resist
Recently, more and more regulators tend to have the same options and quality built. But there are still some differences between them. Besides the ones mentioned until now, the environmental seal should also be considered. When diving in cold waters, that are below 10°C (50°F), there is a chance that the regulator will freeze, possibly creating a free-flow. Furthermore, they are built to be resistant to any type of debris build from sand or organic materials.
These types of regulators will also have a higher price. In case you are restricted by finances, you might consider acquiring one that has the possibility to be fitted or upgraded at a later time.
There are a few other features that you can and should consider when acquiring a new regulator. For example, you should consider the number of ports on your first stage, especially if you are using a dry suit. Consider four ports for the first stage to make sure you can cover the primary air source, secondary air source, BCD and drysuit (if that is the case). Furthermore, you can consider the length of the hoses for your second stage and octopus. While they can be replaced, you should consider a length where both divers will feel comfortable using them.
Maintaining the regulator
Same as for all other pieces of diving equipment, you should clean it after each dive with fresh water. While the regulator is not used, make sure to have the valve covered by the cap. This will prevent any unwanted materials from getting into the valve.
Dive shops and experienced divers recommend that you take your regulator to be serviced once a year and if your dive log is over three digits, you might want to consider having it serviced more often.
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