Choosing a Regulator

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Choosing a Regulator

What is a Regulator?


Lets talk about regulators, what they are and how they work. A regulator is the most important part of your scuba diving equipment as this is what allows you to breathe whilst underwater. Its attaches to the tank, takes the air and regulates it from high pressure to low pressure where we can breathe from it. Our lungs would not be able to cope with high pressure air which is why it needs to be low pressure.  A reg is made from 2 parts which is the 1st stage and the 2nd stage. The first stage is the block of steel that has ports drilled in it that screws on to the tank valve and is what regulates the pressure of high or low depending on which way the air is going. The 2nd stage is the mouthpiece and what you pop in your mouth to breathe from. Connecting the 2 stages is a hose generally made from rubber or a braided hose.


When diving, you must always have a spare 2nd stage (the mouthpiece part) for emergencies not only for yourself but for your buddy also. The spare reg is called an occy or octopus and is yellow in colour for easy spotting. This 2nd stage also needs to be low pressure so will be screwed in to a low pressure port. The BCD (Bouyancy Compensator Device) also needs to be in a low pressure port. There are generally two high pressure ports on the 1st stage and this is where you would attach your computer as these need high pressure to register and read the air consumption.  


Without a Reg, your diving will not exist so it is a vital part and impossible to do without it. Reglators come in many shapes and sizes yet they all ultimately do the same thing which is supply you air from the tank. The more you spend on a reg, the smoother the breath will be and more durable it will be. We always say that if you are on a budget, that’s ok, however invest your money into your reg and go easy on the BCD or computer. The reg can determine how comfortable you are underwater and can really make or break your experience.


This blog will talk you through a few different features to help you get a better idea of which style regulator is best suited.


1st stage:

The first stage is what attaches to the dive tank to regulate the air pressure to an intermediate pressure for delivery to the low pressure second stage, Octopus and BCD inflator. The 1st stage will give high pressure through the high pressure ports which are for the computer, gauges and transmitters.  Majority of 1st stages come with 2 x high pressure ports and 4 x low pressure ports. This can vary from each brand and style reg however that is the average. The 1st stage will determine how smooth or easy your breathe will be depending on the quality. Some of the entry level regulator 1st stages are a block of steel with the ports drilled in to them which if you can imagine have sharp and harsh corners which prevents the air flow from being extremely smooth. As you start to spend more of the 1st stage they become moulded where the inside is completely smooth allowing air to flow through smoother and quicker. When looking at scuba diving gear, always put your money into the regulator as this is your life source and will make your diving more enjoyable. 


2nd Stage:

With the 2nd stage regulator, these can come in variety of materials with different features. Plastic, metal or carbon are the three more common materials. Plastic is the cheapest yet does the job and keeps the budget down. Metal ones create a little condensation so put a bit of moisture back into the air and the carbon ones are beautifully light weight and take any pressure off your neck. Some of the features that you will see on the 2nd stage are an oversized purge button, adjustable breathing control and dive-predive deflector. The adjustable breathing is a knob that is generally situated on the side of the regulator and you can turn this to adjust the breathing effort. The dive-predive deflector is generally a plastic switch that sits on top of the regulator just in front of the mouthpiece. This can be moved from side to side to allow more or less air flow in to your mouth. Deflecting the air is popular of “air hogs” who suck a lot of air on a dive as this will prevent as much air entering you the mouth, saving on air and prolonging the dive. Winning!




The Octopus is also a 2nd stage regulator that screws into a low pressure port on the 1st stage. This is always bright yellow in colour which is the safety colour. The reason for this is that if in an emergency, you will always be able to see it clearly so you can grab it to use. No matter if you need to use your own or your buddys, it will be easily seen.









When it comes to hoses there are 2 types of materials including rubber and braided. The rubber hoses are the original style that are of course made of rubber, they generally last a couple of years with care of course but once they get a kink or a small cut, they will need to be replaced asap. The newest style is braided and these are more durable, flexible and last longer than the rubber ones. They are more expensive yet totally worth it as they do not kink and last about three times longer than the standard rubber hoses. 






The ports are the holes that are situated in the 1st stage and these are where the hoses connect. There are two different types of ports including low pressure and high pressure. The low pressure ports are where the regulators and inflator hoses are connected as these are designed to take low pressure. The computer and transmitters are to go in to the high pressure ports as these will not register without.  You can tell the difference between them by looking inside the port, the low pressure ports are a wide open hole and the high pressure ports have a pin prick hole. Make sure you have your store connect your gear when new to prevent any issues. 



The brands that we offer here at Dive Warehouse include Mares, Cressi, Oceanic, Hollis, Zeagle and Aqua Lung. There is no brand that is better than another, it is all a personal preference with what you like, your budget and the features of each individual product.


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