Best Scuba Diving Regulators 2020

When it comes to scuba diving the regulator is the essential piece of equipment that really needs to work to dive safely. This is one piece of gear that you want to own and not rent from a scuba shop especially when diving internationally.

Who knows how old rented regulators are or when the last time they have been serviced.

captain cody with a scuba diving regulator

There are best practices but there are no laws saying how often a regulator needs to be serviced or inspected. For some people, it is not a safety issue they just do not like the idea of sharing a mouthpiece with hundreds of other divers and would rather have their own scuba regulator.

Scuba regulators have a first stage and second stage. The first stage is the metal device that attaches directly to the scuba tank via a DIN or yoke connection. The first stage changes the pressure from high pressure to low pressure that can be used for breathing and BCD inflation. The second stage controls when the low-pressure air is released via a diaphragm opening and closing the second stage valve.

When it comes to regulators there are two main connection types a DIN or a Yoke. The first stage regulators contain either a piston or diaphragm regulating valve. The system can be balanced or unbalanced. If you want a wireless transmitter to send tank pressure to the dive computer the regulator will need to have enough high-pressure ports. Some regulators also come with environmental seals for diving which is beneficial for diving in dirty or cold water.

Scuba Diving Regulator Companies  

There are a lot of good brands of scuba regulators, Cressi, ScubaPro, Oceanic, Aqualung and Atomic Aquatics.  All of these brands have high end and low-end models.  It can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out which brand and model regulator is the best to purchase.  Personally I think Cressi regulators are good value and work great for most recreational diving. For high-end regulators, I like the Aqualung Legend which I own and the Atomic Aquatics T3 Regulator which is probably the best regulator on the market today if the cost is not a factor.

Here Are the Best Scuba Regulators in 2020


1. Cressi AC2 with XS compact

cressi-xs-compact-ac2-regulator
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $200

This regulator is rated number one because it is a low cost, durable regulator that requires little maintenance. For the average diver that dives a few times a year this is all that should be needed. The AC 2 first stage is a simple, reliable and robust unbalanced piston design. The XS compact second stage has and adjustment for the venturi effect, low noise semi rigid case and a case closer with cam-lock. An XS compact octopus also makes a great secondary regulator. The durability of this setup is why this regulator is often used as rental gear for dive operations. The average breathing effort is 1.4 J/l.

Cressi XS Compact Octopus

cressi-octopus-xs-compact-scuba-diving-octopus
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $120

Cressi XS compact octopus for the backup regulator.

Cressi Analog Pressure Gauge

cressi-mimi-scuba-anolog-gauge
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $120

The regulator also needs a pressure gauge or have an integrated dive computer. Having a pressure that also has a depth gauge is a good idea. The depth gauge is in meters which is not ideal but works. Typically you are going to read the depth from the dive computer.

Leonardo 2 Dive Computer

cressi-console-leonardo-3-dive-computer
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $250

Cressi air gauge with integrated Leonardo 2 dive computer. It is about the same price to get the dive computer integrated with the air or as a separate wrist computer. The computers are shown here in the regulator reviews to remind you that you do not need an air gauge if you have an integrated dive computer. For non-technical diving most people use the wrist computer with the standard analog air gauge.

Cressi Leonardo Wrist Computer

cressi-leonardo-diving-computer
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $200

Cressi Leonardo wrist computer. Having a wrist computer is great for non-technical diving.

Cressi XS Compact DIN Regulator

cressi-compact-regulator
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $230

The Cressi AC2 with XS compact also comes as a DIN regulator rather than a yoke regulator. You only difference between this regulator and the yoke regulator above is how it is connected to the scuba tank. If you have a DIN regulator you need to then dive with DIN scuba tanks. Most DIN scuba tanks can also be dove as regular scuba tanks. Yoke scuba tanks can be dove with a DIN regulator if you by a yoke adapter for the DIN tank. An adapter is shown toward the bottom of this article.

scuba diving on a deep wreck


2. Cressi MC9 Regulator

cressi-elipse-titanium-scuba-regulator
Shop or Read Reviews

​Price: Around $400

For the diver that wants a little more performance than the AC2, the MC9 is a great option. The MC9 first stage is a diaphragm hyper balanced system. The first stage also has an anti-pressure drop pneumatic spring and high capacity filter. The second stage has adjustments for the Venturi effect, a low noise rigid case and a cam-lock case closer.  The average breathing effort is .95 J/l.

Cressi Ellipse Octopus

cressi-ellipse-octopus
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $120

Cressi Ellipse octopus for the backup regulator.

Cressi Pressure and Depth Gauge

cressi-mimi-scuba-anolog-gauge
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $120

Cressi pressure and depth gauge. The depth gauge is in meters which is not idea but work. Typically divers read the depth from the dive computer.

Cressi Air Gauge with Integrated Giotto Dive Computer

cressi-giotto-dive-computer
Shop or Read Reviews

Cressi air gauge with integrated Giotto dive computer and USB dive stand for easy data download. This computer is a step up for the Leonardo 2. The three-button interface makes it easy to program and change settings.

Cressi Giotto Wrist Computer

cressi-giotto-wrist-computer
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $250

Cressi Giotto wrist computer. This also has the three-button interface for adjusting settings.

backward entry into the water while scuba diving


3. Cressi T10 Regulator

cressi-t10-master-regulator
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $440

If you want to get a high-performance DIN regulator the T10 SC is a great option. The first state is a compact hyper balanced diaphragm design. The regulator has two high pressure and four medium-pressure ports. It comes with an anti-pressure drop pneumatic spring. The second stage has an adjustable Venturi pneumatically balanced system. Has a noise-absorbing technopolymer body. The average breathing effort is .6 J/l. The only reason it is number three is that it is more expensive than the regulators above.

Cressi Ellipse Octopus

cressi-ellipse-octopus
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $120

Cressi Ellipse octopus for the backup regulator.

scuba diving with goliath groupers


4. Aqua Lung Legend Supreme

aqualung-legend-lx-supreme-scuba-regulator
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $780

The Legend Supreme first stage is an over-balanced diaphragm design. An auto closer device on the first stage keeps corrosive water from entering the regulator when it is removed from the tank. The regulator had two high-pressure ports and for low-pressure ports. The second stage is pneumatically balanced. It comes with braided Aqua Flex hose. The overall work of breathing is .74 J/l.

Aqua Lung Legend Octopus

aqualung-legend-octopus
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $180

Aqua Lung Legend octopus as the secondary regulator.

scuba diving with aqua lung regulator


5. ScubaPro MK21 Regulator

scubapro-mk21-regulator
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $635

ScubaPro MK21 regulator has a compact balanced first stage and second stage. The first stage comes with two high pressure and four low-pressure ports. The second stage had a Venturi-Initiated Vacuum Assist dive/pre-dive switch. The regulator is known for easy breathing regardless of depth.  Average breathing effort is not published.

ScubaPro R193 Octopus

scubapro-yellow-octopus
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $220

ScubaPro R193 octopus as the secondary regulator

ScubaPro Pressure and Depth Gauge

scubapro-scuba-gauge
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $220

ScubaPro analog pressure and depth gauge.

preping scuba gear before diving


6. Atomic Aquatics T3 Titanium

atomic-t3-titanium-regulator
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $1750

If cost is not a factor the T3 is the best regulator on the market. The regulator has a three year 300 dive service interval. The first stage and second stage components are milled from a solid bar of Titanium. This is a sealed piston first stage with two high pressure and five low-pressure ports.  The first and second stage weight only 1.7lbs which makes it the lightest regulator in the world. Average breathing effort is not published.

Atomic Aquatics Z2 Octopus

atomic-36-inch-octopus
Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $290

Atomic Aquatics Z2 octopus as the secondary scuba regulator.

Technical Details for Scuba Regulators

The first choice needed to be made when purchasing a regulator is whether to get a DIN or a yoke regulator. Any regulator can be a DIN or a Yoke but converting the regulator from one to the other cost about $100. In the USA and in North America most divers have yoke regulators and tanks.  The rest of the world is dominated by DIN tanks and regulators. My advice would be if you know you are only going to be doing basic warm water diving in the USA to buy a yoke regulator. If you think you will be diving outside the USA or doing technical diving purchase a DIN regulator. If you do purchase a DIN regulator I would purchase the yoke adapter and use this when diving with dive shops in the USA. Dive shops in the USA do not like dealing with DIN tanks and regulators.

scuba diving from a dive boat


DIN to Yoke Scuba Regulator Adapter by Promatedin-to-yoke-converter

Shop or Read Reviews

Price: Around $34

What is better the DIN or the Yoke connection?  Most people agree that a DIN regulator is a better attachment method. The practical reason is that DIN valves do not have frequent little leaks from the o-ring that seals the regulator on the tank. When diving with yoke regulators you always have to be ready with spare o-rings. From a safety standpoint, an o-ring on a yoke regulator can squeeze around the regulator and cause a major leak. The DIN o-ring is incorporated within the regulator and does not have this particular issue. There are still o-rings incorporated in the DIN regulator. This means the DIN connection does not eliminate all possible failure points and regulators should be inspected and serviced frequently.

Some DIN regulators can be rated for higher pressure tanks up to300 bar which is around 4300 psi. This is not guaranteed however and some DIN valves are only rated 200 bar which is around 2900 psi. This difference between high and standard pressure DIN vales is the number of threads on the post. If you are buying a DIN regulator make sure it is rated to 300 bar which will properly thread on both 200 and 300 bar tank valves.

What is better a balanced or unbalanced regulator? The first and second stages can both be balanced or neither can be balanced. Unbalanced systems are simple and reliable. A balanced first stage makes it easier to breathe when at deep depths and when the tank pressure is reduced. A balanced second stage makes it easier to breathe at deep depths. Personally I have dove wrecks at about 100 feet with an unbalanced regulator and did not notice any change in force level it took to breathe.


Scuba Diving Gear

Having a good mask is very important when scuba diving. Once you get good at scuba diving, spearfishing can make diving more interesting. Even if you do not like to fish getting rid of the lionfish on the reefs is beneficial to the ecosystem.

Here are some fun videos of me diving with a great white shark and diving at night time.

Thanks for visiting Global Fishing Reports. I hope these suggestions help you select the best scuba regulator!

If you have any suggestions for top scuba regulators, leave a comment below!


Popular Posts

best mahi-mahi lures post
27 Best Mahi-Mahi Lures by Captain Cody

best wahoo lures post
Best Wahoo Lures +High Speed Trolling

best tarpon lures post
Best Tarpon Lures and Baits

Share Article
share article

Leave a Comment