Best Scuba Regulators 2021, Reviewed & Tested

UPDATED: 14 July 2021

As many of our readers dive in all year round in a range of temperatures, we generally test regulators in February and March, when water temperatures are at their lowest in the inland sites – much to the chagrin of the Test Team members. We push the units to their max by extensively purging them underwater and topside, over-breathing them underwater to simulate a panic situation, breathing them in every orientation, working any Venturi and/or cracking resistance controls, and various other trials – if they can handle this over-the-top usage, they can handle a normal diving situation.

A large array of manufacturers produce scuba regulators, and our aim here at Scuba Diver magazine is to give you the widest selection in each review.

Our team of experienced scuba divers and volunteers have tested the latest scuba regulators from the leading manufacturers for comfort, functionality, ease of use, and price!

WHO TESTED THE SCUBA REGULATORS

Each month, the Scuba Diver test team assembles to rate and review a selection of dive equipment from a range of manufacturers. Products are split into price categories and are then evaluated for performance, comfort, ease of use, build quality, looks and value for money. The Test Team comprises Editor in Chief Mark Evans and a squad of volunteers, whose dive experience ranges from a couple of hundred dives to well over 8,000 in all conceivable diving conditions and temperatures.

Best Mid-Range Scuba Regulators

For those who are regularly diving, these scuba regulators will meet your needs and last a lifetime.

Best High-End Scuba Regulators

You’ll only consider the absolute best scuba regulators, and nothing else will do.

Aqua Lung Core Supreme (SRP £289.00)

scuba regulator 1
Aqua Lung Core Supreme Scuba Regulator

Aqua Lung has been making diving equipment for more than 75 years, and their regulators have always been solid units, but they have really come on in recent years – the Core Supreme is a belting little unit for this price point.

It has a chrome-coated brass balanced diaphragm first stage with two high-pressure ports and four low-pressure ports, which is paired with a balanced demand valve equipped with a Venturi control and a large purge button.

The Core Supreme is a decent-looking regulator that delivers a smooth breathe, doesn’t break the scales when it comes to weight, and at this price point, represents excellent value for money. The large purge is easy to locate and operate even with thick gloves, and the same goes for the venturi lever. The exhaust is fairly compact, but the routing is sound and it disperses exhaled bubbles efficiently. It comes with a lip shield, which does actually assist in keeping your lips warm(er) in cold water, but if you don’t want this, it is quick and simple to remove.

The first stage is pretty small, which helps keep the weight down, and with its shiny chrome and polyurethane protector, it certainly looks eye-catching.

It is equipped with Aqua Lung’s patented Auto Closure Device, or ACD, which prevents any accidental water ingress if you accidentally submerged it without putting the cover back on the DIN or Yoke fitting.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: Yes |

VERDICT: Excellent little regulator which could hold its own in the mid-range price bracket. For this price point, this is exceptional value for money.

PROS

  • Eye-catching Looks
  • ACD
  • Large Purge

CONS

  • Lip shield will not be to everyone’s liking, but it can be easily removed, no cracking resistance control

Mares Rover 15x (SRP: £251.00)

scuba regulator 2
Mares Rover 15x Scuba Regulator

The Mares Rover 15X is an entry-level unit from this well-known Italian brand, and it doesn’t break the bank.

The 15X first stage has pre-oriented ports – two high-pressure and four low-pressure, including one DFC port (Dynamic Flow Control), which minimises intermediate pressure drop during inhalation, thus maximising gas delivery – for optimum routing, yet retains a compact, travel-friendly size and weight. It also has an attractive sandblasted finish.

The second stage is very lightweight, and it has a purge that lurks behind a flexible mesh grid on the unit, which helps eliminate freeflow in currents. It has a soft, comfortable mouthpiece, and utilises Mares’ Fluid Dynamic Deflector, which receives and properly directs the airflow from the Vortex Assisted Design bypass tube to the mouthpiece. The Vortex Assisted Design creates a swirling vortex with a low-pressure area in the centre that keeps the diaphragm down during inhalation, for easy breathing at all depths.

The Rover has subtle styling, but its performance is outstanding at this price point.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: No |

VERDICT: Lightweight regulator with very subtle styling, but the superior performance that belies its price point. Well worth checking out as an entry-level reg.

PROS

  • DFC Port
  • VAD Bypass Tube
  • Compact Size
  • Weight

CONS

  • Subtle Styling Won’t Be To Everyone’s Liking
  • No Venturi
  • Cracking Resistance

Oceanic Alpha 10 SPX (SRP: £299.95)

Oceanic Alpha 10 SPX
Oceanic Alpha 10 SPX Scuba Regulator

The Alpha 10 SPX is a budget-priced regulator, but it doesn’t skimp on performance, and it is actually quite pleasing to look at as well.

This test model came with an SPX piston first stage, with two high-pressure ports and four low-pressure ports, which are angled for optimum hose routing.

The second stage is pneumatically balanced and has a compact venturi lever and a shaped purge.

The Oceanic reg benefits from being in the Huish Outdoors family with Atomic Aquatics, and features the same soft-with-harder-insert mouthpiece. The venturi is a bit dinky compared with some of the others, so a bit more awkward with gloves on, but still workable. The purge is effective, buy it feels a bit odd being a hard plastic ‘button’. Despite the SPX first stage not being environmentally protected, it didn’t falter in the cold even with robust testing.

As with all Oceanic products, it comes with a lifetime warranty and free parts for life, making that price even more attractive.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: Yes |

VERDICT: The Oceanic Alpha 10 SPX is a straightforward, no-frills regulator, and it does exactly what you need it to, at a very affordable price.

PROS

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Comfy Mouthpiece
  • Free Parts For Life

CONS

  • Small Venturi Lever
  • No Cracking Resistance

Scubapro MK2 EVO / R195 (SRP: £320.00)

Scubapro MK2 EVO / R195
Scubapro MK2 EVO / R195 Scuba Regulator

Scubapro is a well-established brand that has always produced solid regulators. The MK2 Evbo paired up with the R195 makes a decent budget-priced route into the brand.

The MK2 Evo is an efficient piston first stage. The Evo boasts 15 per cent better airflow than the previous model, thanks to a larger piston, yet an improved design has managed to reduce the body size by 3.5mm. It has four low-pressure ports and one high-pressure.

It is equipped with Scubapro’s X-TIS (Extended Thermal Insulating System), which fully insulates the international mechanism from the environment. This massively improves the cold water/freezing resistance without compromising its breathing performance.

The result is a compact first stage which would be an ideal first reg for a new diver, a lightweight travel regulator, or even a well-priced set-up for stage cylinders.

The R195 second stage is a classic downstream design, with a Venturi lever that is easy to locate even wearing thick gloves. The large circular purge button is also simple to find and operate. The mouthpiece is comfortable, and the exhaust directs exhaled bubbles past your face. Good entry-level regulator.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: Yes |

VERDICT: The MK2 Evo / R195 regulator is a great way for a new diver to get on board with the Scubapro brand. It is well priced, and a decent performer all-round.

PROS

  • X-TIS
  • Large Purge Button
  • Efficient Exhaust

CONS

  • No Cracking Resistance

Scubapro C370 / MK21 (SRP: £305.00)

scuba regulator 3
Scubapro C370 / MK21 Scuba Regulator

Scubapro has been churning out high-quality dive gear for over 50 years, and the MK21/C370 certainly slots into the roll-call well. The MK21 is Scubapro’s most-compact air-balanced piston first stage has a compact chrome-plated brass body and boasts four low-pressure ports and two high-pressure ports.

The C370 second stage body is made from fibreglass reinforced nylon and now features a balanced valve and new exhaust tee. It retains its good looks, though – when SubGear was still in existence, the earlier incarnation of this was their regulator for the next price bracket up. It is one of only two regs in this price segment to feature both a venturi lever and a cracking resistance control.

The MK21/C370 is a nice little unit, with good looks matched to a decent performance. It was nice and dry in all positions, coped admirably with whatever we threw at it, and the venturi – and in particular, the cracking resistance control – really did make a difference to the breathe. Nice large purge, comfy mouthpiece, neat first stage and awesome price point.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The MK21 is a robust air-balanced piston first stage, and paired up with the C370 makes for a great reg package. The second stage stands out from the crowd thanks to its chrome surround on the front, and distinctive triangular-shaped purge valve.

PROS

  • Venturi And Cracking Resistance Controls
  • Smooth Breathe
  • Good Looks
  • Amazing Price Point

CONS

  • Nothing Significant

Mares Dual Adj 52X (SRP: £377.00)

scuba regulator 4
Mares Dual Adj 52X Scuba Regulator

Mares were absent from this price bracket last year, and it is good to see them back in the mix with a new regulator.

The Dual Adj is made from an ultralight technopolymer, which is abrasion resistant but extremely lightweight, making it ideal for cold-water use, but also for travel.

It features an oversized purge button, Superflex braided hose, and a chunky knob on the side for adjusting the cracking resistance of the inhalation effort.

It incorporates Mares’ VAD (Vortex Assisted Design), an air bypass tube that delivers air to the mouthpiece, creating a swirling vortex with a low-pressure area in the centre that keeps the diaphragm down during inhalation, for easy breathing at all depths. It is paired with the trusty 52X balanced diaphragm first stage. This has double DFC (Dynamic Flow Control) ports, which minimise intermediate pressure drop during inhalation, thus maximising gas delivery. The 52X also has an NCC (Natural Convection Channel), which increases cold-water performance by creating a flow of water across the regulator. It also has pre-orientated low-pressure and high-pressure ports and a neat pearl-chrome finish.

It provided a smooth breath in all positions, and the cracking resistance control gave a nice degree of control to the user.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The Mares 52x is one of the most eye-catching first stages on the market. It is compact but delivers a tremendous performance, and paired up with the Dual Adj second stage, it is a great all-round performer.

PROS

  • Well-made
  • High-performing Regulator
  • Stunning Price Point

CONS

  • No Venturi

Apeks XL4+ (SRP: £420.00)

Apeks XL4+
Apeks XL4+ Scuba Regulator

Blackburn-based Apeks Marine Equipment has been around for over 40 years, and since that time the company’s regulators have found a special place in the heart’s – and kit bags – of many divers.

The XL4+ is one of their newest regulator – effectively an XL4 but with an added high-pressure port and a nifty white colour scheme – and as with its predecessor, was designed from the outset to be a very lightweight, travel-friendly unit, but crucially, also cold-water rated. The body of the second stage is reminiscent of the lightweight Flight reg, except this has a large purge on the front, and an easy-to-operate venturi lever. This over-balanced diaphragm reg features an innovative over-moulded first-stage endcap, one high-pressure port, four low-pressure ports and comes with a braided hose.

The XL4+ is a nice-looking regulator, especially with that white finish, and its subtle styling is matched by a stunning performance. The first stage is chunky but quite compact, while the second stage is extremely small and lightweight – you almost don’t feel it in your mouth. The Comfo-Bite mouthpiece is also very comfy. The large purge is easy to locate and depress, and the Venturi, while fairly small, can be operated even with thick gloves. The wide exhaust tee disperses exhaled bubbles well clear of your face.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: Yes|

VERDICT: The apeks xl4+ is the ideal travel regulator – it is lightweight, but thanks to its robust construction and the durable first stage, it can handle cold-water conditions as well, so it is the perfect all-round reg for use in this country and beyond.

PROS

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth Breathe
  • Comfortable Mouthpiece

CONS

  • No Cracking Resistance

Hollis 150LX / DC7 (SRP: £419.95)

Scuba Regulator Hollis DC7 / 150LX
Hollis DC7 / 150LX Scuba Regulator

Hollis popped back into the market with a bang last year, and the 150LX follows on nicely from where the 100LX left off in this price bracket in 2019.

The 150LX features a braided hose and large venturi lever, and has a big purge. It can also be converted from right-hand to left-hand.

It has four low-pressure ports and two high-pressure ports on its DC7 first stage, which is pneumatically balanced and chrome-plated brass.

As with all Hollis regulators, it comes with a lifetime warranty, only requires a service every two years – and you get service kits free-of-charge for the life of the regulator.

It is easy to see the benefits of being part of the Huish Outdoors family. The super-comfy mouthpiece, which is soft but has harder inserts in the ‘bite’, is very reminiscent of Atomic Aquatics. The breathe is smooth and dry in all orientations, and the big, chunky venturi lever, which has a rubber grip built in, is easy to use even wearing drygloves, as is the monster purge, which is effectively the entire front of the second stage. It looks good too, in an understated way, with the 316 stainless steel elements, and I like the red-and-black colour scheme.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: No | VENTURI: Yes |

VERDICT: The Hollis DC7 / 150LX is a great package – the compact first stage has excellent cold-water performance but is still quite lightweight, and the second stage has a large purge and venturi lever, and a comfortable mouthpiece.

PROS

  • Good-looking Regulator With Well-designed Venturi Lever
  • Two-year Service Interval
  • Lifetime Warranty

CONS

  • No Cracking Resistance

Atomic Aquatics Z3 (SRP: £479.95)

Scuba Regulator Atomic Aquatics Z3
Atomic Aquatics Z3 Scuba Regulator

Atomic Aquatics are renowned for producing high-end, high-performance regs, but with the Z3, they have managed to bring all this workmanship and technology into a well-priced package.

The Zirconium – that’s what the ‘Z’ stands for – delivers corrosion-resistance apparently three to four times that of conventional chrome plating, and the second stage lever, orifice and spring are titanium, as with the higher-spec (and price) models. It is equipped with a factory sealed first stage, huge purge button, comfort swivel, and no less than seven low-pressure ports and two high-pressure ports. As with all Atomic products, the reg benefits from a limited lifetime warranty – not contingent on proof of service – and boasts a two-year/300 dive service interval.

The Z3 scored very highly with the Test Team and it is a keenly priced way to get on the ‘Atomic’ ladder. It looks good with the chrome second stage surround, is extremely well made, boasts a silky smooth breathe and has some neat features like the Automatic Flow Control (AFC), which does away with a manual venturi lever and offers full control through the single knob, and a black PVD-coated comfort swivel on the hose.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The Z3 may be the affordable entry-level model into the world of Atomic Aquatics, but it has a lot in common with its more-expensive siblings. As you’d expect, it has a fantastic all-round performance, and we liked the singular control knob for Atomic’s patented AFC, or Automatic Flow Control.

PROS

  • Well-made Regulator With Neat Control System
  • Two-year Service Interval
  • Lifetime Warranty

CONS

  • First Stage Is Fairly Heavy

Hollis 200LX DCX (SRP: £524.95)

scuba regulator 5
Hollis 200LX DCX Scuba Regulator

Hollis continues to forge a path into regulators, and the flagship 200LX DCX is well worth a look.

The 200LX features a braided hose, large venturi lever, chunky cracking resistance control, and has a big purge. It can also be converted from right-hand to left-hand if you so wish.

It has five low-pressure ports and two high-pressure ports on its DCX first stage.

All metal components have a PVD coating for added durability.

As with all Hollis regulators, it comes with a lifetime warranty, only requires a service every two years – and you get service kits free of charge for the life of the regulator.

As we noted with the 150LX last month, the super-comfy mouthpiece, which is soft but has harder inserts in the ‘bite’, is very reminiscent of Atomic Aquatics. The breath on the 200LX is smooth and dry in all orientations, and the big, chunky venturi lever and cracking resistance control are both easy to use even wearing dry gloves, as is the huge purge, which is effectively the entire front of the second stage. It looks good too, in an understated way with the PVD finish inserts, and I like the red-and-black colour scheme.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The second stage of this set-up is very reminiscent of the 150LX, which is no bad thing, as it is a good-looking unit, but the DCX first stage – resplendent in its PVD plated finish – is a top-performer, especially in cold water.

PROS

  • Good-looking Regulator With Well-designed Controls
  • Two-year Service Interval
  • Lifetime Warranty

CONS

  • Dcx Is Not The Lightest Of First Stages

Oceanic Zeo FDXi (SRP: £549.99)

scuba regulator 6
Oceanic Zeo Scuba Regulator

Oceanic are making inroads back into the reg market, and the Zeo is their range-topper.

The FDXi first stage is small and compact, yet is still a pneumatically balanced and environmentally sealed diaphragm design, with four low-pressure ports and two high-pressure ports.

The Zeo second stage is also pneumatically balanced and features a large venturi lever and big cracking resistance control knob to finetune the breathe. The oval face has a decent-sized purge, and a swivel aids comfort in use.

The Zeo also benefits from Oceanic’s limited lifetime warranty and ‘free servicing parts for life’.

The Zeo certainly stands out from the crowd, thanks both to its unique oval-shaped second stage and its bold white finish (a black version is also available). It is lightweight, so ideal for travelling divers, but equally coped well with this cold-water test, making it a good all-rounder. The large venturi lever and cracking resistance control knob were easy to use with gloved hands, and the purge was effective. A great little reg – and don’t forget that superb limited lifetime warranty.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The Zeo FDXi is great for travelling divers thanks to its compact first stage, but as it is also rated for cold-water use, it is the perfect all-round package for divers who dive in temperate and tropical waters. The second stage is small and lightweight as well.

PROS

  • The Zeo Fdxi Is Light Enough For Travel But Great In Cold Water Too
  • Free Service Parts For Life
  • Lifetime Warranty

CONS

  • Effective Purge, But Quite Small

Zeagle Onyx II (SRP: £395.00)

scuba regulator 7
Zeagle Onyx II Scuba Regulator

Zeagle is a US brand that has built up a strong following for its robust, well-made BCDs, and it looks set to follow suit with its regulators. The Onyx II blends an environmentally sealed balanced diaphragm brass first stage equipped with two high-pressure ports and five low-pressure ports with a thermoplastic second stage via a flexible braided hose.

This was one of only two regs in this price bracket to feature both a venturi lever and a cracking resistance control.

The Zeagle Onyx II is a great-looking regulator, benefitting from a stylish metal insert into the front of the second stage around the large, soft purge, which belies its price point and you’d be mistaken for thinking it was in the next test bracket. The first stage, with its black finish, neatly sets it off. In the water, it breathed effortlessly in any orientation, and the venturi and cracking resistance control really made a difference to the air flow, allowing us to finetune it. The mouthpiece is very comfortable, and the exhaust sends exhaled bubbles up the side of your head. This is one of the more-expensive regulators on test, but it has plenty of features of merit, and it has a fantastic performance to match its eye-catching good looks.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The MK21 is a robust air-balanced piston first stage, and paired up with the C370 makes for a great reg package. The second stage stands out from the crowd thanks to its chrome surround on the front, and distinctive triangular-shaped purge valve.

PROS

  • Looks Bely The Price
  • Great All-round Performance
  • Venturi And Cracking Resistance

CONS

  • First Stage Is Quite Heavy

Apeks MTX-RC (SRP: £670.00)

scuba regulator 8
Apeks MTX-RC Scuba Regulator

The Apeks MTX-R was the civilian version of the military-spec MTX (it was developed in accordance with the United States Navy Experimental Dive Unit’s extreme cold-water test), and this regulator featured a first-of-its-kind over-moulded first stage end cap and environmental diaphragm to prevent ice build-up, a forged body with five low-pressure ports and two high-pressure ports, and was equipped with a double-swivel braided hose.

However, the second stage had no dive adjustment controls, and that is where the MTX-RC comes in – the second stage has a venturi lever, and a cracking resistance control knob. It also comes in a subtle gun-metal grey colour rather than the bright white of the MTX-R.

All of the Test Team were complimentary about the construction and looks of both the first and second stages of the MTX-RC. While it performed well straight out of the box, we liked the ability to tweak the breathe to our liking – the venturi and the cracking resistance control were both large and easy to locate and operate while wearing gloves.

Thumbs up for the comfort of the ComfoBite mouthpiece as well. It breathes well in all positions. As you expect, all of the regulators in this price bracket performed well, but the MTX-RC was ultra-smooth in all orientations and however you are breathing through it, making it a clear favourite.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The MTX-R set the bar high for a cold-water reg, and the MTX-RC builds on this platform, adding a highly efficient venturi lever and cracking resistance control into the mix. It looks as good as it performs too, with the subtle grey finish on the moulded parts.

PROS

  • Well Made
  • Durable
  • Smooth Breathe
  • Comfortable Mouthpiece

CONS

  • Perhaps a Little On The Heavy Side For Travelling

Aqua Lung Leg3nd Elite (SRP: £650.00)

Scuba Regulator Aqua Lung Leg3nd Elite
Aqua Lung Leg3nd Elite Scuba Regulator

The venerable Legend – now Leg3nd – is back in an all-new guise, and the Elite is the pick of the pack. The chromed overbalanced diaphragm first stage offers total environmental protection, giving it phenomenal cold-water performance, and the new heat exchanger, which has a bigger surface area and a co-moulded end cap, gives it excellent resistance to freezing. It has two high-pressure ports and four low-pressure ports. It is equipped with Aqua Lung’s ACD (Auto Closure Device), which keeps corrosive water out of the first stage inlet by automatically closing as the reg is removed from the cylinder valve.

On the second stage, the soft co-moulded purge button is effective and easy to locate and operate even with thick neoprene gloves, the Comfo-Bite mouthpiece is still one of the best on the market in my opinion, and the co-moulded exhaust tee efficiently vents exhaled bubbles either side of your face.

The Leg3nd Ultra has a venturi lever and a cracking resistance control knob, for completely independent control over the ease of the breathe. Again, regardless of the thickness of exposure protection on the hands, the controls were easy to use, especially the cracking resistance control knob. It gave a silky smooth breathe in all orientations and is a good-looking unit to boot.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The venerable Leg3nd is looking good in its latest guise, and the Elite is the top of the tree. The cracking resistance control and venturi lever make a real difference to the breathe, which is smooth in all orientations. The compact second stage looks great, and is lightweight in your mouth, so no jaw fatigue.

PROS

  • Eye-catching Looks
  • Smooth Breathe
  • Comfortable Mouthpiece
  • Build Quality.

CONS

  • Perhaps A Little On The Heavy Side For Travelling

Mares Epic Adj 82X (SRP: £584.00)

scuba regulator 9
Mares Epic ADJ 82X Scuba Regulator

Mares gave their regulator line-up a serious overhaul for 2019, and the Epic Adj 82X still represents a formidable unit.

The first stage is a solid piece of kit, with natural ‘dynamic flow control’ on all low-pressure ports, which are mounted on a swivel turret, and tilted so you can find that perfect routing.

The all-metal second stage has a unique pivoting purge valve, lightweight braided Superflex hose, and a neat ‘twist’ control to boost the flow rate from natural breathing to power breathing, all of which was seen on the Fusion reg. However, the Epic also has a cracking resistance control knob for further fine-tuning of the breathe. Both the first and second stages have an eye-catching PVD coating, which not only looks great but also adds another degree of protection.

The Epic Adj 82X put in a strong showing in this Group Test, and if anything, the Test Team felt we had to dial down the air flow it was so powerful. The pivoting purge and ‘motorcycle throttle’ venturi control was again well received, and the Team also liked the cracking resistance control, which although quite small compared with others here was still operable with thick gloves on. Good-looking, great-performing regulator.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The Epic Adj 82x is Mares’ top of the line regulator, and it is easy to see why. It is extremely robust with its PVD finish, and the solid first stage is perfect for all conditions. The innovative second stage has a cracking resistance control as per the norm, but the venturi control is located around the braided hose, and resembles a motorcycle throttle. Unusual, but it works extremely well. Great all-round regulator.

PROS

  • Good-looking Regulator With Well-designed Venturi Lever
  • Two-year Service Interval
  • Lifetime Warranty.

CONS

  • Small Size Will Not Be To Everyone’s Taste
  • Expensive Compared To Rivals

Scubapro MK25 EVO D420 (SRP: £695.00)

scuba regulator 10
Scubapro MK25 EVO D420 Scuba Regulator

Scubapro has brought back the venerable D-series of regulators. The D420 is reminiscent of previous D-regs, with its unusual shape of second stage. It has a balanced valve which delivers abundant airflow regardless of depth, and the pivoting purge is highly efficient. The dive/pre-dive lever is mounted on the top, and is easy to find and operate even when wearing thick neoprene gloves.

For this test it was paired with the proven MK25 EVO flow-through piston first stage, which is fully insulated from the environment by the XTIS (Extended Thermal Insulating System) and has numerous innovative design features to aid cold-water performance. It has two high-pressure ports and five low-pressure ports.

The MK25 EVO and the D420 make a solid pairing. The tried-and-tested MK25, now in its improved EVO guise, is compact, durable and efficient, and its works well with the relatively compact and robust D420 second stage. It has to be said, that odd-looking second stage takes some getting used to, but there is no doubt that it provides a very smooth, easy breathe in all orientations. The mouthpiece is also very comfortable.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: The renowned MK25 in its latest EVO guise is a fine first stage, and with the XTIS thermal insulating system, it is great in cold water. Paired up with the D420, it offers a high-performance package, though the bizarre shape of that second stage does take some getting used to.

PROS

  • Superior Performance
  • Great Purge
  • Easy To Use Dive/pre-dive Control
  • Comfy Mouthpiece

CONS

  • Odd Looks May Put Some People Off

XDEEP NX700 LS200 (SRP: €580.00)

scuba regulator 11
XDEEP NX700 LS200 Scuba Regulator

Polish company xDeep has really earned itself a solid reputation for its robust, well-made and stylish backplate-and-wings, and it has now released its NX700/LS200 regulator.

Let’s talk about that first stage. The NX700 is the definite show-stopper when it comes to this reg. It has two high-pressure ports and five low-pressure ports. The forged body is protected by a shiny chrome finish. It is an environmentally sealed overbalanced diaphragm design, with a heat exchanger ‘wrapped’ around the HP valve, so perfect for cold-water diving. So far, so normal. Where it all goes xDeep is the design of the body.

The two high-pressure ports and two of the low-pressure ports come straight out of the main body, as per the norm, but on the front of the first stage is a large circular addition, which has another three low-pressure ports. This is a unique swivel, mounted on the face of the first stage instead of the top. It can be locked in place, or allowed to move freely, depending on whether you are diving a single cyliner, a twinset or sidemount. The second stage is more-traditional, with a cracking resistance control and venturi lever.

The xDeep regs provided a smooth breathe, and the controls were simple to find and use. That first stage is certainly an eye-catcher.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: No|

VERDICT: xDeep have carved a solid reputation with their wings, and it continues here. The LS200 second stage is eye-catching but quite traditional, but the NX700 first stage is extremely innovative, with a rotating turret on the front for some of the low-pressure ports. Great cold-water regulator.

PROS

  • Eye-catching Regulator (Especially The First Stage)
  • Good Performance
  • Easy To Use Controls.

CONS

  • Some People Might Be Phased By The First Stage

Zeagle F8 (SRP: £539.95)

scuba regulator 12
Zeagle F8 Scuba Regulator

Zeagle have worked with Atomic Aquatics to produce a solidly constructed regulator.

The F8 has an environmentally sealed balanced diaphragm first stage made from durable brass, and featuring a precision-machined neoflon seat.

The second stage has a tough nylon case and has a seat-saving orifice, zirconium-plated inlet tube and heat sink for superior corrosion resistance, and a new inhalation diaphragm. The redesigned front cover and cracking resistance control use co-molded components that provide high levels of grip.

Zeagle have long been producing top-quality BCDs and wings, and now they are well-established in the world of regulators after teaming up with the knowledgeable team at Atomic Aquatics.

The first stage of the F8 is a compact but well-made unit, but we have to say that the second stage doesn’t actually look as eye-catching as its cheaper sibling, the Onyx II (which scored well last month). No doubting the performance of the F8, though – the breathe was nice and smooth in all positions, the cracking resistance control is large and easy to use, as is the venturi lever, and the mouthpiece is comfortable.

SUMMARY

CRACKING RESISTANCE: Yes | VENTURI: Yes|

VERDICT: The F8 features an environmentally sealed diaphragm first stage, so ideal for cold-water use, and it is paired up with a lightweight second stage, which is a solid performer, but doesn’t actually look as eye-catching as the Onyx II second stage.

PROS

  • Overall A Decent Regulator
  • Large, Easy To Find And Operate Venturi And Cracking Resistance Controls

CONS

  • Not As Eye-catching As The Onyx II
DISCLAIMER

All products reviewed have been fully dived and tested. Each review is genuinely what our tester felt the product was like when it was dived. We accept advertising from many of the brands featured, but in no way does that have an affect on the overall review we give a product. We have linked some of the products to an affiliate program which if you decided to purchase the product through them, based on our advice, we will receive a small commission. This helps us to generate future content.