Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020

Regulator, Guides

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Updated: April 14, 2020

A scuba regulator is one of the most essential pieces of dive gear you can own as a diver. It is your lifeline underwater, allowing you to breathe safely and comfortably from the high-pressure gasses stored in your dive tank. 

Buying a new regulator is not as easy as it sounds. There are hundreds to choose from, as well as many different brands, styles, and features to consider. The whole thing can seem overwhelming at first.

In this article, you will find the 10 best scuba regualtors on the market to help narrow your choice, as well as compare the most essential features when comparing regulators. 

For other great scuba regulator recommendation,  read these other articles:
Cold Water Regulators | Best Travel Regulators

Best Scuba Regulator Reviews

Comparison Chart: The Best Scuba Regulators 2020

Computer

Rating

Price

1st Stage

Ports

2nd Stage

Adjustable Venturi

Adjustable Inhalation

Environmentally Sealed

Scubapro Mk25 Evo A700 Regulator

Scubapro Mk25 EVO/A700

10

$$$

Balanced Piston

5LP/2HP

Balanced

Atomic T3 Regulator

Atomic T3

10

$$$

Balanced Piston

5LP/2HP

Balanced

Automatic

Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 1

Aqua Lung Legend LX

9.8

$$$

Over-Balanced Diaphragm 

4LP/2HP

Balanced

Sherwood SR2 Regualtor

Sherwood SR2

9.5

$$

Balanced Piston

5LP/2HP

Balanced

Hollis 100LX DC3 Regulator

Hollis 100LX/DC3

9.3

$$

Over-Balanced Diaphragm

4LP/2HP

Balanced

Aqua Lung Core Regulator

Aqua Lung Core

9.0

$$

Balance Diaphragm

4LP/2HP

Balanced

Cressi Compact MC9

Cressi Compact Pro/MC9 SC

8.5

$$

Balance Diaphragm

4LP/2HP

Unbalanced

Sherwood Brut Pro Scuba Regulator

Sherwood Brut Pro

8.3

$

Balanced Piston

4LP/2HP

Balanced

Scubapro Mk2 Evo R195

Scubapro MK2 EVO R195

8.0

$

Unbalanced Piston

4LP/1HP

UnBalanced

Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 2

Mares Rover 2s

8.0

$

Unbalanced Piston

4LP/1HP

UnBalanced

Compare Scuba Regulators

Compare the key features and price of over 20 different Scuba Regulators to find the right one  for your diving needs

Scuba Regulator Computer Reviews

Atomic Aquatics T3

Atomic T3 Regulator

Manufacturer: AtomicAquatics.com

Design 10/10
Functionality 10/10
Durability 10/10
Price 10/10

Our Rating

10
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“The Atomic T3 is by far the absolute best I've ever used, and I've used many on my way up through the certifications. It breathes like nothing I've used before , light weight very comfortable , it's an extremely well made piece of equipment . Yes, it is expensive, but once you own one you'll see where that money went..”

  • Precision machined from solid Titanium for durability and bullet proof reliability. 
  • Pneumatically balanced 2nd stage deliverers effortless breathing
  • Automatic flow control allows for hand free Venturi control
  •  years / 300 dive service interval
  • Expensive, might be out of the price range for most divers

Summary:
The Atomic T3 Regulator is precision machined from titanium to make it one of the lightest full-sized regulators today. It also provides the same unprecedented performance and reliability the Atomic “T” series is famous for, and now comes with a three years/300 dive not contingent on the service lifetime warranty. This is the reg to get if you’re looking for the very best. It’s lightweight, and corrosion-free characteristics also make it the perfect reg for traveling divers. 

Read Review: Atomic T3 Review

Scubapro MK25 EVO/A700

Manufacturer: Scubapro.com

Scubapro Mk25 Evo A700 Regulator
Design 10/10
Functionality 10/10
Durability 10/10
Price 10/10

Our Rating

10
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“I own two of theses regs on and use them on a twin tank system. Out of the box quality was great. At 80 plus feet in mid 40 degree water set on minimum flow they still have excellent ease of breathing. I am looking forward to exploring the further potential of these regulators”

  • Balanced 1st and 2nd stage for exceptional breathing performance
  • Extended Thermal Isolation System (XTIS) increase cold water performance by 30%
  • Diver adjustable Venturi switch to control unwanted free flows on the surface
  •  Diver adjustable inhalation effort resistance to fine tune your breathing on the go.
  • Expensive, might be out of the price range for most divers

Summary:
The MK25 EVO/A700 is Scubapro’s flagship regulator system. It pairs their top-performing Mk25 EVO balanced first-stage with the all-metal casing of the A700 second stage for effortless breathing and performance even in cold water conditions.  It has five low-pressure ports on a swivel and opposing high-pressure ports, allowing you to mount the regulator up or down. A great buy if you’re looking for a high-performance regulator.

Read Review: Scubapro MK25 A700 Review

Aqua Lung Legend LX

Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 5

Manufacturer: aqualung.com

Design 9/10
Functionality 10/10
Durability 10/10
Price 9/10

Our Rating

9.8
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“After approx 50 deep dives I rate this as top notch. Best I have used in 20 years of diving. Durable breaths effortlessly at depth, no free flow, no issues. The auto closure device is great, prevents contamination into first stage during cleaning and accidental water exposure”

  • Auto Closure Device (ACD) keeps water and other contaminants out of the first stage even when no dust cap is on.
  • Pneumatically balanced 2nd stage delivers effortless breathing
  • Master Breathing System (MBS) controls both the Venturi effect and breathing efforts on the fly
  • Ergonomic Comfo-Bite mouthpiece eliminates Jaw fatigue
  • Priced at the high-end, might not be affordable for new divers.

Summary:
The Aqua Lung Legend LX offers the same easy to breathe and high-performance features of the LUX without the hard to scratch PVD finish. It comes standard with Aqua Lung’s patented “ACD” system that closes automatically when you take it off the tank to keep out water and dust. This regulator is an excellent choice if you are looking for a reg that performs well,  looks sharp, and built to last. It is also available in a “supreme” version with additional cold water features.

Read Review: Aqua Lung Legend Review

Sherwood SR2

Sherwood SR2 Regualtor

Manufacturer: SherwoodScuba.com

Design 9/10
Functionality 10/10
Durability 10/10
Price 9/10

Our Rating

9.5
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“It is smaller and lighter then I expected which was a very nice surprise. I personally didn't find any issue with the mouthpiece, referenced in another review, it works well for me. The 1st stage is a little on the heavy side but that should be expected since it does swivel.”

  • Single adjustment knob for Venturi and Breathing resistance makes breathing adjustment fast and easy.
  • Five low-pressure ports on a 360° swivel for optimum hose routing and comfort
  • Single adjustment knob for Venturi and Breathing resistance makes breathing adjustment fast and easy
  • Compact and lightweight second stage
  • Mouth Piece may be too small for some people 
  • Heavy First Stage

Summary:
The SR2 is the top-performing regulator in Sherwood Scuba’s regulator line. An upgrade version of the SR1, its more technologically advance and attractive than it’s predecessor, offering superior berating performance. It features a sealed first stage with 360° swivel, and a single adjustment knob to control both Venturi and breathing resistance. The Sherwood SR2 is an excellent regulator that may surprise you with its compact size and effortless breathing.

Read Review: Sherwood SR2 Review

Hollis 100LX/DC3

Hollis 100LX DC3 Regulator

Manufacturer: Hollis.com

Design 8/10
Functionality 9/10
Durability 10/10
Price 10/10

Our Rating

9.3
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“I dive cold fresh water quarries,off the coast of North Carolina, Mexico and the Caribbean. I found them to be just as reliable as any Apeks, Atomic or other high end regulator for the fraction of the cost. I have been diving dunce 1997. This is a simple reliable design, that meets the needs for both tech and recreational diving.”

  • Large Adjustable Venturi Switch makes it easy to find and use
  • Pneumatically balanced second stage delivers smooth, easy breathing
  • Environmentally sealed first stage delivers Excellent cold water performance  
  • No Inhalation Effort Adjustment

Summary:
The Hollis 100LX/DC3 looks more expensive than it is due to its high polished chrome, smart design, and breaded hose. The DC3 over-balanced first stage delivers superior performance by providing more gas the deeper you go. While the 100LX second stage is pneumatically balanced for smooth, effortless breathing. If you’re looking for simple, high-performance reg for a fraction of the cost, look no further than this great regulator from Hollis.

Aqua Lung Core

Aqua Lung Core Regulator

Manufacturer: aqualung.com

Design 8/10
Functionality 9/10
Durability 9/10
Price 10/10

Our Rating

9.0
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“Excellent regulator that breathes very easily. The ports are a bit tight if you have a transmitter, but otherwise, no complaints!”

  • Auto Closure Device (ACD) keeps unwanted water and other contaminants out of the first stage when remove from the tank.
  • Large Venturi Switch to control free flows
  • Ergonomic mouthpiece and Venturi system 
  • Poor visualization of “Min” and “Max” markings on the Venturi Lever
  • No Inhalation Effort Adjustment

Summary:
The Core is Aqua Lung’s new mid-range regulator. Like many regulators in this price range, there is no user adjustment except for a Venturi switch. However, It does come with Aqua Lung’s ACD system, a feature that is only offered on Aqua Lung’s high-end regulators. The amazing breathing paired with an attractive price point gives you the best value for your money. It is also available in a supreme version that is environmentally sealed, has a lip shield, and detuned for cold water diving.

Read Review: Aqua Lung Core Review

Cressi Compact Pro/MC9 SC

Manufacturer: cressi.com

Cressi Compact MC9
Design 7/10
Functionality 8/10
Durability 9/10
Price 10/10

Our Rating

8.5
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“I'm a Cressi fan all the way, tried many others to be sure, but came back and and purchased this regulator for it's durability and ease of use”

  • Reliable Down Stream 2nd stage
  • User adjustable  Venturi Switch to control free-flow on the surface
  • Compact and lightweight 2nd stage eliminate jaw fatigue 
  • Overall lightweight design makes it perfect for an all around travel regulator
  • Unbalance second stage may sacrifice performance at deeper depths. 
  • No Inhalation Effort Adjustment

Summary:
The Cressi Compact Pro/MC9 SC offers maximum performance in a compact package. The MC9 SC first Stage has a compact, hyper-balanced, environmentally Seal, chrome-plated brass body covered by an Elastomer skin to prevent scratches and dings.  The Compact Pro second stage is also very lightweight with an easy to use purge cover and Venturi lever. An excellent buy if you’re looking for an all-around regulator, as well as one that is more suited for traveling.

Sherwood Brut Pro

Sherwood Brut Pro Scuba Regulator

Manufacturer: SerwoodScuba.com

Design 7/10
Functionality 8/10
Durability 8/10
Price 10/10

Our Rating

8.3
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“was really impressed with the ease of breathing with this regulator. For the money, I don't think I could have found anything better.”

  • Completely balanced system provides excellent breathing performance 
  • Price is set at an attractive price point
  • A sealed first stage ensure internal parts are not affected by the environment for added reliability
  • Heavy First Stage
  • No Diver Adjustments 

Summary:
The Sherwood Brut Pro has been redesigned from top to bottom to deliver better breathing performance than it’s predecessor while still staying true to the Brut’s reputation as being a rugged and reliable regulator that is easy to maintain. It features an environmentally sealed first-stage that prevents water and other contaminants from entering the first stage. And, is also completely balanced, a feature not found on may entry-level regulators. This feature makes it an excellent choice if you are looking for a first time regulator that is easy to breathe. 

Read Review: Sherwood Brut Pro Review

Scubapro MK2 EVO/R195

Scubapro Mk2 Evo R195

Manufacturer: Scubapro.com

Design 7/10
Functionality 7/10
Durability 9/10
Price 9/10

Our Rating

8.0
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“A little bit heavy for travel, but performs well and is comfortable. i would go for the DIN 300 fitting. as the A clamp is becoming more and more scarce.”

  • Reliable and easy to maintain flow by piston design 1st stage
  • Classic downstream demand valve 2nd stage add to its reliability 
  • Large Venturi switch to easily manage free flows on the surface
  • Unbalanced system my result in performance lost beyond recreational depth and low tank pressures. 
  • No Inhalation Effort Adjustment

Summary:
The Scubapro MK2 EVO/R195 bulletproof reliability and minimal maintenance make it the system of choice for demanding dive centers as well as new divers. The MK2 first stage has been around since the early 1960s. It has been upgraded many times over the years to improve reliability and performance. Paired with the upgraded R195, this regulator setup would be perfect as your first regulator or back-up regulator.  It also now rated for cold water use due to  Scubapro’s XTIS system.

Read Review: Scubapro Mk2 Evo/R195 Review

Mares Rover 2s

Manufacturer: Mares.com

Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 13
Design 7/10
Functionality 7/10
Durability 8/10
Price 10/10

Our Rating

8.0
Overall Score
Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 3

“Bought his as my first Req. Finally got into diving. I saw and reviewed many regs. And really for the price you can't beat it. I have taken it up to 112 ft and it works perfectly. From a shore dive, to a deep dive pretty reliable. I haven't really had a bad experience and its been a year later.”

  • Unbalanced Piston First Stage with Dynamic Flow Control (DFC) for consistent performance
  • Chrome plated brass body with sandblasted finish to increase scratch resistance.
  • The Mid-Sized Techno-Polymer Second Stage is surprisingly lightweight.
  • Simple, yet reliable unbalanced 2nd stage valve system
  • Unbalanced system may not be suitable for more advanced diving
  • No Diver Adjustments 

Summary:
The Rover 2s is a great entry-level regulator from Mares. While the first stage is unbalanced, it’s Dynamic Flow Control (DFC) minimizes the drop in intermediate pressure on inhalation. Mares claims this allows them to use a simpler and reliable second stage without sacrificing performance. Overall, it is a fantastic entry-level regulator that breathes pretty good and offer excellent value for your money.

Read Review: Mares Rover 2s Review

What To Consider When Choosing A Regulator

Your dive regulator is the most essential dive gear you can own.  You will be trusting your life to it every time you go below the water. However, due to technical advances in materials and manufacturing, regulators have become pretty much fail-safe.

Regulators today go through rigorous safety testing to ensure they work perfectly every time—especially those from top brands. So,  as long as you stick to the primary brand, safety should not be much of a concern when choosing your reg.

But first…. There are still a few questions you must ask yourself before making a choice.

 

What’s The Temperature of the Water?

  • Warm water: If you’re planning on doing most of your dives in warm tropical waters, there is not much to worry about. Pretty much all Scuba Regulator will work flawlessly in warm water.
  • Cold water:  When planning to dive in cold water, dives 50°F (10°C), and below, it always a good idea to find out if your regulator is rated to perform at these temperatures. These regs are generally environmentally sealed to keep out the cold water from coming in contact with the internal components of the first stage and impeding its performance.  Metal second stages are also great for cold water dives because of their thermal conductivity properties.

How Will I Mount My Regulator?

There are only two ways you can mount your dive regulator to a scuba tank, DIN or Yoke.  However, almost all regulators on the market today are available in both versions.Din Vs Yoke

  • Yoke (A-Clamp): With this system, you mount the regulator over and around the tank valve. It is the most popular of the two mounting options, especially in North America.  The only advantage Yoke has over DIN is that it is more popular.
  • DIN: Top 10 Best Scuba Regulators of 2020 15With a DIN setup, you screw the regulator directly into the tank valve.  This system makes a more reliable connection, while at the same time being more streamlined. For this reason, they are very popular with tech divers. You will also find this setup more in European countries.

If you do decide to go with a DIN system, there are DIN to Yoke adapter that will allow your DIN Regulator to work on a Yoke valve.  This way, you can get the best of both worlds.

What Performance and Breathing Resistance Do I Need?

While all regulators are designed to give you enough air to survive underwater, Not all regulators are created equal, and not all regulators will perform the same. 

You might want a regulator that gives you air more readily than others or one that than can adjust breathing resistance on the fly.

  • Unbalanced: An unbalanced regulator generally loses performance deeper you go and when there is less air remaining the dive tank. However, due to technological advances over the years, these changes are hardly noticeable at recreational depths. Unbalanced systems are commonly found on entry-level regulators, and is generally recommended for warmer, shallower dives.
  • Balanced: A balanced regulator system will deliver consistent airflow no matter how deep you are or how much air you have remaining in your tank. These generally found on mid-range to high-end regulators and can either be a Piston or Diaphragm design.
  • Diver Adjustable Setting: This feature is generally found on higher-end dive regulators. It allows you to customize your breathing in real-time.
    • Venturi Switch: Prevents free flows on the surface, while enhancing breathing performance underwater.
    • Inhalation adjustment knob: Allows you to fine-tune your breathing by increasing or decreasing your inhalation resistance with the turn of a Knob.

Where Will You be doing Most of Your Diving?

  • Locally: There is not much to consider if you will be doing most of your diving locally. Pretty much any regulator will work just fine.
  • Travel: If you plan on traveling for most of your diving, you might want to consider a compact and lightweight Scuba Regulator.  Also, braided hoses save more spaces than traditional rubber hoses.

Adequate Ports For My Peripherals

Lastly, you want to be sure you have sufficient ports for peripherals. A standard regulator setup for recreational diving as a primary second stage, a backup octopus, a high-pressure gauge, and a BC inflation hose. Today most regulators come with four low-pressure (LP) ports and 1 or 2 high pressure (HP) ports.

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