Scuba Tech Tips: Buying A Regulator, $300 or $800? – S05E09

Many viewers ask, what is the difference between a $300 and $800 regulator? Do I have to spend more to dive safely? Alec explains the major and minor features of each price range. Regulator selection should be based primarily on annual number of dives and the type of diving you do.

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Gregory Boyle says:

Your videos are what brought me to get into diving, I wish I could dive with you one day, you’re truly an inspiration for me to be as a diver whether it be your straightforward opinion or just your funny personality. Please keep up these videos so I can learn more.


What about Apeks? Their 180$ second Stage XTX50 is exactly the same as their 300$ second Stage XTX200

Vinnie DeAngelis says:

Thank you; informative as always!

diver dave says:

everyone needs the regulator that ATOMIC sells a T3 Titanium for only $1749.85 !
My dive shop has a rich FOOL that goes diving once a year and always buys the latest n most expensive regulator for him and his wife …. They made me promise to not tell them I bought a Dacor Pace 900 back in 1979 and use it all of the time and LOVE IT !
* you were correct saying that everyone doesn’t need an expensive reg *

Michael Buttram says:

Hi Alec, I read someone switched to a metal body second stage (the A700 you featured here) and it was successful in curing his dry mouth issue underwater, thoughts? Thanks!

Jim Hinckley says:

“Consistant Hi volume air” as Alec said… Buy a balanced first stage… you won’t regret it. I always told my students you don’t want to feel like you’re trying to suck air from a cocktail straw, especially if you’re new, maybe a little nervous or over excited, or going deeper, say over 60′. Just my opinion (y)

uberacx says:

I love this guy. Funny yet Informative. Thanks for your Video!


Love it Alec! Thanks for all the very useful info!

Jim K says:

Several years ago, I was diving on a charter in Cozumel.The site was Palancar Bricks. There was a European couple on the boat who appeared to be in their early 40’s. He seemed to be fit, while she was rather heavy and flabby. They were diving rental equipment, Sherwood Brut’s of early 2000’s vintage. She seemed inexperienced in the water. There was a point in the dive where you have to swim across a sandy patch of about 40 yards against a cross current at 75 ft. They aborted the dive half way across the sand. Back on the boat, the gentleman was livid, blaming the reg for not providing enough air.
Although durable and maintenance friendly, those base model Brut’s were known to be tough breathing, a problem that was alleviated in later models.
I would say it was an instance where inexperience, poor diver conditioning, work at depth, and a low performance regulator ended their dive. I have one of those reg’s as a backup, and dive it a couple times a year, alway on shallow dives. It’s fine there.

Oscar Valenzuela says:

Thanks for your videos. They’ve been very enlightening. I’ve been diving in my south american cold waters for a while and my $300 reg done the job faultlessly.

Paul Rada says:

Great tips and especially liked the vid you did on things your instructor taught you that were wrong. Keep up the great work
Paul R.

Jorge .VD says:

Hello Alec,

I was wondering if you had the option to choose, which would you take? A reserviced scubapro mk5 (1978 model) or buy a cheap modern entry level regulator? The thing is I have two aquilon’s and an mk5 lying around, and the diveshop I went to told me it would cost me + – 60-80 euros to service the mk5 back into working condition. I also have an old nemrod delta 2 and la spirotechnique aquilon lying around (although I’m not sure it would be worth it to rebuild them completely?)

troop1026 says:

Great as always friend. Hey let’s see The infamous Kevin once in a while

William Zink says:

Thanks for the videos! I’m new to diving and going to Bonaire with my fiance for our honeymoon! She’s an experienced diver and I’ve just completed the open water class so, I have no idea what I’m doing. Your videos are great for me and have answered so many questions that I’ve had!

FALCON 2000 says:

Hi Alec. Very good video as usual. I own a US Divers Aquarius that has not use for 30-something years (I stop diving as many years) up until last year. Even right out of the bag it worked after attaching it to a tank. Got it serviced and now not only looks like new but works really good, at least the way I remember it. Very simple regulator and as you say, it fits my diving needs, a couple of days a year in fresh water. But although it is working the way it is supposed to I am looking for a more modern (21th century) system in the near future. Will use the Aquarius as a backup I guess.

Log Buyer says:

witch model is the $300 regulator

GuitarPartho says:

Good Video, however there are prominent differences for those diving in Cold Water…Balanced First & 2nd stage, Piston vs Diaphragm etc

Ruth Christiani says:

Hi Alec, my cressi second stage (the Ellipse and XS series) has this pre dive and dive lever on it. It says to put it on a pre dive mode when not in use so I thought it was to prevent it from free flowing. But I set my octopus on pre dive and it still went to free flow (not often but just sometimes). And also, I accidentally forgot to switch it back to dive mode when I dive, yet I could still breathe underwater just fine so I’m not sure what that lever actually does. Most of the cressi second stage comes with it. Any experience on those?

Matthew Zeitsch says:

Hey just wondering if u can do a video on storing your dive gear again

Taeloth says:

This is the first video of yours that I watched and I love it! I just bought new gear for a heck of deal so I’m pretty stoked. You said mention topics to discuss, so I will (sorry if you’ve been down this road before). I would love to watch a video about the AquaLung MTXR and the new Navy Cold Weather parameters that are going to release. On even more broad terms, maybe discuss the direction of the industry with ‘innovation’ vs ‘old school’ like seawing novas compared to jetfins/RK3s or the ScubaPro Hydros Pro and the new Aqualung “Recreation BPW” BCD they are starting to market. Thanks for the video!

ThaDirtyVicar says:

This was so very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to put this out.

nightterror007 says:

I bought all of my scuba gear used on Craigslist for $800. I was debating on selling my gear because I haven’t used it in 5 years and I would like to barter my gear for a refresher course for me and part of a licensing course for my mother-in-law. I didn’t realize that the Venturi assist was not part of the cheaper regulators. all my stuff is chromed with the bells and whistles so I may just get all the O-rings replaced and stick with my gear

Jeric Ns says:

Alec, excellent presentation as always.

Alain Dumesny says:

Or you can buy a $500 regulator for $150 like I did just because it is a few years old (new old stock) doesn’t mean it doesn’t work great. balance diaphragm, super compact light travel, flow and venturi adjustment.
Speaking of which, isn’t Venturi also used to stop free flow at the surface when you open the flow all the way ? I found that really helps.

Kuki Peter says:

Thank you!

Joshua Wade says:

Alec, is it possible/acceptable to mix 1st and second stages? i.e. can I take an Oceanic Zeo or Scubapro Mk25 and screw it into my Hog d1 1st stage? Are thread seizes standard? Could this alter any warranty? Do you think it would create a safety issue?

Michael Sold says:

Thank you very much 🙂

BlackStarMulti says:

Still dont get why you mericans dont use DIN Valves, 300 bar proof, smaller, just the safer design

Osvaldo Richards says:

Thanks for the video!, I have one question though for the $800 regulators range. Is there any difference (from the user point of view) between diaphragm and piston 1st stages?

Guy Beasley says:

You’re a straight shooter. I’m sure you’ve seen the sign “In God we trust – all others pay cash.” I have to say when it comes to scuba advice – in Alec Peirce I trust .

VB Nauticool says:

Great info. Thanks!

Nick Casper says:

Good video, but I can’t help but feel you devalued the features of the higher-end regulator. Those features have added benefits. Sure someone who does 10 dives a year will not notice the difference. But I feel the overall tone was “buy cheap” don’t spend money on what you might want.

Anton Todyka says:

you are the best. please share more your big experiance

vt480 says:

Thank You….subscribed.

David S says:

Hi again Alec. There is a relatively new brand out from Scuba Choice:  Palantic. Taiwan made. Reviews I have seen have been surprisingly good, considering the low price. They even have a balanced 1st stage. I was thinking of using one of these on a pony. Any experience or thoughts on these? Thanks again, Dave

Dietrich Probst says:

Great video, thanks for the info !!!

AbyssWalker says:

I just bought my first reg set not long ago on sale for $500, was normally $1100. Couldn’t pass up on that opportunity.

xinzhouliu says:

Thanks Alec. Great, informative video.
I am shopping for a reg (never owned one), mostly for cold water diving here in the Bay Area, California. Is the key take-home message that the 1st stage unbalanced vs balanced doesn’t really matter for a normal dive (like not too cold and not too deep)? Go for something that is easy to service? So if the budget is tight, $300 reg should give me everything I need, right? Steven

Bart Croes says:

Hi Alec,
Doesn’t the price alsohave something to do with being better adapted to diving in cold water ?

Adriel Lind says:

Thank’s much for sharing your knowledge in such a fun way. I just became very interested in scuba diving and this videos have become very use full for me. God bless you!!

JashQ says:

This guy seems like a really cool guy. I wish he was my teacher.

charmmsy says:

A very informative video! Thanks! Ive been looking to get a good regulator. Would you have any comments for a Beauchat Vr 200 Soft Touch HD regulator?

Tony Wood says:

Thank you for the video! You answered a lot of my questions!

Michael Kopa says:

Alec, big fan of your Scuba Tech Tips! Just wondering if you’d consider doing a video with tips on air consumption if possible. I’ve got over 60 dives but I’m still a bit of an “air hog.” Do you have any tips on reducing air consumption while diving? Thanks and keep up the great videos!

Charles Stout says:

Hey Alec, you are awesome. I love watching your videos. I’ve learned so much. I just got my PADI OW in June and my PADI AOW in October. I bought my first piece of gear. I watched your Dive Computer video and got the Suunto Vyper Novo. It was suggested that I should get my Regulator next because the Vyper has Air Integration. I like it cuz I can wear it on my wrist and see all the data I need during my dive right there. I was thinking of Scubapro MK25 /S600 it is nice but you’re right. its expensive and I don’t think I will dove that much maybe 6 times a year. so I was checking the aqua lung legend supreme. which is maybe a $100 cheaper, but still $650-$750 is a big difference then $300. now I have to rethink my whole search. but I see a lot of this equipment can last for years if I take care of it. so I wonder if the investment is worth it. I’m 43 years old,. I hope I’m diving in my 70’s like you. with that being said, I debating if I should get this now cuz I know ill use it for the rest of my scuba diving days

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