Top 5 SCUBA Regulators Under $200
People have been asking me to rate low-priced regulators for a while, so I’ve gathered up a few of my favorites and listed them here. Keep in mind that these or other good, low cost SCUBA regulators are likely to be available at your local dive shop. Please support them.
Here in Reno, Sierra Diving Center has been supporting the local dive community for decades, and has available anything you would find online, along with the expertise to help ensure you make the right purchase. If you live near Reno, please visit Sierra Diving Center before buying any dive gear. Tell them what type of diving you’ll be doing, along with where you’ll be diving, and listen to their advice. Call them at (775) 825-2147.
That said, here are my choices.
Cressi Sub Xs2 /Ac2 Regulator: Buy it now for $159.95
Cressi Sub Xs2 /Ac2 Regulator XS2 is the least expensive regulator Cressi Sub makes. The body of the 2nd stage is standard size, with a downstream valve system with an adjustable orifice. It is light-weight, simple and extremely reliable. It is also light, which I love.
The 2nd stage also has a flow deviator that acts on the Venturi, with dive/pre-dive function. This helps eliminate free-flow issues prior to going underwater, while ensuring easy breathing during your dive.
The first stage is a piston design, as are all the regulators in this group. Extremely cold water divers might want to look for dry-sealed, diaphragm first stage to minimize the possibility of ice related free-flow. Aside from that, the Cressi Sub Xs2/Ac2 Regulator is awesome for under 160 bucks!
It has 1 high pressure port and 4 low pressure ports, so with a drysuit and an octopus, you’ll use them all. The biggest issue here is that you won’t have a lot of hose routing options, but that’s true for most regulators when you start filling up the ports.
Cressi Sub Ellipse Black Ac2 Regulator: Buy it now for $199.95
Cressi Sub Ellipse Black AC2 Regulator is the step down from the Ellipse Titanium. It “imitates” features of the Ellipse Titanium regulator, but with a casing made from “sophisticated and strong hi-tech polymers.” The regulator features: fold-out opening of the casing, special folding diaphragm, computer designed lever, tilting movement of the poppet, seal between regulator valve and casing. You can remove the entire air supply system from the body of the 2nd stage.
It is a balanced piston first stage, but delivers air smoothly, with little effort. It has enough ports to supply an alternate, plus a dry suit, but hose routing options are limited. As with all regulators listed here except the Genesis GR440, I don’t like the position of the yoke, which points the end of the first stage into the back of your head. Aside from that, you can’t beat it.
Genesis Atlas Gr440 Regulator: Buy it now for 199.95
The Genesis Atlas Gr440 Regulator is my favorite in the group. Largely, this is because of the position of the yoke, which allows for much better hose routing, and doesn’t place a big knob right into the back of your head. Genesis calls it a “high performance regulator,” which could mean a lot of things. What I do know is that Genesis makes very high quality SCUBA equipment, and has been around a long time. That’s true for all of these regulator manufacturers.
There’s a pre-dive/dive switch to minimize free-flow in currents or when entering the water through surf. Genesis also employs what they call the DAD (Dry Air Demand) First Stage. This essentially means that they keep the parts clean and operating reliably by keep the first stage mechanism dry. That eliminates lubricants, which can be messy.
The GR440 is an easy breathing, reliable regulator, with more sensible port positions than the others in the group.
Mares Prestige 12 Regulator: Buy it now for $199.95
Mares Prestige 12 Regulator is my second choice of all the regulators listed in this group. It would be my first if it had teh yoke in the same position as the Genesis GR440. It incorporates all the features that make Mares regulators great. It’s a mid-size regulator, strengthened by the “ultimate technologies” to provide steady, natural and effortless breathing.
I’ve owned a lot of Mares dive equipment over the years and really like everything Mares makes. My complaint about the yoke position is partially mitigated, since it is a relatively compact first stage, and also that there’s a DIN version available. Still the hose routing isn’t nearly as neat as the GR440.
Genesis Yukon Gr320 Regulator: Buy it now for $174.95
Genesis Yukon Gr320 Regulator offers exceptional dependability. It uses ABS/Polycarbonate for the housing, which personally, I like since plastic doesn’t corrode. Some argue that it is more likely to freeze in cold water. In my experience, sometimes that’s true, but can be managed. Diver inhalation effort is preset by the factory so no knobs, dials, you just screw it on and go.
It uses a flow-by piston first stage, which is probably the same as the GR440 first stage, but takes you back to that end-mounted yoke connection. So, for a saving of only $25, I just can’t see choosing the GR320 over the GR440, although it is a good regulator, and worth the price.