You are about the buy your first regulator set, but... Where do you start? There are so many different types, brands and differences in price ranges. What is important to take into account and what questions do you have to ask yourself. This should not be an impulse buy. Your regulator set will be staying with you for the next couple of years. Let's see if we can answer some of the questions above.
DIN v.s. INT (Yoke)
The difference between a DIN and INT first stage is the manner in which it attaches to your tank. A DIN (which stands for Deutsche Industrie Norm) first stage has a threaded post that screws into the inside of the tank valve. Whereas the INT first stage has has an oblong metal brace that completely encircles the tank valve when in place.
DIN first stage INT first stage
When asking scuba divers which first stage is better, you'll get different answers. I've been scuba diving with a INT first stage for several years now and I've never had any problems. My buddy has been diving with the DIN stage and again no problems. The biggest advantages of DIN is the fact you have no O-ring in your tank which can get damaged and your first stage is connected more tightly with the scuba tank. In theory less can go wrong with a DIN stage. The best option however is to check what is the most common in your diving community or at your diving center.
232 bar v.s. 300 bar
The 200 bar scuba tank is most common among scuba divers (recreational diving industry). However it is important to check which kind of scuba tank you have or want to have in the future. You'll have to make sure you first stage is able to cope with the amount of bar. The DIN first stage can handle a higher pressure more safely then the INT first stage. The advantage of a 300 bar tank is that you have more air and can make longer dives.
There are many different brands and types of regulators which also result in major differences in price. Let's compare one of the more cheaper regulators with one of the more expensive regulators. This way we shed a bit more light on the possibilities. I've chosen for the Mares Rover 12S, because this is the regulator I've been using myself the past years. I want to see how my regulator is comparing to one from the high end product line. I've taken the Aqualung Legend because it's been in the news a lot and let's be honest it looks great.
|Type||12S||Legend LUX Supreme|
|Price||€ 149,-||€ 699,-|
|DIN / INT||Both||Both|
|232 / 300 bar||Both||Both|
|First stage weight (grams) INT / DIN||688 / 678||882 / 668|
|Second stage weight (grams)||200||200|
|Number of HP ports||2||2|
|Number of MP ports||4||4|
|Cold water proof||Yes||Yes|
|Type of first stage||Balanced diaphraghm design||Over balanced diaphragm design, environmentally sealed|
Till this point I can compare the two regulators on the specifications provided. The differences so far are minimal. Then the price difference must be in what I can't compare. What is the Legend LUX Supreme offering that the Mares 12S doesn't have?
Well when we look at the images the first thing is quite clear. Style! The Legend LUX Supreme definitely looks great. It has all the finishing touches that the Rover is missing. Furthermore I have to say that the Rover is a bit older than the Legend, which came out two years ago I believe. Also the legend has multiple technically advances that the Rover is missing. Just to name a few:
Heat Exchanger for freezing resistance
- Lip shield
- redesigned exhaust tee for better bubble dispersion and easier exhalation
- One control, the MBS, adjusts both the venturi and the opening effort
- Focused on cold water diving
But... Are all these extra specs and the stylish design worth the extra € 550,- in regard to the Rover? To be honest I have no idea! I've been diving with the Rover for a couple of years now, and I'm very satisfied with it's performance. As I've never dived with the Legend, I can't say anything about this.
I do know that buying your complete scuba diving set is expensive and for me this meant going for a cheaper regulator model. Don't get me wrong, I never had any regrets. I would make the same choice all over again. Even at this stage, with more scuba diving experience below the belt I'm in doubt if I would buy a regulator this expensive.
Product review: Mares Rover 12S and Octopus