A regulator is an essential piece of gear that should always be first on your scuba diving checklist. But not all regulators are made the same and if you are going to explore in water that is 75 degrees or colder, you will need a special regulator for cold water.
The best cold water regulator will be more hefty in its construction so that you can rely on it in rugged conditions and it should have features that ensure it won’t freeze or malfunction due to the lower temperature conditions.
But it is important for your safety that you spend the time to find quality cold water diving equipment. We have made a list of the five best cold water regulators and included a detailed buying guide so that you can make a superior investment and ensure that you stay safe on every dive.
How To Choose A Cold Water Regulator – Buying Guide
There are two types of regulators – diaphragm and piston. A diaphragm regulator is one that is environmentally sealed, which means that the interior of the first stage of the regulator is not exposed to water or air. The protection of the environmental seal stops damage from debris in the water or even damage from the saltwater.
For cold water divers, the best cold water regulator will be environmentally sealed because it also adds another layer of protection from the low temperatures. The seal can also extend the lifetime of your scuba regulator for cold water diving because it prevents corrosion. But most importantly for cold water divers, an environmental seal will enhance your safety by ensuring that your regulator is always functioning as you dive.
Metal Second Stage
The second stage of your regulator is also important to consider because you want it to be durable. The best scuba regulator for cold water will be made of metal, which means that it is more suitable to withstand tough dive conditions. Chrome plate is a common metal used in cold water diving equipment, which is durable but lightweight.
The only downside to a metal second stage dive regulator for cold water is that it will be more expensive than ones that are only made of plastic. But for the extra price of the investment, you will get a quality regulator for cold water that is longer lasting and more reliable in its performance.
A top rated scuba regulator for cold water may have a range of temperatures that it is compatible to function. Some designs can be used in both warm and cold water temperatures, which should be fine for most recreational divers. But there are more scuba diving dangers and risks in cold water temperatures, so it is important that you have the proper cold water diving equipment if you are exploring icy waters.
The temperature should be indicated in the regulator’s product specifications, which can tell you in which climates it can be safely used. However, cold water regulator reviews may also be able to assist you in determining the proper water temperature conditions.
A top rated scuba regulator for cold water may use a DIN or yoke valve. The two valves are not the same, so it is important that you decide which one would be best for your dives. A DIN valve will attach directly to your scuba diving tank for a stronger and more stable seal. Due to the better seal, a DIN valve is preferred for most technical dives. A DIN valve will also perform better in cold water temperatures. The only downside is that a DIN valve requires more maintenance.
A yoke valve uses an external O-ring made of rubber to attach to your tank and because the seal is not directly connected to the tank, it is less stable. Yoke valves are preferred for warm water diving or recreational dives. They are easier to setup and require less maintenance, but will not function in water colder than 75 degrees.
A dive regulator for cold water should be balanced because it will provide you with a more consistent and better airflow as you descend into the water. When you are on low air, a balanced regulator will still provide you with the same amount of air, every time you breath, until you have used the tank completely.
An unbalanced tank makes it more difficult to breath as your tank supply runs low, which exhausts more of your energy. For cold water diving, the change in airflow of an unbalanced tank can be dangerous for inexperienced divers.
There are two mechanisms that regulators for cold water use – a piston or diaphragm. A diaphragm regulator has flaps on the inside, which are forced open and closed as you breath. This allows you to take steady and consistent breaths and provides you with free airflow. A diaphragm ice diving regulator will also likely be environmentally sealed, which can reduce damage and is important for cold water divers.
Piston regulators have a higher flow rate and are easier to breath from, but they are more likely to malfunction in cold water conditions because the mechanism can get stuck. While piston regulators are more affordable and easier to maintain, you may find that because they are not environmentally sealed their performance is less consistent.
When you’re holding a piece of gear in your mouth for extended periods of time, the weight of the regulator can be an important consideration to your overall comfort. The best scuba regulator for cold water will be lightweight, so that you don’t suffer from jaw fatigue under the waves.
Some regulators will use titanium to cut down on the overall weight, but keep in mind that titanium isn’t the best for cold water dives. Brass or nickel are better choices because they are hardier and more durable, while still being lightweight. A lightweight scuba diving regulator for cold water will also be better for traveling.
Ports are what allow you to control your regulator as you dive. For warm water divers, you need less ports. But cold water divers need more ports so that they can attach multiple gauges to safely dive in challenging conditions. Ports cannot be added to a regulator’s design, so it is important that you choose a model that has more ports than less.
Q: How Do I Test My Scuba Regulator?
For your safety, it is important that you regularly check all your cold water diving equipment and ensure that it is in working order for your next dive. A regulator needs to be checked before each dive to ensure that the mechanism is fully functioning.
The best cold water regulator will include instructions that will give you a step by step breakdown of how to test your regulator, so you are always prepared. But you should always be able to test a regulator in areas like the pool, if you do not live near another body of water. Cold water regulator reviews can also give you advice on how to test your regulator.
Q: Where Can I Use A Cold Water Scuba Regulator?
This will depend on your regulator’s design. Some regulators are suitable for warm and cold water dive conditions, which means that it can be used in places like Australia or Iceland. However, it is always best to check the temperature rating of your regulator. Some ice diving regulators are best used only in cold water conditions and others warm water regulators will fail in cold temperatures.
Q: How To Prevent A Scuba Regulator From Freezing?
Freezing is dangerous for regulators because it can cause the device to free-flow, which means that you have lost control of your air supply. This can cause you to use up your air supply too quickly and can lead to fatal accidents. The best scuba regulator for cold water should have features included in the design, which will prevent the mechanism from freezing.
However, you can take extra measures by not using your regulator too much before your dive and keeping it dry before you head under the waves. You should also protect your regulator from the freezing air conditions by packing it into a bag or wrapped in your other cold water diving equipment.
Globo Surf Overview
Scuba diving is a thrilling experience, but in order to have the best time and for you to be safe, you need to use the proper gear. Cold water diving equipment is designed to handle extremely low temperatures and rough water conditions, which means that by using a cold water regulator you are safer on your journey. With our guide, we hope that we provided you with all the information you need to purchase the best cold water regulator so that you can dive confidently.
Do you own one of the cold water regulators that made it onto our list? Let us know which one is your favorite to use on your cold water dives in the comments section below.