All divers know that it is important to save air when diving. You wouldn’t want to waste breaths and come up dangerously short on your dive duration. One piece of scuba diving gear that has gained popularity in recent years is a rebreather.
A rebreather will remove CO2 from recycled air and add any necessary oxygen or nitrox to the new air. This allows you to recycle the air you’ve breathed, which will ultimately allow you to dive for longer periods of time.
It can be very intimidating to buy your first rebreather. They are an expensive investment and you want to find the right design that suits your type of diving. Our guide will give you all the information you need to find the best rebreather.
How To Choose A Rebreather – Buying Guide
When you decide to invest in a rebreather, it is an exciting but daunting task. There is a lot of important information that you should consider before making an investment and you’ll want to be certain that you’ve found a reliable design.
We will go through some of the most important features for you to consider, which will help you find a top rated rebreather for scuba diving.
There are three different types of rebreathers and differences are related to how the circuit of the rebreather are controlled and how oxygen is reintroduced into the new breathing loop. There are two types of closed circuit rebreathers, as well as a semi closed circuit rebreather design.
Electronic closed circuit rebreather (ECCR): this will use a computer system to automatically measure the amount of oxygen in your breath loop constantly, as well as maintain the PPO2 set point.
Manual Closed Circuit Rebreathers (MCCR): This will require that the diver constantly check their own levels of PPO2 and manually put more oxygen into their breathing loop. These are normally less expensive but will require extensive knowledge on the diver’s part of how the rebreather works.
Semi Closed Circuit Rebreathers: This type of rebreather will lose gas with every breath you exhale. They will keep a constant percentage of the oxygen, but it is not ideal for decompression divers. This is best as a recreational rebreather, rather than diving to deep depths.
Scrubber and Counter Lung Design
One of the important components to a rebreather is the scrubber canister. This canister has a chemical that extracts the CO2 from your breathing loop. There are different sizes and designs, which will affect the canister’s duration.
Axial: This pipe is cylindrical and will allow the gas to pass in a vertical direction.
Radial: A radial shaped scrubber will allow the gas to pass radially from the center out. This canister has a longer duration.
Counter lungs: These are bags that are located on the rebreather and are a part of the breathing loop. They can be placed on the back or shoulder mounted. Back mounted means the chest is free and exhalation is easier, but inhalation is easier. Shoulder mounted bags are meant to be positioned as close to your lungs as possible. They will be easier to breath but can be cumbersome taking up chest space. There are different sizes available.
A rebreather takes your precious oxygen and puts it into a loop; recycling old air into new and usable air. It is extremely important that you find the best rebreather with high quality materials and an excellent design.
When it comes to an underwater rebreather, you’ll want to find the best quality you can. There should be different well-known brands that have a reliable rebreather design. You can also check rebreather reviews to see what other divers say about the quality.
The initial investment of a rebreather can be expensive, but it doesn’t stop there. You will have to put more money into your rebreather annually to maintain it. The annual expenses can range from $300-$800 and will be spent on new cells, valves, and important servicing.
It is extremely important for your diving safety and the safety of your life that you have the ability to pay the annual expenses and do not ignore them. Ignoring annual expenses can mean that there are small problems or malfunctions with your rebreather, which could lead to disastrous situations.
Build and Breakdown Process
This will depend on your specific rebreather and its design. There are designs that can be built in 10 minutes and others in 45 minutes. The most important part is that you take the time you need to build or breakdown your rebreather. You do not want to rush this process.
The details of the process are important to get correct. You will want to build and breakdown your rebreather correctly, every time you dive with it. You will have to determine if putting in the work to build and breakdown a rebreather means it is the right scuba diving equipment for you.
Basic Field Repairs
There may be small issues that don’t jeopardize your life but will need fixing after a dive and before the next dive. Issues can stem from the cells, valves, or small leaks. You will have to determine, based on the design of your rebreather, if small field repairs are an option.
If you cannot fix your rebreather yourself, you will have to take the time to get it serviced. This could mean that you lose a few weeks of diving with your suit, but it is important that all repairs are done to ensure you have a safe dive.
Size, Trim, and Weight Distribution
These factors will be slightly or non-adjustable. You will have to deal with the design of your rebreather in these aspects, as it cannot be altered. You want your unit to fit you properly. It should be comfortable to breathe and trim out properly. The weight needs to be balanced to make your dive easier. You won’t want to add unnecessary weight to your rebreather.
Q: How do rebreathers work?
A: A scuba rebreather is a piece of diving equipment that removes excessive CO2 from a breathing loop. It will then add the necessary amount of oxygen or nitrox. This will allow you to recycle your used air and turn it into new, breathable air. With a rebreather, you can spend more time underwater.
Q: How long can I stay underwater using a diving rebreather?
A: Rebreathers for diving will allow you to stay under longer, but every underwater rebreather design is different. Most water rebreathers can stay underwater for 1-6 hours. If you focus on breathing better, you may also be able to extend your time underwater with your rebreather.
Q: How deep can I dive with a rebreather?
A: How deep you can dive will depend on a variety of factors. Firstly, it will depend on the specific design of your rebreather, the temperature of the water where you are diving, and some other variables.
Recreational rebreather designs will normally work at depths of 40-130 feet. There are some high-end rebreathers for diving that will allow you to dive to depths of close to 1,000 feet. You should be certain you understand your rebreather and ensure that it will function for the type of dive you have planned.
Q: What are the risks of diving with a rebreather?
A: Scuba diving is safe, but there are risks to diving with an underwater rebreather. You could develop hypoxia, receive too low of oxygen in the new mixed air, or run out of oxygen entirely. It can be dangerous if the oxygen isn’t correctly balanced because it can lead to oxygen toxicity. As with any dive, there can always be general malfunctions of the equipment or parts. To avoid any issues, the safest way to dive is to always use the buddy system and follow scuba diving safety tips. This way, you won’t be alone in case of an issue underwater.
Q: Can I travel with it?
A: Yes, but it will ultimately be determined by your specific rebreather design. If you plan to travel the world, you will just have to ensure that your rebreather can be checked as luggage or carried onto an airplane.
Q: How much training do I need before diving with a rebreather?
A: It is important that you understand the basic physics of diving, like Boyles Law and scuba diving. Once you have learned the basics of diving, you can learn different types of gear and ultimately, learn specialized gear like a scuba rebreather.
You will need to understand how a rebreather works, no matter if you are interested in closed circuit rebreathers or a semi closed circuit rebreather. Especially if you have a Manual Closed Circuit Rebreather, you will need to understand every part of your equipment and how it functions.
It is also important because every rebreather is different. Poseidon rebreather designs may differ from other rebreathers designs, so you need to learn your specific rebreather model.
You should always be fully trained in a rebreather before you dive in open water. You will want to be prepared and trained for unexpected situations with your rebreather.
Globo Surf Overview
Diving is a great and exciting activity that many people enjoy. For expert divers, learning new equipment can be a fun challenge. A top rated rebreather for scuba diving can be a great investment for the divers who love to explore new techniques. It is important that you spend the time to find the best rebreather for scuba diving to ensure you have a safe and fun dive trip.
Do you own one of the rebreathers that made it onto our list? Let us know how it has worked for your scuba diving needs in the comments section below.
Globo Surf Rebreathers Reviews