Coldwater diving requires suitable body gear to ensure you remain warm and comfortable, without failing in function from the low temperatures. One such important equipment is your regulator and as conventional models are prone to freezing and free-flow, it is all the more important to acquire a regulator specially designed for use in cold waters. These regulators possess powerful components that checkmate possible deficiencies that can arise due to low temperatures.
Best Cold Water Regulators
We have put together a list of the best scuba regulators for cold water diving along with reviews to help you make the right pick and stay safe while out in the waters.
The MK25 EVO/A700 scuba regulator boasts a super-fast air delivery system regardless of water pressure changes as you go deeper or swim higher, thanks to the air-balanced first stage piston with limited moving parts and a full-metal CARBON BT second stage, coupled with anti-freeze security. This makes the product ideal for beginners and technical divers alike.
- Air-balanced piston enables quick and uniform breathing response regardless of pressure changes.
- Perfect for all levels of diving expertise and outdoor conditions.
- Durable chrome-plated brass construction.
The Legend line of regulators from AquaLung never disappoints, with the LX supreme being the lightest and most portable of the lot. It also features an overbalanced environmentally sealed first stage diaphragm to drastically reduce the chance of freezing while making sure you enjoy seamless, natural breathing.
- 10 Pressure Ports (6 LP; 4 HP)
- Easily adjustable breathing performance with Master Breathing System.
- Environmentally sealed to keep contaminants and low temperatures at bay.
The Scuba Blizzard Pro is a hardy piece of tech specifically designed to perform excellently in the coldest conditions. This cold water and ice diving regulator doesn’t require any special seals, because its unique design keeps the first stage piston dry and protected from environmental factors. The second stage also remains snug and warm in the mouth with the built-in, auto-warming heat vanes.
- 40% Nitrox-ready from the manufacturer.
- Dry interior with first stage environmental sealing.
- Specially designed for extreme cold water or ice diving.
Mares Abyss 22 is a US Navy-approved DIN regulator. Although heavier than most regulator models, the Abyss 22 comes with sturdy, shock-proof metal construction for durability and a comfortable rubber hose with a fluoropolymer resin finish. It’s also very pocket-friendly and doesn’t require frequent servicing
- Environmentally sealed brass and nickel first stage.
- Extra durable with an outer metal finish.
- Vortex Assisted Design to ensure ease of breathing through the second stage at all times.
The Cressi Ellipse Titanium with an MC9-sealing chamber is the scuba diving answer for beginners and professionals, with a hyper-balanced first stage and compact second stage. Relatively easy to use, the second stage also captions featherweight polymers for a comfortable mouth fit and a Venturi switch for controlling free-flow, thus improving diving performance.
- Easily assembled; ideal for novice and intermediate scuba divers.
- Larger-sized second stage diaphragm for improved breathing.
- Very durable and lightweight with anti-scratch surfaces.
Cold Water Regulators Buying Guide
While all scuba regulators perform the same function of expanding the high-pressure air in your scuba tank to the ambient pressure for your easing breathing, not all scuba regulators work well in cold waters. The heat of expansion absorbed by the air, coupled with the heat lost to the water can drive the regulator to very low temperatures until freezing and free flow occurs.
To prevent this while diving in cold water (75º F or less), your scuba regulator must be able to handle these low temperatures.
Our buying guide reviews the best cold-water regulators on the market based on their specified features and customer feedback to give you the best options to choose from. We then take it a step further to outline the qualities you should be on the lookout for in a cold water scuba regulator before you make a purchase
Also called environmentally sealed regulators, they feature a first stage that as the name implies, is sealed from the environment, water in this case. This should be your prime quality when looking for a cold water regulator. They significantly reduce the heat lost to the water, are very easy to maintain, and are highly durable.
Some regulators are eco-sealed and come with additional heat-exchanger fins to lower the chances of freezing (free-flow), and are always a great choice.
Piston vs. Diaphragm Type Regulators
Cold-water regulators can also be classified based on their operating mechanisms into the piston and diaphragm-type regulators. Piston regulators offer the advantage of few moving parts and thus more precise to control, allow higher flow rates, and are easy to maintain. They are, however pricier than diaphragm-type regulators due to the high-precision manufacturing required.
Diaphragm regulators are less prone to freezing in cold waters than piston regulators, are cheaper, and use many more moving parts.
Balanced vs. Unbalanced Regulators
Cold-water regulators can also either be balanced or unbalanced. Balanced cold water regulators offer a near-constant airflow to your mouthpiece by balancing pressures on either valve side, irrespective of the fluctuating air pressure in your tank or varying depth. While they are pricier, they are more reliable and are preferred for comfort and very low-depth dives.
Unbalanced cold water regulators use the generic mechanisms and tend to create little difficulty in control as pressure increases with depth. Even though cheaper than balanced cold water regulators, they are rarely used.
The mount type by which your regulator sits on your tank is another factor to consider. They two most popular mounts are the DIN mount that uses a threaded section to screw into your scuba tank valve and the Yoke mount that screws around the tank valve. DIN mounts are preferred for higher pressure tanks due to the direct fitting and are designed for more rugged use.
Yoke fittings work with the generic Aluminium 80 tanks and are recommended for recreational diving or warm water diving.
Any cold water regulator you are buying must be able to withstand the high pressure of the air and must be highly corrosion resistant. It should also come with no-slip controls for easy open/close operation. Chrome steel is a great material to look out for in cold water regulators as it is highly corrosion-resistant and lightweight.