What regulator should I get?
The first consideration for any piece of equipment is safety!
With regulators the next consideration is ease of breathing and this can be a personal thing.
In today's competitive equipment market place there are plenty of options when looking to buy a regulator. If funds permit, then buying new offers warranties, and the latest developments (which are not always for the better) and the equipment comes fully serviced / set-up. There are however good deals to be had buying second hand but a little more care is needed.
So having decided on new / second user; some things to consider...
1) If diving in the UK they must be cold water rated.
2) Environmentally sealed help keeps water and contamination out of the first stage.
3) Some come with a venturi to help fine tune the breathing rate
4) This maybe the first time you have bought regs and therefore you will want a full package...First stage, second stage (primary regulator), 'octopus' and console.
5) Console should have at least contents gauge and depth gauge but consider a compass as sooner or later you will need one!
6) If you travel a lot then weight should be considered and some manufactuerers produce light weight systems
7) 'A' clamp / DIN: Din is seen as more secure and if you cylinder is rated can be used with cylinder pressure up to 300 bar. 'A' clamp is very common. Check to see if they can be converted / adapted from one to another.
8) Regulators have 'ports' high pressure (console connects) and low pressure (second stage, octopus, low pressure inflator and dry suit inflator hose) - make sure there are enough ports!
Ask divers which regulators are best and you will get different answers, its personal choice over many years having tried many makes. All manufacturers produce a wide range of regulators and many will be fit for UK diving as mentioned above. Having found a set of regulators it may be worth checking with a reputable service company the cost of servicing that make and model or even worth a call to ask if they have any problems with a certain make / model after all they are working on them all day long.
If you are buying second hand regulators check to see how old the model is, when they were last serviced and when were they last used (regulators don't like to be left in a garage form long periods)....and don't forget if buying second hand then as soon as you get them...get them serviced BEFORE you dive on them.
Regulators need to be serviced every year and some manufactuerers like recommend shorter servicing periods depending on the water (salt, fresh, swimming pool) and the environment in which they are used.
Remember regulators are (in my opinion) the most important piece of equipment your will buy so worth your money spending wisely!
Some links to sites that sell / provide information:-
Also remember that Below the Surface has a shop, with new and second hand gear.