The story began centuries ago when humans decided to explore deep seas and oceans and learn more about that world and all it contains.
The old story goes back to the eighteenth century, specifically, in England, 1715, and then Paris, 1771. Attempts and initiatives to reach an invention that secures diver full independence from the surface continued during the nineteenth century in Europe then the twentieth century in Japan, the United Kingdom, and France.
We’ll go about the details of this industry from 1945, when the Aqua-lung emerged, a brand owned by U.S. Divers.
It is the same year the manufacture of an open-circuit underwater breathing apparatus, also known as a Regulator, was confirmed.
This article is for divers. Therefore, no need to define an air regulator in detail. We will limit ourselves on focusing the technological leap that has introduced a regulator for us. We will talk about companies and brands competing to offer their products in this industry so that divers can determine what suits them and know how to choose their personal regulators professionally.
The industry of diving regulators began to be popular in America and Europe. Many brands emerged, and the Italians excelled in this industry and so did the French. International events and exhibitions were held for manufacturers to introduce their products and divers from various countries visited those events to learn about the latest technologies.
The modern industry managed to provide regulators with great features, ideal for recreational and technical diving. Several technologies were added for air regulators, such as safe dysfunction, balancing, environmental plug, first-stage work system, diaphragm as well as distinctive and beautiful designs. All of these technologies were important, useful for the divers, and achieve the highest level of safety and security during diving. Let’s get to know these technologies more by defining them and clarifying what they are and the true value of each technology added to the air regulator.
It is a feature that ensures the safety of the diver in case of a malfunction in the first stage of the regulator. The regulators not equipped with this technology used to cut the air supply to the diver when a malfunction in the first stage occurs, which exposes the diver to danger or death. Safe dysfunction, on the other hand, does not cut the air supply but lets the air flow freely from the first stage to the second while relieving the pressure from the cylinder. Divers under training have a very important exercise on taking advantage of this technique, which is an exercise to use a free flow regulator.
This technology lets the diver breathe comfortably while descending to great depth. Balancing is done at the first stage so that the pressure of the cylinder ; air pressure is not affected through the first stage of the regulator and then to the second stage and the mouth piece, regardless of the total pressure at the depth. The old regulators that did not provide the balancing feature would let the diver breathe down to a depth of approximately ten meters. Then the greater the depth, the more difficult it would be to inhale and breathe comfortably.
This technology is especially important to those who practice diving in cold water. It is responsible for preventing the freezing of water in the regulator through the large chamber in the oral piece or during decompression in the first stage of the regulator.
Today, almost all brands of regulators provide these technologies in their products. Companies compete in creating beautiful designs, providing the product at an appropriate price, and also by providing distribution agents for these products in diving sights around the world. Some attention must be paid to some of the products that entered our market early and achieved great popularity among divers. This does not mean that these products are the best ever. There can be more advanced and practical products from more developed brands at lower prices but they entered the markets late or do not have a distribution agent in our region. This applies to all diving equipment, not just regulators. So, how do we get to know the new, advanced, and competitive products? Answer: The key is knowledge and visiting several diving centers, browsing companies’ websites, and identifying the features of the products. Even if no agent for a product you liked is available in your region, online retail websites offer you a solution to purchase and ship the product at a lower price sometimes, but they prevent you from the warranty feature.
I do not mean to say that buying diving equipment is difficult, but our goal is to clarify that the purchase must be done carefully so that the diver would not have to purchase their diving equipment twice or more.
What is the best in the market now?
All companies offer good products in some of their models. Our extensive research into the development of regulators showed that the US Navy uses only two types of regulators, Italy’s company Mares, and Sweden’s POSEIDON, due to the importance of this part of the equipment. We kept investigating until we concluded that the navy always seeks to obtain a regulator that bears all conditions and has exceptional advantages and technologies. The navy seeks to provide safety, security, and comfort for its divers. In an attempt to understand that, we studied the products of the two companies and reached the following:
Mares Air Regulators
Like the rest of the companies, almost all Mares underwater breathing regulators provide the important technologies we mentioned: balancing, safe dysfunction, environmental plug, and diaphragm system, but they are unique in four wonderful and distinctive features that made them a first choice for the American Navy, technical diving professionals, and some commercial divers. The features are:
VAD system in Mares regulators is a very modern technology to control the air delivery system for the diver after reducing the air pressure from the cylinder through the first stage and its arrival through the hose for the oral piece. In all regulators, the air enters the big chamber and then to the diver. VAD is a new system that provides the diver with a quantity of air that comes directly from the hose. The value of this technique is that it provides more warm and humid air, thus avoiding the diver feeling dryness at the throat and preventing relative air freezing in the chamber at the second stage. It enables the diver to withdraw more air in certain diving positions when needed. For example, if the diver had to look up and roll, we know that the valve in this position leads to even greater pressure on the membrane of the chamber and air intake becomes heavy. VAD system eliminates all these problems and only Mares regulators provide this important and advanced technology.
Air Release System while Exhaling
Most of Mares designs release the exhale to the environment through openings located under the diver’s chin, thus the resulting bubbles do not hinder the diver’s view at any time, which is comfortable and a kind of luxurious in diving.
Mares uses its own type of flexible and durable hoses. It is a very advanced company in this matter.
In 2002, Mares established a new department in its internal system, fully responsible and devoted to conducting researches and tests on its equipment, exposing all its designs to harsh conditions, discovering and developing weaknesses, recording and documenting those researches through the internationally approved official methods.
Poseidon Air Regulators
Just like other companies, Poseidon offered basic technologies and shared VAD technology with Mares in its XSTREAM regulators only.
They also uniquely provide a wonderful standard of decompression. All the regulators in the world reduce the cylinder pressure in the first stage to 9 bar, while Poseidon regulators reduce the pressure to 13 bar and they have a device in the agent centers to calibrate the regulators during maintenance.
Price competition between the two companies remains an important factor for the divers. We all aspire to own the best equipment, but we are not obliged to spend a large and exaggerated amount of money. Mares is ahead at this point. They provide excellent products but reasonably-priced compared to the competitors. Maybe they are not the cheapest in the market, but they provide cheaper prices and excellent features compared to Poseidon.
The Best Brands We Recommend When Purchasing
Mares – Poseidon – Aqua-lung – Scuba Pro
A regulator is a very important part of the diver’s equipment, so we always advise you to carefully examine the product before purchasing and check the features of the regulator.