Scubaverse Group Equipment Test: Regulators above £460

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The Scubaverse Group Test Team

The Scubaverse Group Gear Testing Team are a diverse bunch, with recreational divers, instructors & tech divers in the mix. The team tested these regulators over a 40min dive at Capernwray Diving Centre in Lancashire, UK with a max dive depth of 18m.

Group Test Team Members

  • Yo-Han Cha: Yo-Han is a PADI Divemaster Candidate and a BSAC Sports Diver. He has been diving for 13 years, is a committed club diver and dives throughout the year in the UK.
  • David Pilgrim: David is a PADI Master Instructor, a PADI Tech Deep Instructor, a TDI Advanced Trimix Diver, and has been diving for 20 years.
  • Tom Tyler: Tom is a PADI MSDT, a BSAC Instructor and has been diving for 12 years.
  • Andy Ciaramella: Andy is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, a BSAC Instructor, an AIDA Level 2 Freediver and has been diving for a very long time!
  • Alex Tasker: Alex is a PADI Rescue Diver, an SDI Solo Diver and an IANTD ART, and has been diving for 8 years.
  • Mich Gillian: Like Alex, Mich is also a PADI Rescue Diver, an SDI Solo Diver and an IANTD ART, and has been diving for 8 years.
  • Nick Barrett: Nick is an experienced recreational diver who has dived all over the world.

The Scubaverse Group Test Team met up to put five high-end regulators through their paces. All retail at £460 and above for first and second stage, and all the regulators we tested were DIN versions, set-up straight from the box.

Atomic Z3

Mares Carbon 52X

The regulators included in this test were:

Atomic Z3: £460

Mares Carbon 52X: £483

Aqua Lung Legend LX Supreme: £513

Scubapro MK17/S620

Scubapro MK17/S620: £549

Apeks MTX-R: £552

Aqua Lung Legend LX Supreme

What the makers say

Atomic Z3

The Z Series is our most compact and economical regulator system. But its rare combination of performance, ergonomics and materials is unmatched by competitors at any price. The Z Series gives divers the assurance of the same Limited Lifetime Warranty as all Atomic regulators. The all-black styling of the Z3 makes a dramatic statement, or add a splash of color with an optional accent kit.

Mares Carbon 52X

100% Carbon Technology has been used for the Carbon 52X scuba regulator which offers extreme performance at any depth! A Natural Convection Channel enhances heat exchange, perfect for cold water. The unique double DFC system meets all the requirements of air at any depth, including two divers breathing simultaneously. The Natural Convection Channel (NCC) system increases the performance in cold water. The superior thermal conductivity of carbon reduces the condensation of humidity in the exhaled breath thereby diminishing the dry mouth feeling at the end of the dive. Carbon 52 is perfect for any type of diving. Ideal placement of hoses combined with an extremely soft and light Superflex hose makes it the lightest second stage on the market.

Aqua Lung Legend LX Supreme

The Legend LX Supreme is specially adjusted to resist freezing with the same high performance features and ease of breathing as the Legend LUX but without the pink gold finish. The Legend LX Supreme is equipped with an over-sized lipshield on the second stage to keep lips warm and like the Legend LUX, features the Master Breathing System (MBS).

Scubapro MK17/S620

If you dive deep, dive cold, or often find yourself on silty bottoms, the MK17 EVO/G260 is the regulator for you. While you don’t need to dive less-than-pristine waters to appreciate this system, it’s a great choice for cold water or harsh conditions, which is why tech divers and cave explorers just love this reg. The compact MK17 EVO is completely sealed off from the elements, ensuring trouble-free operation no matter how cold or murky the water gets. The G260 is the most imitated air balanced second stage of all time. It features metal internal components and a left-right hose attachment option, making it a great choice for tech diving configurations and a consistent top-of-the-line performer. Put them together and you’ve got a winner.

Apeks MTX-R

The MTX-R is based on the MTX, a regulator that was developed in accordance with the United States Navy Experimental Dive Unit extreme cold water test. Innovations in design mean that the MTX-R regulator performs in almost freezing water at a depth of over 60 metres, something that very few other regulators on the consumer market can boast. With an innovative first stage design that helps to prevent ice build up around the diaphragm, the MTX-R is reliable, rugged and expedition ready.

Apeks MTX-R

The Review

European regulations mean that all regulators bought in the UK have to have a CE mark and so a basic minimum standard has to be reached to make it to market. These regulations are strict and  gone are the days when unsafe equipment might hit the market. Our team put each regulator to the test, looking at performance, looks and value for money. We put each one through a series of tests that included breathing whilst inverted, regulator recovery and purging, mouthpiece comfort, exhaust bubbles and hose length.

Our test team expected great things for all of these regulators. They are, after all, at the top end of the market and so they expected some nice features and excellent performance. Each of the five regulators delivered a dry breathe, even when inverted and there were no free-flows when purging underwater or during the reg-recovery test. Again they all performed very well when it came to seeing whether exhaled bubbles obscured the field of view, when stationary or when swimming.

Here are the team’s results from each reg tested:

Atomic Z3

What our tester liked: The Atomic comes with a comfort swivel which is fitted to give more freedom of movement of the second stage. It also has optional colour kits so that you can match up your second stage to the rest of your diving gear. Our tester was very impressed with the breathe when using this regulator on our test dive.

  • Mouthpiece was small and a little hard, but made to last
  • Hose length a little too short
  • Dry breathe when inverted
  • Bubbles – mostly to the side, out of the field of vision.

Mares Carbon 52X

What our tester liked: The Mares looks great, and is very light, so will be great for travel. Nice long hoses pleased our tester along with great performance underwater.

  • Mouthpiece was very soft and comfortable
  • Hose length – plenty so that you do not feel any pulling at all
  • Dry breathe when inverted
  • Bubbles – great, not a single bubble in view.

Aqua Lung Legend LX Supreme

What our tester liked: Well, actually they loved (rather than liked) the performance, the hose routing and the port plugs

  • Mouthpiece was really nice, with a skirt that kept the tester extra warm, very comfortable
  • Hose length – fine
  • Dry breathe when inverted
  • Bubbles – very few in front of face

Scubapro MK17/S620

What our tester liked: This regulator was admired for its good looks and its excellent underwater performance.

  • Mouthpiece was a bit small
  • Hose length – fine
  • Dry breathe when inverted
  • Bubbles – not a single bubble in field of vision

Apeks MTX-R

What our tester liked: This regulator looked really good and performed very well underwater.

  • Mouthpiece was soft and comfortable
  • Hose length – fine
  • Dry breathe when inverted
  • Bubbles – very few in vision

In fact, as expected, these regulators performed really well. But the ones singled out by our test team and given 5 * in performance, looks and/or value for money were:

Mares Carbon 52X

Our tester said: “These regs are fantastic. They are light and perform superbly. Great value for money. If I were replacing my regs right now it would be between these and the Apeks, which I think also look great.”

Aqua Lung Legend LX Supreme

Our tester said: “Very nice breathe, beautiful port plugs; good hose routing. What a great regulator!”

Apeks MTX-R

Our tester said: “Great for photographers, with no bubbles at all interfering with your view. Fabulous performance and good looks too.”

Final Thoughts

At this price range you expect a lot for your money, and we found that you got it. Every one of these high end regulators did the business!

Keep checking back for the next Group Equipment Test on Scubaverse.com soon…

Team Scubaverse

Team Scubaverse

Team Scubaverse manages the Scubaverse website

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