Best Cold Water Regulator Review and Buying Guide

ice diving

Cold water diving requires specialized equipment to keep divers warm and comfortable. The equipment itself must also have anti-freezing properties and measures to prevent freeflow. Traditional scuba equipment will fail to perform properly in low temperatures, and that’s why a cold water regulator is all the more crucial when diving in frigid conditions.

Scuba regulators are the diver’s lifeline; you cannot have it freeze or freeflow on you otherwise you will be in extreme danger. A regulator designed specifically for cold water diving will include durable components that eliminate all of the deficiencies traditional regulators have so that it can be safely used in low temperature climates.

In this article, we review the best cold water regulators that are currently available. Below the review, we have included a buying guide to help you understand the considerations we made when putting together our list. With this knowledge, you may also do some research on your own. Let’s dive into our review.

Our Top Picks:

Cressi MC9-SC/Compact Pro, INT
Oceanic Zeagle F8 Scuba Regulator - Yoke
Mares Regulator Abyss 22 Navy II INT

Best Cold Water Regulator Review

Cressi Ellipse Titanium MC9

Cressi MC9-SC/Compact Pro, INT
9 Reviews
Cressi MC9-SC/Compact Pro, INT
  • The MC9-SC/Compact Pro is designed and certified (according to the European standard) to be used in cold water, making it versatile to be used...
  • It combines a balanced diaphragm 1st stage with a Sealed Chamber (SC) cold water system and a light and compact second stage, which offers high...
  • 1st stage made of a light compact structure in chromium-plated brass with inner components in stainless steel, chromium-plated brass, and...
  • Weight: 2.0 lbs / 0.9 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 4 Low Pressure
  • Type: Balanced Diaphragm

For those on a tight budget, the Cressi Ellipse Titanium with an MC9 sealing chamber sets the bar high for cold water regulators without breaking the bank. This model is an entry-level product that lets you easily adjust the flow of air, has a lightweight exterior, and comes with sufficient low and high pressure ports for your extras and accessories.

The second stage is also balanced and has an elliptical shape that allows for a larger diaphragm which, when combined with its high-performance downstream valve design, means you will be breathing very easily underwater. The Ellipse Titanium also has a venturi switch for adjusting freeflow, letting you improve your diving performance.

Overall, the Ellipse Titanium MC9 is an easily assembled and affordable regulator that is suitable for novice and intermediate divers. Not only that, but it can be used for diving in all climates so there is no need to purchase more than one set of regulators when this one can do it all.

Features:

  • Affordable price point.
  • Comes with a venturi switch for adjusting freeflow.
  • Durable exterior with anti-scratch surfaces.
  • Larger-sized second stage diaphragm improves airflow.
  • Lightweight and compact, ideal for traveling.

Oceanic Zeagle F8

Oceanic Zeagle F8 Scuba Regulator - Yoke
11 Reviews
Oceanic Zeagle F8 Scuba Regulator - Yoke
  • 1st stage has dry-sealed spring chamber to stop freezing at water temperatures below 40 degrees F
  • New inhalation diaphragm provides superior tear strength and improved response time to breathing
  • Seat-saving orifice retracts when not in use - extending the life of the breathing tube seat
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs / 1.2 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 5 Low Pressure
  • Type: Balanced Diaphragm

The Zeagle F8 is a lightweight and durable, environmentally-sealed regulator that is usable for both cold and warm water diving. Weighing only 2.6 lbs, the F8 is one of the best travel-friendly regulators for frequent fliers. It has a stainless steel high-pressure port and brass body which is both light and resistant to cold temperatures.

Additionally, a dry sealed spring chamber ensures the F8 won’t freeze even in frigid waters. Since the first stage is environmentally-sealed, contaminants are kept out and this reduces the chances of failure. The balanced diaphragm features a yoke knob and environmental seal cap, improving its reliability and ensuring the F8 will last a long time.

Furthermore, the improved exhaust valve makes it easier for divers to exhale, which in turn makes it easier for one to manage their breathing technique. Jaw fatigue is kept to a minimum with the co-molded silicone mouthpiece, which is corrosion-resistant and sanitary. You will be able to get great performance out of the Zeagle F8 thanks to its excellent breathing responsiveness.

Features:

  • Fully-environmentally sealed first stage prevents fouling by contaminants and freeze protection.
  • Turreted first stage provides more versatility.
  • Easy-grip mouthpiece.
  • Adjustable venturi switch.

Sherwood Blizzard Pro

Sherwood Scuba Blizzard Pro Cold Water and Ice Diving Regulator
2 Reviews
Sherwood Scuba Blizzard Pro Cold Water and Ice Diving Regulator
  • Specifically designed for cold water and ice diving, the Blizzard Pro is one the most dependable regulators in colder waters.
  • Completely Dry and Environmentally Sealed 1st Stage. No cold water gets introduced into the regulator.
  • Nitrox Ready up to 40%. Out of the Box.
  • Weight: 3 lbs / 1.4 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 4 Low Pressure
  • Type: Balanced Piston

With a name like Blizzard Pro, it’s not surprising that this regulator from Sherwood performs well in cold conditions. Previous iterations of this model are already well-known in the scuba community for their reliability and performance. This current model has gone through a complete overhaul to make the latest in a line of great regulators even greater.

The redesigned first stage includes a dry sealed chamber and uses a balanced piston so the internals never come into contact with cold water. This regulator now has a vertical design for better streamlining.

The balanced second stage features a housing made of plastic, however it contains metal heat vanes which absorb the heat when you exhale to disperse the heat to the other parts, reducing the likelihood of freezing. All of the knobs on the Blizzard Pro are oversized and easy to adjust in order to accommodate divers wearing thick gloves.

The Blizzard Pro comes with a limited warranty, and is set up for Nitrox diving to 40% right out of the box. If you are looking for a cold water regulator on a budget, then you can’t go wrong with the Sherwood Blizzard Pro.

Features:

  • Dry interior first stage with environmental sealing.
  • 40% Nitrox ready out of the box.
  • Affordable price point.

Hollis DC7 500SE

Hollis 500SE + DC7 (DIN)
7 Reviews
Hollis 500SE + DC7 (DIN)
  • DC7 First Stage
  • High performance over-balanced first stage provides progressively greater intermediate pressure as depth and gas density increases for superior gas...
  • Fixed hose routing ideal for both backmount and sidemount configuration
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs / 1.1 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 4 Low Pressure
  • Type: Overbalanced Diaphragm

It’s hard to do any underwater photography even under ideal conditions, so it would be a shame if your photos were ruined because of your own regulator. The Hollis DC7 500SE, unlike most regulators, features a side exhaust for exhale gas which keeps the bubbles out of your perfect shot. That’s not all this regulator has going for it. The DC7 is fully equipped to handle both technical diving and cold climates. It is also substantially lighter than similarly designed models.

The DC7 500SE features an overbalanced first stage which makes it easier for consistent airflow, even at depths of 150 feet or more. Additionally, the first stage has been environmentally-sealed to keep contaminants out and prevents rust buildup.

This regulator can be mounted on either the left or right, making it versatile enough for numerous configurations including doubles and sidemount. It is also both DIN and Yoke compatible, giving you the freedom to change your setup depending on the type of diving you will be doing.

Comfort is a key feature of the DC7 500SE. It has a servo-controlled valve for ideal airflow and easier breathing. A 30-inch maxflex hose is provided as part of this purchase, which gives you plenty of length to connect to the ergonomic mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is lightweight and will prevent jaw fatigue from occurring. Lastly, the DC7 500SE can be easily assembled both in or out of the water with no specialized tools necessary.

Features:

  • Side exhaust keeps bubbles out of your way.
  • Lightweight and ideal for travel.
  • Highly versatile; can be mounted on the left or right side.
  • Servo-controlled valve for improved airflow.

Mares Abyss 22 Navy II

Mares Regulator Abyss 22 Navy II INT
6 Reviews
Mares Regulator Abyss 22 Navy II INT
  • Description 1ST STAGE HI FLOW DFC PORT PRE-ORIENTED PORTS CWD OIL KIT US NAVY APPROVED 2ND STAGE VAD SYSTEM MESH GRID FLUOROPOLYMER RESIN FINISH...
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs / 1.3 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 4 Low Pressure
  • Type: Balanced First Stage, Unbalanced Second Stage / Diaphragm

The Mares Abyss 22 Navy II was designed not just for cold water use, but more specifically to pass the US Navy’s standards for cold water diving. It is no surprise that the Navy II is one of the most durable and reliable regulators for cold water use.

Starting off with the first stage, the Mares 22 is a balanced regulator with an environmental cap. This prevents water from entering and contaminating the internals. The Mares 22 first stage may seem a little odd looking, but that’s because Mares has stripped it of any excess metals to keep it compact and as light as possible.

You can find 2 HP ports, one on either side of the regulator, and 4 LP ports, two on either side, for optimum hose routing.

Next, the Abyss second stage has an all-metal housing and this material was used for its thermal conductivity properties. The second stage uses an unbalanced system, however Mares claims that the pressure drop from the first stage is so minimal that they can use a more reliable and simple valve system with minimal drawbacks.

The second stage also does not have any diver adjustment options, but Mares claims that the first stage will always deliver constant airflow no matter the conditions.

Furthermore, the second stage features a bypass tube which creates a vortex that keeps the diaphragm down, making it easier for divers to breathe. Lastly, although the Navy II is heavier than most regulator models because of its sturdy construction, it is very pocket-friendly and does not need to be serviced as much.

Features:

  • Brass and nickel first stage is lightweight and durable.
  • Outer metal finish is scratch-resistant.
  • Vortex Assisted Design guarantees that it is easy to breath through the second stage.

Apeks MTX-R

Apeks MTX-R Cold Water Regulator (White - Yoke)
5 Reviews
Apeks MTX-R Cold Water Regulator (White - Yoke)
  • 1'st Stage, 2'nd Stage, Regulators, Low Pressure Hose, Owner's Manual
  • Apeks MTX-R Regulator, Yoke:
  • Based on MTX Military Regulator
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs / 1.2 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 5 Low Pressure
  • Type: Balanced Diaphragm

The Apeks MTX-R is yet another rugged regular based on a military design and intended for cold and frigid environments. You can use it in depths over 60m (200 ft). It is designed in such a way that no special tools are needed for maintenance, allowing divers to quickly tweak it at the dive site without issue.

This regulator comes with a balanced diaphragm first stage. Water and debris are kept out by the bulletproof environmental seal and this also significantly increases its resistance to freezing. Looking along the balanced brass exterior of the Apeks MTX-R, you will find two high pressure ports and five low pressure ports on the first stage.

Every component in the second stage is designed to withstand harsh conditions. In it, you will find a heat exchanger around the valve mechanisms to capture heat from each exhale and redistribute the temperature to reduce freeze-ups. The exhaust can be customized so that the bubbles come out from the sides, away from the face.

Overall, it is very easy to work with the Apeks MTX-R in the field. If you intend on tackling the coldest environments the planet has to offer, then you should do so with the Apeks MTX-R in your setup.

Features:

  • Military design that is usable at depths over 60m.
  • No special tools needed for maintenance, can be easily tweaked on site.
  • Heat exchangers around valve mechanisms keep them from freezing.
  • Customizable exhaust.

Atomic Aquatics M1

Atomic Aquatics M1 Yoke Sealed, Gray (DIN)
  • Factory ready for Nitrox to 50% or oxygen mixes to 80% when special guidelines are followed
  • First stage materials are chrome plated Brass for the body and Monel for key internal components
  • Atomic Jet Seat high-flow piston first stage
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs (1.1 kg)
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 5 Low Pressure
  • Type: Balanced Piston

Atomic makes some of the most reliable scuba equipment and the M1 regulator continues their tradition. The design of this regulator is based on the popular T2 and B2 line of regulators from Atomic Aquatics.

The M1 is a high-performance regulator with a balanced first stage and an environmental seal that keeps water from damaging the main spring and piston shaft. It is easy to breathe with, durable, and performs well in cold water. Out of the box, the M1 is set up for 50% Nitrox and oxygen mixes up to 80%, which is suitable for most diving applications.

The second stage includes a hose swivel to allow divers to adjust the positioning of the mouth and prevent accidentally yanking on the second stage. Some additional features include a durable front cover that keeps strong currents from activating the diaphragm which may result in the valve fluttering.

Another feature in the second stage is a low pressure seat saver which, when the regulator is depressurized, disengages the valve. You will also find a heatsink that redistributes the heat to the mechanisms more evenly, and an auto venturi control for easier breathing. We found the controls on this reg to be large enough to use and easy to grip even with thick scuba gloves.

Features:

  • Set up for 50% Nitrox and oxygen mixes up to 80%.
  • Swivelling hose lets divers move around more freely without yanking.
  • Includes a durable front cover and low pressure seat saver.
  • Easy to use with thick gloves.

Aqua Lung Leg3nd Elite

Aqua Lung Leg3nd Elite Regulator - Yoke
3 Reviews
Aqua Lung Leg3nd Elite Regulator - Yoke
  • Inhalation adjustment knob: Allows the diver to precisely adjust the opening effort sensitivity
  • At “MIN” position the assistance of the valve is minimized, resulting in lower opening effort sensitivity
  • At “MAX” position the assistance of the valve is maximized, resulting in higher opening effort sensitivity
  • Weight: 3.05 lbs / 1.39 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 4 Low Pressure
  • Type: Overbalanced Diaphragm

Aqua Lung’s Legend models were always very popular options for cold water regulators, particularly their Glacia model. With the release of the Leg3nd Elite, they have since discontinued the Glacia since the Elite is an improvement in nearly every way.

The Elite provides even greater resistance towards freezing and has many ways to prevent ice formation than the Glacia. Like all of the models in the Legend lineup, the Elite is an over-balanced diaphragm regulator.

On the first stage, you will find four low pressure and two high pressure ports for your various attachments. It is environmentally sealed and all of the components are sealed to keep moisture from entering the first stage. The heat exchanger has been improved to redistribute the heat more evenly to keep components from freezing and ensures excellent performance in frigid conditions.

On the second stage you will find an adjustment knob that is sized such that it is easy to use even with thick gloves on. Aqua Lung have made great strides in improving the usability of the Leg3nd regulators so that controlling airflow is a breeze.

Overall, the Leg3nd Elite is one of the best all-around models that performs as well in cold water as it does in warm water.

Features:

  • Overbalanced design ensures air is always easily accessible.
  • Improved heat exchanger keeps components from freezing.
  • Large adjustment knob makes it easy to control air flow.
  • Great for both warm and cold water diving.

Apeks XTX 50/DS4

Apeks XTX50/DS4 DIN Regulator
  • The compact first stage is ideally suited for twin manifolds or for use on a single valve.
  • The one high-pressure port and four low-pressure ports are positioned for most common technical diving rigs
  • The XTX50 second stage is pneumatically balanced for very easy breathing
  • Weight: 3.0 lbs / 1.4 kg
  • Ports: 1 High Pressure, 4 Low Pressure
  • Type: Overbalanced Diaphragm

One cannot make a list of the best cold water regulators without including at least one Apeks product. They are popular among divers because of their bulletproof construction and utter reliability even in the most extreme conditions. Any Apeks product is expected to last, and even if it’s been put through the ringer, it’ll run like new after getting serviced.

We feel that the Apeks XTX 50 DS4 is an excellent representation of what Apeks has to offer. The DS4 first stage comes with a swivelling low pressure turret for excellent range of motion, as well as an environmental seal to keep water out of the internals.

The second stage further resists the cold with the help of a heatsink on the inlet to decrease the likelihood of ice forming on the low temperature components caused by pressurized air expanding. The balanced barrel and valve is all-metal and transfers the heat to the external heat sink.

Inhalation adjustment is straightforward on the DS4, and the venturi switch gives users complete control over their airflow settings. The exhaust cover on the second stage can be swapped to a wider version to vent the bubbles away from the face. Alternatively, users can use a cut back version to streamline their underwater profile. Either way, both covers are included as part of purchasing the XTX 50 DS4.

Features:

  • Swivelling low pressure turret for improved range of motion.
  • Balanced valve and barrel.
  • Numerous adjustable air controls.
  • Exhaust cover can be swapped to be more streamlined or to vent bubbles away from the face.

 ScubaPro MK25 EVO/A700

Scubapro MK25 EVO/A700 Diving Regulator System, INT
9 Reviews
Scubapro MK25 EVO/A700 Diving Regulator System, INT
  • Air balanced flow-through piston
  • Chrome plated brass body
  • Anti-Freeze protection
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs / 1.1 kg
  • Ports: 2 High Pressure, 5 Low Pressure
  • Type: Balanced Piston

The MK25 EVO/A700 is the best of what ScubaPro has to offer. It is a pairing of the popular MK25 EVO first stage with the all-metal A700 second stage which combines to make a regulator setup that provides high-performance, ultra-responsive breathing for cold water diving.

If you are looking for a balanced piston regulator, the MK25 EVO is considered one of the best on the market currently. For a cold water regulator, the MK25 EVO is not technically environmentally-sealed, however it utilizes ScubaPro’s Extended Thermal Insulating System (XTIS) which makes it highly freezing resistant.

Furthermore, the piston shaft and mainspring have been specially treated to prevent the formation of ice crystals so that the first stage will not get blocked. The A700 second stage pairs well with the MK25 EVO. It comes with a balanced valve with adjustable inhalation and venturi control.

Durability is not an issue with its all-metal housing which provides great thermal connectivity and helps to dissipate the cold that the compressed air creates as it expands in the second stage. The venturi is excellent at preventing free-flows at the surface. The diver inhalation adjustment lets you increase or decrease the air flow depending on your personal preferences.

Overall, the ScubaPro MK25 EVO first stage with A700 second stage is a good high-performance cold water regulator that is ideal for frigid conditions.

Features:

  • Extended Thermal Insulating System (XTIS) keeps the MK25 EVO from freezing despite not having an environmental seal.
  • Adjustable inhalation and venturi control.
  • All-metal housing for greater durability and thermal conductivity.

Regulators for Cold Water Diving Buying Guide

cold water regulator

Even though all regulators perform the same function – they safely expand the high pressure air in your scuba tank to intermediate and then ambient pressure that is safe for human consumption – not all regulators can successfully perform that task in cold waters.

In a traditional regulator, the heat inside will be absorbed by the air and lost to the water, causing it to freeze (yes, seriously), freeflow or otherwise malfunction. To keep this from happening you must use a cold water regulator if you are diving in cold water (60ºF/ 15ºC or less). The temperature rating can be found in the regulator’s product page or manual.

While that doesn’t seem very cold (you can walk around in a T-shirt in that kind of temperature), underwater that is a different story. It is significantly lower than your body temperature and water is very good at taking your heat. It is the reason why cold water regulators and thick dry suits exist. Do not underestimate how cold it can get!

In this section, we will go over the features and considerations you should make to help you find a regulator that can meet your diving needs.

Eco-Sealed Regulators

Eco-sealed regulators, also known as environmentally-sealed regulators, are regulators that feature a first stage that has been sealed from the environment – in this case, water. If a regulator is to be used for cold water diving it must be environmentally-sealed. If a regulator seems to have all of the features you want, but it is not eco-sealed, then avoid it at all costs.

An environmentally-sealed regulator drastically decreases the amount of heat lost to water. They are also highly durable and easy to maintain. Some regulators take it a step further and include additional heat-exchanger fins to decrease the chances of freezing and freeflow even more.

Piston vs. Diaphragm Regulators

Regulators can be categorized based on their operating mechanism: the piston or diaphragm type.

Piston regulators have fewer moving parts and are easier to control. They are also easier to maintain and have higher flow rates. With that said, the precise machining required to manufacture components of the piston regulator means they are much pricier.

Diaphragm regulators have more moving parts than piston regulators. They are also less prone to freezing in cold conditions and are cheaper.

Balanced vs. Unbalanced Regulators

Regulators can also be categorized as balanced or unbalanced. This refers to the rate of airflow that the regulator will provide with each breath.

Balanced regulators are capable of providing consistent air flow to your mouthpiece by balancing the pressure on both valve sides, regardless of the depth you are at and the fluctuating air pressure in your tank.

As you can imagine, the benefit is immense. They are pricier and more reliable than their unbalanced counterpart. As such, they are the optimal choice for comfort and deep dives where the pressure is high. You want your cold water regulator to be balanced.

Unbalanced regulators use generic mechanisms to control airflow and thus provide almost no support when it comes to making it easier to breathe the air in your tank. Thus, you will find that as the pressure increases due to depth, or when the tank is almost empty, it gets increasingly difficult to breathe.

The silver lining to this is that it is quite obvious when you have dived too deep or that it is about time to surface. Beginners may panic when they struggle to breathe, elevating their heart rate and increasing oxygen consumption even further, which is very dangerous. Despite being cheaper than balanced regulators, they are rarely used.

DIN vs. Yoke Regulators

A regulator can come in two types of mounts/fittings: DIN or Yoke. Typically, DIN is primarily used in Europe and Yoke in North America. You need to get the proper fitting that is compatible with your air tank.

A DIN mount has a threaded section that screws into your scuba tank valve. A Yoke mount, also known as A-clamps, screws around the tank valve. DIN mounts are preferred since they have a tighter seal due to the direct fitting, and thus it can handle higher-pressure tanks. DIN fittings are the preferred choice for rugged use and are recommended for cold water diving as well.

Yoke mounts can be fitted onto generic Aluminum 80 tanks. They cannot handle tanks that are higher pressure. However, they are good enough for recreational or warm water diving.

Keep in mind that you can technically use a DIN regulator on a Yoke tank by connecting an adapter between them. You can also technically use a Yoke regulator on a DIN tank using an adapter as long as the air pressure doesn’t exceed 232 bar. This is risky and not recommended.

Adjustable Flow Rate

There are many features in higher-end regulators that let divers customize the flow rate and prevent free flows. Furthermore, when diving in cold water you will be wearing gloves, so look for adjustment mechanisms that have good grip and are easy to operate.

An inhalation adjustment knob lets you decrease or increase breathing resistant by turning this knob found on the second stage.

A Venturi switch lets you adjust the Venturi inside the second stage which will make it easier to breathe and prevent free flows from occurring at the surface.

A pre-dive switch found on the second stage can be used at the surface just before descending which stops free flow.

Material

A cold water regulator must be able to endure not only the high air and water pressure, but also any corrosion that water can cause. If you are traveling and diving, then you will also want to consider its weight and size.

A good regulator should also be easy to open and close with no-slip controls. A material that ticks all of these boxes is Chrome steel, which is highly corrosion-resistant, durable, and lightweight on top of it all. Look for regulators with a second stage made of Chrome steel or metal when searching for a cold water regulator.

The downside of a metal second stage is that it is more expensive compared to ones made of plastic. However, considering how important a regulator is at keeping you alive underwater, we think it is an investment that is well worth it. For the extra price, you get a regulator for cold water that is more reliable and longer lasting.

Weight

The next statement is true for all regulators, but especially cold water regulators. Ideally, your regulator should be lightweight so that you don’t experience jaw fatigue when holding the mouthpiece for extended periods of time. You already have the cold adding to your discomfort, so why suffer more than you need to with a heavy regulator? It also makes traveling a pain.

In order to cut down on overall weight, some manufacturers use titanium as part of the construction. Unfortunately, titanium isn’t ideal for cold water dives; nickel and brass or superior choices because they are more resilient while also being lightweight. Furthermore, DIN regulators tend to be lighter than Yoke regulators by 200g or so. It might not seem like much, but your jaw muscles will thank you for this difference.

Ports

Ports let you adjust your regulator as you dive. They are also needed to attach other important pieces of measuring equipment such as your SPG. For recreational diving the typical regulator setup has a first stage, primary second stage, alternate second stage (the octopus), a BC inflator hose, and a high pressure gauge.

For warm water dives where the stakes are low, less ports are necessary. However, if you intend on braving cold waters, you need the extra ports for your numerous gauges.

Since additional ports cannot be added, it is better for you to buy a regulator with more ports rather than less. A good rule of thumb is one or two high-pressure (HP) ports and four low-pressure (LP) ports for cold water diving. If you are diving with an air-integrated dive computer, two HP ports is ideal so that the air transmitter can attach to one of them.

Generally, the more ports you have, the more freedom you have for more advanced diving. If you think that you will eventually progress to technical diving, then there is no harm in getting a regulator with more ports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need special equipment for cold water diving?

Yes. We mentioned earlier that cold water diving is diving in water temperatures that are 60ºF/15ºC or less. That is significantly higher than the freezing point of 0ºF/ºC, so how can the internal parts of a regulator freeze? You might be thinking you can get away with a traditional regulator in temperatures above zero.

However, you don’t need below zero temperatures for a regulator to freeze. The water doesn’t need to be icy cold, it just needs to be cold. The regulator can still freeze because the gas from the air tank is expanding which drops the temperature inside the regulator. This drop in temperature is enough to freeze the internals of a traditional regulator and make it difficult to breathe.

You can watch this video demonstration to learn more about how regulators can freeze in cold water.

Can I use a cold water regulator for warm water diving?

Yes. All regulators can be used for warm water diving, but only a few of them can be safely used for cold water diving as well. If you own a cold water regulator, you do not need a second kit for warm water diving.

It can be a little confusing what is considered cold water and warm water, but cold water is designated as temperatures at or below 60ºF/15ºC. To ensure that you are not using your regulator improperly, we recommend you check the temperature rating in the manual or product page so you can be sure you are using it in its intended climate.

How do I test my cold water regulator?

Before each dive, you should double check all of your scuba equipment to ensure they are in working order. The regulator is one piece of kit you should pay additional attention to. Your regulator should come with instructions on how to test it. We recommend you find it and do exactly as it says.

Ideally, if you have access to an indoor area like a pool or if you live near a body of water you can just test it out there. Ensure that all of the knobs and switches to control air flow and prevent free flow are working as intended. Of course it is impossible to test it fully in these faux conditions, however if something is obviously broken then this is a good way to find out now instead of in the middle of your scuba trip.

How do I prevent my regulator from freezing?

Regulators can freeze if they do not have any measures taken to prevent heat loss, containing the heat while also preventing cold water from entering inside. Should a regulator freeze, it can cause you to lose control of your air supply which must be avoided at all costs.

Thankfully, cold water regulators are designed to prevent such accidents from occuring. They have environmental seals to keep water from reaching the internals. They also have heat sinks to contain as much heat as possible and redistribute it to where it is needed most.

With that said, there are steps you can do to take some of the pressure of your regulator. For instance, when not in use, make sure it is kept dry so that rust cannot form. Furthermore, keep it packed in your bag and away from freezing air until you are ready to use it.

Best Cold Water Regulator: Parting Words

In order for you to dive in cold water, you will need specialized scuba equipment to stay safe. That means a thick wetsuit or drysuit, gloves, dive booties, the whole shebang. And included in that list is a regulator for cold water diving. Warm water regulators are not sufficient; they will literally freeze and cause your tank to freeflow.

There are many ways that a cold water regulator prevents this from happening. First, most cold water regulators have an environmental seal in the first stage which prevents water from entering. Second, they will have heat sinks to absorb as much heat as possible and dissipate it to surrounding components to keep them warm.

Third, cold water regulators are made from durable and lightweight components that can withstand cold temperatures, such as brass or nickel. You will also want to find a regulator with a venturi switch and inhalation knob that is easy to operate even with thick gloves on.

Even if you are diving in water temperatures that are well above freezing temperature, that doesn’t mean that your regulator won’t freeze. The reaction of pressurized gas expanding inside causes the temperature of the surrounding area to drop. In other words, you do not need freezing conditions for the regulator to freeze and freeflow.

Scuba diving in cold water can be a thrilling experience, however in order to enjoy your time while also staying safe, you need to invest in the proper gear. In this review, we have compiled a list of the best cold water regulators as well as a comprehensive buying guide to help you make a decision. Make sure to go through all of the considerations before investing in a cold water regulator.

Last update on 2021-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API