Lightweight Scuba Divng Regulators Designed For Travelling

Why buy your own scuba diving travel regulator?

A regulator is an essential piece of scuba diving equipment. Without it, we wouldn’t last very long underwater. Although most dive centers keep their equipment in good condition, you can never guarantee what type or condition the rental scuba diving regulator will be in when you turn up for your dive. You may also not like the feel of it in your mouth, or the way it delivers air to you. Therefore it is worth researching and purchasing your own travel regulator to give you peace of mind for you next dive.

Scuba diving travel regulators focus on lightness, minimalism and quality. The majority weigh less than 2.5lbs / 1.1kg, leaving you ample space in your luggage for the rest of your equipment. Below we review five top travel regulators on the market today.

If you are not sure what to look for in a regulator or are confused with the terminology, check out our scuba diving regulator terminology and features guide at the bottom of this post.

Scuba diving travel regulators summary

First stage style, tank connection, number of ports, weight and of course price are some of the key features to compare when choosing a scuba diving travel regulator. Below we summarize these features for our top travel regulator picks. A review of each regulator can be found below.

RegulatorFirst StageConnectionPortsWeightPrice
Atomic Aquatics T3Atomic T3 Travel RegulatorBalanced PistonYoke2 HP 5 LP1.8 lbs / 0.8kg$$$
Cressi MC9-SC / Compact ProCressi XS Compact Pro MC9SC Travel RegulatorBalanced DiaphragmYoke or DIN2 HP 4 LP1.8 lbs / 0.8kg$
Scubapro MK21 / S560Scubapro MK21 S560 Travel RegulatorBalanced PistonYoke or DIN2 HP 4 LP2.5 lbs / 1.1kg$$
Hollis DC7 / 500SEHollis DC7 500SE Travel RegulatorOverbalanced DiaphragmYoke or DIN2 HP 4 LP2.4 lbs / 1.1kg$$
Aqua Lung CalypsoAqua Lung Calypso Travel RegulatorUnbalanced DiaphragmYoke1 HP 4 LP2.5 lbs / 1.1kg$
Mares Prestige 15XMares Prestige 15X Travel RegulatorBalanced DiaphragmYoke2 HP 4 LP2.0 lbs / 0.9kg$
Oceanic Zeo FDXIOceanic ZEO FDXI Travel RegulatorOverbalanced DiaphragmYoke or DIN2 HP 4 LP2.0 lbs / 0.9kg$$

1) Atomic Aquatics T3 Regulator

Atomic T3 Travel Regulator

Regulator Features
Piston
Balanced
2 high pressure ports
5 low pressure ports
Yoke
0.8kg / 1.8lbs weight
40% EAN compatible

Atomic Aquatics T3 Travel Regulator Review

Branded as the lightest scuba diving regulator in the world, the Atomic T3 weighs just 0.8kg (1.8lbs) making it a superb scuba diving travel regulator. Made from high quality Titanium, the first stage is designed to be minimalist, with a sleek Yoke connection. It utilises Atomics exclusive balanced Jet Sea high-flow piston and features 2 high pressure and 5 low pressure ports on a swivel turret. It is nitrox approved up to 40% EAN.

The second stage has some nice features such as acclaimed Atomic Comfort Swivel which allows 30° rotational movement without the hose kinking and the patented automatic flow control is next level. Overall the T3 is a top quality travel regulator which beats anything else on the market in terms of weight.

  • Lightest regulator on the market

  • Rotational components increase comfort

  • Made from high quality Titanium

  • Two high pressure ports allow for wireless integration

  • Swiveling second stage improve comfort

  • High price

  • Not certified for coldwater diving

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Cressi XS Compact Pro MC9SC Travel Regulator

Regulator Features
Diaphragm
Balanced
2 high pressure ports
4 low pressure ports
Yoke or DIN
Certified for colderwater use
0.8kg / 1.8lbs (DIN) weight
0.9kg / 2.0lbs (Yoke) weight
40% EAN compatible

Cressi MC9-SC / Compact Pro Travel Regulator Review

A travel regulator which is also designed for coldwater use, the Cressi MC9-SC Compact Pro is an affordable option.

The first stage is made of a light compact structure in chromium-plated brass with inner components made from stainless steel, chromium-plated brass, and state-of-the-art thermoplastic resins. The balanced diaphragm first stage design is environmental sealed to help it perform in cold water below 10° C. Two high pressure and four low pressure ports make it suitable for all types of diving. The first stage comes in either Yoke or DIN versions depending on your tank connection.

The MC9-SC Compact Pro second stage is designed with the special Thermoconductive Thermoplastic Neopolymer that has the capacity to transfer heat like a metal while preserving the design flexibility, chemical resistance, and physical and mechanical properties of a conventional thermoplastic. That enables the MC9-SC Compact Pro to be light weight while delivering heat conductivity on a par with metal cases. The second stage is only 6cm wide making it ideal for tucking away into a bag.

  • Certified for coldwater diving

  • Available in DIN or Yoke

  • Two high pressure ports allow for wireless integration

  • Environmentally sealed

  • None

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3) Scubapro MK21/S560 Regulator

Scubapro MK21 S560 Travel Regulator

Regulator Features
Piston
Balanced
2 high pressure ports
4 low pressure ports
Yoke / DIN
Performs well in colderwater
1.1kg / 2.5lbs (Yoke) weight

Scubapro MK21 / S560 Travel Regulator Review

An affordable mid range option, the Scubapro MK21 / S560 has been around for a number of years and was highly acclaimed when it was first released.

The Mk21 first stage has been designed to be light and it’s polished chrome plated marine grade brass body is close to 20 percent smaller than the popular MK25. External fins help to optimise freezing resistance, meaning the MK21 can be used for cold water diving. Two high pressure and four low pressure ports allow for several setup configurations. The MK21 uses a smaller piston than Scubapro’s other first stages but it’s balanced design delivers the same level of performance regardless of depth or tank pressure.

The air balanced S560 second stage features a lightweight techno-polymer casing and comes with a range of nice user controls.The S560 is designed to be lightweight and comfortable for users.

  • Can be used coldwater diving

  • Available in DIN or Yoke

  • Two high pressure ports allow for wireless integration

  • Not environmentally sealed

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4) Hollis DC7 /500SE Regulator

Hollis DC7 500SE Travel Regulator

Regulator Features
Diaphragm
Overbalanced
2 high pressure ports
4 low pressure ports
DIN / Yoke
Designed for colderwater use
1.1kg / 2.4lbs weight
40% EAN compatible

Hollis DC7 / 500SE Travel Regulator Review

The striking Hollis DC7 / 500sE combo will certain make you stand out from the crowd. It’s combined weight of 1.1kg (2.4lbs) and small size make it a great option for a travel regulator.

The DC7 first stage has an over balanced diaphragm, which provides progressively greater air delivery pressure as depth and gas density increases, making it great for deep dives or tech diving. Environmentally sealed and designed to pass rigorous coldwater regulations, the Hollis DC7 can handle any diving conditions. The first stage comes in DIN format and has two high pressure and four low pressure ports and is compatible with up to 40% EAN.

What really makes this regulator stand out is the Hollis 500SE second stage. Apart from looking very cool the 500SE is practical with the exhaust located on the to reduce air bubbles blocking your view. Hollis pride the 500SE on it’s pneumatically balanced servo valve system while the mouthpiece has is a patented design to improve comfort and reduced jaw fatigue. The second stage can be easily disassembled without the use of tools and underwater if necessary.

  • Can be used coldwater diving

  • Striking design

  • Two high pressure ports allow for wireless integration

  • Available in DIN / Yoke

  • Side exhaust reduces bubbles in front of mask

  • Environmentally sealed

  • None

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5) Aqua Lung Calypso Regulator

Aqua Lung Calypso Travel Regulator

Regulator Features
Piston
Unbalanced
1 high pressure ports
4 low pressure ports
Yoke
1.1kg / 2.5lbs weight
40% EAN compatible

Aqua Lung Calypso Travel Regulator Review

A popular regulator which comes at an affordable price, the Aqua Lung Calypso has set the standard for years and has recently been given a fresh update. It’s ease to use and maintain and small size has made it popular with beginner divers and travelers.

The first stage has a large-diameter piston which results in a stable pressure and excellent reliability. As mentioned, the Calypso is easy to clean, with the first stage designed with large holes in end caps for easy access. The large holes provide good thermal exchange and improved resistance to freezing, although the regulator is not designed specifically for coldwater use. A down side of the first stage is it only features one high pressure port, meaning an air integration transmitter cannot be fitted. Also being unbalanced, the performance will decrease slightly as depth increases and remaining air decreases.

The Calypso’s second stage has a soft comfortable mouth piece which is easy to change with a reusable clip. It has an easy to control Venturi Knob for airflow management while the purge cover is designed to be durable. Side openings in the second stage do a good job of preventing freeflows in strong current. Like the first stage, the second stage is easy to maintain due to a minimal number of parts and easy access to the exhaust valve.

  • Can be used coldwater diving

  • Affordable

  • Easy to maintain and clean

  • Only 1 high pressure port

  • Not environmentally sealed

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6) Mares Prestige 15X Regulator

Mares Prestige 15X Travel Regulator

Regulator Features
Diaphragm
Balanced
2 high pressure ports
4 low pressure ports
Yoke
0.9kg / 2.0lbs weight
40% EAN compatible

Mares Prestige 15X Travel Regulator Review

Another reasonably priced regulator, the Mares Prestige 15X has all the properties of a great travel regulator. It is light at just 0.9kg, compact and reliable.

The first stage is chrome plated with elements made from marine brass which results in a highly durable unit. It has a balanced diaphragm design which is environmentally sealed. A patented coating helps to optimize performance and reliability. The Mares Prestige 15X uses a unique dynamic flow control system to minimize pressure drops during inhalation which results in a constant stable flow of air. The first stage is equipped with four low pressure and two high pressure ports and comes in Yoke format.

The second stage of the Mares Prestige 15X is not the smallest, however it compensates for this in weight by using ultra-light techno-polymer. A large purge button makes it easy to use, even with numb hands in coldwater, while the Vortex Assisted Design system allows for natural consistent breathing regardless of depth. The super-flex hose is light and flexible making it perfect for fitting in a bag.

  • Affordable

  • Easy to maintain and clean

  • Environmentally sealed

  • None

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7) Oceanic Zeo FDXI Regulator

Oceanic ZEO FDXI Travel Regulator

Regulator Features
Diaphragm
Overbalanced
2 high pressure ports
4 low pressure ports
Yoke / DIN
0.9kg / 2.0lbs weight (DIN)
1.0kg / 2.2lbs weight (Yoke)
40% EAN compatible

Oceanic Zeo FDXI Travel Regulator Review

The Oceanic Zeo FDXI is a regulator that is moderately priced but has a lot of top end features. It’s lightness, robustness, reliability and compactness make it a superb travel regulator option.

The FDXI has a reputation as a highly reliable first stage regulator. The cold-forged, over-balanced diaphragm FDXI first stage is environmentally sealed. It has an inline design which makes the FDXI compact and lighter. The FDXI is rated for use in water as cold as 4°C while an optional coldwater kit is available for extreme conditions. Two high pressure and four low pressure ports should be enough for most types of diving.

Oceanic proclaim the pneumatically-balanced ZEO second stage as an engineering marvel of precision, durability and comfort. A chrome-plated marine brass metal valve results in superb air delivery while improving cold-water performance. This also helps to recirculate moisture from exhalation reducing the chance of a dry mouth. The breathing adjustment allows for a wide range of control over airflow. A swivel ball improves comfort of the second stage in your mouth.

  • Coldwater certified to 4°C

  • Two high pressure ports allow for wireless integration

  • Available in DIN or Yoke

  • Environmentally sealed

  • Swivel ball on second stage improves comfort

  • None

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Scuba diving travel regulators explained

A regulator is an essential piece of kit, however comes with confusing terms such as first stage and second stage, DIN or yoke valve and piston or diaphragm. Below we explain these terms and things to look for to help you understand what to look for when choosing a travel regulator.

First Stage

The first stage of a regulator is the part that connectors to your tank. It’s job is to convert the tank air pressure of over 200 Bar down to a breathable pressure of 10 Bar. A good first stage will do this quickly and stably so the diver has a constant supply of air. A first stage will also have several bypass ports which can connect to a pressure gauge or dive computer transmitter to show the current pressure (remaining air) left in the tank

Piston versus diaphragm first stages

The piston or diaphragm is a component inside the first stage which open and closes as you breath, allowing air to pass through. A piston is rigid, while a diaphragm is flexible.

A piston generally allows for easier breathing, as they allow a higher flow rate of air from your tank. Their design is simple with fewer moving parts making them easier and cheaper to service. They are generally not used in cold water, although some high specification regulators become more frequently used in cold water.

In comparison, a diaphragm first stage are considered to be lower performing. They are commonly used in cold water as the design allows it to be fitted with an environmental seal, which makes it less likely to freeze over.

Balanced versus unbalanced first stages

First stages can further be grouped into balanced or unbalanced units. Balanced first stages will provide the same amount of air each breath, regardless of the depth and remaining pressure in the tank. In comparison unbalanced first stages will slowly provide less air per breath as the depth and air pressure in the tank decreases, making it slightly harder to breath. There is also a third type called over-balanced where the air flow increases as the tank pressure decreases, but this is less commonly seen.

DIN versus Yoke (A-Clamp) first stages

The method a first stage is attached to a tank comes in two types of fitting, DIN or Yoke. DIN has a thread that screws into the tank, where as Yoke has a frame that attaches on to the tank to form a seal.

DIN v Yoke First Stages

DIN (left) v Yoke (right) first stages

DIN fittings are considered to provide a safer connection to the tank. The o-ring is trapped between the cylinder valve and first stage creating a secure seal. One thing to consider with DIN is that a converter may be needed for Yoke (A-Clamp) cylinders.

From personal experience, A-Clamp type first stages are easy to attach to your tank. They are more commonly used by dive centers as they are easier to setup and dismantle for beginners.

Ports on first stages

The number of ports you will need on a first stage depends on whether you plan to dive in warm water or cold water and if you want to use wireless air integration.

In warm water three low pressure ports (one for primary regulator, octopus and BCD) and one high pressure port (for the gauge) are needed.

In cold water due to divers often using drysuits, a fourth low pressure port is required to connect to the drysuit in order to add air to prevent the suit squeezing as the depth increases.

Wireless air integration allows you to see your tank pressure on your dive watch. An additional high pressure port will be needed if you plan to use both a pressure gauge and wireless air integration.

Environmental seal on first stages

Colder water first stages typically have an environmental seal to prevent water from entering the internal mechanisms of the first stage. In extreme cold water, this will prevent ice crystals forming, which potentially cause freeflows.

Turreted first stage

This type of first stage has a vertical tower shape compared to the more traditional horizontal valve. This can allow for easier routing of hoses.

Swiveling joints first stage

Swiveling joints simply allows for the part of the first stage that connects to your regulator (second stage) to move. This helps to prevent tugging on your mouth making your second stage more comfortable.

Second Stage

The second stage is the apparatus that goes in your mouth allowing you to breath underwater. It converts the pressure provided from the first stage down to ambient pressure allowing the diver to breath.

Balanced V Unbalanced second stages

Like the first stage, second stages come in balanced or unbalanced models. The advantages and disadvantage are the same as a first stage. Balanced will provide consistent air and performance, while unbalanced performance will decrease as the remaining air drops and depth increases

Ventural Control on second stages

Most second stages will have a way of controlling the air flow inside the housing. Setting this to maximum will provide the best performance under normal diving conditions. Setting this to shut can help close the valve on the spare octopus, stopping air leaking out.

Octopus

Redundant second stage or ‘octopus’ is your backup second stage for emergency use. They are generally coloured yellow so are easy to identify and have a longer hose to make it easier to give to someone in an emergency. As a rule, it is best to have an equal or lower performing model as your primary regulator.

Weight

Travel regulators are typically lightweight with the majority weighing less than 2.5lbs (around 1kg). This still allows room for the rest of your scuba diving equipment in your checked in luggage.

A regulator designed for travel is normally made from materials such as titanium and carbon fibre. In comparison, normal regulators may use brass and aluminium. Due to the materials travel regulator are made from, the majority can only be used in waters above 10°.

Nitrox and mixed gases

Most regulators are designed to be compatible with increased oxygen content up to 40% Enriched Air Nitrox (EAN). It is worth checking however before purchasing a regulator that it is compatible. Nitrox versions of regulators are available for some models which are compatible up with 100% oxygen for technical diving.

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