A balanced first stage scuba regulator might sound a technical and complicated piece of dive gear to understand but we have simplified what balanced regulators are and how they function.
We also identify the main reliability differences and breathing advantages between scubas balanced vs. unbalanced regulators.
If we simplify the principal breathing difference of a balanced first stage regulator and unbalanced regulators, the key point is the ease of breathing from balanced 'regs' particularly at depth or with low tank pressure.
Balanced regulators designed and manufacture means they maintain easy breathing for the diver even at depth or with low cylinder pressures.
Whereas, an unbalanced regulator produces an increase in breathing resistance for the user as the diver descends deeper or the tank pressure drops. Some divers might consider this noticeable restriction as an early warning sign that the tank pressure is low.
Nevertheless, checking your submersible pressure gauge is the best way to regulate your air supply under water. Ease-of-breathing defines as the amount of physical demand effort required from you (the diver) to release and draw breath from the second stage of your scuba regulator.
The main advantage of using a balanced regulator for deep diving or technical diving is the improved efficiency of air supplied as the ambient pressure increases. We also point out that the ease of breathing and resistance relates to the diver's demand for the supply.
This means that an unbalanced regulator is less likely to be responsive if the diver is breathing heavily such as during underwater exertion. However, in most case studies shallower than 20 meters of depth, the average recreational diver would be unlikely to notice a significant difference between balanced and unbalanced regulators.
So now, you may be wondering why some divers continue to purchase and use an unbalanced regulator. The simplest answer is the price.
The additional design complications and first stage parts of balanced regulators tend to be more expensive to produce and more likely to break. You could also argue that servicing, maintenance, and replacement costs are generally higher than unbalanced regulators.
The individual decision whether to buy a regulator that assists deep-water diving and low air pressure breathing relates to your choice between a balanced or unbalanced scuba regulator and consequently the amount of money you need to invest for one of your equipment purchases.
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