The double-hose scuba regulator is a classic scuba gear configuration that has been around since the early days of recreational diving. While more high-tech regulator designs now dominate the market, some divers still enjoy using these old-school units. In this in-depth blog post, we’ll explore the components, pros and cons, and common myths about double-hose regulators. Whether you’re a new diver looking to learn or a seasoned pro, read on to find out everything you need to know about this iconic diving system.
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What is a double-hose regulator?
A double-hose scuba regulator gets its name from the two hoses that connect the first stage to the second stage. The first stage attaches to the scuba diving tank and reduces the pressurized air coming out of the tank valve to an intermediate pressure level. One hose then carries this intermediate-pressure air to the second stage.
The second stage further reduces the intermediate pressure down to the ambient pressure of the surrounding water when you inhale. The second hose on a double-hose regulator carries exhaled air from the second stage back to the first stage exhaust valve, where bubbles are released.
This two-hose pneumatic design differs from modern single-hose regulators that only use one hose to deliver ambient pressure air directly from the first stage to the second stage.
Benefits of the Double Hose Configuration
So why would some divers still opt for the bulkier and more complex double hose scuba regulator configuration? There are a few advantages that this old-school design offers:
Less jaw fatigue: Unlike single hose regulators, which must be clenched continuously in the mouth, double hose regulators don’t require as much jaw pressure to keep the second stage in place since it rests further back in the mouth.
Great stability: The two wideset hoses provide increased stability and balance in the water compared to a single hose configuration. This can lead to a more comfortable, relaxed dive.
Easy hose switching: The second stage swivels, allowing you to easily switch which side of the mouth the regulator is on between dives or pass it to another diver with minimal effort.
Reliable performance: While the double hose design is outdated, with proper maintenance, it continues to deliver smooth, consistent airflow and performance even at depths beyond recreational limits.
Potential Drawbacks to Consider
Of course, the double-hose regulator isn’t without its downsides when compared to more modern regulator models:
Bulkier and heavier: The additional hose adds drag and weight, which, while not drastic, could slow you down and increase air consumption.
More failure points With more parts and hoses, there are more potential places for malfunctions to occur. Proper maintenance is key.
Performance limitations: While reliable, double hose regs can’t quite match the low breathing resistance and sensitivity of top-end modern designs.
Cost and availability: Replacement parts are becoming harder to find as fewer models stay in production. And purchasing a new double-hose regulator often costs more than an equivalent modern regulator.
Common Myths About Double Hose Scuba Regulators
There are also some misconceptions about double-hose regulators that are simply not true:
Myth: They are unsafe and prone to failure. When properly maintained, double-hose regulators are no more unsafe or prone to failure than any first-stage scuba regulator.
Myth: They waste more air. The pneumatic design does not actually waste or bleed more gas than a single hose setup.
Myth: They are only for warm, shallow water. Double-hose regulators can be used for cold-water diving within recreational limits just fine.
Why do you have two regulators while scuba diving?
For redundancy in case, one malfunctions underwater.
What are the two types of diving regulators?
Single-hose and double-hose regulators.
What are the different types of scuba regulator connections?
DIN, yoke, and quick-disconnect hose connections
The Bottom Line
While the double-hose regulator design is now considered outdated technology, its advantages like stability and jaw comfort continue to make it appealing for some divers. With proper maintenance and realistic expectations about performance limitations, double-hose regulators remain a viable choice for recreational scuba diving today. The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and diving needs.