Scuba diving for many is an addictive activity that many people fall in love with quickly. For those that are serious about scuba it is important that invest time and effort, as well as money, in selecting your gear. This holds true for one of the most important parts of your scuba gear; the dive regulator. When making such an investment it is important for find high-quality products that will perform as it is supposed to keeping you safe under water.
We know how important finding the right regulator is, and in this article we will review one of the most popular regulators on the market for under $200; The Cressi XS2/AC2. We will examine its features and specs, as well as compare it against some comparable products to see how it stacks up.
What Is the Cressi XS2/AC2 Regulator?
The Cressi XS2/AC2 is a simple and very inexpensive regulator manufactured by Cressi Sub in Italy. The first stage is a balanced flow-by piston design that is very common with most first stages on the market. This design performs well and ensures natural breathing at virtually any tank pressure. However, the Cressi XS2/AC2 is not the best design for divers that routinely dive in very cold water. For cold water divers, a diaphragm type first stage is more reliable in cold water and less likely to freeze open. For most divers however a balanced piston design, like the Cressi XS2/AC2 is a good choice.
The Cressi XS2/AC2 regulator is constructed with durable materials design for many trouble-free dives. The first stage is constructed from chrome-plated brass that is both lightweight and durable. The first stage features 1 high pressure port and 4 low pressure ports for gauges and different low pressure attachments. The Cressi XS2/AC2 uses a conical filter which enhances air flow, and is preferred by most divers.
The Cressi XS2/AC2 second stage is constructed with advanced polymers that are both lightweight and rugged. The second stage features a downstream demand valve mechanism which is also very common with second stages on the market. The downstream demand valve mechanism ensures easy breathing and helps eliminate freeflows. The second stage utilizes the venture effect for enhanced effortless breathing. A pre-dive/post dive switch is included which will help eliminate free flow when the mouthpiece is out of the divers mouth as long as the pre-dive setting is selected.
The Cressi XS2/AC2 regulator comes with a comfortable silicone mouthpiece that reduces jaw fatigue and enhances breathing. The Cressi XS2/AC2 regulator only weighs 35 ounces with the hose, and is certified to EN250/2000 standards
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The Cressi XS2/AC2 is the Cressi AC2 first stage regulator. The first stage is constructed using durable, marine-grade chrome plated brass. The first stage features 1 high pressure port with 7/16" thread and 4 low pressure ports with 3/8" threads. The first stage also uses a conical filter with a slightly larger surface area.
The Cressi XS2/AC2 second stage is the Cressi XS2 compact regulator. The second stage is constructed from polymer plastic and features a reliable downstream demand valve and flexible diaphragm. Also, the XS2 allows for dive/pre-dive venturi adjustment to eliminate free flows which lead to significant air loss. Air is delivered via a comfortable mouthpiece. The Cressi XS2/AC2 is fully certified to EN250/2014 standards, has a total weight of 35 ounces, and is manufactured in Italy.
The Cressi XS2/AC2 is available for purchase at approximately $160. This is one of the least expensive regulators that Cressi produces, and one of the least expensive on the market that is comparable to more expensive rigs. This price tag, along with its outstanding design and reliability make the XS2/AC2 a great value.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
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The Cressi XS2/AC2 is one of the best values in regulators on the market today. The XS2/AC2 is budget friendly and performs well. This regulator matches up well in terms of performance and features as many of the more expensive models we have reviewed.
Ease of Use
This regulator is very easy to use with its flow deviator that acts on venturi effect for smooth breathing. Also, it is very lightweight at only 35 ounces so you won't even feel like you are wearing a regulator.
The Cressi XS2/AC2 first stage is constructed of durable marine grade chrome plated brass for increased durability.
This Cressi regulator performs very well and many users report very few problems even after many dives. Breathing is very smooth and easy, and its durable yet lightweight design are added bonuses. However, this regulator is not intended for divers that dive in extreme cold water on a regular basis.
Cressi has loaded this regulator with great features including dive/pre-dive venturi adjustment, comfortable mouthpiece, and 1 high pressure port and four low pressure ports all in a regulator that costs less than $200.
The Genesis Atlas GR440 regulator is an excellent regulator by Genesis. The first stage regulator incorporates Genesis's Dry Air Demand (DAD) technology. This simple yet unique design features a flow-by piston that mechanically balances the air of the first stage, which guarantees smooth and easy breathing at full or low cylinder pressures. This balanced flow-by piston design is built with a patented dry seal internal mechanism to keep the intricate components clean and contaminate free no matter what kind of environment you dive it in including cold water.
The GR440's first stage is constructed from marine grade chrome plated brass for long life and durability. The Genesis Atlas second stage is a reliable downstream demand valve design that delivers air effortlessly. The second stage also features a pre-dive/dive switch which eliminates sensitivity when swimming through surf, and guarantees smooth breathing throughout the dive and ascent.
The Genesis Atlas GR440 regulator is priced at approximately $$. This is a very good price for this regulator considering the features.
Ease of Use
This regulator is very easy to use with its dive/pre-dive switch and balanced flow-by piston first stage that ensure easy breathing no matter the conditions. The Genesis GR440 will give the diver consistent performance in all conditions.
This Genesis regulator is loaded with features that one would expect on a more expensive regulator. The dry sealed internal mechanism keeps the internal components of the first stage clean and is ideal for cold water diving.
The GR440 gives excellent performance in all conditions. The venturi pre-dive switch helps eliminate sensitivity when jumping off the back of a boat, for example. The balanced piston design first stage ensures easy breathing at all depths and in all conditions.
The Genesis Atlas GR440 has several excellent features that are common on more expensive models such as the dry sealed first stage which keeps internal components clean in all environments.
The Mares Prestige 12S is a very high quality regulator available at a reasonable price. The first stage uses a balanced diaphragm design which is a better choice for divers that routinely dive in cold water than the more common balanced piston design first stage. Also, the Mares’ first stage is constructed with chrome plated brass for durability.
The Prestige 12S second stage features a vortex assist design that Mares has named; the “VAD” system. This system is designed to keep the second stage diaphragm down during inhalation. This makes breathing much easier on the diver. Also, the VAD system is designed to reduce the likelihood of ice buildup inside the second stage case which is critical for cold water divers. The second stage is constructed of a durable polymer which is lightweight and compact. The Prestige 12S will give the diver excellent performance at any depth and tank pressure.
The Mares Prestige 12S regulator is priced at approximately $$ making it a very good value considering the innovative features of this regulator.
Ease of Use
The Mares regulator is very easy to use especially with its unique VAD design which ensures easy and smooth breathing at all depths.
The Mares Prestige 12S is loaded with innovative features including a unique "mesh-grid" system for water inflow and outflow on the second stage cover.
This regulator earns very high marks in performance with its first stage balanced diaphragm design optimizes performance and safety, especially in extremely cold water.
This Mares regulator has several outstanding and innovative features including an extremely lightweight super-flex hose that exceeds industry standards.
The Genesis Yukon GR320 regulator is a good, solid, and dependable regulator manufactured by Genesis. The first stage is a flow-by piston design, which is the most common design for first stages in this price range. The first stage is constructed with chrome plated brass for durability, and features the standard set up of 1 high pressure port and 4 low pressure ports.
The second stage of the Yukon is a downstream demand valve design. This design enhances breathing characteristics at a variety of depths and tank pressures. Also, the pre-dive/post dive switch is a helpful feature that eliminates free flows which greatly reduce air volume. Also, the second stage features a stainless steel demand lever which resists corrosion and helps this regulator deliver consistent performance. The Yukon’s second stage is made of polycarbonate and is designed to be lightweight and comes with a comfortable orthodontic mouthpiece.
The Genesis Yukon gr320 is priced at approximately $$ making it relatively inexpensive for a regulator.
Ease of Use
Genesis is known for high quality scuba gear, and the Yukon gr320 is no exception. The lightweight design, and orthodontic mouthpiece make using this regulator easy. Users report effortless and natural breathing, as well as reduced jaw fatigue.
The Genesis Yukon gr320 is designed for durability and reliability. The flow-by piston designed first stage and chrome plated brass construction make the first stage standout for quality design. Also, the stainless steel demand lever is a feature usually seen on more expensive models.
Users report reliable and consistent performance with this regulator. This regulator gives divers natural and easy breathing at all depths and in a wide variety of water temperatures.
The Genesis Yukon gr320 features a flow-by piston design first stage, and a downstream demand valve design. Also, The polycarbonate second stage is very lightweight yet durable.
When selecting a regulator cost should not be the first consideration, but will eventually come into play. The most important quality of a regulator is reliability and constant performance. The regulator is the scuba diver's life line and needs to perform as intended. The Cressi XS2/AC2 is one of the most high quality regulators we have reviewed, especially for under $200. This Cressi regulator has several features that are commonly seen on much more expensive models. Cressi is well known for high quality scuba products, and the Cressi XS2/AC2 regulator is no exception.
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