Spare Air Scuba Divers’ Supplies Review: Features, Pros And Cons

scuba diver

In this article we will review the Spare Air line of redundant air supplies for scuba divers. We will discuss how these products fit into the alternative air supply options available to divers, and we will compare the three models of Spare Air breathing devices to see what features they offer and what their advantages and disadvantages may be.

What Is Spare Air?

Spare Air is part of a whole market area of alternative breathing devices for divers. Understanding the market will help to highlight the place of Spare Air in that market and the value of their products.

Extra Air Is Always Nice to Have

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With the sophisticated gear available to modern divers, including SPGs (submergible pressure gauges ) designed to constantly monitor and alert divers regarding their air supply, does anybody really get into trouble by running low or out of air?

The answer to this is “yes”. And the implication of that answer is what you might expect—people get into trouble with their air supply, despite good training and good gear, because people are human beings. They get distracted and they make mistakes; and sometimes accidents happen as well.

In any of those situations, and especially depending upon the depth the diver is when they get into trouble, having some extra air is not only a “nice to have”, but could make the difference between life and death.

Isn’t Sharing Best?

Alternative Air Supply Options

Octopus or Octo Regulator

Alternate Inflation Regulator

Redundant Air Supply

Spare Air Is a Redundant Air Supply

Scuba

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Product Specs  

Pricing  

How It Compares

We looked at the three models of Spare Air redundant air systems to see how they compared.  

[amazon box=”B0722NJWD1, B072596JLM, B0722NJWD1,” template=”table”]

[amazon link=”B0722NJWD1″ title=”Submersible System Spare Air ” /]


[amazon box=”B0722NJWD1″]

The Model 300 offers a small size and weight, ease of use, and maintenance, and supplies 3.0 cubic feet of air (at 3000psi) to provide a small, emergency air supply to divers.

Price   

Maximum Capacity  

Weight

Surface Breaths

Pros

  • Very compact and lightweight  
  • Very easy to use and maintain
  • Offers more air than the Model 170

Cons

  • Air supply is extremely limited
  • Cannot be used as a main tank

[amazon link=”B072596JLM” title=”Submersible System Spare Air Model 170, 300 and 300 Nitrox Package Kit 1.7-3.0 cu ft” /]


[amazon box=”B072596JLM”]

The Model 170 offers all the advantages of the Model 300, but is even more compact and lightweight than the bigger model. However to achieve this, the Model 170 also offers a smaller cylinder and air supply (1.7 meters at 3000psi). This means divers have even less air (32 surface breaths) to deal with an emergency. This definitely limits the utility of this model.

Price 

Maximum Capacity

Weight  

Surface Breaths

Pros

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Very easy to use and maintain

Cons

  • 56% less air capacity than the Model 300
  • Ascent and swim times very limited
  • Pricey given the lower air capacity

[amazon box=”B0722NJWD1″]

The Model 300-N offers the same benefits of the Model 300, with the addition of being marked for use with nitrox air mixtures. This enables a diver breathing a nitrox mixture to switch to an emergency redundant air source that is the same as their regular air supply. In fact, the Model 300-N can be refilled directly from the diver’s regular nitrox tank.

Price 

Maximum Capacity

Weight

Surface Breaths  

Pros

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Very easy to use and maintain
  • Nitrox labeled

Cons

  • Air supply is extremely limited
  • Slightly more expensive than other Spare Air models

Conclusion

The Spare Air redundant air supplies are made to provide divers who are running out of air with an emergency option by providing them a limited amount of additional air. This should enable a diver to make an ascent or a swim to a partner to share air supply.

The Spare Air models are all essentially the same, the chief differences being in the Model 170’s much lower air capacity. Even though this results in an even smaller, lighter backup tank than the larger Spare Airs, it seriously limits the 170’s appeal for most divers except for those taking part only in relatively shallow depth dives.

With respect to models 300 and 300-N, their scores (3.8 average) in our comparison were identical and “winning”, because they are essentially the same product, with the 300-N offering a nitrox option for divers using that air mixture. We should note that the 300-N is slightly more expensive on average than the 300.

If you are looking for a backup or redundant air supply that offers the lightest footprint or impact on your gear weight or bulk, the Spare Air models would seem to be the right choice. The only real concern, and this is especially the case with the Model 170, is the very low capacity of air available.

But the company makes the argument that these products are for emergencies and should never be relied upon as a primary air source, and so the benefits of shrinking the air capacity still enable reasonable rescue ascents—as much as from 130 feet.

Any diver who regularly dives needs a way to deal with emergencies. Overall, Spare Air products are a great choice. In some cases, they could be a lifesaver.

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