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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.

Mares Instinct 12S Regulator Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Mares Instinct 12S Regulator Review Posted in: Between $251-$500, Scuba Regulators

The Instinct 12S is Mares’ upgrade and successor for the Prestige 12S, the latter of which is still widely available. What Mares has done is taken their veteran 12S first stage and put a new second stage on it, creating an updated regulator package.

The old 12S first stage is a workhorse. It has been around for years now, and has a reputation for reliability and ease of maintenance. The model uses a balanced diaphragm design, with high-end features such as dynamic flow-control. The new Instinct second stage features a hydrodynamic design, and a few design changes such as a top-mounted purge button (it’s still big and obvious) and replacing the exhaust tee with a small, circular vent.

The Instinct 12S delivers the same big air performance for the same reasonable price tag as the Prestige 12S. Both score high on breathing machine and field tests, staying dry and delivering plenty of air under just about any recreational circumstance. Field testers reported that the purge and exhaust changes took some getting used to, but if you are buying as opposed to renting this regulator, you will get used to it in short order.

Like the older Prestige 12S, the Instinct 12S has its limitations. There are no adjustment controls on the second stage, which simplifies using the regulator, a feature that some divers like and some dislike. The tried-and-true 12S first stage has 2 HP and 4 LP ports, and like its predecessor, the system is not Nitrox-compatible.

The bottom line on the Instinct 12S is that it delivers the same high-end air delivery in a simple, mid-priced package as the Prestige 12S did. The only change here is in the mouthpiece, so if you look at it and like the rearrangement of the features, then this is probably the regulator for you.

Average Price: $375