When traveling and scuba diving around the world you will undoubtedly come across 2 different types of regulator valves, both designed to fix your regulator set to your high-pressure cylinder.
So, what is the difference?
Which is better?
Which is safer?
Which is more popular?
If you want to know the answer to all these questions and are wondering which is the best regulator set up for you then keep on reading…..
What is Yoke?
The Yoke is an international connector that is widely used in the US and many other countries for recreational diving. It is sometimes referred to as an A-clamp due to its shape and has been an industry standard for almost as long as recreational diving has existed.
With this system, the O-ring is located on the cylinder and makes up part of the valve connection.
To attach the regulator, you simply remove the dust cap, place the A-shaped frame over the top of the cylinder valve and then tighten the screw to what we call finger-tight to fix the regulator in position.
What is DIN?
The DIN was first developed in the US in the 1950s by a company called Poseidon under the name of a “5/8 inch thread connection”. But divers at the time didn’t really take to it and stuck with the much-loved Yoke system.
The DIN valve was then later re-introduced back into mainstream diving in Europe. The Name DIN is in fact an acronime of that German standards organisation “Deutsche Industrie Fur Normung”
With this system, the O-ring is part of the first stage and not part of the cylinder valve.
The DIN is a screw-type mounting system. To attach the regulator set you need to remove the dust cap and then screw the male connector on the first stage directly into a female connector on the cylinder. Again, only screw finger-tight and don’t over force the connection.
So, what's the difference?
These valves are designed to withstand the high pressure exerted by compressed air contained in a scuba cylinder.
The Yoke system has a maximum pressure limit of 230-232 Bar (around 3400 Psi), whereas the Din system has a higher maximum pressure limit of 300 Bar (around 4000 Psi). So, that basically means that the Din system has a considerably higher pressure threshold.
This won’t normally affect you as a recreational diver as cylinders are typically only filled to around 210 Bar (around 3000 Psi)
Due to the High-pressure capacity of the DIN valve, they are almost always regarded as the go-to valve of industrial and commercial divers. And have largely been adopted by the tech diving community for the same reason.
The Yoke system is quick and simple and is therefore often used by dive centers around the world and as well as divers that just want to get the job done.
The DIN system although still very simple takes a little longer as you need to screw the regulator in and out of the valve.
It’s not a massive time difference but if you are changing cylinders regularly then the Yoke system can save you time and effort.
The sealing o-ring on the Yoke system is located on the front of the dive cylinder and therefore has a sneaky habit of disappearing.
To create a seal the Yoke orifice sits flush against the o-ring. The connection is normally very good but sometimes pinching of the o-ring can occur resulting in an improper seal.
Another problem is that the o-ring is constantly exposed to the elements and general wear and tear. They are prone to excess debris and cracking which can also compromise the seal. This may result in a small leakage or if the o-ring is considerably damaged, a large loss of air.
On the other hand, the sealing o-ring on the DIN is located on the regulator itself and is much less likely to fall out.
When the regulator is installed the o-ring is completely encased in the back of the tank valve which creates a more solid seal and is less likely to pinch. Due to the location of the o-ring, it is also better protected from dust, sand, grit, etc.
Size and Weight
Regulator first stages are usually made from high-grade metals such as aluminum or chrome plated brass or even titanium.
A regulator with the DIN connector is more compact and usually lighter than the Yoke connector. This is due to the Yoke system’s additional A-clamp mechanism.
So, travelers who want a smaller, lighter product may opt for the DIN.
If you do most of your diving in the US then you will find that most dive operations use the time-tested and reliable Yoke system. If you are diving in Europe then you will probably find that the DIN connector is more readily available.
To make it a little easier many dive centers around the world use cylinders with Din valve connections and then use a metal insert to convert the valve to the Yoke system when necessary, making the cylinder interchangeable between the two options.
Then, some older cylinders only allow for Yoke connectors. In that case, you would need to get your hands on a DIN to Yoke adapter. You fit the adapter to the DIN connector on the regulator first stage temporarily converting the connector to a Yoke.
There are arguments to support both types of regulators.
As we already know the Din regulator has a higher pressure capacity and the o-ring is in a protected location.
This will also reduce the risk of rupture due to high pressure from a compressor when filling the cylinders.
The Din is also way less likely to be affected if knocked when diving in an overhead environment such as a cave or wreck. Whereas the O-ring in the Yoke system may be displaced or even rupture.
Saying that the Yoke system has been used for many years and has a great track record when it comes to safety. And most incidents that have occurred can be put down to either poor maintenance or incorrect use of the equipment.
So, to put it in a nutshell, they are both safe to use as a recreational diver..
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. There are adapters to convert from Din to Yoke and vice versa. And like we have already said most dive operations are ready to accommodate both options anyway.
When it comes to price there is hardly a difference and build quality all depends on the brand.
If you are considering a move into the tech world then maybe the Din would be a better choice for you but if you are a regular recreation diver then it’s really up to you.
A good option could be a DIN Regulator with an additional DIN to Yoke adapter. Then you are good to go on every occasion.
If you have any other thoughts on which one might be better than the other, then let us know below in the comments
And if you’re considering buying a new regulator why not check out our comprehensive guide to the best regulators on the market.