Appeared in DIVER December 2006

REGULATOR Cressi Ellipse Piston
I ONCE VISITED AN ITALIAN FACTORY after writing a critical regulator review and was berated by tearful employees telling me that they had families to feed.
I retorted that the unsuspecting buyers of their regulators probably had families too, and that their income would also be affected once those buyers were sleeping with the fishes.
But I am confident that there will be pasta to spare for everyone after telling you of my experiences with the Cressi Ellipse Piston regulator.
This is a classic tall piston-type design, with four medium-pressure (often called low-pressure) ports conveniently spaced around a rotating turret, and with two-high pressure ports fixed either side of the main barrel.
The mechanism is open to the surrounding water, which has eight holes through which it can flow. I am told that the valve has a unique hinge-away design that allows for an unobstructed airflow past it when it opens, although I had no means of looking at this.
The second stage is all plastics but is joined to its hose by a large lump of chromed brass intended to act as a heat-sink, warming up the air with heat from the surrounding water. This is a neat oval shape but with a tiny exhaust-T that, sadly, does allow exhaled bubbles to invade your field of vision when not moving.
The venturi plus/minus switch is mounted on top of the second stage and has a large lever that is easy to move with gloved fingers. On some makes of regulator the switch seems to have little effect, but adjusting this one makes a noticeable difference to the work of breathing at depth, and really stops the free-flows that tend to happen in the shallows. Its worthwhile getting to know how to use it.
Under water I found the regulator very lightweight in the mouth and an admirable performer. It was hardly damp when inverted (good news for any out-of-air diver who grabs it and stuffs it in his mouth the wrong way up), and it proved dry as a bone for me at all other angles.
Ill stick my neck out by saying that this new model actually performs better than the similar Cressi Ellipse Titanium, which has a diaphragm-type valve.
Of course, it might not be as good in cold fresh water. Luckily I was able to test it alongside other well-thought-of regulators at 50m, but the water was never colder than 23ÃÂC.
For divers who always start a dive trip in an aircraft, it seems ideal. Its lightweight to pack and it performs well. I had no problems with free-flows while swimming head-on into a current.
The Cressi-sub Ellipse Piston regulator is not too expensive, either. It costs 241.
  • Cressi-sub, 01484 711113,

  • Divernet Divernet
    + High-performance
    + Lightweight to pack and use
    + Good value

    - May not be appropriate for cold fresh water