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Thread: Aqua Lung vs. Various

  1. #1
    TadPole
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    Aqua Lung vs. Various

    Ok, so I am new member of the forum and recently certified (C) diver. I received my certification from a LDS about a week ago. However, I am now ready to make my first equipment purchase (outside of the personal gear and wetsuit that I already have). I am specifically interested in a BC, Regulator, and Octo right now. Here are my questions:

    -The LDS I worked with for my certification keeps telling me that I should only purchase Aqua Lung if I can afford it (Reasons = Service Availability, Quality, Warranty, etc.). I imagine Aqua Lung is great, but I know it cannot be the only "Ferrari" out there. Why do they push it so hard?

    -If it is so great, why does Scuba Toys not sell it? Does Aqua Lung have some "special relationship" with PADI?

    -Cost withstanding, what are some of the top brands out there?

    In my "other" life, I have regular interaction with small, custom style shops. So I can understand their approach and mentality...and can respect it many ways. However, this is an area where I don't have the knowledge to discern the difference "customer service" and "sales." Any help would be greatly appreciated…

    Thanks!
    Last edited by percussionist1; 04-07-2008 at 17:13.

  2. #2
    Barracuda Founding Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by percussionist1 View Post
    Ok, so I am new member of the forum and recently certified (C) diver. I received my certification from a LDS about a week ago. However, I am now ready to make my first equipment purchase (outside of the personal gear and wetsuit that I already have). I am specifically interested in a BC, Regulator, and Octo right now. Here are my questions:

    -The LDS I worked with for my certification keeps telling me that I should only purchase Aqua Lung if I can afford it (Reasons = Service Availability, Quality, Warranty, etc.). I imagine Aqua Lung is great, but I know it cannot be the only "Ferrari" out there. Why do they push it so hard?


    Aqualung makes a great reg, but they pressure dealers not to sell below list price. They feed their dealers the "Aqualung Kool-aid" and make them believe the crap they are telling them.

    -If it is so great, why does Scuba Toys not sell it?


    I don't speak for Larry (or Moe or anyone else at ST), but AL doesn't allow online sales and also the above price policy. Most online dealers, including ST, don't want to hassle with having to stock product they can't sell online and the other problems that go along with it.


    Does Aqua Lung have some "special relationship" with PADI?


    in reference to what? You'll find many different AL shops that certifiy with many different agencies.


    -Cost withstanding, what are some of the top brands out there?

    !
    While AL does make a good reg, most of the other regulators sold are pretty decent also. It's like rednecks and pickup trucks. You'll always have some that think their Ford or their Chevy is better, so it's basically personal preference. Look at brands like ScubaPro, Atomic, Oceanic, etc. Even the XS Scuba Tri Metal was rated very high with the other big brand name regs by SD magazine. pretty impressive for a relatively new reg to the market.

    If you really want AL, there is nothing wrong with it besides price and the dealers that believe the crap they are telling you. If you can get it for 30% off list, then I'd buy it. Otherwise if that is the brand "you have to have", then buy it at LP.

  3. #3
    Grand Master Spammer Founding Member
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    The push it because they sell it, and due to pricing controls, get to charge a lot for it. There are others that are just as good.

    ScubaPro and Apeks (the latter actually owned by AquaLung) are two other brands that are just as good, in some cases better. Note that they have pricing controls as well, however, and must be sold by an authorized dealer to maintain the warranty.

    Atomics is yet another great reg... I would say FAR superior to Aqua Lung, personally, but that's my opinion. ScubaToys carries those, but internet sales are not allowed, so you have to go into the shop.

    Aqua Lung and ScubaPro both work with PADI to some degree, since it's the biggest certification agency and the two are the two largest gear sellers. But the reason you're seeing it at your local shop has more to do with decisions made by the individual shop (they're taking advantages of incentives manufacturers offer to be "exclusive" to their goods) than PADI. There are just as many PADI shops that are exclusive to ScubaPro, for instance. And then there are the PADI shops that don't carry either, but rather carry brands such as those you see on the ScubaToys site: Oceanic, Tusa, Mares, etc.

    Many companies make good regs. The one that works best for YOU is the one you're looking for. If you plan to dive mostly locally, and there is only one shop in town, service is a reasonable thing to consider... if that local shop is only going to be willing to service Aqua Lung regs purchased by you at their shop, then you may be over a barrel. Or you may want to purchase online from someone like ScubaToys, where your service is done via the mail. But you'll be SOL if you break something and need immediate access to service.

    OTOH, if you're mostly going to travel to warm water destinations to dive, you may want to consider brands that have a world-wide presence and are readily serviced in relatively remote locations, such as ScubaPro and Aqualung... these two have the widest worldwide distribution.

    There are lots of trade-offs in life... you'll need to choose the ones that are pertinent to you and your diving.

  4. #4
    Grouper
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    You can find a few answers here (esp post #8):
    http://forum.scubatoys.com/zeagle/11...onnection.html

    Aqualung/Apeks sells quality gear. So do almost all of the major scuba manufacturers. What you are hearing from your dive shop falls into the 'sales' category. They push Aqualung so hard because Aqualung has a number of policies that result in any local shop not having to compete for business with other AL dealers. If they can sell you on the brand, you don't have many other choices about where to buy from.

    For regulators, my personal opinion is that Atomic is one of the best, but I freely admit that you can get more value for the money elsewhere. The Atomic Z2 is actually decent for the money, and the Zeagle Envoy is also a terrific value. Apeks (part of Aqualung) is also a very popular top performer. Oceanic, Mares, DiveRite....they all have their fans and will do everything a recreational diver will ever need.

    For a traditional BC, I think of Zeagle as a top brand. If you're willing to consider a Backplate and Wing, the packages from DeepSeaSupply.com offer a superior product.

    Rich

  5. #5
    Grouper
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    Welcome to the board and congrats on your new cert!
    (yer right in my backyard too...another potential dive buddy!)
    I bought (from a now-extinct LDS) an AL reg set, was a bit pricey but I love it. You'll hear many different things here and it's a good thing, you WANT to hear what everyone is saying, one of the purposes of a board; that's how I got and am still getting educated.
    Proud dad of 4 and even prouder Pawpaw of 5 grandkids (future scuba divers if I get my way....)

  6. #6
    Grouper azdiver's Avatar
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    I have an oceanic and love it... so much so that even though I bought it 20 years ago and probably should buy a new one, I've had it rebuilt twice. :-)
    "May all your bubbles reach the surface before you do!" http://www.divebuddy.com/Linda

  7. #7
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by percussionist1 View Post
    -The LDS I worked with for my certification keeps telling me that I should only purchase Aqua Lung if I can afford it (Reasons = Service Availability, Quality, Warranty, etc.). I imagine Aqua Lung is great, but I know it cannot be the only "Ferrari" out there. Why do they push it so hard?

    -If it is so great, why does Scuba Toys not sell it? Does Aqua Lung have some "special relationship" with PADI?
    AL does make some good stuff. I think their "legend" is just as good as my Apex reg. Nearly identical. But then scubapro, zeagal and many others make regs that are as good. All the top brands are good. You DO want a reg that can be locally serviced.
    If your LDS only services AL, you really should buy AL or look at other shops.

    Yes you could ship you gear but you feel really dumb spending $30 on Fed Ex and wasting several days to have an o-ring replaced or an intermaidiate presur adjustment or some other 5 minute job done Mostly I can get simple repairs done wile I wait.

    Why does ST not sell AL. (I'm guessing) because AL will not alow dealers to re-sell dive equipment on-line. Also many of the companies have minimum requirements. (I'l make up the numbers) if both scuba pro and AL both want a shop to sell 50 regs in order to remain an authorized dealer but your store only moves 70 regs total then you have to choose. Many of the LDS here are caught up in that, not many could move the minimum sales volumes required from every brand so they are forced to pick brands.
    Also they get volume discounts if the shop sell a lot of one brand they get better deals so it pays to push only a few brands.

  8. #8
    Shark
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    You are clearly a person who sees through B.S., or "opinion."

    My advice would be to rent some gear until you find what you like best.

    My favorite regs are Atomic, and Zeagle. If I bought foreign, it would be Tusa.

    I love Zeagle BCDs, but they might not be right for you. It is all about comfort.

    It's like Smokey Robinson said, "You'd better shop around."

  9. #9
    Shark
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    P.S.

    The term "The Ferrari of Regulators" is over-used. Almost every reg today out performs the best regs 15 or 20 years ago.

    They are all very safe.

  10. #10
    TadPole
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    Thanks...

    Thanks for the advice Phil. And for that matter, thanks to EVERYONE else as well!

    I really appreciate it. I enjoy gear and product knowledge a lot...so this should be fun.

    Percussionist1

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