When it comes to gear, saving money is not always the best answer. I say this in the nicest way possible; but unless you have a friend, a collective discount program with your club, or key man at your local shop or centre; then I’m sorry to tell you, but you will probably find few major discounts on equipment. That’s right, I said few, actually close to none. They just don’t exist at the retail level. Let me be clear. Scuba Diving is a equipment intensive sport. And if you want better equipment you have to spend the money. You get what you pay for. Now, not every retailer is the same; granted, but for the most part an Oceanic regulator is around the same price from shop to shop and the same holds true with the online world. Rather than the price being your concern, you should ask other questions: like, will the retailer honor any warranties if they are a dive centre, or what will the annual maintenance costs for parts and labour be, does the manufacturer have a warranty, and does the shop or centre provide maintenance services in your local area. Some of these questions may not concern you if you live in a large metropolitan area, but if you live more rural you may have to send the regulator in for a warranty repair or service. These are things you should consider, when purchasing any type of equipment. Ask the professionals at your shop or centre for advice on purchases. Be careful when purchasing online; the questions I posed above should be at the forefront of you mind for any online purchase decision. Remember that the $100 you may save today could very turn into $300 in repair costs when you discover you purchased defective equipment from a less than reputable retailer. It’s your equipment underwater, so again; you get what you pay for.
Buying used equipment can hold even more dangers. I myself have purchased used equipment; a computer. I bought it, though, off a very good friend of mine who had upgraded to a new one and made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. He knew I had been wanting to go wireless for some time, and posed the deal to help offset his future equipment costs. So, in this case, I knew the previous owner very well; trusted (and still do) him unequivocally as a dive buddy, and knew that he had taken very good care of the computer. This is a rare situation where I would do this, I have bought other hand-me-down lights from him as well; and we routinely shop for deals on gear and tanks; but we are thrifty people. Be careful ordinarily when purchasing used equipment. As a member, myself, of a dive club we search for deals; naturally to save each other money on trips, and vacations. But that is within our group, we know each other well and dive with each other often; there is trust there. The ad on craigslist for the Apeks AT20 you really want, may not be the same case, and do you think the guy on craigslist is going to have a return policy? Just be aware of these things. This is why clubs and good centres were just as important 20 years ago as they are today. We are a subculture that has to look out for each other, especially when purchasing gear; this was the original reason for the clubs that rose out of post WWII; they were designed to save their members money and time. clubs and dive shops and centres still attempt that same never ending battle; to dive as reasonably priced as possible, without sacrificing good equipment underwater.
Your world. Underwater.