I'm looking at buying regulators for scuba-diving this weekend and we came across the options to have a DIN or a yoke valve for our first stage. What are the pros and cons of both a DIN and a yoke valve? Are there any reasons to choose one above the other?
DIN is always a better connector than the older and inferior yoke format which for some reason is far more prevalent in the US and surrounding countries.
There are several drawbacks to the yoke:
- the o-ring is on the cylinder and is very frequently damaged
- the o-ring can be damaged when your kit is assembled if the yoke's twisted or incorrectly seated
- when the o-ring breaks, it goes bang - scaring anyone around!
- it's possible to undo a yoke under pressure, it goes bang
- yokes are limited to 232 bar max
- yokes are more fragile and are not recommended for diving in an overhead environment: cave, wreck, etc. where they may strike something underwater. Therefore technical divers can't/won't use them.
DIN is a much newer connector so is far more reliable, cannot be removed under pressure, and seldom goes bang. Most DIN regulators work up to 300 bar as the male screw is longer with 8 threads as opposed to 5 threads. You cannot use a 232 regulator on a 300 bar cylinder (e.g. a suit inflation first stage) as the seal cannot be made (it's short but the female socket is deeper).
In Europe, most people use DIN. If travelling, it's useful to pack a DIN to yoke adapter just in case.
If you're in the US and have no intentions to move into technical diving, choose yoke. In all other circumstances, choose DIN.
It looks like a DIN valve can be used at higher pressures and has a more secure connection.
Since the fitting is more secure, DIN valves allow the use of higher pressures, and are more suitable for demanding diving situations like technical diving-especially in environments like caves or wrecks, where a bump to the valve could cause a leak.
Also DIN valves are considered to be safer and better for technical diving.
For those divers wishing to pursue any type of technical diving the DIN valve is recommended. Because of its superior qualities in the environments likely to be encountered it is safer. It will also be more common at the dive shops you deal with, as it is used almost exclusively for cave diving, deep wreck penetration, decompression diving, and rebreather diving.
The one drawback to the DIN valves is that they are less common and therefore you might have to get an adapter as well.
A drawback for the DIN set up is that the first stage protrudes a little farther than the yoke when you have the adapter on and you will most likely be the minority in the diving group so you better make sure you have an adapter or the proper tools with you.
The pro's of DIN are listed in the other answers. Here is a big con that may be a unique contribution, and perhaps only endemic to where I come from: At dive resorts, I have witnessed some poorly maintained DIN regulators break their threads and dislodge upon pressurization. It especially happened in one particular dive resort that still uses some really old cylinders with worn threads. The regulator becomes a really dangerous projectile that hurts really bad. A well maintained DIN connected to a well maintained cylinder may be ideal, but in the average dive resort, yokes are safer in this sense. You are purchasing your own equipment, so it ia safe to assume that it will be well maintained, so a DIN regulator is the better choice. However, keep in mind that you will probably still be using the resort's cylinders when you travel, and if they give you one with worn threads, there is a risk that it breaks the threads on your regulator and causes some serious injury if the projectile hits someone (now imagine it is literally aimed at your neck).