Apeks regulators DS4 and DST review

Apeks DS4 or DST first stage?

In this comparison, we answer one of your most frequently asked questions about the difference and similarities between two of Apeks' workhorse regulators that are equally famous for their reliability and performance: The Apeks DS4 and DST first stage regulators. What's the difference?

When it comes to high performance, excellent breathing, cold water reliability and overall durability, the Apeks DS4 and DST first stages are a great choice for divers at all levels and have been a popular choice for technical and recreational divers over many years.


Both are so rock-solid that it’s hard to believe how affordable they are. Going for a DS first stage won’t break the bank, and you’ll get years of reliable performance.


Below from left to right, the Apeks DS4, DST and DST with optional 5th port.

Apeks DS4 and DST first stage regulators

Which one to get? The Apeks DS4 or DST first stage?


Simply put, the Apeks DST is an Apeks DS4 on steroids. 


If you don’t need the additional features of the DST or want a reliable, robust first stage with a simple design and twinset-friendly hose routing, the DS4 is a workhorse often referred to as being “bombproof” and (as many technical divers would tell you) will do the job.


Not many divers need more than one High-Pressure port for an SPG, and with two Intermediate Pressure ports for the second stages, the remaining two ports for a BC and drysuit are sufficient for most single tank divers.


On a standard DIR twinset rig, using two DS4’s on either post, one can easily route the long hose properly while supplying gas to a wing, while the other can feed the backup regulator and SPG as well as a drysuit. Leaving two IM ports on either side free.  


And if you’re using the DS4 as a low-profile high-performing first stage on a stage bottle for decompression or bailout/bottom gas, you can easily run the regulator hose from the HP port/SPG side or, as some divers seem to do, use a button gauge on the HP and use the opposite side for regulator hose routing.  


You can read a more detailed description and specifications of the Apeks DS4 1st stage here.

So what's the Apeks DST about?

The DST does all of that but also builds on all the outstanding features and functionality of the DS4, making it a far more versatile regulator that can be adapted to various diving configurations and conditions.


The DS4 doesn’t have a swivelling turret; the DST does. The DS4 doesn’t have a second HP port; the DST does. The DS4 doesn’t have the option to have a 5th intermediate pressure port at the top of the turret, which the DST does.


The DST is a supercharged DS4 in disguise with the same tried and tested functionality.


Its two HP ports, all 4 standard MP ports on the swivelling turret and the optional 5th port naturally allow for better and more versatile hose routing whether you’re diving single tank, twinset, sidemount or using the regulator on stage bottles.


You can read a more detailed description and specifications of the Apeks DST 1st stage here.


Apeks DS4 or DST first stage?


It’s not the performance of the first stage that differs the two, but functionality. Otherwise, both DS first stages share the same tried and proven reliability and great performance.


Given that the price difference between the two is minimal, it depends on what you need and whether a simple, low-profile DS4 with its non-swivel ports and one HP outlet will do the job.

Apeks DS4 & DST Shared Features:

  • Diaphragm-type design for durability and cold-water performance
  • Environmental dry chamber to prevent freezing
  • Over-balanced design for smooth breathing at depth
  • Easy to use
  • Widely available
  • Easy to service
  • Finished in highly polished chrome
  • Available in (recommended) DIN or Yoke (A-Clamp) configurations.

Where to buy Apeks Regulators?

At Underwater Explorers | DirDirect, we invest heavily in Apeks products with annual pre-orders to beat any supply chain delays or shortages. 

Regarding the Apeks DS4 and DST first stages, we have these as first stages only or as part of regulator packages that add to your savings.

Look below at some of what we currently offer, or browse through the site. If you need any advice or assistance in choosing the best for your needs, don't hesitate to contact us. 

Safe diving!