Scuba diving is a popular sport worldwide. While this is a safe sport, there are some things you can use to make it even safer.
A dive computer is a staple in any experienced scuba diver's bag.
Are you confused with so many dive computers in the market? Sure , the dive computers have many features and configuration that can be a challenge to select exactly which one perfectly meets your needs.
Continue reading this article to get a better understanding of what to look for when buying the best fit for your diving style.
PS: This is a super long and detailed article, if you just want to know which dive computer us and our readers love the most – click here!
What Does A Dive Computer Do?
While it is possible to use a dive watch while diving, a dive computer makes it so much simpler. According to PADI, a dive computer takes time and depth information during your dive and applies it to a decompression model.
The computer tells you exactly how long each safety stop must be during ascension. Using a dive computer is the safest way to calculate safety stops. More information is available at PADI's website.
The best dive computer makes the whole process of scuba diving a lot more effortless. You can concentrate on the most important part of every dive: The underwater world.
The dive computer also is your personal logbook. It saves your past dives and makes it easy to transfer all the relevant data to your desktop device or share it with your friends.
How to choose the best dive computer?
Choosing the right dive computer for your needs is mainly about asking yourself what kind of diver you are. Here are some important points that you should take into consideration when you make your choice.
1. Consider your future diving career
It is important to have a clear vision of your future diving path before you invest any money. Just imagine buying an expensive gear and use it only once or twice a year isn’t that wasteful?
So think through your diving career and know your diving rate and your future goal.
As the Dive computer wizard suggest (Dive Computer Expert Reviews), decide whether you are a long time diver with many diving rates, and hence you require a durable computer with many features such as air-integration, digital compass, wireless air, and capabilities.
Or you are a recreational diver who just needs a computer with simple features.
2. Access and know your personal preferable mounting option
Today there are mounting options including computer consoles, wrist units, units embedded in a scuba mask, and dive watch computers to choose.
Therefore, you have to decide clearly what the best option for your diving style is. For quick decision you may consider convenience, the activities you will be doing for instance if you are an underwater photographer, you may select Aeris CompuMask HUD or the Oceanic DataMask HUD (Dive Computer Expert Reviews).
Again you can imagine how you feel when you wear certain model. However, this is a personal choice you have to make.
But you may go to dive shopping and try out different models to feel how easy using the model will be when you wear it.
3. Know your desired specifications and functions of a dive computer
Know which features will best suit you in a dive computer. Modern dive computers come with features such as PC interface, color display, wireless air-integration, digital compass, Dual algorithm, drive mode options, dive simulator among other features.
According to Sarah (Choosing the right dive computer for you), you should know your preferred feature that will improve your diving career.
You need to look for a dive gear that will exactly perform according to your desires.
More important you may want a gear with adjustable settings of Personal Conservative Factor, Deep Sea safe stop mode, Altitude, and user replaceable batteries.
But keep in mind that a dive gear with additional features may cost you extra money. Therefore just go for features that are useful.
4. What is your personal preference?
What preferences and personalized settings are you looking for in a dive computer? Your choice should be one that has your preference settings needs. According to Roger Roy (How
To Choose Your Next Dive Computer), the preference setting modes can include meter setting, feet setting, adjustable safety factors, audio and visual alarms, deep sea stops, and depth warnings.
Choose a dive that comes with the right type of settings according to your diving level, style, and your dive skills.
5. What is the standard of simplicity of use of the computer?
Before buying a dive computer, ask yourself, do I know how to use the gear? Or will I need to read the manual before I start using the dive computer?
These questions are important since they help you buy that equipment which is not a challenge to use. Besides, some computers are intuitive that will get you tempted to dive them without reading their manual, yet others need you to spend the time to master how to operate them (ROGER ROY).
Therefore, it is imperative you understand the model you want to buy.
Try to avoid getting one dive computer that you will not be able to operate at worst, or that will take a long time to master its operation at best.
6. What are your eyesight capabilities?
How easy do you see things? If you have sight problems, buy dive computer that has screen displays with an improved readability of the computer.
Many divers find bigger dive gears to be better. Besides, you can choose a gear that has bright displays to help highlight information to you.
7. What is your budget?
Budget is a more important aspect that you must give enough consideration. By saying this, I imagine that you do not want to reduce your family expenditure because you are buying the dive computer.
Therefore, you need to choose your equipment wisely and economically. After considering the above factors, you should make a selection of two to three computers that meet those factors and your need.At this point, you will have dive computer with probably same feature but with different prices.
As we have discussed earlier, models with the sophisticated feature are more expensive than those with few and simple model. So chose your option the dive computer which suits your pocket.
If you are working on a tight budget, you may get a simple model dive computer without some features such as wireless air integration, free dive mode, inbuilt digital compass.
However, if you have enough funds, you want to get yourself a sophisticated dive computer that will accelerate your diving career. In such case, you can select expensive dive computer.
These dive computers come with more capabilities such as wireless air-integration, multi-gas, heart rate monitoring, picture upload, and digital camera.
The last bonus factor is the color, but on this, you are alone. Choose the color that suits you.
The best way to understand the dive computer is to watch the below YouTube video by Dive computer wizard to help you make an informed choice:
The video will explain to you step by step selection of best dive computer and will cover many other aspects that are not discussed in the article. So take your time and watch it!
You should focus on dive computers that match your dive style and the equipment you already have.
Do you want to read the display as easy as possible? Pick a computer with a primary screen that shows less info but big numbers.
Do you love graphics? Pick a more professional device that has a colored display to suit your needs.
However, the standard features that the best dive computer for your needs should have are measuring depth, timekeeping, display of ascent rate, emergency decompression, dive log and previous dive info.
It should also warn you when your battery level is low and work with nitrox enriched air.
You should also pay close attention to the menu structure. Some like to operate with a single button and others prefer 2 or 3 of them.
Either way, you will definitely find out what is best for you by reading the infos below.
A few more things you need to know for the time AFTER you made your decision:
- Always read the instruction booklet. A dive computer can be a complex device.
- Rinse your computer with fresh water everytime you used it. That is important for all your dive gear by the way, saltwater can be very aggressive.
- Take good care of it while travelling.
- Keep it cool and out of the sun when you don't need it.
Top 10 Best Dive Computers on the market
The Suunto Zoop Novo dive computer is a first dive computer for many as it handles everything. It is used by novice's and professionals alike. This computer does everything for you, all you need to do is get it wet and it does the rest.
You can wear this computer on your wrist or mount it on a combo console.
The Suunto Zoop helps you to fully organise your dives with the integrated dive planner.
The monitor on this dive computer is large and easy to read even in situations of low light and low visibility as it has an electroluminescent and phosphorescent backlight.
The 4 button interface that the Zoop Novo has makes it extremely easy to navigate the software. This is another dive computer that shouts value for money!
Suunto Zoop is a perfect dive computer for beginners and recreational divers. That does not mean it is a short term investment. It will provide you a lot of fun over the years as it has full decompression capabilities and a nitrox mode.
You can test upcoming dives based on those you did in the past and even check your decompression data before ever getting into the water.
That a nice safety feature. Of course, you can connect the Zoop with your computer and transfer you dive data for further analysis.
- Nitrox and air up to 50%
- The screen is great to read and has an easy to use interface
- You can change the battery yourself
- Dive planner
- Uncomplicated menu structure and easy-to-use buttons
The Cressi Giotto is a remarkably efficient and easy to use dive computer. It has a 98 percent success rate for recording the exact time and depth of dives.
The display on the device is so easy and clear that even one glance is enough. The Cressi Grotto is also known for its flawless software programming which makes navigating the computer possible without hindrance.
The Cressi Giotto has a 3-Button interface which makes it very easy to use. Even if you use a dive computer the first time it is easy to program all relevant things like air, nitrox and gauge modes.
The computer is aimed for the recreational diver that provides all relevant information like the need of decompression, depth, dive time, ascent rate and surface intervals.
It is easy to switch the gauges for gasses on this dive computer and the inescapable lightweight and compact design of it makes it ideal for travel. The only let down is that the computer does not come with an easy to understand instructions booklet and manual.
The highly modern algorithm makes all the calculations very accurate and safe. The dialogue between the diver and the computer is very easy because of the large display that ensures clear readability at all times.
You can use the Cressi Giotto in many different night diving and low light diving situations as it has a very good backlight function.
- Large HD Screen
- Very travel friendly because of the compact size
- Easy-to-use 3-button interface
- Designed and built entirely by Cressi
- DIve memory for about 60 dives
The Suunto Zoop Novo has everything you want for your diving journey. The key data is easily available on the big screen, even in darker conditions as the computer has a backlight function. The computer has five different modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Free and off.
All information is displayed in clear and big digits so you will never have any problem to see what you need to see when you are beneath the surface. The Suunto DM5 software makes logging and analysing your dive data very easy.
The Suunto Zoop Novo dive computer is a first dive computer for many as it handles everything. It is used by novice's and professionals alike.
This computer does everything for you, all you need to do is get it wet and it does the rest. The monitor on this dive computer is large and easy to read even in situations of low light and low visibility as it has an electroluminescent and phosphorescent backlight.
The 4 button interface that the Zoop Novo has makes it extremely easy to navigate the software. This is another dive computer that shouts value for money!
You will even get detailed graphics when you use it. The built-in dive planner will make all upcoming dives a lot safer: You can plan decompression times, depth and surface intervals all in one place. Just relax amd enjoy the next plunge into the water.
Watch out freedivers! This one is for you as it has a freediving mode included.
- Made in Finland
- Big display with backlight
- Continuous decompression algorithm
- Innovative timer for freediving
- Timer for air/nitrox modes
The first Puck dive computer was introduced in 2008. The price was very aggressive and it changed the world of dive computers. A full-featured dive computer at such a low price was never seen before.
The new Mares Puck Pro got even better. It is super intuitive, the display is larger but the computer is slimmer. Mares even added a multigas capability.
This classic has all features you need at very competitive price and it will accompany you through many many years
These Mares Puck Pro dive computers are simple to navigate, easy to operate thanks to the single button, intuitive to work and easy to understand.
- Very slim design
- Large display
- Three timing modes: Air, nitrox, bottom
The Oceanic Geo 2.0 has a dual algortithm. The interface is redesigned compared to the frist version. It is a fully functionally air/nitrox dive computer that can measure between 21% and 100% O2.
It also has all features of a normal wrist watch and can therefore be used as a recreational gadget.
The history mode includes the total number of dives, the lowest temperature, max depth and the total dive hours. The inforamtion for up to 24 dives can be saved in the on-unit dive log.
The Oceanic Goe 2.0 dive computer watch is ideal for recreational divers. This dive watch may be as small as a wristwatch but that doesn't put any cap on its features and capabilities.
This computer is smart, and can organize and mix your gas consumption whilst underwater diving, making it extremely handy to automate some processes.
The display is spacious yet not made full use of as the entire space isn't used.
The alarms on this computer are not loud enough to be heard underwater, something that must be improved, but the blinking red LED light on the alarm makes up for it.
- Switch between two nitrox mixes
- Last dive can be displayed with a single click
- 4 Modes: WATCH, AIR and NITROX, GAUGE, FREE
- Forward and backward navigation in the menu
The Cressi Leonardo is build entirely by Cressi in Italy. It is the perfect computer for those who have just entered the sport and want to get more serious.
The single button interface is as easy as it can get. You will be able to program air, nitrox and gauge mode as soon as you pick the device up. The Cressi Leonardo has a large display but is still very travel friendly.
The audible alarms will deliver every important information so you won´t have to worry about anything during your dive time.
The Cressi Leonardo is the predecessor to the Cressi Newton and packs a lot of the same features as the Newton.
The Leonardo passes the majority of the requirements for a good dive computer watch with flying colors.
It's extremely easy to navigate with all the key important information right there on the home screen, with the less important secondary information available on the second screen at the touch of a very easily pressed button.
The alarm present on the Cressi Leonardo is extremely loud and can be heard under any circumstances. This is perfect for amateur or even professional divers.
- Complete RGBM dive computer
- Two modes for air and nitrox
- Single button navigation
- Loud Audible Alarm
- Larger digits for easy reading
The Suunto Vyper air is one of the more advanced dive computers in this list. That is for sure. It includes a 3D Compass and and wireless air integration. Both features are optional.
The air integration makes it possible for the diver to monitor air consumption and tank pressure from your wrist. The Suunto Vyper can also be programmed for nitrox mixtures between 21% and 100%.
The watch is a dive computer best known for its accessibility, even with gloves on. It has buttons which are easy to press and make full use of even underwater with gloves on.
This computer has a personal preference option, which I find to be pretty cool. It will notify you if the conditions do not meet your requirements, therefore giving you the best and safest diving experience.
This dive watch has a very neat and clear display and the strap provided with the watch is easily adjustable to suit your needs.
The only downside is that it may be a bit difficult to transfer the information from the watch to a PC, and a few people have had issues regarding this.
- Three different modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge
- Complete decompression information
- USB compatible PC interface (optional)
- Ascent rate indicator with multiple steps
- Safety stop countdown
- Dive simulator
- Clock with audible alarm
- Battery can be replaced by the user
- Depth display between 0-150 m (0-450 ft)
The Cressi Newton is the ideal tool to use in and out of the water. It allows to deactivate the dive program what prevents needless alarms when you are not diving.
The option to turn of the dive mode makes the Cressi Newton perfect for everyday use or for swimming and snorkeling.
The case of the computer has a diameter of just 2.07" so it is a really compact dive watch, perfect for your travels around the globe.
The dive program can process the whole dive data including decompression for every dive that was performed with air or nitrox.
The Cressi Newton dive computer is another very well designed and easy to use dive watch. The Cressi Newton presents a newer and much-improved version of the Cressi software which makes the watch much more useful.
This dive computer is rather elegant and beautiful and looks absolutely lovely when worn. The watch is profoundly lightweight, despite many of its metal components being made of titanium, for sturdiness and strength.
The display on this watch is very big. The values displayed are very large and organized in a way that makes it extremely easy to read, even at a quick glance.
The watch also has many different functions and the alarm and light are so potent that they can be noticed in almost any situation.
- Very compact
- Perfect for the use in and out of the water
- Great for swimming and snorkeling or as a timepiece
- Dive history can be safed
- Reinforced glas
- Complete decompression information
The Aeris A-Series sets a new design standard. This is a basic dive computer packed with many advanced features.
It can be used by beginners as well as experienced divers. The primary screen shows the two most important infos: current depth and deco-time. All other data can be found on relegate screens.
The Aeris A300 also has a very good countdown for safety stops. One thing is for sure: You will never miss the large digits. Every information is displayed as clear as possible.
The Aeris 3000 Dive computer is the definition of value for money. It is designed to be ergonomic and is very comfortable.
This dive watch is engineered towards new divers or people who don't go diving very often.
The watch is very easy to read and is very durable, making it perfect for inexperienced divers and experienced divers alike. The only down side found with this dive computer is its large, bulky and cheap feeling strap.
- Dual Algorithm with Deep Stop
- 3 Operating Modes: Air/Nitrox, GAUGE and FREE
- Intuitive interface with three operating buttons
- Three Nitrox mixes
The Shearwater Petrel is the perfect dive computer and has everything you could ever want. It has a rather large display which is very easy to read and interpret. It is highly prized because it is extremely easy to use and displays all the necessary information whilst diving (ppO2, temperature, depth etc.).
The Shearwater Petrel has a full-color LED display with a size of 2.4". The dive log can safe up to 1000 hours of diving. Batteries for this dive computer are also easily found as it uses the standard AA batteries.
This dive computer is also very simply connected to a PC to transfer dive data. You can analyze your dive log, deco profile and temperature. The download works fast an easy with bluetooth.
The one problem that was found was the uncomfortable straps and buckles that were supplied with the watch. Anyway, this can easily be fixed by replacing them with a bungee or something similar. You can check the following video for an instruction.
No matter if you are a master or a beginner, when it comes to the Shearwater Petrel you will be pleased with what you get.
- Large, easy-to-read display
- Two button interface
- User replaceable AA battery
- Digital compass
- Bluetooth integration
- Multiple languages
When it comes to safe diving, having the best dive computer can make a real difference. Not only do you have a much simpler and better overview over your dives, but you can concentrate a lot better on the important stuff. The beautiful marine life.
The above suggestions were chosen with safety, cost and efficiency in mind while considering the diverse needs of different divers with different experience levels. If you are not sure what the best dive computer for your adventures is you should find the answer in the above list.