It’s true, dive computers can be incredibly useful and can help you to get the best out of your scuba diving experience. However, it’s often not that easy to choose the best one from a sea of different manufacturers and models.
A major part of why it is so hard to buy the best dive computer in 2019 and beyond is because they can be complicated pieces of technology and you may find it intimidating when you start reading all the spec, especially if you are relatively new to scuba diving and snorkeling.
You may not even know why you should own a dive computer? But don’t worry, we are here to help.
If you don’t have time to read the full post, here the 3 most popular picks:
- Small 48mm Case
- For Air & Nitrox
- 60 Dive Log
- Haldane Deco Model
- Full Color Display
- Easy Press Buttons
- Trimix & Rebreather
- Genuine Cressi
Also, if you’re not careful you could end up paying out too much money for a dive watch that has too many features that you don’t actually need or not paying quite enough and having a sub-standard product that doesn’t really live up to your expectations.
Despite the fact that there are numerous types and brands out there, at Ocean Scuba Dive we want to help you find the best computer for diving with that fits both your budget and needs.
As well as the following reviews you will also find an incredibly useful buying guide that will outline the things you should be looking for before you buy.
It’s important to remember that you want to find the model that suits your needs best, not the one that has the lowest price tag or the one that everyone else uses.
So whether you are a complete newbie or a seasoned pro scuba diver looking to update your scuba diving gear, here’s our list of top 10 favorites.
Best Dive Computer Reviews
Our Review Score
The first on our list is arguably one of the most sophisticated diving computer systems on the market right now. The Suunto EON Steel Dive Computer features a large and clear colorful screen that doesn’t just display dry and boring numbers but models and graphs.
This is perfect when you need to just quickly check vital dive information without having to spend longer than a few seconds deciphering the meaning of various numbers.
The three main buttons on this wrist computer are reasonably big and spaced out enough that they are easy to press even when you are wearing thick gloves, giving the ease of mind and confidence you need when you are deep under the water. As this is a larger unit than a lot of others, it means that it uses a larger battery.
With a comfortably large and adjustable strap, you can always be sure that the computer will stay securely on your wrist and provide you with access to the data related to your dive that you really need at all times.
Along with the incredibly colorful and bright screen, it’s incredibly easy to press buttons, adjustable strap and the fact that it features trimix and rebreather capabilities that mean even if they are useful to you in the beginning, you’ll have that kind of functionality when necessary without having to upgrade to a different model.
Features at a glance
- Full color display
- Easy to press buttons even with gloves
- Adjustable wrist strap
- Includes Trimix and rebreather functionality
Want to learn more? Check out our full Suunto Eon Steel dive computer review.
Our Review Score
The Cressi Newton Titanium Dive Computer Watch has an incredibly small case diameter of 48mm, making it one of the most compact of its kind. Don’t be put off its small build though because it has enough features to make it a superb companion on all your dives.
Its Dive programme offers full processing of all dive information, including decompression when required and works with all dives performed with just air or nitrox.
On this model, a new algorithm has been utilized. The Dual Mixture Cressi Algorithm is the work of Bruce Wienke and Cressi and takes the Haldane model and integrates that with RGBM factors to make safe and accurate decompression calculations during repetitive dives over multiple days.
The Cressi Newton Titanium also makes use of a tissues model with 9 saturation half-times between 2.5 and 480 minutes. It also has a nice and clear Graphic CNS oxygen toxicity display and includes a log book with a capacity of either 60 dives or 70 hours.
The fact that you can turn the Dive programme off and wear this watch while you snorkel, swim or do things on dry land without using too much battery, really set it apart.
Overall, as this watch fulfills its role as a feature dive computer and an everyday watch, on a budget.
Features at a glance
- Super small case size of 48mm for smaller wrists
- Full decompression stats with air and Nitrox
- Built-in 60 dive log book
- Uses the Haldane deco model for accurate decompression calculations
Our Review Score
Right off the bat, it’s worth noting that the Mares Smart Wrist Dive Computer, with its vibrant and appealing color, can record up to 36 hours of dive data and is able to function with a single battery for up to 200 dives. As it can handle dives as deep as 150 meters, you have the chance to really grow with this device. It benefits from a clear LCD screen with scratch-resistance that means it is easy to read, even when you have the sunlight directly beaming down on you. Thanks to the fact that the large screen displays every kind of metric you could ever need to know including ascent rate, depth, and temperature, you stay updated with the stats imperative to your dive.
Multiple alarms can be either programmed or shut-off as required, giving you even more control over each aspect of your experience underwater. As the firmware the watch uses can be upgraded easily, you don’t need to worry about this dive computer becoming out of date.
Perfect for free diving with and features, like many on our list, the capabilities to handle two different gases. Due to its versatility, it’s perfect for both beginners and more advanced and seasoned divers. Check out the independent review for Mares Smart Wrist dive computer here.
Our Review Score
It is finished with an elegant high-quality stainless-steel accent ring, but it’s the functions and features of the Oceanix Geo 2.0 dive computer that you are really interested in. With this watch, you benefit from a dual deep stop and algorithm option, so if you are familiar with the other version of the Oceanic Geo, you will be able to spot the additions and upgrades. It offers four different operating modes so you can quickly and simply tailor it to your specific needs and preferences. The operating options are Free, Norm, Gauge and Watch.
Oceanic have made the watch as user-friendly as possible and as a result, you can move through the different menus with the greatest of ease. With its logbook, you can record and assess your activity for up to 24 dives and there’s a detailed history mode. The history mode enables you to track the lowest temperature you’ve dived at, the total number of hours you’ve been diving, the maximum depth you’ve dived at and the complete number of dives you’ve been on.
Our Review Score
There is simply no better word we can use to describe the Shearwater Research Perdix AI Dive Computer than exceptional. From its small and compact 2.2-inch screen you can check out every bit of detail you need to know about your dives. This high-tech scuba diving computer has a dual strapping system that makes sure it won’t come off while you dive, while the waterproof playing is screwed in place with stainless-steel fixings.
The computer is not only compatible with air and the usual Nitrox but also Trimix too, so you have full versatility in that department. The onboard log book will record the data for up to 1000 hours of diving. Clearly, the Shearwater Research Perdix AI Dive Computer, although expensive, is a multi-faceted and fully functional device that only requires one AA rechargeable battery.
Our Review Score
Mares are one of the most popular dive equipment manufacturers in the market, and with good reason, because their devices are renowned for their high-quality builds and easy-to-use functionality. This Mares Puck Pro Dive Computer wristwatch is no different. It features a reasonably large screen that is easy to read and has a lightweight build that makes it the perfect companion for divers at any level of experience. You can select through the various menus easily using the one button and the screen provides you the data you really need and want.
Mares have incorporated the RGBM algorithm into this computer and it offers the ability to programme it from 21% to 50% for Nitrox and features an ascent rate indicator and various other alarms and metric displays. It can be used in both salt and fresh water and the battery can be replaced easily, when necessary. The Puck Pro computer is capable of operating up to 492ft deep and its logbook will record up to 50 dives or a total of 38 hours of diving data.
Our Review Score
The second time that Suunto have made an appearance on our list. This Suunto D4i Novo dive computer may look very simplistic in its design, but trust us, it’s full of features and a high-end piece of diving technology. It has four different dive modes, including free, nitrox and air so you are always kept up-to-date with the amount of air that is left in your tank. The computer also includes Suunto’s RGBM decompression algorithm to ensure your dives are always as safe as possible.
There is even an alarm that will sound to let you know you are ascent is too fast, telling you to either slow down or completely stop. When you invest in the D4i Novo, there’s no need to rush out and buy a new one if the firmware starts to become a little out of date, because it is updateable. To complete the package, it is secured to your wrist with the incredibly comfortable strapping system.
Our Review Score
If you are a complete newbie to scuba diving and looking to get off to a flying start with an affordable but high-quality diving watch, you should consider this Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer. Although it’s extremely compact and lightweight, there is still space for an edge-to-edge full HD screen ensuring it is easy to read no matter where you are and how deep you are.
Despite being under 150 quid, it still offers a maximum diving depth of 120vmeters and 70 hours, 60 dives long book that will help you to record all the important data. The single button user interface makes it easy to programme the various modes, including Gauge, Nitro, and Air. Cressi have created, in the Leonardo, a watch that will go with you wherever you go.
Our Review Score
Following on nicely from the Cressi Leonardo, the Cressi Giotto dive computer watch is another affordable and feature-full device. The menus are easy to navigate through using the three buttons on the device, while the screen is a very reasonable size at 2.6-inches, meaning you can still read all the information you need to, despite its compact design. Many of the standard indicators and alarms are included to give you up-to-date information during your dive when you need it. Much like the Leonardo, this watch has a log book that can record data for up to 60 dives or 70 hours of diving.
Our Review Score
Completing our list is yet another, but similarly awesome, Suunto model. The Suunto Zoop Novo dive computer is by far one of the most affordable and efficient entry-level computers for users who have limited experience. It will track your ascent and descent precisely and alert you if you are moving too fast up or down in the water. Your nitrox and air readings are clearly displayed, along with the temperature, depth, time and date.
It’s secured to your wrist with the easily customizable strap and the large buttons make it quick, easy and efficient to control the interface. We recommend the Suunto Zoop Novo for anyone that does not want to pay the world for a highly intuitive and easy to use a computer that will help make their dives safe and enable them to effectively track their progress.
What to Consider when Buying a Dive Computer
Now that you know what our top picks available on the market right now are, it’s worth discussing some things that are worth considering if you are buying one.
First things first…
Why Should You Use a Dive Computer Instead of a Dive Tables?
You may wonder why you should bother investing a considerable amount of money when people are still happily diving and using dive tables to work out the information regarding their dives. Although these tables are useful for calculating the recommended duration you should spend underwater, the surface interval time and Nitrogen levels, technology has advanced a lot over the last few decades and there are now more accurate ways to calculate all that important data related to dives.
Furthermore, as dive tables were not created with the recreational diver in mind, they were designed as a resource for Naval officers and calculate the crucial numbers for very specific dive. They do not, therefore, work as well to help recreational divers who don’t want to just dive down to a specific point and then ascend again.
But they are ideal for those who like to descend and then dive further down or up a little while hunting for wrecks, fish and coral. Although dive tables can help avoid decompression sickness or ‘the bends’, they are still not accurate enough when compared to even entry-level dive computers.
How to Choose the Right One For You
The first thing you need to think about is the level of diving experience you have, now that you’ve decided you do want to buy a dive computer and are not sure which is best from our selection. This is why we noted in the opening paragraphs that it’s less about buying what your friends have or the most comprehensive system, and more about buying exactly what you need for your ability and experience.
Beginners – We would recommend that if you are a complete beginner, that you get a scuba diving computer that is relatively simple, easy to use and has a large display. When you first start diving, you’ll find that a lot of your time is spent getting comfortable swimming and breathing underwater and you won’t want to be fiddling around with a high-tech piece of kit.
Advanced Technical and Recreational Divers – Obviously it follows that your needs are different to that of a beginner if you are more advanced. Having additional features such as trimix capabilities are crucial and you will want a computer that can handle deeper dives too.
Must-Have for Dive Watches and Computers
Easy to Read
Regardless of what level of experience and ability you have as a diver, your dive computer display should be very easy to read. Therefore, backlit displays, high contrast and large numbers are what you should look out for.
Easy and Intuitive to Use
Not all models are made equally, and as such, some are much easier to use than others. To avoid spending half your time underwater fiddling around, this is one aspect you should consider very carefully. Many modern computers have very intuitive user interfaces. You also need to consider the type of water you will be diving in. If you are mostly diving in cold water rather than hot water, remember that you may be wearing warm and thick gloves.
Although we stated in the opening paragraphs of this post that you shouldn’t base your buying decision solely on budget, it is something you will need to take into consideration along with everything else we’ve discussed.
For a basic dive computer, you should expect to pay anything from £100 to £300 and for one jam-packed with features, it could be anything from £500 to £1,000. Fortunately, if diving is a relatively new pastime and you don’t have a huge budget to play around with, there are still numerous entry-level computers from reputable brands that include the most essential modern features. Many of these are actually listed in our top 10.
Set-up and Style
Generally speaking, there are two different types of setups – console and wrist. All of the computers featured on our list are the wrist variety.
Wrist computers enable you to have access to all the crucial data about your dive right there on your arm. The most obvious advantage of this style over a clunky console is the fact that they are slicker, more streamlined and much easier to read. You should note that there are two different kinds of wrist dive computers, one that looks like a hockey puck and the one that resembles a watch.
Wireless Air Integration
Incredibly popular nowadays, wireless air integration is a fairly self-explanatory function you will find on many modern dive computers. It means you can monitor the air and gas consumption on the watch via a transmitter, rather than having to check the gauge on your tanks.
You need to realize though, that as good as wireless air integration technology is, you should not dive without your SPG. In a worst-case scenario, what are you going to do if you are over 100ft below the water surface and lose the signal from your transmitter to your watch? You’d have no way of knowing how much air you have left in the tank, without your SPG as a back-up. Safety should always be your primary concern.
Now that you have looked at our reviews and read our tips and advice, you should now find it much easier to choose the best model for your needs, but remember, once you have your piece of scuba equipment, you’ll need to know just how to care for your dive computer to make sure you get the most out of it. Happy Diving!