Best Dive Computer – A Short Buying Guide

best dive computer

Cressi Leonardo is one of the best dive computers in its class. Like most other top products, it comes to simplify the life of the diver with its must-have programs and extras. An emphasis on usability has made dive computers better than ever before. At the same time, divers now have the freedom to transfer all diving data to a PC and look at their diving from a statistical point of view.

From a features’ perspective, dive computers are indeed made to cate to different skill levels. Joggling between various modes such as Nitrox and Gauge is a must by today’s standards. USB or wireless connectivity has its place as well. Depth stop functions as well as battery life indicators are to be used on all dive computers. However, the usability of a single button operation is up to the user, but in most cases, it makes everything easier.

A notable idea is that a dive computer is as important as the mask and snorkel. Even those new to diving can find good use in a dive computer. Being able to track diving comes with added personal safety.
For this reason, dive computers are especially useful to newbies for their safety characteristics and to experienced divers for their specific information and small diving improvements, especially under pressure. The following dive watches stand out in all of these skill level categories.

1. Cressi Leonardo

Cressi Leonardo 1

Made by one of the most respected names in the industry, the dive computer comes as a practical watch which can be used and read even with deep dives. The first visible characteristics are the rugged materials, the rubberized strap and the large digital display dials.

The computer offers FO2 (fraction of the O2 breathing) readings between 21% and 50%. The PO2 (partial pressure of oxygen) is adjustable between 1.2 bar and 1.6 bar. Recreational diving is where the PO2 is kept below 1.4 bar. At the surface, the air has a PO2 of 0.21.

Other options include audible alarms and infrared technology-compatible interfaces. The watch can also connect to a computer where data can be downloaded and archived. With USB compatibility, the watch is one of the most popular in its category. The one-button operation makes is suitable for those who might not be tech-inclined.

Pros

  • Backed by a popular brand
  • Measures FO2 and PO2
  • Includes audible alarms
  • Uses one-button operation

Cons

  • Long wrist strap

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

2. Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer for Scuba Diving

Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer for Scuba Diving 1

The dive computer for scuba diving has been in production since 2008. It is still a popular choice and its long manufacturing history is a testament on how reliable it actually is. Available in different colors, the dive computer represents one of the distinct options worth using purely for its simplicity. It comes with a one-button operation which helps its case. At the same time, the dive computer can’t really change its settings once 4 feet under water, so there is no need to worry about its configuration anyway.

There are multiple modes the computer works in. The Dive mode is activated automatically when diving. Time and Set modes are also operable whiles at surface level. Planner and PC modes are added so that its data can easily be transferred to a computer.

Pros

  • Long manufacturing history
  • Made with a mineral gas display
  • Large numerals
  • Features a Nitrox RGBM computer

Cons

  • Inaccurate data at times

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

3. Aqua Lung Legend LX Regulator i750 Dive Computer

Aqua Lung Legend LX Regulator i750 Dive Computer 1

The kit includes a powerful dive computer, a Second Stage Octopus and a scuba backpack. It is a value deal but its most valuable product remains the advanced dive computer. It comes with optional hoseless gas integration. It also features a 3-axis compass.

Dual times zones, audible alarms, and a calendar are also included in the computer’s features. A surface interval countdown timer is added as well. Residual nitrogen reset options are also available. All of these features are easy to browse and the mineral glass lens makes for a great digital display.

Pros

  • Value scuba diver starter pack
  • Dive computer comes with a 3-axis compass
  • Included interval surface interval countdown timer
  • Operating depth up to 150 meters

Cons

  • Longer learning curve

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

4. Aqua Lung i300 Dive Computer

Aqua Lung i300 Dive Computer

There are 4 operating modes serving users of the dive computer. They include Air, Nitrox, Gauge and Free Dive. In addition, the dive computer also features a backlit display as well as the much-appreciated audible alarms.

With good visibility in low light, it might be an option for those who want to test cave diving. At the same time, the computer comes with a user-backed software upgrade system. Practically, it is improved further from time to time. Blue and gray versions are available. Those on a budget can also consider its depth gauge reader alternatives to always be on the safe side when diving.

Pros

  • Made with 4 operating modes
  • Includes interchangeable batteries
  • Designed with audio alarms
  • Includes software updates

Cons

  • USB cable sold separately

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

5. Mares Nemo Wide Dive Computer Wrist Watch

Mares Nemo Wide Dive Computer Wrist Watch

With 3 different gas mixtures during the dive, the computer comes with a new Nitrox function. Air and Bt functions are also available. Secondary characteristics include a calendar, audible alarms, and temperature display.

One of the truly distinct design characteristics of the dive computer wrist watch is the wide display with its 170-degree viewing angle. This allows for data to be displayed with large characters. On the other hand, the dive computer has 4 buttons and it might be a bit too complicated for beginners compared to most other dive computers which only come with one-button operation.

Pros

  • Oversized digits display
  • Allows 170-degree visibility
  • Includes Air, Nitrox and BT functions
  • Designed with a high contrast display

Cons

  • 4 buttons operation

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

6. Oceanic Geo 2.0 Wrist Computer

Oceanic Geo 2.0 Wrist Computer 1

With 2 Nitrox mixes, deep stop, a countdown timer, and an intuitive interface, the computer is now at its second release. Maximum depth and dive time are recorded as well, making the entire experience safer.

But the dive computer is also available in free dive and even in a watch mode. Its watch mode is, however, very different from most other dive computers. This is due to its impressive design. Made with an upgraded stainless steel ring and bracelet, it can feel as watch as well. With its added Back function which allows users to return to a previous menu, it feels more of a watch than many other displays.

Pros

  • Suitable for wrist wear
  • Includes 4 operating modes
  • Comes with dual time display
  • Allows backward menu navigation

Cons

  • Heavier than plastic designs

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

7. Suunto Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer

Suunto Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer

With a programmable function from 21% to 50% oxygen mixtures, the dive computer promises to deliver the basics. Imperial and metric readings are adjustable and there are various operating modes to rely on, as expected. They are the Air, Nitrox, gauge and freedom modes.

Decompression stop data and audible alarms are added as well. A backlit display helps divers to see the data down to 100 meters. There are various colors to choose from. At the same time, alternatives with a depth gauge are also available.

Pros

  • Available in multiple colors
  • Can include a depth gauge reader
  • Maximum depth display of 100 meters
  • 4 operating modes

Cons

  • Lags when changing operating modes

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

8. Aqua Lung i100 Wrist Computer

Aqua Lung i100 Wrist Computer

With simple operation and functions, the dive computer only comes with the basics. However, this includes the four operating modes seen in other dive wrist computers from Aqua Lung. One-button operation makes the design a choice for newbies and the choice of fresh or salt water makes it a recommended option for experienced divers.

A blue and a black version are the options at hand. Both of them come with batteries which are easy to change. This can be done at home, by the diver. There’s no need to send the computer in for a battery change.

Pros

  • Includes Air and Nitrox Modes
  • Comes with salt and fresh water selector
  • Made with one-button operation
  • User-changeable battery system

Cons

  • Needs a software upgrade

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

9. Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer with Transmitter

Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer with Transmitter

The computer is known for its wireless tank pressure transmitter compatibility. At the same time, it comes with open circuit, fixed PO2, gauge, and a freediving mode. The 3-axis wrist computer is also highly configurable. For example, users can set it to offer one-button access to different tools such as the stopwatch, timer or compass. This makes it a suitable option for professionals who are big fans of customization.

The time-to-surface function is also a valuable feature. It allows divers to properly plan their swimming. With multiple gas definition presets with oxygen, nitrogen, and helium, the computer is a hit. Many of its users call it the absolute winner of the category.

Pros

  • Packed with professional features
  • Offers a time-to-surface function
  • Works with multiple gas presets
  • Very bright screen

Cons

  • Not the most affordable design

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

10. Garmin Descent Mk1

Garmin Descent Mk1

The GPS computer is very close to a smartwatch in its features and design. The 3-axis design includes a compass, a gyroscope, and a barometric altimeter. An interesting feature comes with its included dive log. Practically, users can review their diving data up to 200 dives, which is a professional feature for constant diving improvements.

A heart rate monitor is added as well. The computer also includes monitoring signals for different sports. This is why it can be one of the complex options to consider. Its appeal is mainly directed at professional or dedicated divers.

Pros

  • The complex list of features
  • Includes a dive review function
  • Comes with a heart rate monitor
  • Support sports data

Cons

  • Metal parts need to be harder

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON

FAQ

Why do I need a dive computer?

A dive computer can be a safety device. Today, they have multiple features and they can be used for various purposes. Most dive computers are used for better dive planning.

Is a dive computer expensive?

A dive computer doesn’t need to be expensive. However, professional features are not found on entry-level computers. Most dedicated divers have at least one dive computer for this reason.

What is a unit system?

A unit system refers to metric and imperial units of a dive computer. Most advanced dive computers include measurements in both unit systems.

Which dive programs do I need?

Air, Nitrox, Gauge, and Free diving programs are seen on many professional dive computers. Most consumer-level dive computers typically include only 3 of these programs.

What is the estimated battery life on a dive computer?

Battery life varies considerably and it is influenced by features such as the digital display. A reliable dive computer battery should last at least 2 years and up to 4 years in the best case scenario.

How to choose the best dive computer

Some of the best dive computers are also made with a matching design. The design has a determining role in usability. Apart from offering all popular programs and extras such as watch functions and calendars, dive computers are suitable for multiple other reasons for a successful diving experience.

Display

The display and the way it is designed is crucial. Divers look at it underwater and this is why it needs to be backlit for most dive scenarios. A larger display is suitable for easy display reading. A smaller display will be harder to read, but its batteries will last longer. Since there are other methods in which users can see the data from the watch, such as via PC transfer, the display is often overlooked, although with the cost of usability.

Design

The design of the dive computer varies considerably, the Cressi Leonardo is one of those watches where extra attention has been placed on the design. But apart from the watch form, the dive computer comes with large numbers on its display. They are suitable for quick data reading, an area where all other smaller display struggle.

Features

Which features are essential in a dive computer? Are they really as good as users hope for? Are all features needed for the occasional diver? The following features are now accepted as the standard for the average consumer.

  • Fraction of the O2 reading
  • Partial pressure of oxygen
  • Audible alarms
  • Deep stop function
  • Adjustable unit of measure
  • Battery life indicator
  • PC connectivity
  • One button operation

Other characteristics can be found on professional dive computers. However, the list is more than enough for the average diver to improve personal safety.

Final words

Using a dive computer is not complicated. It can even help avoid common diving mistakes. Detailed user guides are available for the products above. Furthermore, divers also have the advantage of top customer service teams to help them out with any additional information. One-button-operation designs are suitable for newbies. Navigating through menus without actually worrying about multiple buttons is priceless.

Then there’s the issue of diving safety. If used correctly, dive watches can alert divers when they reach certain depths and when it’s time to head back to the surface. Even the distance to the surface can be shown on some of these dive computers. In the end, it is a matter of continuous practice to master all of these features and to avoid using just a small percentage of them.