Top Dive Computers for Beginners and Pros

A dive computer is one of the most useful tools that any scuba diver could need on their adventures. This piece of equipment makes diving a little bit safer and easier for the person using it. Depending on the user’s level of experience, the features that come included with a dive computer may be the most important characteristics of it.

Keep in mind, the applications of the computer are important to consider. For example, less experienced divers who scuba dive as an occasion recreational activity may find that something simplistic in nature to do just fine. For the more advanced diver, however, features that might not necessarily make sense to the novice diver might prove to be more useful.

What to Look for in a Dive Computer

Most dive computers will look similar to watches. They will also fit on the wearer’s arm in a similar fashion as well. While a standard function in the best dive computers is to tell time, the most crucial purposes are to provide the user with information on their equipment as well as the dive itself.

Pay Attention to the Complexity of its Features

More advanced computers will often utilize more features. When becoming familiarized with scuba diving, it is best to start off with something simplistic that is easy to understand underwater. Whether you are an expert or novice diver, a well-lit display, as well as large, visible figures are ideal for any dive computer.

For beginners, the most basic features are likely to be the necessary ones. These will often include the amount of battery life, previous dive data, the diver’s depth, and their rate of ascension. To put it simply, essential functions of a dive computer will display the information that is most vital in scuba diving.

For more advanced divers, these core functions may not be enough. For those who like to play it safe, air integration features are perfect to keep track of the amount of air left in your tank. A built-in compass and thermometer are also useful tools to have at your disposal, particularly in diving areas that are susceptible to volatile weather.

Parts Compatibility and Interchangeability

While these might not always be necessary, some higher-end dive computers will allow the user to sync their data with their personal computer and download it as needed. For the frequent user, a dive computer will come with easily interchangeable or rechargeable batteries and will be compatible with at least one or two types of pressurized gasses.

For the occasional user, sophisticated features might not mean a thing. If you only plan on taking a scuba adventure once in a while, you might find that the simplest designs make for the best dive computer. If you plan on limiting your dive times and altitudes, you might not even need an air integration system built into your dive computer.

Technical Considerations

For many people, the extent to which they need to use their dive computer when they are underwater can significantly affect their diving experience. Typically, it is best to be able to quickly glance at the display to get an idea of the gas level in the tank, and how far underwater you are.

The best dive computers will show all the crucial information clearly on a single screen. Bright, non-distracting backlighting as well as useable buttons are also small factors to consider but can make a big difference in the computer’s interface. When you’re underwater, the last thing that you need is to fiddle around with your computer’s settings. Unfortunately, finicky buttons and poor displays can cause this.

Top 5 Dive Computers

Before deciding on the ideal dive computer for your needs, consider exactly what features you need it to have. After all, not all dive computers are created equal. These dive computer reviews will cover a couple of examples of some basic and advanced machines for divers on either end of the expertise spectrum.

Suunto Zoop

Suunto is known for creating dive computers with a wide variety of features, from the most simplistic to the most extraordinary. The Zoop is worn like a wristwatch and is very affordable. While this is a great first computer for divers, the Zoop also comes with decompression capabilities and is compatible with Nitrox and Oxygen. Dive data is also transferable to and from a PC via a cable.

The downsides of this computer are its small design and even smaller buttons. While this might not seem like a major issue, it does make menu navigation difficult for those wearing gloves. Still, the well-lit display, large numbers, and affordability make it a great option for anyone purchasing their first diving computer.

Mares Smart

This is another computer that can be worn like a wristwatch. Though the design is rather simple, the options for gas regulation are thorough. An option for gas combinations is also built-in to the computer. Regular software upgrades are also a bonus for the Smart dive computer, making it a handy piece of scuba diving equipment for years to come.

Suunto Eon Steel

Another dive computer from Suunto, the Eon Steel is a far more sophisticated piece of equipment than the Zoop. This dive computer has a larger, more vibrant display and is fully customizable. The user can choose what measurements are displayed on the screen, from the decompression time to the level of battery life remaining.

Even though this is a great dive computer for divers of all skill levels, it does not come at a low price. Running close to $1,500, the Eon Steel is aesthetically pleasing as well as self-explanatory for how advanced it is.

Shearwater Research Perdix AI

The Perdix AI is another high-end dive computer that doesn’t compromise regarding quality and functionality. While there is no wireless air integration available, it does come with Bluetooth wireless capabilities as well as regular software updates. The display is also large and self-explanatory, relying on only two buttons to navigate between menus.

While this computer can make use of multiple gas types and several possible dive modes, the entire system runs off of a single AA battery. The computer is also perfect for logging dives as well as planning them, making it the perfect sidekick for the experienced scuba diver.

Cressi Leonardo Wrist Computer

The Leonardo diving computer is designed to look like a simple LED watch. This is one of the cheaper diving computers on the list, and its simplicity reflects it. This doesn’t mean that Cressi’s mini diving computer is inadequate. All the basic stats (dive times, altitude, ascension rate, gas absorption, etc.) are recorded and are well-lit on the LED display.


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