A diver’s main concern is avoiding decompression sickness. In the early days, divers relied on dive tables they had to meticulously calculate.
Now, however, as technology has progressed, more and more divers are able to afford dive computers. These allow you to continuously track a variety of factors throughout your dive.
I have come to be dependent on these devices due to their accuracy and their simplicity.
This is why I would like to take you through the process of finding the best dive computer as well as offering up some of my recommendations.
- Best Dive Computers I Reviewed
- Best Dive Computers
- What is My Number One Best Dive Computer?
Best Dive Computers I Reviewed
The Different Types Of Dive Computers
One of the first decisions that you will need to make regarding dive computers is what style suits you best.
Dive computers are available as a wrist and console style. Both these designs have the same function, they simply differ in the way that they are worn.
Console dive computers can be considered rather old-school designs although they still remain popular today. The main advantage with this kind of device is that it lets you mount all of your other gauges and devices in the same spot as your console. As such, with just one look, you can get all the information that you need about your dive.
These computers also tend to be a more economical option.
Of course, the reason wrist dive computers have taken over today is that they are a lot easier to use. Since they are on your wrist, you don’t have to look around to find the device. They are also lightweight and are easy to work with, even underwater.
In the end, it really is about what style suits you best. So, you should always go with the device you find the most comfortable and easy to use.
What Basic Features Do You Need?
To start with, I will go through the most fundamental features that you will need with any dive computer:
- No Decompression/No Stop Limit: NDL or NSL refers to the amount of time that a diver can remain at a particular depth. As you may know, these differ with each dive and are calculated according to depth as well as previous profiles. For this feature, you should look for a dive computer that informs you of the depth, time, ascent rate, no stop/no decompression time remaining, previous dive information, and emergency decompression.
- Enriched Air Compatibility: the most common type of gas mix that divers rely on is Nitrox. This is why it is important to make sure that your dive computer is capable of monitoring the nitrogen loading and oxygen toxicity while you are underwater.
- Alarms: a good dive computer will ensure that there are various alarms that you can set. This includes the ascent rate and time remaining alarm. This can come in handy if you tend to get distracted or if you want a reminder to make certain that you are diving
- Logbook feature: most people don’t really rely on manual books anymore. This is why it can be helpful to have a dive computer that lets you log each dive and save it. This is useful when it comes to comparing information from previous dives.
- Easy to Read Display: it doesn’t really matter if your dive computer has all the features in the world if you can’t actually read any of the information. So, a good-sized screen with visible characters and a proper backlit display is vital.
What Additional Features Do You Need?
If you are a pro diver or love technology, then you may be looking for a dive computer that can offer up a bit more. In this case, here are some of the elements that you should be looking for:
- Air Integration Feature: with this feature, the computer is able to calculate how much air is remaining in your tank. This is done either via a transmitter that is connected to your tank or a hose that is attached to your regulator.
- Laptop Compatibility: in the event that you don’t want to have to subscribe all of your dive information to a book or laptop by yourself, look for one that is compatible with an app or laptop. This way, the information will be automatically downloaded to the secondary digital location.
- GPS Navigation: the newer models are equipped with GPS navigation. This allows you to tag a certain location and have the computer guide you towards those coordinates.
Choosing a Dive Computer That is Right for You
It is not enough just to get the most innovative or expensive dive computer on the market. Rather, it is about getting a dive computer that is compatible with you and your style of diving.
This is why you should only get a brand and model that is suitable for your current form of diving. For instance, if you have been Nitrox diving and are unlikely to change this any time soon, you will only need a dive computer with two or three modes. This means that you will have no use for one that also includes free diving, altitude diving and so on.
Then, there is the matter of algorithms. Now, each brand and model relies on a specific algorithm to make various calculations. With some models, you will have access to several algorithms. Now, there isn’t too much variation in terms of the results that each of these algorithms produce. That being said, you will need to be mindful of how conservative each algorithm is.
If you are an experienced diver, then you can get away with relying on an algorithm that calculates fewer stops with shorter times. However, novice divers may not have this luxury. If you are a beginner, it is best to stick with an algorithm that is able to calculate a greater number of stops for a longer period of time.
Of course, last but not least, you should keep your budget in mind. If you dive quite often, then it may be worth it to invest in a more expensive dive computer with a greater number of features. On the other hand, if you are either new to diving or dive infrequently, then a more affordable dive watch may be better.
For more information on how to choose a dive computer, you can check out this video:
Best Dive Computers
Here you will find all the best dive computers that will serve you well, regardless of your experience or skill:
There is a lot to like about the Giotto dive computer.
First off, it should be noted that this can be a rather large display for some. If you have smaller wrists, the Giotto can appear to be quite cumbersome. The upside of this, of course, is that you have a bigger screen, making it easier to see all of the information.
Now, this computer is equipped with three modes – air, Nitrox, and Gauge. Apart from this, there are also a number of audio and visual alarms that you can rely on. These include the max depth, dive time, ascent rate, deco stop, and deep stop warning.
The algorithm of this wrist computer is good for a variety of divers, although it is meant for divers with a bit more experience. However, you can adjust the conservatism of the algorithm, depending on what you are comfortable with. This allows you to choose something that you feel is safer for your experience level.
One of the few disadvantages of this watch is that although the settings make it easy to use, there is a considerable learning curve involved. This means that you will have to read the manual and get used to operating it before you go on a dive.
Shearwater Research Perdix AI – Best For Professional Divers
From the price tag alone, you can tell that the Perdix AI is meant for more serious divers – and it is.
This is best suited for professional recreational or tec divers. If you fall into either of these categories, then this dive computer has a lot to offer you.
To start with, it has wireless air integration which also allows other air mixes to be calculated. While you do get one transmitter with the computer, it is equipped to be compatible with up to two transmitters on each tank. In addition to the gas pressure, this computer also displays the gas time remaining and the surface air consumption.
The Perdix AI has also been designed for various types of diving. So, whether you are using a rebreather, Trimix mix, or Nitrox, you will be able to monitor the percentage equally well.
As far as usability goes, this computer is actually rather simple to use. Not only does it have a large, easy-to-read display, it is also equipped with just two buttons that make it a lot easier to maneuver the menu.
The only downside with this computer is that the larger screen means a larger watch, which can be a bit bulky or cumbersome for some divers.
I found that the Zoop dive computer is actually an excellent choice for beginners.
For one thing, the algorithm on this computer is more conservative than most. This means that you will have more stops and for longer and this feature alone increases your safety monumentally. The audible alarms also ensure that you are reminded at proper intervals when to start and stop. There is also the fact that this computer boasts an easy to read display. All the information is sorted into clear and distinct sections, allowing you to check what you need at just a glance.
For the most part, this dive computer is rather easy to use. For instance, the computer automatically starts a count-down for a three-minute stop when you get to twenty feet.
You can also see detailed graphs and other dive information with just a few presses of a button.
However, you should know that I had to pour over the instructions several times before I got the hang of it. In that sense, the settings aren’t all that intuitive.
This is yet another great entry-level dive computer.
The Leonardo has everything that a beginner diver needs, all wrapped up in a computer that is incredibly easy to use.
At any given moment, the watch lets you take stock of the current depth, max depth, NDL, dive time, temperature, and battery level. It is also a breeze to use since just one button lets you program the Nitrox, Gauge, and Air modes. What’s more, it’s really easy to navigate through the settings and choose the calibrations that you prefer.
The large screen with backlit features means that you don’t have to look too hard at your watch. All the numbers are large and clearly labeled, so even if you aren’t used to a dive computer yet, you can gather information rather quickly.
There are also plenty of alarms – both audio and visual – that alert you of approaching decompression, depth, and safety stops. One of the disadvantages here is that there is no timer for your stops so it is up to you to keep track of this.
However, there is a rather comprehensive logbook that lets you either document 75 dives or 60 hours. You get to store up to 16 pieces of information on each dive.
There is no denying that this is one of the more user-friendly computers on this list. Now, there are several reasons for this.
First, the display is large and can be easily read even when you are underwater, thanks to the backlit display.
However, what is even better is how the information is organized on the watch. It is split into three, separate levels so that any given moment, you will only be able to see the most pertinent information.
Speaking of information, you can choose from air, Nitrox, and Bottom Timer modes on this computer. This computer is actually great for a variety of divers because it allows you to choose between profiles to decide on the best conservative option for you.
There are also a number of alarms available with this watch. You can set one for ascent rate, decompression stops, and even low battery. However, the only problem is that you can set one for your maximum depth. Apart from this, it really is a great computer to use. This, of course, is mostly because the controls are simple and intuitive, making it a breeze to calibrate your settings.
This is a good dive computer for a diver with a little bit of experience under his or her belt.
To start with, it is equipped with four modes. There is one for air and Nitrox, one for Gauge, one for free diving, and a regular watch mode. This makes it a watch that you can easily wear both on land and in the water.
The watch and the display are rather compact for this reason but the information can easily be read. This is because it is split into three, separate levels allowing you to see all of the details quickly. To top it off, it only shows you the most important information – NDL, depth, BT, and a nitrogen loading graph. The only problem is that the bar charts are a bit too small to decipher quickly.
Now, if you are not used to most dive computers, the Geo 2.0 is actually rather simple to use. This is all thanks to the Step Back features which allows you to move forward and backward on the menu with ease. So, it just takes a few minutes to get the hang of how to use this dive computer.
A nice touch with this computer is that it is quite simple to reference a previous dive, with the information appearing to you in moments.
What is My Number One Best Dive Computer?
For value, it is hard to beat the Cressi Leonardo as one of the best dive computers on the market.
- Single Button Interface: Modes: Air, Nitrox and Gauge
- Large Numerical Displays, Back Light Feature for Low Light Conditions
- Depth, Dive Times, Decompression Status, Ascent Rate & Surface Interval Times
- Imperial (feet) or Metric (meters) System Selections
It is affordable and yet has plenty of features to spare. These include the various modes, a considerable number of alarms, and access to important information at a glance. Not to mention, it also has one of the more impressive logbook features, ensuring that you are able to keep track of most of your dives.
All of these factors combined means that many divers will be happy with what this dive computer has to offer.
This concludes my foray into dive computers.
With all the information offered here, you should find it quite easy to find a great dive computer for you.
Last update on 2018-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API