One of the main pieces of equipment that all experienced divers will recommend is a dive computer.
It is one of the first purchases you should make, as it is very important when guaranteeing your safety while scuba diving, as they offer all of the essential features for a diver to keep track of the situation at all times. Most importantly, the best dive computers will make calculating your safety stops and surface decompression time a cinch.
Obviously, there are many features that can be packed into these computers, ranging from the basics of what you need on an average recreational dive all the way to very advanced dive functions. You'll want to first assess what your main goal in using a dive computer is because the more advanced this piece of gear gets, the more expensive it becomes.
In a hurry?
If you’re in a hurry to get swimming under the sea, we recommend you go straight for our number one top pick for the overall best dive computer: the Cressi Leonardo Single Button Diving Computer.
This dive computer is an excellent choice for scuba divers of all levels, but is especially handy for beginners as it is super easy to use and navigate. It has a single button that controls all of the settings, and a high-definition screen with extra large numerical displays, so it is very easy to use, especially when under water when it matters.
The design is compact and small, resembling a sleek watch more than a dive computer, which makes it stylish! It has adjustable FO2 between 21% and 50%, and adjustable PO2 between 1.2 bar and 1.6 bar. This dive computer features a CNS oxygen toxicity graphic indicator, and has three different levels of conservatism that can be adjusted.
With alarms, a deep stop function, and an easy to change battery, it is the ideal dive computer to make things easier. It can also be easily reset between dives, and can therefore be used by different divers on the very same day!
Lets take a look at the rest!
The Cressi Leonardo Single Button Diving Computer is our best overall option and is an excellent choice, as it has everything a scuba diver needs, and doesn’t clutter the computer with unnecessary add-ons.
It’s super easy to use and also looks stylish, as it resembles a sleek watch. It has a single button to control all settings, making it very simple and easy to use, especially when underwater.
The screen also makes it easy, as it is high-definition with extra large numerical displays. It has adjustable FO2 between 21% and 50%, and adjustable PO2 between 1.2 bar and 1.6 bar.
This dive computer features a CNS oxygen toxicity graphic indicator, and has three different levels of conservatism that can be adjusted. It also has visible and audible alarms, as well as a user-selectable deep stop function.
The Cressi Leonardo can be adjusted to imperial or metric measurements, and the battery can be easily changed when needed.
This dive computer is also very easy to reset between uses, which is what makes it a highly popular choice for rental, as it can be used by different divers on the same day.
The Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer is another excellent choice that is budget-friendly and high quality, with everything a scuba diver needs for an enjoyable and safe experience.
Although to some the Mares Puck Pro is not the most stylish of designs, due to it being a bit bulkier, it is highly efficient and practical, and taste is truly down to personal preference.
It is also a lot more durable than other dive computers thanks to its design, with a rubber and plastic exterior that can withstand regular scuba diving over many years of use.
The screen is oversized with an easy to read display, which is what counts when you’re down in the depths of the ocean.
It is also very intuitive and easy to use, with a single button to control all of the different settings and displays. It has a dive log of 36 hours, and a battery that can be easily replaced.
The Nitrox can be programmed between 21% and 50%. This dive computer also has an ascent rate indicator, which is extremely useful for divers.
If you’re looking for a dive computer that is more advanced and suitable for professional use or for experienced scuba divers that need the extra features, the Garmin Descent MK1 Diving Computer is the one you’re looking for.
It has many more functions than average, and is also very stylish looking, giving it that overall professional feel. It has a full color display screen that is very easy to read under water, and it also allows you to display a backdrop photo of your choice.
It also syncs to your smartphone, making logging your dives an even easier task! It supports single gas, multi-gas, gauge, and apnea diving, with nitrox and trimix.
And you can also plan your dives by using this dive computer. It features a 3-axis compass, a gyroscope, a barometric altimeter, and a GPS and GLONASS capability with which you can mark the entry and exit points of your dive.
With it, you’re guaranteed 100% accurate and safe navigation with precise planning and settings for the most advanced scuba divers. It also comes with Elevate wrist heart technology to monitor your health while diving.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, this diving computer has modes for different sports so that it can also be used on land for other activities such as hiking, cycling, or others. It truly is the top tier of diving computers!
The SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Diving Computer is an ideal choice for scuba divers that are just starting out and want a reliable diving computer that is basic and to the point, with the necessary features in an easy to use design.
It has an oversized and easy to read display with intuitive menus, and is in fact recommended for those that use prescription lenses. It features four different basic operating modes for an easy use: air, nitrox, gauge, and a freedom mode.
It can be programmed for oxygen mixtures between 21% and 50%. It can be adjusted to display in either imperial or metric measurements, it has decompression stop data, and audible alarms.
It is a highly durable dive computer that is perfect for beginners, with a maximum depth of 100 meters.
The Mares Quad Drive Computer is a great choice for scuba divers of all levels, as it has highly versatile features, covering all the basics to a high standard.
The most noticeable thing of this dive computer is the larger than average size, with a big display screen that is even easier to read and that is designed to be highly visible underwater for those divers that might struggle with average sized or small screens.
This also makes it ideal for those that wear prescription lenses, or for those that simply might prefer a bigger screen. It has four buttons and is very easy to use when navigating the menu options and settings.
It has three different operating modes: air, nitrox, and bottom timer.
What’s good about this dive computer, is that it lets you switch gasses during a dive, as well as supporting an oxygen blend of up to 99%, which is a lot higher than the average dive computer.
It is also very easy to reset between dives, so it’s popular amongst rentals, as it can be used by different divers on the same day.
Best Dive Computer Buying Guide
A diving computer is an essential item in scuba diving equipment, and it is 100% recommended that you purchase one if you intend to dive.
It keeps track of all the essential things you need to know about, and need to monitor while scuba diving, to ensure you are safe at all times and are aware of the situation.
With this in mind, it is therefore super important that you purchase the best possible product, with all the necessary features suited to your needs, and with a high quality that makes it dependable and durable.
But how do you choose which dive computer is the best possible option for you? That is an excellent question. You need to be aware of a few important factors, that will determine whether the dive computer you have in mind is worth it or not, or whether you should start looking for a different option.
Factors such as the display screen type or the battery capacity, as well as the compatible technology used or even the amount of buttons.
Every single feature is important, and when you’re down under swimming in the depths of the ocean, it can make all the difference.
You want something that’s very easy to use and straightforward, whilst also getting as much as possible for the price, utilizing all of today’s technologies. Here are the basics summarized to help you get familiarized:
The operating mode of the dive computer will determine the things it monitors and the settings it uses.
Most dive computers come with the most common and basic operating modes, which are air, nitrox and gauge. These are all you really need for basic scuba diving, and are ideal for beginner divers.
However, if you’re looking to do some more technical or advanced forms of diving, you’ll need more advanced operating modes and settings, so the basic options might not be sufficient.
There is a lot that goes into calculating the ideal blend of gasses and oxygen when diving, and different types of diving will require different blends.
The more blends your dive computer can manage, the more different modes of diving you’ll be able to access and monitor.
The average oxygen blend is between 21% and 50%, but it is becoming increasingly popular to up the oxygen blend for an enhanced performance while diving, so it might be good to look out for dive computers that can handle higher oxygen blends.
Display Screen and Number of Buttons
While you’re underwater, everything is a lot darker and murkier, so it can be harder to see and understand what is on your dive computer’s display screen.
This is why it is very important that you choose a dive computer with a display screen that is big enough for you to comfortably see all the display information and settings, even while diving.
Dive computers have a pretty good battery life, and they can usually be replaced and changed by the user very easily.
However, more advanced dive computers feature rechargeable batteries that are a lot easier to use, so that might be something you want to look out for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need a dive computer?
It is absolutely vital that scuba divers are knowledgeable of dive tables and diving security, to ensure that the diving experience is safe and enjoyable.
When diving to larger depths, it is even more important to be aware of times and pressure and the exact depth underwater you are, to ensure everything goes smoothly and there are no accidents.
The easiest way to monitor the situation so that you can act accordingly and follow the plan established is to use a dive computer. Nowadays, they are accessible enough that they should be automatically purchased by anyone who wishes to scuba dive.
How long do dive computers last?
The average dive computer, with a normal battery capacity and an average amount of dives of around 50 a year, should generally last around two full years.
This of course varies depending on the amount of use you give your dive computer and on the specific features of each different dive computer, along with the battery capacity.
Should you dive alone?
If we’re going by law, technically you’re allowed to dive alone, and nobody can stop you from doing so. However, you should absolutely never dive alone.
One of the first safety rules you learn when learning to scuba dive is that you should never dive alone, and should always dive with at least one other person.
In fact, it is common to be assigned a diving buddy during scuba diving outings, so that even in larger groups you dive alongside one other person in a closer range so that you can keep an eye on each other and ensure everything is going well.
This is because, in the case of an emergency, if you are alone nobody can help you and there is a very high chance of you drowning.
While if you have a diving buddy with you, not only can you share their oxygen to keep breathing instead of drowning, they can also call for help and get you to safety.