Best Dive Computer – Reviews and Top Picks
A scuba dive computer can enhance both the enjoyment and the safety of your dive, so it is critical to find the best dive computer for you, but this is not always easy. Dive computers measure the time and depth of your dive.
The dive computer will let you know when to ascend and what ascent rate to use so that you don’t get decompression sickness. Choosing such an importance piece of scuba diving gear can be overwhelming, but our dive computer reviews highlight the key information you need to make an informed decision.
Best Dive Computer Summary
Reviews of the Best Dive Computers
This model has built in dive planner functionality. It has a large display screen that is easy to read.
The Suunto Zoop Novo has Nitrox ability. It does not have a compass, air integration, or a fresh water setting.
This dive computer has audio alarms for maximum depth, maximum time, excessive ascent rate, and surpassing ceilings for safety and decompression stops. The audio portion of the alarm can be disabled. Some users found the alarms to be difficult to hear.
- Simple and user friendly interface
- Easy to read display
- Good value
- Confusing manual
- USB cable not included
The Suunto Zoop Novo uses a conservative algorithm, so think about how this aligns with your personal preferences. It has a great battery life and several color choices.
One common complaint was that the user manual could be quite confusing. There is an optional online course on how to use this dive computer if you need additional help after reading the manual.
Additionally, users complained that the USB cable needed to connect the dive computer with a PC was not included, and was quite expensive to purchase separately.
Overall, this is a good value dive computer for those looking for simple, easy to use functionality. It may be the best scuba dive computer for beginners.
At $270, this was one of the less expensive models we reviewed and many users found it to be an excellent value. The Genesis Resource Pro includes a compass and a 5000 psi pressure gauge as well.
With deep stop reminders and a safety stop countdown timer, this dive computer supports you in observing safety protocols during your dive. It also uses visual alarms.
This scuba computer displays visual bar graph indicators for nitrogen, oxygen limit, and ascent rate.
- Intuitive and easy to use
- Good value
- Includes pressure gauge and compass
- User manual is confusing
- Short battery life
Most users found the Genesis Resource Pro to be intuitive and easy to use and to have all of the functionality needed for recreational divers.
One complaint users did have was regarding the user manual, which they found to be confusing. Some users also complained about the short battery life.
This would be a good choice for beginners or casual recreational divers who prefer not to wear a wrist mounted dive computer.
With the capability to set two different gas mixtures and switch between them, this watch style scuba dive computer offers more technical features than many options of comparable price. It also allows you to choose between two different algorithms, accounting for differences in dive conditions and personal preferences.
This option has programmable audio alarms for things like maximum depth. Some users found the alarms to be too quiet.
People also found this dive computer small, lightweight, and durable. It has a “watch” mode that allows you to wear it as a watch when you’re not diving, and is available in a variety of colors.
- Technical functionality (can set two gas mixtures and switch)
- Small and wearable as a watch
- Two algorithms to choose from
- Confusing user interface
- Confusing instruction manual
- USB cable not included
While this dive computer has great functionality, it can be a little tricky to learn to use. Many found the user manual to be highly confusing.
In addition, the interface could be more user-friendly. For example, some users found the menu titles difficult to understand.
This is a great choice for those who want a more technical wrist mounted dive computer and have the patience to take the time to learn how to use it.
The Perdix is Nitrox, Air, and Trimix capable. It has four different diving modes: recreational, technical, INT, and gauge.
A digital compass is also integrated into this model. It has Bluetooth capability to transfer your dive data to your Mac or PC without a USB.
The Perdix also allows you to customize the startup screen so that you can easily see the information most important to you.
- Easy to read screen
- Air, Nitrox, and Trimix capable
- Bluetooth integration
The 2.2 inch screen is easy to read underwater, even in murky conditions. The Perdix is lightweight, at 0.34 pounds.
In addition to all of the technical functionality, users found the Perdix to be easy and intuitive to use.
Due to its larger screen and technical modes, this model would not function as a watch when you’re not diving, as many wrist mounted dive computers do. The price will also be a deterrent for some.
Overall, the Perdix is a great scuba dive computer for both recreational and technical divers due to its mix of functionality and usability.
Choosing the Best Dive Computer for You
There are many options available in the growing market of scuba dive computers. Consider the following when deciding which is the best dive computer for you.
Why use a dive computer?
Dive computers perform ongoing, real time calculations to help you have a safe ascent. They calculate the projected uptake and release of nitrogen in your body based on changes in depth throughout your dive. They tell you the ascent rate necessary for safe decompression.
Decompression is the process of releasing the inert gasses that build up in your body from breathing in such a high pressure environment. This can be done safely by controlling the ascent rate so that it isn’t too fast, and by including decompression stops, where you pause periodically at certain depths throughout your ascent.
Using a dive computer largely replaces your need for a dive watch, depth gauge, and dive tables. You should still bring and be familiar with dive tables in case of any sort of malfunction.
Because of their dynamic calculations, dive computers give you more time under water. While a table would only account for the maximum depth you reach, your computer will account for times spent at different depths, maximizing the duration of your dive.
Dive computers can also improve your safety as they take away the human error inherent in performing your own calculations.
Wrist mounted dive computers often look similar to a sports watch, although some have a larger, rectangular screen. Some argue that wrist mounted dive computers are more natural to read. It is also easier to use a wrist mounted dive computer with rental scuba gear if you’re traveling.
Alternatively, some dive computers mount to your console. These can be larger than wrist mounted and thus easier to read for some, particularly in cloudy waters. They can also be easier to use in cold water, when you may be wearing gloves, making it more difficult to use the wristwatch functions.
You can expect these to be included in almost any dive computer you purchase.
· Duration: This tells you how long your dive has been thus far.
· Ascent Rate – this measures how quickly you are ascending (e.g., 45 feet per minute), and alerts you if you are ascending too quickly.
· Depth – Dive computers track both your current depth and your depth throughout the dive, and adjust calculations accordingly.
· Time Remaining: This tells you how long you have remaining before you need to begin your ascent.
· Emergency Decompression – This will guide you through making an emergency decompression stop if you stay down past the recommended decompression limit. It will tell you at what depth to stop and for how long, before you complete your ascent.
These features vary by model. Consider which might be important for you when deciding which dive computer is the best for your needs.
· Audible Ascent Alarm: Some dive computers only have a visual cue that it’s time to ascend, while others have an alarm you can hear. This is key if you’re easily distracted by your surroundings or simply don’t want to have to worry about constantly checking your computer.
· Water temperature: Some scuba computers measure the temperature of the water around you.
· Direction: This prevents you from needing a separate compass.
· Dive log: This saves a record of your past dives, which can often be transferred to your personal computer.
· Adjustable algorithm: some dive computers allow you to select which algorithm will be used for the ascent calculations based on the conditions of your dive, how you’re feeling physically, and your personal preferences.
· Air Integrated: Air integrated dive computers tell you your cylinder pressure as well as how much air time you have remaining. Due to its reliance on many factors including depth and current strength, this can be difficult to calculate, making this a great feature for all divers, but especially beginners.
· Programmable Safety Stops: In addition to ascending slowly, it is recommended that divers stop at certain intervals throughout their ascent (e.g. at 15 feet for 3 minutes) to ensure proper decompression. Some dive computers allow you to program these safety stops in so that you can easily see when it’s time to observe them.
Which Dive Computer is the Best?
The best dive computer depends largely on what’s important to you, but if your budget allows it, we recommend the Shearwater Research Perdix.
It combines user friendliness with technical functionality in a way no other model we reviewed does, making it an excellent choice for both recreational and technical divers. Even if you don’t need all of the functionality right now, the Perdix will grow with you as you advance in scuba diving over time, making this the best dive computer for divers of all levels.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com