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7 Best Dive Computers Compared: Buying Guide 2022

Table of Contents

People always ask us, “what is the one piece of dive gear I should buy first?”

Our answer is always the same: a dive computer!

Every diver should have their own dive computer and know how to use it.

You should really never rely on someone else to keep track of your dive limits and safety.

You can always get away with renting the fins, BCD, and almost everything else from your dive center, but you always want the monitoring of your depth and no-deco times, etc, to be your responsibility.

So what’s the best dive computer for you?

There are a lot of dive computers out there, and this guide is designed to make it easy to find your best possible match, based on your budget, skill level, and the type of diving you plan to do.

If you can’t find something perfect for you here, we don’t know where else you will!

Beginner Dive Computers

If you’re a beginner diver then you are most probably looking for something easy to use and affordable.

We recommend that you try to find a computer that suits your diving level and needs.

So sometimes as a beginner diver it’s better to avoid the more advanced computers that are bogged down with unnecessary specifications that you won’t be using using.

So if you’re looking for something straight forward & simple to use, read on.

  • Modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 50%), Freedive & Gauge
  • User-replaceable Battery: Yes
  • Adjustable Safety Settings: Yes
  • Size: Large
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Max depth: up to 150m
  • Buttons: 4
  • Style: Wrist

If you’re looking for the ultimate dive computer for beginners, you simply can’t go wrong with the Suunto Zoop Novo.

The Suunto Zoop features a large, high contrast display that is easy to read even in the low light. And the exceptionally rugged design will undoubtedly last you several years, if not more.

What’s more, is that the 4 buttons actually make navigation much quicker. You can easily go back and forth as needed without having to waste time scrolling all the way through as you would on a 1 button model.

Plus with adjustable safety settings, programmable alarms and 4 different dive modes this dive computer has everything a recreational diver needs and more.

What we love

  • Best beginner computer on the market
  • Used by most dive centers when teaching
  • 4 different dive modes
  • Exceptionally long-lasting
  • Simple navigation menu
  • High contrast display

Downsides

  • Not very pretty to look at
  • Buttons can feel hard to press
  • Bulky
  • Modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 50%), Freedive & Gauge
  • User-replaceable Battery: Yes
  • Adjustable Safety Settings: Yes
  • Size: Large
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Max depth: up to 150m
  • Buttons: 4
  • Style: Wrist

If you’re a lover of new gadgets and staying connected then the Cosmiq+ from DeeperBlu might just be your perfect dive computer.

Not only does it offer great functionality underwater, but it also integrates seamlessly via Bluetooth with a top-quality app complete with a digital logbook and social media connections.

But the app offers more than just a logbook you can share on Facebook, it also allows you to easily adjust and check all your dive settings including nitrox, alarms, and other key data before you dive.

No more awkwardly holding down buttons and scrolling through settings over and over because you keep clicking past the one you wanted!

Underwater the Cosmiq+ is a dream to use. The LCD screen is super clear in all conditions, displaying all the essential information you need.

Plus the audible and visual alarms make it easy to stay within your limits. You can also set the computer to progressive, normal, or conservative mode.

While it’s not suitable for tech divers, this computer gives recreational/sport divers all the options they could ever need including accurate dive planning, freedive, gauge and nitrox modes.

Akin to your smartphone, this dive computer has a rechargeable lithium ion battery and magnetic USB charger.

Once fully charged, it’ll do around 7 hours worth of diving before you need to recharge.

We love the stylish and slim design, it’s significantly less bulky than most dive computers and you have the option to choose a strap design to suit your style.

For less than $400, we were very impressed with the design and functionality!

While there are cheaper dive computers that offer the same underwater functionality, the Cosmiq+ cannot be beaten when it comes to ease of use and out of water connectivity.

The only downsides are that you do need to remember to charge it, there’s no altitude diving option and the LCD screen can be a little tricky to view in bright sunlight. But the other functions, and low price point, more than make up for it!

What we love

  • Compact size & slim design
  • Simple to use, affordable
  • Top-class digital app with logbook
  • Intuitive set up + easy to change settings
  • Social media integration
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Very affordable smart dive watch

Downsides

  • Hard to read in direct sunlight
  • Not suitable for tech/trimix
  • No altitude option

with Worldwide Shipping

Intermediate Dive Computers

  • Modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 50%), Freedive & Gauge
  • User-replaceable Battery: Yes
  • Adjustable Safety Settings: Yes
  • Size: Large
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Max depth: up to 150m
  • Buttons: 4
  • Style: Wrist

The Suunto D4i Novo cannot be understated. It is one of the most versatile and popular dive computers ever produced.

It has an increased functionality of air integration whilst remaining simple to operate and read.

The compact, rugged design makes it ideal for frequent travelers and is small enough and stylish enough to wear as a wristwatch with multiple colors.

We believe that the Suunto D4i Novo is the ideal dive computer for beginners and professionals alike.

If you want high quality and value for money, the Suunto D4i Novo is a worthy investment.

Plus it looks great!!

What we love

  • One of the best dive computer brands
  • Easy to set up + use
  • Reliable + long-lasting
  • Compact design
  • Lightweight
  • Looks great
  • Can be worn as a watch
  • Ideal for any experience level

Downsides

  • No digital compass more expensive than other brands
  • The battery is not user-replaceable
  • Modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 99%), Freedive & Gauge
  • User-replaceable Battery: Rechargeable via USB
  • Adjustable Safety Settings: Yes
  • Size: Small
  • Backlight: Yes LED
  • Max depth: up to 100m
  • Buttons: 3
  • Style: Watch

The Suunto D5 dive computer is one of the best offerings to the market in recent years.

It combines Suuntos’s classic high-level functionality and reliability with the sleek style of a smartwatch.

It’s easy to use functionality and an accessible price tag makes it suitable for experienced divers and newbies alike.

If you’re looking for a modern, high-quality dive computer that will take you from the dive boat to the office and back again, then look no further than the Suunto D5.

What we love

  • One of the best dive computer brands
  • Beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing iF Design Award winner 2020
  • Compact + stylish
  • Full Color display
  • High quality, reliable + long-lasting
  • Super simple to use
  • Highly customisable
  • Wireless Mobile Connection

Downsides

  • Tad bit expensive
  • Not the best battery life

Expert Dive Computers

  • Modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 99%), Trimix, CCR Freedive & Gauge
  • User-replaceable Battery: Rechargeable
  • Adjustable Safety Settings: Yes
  • Size: Small
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Max depth: up to 100m
  • Buttons: 5
  • Style: Watch

Released in November 2020, the Garmin Descent Mk2i is the dive computer of the future.

Though Garmin are relative newbies in the diving world, they have launched themselves onto the scene with a bang by creating some of the best computers on the market.

The Mk2i builds on the success of the Garmin Descent Mk2 and takes on board all the feedback from expert divers. The air integration offered by the Mk2i is cutting edge.

Whilst most computers use a traditional VHF radio frequency to pair the computer and transmitter, Garmin has developed brand-new proprietary technology that uses sonar.

This allows the signal to travel much further – up to 10m – and connect to up to five transmitters.

With huge potential applications, this new technology could potentially revolutionize the way we dive, and learn to dive, in the future.

Oh, the Garmin Descent Mk2i also functions as a top-tier Garmin fitness tracker and smartwatch – versatile is certainly the word.

The only downside? The cost. At £1,399 not including the transmitter, this model will be too expensive for many divers.

What we love

  • Dive modes: nitrox, trimix, gauge, apnea, apnea hunt and CCR
  • Features Garmin Pay™, music
  • Reviewable dives using the Garmin dive app
  • Premium materials & quality build
  • Customizable dive modes
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Can be worn as an everyday watch
  • Lightweight & sleek design
  • Scratch resistant sapphire lens

Downsides

  • Very pricey option
  • tech divers may be limited with 100m max depth rating
  • Modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 99%), Trimix, CCR Freedive & gauge
  • User-replaceable Battery: Rechargeable
  • Adjustable Safety Settings: Yes
  • Size: Small
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Max depth: up to 100m
  • Buttons: 4
  • Style: Watch

Though it’s made by a company renowned for its technical diving gear, the Shearwater Teric combines all the functionality needed for technical divers with a simple design that is sleek enough to be worn daily by a recreational diver.

This Shearwater dive computer has technical diving features like 2 transmitter connectivity, configurable audible and haptic alerts, and nitrox, trimix, and rebreather capabilities.

The display is clear, bright, and simple to navigate. It is fitted with Bluetooth Smart technology, making connecting with your phone app easier than ever.

The battery is user rechargeable and it also features a 3D, tilt-compensated compass.

The internet is flooded with fantastic reviews of the Shearwater Teric and it’s easy to see why – everything about it is slick, clever, and oh-so functional.

The only downside we can see is the price – over $1000 without the transmitters, it is definitely at the luxury end of the market.

What we love

  • Full Color Display, High Resolution
  • 15 color options available
  • Intuitive settings + easy to read display
  • Switchable audible and vibration alerts
  • Supports open-circuit, fixed PO2, gauge, and freediving modes
  • Simple yet stylish design
  • Can be worn as a regular watch
  • Lightweight
  • 2 transmitter connectivity
  • Rechargable battery

Downsides

  • High price
  • No air integration transmitter included

Before Buying A Dive Computer

Still not sure what one to go with, with all these great options? There are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect computer for you, so let’s go through those, and then I will just give my recommendations and all-time favorites, that you can’t go wrong with.

Your Budget

Obviously, you should think about your budget, check the prices in the links above, and that will be a big factor. But obviously, since there are a lot of options around the same prices, there will be more factors to think about.

Easy To Use And Set Up

This also goes with how much you dive and how much experience you have with computers, but if you are like us, and DO have a lot of dives and experience with computers, yet still prefer something simple and user-friendly.

We have tried a lot of computers, and always seem to revert back to a Suunto. We’d rather not have to spend time figuring out a complicated computer, so we tend to stay away from most Oceanic or Shearwater, unless for tec.

But that’s just our opinion, and a ton of divers love Oceanic computers, with more options and settings.

Why Get Your Own Dive Computer?

Not only does a dive computer make your life much easier, but it also makes your dives much safer. And having your own dive computer means that you are able to accurately keep track of your own limits in real-time throughout the dive.

A dive computer provides you with all the information you need to stay safe and dive within your limits in real-time. It does all of the calculations for you, whilst also providing you with alarms and reminders, for example, automatically tracking your safety stop, applying emergency decompression stops if you exceed your limits, or beeping at you if your ascent is too fast.

None of this can be guaranteed with manual planning and tracking when you use decompression tables and a timing device and depth gauge. Even if you are the most experienced diver with all the knowledge, there is still plenty of scope for human error from the tiniest error in the calculations to not watching your depth for a few minutes of the dive, which can make a lot of difference and put you at risk of decompression sickness.

Besides the safety factor, a dive computer often allows you to make the most of your time underwater as it helps you to monitor your depth and remaining no-stop time during the dive. For example, if you start to shallow up you gain additional no stop time and can spend longer underwater.

Having your own dive computer allows you to be in control of your own safety, maximise your time underwater and helps keep track of your dives so you can update your log book (either manually or many newer models of Bluetooth or USB connections to upload your data to your smartphone or computer).

Can’t I Just Rent A Dive Computer From The Dive Center?

While many dive center’s do offer you the opportunity to rent a dive computer, it can be time-consuming and frustrating to figure out how the different models work. Having your own dive computer means that you know exactly how it works, and how to use it properly to monitor your dives and stay safely within your limits.

Plus, renting dive computers is usually charged per dive and that very quickly adds up across a few days or diving. While a dive computer feels like a big expense upfront it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. Most dive computers will last you several years, if not decades when taken care of properly (you’ll probably have to replace a battery or two but this is very cheap).

And lastly, having your own computer means that you are using the same computer for all of your dives and it will keep an accurate reading of your no-decompression limits across multiple dives and multiple days of diving.

Frequently Asked Questions

A dive computer is a device, usually worn on the wrist, that provides the diver with all the important variables and information during a dive.

A dive computer records the time and depth of your dive in real time and applies it to a decompression model to track the amount of nitrogren that has dissolved in your body.

The dive computer uses this information to tell you your remaining bottom time or no-decompression limit – how much time you can safely remain at that depth.

A dive computer will also tell you other important information about your dive in real time including your ascent rate, total dive time and help track your safety stop.

Other information a dive computer will tell you includes the temperature of the water, the date and time, and if it is air-integrated it can also track the amount of air left in the tank.

Most modern dive computers are wrist mounted, appearing like a smart watch but you can also get dive computer consoles that can be mounted with your SPG (submersible pressure gauage). Although most divers prefer to have them on their wrists where it’s quicker and more conveneient to monitor their dive info.

A dive computer tells you all the important information about your dive in real time so you can stay within your limits and follow safe diving protocols. All dive computers will tell you the basics including: – Current time and total dive time – Current depth and your maximum depth during the dive – No-decompression limit (no stop time / remaining bottom time) – Ascent Rate – Emergency decompression stops that are required – No fly time – Surface intervals The majority of modern dive computers will also tell you additional information such as: – Monitoring your safety stop – Temperature of the water – Date – Logs of your previous dives Other information that your dive computer may tell you depending on the model and feature includes: – Remaining air (if the computer is air-integrated) – Partial pressures of Oxygen in your body – Compass All of this information helps you to not only track your dives but also to plan your dives.
A dive computer is not mandatory. As long as you have planned your dives using the decompression tables and then accurately monitor your depth and time during the dive using a timing device and your depth guage then you do not need a dive computer. However, the majority of divers argue that a dive computer is the most important peice of dive gear as it allows you to accurately monitor your dive in real time and helps reduce human error. A dive computer will help you to stay within your limits, complete your safety stop and maintain a sae asecent rate – all of which help keep you safe.

Dive computers create a much safer environment for divers and can allow for extended dive times due to the fact they are constantly monitoring and providing new data.

This data can be accessed at all times and give you accurate and safe information on adjusted bottom times, depths, safety stops etc.

They can also normally be set more conservatively if the conditions are challenging or if you have need due to a pre existing medical condition

Dive tables are way less effective as the dive plan has to be worked out pre dive meaning that you would have to stick to a strict plan on the dive.

Where as a dive computer can quickly adjust your bottom time assimilating the data of you actual dive profile.

To be honest using a computer is the only truly safe way of doing multi-level diving as a computer is alway adjusting the time you can reman underwater using the information gathered during that particular dive. Your computer will always warn you when you are staying at a depth too long. These types of dives can be calculated manually but can be difficult to follow underwater due to their complexity. In the end you are diving to immerse yourself in the underwater world, let the computer do all the hard work for you!

And there you have it!

These are the top dive computers on the market and depending on your needs, you can pick the best one for you!

Do you have a favorite that’s not on our list? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking to review some more options?

  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin Tuwiner, a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving under my belt, I’ve accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation!

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