Best Dive Computers

Scuba diving is a fantastic sport enjoyed by people of all ages who love the water. Using specialized breathing apparatus, divers sink below the surface of lakes, seas, rivers, and the ocean to explore the underwater world, enjoy the myriad marine life, and find relics and sunken treasures.

Scuba (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving requires special equipment such as air tanks or gas cylinders, a buoyancy control device (BCD), a mask, snorkel, and fins, and a weight belt. An additional piece of equipment for diving is a dive computer which divers can use to track their dives.


Scuba diving is a fantastic sport enjoyed by people of all ages who love the water.

What is a Dive Computer?

A dive computer is a wrist-watch-style piece of equipment that takes depth and time information during a dive. It combines a depth gauge, timer, and sometimes a submersible pressure gauge (SPG) into a single instrument and takes the depth and time, and applies it to a decompression model to track the dissolved nitrogen in the diver’s body during a dive.

A dive computer continuously indicates the amount of time left on a dive to safely stay under the water. It can be worn on your wrist like a wristwatch or attached to your pressure gauge or diving console and once you know the ins and outs, they are very easy to use.


A dive computer is a wrist-watch-style piece of equipment that takes depth and time information during a dive. 

Benefits of Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a great workout with many benefits to both the body and the mind. It’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise, burning up to 600 calories in an hour and more if you are swimming in strong currents or particularly low-temperature water.

The peace, calmness, and grace of the underwater world when scuba diving are excellent for mental and emotional well-being. It’s a fantastic way to burn calories, boost your serotonin levels, and strengthen your body, while at the same being extremely rewarding.


The peace, calmness, and grace of the underwater world when scuba diving are excellent for mental and emotional well-being. 

How to Choose the Right Dive Computer

As with all sporting gear, there is a wide range of brands and models on the market, ranging from basic, entry-level dive computers with standard features for beginner divers to highly technical computers for advanced divers.

The standard features on a dive computer will include an easy-to-read display that indicates the following information under the water:

  •         Depth
  •         Time
  •         No stop limits
  •         No stop time remaining
  •         Ascent rate
  •         Emergency decompression
  •         Previous dive information
  •         Enriched-air compatible
  •         Low battery warning

Here are some criteria to bear in mind when shopping for a dive computer:

Face and Screen Clarity

Dive computers are available with two types of screens – watch-sized screens and large screens which look more like a mini-computer on your arm than a watch. These days, many dive computers have all the bells and whistles and look like a wristwatch so they can be worn day-to-day without looking odd.

Be sure to pick a dive computer with a screen that has good backlighting so it will be easily visible in all kinds of water from crystal clear to murky. Large-screen dive computers are much easier to see but can be bulky.

Battery

The battery life on a dive computer is very important and must be taken into consideration when shopping for one. Most dive computers have rechargeable batteries so the computer can simply be plugged into a USB port and recharged in between dives.

Strap

The strap on your dive computer is important as the last thing you need is for it to fall off in the water! Most dive computers come with a traditional watch-style rubber strap, but these tend to shrink at depth, so make sure it is strapped on tight.

Watch-sized dive computers come with an extension strap for diving and large screen dive computers have an extra-long strap that can fit over a bulky drysuit.

Audibility

The alerts of your dive computer should be audible enough for you to hear at the bottom of the ocean or body of water. You can set alerts so your computer indicates when you get to a certain pressure.


The alerts of your dive computer should be audible enough for you to hear at the bottom of the ocean or body of water.

Best Dive Computers

We hit the water and tried and tested a wide range of dive computers to find the best of the best.  

Best Entry Level Dive Computers

Best for Beginner Divers: Aqua Lung i300

The Aqua Lung i300 is a simple, uncomplicated dive computer that is ideal for beginner divers. It has a sleek design that can be worn like a wristwatch and has many great features including an easy-to-use interface, multiple operating modes, a bright, built-in backlight, and a user-changeable battery with data storage.  It also has audible alarms and a high-visibility LED warning light for extra safety and user-updatable software.

Pros

  •         Multiple operating modes
  •         Bright backlight display
  •         User changeable battery
  •         Data storage
  •         Audible alarms

Cons

  •         Not suitable for deep dives

Best for User-Friendly Interface: Cressi Donatello

The Cressi Donatello is a great entry-level watch-style dive computer with strong backlighting and a crisp display for murky water and night diving. Made from lightweight thermoplastic polyurethane rubber, the watch has a low profile and fits snuggly on the wrist.

It has a durable stainless steel buckle, a scratch-resistant polyolefin screen, and a convenient one-button navigation system. This dive computer is suitable to use with both gas and nitrox.

Pros

  •         Low-profile design
  •         Convenient single-button navigation
  •         Durable buckle
  •         Easy-to-view display
  •         User-friendly interface
  •         Easy-to-view display
  •         Replaceable battery

Cons

  •         No built-in compass
  •         No integrated Bluetooth
  •         Interface connection must be bought separately

Best for Depth: SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Diving Computer

SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Diving Computer has several operating modes, including air, nitrox, gauge, and freedom, and is programmable for 21% to 50% oxygen mixtures. It has a bright backlight display that is easy to read in low light and during night-diving and it has a maximum depth of 330 feet (100m). The SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Diving Computer is programmable in both imperial or metric, has well audible alarms, and decompression stop data.

Pros

  •         Multiple operating modes
  •         Bright backlight display
  •         Maximum depth of 330 feet
  •         Good audibility
  •         Easy-to-view display

Cons

  •         Chunky design

Best for USB Kit: Suunto D4i

The Suunto D4i is a good choice for those who want a USB kit as well as a dot matrix display for viewing your data. The new-look Suunto D4i is available in a range of bright colors and features a soft silicone strap for maximum comfort and a secure fit.

Sleek and lightweight, the Suunto D4i also offers versatile functionality with four dive modes, including a freediving mode, and the option of wireless integration. This Suunto dive computer also offers updated DM4 software, and easy synching with Movescount.com sports community and logbook.  

Other features include a full continuous decompression algorithm, a timer in air/nitrox modes, an innovative apnea timer, and a maximum depth display of 328 feet / 100 meters.

Pros

  •         Multiple operating modes
  •         Bright backlight dot matrix display
  •         Maximum depth of 328 feet
  •         Silicone strap for super comfort
  •         Full continuous decompression algorithm

Best Advanced Dive Computers

Best for Wide Display: Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer with Transmitter

The Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer with Transmitter is an excellent choice for advanced divers with over 1,000 hours of diving log options. The full technical dive computer includes open-circuit and closed-circuit Air, Nitrox, and Trimix multi-gas functionality, as well as a three-axis tilt-compensated digital compass.

It has multiple modes, including recreational, freediving, gauge, open-and closed circuit, and bail-out modes, all of which have air integration options. It has both haptic (vibration) and audible alarms and offers an information screen with a full-color AMOLED display with a 170-degree viewing angle.

The Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer is compatible with MS Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android devices via Bluetooth and supports wireless log downloads and firmware updates. It includes a logbook, safety stop options, backlighting, and many more ex

Pros

  •         Multiple operating modes
  •         Multi-gas functionality
  •         Full-color AMOLED display
  •         170-degree viewing angle
  •         Audible and vibrating alarms

Cons

  •         Expensive

Best for Dual Algorithm: Oceanic GEO 4.0

The Oceanic GEO 4.0 is a stylish and sporty wristwatch-style dive computer with multiple operating modes including air/nitrox, freediving, gauge, and watch modes. It is suitable for nitrox mixes of between 21 and 100% and has a dual algorithm.

It features large, bright LCD wit, Oceanic’s patented Dual Algorithm, Bluetooth connectivity to all smartphones through the DiverLog+ App. It has user-replaceable batteries and comes with a two-year warranty.

Pros

  •         Multiple operating modes
  •         Patented Dual Algorithm
  •         Multi-gas functionality
  •         Large LCD
  •         Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  •         No console

Best for Professional Divers: Mares Scuba Wrist Dive Computer Nemo Matrix

Manufactured by a world-renowned scuba diving brand, the Mares Scuba Wrist Dive Computer Nemo Matrix is a multi-functional wristwatch-style dive computer with some amazing features. It has a full dot-matrix HD display and tilt-compensated compass with a bearing function, as well as a multi-gas algorithm and a graphic profile.  

Housed in a sleek and stylish metal housing, the computer has a rechargeable battery and a 35-hour logbook with dive profile graphs. It comes with a charging cradle that can also be used as an interface for downloading dives and for firmware upgrades.

Pros

  •         Maximum depth 492 feet / 150m
  •         36-hour memory capacity
  •         Fresh and seawater settings
  •         Exclusion of “Uncontrolled Ascent” setting
  •         Multi-Gas RGBM Algorithm
  •         Bluetooth connectivity

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the benefits of using dive computers?

  •         You can dive for longer periods.
  •         You can dive safely.
  •         You can log your dive time.

Q: What is decompression sickness?

Decompression sickness is a condition that can occur during diving when divers decompress too quickly, causing nitrogen bubbles to form in the tissues of the body. Sometimes called “The Bends,” it can cause pain and cramping in the muscles and joints, nausea, numbness, and paralysis. Decompression sickness is treated in a decompression chamber, also known as a hyperbaric chamber.

Q: What are diving tables?

Dive tables are charts of numbers and letters that refer to water depths and times that help divers to calculate their dive time to prevent decompression sickness. Today, dive computers have taken over the job, but it’s always a good idea to take a dive table with you on your dive in case something goes wrong with your dive computer during your dive.

Q: What aquatic life can be a threat to diving?

Many species of marine life are dangerous. The rule of thumb when scuba diving is to “look and don’t touch.” Scuba divers are visitors to a foreign world and all divers should treat that world and the creatures that live within it with respect.   

Q: Is it safe to exercise after diving?

It’s not a good idea as research shows that exercising after diving can increase the risk of decompression sickness by 34%. That’s not to say you can’t do something gentle like go for a walk – use common sense, make intelligent decisions, and listen to your body.

Q: What should I do if my computer stops working during a dive?

Ideally, you should dive with two computers or one and a traditional dive table in case one computer goes on the blink. Then, if one computer stops working, you can continue your dive with the backup. If both computers fail, here is some good advice from the experts at SportDiver:  

“Assuming you were diving within the recreational limit of 130 feet, here’s the plan: First, assess the situation calmly, then move promptly to less than 60 feet. Step two: At 60 feet, slow your ascent rate to 30 feet per minute and move to 15 feet. Step three: Hang there and burn air. Over-decompressing is not a concern, but the opposite is. If the last reading of your computer or your buddy’s computer puts you well in the clear, this hang should serve as an extended safety stop. No need to suck the tank dry, but if your decompression status puts you at risk, use all available air just to be sure.”

“The bigger question is the next dive. If you’ve been recording your depths, times, and surface intervals, you may be able to use tables to continue diving. If not, you will likely need to wait at least 12 hours to clear residual nitrogen and resume diving with a working computer.”

Happy Diving!