We may receive affiliate commission when you click certain products. Read our important disclosure to learn more.
- What Are Dive Computers?
- Why Get A Dive Computer?
- Best Scuba Dive Computers
- Frequently Asked
So you’ve used your dive shop’s basic computers a few times now.
Now you want to get your own and have it personalized to your needs.
We get it.
Not everyone is ready to go out and spend huge amounts of money on a dive computer.
Diving on a budget? Look no further than the Mares Puck Pro.
Want something more advanced like an air-integrated dive computer?
Here’s a quick rundown of our favorites:
Keep reading to learn about options for all budgets and experience levels!
What Are Dive Computers?
Dive computers are one of the most important components of any divers arsenal. Each year the features they provide become more and more advanced.
Through an easily visible display, divers are able to keep an eye on all of the most important variables during a dive.
These include but are not limited to:
- Current Time
- Dive Time
- Decompression Models
- Ascent Rate
- Remaining Air
- Dive Logs
Why Get A Dive Computer?
Out of all the different pieces of equipment, a dive computer is arguably one of the most important pieces to get your own.
Because they track every single dive and start adapting towards your tendencies and needs.
Sure, you can use a dive shop computer every dive and use a computer with no data on you.
But scuba diving is all about having the best, and safest, experience possible.
Best Scuba Dive Computers
The Mares Puck Pro is a great computer with a very palatable price point. It gives lots of great features while keeping things simple and clean at the same time.
It can handle nitrox mixes as well, just input whatever percentage you plan on using and it will calculate your NDLs for you.
When ascending, it will show where to conduct your safety stop, and for how long as well.
This computer is a good investment even for that, as it has a great gauge mode that tracks depth and time.
Many technical divers will use a computer only for depth and time and will run decompression tables with software, using the gauge mode with seconds timer to conduct their stops.
Some will have a primary computer with the timer and tables as a backup for an extra layer of safety.
Either way, this computer will not be a waste for higher levels of diving, and it will satisfy all your needs for a recreational computer as well.
To get a better look at your dive data, a connection cord is sold to connect the puck pro to a computer, where you can download the dive data to software on your computer.
- Backlight for night dives
- Only one button
The Suunto Zoop Novo and Vyper Novo are very similar computers, with the Vyper offering a handful of quality of life upgrades over the zoop.
The zoop offers a full recreational computer with 4 buttons for easy operation and a relatively cheap price point.
With a large, easy to read display and long push backlight, all the information is easily available, with the ability to scroll for additional information like time of day, water temperature, and more!
It has a separate mode for nitrox, planning, and gauge (which is simply a depth and bottom timer, great for technical diving as well).
The menu system is easy to navigate and intuitive to use with multiple buttons.
You can plan future dive depths and times on both air and nitrox and it will calculate different no-decompression limits, great for during the surface interval to see what you can do for your next dive.
A separate cable is sold to allow you to transfer the data to your computer.
You can log it in a number of programs, but Suunto has its own Suunto DM5 software that connects with your computer to give status, dive info, logs, and even allows you to plan dives!
The Suunto Vyper Novo is very similar to the Zoop, but offers several important upgrades that make it superior. It has an electronic compass which is accessed with a long press from the regular dive mode.
This allows seamless use of the compass to find your way or set a direction at any time during a dive, without having to carry a separate compass! In addition, it offers the ability to switch between 3 different gasses that you set yourself. Lastly, it offers the highly sought after air integration option.
With a separate Suunto transmitter, you can wirelessly monitor your gas reserves throughout the entire dive, right on your wrist! This is perfect for those looking to streamline their dive experience.
Either of these two computers will suit all your recreational diving needs, as well as be a great gauge mode for technical dives. With lots of features and an easy to scroll menu system, they’re both great computers for a diver of any level.Visit Website
Some people want a dive computer that can do more than simply dive. For them, the Garmin Descent Mk1 is the perfect all-arounder for daily life.
The Mk1 builds upon Garmin's formidable reputation as a maker of GPS systems, smartwatches, and activity trackers and combines it all into a small, easy to wear form factor that can withstand any type of diving thrown at it.Supported Modes
- Multi-Gas Technical
In addition to these modes, there are dozens of options such as dive planning, gas selection, 3 axis compass, and GPS/GLONASS capabilities.
When in dive computer mode, it will last approximately 40 hours, allowing plenty of dives before needing to be recharged.
It uses the Buhlmann ZHL-16c algorithm to calculate dive information and supports full trimix and decompression calculations with user-settable alarms which are both audible and vibrating.
While the Garmin certainly shines as a compact, watch-sized dive computer, it offers numerous additional options for every facet of life.
It can be used as a simple watch with downloadable and changeable watch faces for every occasion in daily life while looking sleek and stylish as well.
For those who prefer to be in the center of the action, the GPS and GLONASS features are perfect for outdoor activities, and the Elevate™ wrist heart rate technology lets you monitor the heart rate anywhere from the gym to hiking and kayaking.
It includes most of the features from the Fenix 5x multisport watch, like fitness tracking, running dynamics, and physiological metrics.
In addition to all of these features, the Mk1 offers full smartwatch features as well. Connecting to your phone gives you the ability to get messages, emails, updates, and more right on your watch!
For a device that you can wear anywhere from the dive boat of a trimix dive, to your morning run and workout, to a sophisticated dinner at the island's best restaurants, the Garmin Descent Mk1 really can do it all with style.Visit Website
The Shearwater Perdix AI is THE top of the line dive computer. This computer does it all and does it with style, reliability, and user-friendly interfaces. It boasts an easily readable 2.2” screen with full color and adjustable brightness settings.
Controlled by two piezoelectric buttons, scrolling through the various menus is easy even with thick gloves or dry gloves. Menus are intuitive to use and incredibly user-friendly, even if this is your first computer.Supported Modes
- Open Circuit Recreational
- Open Circuit Technical
- Closed Circuit/Bailout
The recreational mode offers 3 gasses for use, which you can input yourself for any mix of air or nitrox you will use, with the ability to change them later.
An uncluttered, easy to read display gives all needed data on the main screen, including an NDL timer and graph, depth, time, safety stop timer, gas pressure readout, AND gas time remaining calculator (With an optional pressure transmitter), and the ability to customize this screen with whatever you deem necessary.
The technical mode offers multiple user-programmable gas mixes including any mix of air, nitrox, trimix, and oxygen, with the ability to toggle during the dive.
When gas is switched, the computer will adjust decompression information accordingly and give information about the gas, such as the PP02 at the current depth.
Changing the gradient factors will alter decompression times and stop depths, allowing you to plan the dive how you want. As with the recreational mode, there are dozens of options on what information can be on the main screen, and you can adjust it to your liking similarly.
The closed-circuit mode offers constant setpoint decompression to make it work with rebreathers of all types. Simply put whatever PP02 you keep your unit at (1.2, 1.3, etc) and it will calculate all decompression and stop times based on these values.
You can also set multiple OC bailout gasses, which can be easily toggled when needed, and the computer will adjust values to match.
Gauge mode offers a very simple depth and time display, as well as average depth and a resettable stopwatch. This mode is perfect for those who prefer to run tables and dive with a simple bottom timer.
All modes come with dozens of extra options such as a tilt-compensated compass, tank pressure monitoring with gas time remaining timers for up to two tanks at a time, which is perfect for recreational divers, technical divers, or even rebreather divers (Monitor both DIL and 02 without the need for extra hoses), and an ergonomic design with multiple attachment points for straps or bungee.
The Perdix AI can run on simple, user-replaceable AA batteries (getting 40 hours or more per battery), which negates the need for special batteries or to have a shop do it for you.
No need to lug around a charger either, you can change the battery any place AAs are sold, or even bring a few along with you on your trip. With SAFT batteries, the Perdix AI gets over 100 hours of run time.
The Perdix AI keeps 1000 hours of dive logs internally and offers wireless, low power Bluetooth connection to either a phone or computer, allowing you to import and keep your logs, analyze your dives, or plan future ones even right on the computer.
The same Bluetooth capabilities allow shearwater to actually update and add new features over time, meaning that the computer will continue to improve and will never become outdated.
Offering perfect options for recreational, technical, and rebreather divers, the Perdix AI is truly a cutting edge and top-performing computer with easy usability, dozens of features, and simple reliability.Visit Website
The Shearwater Teric is our pick for the best air integrated dive computer of 2020.
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, sleek enough to be worn every day 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 - at around $1000 without the transmitters, it is definitely at the luxury end of the market.Visit Website
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Get Your Own Dive Computer?
A dive computer allows you to track your limits over multiple days and even multiple operators. If you rent a computer from more than one place on vacation, then it won’t be accurate, as you’ll already have tissue loading from previous days of diving.
Having your own dive computer allows you to accurately track your limits, regardless of where you go. In addition, having your own computer allows you to be more familiar with its operation and readout.
Rental computers that you don’t know how to use may make it difficult to scroll through menus or read what it is saying. A personal computer offers not only safety benefits but also quality of life benefits.
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!