- best dive computer buying guideChoosing a dive computer is no small feat. It was even more of a challenge 15 years ago when I bought my first computer. The internet wasn’t as widespread as it is today. Deciding which dive computer suits you best is so much easier now that you have the product info at your fingertips and a lot of elaborate dive computer reviews online. Although, there might just be too much information available these days. So this dive computer and dive watch buying guide will make choosing the best dive computer for you as simple as possible.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re searching for the best dive computer for you. There are many top dive computers out there and many opinions about which one is best, but you want to find the one that suits your needs. Depending on your budget and requirements, perhaps the best entry level dive computer is a perfect fit, or maybe you’re an advanced diver looking for a high-end dive computer.

In this complete overview, we highlight all the pros and cons of the best dive computers and best dive watches available. We’ll discuss the best air integrated computer, the best budget dive computer, the best wrist dive computer, the best freediving computer, the best beginner dive computer and the best computer for the money. We’ll also talk about the best watch for scuba diving, give you dive computer watch reviews and discuss the best dive watch for the money.

Why do you need a dive computer?

My first dive computer was the Suunto Cobra, air integrated and with a quick release. Very high tech at the time and expensive. But I’ve dived with it for many happy years at fantastic dive locations and it was a great investment. It became an indispensable part of my scuba diving gear and made my dives even more fun than before… and so much easier.

When you get your first scuba diving certification, often PADI Open Water, you learn how to plan your dive using the dive tables. Yes, you can definitely dive without a computer, people have been safely diving with tables for a long time. So why do you need a dive computer?

Reason 1: no manual calculations

If you remember, using the tables meant doing lots of calculations to determine your no decompression limits. It can get quite complicated, especially when you’re doing multiple dives a day and have to take the different pressure groups into account. With a dive computer, you don’t have to do the math anymore, it does all the calculations for you. It knows all the details of your current dives but also takes into account the dives you’ve previously done.

Reason 2: longer dive time

The PADI Recreational Dive Table only allows a maximum of 20 minutes bottom time at 100 feet (30 meters), based on a ‘square profile’. This means going straight down to 100 feet, spending your 20 minutes there and then making a direct ascent. With a dive computer you could dive to 100 feet for 45 minutes or even longer because a lot of the time you’ll be at shallower depths and your computer continuously recalculates your no-decompression limit.

Reason 3: logbook function

No reason anymore to bring your logbook along all the time as your dive computer will log your dives and remember your exact dive profile. It’s still fun and useful to write down the details of the dive, any difficulties you had or awesome marine life you spotted, but you don’t have to remember all the details like depth, dive time and temperature. One factor to check when choosing the best dive computer for you is how many dives the computer can store at any given time.

Reason 4: alarm function

One crucial thing your computer will warn you about is your ascent rate. The build-in ascent rate monitor will sound an alarm if you’re going up too fast. Other useful alarms that you can program yourself are maximum depth and maximum dive time. Even though I’m certified to dive to 130 feet (40 meters), I’ve set my alarm to maximum 100 feet (30 meters) because of my underwater camera and because in Dahab, Egypt where we dive a lot this is the maximum allowed depth for recreational dives. If you’re using an air integrated computer you can also let it alert you when you reach 50 bar, so you know when it’s time for your safety stop.

Reason 5: monitoring air supply

The amount of air you use determines your dive time. When you’re nearing your no decompression limits you can always go up a few meters to lengthen your dive, as long as you have enough air in your tank. Of course, your air pressure gauge will show how much air you’ve used. An air integrated dive computer, however, will not only tell you how much air you have left, but it will also calculate how long you can stay at that depth with that amount of air. It’s a very practical feature.

Dive computer comparison table 2018

Take a look at the table below for a comparison of the best dive computers on the market today. See how they compare on important factors such as air integration, display, battery life, logbook memory and of course price level.

ModelPuck Pro

LeonardoVyper NovoZoop NovoPro Plus XPerdix AID6i Novo
Best budget dive computerBest
wrist dive computer
Best entry level dive computerBest console dive computerBest technical dive computerBest air integrated dive computer
Mount styleWristWrist or consoleWristWristConsoleWristWatch
Air integration
DisplaySegmentHD LCDSegmentSegmentLCDLCDSegment
Digital compass
User replaceable batteryRechargeable
Logbook memory36 hours60 dives or 70 hours42 hours50 hours99 hours1000 hours80 hours
USB interfaceoptionalincludedincludedoptionalBluetooth 4.0Bluetooth Smart Readyoptional
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Dive computer features and factors to consider

The three critical things you need to know while diving are: what depth are you, how long have you been there and how much longer can you safely stay? All dive computers will obviously be able to tell you this. So how to choose a dive computer? What are other factors and features to consider when you’re looking to buy a dive computer?

Certification level and experience

When you’re newly certified, you most likely want to buy your own scuba diving equipment. Maybe you’ve used one of the dive center’s dive computers during your training, so you know what a dive computer looks like and how it works. As a beginner, it’s important that your computer is clear and gives you the essential info without causing confusion. Lucky for you these are also the cheapest dive computers available. It’s also worth considering buying a dive gear package that includes a computer. You can often get them at a great price and have your scuba equipment complete in one buy.

Once you have a bit more experience, other factors will become important when choosing the best dive computer, such as multiple gas options, air integration and possibly even customization of the display.

Diving circumstances

Another thing to consider, apart from your certification level, is where you will be diving. A small wrist computer or scuba diving watch is perfect for tropical destinations where you can dive without gloves. But if you’re going to be diving in cold water wearing thick gloves and a dry suit you want those buttons to be as large as possible. Visibility is also a factor you need to consider. If you’re diving in low light conditions, you want a computer with a bright backlight so you don’t have to use your torch to read it.

Console, wrist or dive computer watch

As we mentioned before there are different types of dive computers. There’s the console computer, like my old Suunto Cobra. The console is connected to your first stage by a high-pressure hose. It can contain only the computer or a combination of your computer and other instruments, such as a compass. The wrist computer was always very popular and more and more we’re beginning to see the dive computer watch that’s even smaller and more elegant than the wrist dive computer. The Suunto d4i is a great example. You can wear it as a (quite expensive) watch when not diving.

Air integration

I’ve always been very happy with my air integrated dive computer. I wouldn’t want to go back to diving without air integration. Later, taking it one step further I went from the Suunto Cobra console to an air integrated wrist dive computer. I think it makes diving so much easier if your computer tells you how long you can stay at a certain depth with the amount of air you have left. All three different models of dive computers (console, wrist or dive computer watch) can be air integrated. For the wrist and watch models, you need a wireless tank pressure transmitter that’s attached to either a high-pressure hose or directly to your first stage.

Multi-gas options

When you start diving you dive with regular compressed air (21% oxygen, 79% nitrogen). As you progress, you can get your Nitrox certification. Nitrox or Enriched Air is a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, with a higher oxygen level than normal (between 22-40%). It limits your depth due to oxygen toxicity, but it allows positively influences your no decompression limits. If you’re planning to dive with Nitrox, you need a computer that allows you to switch to Nitrox and set the oxygen percentage. A technical dive computer, such as the Shearwater Perdix, can handle even more gas options.


Not only the brightness of your display (see diving circumstances) is important, but also what is displayed. Can you read it well, is it easy to determine what is what (you don’t want to mix up temperature and bottom time), can you easily use the buttons to change the info on your screen while diving? The new Suunto Eon Steel even allows you to customize the information displayed on your screen. Some technical dive computers also have this option.

Battery life

Battery life is an important factor to consider when buying your computer. How many dives is your computer supposed to last, how readily available are the batteries and how easy is it to change the battery? Can you change the battery yourself or do you have to bring it to an approved service center? Is your warranty still valid if you change it yourself? Also, very important in case your dive computer dies while you’re on a diving trip, does it retain its memory when you change the battery? Otherwise, you might have to take a 24-hour break for safety reasons.

best budget dive computer 2018

Mares Puck Pro wrist dive computer

Want to buy the Mares Puck Pro computer? Click here to find the best price on Amazon >> 

Our choice for the best budget dive computer 2018 is the Mares Puck Pro. When the Mares Puck wrist computer was first introduced in 2008, it was quite revolutionary. Mares had managed to produce a very complete, RGBM Nitrox dive computer at an extremely affordable price point. Now they did it again! They’ve improved the original Mares Puck dive computer and introduced the Mares Puck Pro. A larger display and slimmer design combined with upgradable firmware make this an excellent budget choice for beginning divers and a great back-up computer for advanced scuba enthusiasts.

The Mares Puck Pro is an intuitive dive computer. You can operate all features with one easy-to-press button. This single button interface makes it easy to use, even while wearing thick dive gloves. The one downside of this otherwise fantastic entry level dive computer is the lack of a depth alarm. Please note that the Mares Puck Pro doesn’t come with a USB interface. You need to buy this separately.

Click here to check the latest price of the Mares Puck Pro dive computer >>

Mares Puck Pro features:

  • Air, Nitrox and bottom timer modes
  • RGBM Algorithm
  • Maximum depth 492 ft (150m)
  • 38 hours memory
  • Intuitive user interface with one button control
  • user replaceable 3-volt CR2450 lithium-ion battery
  • strong back light
  • imperial & metric units, fresh or seawater settings
  • altitude adjustable to 12,100 ft (3700m)
  • 12 or 24 hour format
  • watch, stopwatch, date and temperature
  • Upgradeable firmware
  • precautionary program for more conservative dive profile

Cressi Leonardo wrist dive computer

Want to buy the Cressi Leonardo dive computer? Click here to find the best price on Amazon >> 

At roughly the same price point, best-selling Cressi Leonardo wrist dive computer competes with the Mares Puck Pro for the title of best budget dive computer. The intuitive single button interface makes this Cressi dive computer very easy to use. Just switch between Air, Nitrox or Gauge mode with one single push of a button. Checking vital information about depth and bottom time is quick and easy with the large edge-to-edge HD LCD screen with large numerical displays. Audible alarms will help you stay within your limits.

The Cressi Leonardo dive computer features the new Cressi RGBM Algorithm, which is slightly more conservative than other computers we’ve seen. The Leonardo displays dive time, depth, ascent rate, decompression status and surface interval times. It has a great logbook memory, allowing you to log up to 60 dives (or 70 hours). This versatile dive computer is altitude adjustable up to 12140 feet (3700m), has a backlight feature, and can be set in 12 or 24 hour formats. It’s powered by a user replaceable 3-volt battery.

For divers that prefer to dive with a console instead of a wrist computer, the Cressi Leonardo can also be fit in a console setup.

Click here to check the latest price of the Cressi Leonardo dive computer >>

Cressi Leonardo features:

  • Single button interface
  • air, nitrox, gauge
  • Large HD LCD screen
  • Audible alarms
  • New Cressi RGBM algorithm (Bruce Wienke/Haldane model)
  • Depth, Dive Times, Decompression Status, Ascent Rate and Surface Interval Times between dives
  • Clock and calendar, logbook and dive simulator
  • Imperial & metric units
  • Ability to reset after each use
  • Max depth 393 ft (120 m)
  • User Replaceable CR2430 3-Volt Battery
  • 60 Dive (70 hour) Logbook memory
  • 12 or 24 hour formats
  • Altitude adjustable 12,139 ft (3700m)
  • Back light for low light conditions
  • Also available in a console setup

Best dive computer watch 2018

Suunto D6i Novo wrist scuba computer

Want to buy a Suunto D6i dive computer? Click here to find the best price on Amazon >> 

Elegant design and a powerful dive computer are combined in the Suunto D6i Novo, our choice for best dive computer watch. It’s no surprise the D6i is a favorite among dive professionals and very well suited for serious recreational divers. It’s now also available with an army-style textile wrist strap: the Suunto D6i Novo Zulu. This Suunto dive computer offers optional wireless air integration, a tilt-compensated digital compass and gas-switching between up to three gases. Decompression calculations are based on the gas mix that you’ve set as the primary gas.

When you use the D6i in gauge mode, it’s a bottom timer and depth gauge only. It won’t calculate your dive profile. Please note that after using this computer in gauge mode, you will be locked out of the dive mode until the no-fly time of 48 hours is over. So make sure not to use the gauge mode when you want to snorkel or swim for a bit between dives.

The Suunto D6i Novo is very suitable for free divers as well as scuba divers. When used in free mode, it displays dive time in minutes and seconds. You can set up to five depth notifications. The Apnea timer can be used for free diving interval training, for up to 20 repetitions.

Using the optional Suunto DiveManager DM5 you can synch your dive computer with your laptop or the online sports community. Share your dive data, photo’s and connect with other divers worldwide. Please note that the battery of the Suunto D6i isn’t user replaceable. You have to take it to a Suunto service center to have it replaced.

Click here to check the latest price of the D6i dive computer >>

Suunto D6i Novo features:

  • 5 modes: Air, Nitrox Gauge, Free and Off
  • Suunto RGBM
  • Apnea timer
  • Maximum depth 393 ft (120m)
  • Available in five colors: black, steel, white, stealth and stone
  • Steel casing and sapphire crystal display
  • Switch between 3 gas mixes
  • 3D digital compass
  • Altitude adjustable up to 10,000 ft (3.000m)
  • 80 hours logbook memory
  • 12 or 24 hour formats
  • Metric or imperial units
  • Audible alarms
  • Deep stop function
  • Compatible with Suunto DM5 software and
  • Battery not user replaceable
  • Wireless air integration (optional)

best wrist dive computer 2018

Suunto Vyper Novo wrist dive computer

Want to buy a Suunto Vyper Novo dive computer? Click here to find the best price on Amazon >> 

Take your diving to the next level with the Suunto Vyper Novo, our choice for the best wrist dive computer. The Vyper is a dive computer with transmitter (optional). It offers gas switching for up to three mixtures. The 3D digital compass helps you find your way in the most complex underwater landscapes. Even at a 45-degree angle, it has the ability to give a true reading. The Suunto Vyper dive computer includes a deep stop option, which adds additional stops to gas off on deeper dives.

With this wireless air integrated wrist dive computer it’s very easy to keep track of your air consumption and tank pressure. The new four-button interface is easy to use, and buttons are placed far enough apart to press even with thick gloves. The segment matrix screen has excellent contrast and the digits are larger and clearer compared to the previous Suunto Vyper. The 3 volt CR2450 lithium-ion battery is user replaceable.

Click here to check the latest price of the Suunto Vyper Novo dive computer >>

Suunto Vyper Novo features:

  • Suunto Deep Stop RGBM Algorithm
  • Optional air integration
  • Deep Stop Option (on or off)
  • Large segment matrix display
  • Multiple dive modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 3 gas mixtures), Gauge, and Free Dive
  • Innovative apnea timer for free diving
  • Audible alarms
  • Back light display
  • Max depth 330 ft (100m)
  • 42 hour diving logbook memory
  • Clock and calendar, logbook and dive planner
  • Imperial & metric units
  • 12 or 24 hour formats
  • Altitude adjustable up to 10,000 ft (3.000m)
  • User replaceable 3 volt CR2450 lithium ion battery
  • 3D digital compass
  • Compatible with Suunto DM5 and Suunto Movescount

Check out our in-depth Suunto Vyper Novo review or find the latest price on Amazon.

Best console dive computer 2018

Oceanic Pro Plus X scuba computer console

Want to buy the Oceanix Pro Plus X dive computer? Click here to find the best price on Amazon >> 

With its large bright color-coded LED display and intuitive user interface it’s clear why the Oceanic Pro Plus X (or PPX for short) is our choice for best console dive computer. The Pro Plus X is air integrated. A quick disconnect high-pressure hose connects it to your regulator. The PPX is the latest addition to the Oceanic dive computer family, and the most advanced.

This console dive computer has the largest and best legible digits of any dive computer currently available. The Thin-Film Transistor display makes it easy to read under any circumstances, whether in bright surface light or low light underwater conditions. The patented Dual Algorithm allows you to choose your decompression algorithm to suit your diving needs, either the Pelagic DSAT (Spencer/Powell base) or Pelagic Z+ (Bühlmann ZHL-16C base). The audible alarms are hard to miss, and it has a fantastic 99 dive memory. No user replaceable battery, but a rechargeable one that will last for about 60 hours per change.

This very complete and versatile computer is equipped with a 3D digital compass and connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Control your dive computer settings, view logs and add notes and details without physically connecting your dive computer.

Note: when comparing prices, check whether or not the QD hose is included!

Click here to check the latest price of the Oceanic Pro Plus X dive computer >>

Oceanic Pro Plus X features:

  • Air integration via QD hose
  • Modes: air, nitrox, gauge
  • Dual Algorithm Pelagic DSAT / Pelagic Z+
  • Full color LCD display with Thin Film Transistor
  • Audible alarms
  • 99 dive logbook memory
  • Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
  • Rechargeable battery, 60 hours per charge
  • Automatic altitude adjustment 2,000 – 14,000ft (610 – 4200m)
  • Maximum depth: 330 ft (100m)

best beginner dive computer 2018

Suunto Zoop wrist diving computer

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Suunto dive computers have an excellent reputation. Our winner in the best beginner dive computer category is the Suunto Zoop Novo. An entry level dive computer that offers you all the features you need when first setting out to buy a dive computer. With its two dive modes: Air and Nitrox, the Suunto Zoop will serve you for years to come. Advanced divers can easily buy this computer as a back-up without breaking the bank. Like all Suunto computers the Suunto Zoop uses the RGBM (reduced gradient bubble model) to calculate decompression and determine safety stops.

The Zoop Novo is altitude adjustable up to 10,000 foot (3.000m) and is powered by a user replaceable 3 volt CR2450 lithium-ion battery. The four-button display is ‘borrowed’ from its older brothers in Suunto’s D-series, such as the D4i and the D6i. The large segment screen makes it easy to read all necessary data underwater, such as dive time and depth and audible alarms will help you dive within your limits. The 50-hour logbook memory stores all the necessary info about your dives.

Unlike the Suunto Vyper, which is a bit more advanced, the Suunto Zoop wrist computer doesn’t come with a USB data cable. You have to buy this separately.

Click here to check the latest price of the Suunto Zoop dive computer >>

Suunto Zoop Novo features:

  • RGBM algorithm
  • 4 operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge and Free Dive
  • Altitude adjustable up to 10,000 ft (3.000m)
  • Large segment matrix display
  • Automatic trigger of 15 ft (3m) safety stop
  • Audible alarms
  • Temperature gauge
  • Automatic dive start setting (at 4-5 feet)
  • Easy to use 4 button display
  • User replaceable 3 volt CR2450 lithium-ion battery
  • Imperial or metric units
  • 50-hour logbook memory
  • Compatible with Suunto DM5 software
  • Optional USB data cable

Check our in-depth Suunto Zoop Novo review or check the latest price on Amazon

Best technical dive computer 2018

Shearwater Perdix AI

Want to buy a Shearwater Perdix dive computer? Click here to find the best price on Amazon >> 

The Shearwater Petrel 2 and the Shearwater Perdix are favorites among tec divers, so no surprise the Shearwater Perdix Ai is our choice for the best technical dive computer. The Perdix Ai is the newest member of the Shearwater Research family. It offers the same great features of the Perdix dive computer but includes optional air integration, making it an appealing choice for recreational divers as well.

The Perdix Ai offers four dive settings:
– Open Circuit Rec (for recreational dives with up to three nitrox gases)
– Open Circuit Ter (for technical dives, 5 gases with each programmable for any blend trimix)
– Closed Circuit – Fixed PP02 (for closed-circuit rebreather dives)
– Gauge mode (with bottom timer and stopwatch).

The two recreational modes show a simpler menu structure with a less cluttered display and a configurable bottom row.

Shearwater dive computers use the Bühlmann ZHL-16C with GF decompression model, VPM-B is an optional upgrade. Maximum depth for this computer is 850 ft or 260m. Regular firmware updates ensure the latest features. Out of the box, it’s set to English, but with a firmware update you can choose a number of other languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, Italian or Spanish.

The large full color LED LCD display allows you to see all vital information at a glance. Whether it’s in full sun or low light conditions, the screen is easy to read. After the dive, the Shearwater Perdix Ai can communicate with your iPad or iPhone via next-generation Bluetooth Smart Ready. A big plus is that the Perdix uses regular AA size batteries, that can easily be replaced.

Click here to check the latest price of the Shearwater Perdix AI  >>

Shearwater Perdix Ai features:

  • User Replaceable AA Battery
  • Air, Nitrox, Trimix capable
  • Full color LED LCD screen
  • Excellent digital compass
  • Buhlmann GF algorithm
  • Optional VPM-B algorithm
  • Dive Logging & planning
  • Upgradeable Firmware
  • Bluetooth Smart Interface
  • 70-100 dives per battery change
  • 1000 hours dive log
  • Max depth 850ft (260m)
  • Air Integration (optional, 1 or 2 transmitters)

For more details check our in-depth Shearwater Perdix AI review or check the latest price on Amazon