Can you dive without a dive computer? Sure you can. It’s not like diving was invented after the dive computer. You might not need one, but I can guarantee that you’re going to want one. This tool can help you navigate effectively underwater, calculate your decompression stops, give you basic facts about your surroundings, and a whole lot more.
Every dive computer will give you some sort of information. Is it really the information that you need though? I’m not the best diver in the world, but I do know a good dive computer from a bad one. That’s why I’ve put this chart together for you. It’s an easy way to find the best products from the good stuff.
|Picture||Product Name||Our Rating||Price|
|Picture||Product Name||Our Rating||Price|
|Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer Watch||4.3||$$|
|Suunto Zoop Wrist Unit Scuba Diving Computer||4.6||$$|
|Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer||4.2||$$|
|Cressi Newton Wrist Dive Computer||4.8||$$$|
|Atomic Aquatics Cobalt 2 RED Titanium Limited Air Integrated Dive Computer||4.0||$$$$$+|
|Aeris A300 Wrist Computer||4.2||$$|
|Suunto D4i Novo Scuba Diving Computer||4.4||$$$$$|
|Oceanic Datamax Pro Plus 3.0 Dive Computer with Compass||4.1||$$$$$|
|Suunto Scuba Diving Vyper Air||4.1||$$|
|Shearwater Research Petrel Dive Computer||5.0||$$$$$+|
What Is a Dive Computer and Why Do I Need One?
A dive computer is a mechanical device that will help you keep track of the data you’re able to create with a dive. It will give you some basic information, like how cold the water is, along with how deep your dive happens to be. There are also a bunch of important functions that can come with the modern dive computer that will help your dive be much safer.
If you ask me, the reason why you should own one is because you can set safety alarms and stops that automatically trigger. The best dive computers allow you to set a maximum depth alarm, along with a tank pressure alarm and a turn-around alarm.
Let’s face it: the beauty that exists under the sea can take your breath away. You just don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you have to hold your breath for a long time to survive. That’s why you should own a dive computer – if for no other reason. It gives you a better chance to come home at the end of the day.
How to Find the Best Dive Computer
In a word: memory. My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I still know a good product when I see one. The dive computers of today are great because they store dive data. Some of them can even store information about your past 10 dives. That way you can compare events and be able to respond to changing conditions more effectively.
But a good memory isn’t the only thing that a dive computer needs to become one of the best. Here are some of the other features you’ll want to look at.
• Is it PC compatible? Being able to download your dive data into your computer can help you keep permanent records of each dive. You can also easily delete those dives you might want to forget about. Like that one time, out in the Bahamas… well, that’s a different story for a different day.
• Does it have a compass? A compass must be part of your diving gear. Under the surface of the water, it can be easy to lose your bearings. That’s even more true when your eyesight starts to go like mine. A compass on your dive computer gives you a backup way to get to where you need to go.
• Can it make “no fly” calculations? Having decompression calculations on a dive computer is a good thing. Having no-fly calculations is even better. Nitrogen doesn’t come out of your body very quickly. If you fly after you’ve dived, then that nitrogen can expand and you can be left in a world of life-threatening pain. Trust me – you want these calculations.
Where the dive computer is placed is the final feature you’ll want to consider. I really love the dive computer watches that are available today. With solid backlighting that makes them easy to read, I can get the data I need right away. It also makes me feel important when I wear it, like how someone might feel wearing an Apple watch.
Some can be boot-mounted as well if you prefer the foot instead of the wrist.
The Air/Nitrox integrated computers are a good buy as well. They cost a little more but will give you a pressure gauge so you know how much time you’ve got left in the water.
Common Issues with Dive Computers and How to Solve Them
“I won’t have any problems with this brand new product I’m about to buy.” Said no one ever.
The biggest issue I’ve encountered with dive computers is that the screens are sometimes difficult to use. Some models turn into a beautiful mirror when you go under water. Great if you want to admire your inner Salty Dog. Not so great if you need dive data. To fix this, I recommend a screen coating that can cut down the glare.
There’s also the problem of weight. Some dive computers are too (insert your favorite expletive here) heavy. It’s true. You feel like there’s a 16-ton weight on your arm, foot, or back that should be dropped on a cartoon character instead of being attached to your body. The only way to get out of this is to read the best dive computer reviews and look at the specific dimensions of the product.
Charging can also be an issue for some dive computers. You’ll find some work with great awesomeness for dive after dive and hold their charge well – with a fast recharge even. Then there are some that don’t hold a charge at all after the first dive. I recommend looking at the manufacturer’s ratings on battery life before purchasing any dive computer.
What Are the Prices of the Best Dive Computers?
Dive computers do require a chunk of change. Most folks can find one for around $200 that will get the job done. Pay a little more and you’ll get some of the extra features, like dive calculations, that are super nice. Pay a little less and you’ll get a depth gauge, thermometer reading, and dive timer and not much else.
What Do My Reviews Have to Say?
There’s a lot of good stuff going on with this dive computer. It offers air and nitrox modes. You can switch through the various features with just a simple button push. It also has audible alarms and large digits that are just as easy to read as the large-print edition of Reader’s Digest. The fit on the wrist is nice and secure and the backlit screen is easy enough to read, especially on a night dive. Audio and visual countdowns are also part of the safety stop. I was impressed and think you will be too.
This is more of an entry-level dive computer, so let’s just get that straight going into this review. The screen is easy enough to read and the diver interface works reasonably well. There’s also a dive planner built into the watch-style computer as well. The layout of the screen does take some familiarization to get used to the layout, but you can also download dive data to your PC, so those two issues even themselves out. I personally like the 50-hour profile and the logbook memory. Give it a try and I think you’ll appreciate the experience.
How can you not love a dive computer that’s named after hockey? It even kind of looks like a hockey puck when it’s on your wrist. So what I like about this dive computer is that you don’t have to deal with a rechargeable battery dying on you while you’re under the water. Just replace the batteries before your dive and you will have confidence in being good to go. It also has an ascent rate indicator and holds a log of up to 50 dives or 36 hours of data. All good stuff that you’ll want to check out.
I can never say this brand name right. It doesn’t matter though. The dual algorithm with deep stop is ridiculously beneficial. You also receive three operating modes, including a run timer and calculation tracking. You get three operating buttons instead of one and the placement is designed well so my fat fingers don’t accidentally hit the wrong button. You can also switch between 3 Nitrox mixes if you want. I have a little trouble exporting my data, but I also have a little trouble with all computers in general. Bottom line – it gets the job done.
How much do I love this thing? Let me count the ways… It runs on a single AA battery. It is capable of air, nitrox, and trimix. The digital compass is tilt compensated and gives you three-axis outputs. You can integrate this dive computer with Bluetooth for communication to your computer, an iPad, or even an iPod. It offers understandable dive planning and decompression data. Upgrade today and you’ll love this maybe even more than I do.
The best dive computers are designed to keep you safe. They are an investment, but they also give you the critical data you need. So sure – you might not need one. My grandfather would tell you that no computer can be a substitute for the human mind. Yet the value of this tool is undeniable. Get yours today and you’ll see diving in a whole new way.