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Are you new to diving or shopping on a budget? Don’t worry, the dive computer of your dreams is still well within reach! You just have to shop smart. The best budget dive computers are safe, reliable, and easy to use. And, they won’t break the bank. With all the models on the market today, you’re sure to find something you love, no matter what price range you prefer.

Because your computer is an essential piece of safety equipment, it’s one of the first pieces of gear that most divers buy. And, it’s undoubtedly one of the most important. If you aren’t sure where to start shopping, don’t worry. We’ve done all the homework for you. Today, we’ll guide you through all the considerations and features to look for when buying your first dive computer. And, we’ll share our favorite models for budget shoppers, Adventure Junkies approved.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out the Best Dive Computers

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Quick Answer - The Best Budget Dive Computers

  1. Mares Puck Pro
  2. Aqua Lung i200
  3. Suunto Zoop
  4. Cressi Leonardo
  5. Oceanic GEO 2.0

 

Comparison Table - Best Budget Dive Computer

PictureNameButtonsMemoryDepth RatingBatteryCompatible TechnologyPriceRating
Mares Puck Pro136 Hours492 Feet (150 Meters)User ChangeablePC$4.8
Aqua Lung i200424 Hours328 Feet (100 Meters)User ChangeablePC and Mac$4.6
Suunto Zoop350 Hours328 Feet (100 Meters)User ChangeablePC$$4.7
Cressi Leonardo170 Hours393 Feet (120 Meters)User ChangeablePC and Mac$$4.4
Oceanic GEO 2.0424 Hours328 Feet (100 Meters)User ChangeablePC$$$4.4
PictureNameButtonsMemoryDepth RatingBatteryCompatible TechnologyPriceRating

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Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Dive Computer on a Budget

Mares Puck Pro

Specs
  • Buttons: 1
  • Depth Rating: 492 Feet (150 Meters)
  • Memory: 36 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, and Bottom Time
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 Gasses, up to 99% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatible Technology: PC
Features
  • Oversized, Easy to Read Display
  • Can Be Used As A Stopwatch
  • Residual Nitrogen Reset for Use by Multiple Divers per Day
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS

If you’re shopping on a budget and don’t mind an entry-level computer, the Mares Puck Pro is a great pick. This model has a large, easy-to-read screen and simple, intuitive menus, so it’s a very user-friendly option. Its three basic operating modes cover everything that you’ll need as a beginner or intermediate diver. And, it allows you to select a more conservative dive profile for added safety underwater.

The Puck Pro isn’t a very stylish option, and some divers joke that it was named for its “hockey puck” appearance. But, its durable rubber and plastic exterior is tough enough to withstand years of use and abuse. So, it’s perfect for newbies and divers who are hard on their gear. The Puck Pro also makes an excellent backup computer, so it’ll still come in handy once you’ve enhanced your diving skills.

Aqua Lung i200

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet (100 Meters)
  • Memory: 24 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, and Freedive
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 Gasses, up to 100% O2
  • Display: LED Backlit
  • Compatible Technology: PC and Mac
Features
  • More Compact Than Similar Models
  • Adjustable Dive Profile for a More or Less Conservative Experience
  • Optional Added Deep Stop For A More Conservative Ascent
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: DIVE TRAVEL

The Aqua Lung i200 is perfect for dive travel thanks to its small size and a wide variety of built-in features. This is one of the only budget options on the market that offers a freediving mode, easily switching between SCUBA and apnea. But, its small screen, four button design, and complex menus make it a good fit for experienced divers only. 

If you’re planning on challenging and advanced dives, the i200 is up to the task. It allows you to switch between gas blends during a dive, add a deep stop, and adjust your dive model’s conservativism settings. And, this model includes an expandable strap for use with a drysuit.

Suunto Zoop

Specs
  • Buttons: 3
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet (100 Meters)
  • Memory: 50 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox
  • Oxygen Blend: 1 Gasses, up to 50% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatible Technology: PC
Features
  • Highly Conservative Dive Profile for the Safest Immersions Possible
  • Rugged Exterior Can Withstand Intense Wear and Tear
  • Cold Water Compatible
  • Phosphor-Luminescent Display Retains a Glow After Shining a Dive Light on It

BEST FOR: JUST THE BASICS

It’s no surprise that the Suunto Zoop is one of the best selling dive computers of all time. This is one of the most basic models on the market, perfect for beginners. With three operating modes, an oversized easy-to-read display, and intuitive menus, it’s a dive computer so simple that anyone can use it. And, it’s a top pick for divers who wear prescription lenses, too. 

The Zoop is preset with a super conservative dive profile, so it may feel limiting as you progress in diving. But, this added safety feature is perfect for newly certified divers and students. Someday, when you want to upgrade to a more liberal model, your Zoop will probably still be in excellent condition. This computer is one of the most rugged options around, with a hard rubber and plastic exterior built to take a beating.

Cressi Leonardo

Specs
  • Buttons: 1
  • Depth Rating: 393 Feet (120 Meters)
  • Memory: 70 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 Gasses, up to 50% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatible Technology: PC and Mac
Features
  • Adjustable Dive Profile for a More or Less Conservative Experience
  • Residual Nitrogen Reset For Use By Multiple Divers Per Day
  • More Compact Than Similar Models
  • Sold in a Variety of Colors

BEST FOR: OVERALL VALUE  

More bells and whistles don’t always make for a better dive computer. The Cressi Leonardo is an excellent, basic model that does everything you need and nothing you don’t. It uses a single button design, so its menus and settings are easy to navigate. And, this computer can be manually reset between uses. This extra feature makes it a popular choice for rental equipment and for divers who share gear.

For a budget-friendly model, the Leonardo is surprisingly stylish. Its low profile design looks more like a watch than a dive computer, and it comes in multiple colors. But, this computer’s smaller screen and shortened wristband are ideal for warm water use only.

Oceanic GEO 2.0

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet (100 Meters)
  • Memory: 24 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Watch
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 Gasses, up to 100% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatible Technology: PC
Features
  • Doubles As A Wristwatch
  • Optional Added Deep Stop For A More Conservative Ascent
  • Adjustable Dive Profile for a More or Less Conservative Experience
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive
  • Chiming and Visual Alarms

BEST FOR: DAILY USE    

The Oceanic Geo features a smaller face and slimmer band, to help it double as a wristwatch for everyday wear. And, it’s much more affordable than similar models in its class, so it’s a top pick for working divers. This computer has a lot of useful features, but more options mean harder to navigate menus. Simply put, if you’re a beginner, this might not be your best bet.

The Geo offers a highly customizable dive profile, with options to add a deep stop and choose a more or less conservative model. This computer also has a lot of diver focused details like a safety stop counter that shows minutes and seconds, and an audible alarm with flashing LED light.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A BUDGET DIVE COMPUTER

All dive computers work the same way and are based on the same dive tables, no matter how much they cost. So, shopping for a budget model won’t make an impact on your safety in the water. Most models with higher price tags feature stylish design elements, cool diver-friendly details, and name brands. But, they use the same algorithms and calculations as their more affordable counterparts.

WRIST, WATCH, OR CONSOLE

Dive computers are sold in three main styles; wrist, watch, and console. Which is best for you depends on your personal preference and experience level. But, all are equally safe and effective in the water.

Wrist style dive computers feature extended straps, oversized screens, and are generally bulkier and more rugged than watch style models. If you’re a beginner, hard on your gear, wear prescription lenses, or plan to dive in cold conditions, this is your best bet.

Most watch style dive computers double as wristwatches for everyday wear, both in and out of the water. Because these models feature more modes and options, and a smaller screen, they are a better fit for intermediate and advanced divers.

Console style dive computers are much less popular than they used to be because they are often bulky and cumbersome to travel with. And, they are generally more expensive than wrist-worn models because they include air integration and other gauges for depth and navigation.

 

OXYGEN BLEND

If you’re Nitrox certified or planning to complete the specialty course, you should choose a computer that can handle multiple gas blends. For most divers, two gasses with a maximum of 50% O2 (oxygen) is plenty.

 

DISPLAY TYPE

The most common display types for budget dive computers are black and white LCD or ELD backlit screens, featuring bold, easy to read numbers. Backlighting makes these screens easy to read in low light as well as direct sun. And, their phosphor-luminescent technology retains a glow after you shine a dive torch on them. So, even if the backlight fails, you’ll be able to read your screen without natural light.

 

NUMBER OF BUTTONS

If you’re a new diver, less is more when it comes to your computer’s buttons. An easy to use model will be more effective underwater, and the fewer buttons you have, the more simple your computer’s menus will be to navigate. If you’ve been diving for a while or feel very comfortable underwater, this is less of a consideration.

 

OPERATING MODES

Basic modes like air, Nitrox, and gauge (monitors depth and bottom time without calculating your no-decompression limits) are included with most dive computers. More advanced models may incorporate options like freediving, and watch (allows your computer to function as a timepiece).

If you’re planning to enhance your diving abilities into technical immersions, you’ll need a second computer for safety and redundancy. So, it’s ok to buy a budget model for starters. You’ll be happy to have it as a backup later on!

 

BATTERY TYPE

Are you planning to dive in exotic and remote destinations? If your computer requires professional servicing for a low battery, you might find yourself out of luck in these far flung destinations. Models with user changeable or rechargeable batteries will help you avoid this issue.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

ADJUSTABLE DIVE PROFILE

Your dive computer uses a formula, called an algorithm, to calculate your no-decompression limits for diving. Basically, it’s a digitized dive table. Some computers allow you to select a more or less conservative mathematical formula based on your personal comfort and experience levels. This can help you score an extra couple of minutes underwater, or give you an extra margin of safety. All the diving profiles offered are safe, and even the most liberal options will keep you diving within your limits.

OPTIONAL ADDED DEEP STOP

If you’re a beginner, you don’t have to worry about deep stops just yet. But, if your dive plans include deep and technical immersions, your computer might ask for additional decompression stops during your ascent. Adding these stops gives your body’s tissues extra time to release the nitrogen they’ve stored during your dive. This safety measure helps prevent decompression illness and injury and enables you to make the most gentle ascent possible. Some computers let you add and remove these stops, for a more or less conservative dive profile.

RESIDUAL NITROGEN RESET

If you’re shopping for equipment to share or rent to clients, select a model that allows you to reset its memory fully between dives. This way, more than one diver per day can use it, without interference from previous dive profiles.

MULTIPLE GASSES IN A SINGLE DIVE

Most recreational divers practice “no-stop diving,” and only make the traditional safety stop during their ascent. But, if you’re planning to get into “deco diving,” you’ll be making multiple decompression stops on your way to the surface. For these more technical immersions, you may need to use more than one gas blend. A second blend with a higher oxygen percentage will allow your body to release its stored nitrogen more quickly. This faster “offgassing” process will allow you to speed up your ascent safely.

COLD WATER COMPATIBLE

If you dive in cold water, pick a dive computer that’s practical for icy conditions. You’ll want oversized buttons that are easy to use with thick gloves and simple to navigate menus. Also, be sure the wrist strap is long enough to fit over your thick wetsuit or drysuit.

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