Do you want to know what’s the best dive compass out there? Good, you’ve landed on the right page.
A scuba diving compass is one of the most useful dive accessories you can have. If you dive at sites with poor visibility or like to venture out into “the blue” looking for big fish, it’s essential to be able to find your way around.
This article will focus on the best dive compass models available on the market today. If you’re looking for other diving gear, don’t forget to check out our gear guides for dive computers, scuba masks, dive regulators and more.
QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST DIVE COMPASS
- Suunto SK8
- Sherwood Wisdom
- Oceanic Aeris
- Scubapro FS-2
- XS Scuba Retractable Super Tilt
- Tusa Platina SCA-160
- Genesis Retractable
- XS Scuba Highland
- Scuba Choice Compass
- Oceanic SWIV
THE BEST DIVE COMPASS – A COMPARISON
DIVE COMPASS 101
5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SCUBA COMPASS
1. DIGITAL OR ANALOG
When looking at diving compass, the first decision you’ll need to make is going either digital or analog.
DIGITAL DIVE COMPASSES are normally integrated in some dive computers and are not sold separately. You need to calibrate them at first and every time you change the battery. Although some are easy to read, they’re not as accurate and reliable as the analog ones.
ANALOG DIVE COMPASSES are conventional compasses adapted to be used underwater. They’re accurate and reliable, and don’t need to be calibrated so you can used them straight out of the box. They can also be mounted anywhere you want, no battery is required, and are sold separately or together with other dive accessories.
2. TILT TOLERANCE
The tilt tolerance of a compass refers to how much you can tilt it without the needle getting stuck. This might not be very important if you use a compass on land, but it’s crucial when using it underwater.
As a general rule, the bigger tilt tolerance the better. The only downside is that dive compasses with a high tolerance tend to be thicker and heavier than the other models. A small price to pay in my opinion.
You want to have a compass you can easily read while underwater.
Although most of the models come in a standard size, it’s a good idea to go for a bigger size. Bear in mind the visibility is reduced underwater after you put your mask on and depending on the conditions of the water.
4. MOUNTING OPTIONS
This is a personal choice, but almost every model can be mounted in the following places:
WRIST MOUNT is probably the most popular one. The compass is installed on a wrist band like a normal watch. Although some people don’t like having the computer and the compass on the same wrist, you can always use one wrist for each.
You can also install your compass in a CONSOLE MOUNT. This way you’ll be able to see air, computer reading and bearing all in one. The downside of this set up is the console becomes heavy and uncomfortable to dive with.
You can also use your compass with a RETRACTABLE MOUNT. You clip it onto a D-ring and pull it out when needed. This way the compass is easier to use and out of the way when not using it. These mounts tend to be a bit more expensive than the others.
VIDEO: HOW TO USE A DIVE COMPASS
DIVE COMPASS REVIEWS
THE TOP 10 BEST DIVING COMPASS
1. SUUNTO SK-8
“OUR PERSONAL CHOICE”
The Suunto SK8 dive compass features an exceptional tilt potential of +/- 30° degrees, something very superior to the other models on the market.
The SK8 has easy-to-read numerals on a phosphorescent compass card, and a large side-reading window for gun-sight accurate navigation.
If you’re looking for the best diving compass out there, look no further. The SK-8 is for you.
2. SHERWOOD WISDOM
“ADD-ON FOR YOUR WISDOM COMPUTER”
The Sherwood Wisdom is an add-on designed to complement the Wisdom Dive Computers.
While the compass module itself is very compact, the housing has a large vertical interior allowing viewing-angles that would stop other compasses in their tracks.
If you have a Wisdom computer, this is the compass you need.
3. OCEANIC AERIS
“ADD A COMPASS TO ANY CONSOLE”
The Oceanic Aeris Compass is a fantastic add-on that can be installed into any console out there.
The Oceanic Aeris comes with a durable rubber boot with threaded adapter that clamps quickly and easily to any high pressure hose. As it’s not installed permanently, you can choose when you use it or leave it at the boat.
It’s a great choice if you want something flexible that you don’t need to use on every dive.
4. SCUBAPRO FS-2
“BEST FOR TRAVEL”
The Scubapro FS-2 has the floating magnet separated from the compass rose, providing a greater angle of operating.
This means you can use this compass both in the northern and southern hemisphere. The perfect choice for the traveling diver.
5. XS SCUBA RETRACTABLE SUPER TILT
“RELIABLE & DURABLE RETRACTABLE COMPASS”
The XS Scuba Retractable Super Tilt is built with a durable rubber boot with a hose mount nut. It attaches to diver with split ring or snap hook and has a built-in quick-release buckle
When extended has a 25″ (63.5cm) reach with coated stainless steel cord and the pull force is 9 oz (255.2g).
If you’re looking for a reliable and durable retractable compass, this is what you need.
6. TUSA PLATINA SCA-160
“GREAT FOR NIGHT DIVING”
The Tusa Platina SCA-160 comes with Lumi-Nova light storage dials.
This technology offers several times the brightness of conventional dials, as well as longer luminescence times. The entire face glows bright enough to make it ideal for night diving or diving in dark areas without having radioactive materials.
A fantastic choice for night divers.
7. GENESIS RETRACTABLE
“EASY TO USE COMPASS”
The Genesis Retractable makes underwater navigation really easy with its retractor mount compass module.
This model comes with two choices of mounting clips (both with a quick disconnect clip), a plastic snap clip and a stainless steel split key ring, that easily attach the compass to your BCD.
The Genesis Retractable is a good choice if you look for a practical and easy to use dive compass.
8. XS SCUBA HIGHLAND
“SIMPLE BUNGY SET UP”
The XS Scuba Highland comes equipped with 30″ (76.2 cm) length of 0.16″ (4 mm) thick Bungee Cord for mounting on your gear for superior navigation.
You can mount this compass with one continuous loop or two separate loops for redundancy.
The Highland XS Scuba compass is highly accurate and is calibrated for the Northern Hemisphere.
9. SCUBA CHOICE WITH RETRACTOR
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Amazon | LeisurePro
“AFFORDABLE RETRACTABLE COMPASS”
The Scuba Choice Compass is a simple and affordable dive compass with a retractor.
At this price, it obviously has some down sides like its limited side reading capabilities and its “plasticky” feeling.
If those two downsides aren’t important for you, the Scuba Choice is a great option if you are looking for an affordable retractable compass.
10. OCEANIC SWIV
“VERSATILE & FULLY FUNCTIONAL”
The Oceanic SWIV is a great all around type compass.
It has all the features you would want in a compass. It’s simple to operate, easy to read, functional and with a solid construction.
If you’re looking for a compass to use in all diving applications, this is the model for you.