Updated on

If you’re in the market for a new dive computer, this article is for you. Since your computer is such a vital piece of safety equipment, it’s probably one of the first gear purchases you’ll make. And, it’s without a doubt one of the most important. The best dive computers are durable, dependable, and packed with diver friendly features. Plus, they offer all the essential functions you need and none of the bells and whistles you don’t. Not sure where to begin? No worries!

Whether you prefer a console, wrist, or watch style computer; there’s a model that’s perfect for you. In this article, we’ll walk you through the best options available for divers of all budgets and skill levels, handpicked by our diving experts at The Adventure Junkies. And, we’ll lay out all the features and considerations to keep in mind for worry-free shopping.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Air Integrated Dive Computers | Dive Computers for Beginners | Watch Style Dive Computers

LOOKING​​​​ FOR A GIFT FOR A

FELLOW DIVER?

Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your diving friends.
From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Dive Computers

  1. Mares Puck Pro
  2. Suunto Zoop Novo
  3. Cressi Leonardo
  4. Suunto D4i Novo
  5. Sherwood Vision
  6. Mares Quad
  7. Aqua Lung i450T
  8. Scubapro Galileo 2
  9. Garmin Descent Mk1

 

Comparison Table - Best Dive Computer

PictureNameButtonsMemoryBatteryCompatibilityPriceRating
Mares Puck Pro150 HoursUser ChangeablePC$4.8
Suunto Zoop Novo450 HoursUser ChangeablePC$4.6
Cressi Leonardo170 HoursUser ChangeablePC and Mac$4.8
Suunto D4i Novo480 HoursRequires Service to ChangePC$$4.4
Sherwood Vision224 HoursUser ChangeablePC and Mac$$4.6
Mares Quad438 HoursUser ChangeablePC$$4.8
Aqua Lung i450T424 HoursUser ChangeablePC and Mac$$4.4
Suunto D53200 HoursUser RechargeablePC and Mac$$$4.8
Scubapro Galileo 231,000 HoursUser ChangeablePC, Mac, Android, iPhone$$$5.0
Garmin Descent Mk151,000 HoursUser RechargeablePC, Mac, Android, iPhone$$$5.0
PictureNameButtonsMemoryBatteryCompatibilityPriceRating

DIVE TRAVEL

PACKING LIST

Don't forget important gear at home!


Print out this free dive gear packing list to prepare for your next adventure.


Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time underwater!

* You will get weekly emails with practical diving advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. You can always opt out of these emails.

Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

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

Reviews - The Best Computers for Scuba Diving

Mares Puck Pro

Specs
  • Buttons: 1
  • Capacity: 36 Hours
  • Depth Rating: 492 Feet
  • Memory: 50 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, and Bottom Time
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 Gasses, up to 99% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatibility: 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: BUDGET SHOPPERS

Some divers say that the Mares Puck Pro was named for its “hockey puck” appearance. And, it’s true that this model isn’t exactly stylish. But it’s one of the best budget computers on the market, and sturdy enough to last for years to come. This computer offers three basic operating modes, easy to navigate menus, and an oversized display, making it a great choice for new divers. 

The Puck Pro also allows you to adjust your diving limits by choosing a more conservative profile for added safety. This model’s rugged rubber and plastic exterior can stand up to the abuse of daily diving and use in challenging conditions. Plus, it will make an excellent backup computer someday when you enhance your skills.

Suunto Zoop Novo

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Capacity: 50 Hours
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet
  • Memory: 50 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 Gasses, up to 50% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatibility: 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: BEGINNERS

The Suunto Zoop has been a top pick among newbie divers for decades, and its new upgraded Novo model is no exception. This is one of the most basic models on the market, with four easy to use operating modes. The oversized, easy to read display, and intuitive menus make this dive computer perfect for beginners and divers who wear prescription lenses. 

The Zoop Novo offers a highly conservative preset dive profile, so more experienced divers might feel a bit limited underwater. But, this added safety feature is ideal for newly certified divers and students. If you’re hard on your gear, take note. This model has a super tough exterior, a user-replaceable battery, and a sturdy dry suit compatible wrist strap.

Cressi Leonardo

Specs
  • Buttons: 1
  • Depth Rating: 393 Feet
  • Memory: 70 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 2 Gasses, up to 50% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatibility: 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: JUST THE BASICS

If you’re looking for a dive computer that does everything you need and nothing you don’t, the Cressi Leonardo might be your best bet. This budget-friendly model uses a single button for all its menus and settings, making it super easy to navigate. Its low profile design fits more like a watch than a diving computer, so it’s more stylish than other options in its class. And, it’s easy to reset between uses, so it’s a popular model for shop rental equipment and divers who share gear. Keep in mind that the Leonardo’s smaller face and shortened wristband make it best for warm water use only.

Suunto D4i Novo

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet
  • Memory: 80 Hours
  • Battery: Requires Service to Change
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge, Watch
  • Oxygen Blend: 3 Gasses, up to 50% O2
  • Display: ELD Backlit
  • Compatibility: PC
Features
  • Doubles As A Wristwatch
  • Sold In A Variety of Colors
  • Wireless Air Integration Monitors Tank Pressure
  • Optional Added Deep Stop For A More Conservative Ascent
  • Phosphor-Luminescent Display Retains A Glow After Shining A Dive Light On It

BEST FOR: OVERALL VALUE

Dollar for dollar, the Suunto D4i Novo is one of the best values on the market. It features more operating modes than competing models, gas blending, and easy to customize diver profiles and alarms. And, all these diver friendly details are packed into a compact wristwatch style. 

It should be noted that this computer isn’t a good fit for newbies. Its four button design and more complex menus make it a better fit for intermediate to advanced divers. The D4i Novo is also one of the more stylish options available, with plenty of colors and straps to choose from. Plus, it doubles as a wristwatch for daily wear, so it’s a popular choice among working dive professionals.

Sherwood Vision

Specs
  • Buttons: 2
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet
  • Memory: 24 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 4 Gasses, up to 100% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatibility: PC and Mac
Features
  • Displays Tank Pressure
  • Quick Disconnect Hose for Cleaning, Storage, and Travel
  • More Compact Than Similar Models
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: COMPACT CONSOLE 

These days, more and more divers are switching to wrist and watch style dive computers. But, consoles are an excellent option for new divers, and they don’t have to be bulky! The Sherwood Vision packs all the features of a traditional gauge and dive computer into a highly compact housing. This computer monitors air consumption as well as depth and can support a gas blend of up to 100% oxygen. So, it’s a great fit for advanced divers and those who want to dive with a second computer for redundancy. The Vision also uses a quick disconnect hose, so the console is easy to remove and store or pack.

Mares Quad

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Depth Rating: 492 Feet
  • Memory: 38 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, and Bottom Time
  • Oxygen Blend: 3 Gasses, up to 99% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatibility: 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
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: EASY TO READ SCREEN

The first thing you’ll notice about the Mares Quad is its size. And, while it’s true that this is hardly the most fashionable model on the market, its supersized screen is a major perk. This computer is an excellent option for divers who wear prescription lenses or struggle to read small displays. And, it’s jam-packed with features for intermediate and advanced divers. The Mares Quad lets you switch gasses during a dive, and can support an oxygen blend of up to 99%. Plus, it’s easy to reset in between dives fully, so it’s a great option for rental equipment or divers who share gear.

Aqua Lung i450T

Specs
  • Buttons: 4
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet
  • Memory: 24 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 3 Gasses, up to 100% O2
  • Display: LCD Backlit
  • Compatibility: PC and Mac
Features
  • Doubles As A Wristwatch
  • Wireless Air Integration Monitors Tank Pressure
  • Optional Added Deep Stop for a More Conservative Ascent
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive

BEST FOR: DIVE TRAVEL 

If you’re an active diver or avid traveler, you’ll want a computer that is lightweight and compact. The Aqua Lung i450T combines all the features you need into a very tiny package. And, it’s tough enough to withstand the abuse of air travel and multiple dives per day. This model supports wireless air integration via Bluetooth transmitter and allows you to switch between three different gasses per dive. So, it’s great for technical applications. The i450T also features a user changeable battery, so you’ll never have to search for a service center during your dive holiday. Plus, this model offers an extra freediving mode for snorkeling and apnea enthusiasts.

Suunto D5

Specs
  • Buttons: 3
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet
  • Memory: 200 Hours
  • Battery: User Rechargeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge
  • Oxygen Blend: 3 Gasses, up to 99% O2
  • Display: MIP Full Color
  • Compatibility: PC and Mac
Features
  • Doubles As A Wristwatch
  • Changeable Band
  • Wireless Air Integration Monitors Tank Pressure
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive
  • Vibrating and Chiming Alarms
  • Charges via USB

BEST FOR: DAILY USE

If you’re working in the water, or just want a dive computer that’s up to the challenge of everyday use, the D5 is a great option. This brand new model has all the features of similar Suunto designs, plus a few surprises! A rechargeable battery makes this computer ideal for divers in remote regions. And, it allows you to set alarms to vibrate, rather than chime for a more peaceful underwater experience. Other perks include wireless sync to your smartphone, optional air integration, and the ability to communicate in 18 languages. The D5 also doubles as a wristwatch and features a changeable band for fashion-minded divers.

Scubapro Galileo 2

Specs
  • Buttons: 3
  • Depth Rating: 394 Feet
  • Memory: 1,000 Hours
  • Battery: User Changeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge, Sidemount, CCR, Trimix
  • Oxygen Blend: 8 gasses, up to 100% O2 and 92% Helium
  • Display: TFT Full Color
  • Compatibility: PC, Mac, Android, iPhone
Features
  • Oversized, Easy to Read Display
  • Wireless Air Integration Monitors Tank Pressure
  • Adjustable Dive Profile for a More or Less Conservative Experience
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive
  • Monitors Breathing Rate, Skin Temperature, and Heart Rate

BEST FOR: TECHNICAL DIVERS

ScubaPro’s newest model in the Galileo line, the G2 is their most impressive dive computer yet. Though it won’t win any points for style, this easy to read and use option comes loaded with features for recreational and technical diving. The G2 allows wireless air integration for up to nine different tanks, with color codes (red, yellow, and green) to indicate air levels. And, it comes with modes for rebreather, sidemount, and Trimix divers, as well as freediving. Even with all that going on, this model’s full color screen and three button design make it a breeze to use underwater. Plus, its custom menus allow you to view as much or little detail as you want during your dives.

Garmin Descent Mk1

Specs
  • Buttons: 5
  • Depth Rating: 328 Feet
  • Memory: 1,000 Hours
  • Battery: User Rechargeable
  • Operating Modes: Air, Nitrox, Freedive, Gauge, CCR, Trimix, Watch
  • Oxygen Blend: 6 Gasses, up to 100% O2 and 92% Helium
  • Display: MIP Full Color
  • Compatibility: PC, Mac, Android, iPhone
Features
  • Doubles As A Wristwatch
  • More Compact Than Similar Models
  • Wireless Air Integration Monitors Tank Pressure
  • Adjustable Dive Profile for a More or Less Conservative Experience
  • Can Use Multiple Gas Blends in a Single Dive
  • Multisport Functions Include Running, Biking, Hiking, and Swimming
  • GPS Tracking
  • Monitors Heart Rate

BEST FOR: BEST OF THE BEST 

This Garmin Descent Mk1 has more functions than any other model, packed into design stylish enough for everyday wear. So, it easily claims its title as the top of the line. This computer features modes for multiple sports (swim, bike, hike, and more), monitors your heart rate, can support up to 6 gas mixes including Trimix, and uses GPS technology to track your location above and below water. The Mk1 also includes a rechargeable battery and charging station, so you’ll never have to find a service center during your dive holiday. This computer’s full color screen is incredibly easy to read and allows you to display a photo backdrop. And, it syncs to your smartphone to make logging dives a breeze.

PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIP


PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIP


Enter your name and email to get instant access to the Quick Starter Guide to Liveaboard Diving, which has been used by hundreds of people to plan and prepare for their diving adventures!

Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your scuba safari!


* You will get weekly emails with practical diving advice that complement the information contained in the guide. You can always opt out of these emails.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A DIVE COMPUTER

OXYGEN BLEND

Are you Nitrox certified or planning to complete your specialty course? More divers than ever are using higher blends of oxygen (O2) to enhance their performance underwater and fight fatigue after diving. If you’re interested in taking on these new challenges, you’ll need a computer that can manage multiple gas blends. For most recreational divers, two gasses with a maximum of 50% O2 is plenty. But, technical divers will want a model that can handle six to eight gasses and up to 100% O2 as well as Trimix.

 

DISPLAY TYPE

Most entry level computers use a black and white LCD or ELD backlit screen. These displays use bold, easy to read numbers, making them easy to read in low light as well as direct sun. Most backlit screens use phosphor-luminescent technology to light up and retain a glow after you shine a dive torch on them. So, even if your backlight fails, you’ll be able to read your screen.

Full color screens are gaining in popularity thanks to their visual appeal and ability to display in great detail. But, these screen types are more fragile, and harder to read in bright light and direct sun. If you’re new to diving, you’ll be happier with a more basic model.

 

NUMBER OF BUTTONS

Newly certified divers should choose a computer with as few buttons as possible. While there are plenty of high quality models that come with four or more, newbies may find that many buttons confusing and hard to use underwater. A more basic design will be easier to navigate, and won’t leave you feeling frustrated mid-dive. This consideration is less important for advanced divers or those who are already comfortable using a more sophisticated computer.

 

OPERATING MODES

Most entry level dive computers include basic modes like air, Nitrox, and gauge (monitors your depth and bottom time without calculating your no-decompression limits). Intermediate models may incorporate options like freediving, and watch (allows your computer to double as a timepiece). And, high end designs will typically add more advanced functions like rebreather and Trimix.

If you are planning to take on challenges like technical diving, you’ll need more than one computer for safety and redundancy. So, it’s fine to buy a basic model for starters. You’ll be happy to have a backup later on!

 

BATTERY TYPE

If your diving plans include travel to exotic and remote destinations, a computer that requires professional servicing for a low battery can create stress. Choose a model with a rechargeable battery or one that you can change on your own to avoid this issue.

 

COMPATIBLE TECHNOLOGY

PC, Mac, and smartphone compatible computers sync with your electronic devices to log and plan dives. Some basic models use a cabled connection or USB link, while more high end designs utilize Bluetooth technology.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

WIRELESS AIR INTEGRATION

Computers that use wireless air integration sync to a Bluetooth transmitter mounted to your regulator’s first stage. This external sensor relays tank pressure to the wrist-mounted display, where you can read it. Wireless transmitters are generally sold separately from their corresponding computers, so they are an extra expense. And, they are delicate pieces of gear that require special care. But, most experienced divers agree that they are well worth it!

ADJUSTABLE DIVE PROFILE

All dive computers calculate your no-decompression limits by using formulas called algorithms. Some computers allow you to customize your dive profile using a more or less conservative mathematical model based on your comfort and experience level. Even the most liberal diving profile will keep you safe and diving well within your limits. Plus, it may help you score a few extra minutes underwater.

OPTIONAL ADDED DEEP STOP

If you’re new to diving, you won’t have to worry much about deep stops. But, if you’re planning to go deeper, your dive computer may suggest additional stops during your ascent. Adding extra stops to your profile’s recommended “safety stop” at 15 feet (5 meters) for 3 minutes gives your body more time to release the nitrogen stored in your tissue. This helps prevent decompression illness and injury and results in a safer trip to the surface. Some dive computers allow you to add or remove these stops, resulting in a more or less conservative dive profile.

RESIDUAL NITROGEN RESET (can be used by multiple divers in the same day)

Some dive computers allow you to reset their memory fully between dives. This function allows one computer to be used by multiple divers on the same day, without accounting for previous dive profiles. If you’re sharing equipment or purchasing a dive computer to rent to students or clients, this can be an important feature.

MULTIPLE GASSES IN A SINGLE DIVE

If you’re planning to make decompression stops while diving, you may need to use more than one gas blend while underwater. Adding a second gas with a higher percentage of oxygen allows your body to release its excess nitrogen more quickly. This faster “offgassing” reduces the amount of time needed to make a safe ascent.

COLD WATER COMPATIBLE

Dive computers designed for cold water incorporate special features for easy use. If you’re planning to take the plunge into an icy climate, be sure to select a model with oversized buttons, for easy use with thick gloves. You’ll also need a long wrist strap to fit over a thick wetsuit or drysuit.

READ MORE

For more of our top scuba diving gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

16 Responses

  1. Ellery

    Thanks for your review! Can you add into the mix this widely popular model: ScubaPro Aladin Sport Dive Computer. At $338 it looks pretty solid basic/beginner dive computer.

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Hi Ellery, thanks for your recommendation. We’re actually in the process of updating this post based on some recent product testing.

      • Dragisa Vukajlovic

        Thank you for the reviews. I plan to get one of those – when can we expect the updated list?

  2. Brian Senecal

    I am speechless that the Shearwater Petrel or Perdix didn’t make the list.

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Hey Brian, we’re in the middle of gear testing and improving this post and will have revisions soon. From what we’ve seen so far, I’m sure you will be happy with the update! What’s been your experience with the Shearwater Petrel (or Perdix)? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks 🙂

      • Brian Senecal

        I’ve been diving for about 25 years and have seen good products and poor products. Every now and then you come across a product that redefines an entire category and that is Shearwater as a whole company. They have redefined good customer service, intuitive design and have gone over the top with value for dollar. You can make the argument that they offer too much for a recreational diver though they have a recreational mode …. I will argue that you can spend much more and not have nearly the versatile platform. I own two of their early computers. Cheers.

  3. Glenn Beck

    You’re into shot shows a diver with the Suunto EON Steel yet it’s not included in the list. User ratings have been at or near 5 star. I’m abusive to my dive gear as it has to stand up to cave conditions. Was hoping to see the EON since I’m considering it for dual tank monitoring.

  4. Mark

    Who curated this list of dive computers? What was that person thinking to omit the Shearwater Research Petrel2 or now the Perdix follow on? Is it that SR didn’t pay for a review?

    • Antonio Cala

      Hi Mark,
      We are still testing some new models (including the 2 you mention).
      Nobody pays us to appear in this list. We are also waiting for more reviews of these models to come up so we can provide not just our opinion but also the opinion from others in the diving community.
      By the way, I would love to hear your thoughts on those models you mention if you have experience with any of them.

  5. Bostjan

    Hello,

    why isn’t in Top 10 dive computer Oceanic OCi ? What is your opinion on this computer Oceanic eyes? I bought it, but I have not used jet. This is my first diving computer.

  6. Martin T

    As others have mentioned the lack of Shearwater, I’d point out you’re missing the Suunto Eon Steel. If it’s any use to you Both my wife and I have been diving ours for over a year and have approx 150 dives each on it using multiple transmitters. If you want an unbiased opinion of it from a long term point of view with all its pros and cons feel free to drop me a line

  7. Brian

    Are there reviews of Wearable daily dive computers? or are they none that stand up reliability to the above list of dive computers?

  8. Jason Ball

    So why not list the metrics you used to give us an idea how you picked the the computers for your top 12 list? No mention of gradient factor changeability or which algorithm they run. Nothing on if they only have watch bands or can be converted to bungee systems or straps.
    Help us to understand how you got to these decisions please…

  9. Sharon

    With regard to Air Transmitters, DC reviews repeat each other in the question “what if the transmitter fails while you’re at 100 feet”.

    I hear sometimes the DC can have initial trouble pairing with the transmitter, but this is generally easily and quickly fixed.

    Has anyone had loss of signal ? Did you see this in your testing? I’m yet to come across someone who’s actually lost signal during a dive.

  10. Sharon

    Hey Amanda,

    Good to see you included the Perdix and the Eon Steel on Best DC list after so many wondered why they weren’t included in the first place. : )

3K Shares
Tweet35
Pin3K
Share141
Email
Flip