Dive Computer: How to Choose Yours

Having your own dive computer is an essential tool, whether you are a beginner, advanced or a professional diver (Dive Master – Instructor)

In this post we tell you all you need to know to choose your first dive computer!


Why do I need
a Dive Computer?

For many, from their initial course, they want to know everything about diving, including the depth at which they are diving, and it is necessary to understand that it is an extremely important tool since the computer will provide us with information before, during and after the dive.


Advantages of having
your own dive computer

1) Know your current depth

It is very important to know this information, as you should never dive beyond the limits of your certification. 

  • Open Water – 18 meters
  • Advanced Adventurer – 30 meters
  • Deep Diver – 40 meters

2) Check no-decompression stop time limit

Remember that recreational diving is not allowed to exceed no-decompression limits, so it is important to check this information at all times, especially if deep dives are planned.

3) Ascent speed

With our dive computer we will be able to check our ascent speed and in case we are ascending fast our computer will inform us with sounds or flashes on the screen.

4) Safety Stop

It is always recommended to perform a safety stop at 5 meters for 3 minutes for each dive deeper than 10 meters. The dive computer will be useful to check that we are at the correct depth and for the time required during the safety stop.

5) Performing decompression stops if needed

Whether you are a recreational diver or a technical diver and you need to do a decompression stop, your dive computer will provide you with the necessary information to make the necessary decompression stops safely.

6) Planning dives

With our dive computer we will be able to plan our dives before jumping into the water to make sure that everything planned is within the parameters of our certification and experience, depth, dive duration and to know what the no decompression limits are.

7) Dive log

We will be able to access all the information of our dives, see the time of entry into the water, maximum and average depth, duration of the dive, water temperature, surface interval and we can also check the dive profile in a graph.

8) Check if we made a mistake

With our dive computer we will be able to check if we have skipped any stops or if we have dived beyond the planned limits.


How to choose a dive computer?

When buying a computer we will find different options of models, colors, prices, size, brand, etc.

Look for the computer that suits your needs and budget, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Here are some details you should check when buying a new dive computer:

1) Dive modes

Dive computers usually include Air, Nitrox and Gauge modes, some models also include Freediving mode.

2) Size

You will find computers of various sizes, from small ones that are the size of a normal watch, which you can use in and out of the water, to larger dive computers for use only during the dive.

3) Multiple Gases

As mentioned above, most computers include the option of Air and Nitrox, which is an advantage if you are certified or plan to do the Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty and wish to dive with this gas.

Other models include the option of being able to change the function of the gas you are using at the time of the dive, which is an advantage if you plan to start with decompression stop diving.

4) Alarms

Dive Computers have different types of alarms depending on the model, they may include visual alarms, audible alarms and some include vibration.

The alarms can be configured to warn us at a set depth or dive time, we can also set alarms for not to exceed partial pressures of nitrogen (1.4 or 1.6).

5) Simplicity

Some computers have several buttons while others only include one or two buttons, this will be reflected when navigating in the menu of our computer, remember that you should read the manual of your computer to know how to access each menu.

6) Battery

We can choose a computer that has a battery which can be replaced by the user, other models come sealed, so we must send our computer to an authorized center to make the replacement of our battery.

Some of the new and mid-high range computers come with a rechargeable battery, if we opt for this type of computer, we will have to connect it through a cable to recharge our battery, this can be something new, but also keep in mind that if you go for several days to dive to a place that does not have electricity supply, this could be a problem.

7) Integrated Compass

Normally this type of compass is built into mid-high end computers, it is useful to avoid having to carry a compass.

8) Wrist or console?

You can decide whether you want a wrist computer, watch type, or one that comes integrated into our instrument console and does not wear anything on our wrist.


Dive Computer Brands

Many of the big brands of diving equipment manufacture their own computers, so we can find dive computers in Mares, Aqualung or Cressi

On the other hand we have brands that specialize in sports watches like Suunto or Garmin or exclusive dive computer manufacturers like Shearwater.


Here are some of some the most popular dive computer models among recreational divers.

Suunto D4i

Pros

  • Perfect Size to use as a watch
  • Easy to use
  • Great price/quality
  • Easy to read screen
  • Many colors to choose

Cons

  • The strap is weak (can be replaced)

Suunto D5

Pros

  • Colored display
  • Great for new and experienced divers
  • Strong strap
  • Integrated compass

Cons

  • The rechargable battery need to be charged very often if you dive everyday

Cressi Leonardo

Pros

  • Easy to read display
  • Easy to use
  • Strong strap
  • Big button (easy to press even with gloves)

Cons

  • Not suitable to use a daily watch

Mares Matrix

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Perfect size
  • Digital compass
  • Dive profile visable during the dive

Cons

  • The strap quality could be better

Aqualung i330c

Pros

  • Easy to change battery
  • Bluetooth access to data and settings
  • Multiple diving modes

Cons

  • Small screen
  • The buttons can be difficult to push when using gloves

Shearwater Teric

Pros

  • Super customizable
  • Easy to use
  • Great looking as a daily watch
  • Clear to read
  • Configurable algorithm

Cons

  • The price is higher than usual recreational dive computers

Final Advice

If you are looking to buy your first dive computer, we recommend you opt for a simple, mid-budget model like the Suunto D4i, whereas if you already know you want to make the leap to a more sophisticated, high-end dive computer, take a look at the Shearwater Teric. 

For entry levels there are also more basic and budget friendly models such as the Suunto Zoop, which offers all the basic functionality, with a large screen, easy to use and a more affordable price.


Which dive computer do you currently use?

If you already have your dive computer, tell us in the comment section which you use and what you like about it (or what you don’t) to help others choose theirs.

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