Dive computers Buyer’s Guide
There are so many variants, colors, screen types, brands that we are starting to get confused about the choice of dive computers available on the market. Should we succumb to the eternal “big players in the diving industry,” or should we let ourselves be tempted by the start-ups… here is a small guide to buying and choosing computers tested by us!
With so many brands, availability, type of model, size, functions, even the underwater world is starting to doubt the right choice to acquire a dive computer!
In this article, we will deepen the different types of computers following a selection of computers tested by us! Our return on the “MASSIVE” use, i.e., in a club with 3-day trips! We are neither sponsored nor bound (although it would be nice if diving brands came into the practice club’s world (another debate): All comments are based on our experience in a tropical environment!
Choosing your dive computer:
Algorithms in diving.
Suunto CRESSI; At the heart of every Suunto dive computer is an algorithm – the low bubble gradient model (RGBM) – that calculates the decompression time needed for each dive.
MARES SCUBAPRO; uses the ZHL16 ADT MB multi-gas predictive algorithm.
SHEARWATER TERIC PERDIX for tec uses the Bühlmann ZHL-16C Decompression Algorithm with Gradient Factors setting
Types of computers
Today there are two categories: The watch computer (which is worn all day) and the dive computer which is worn only for our underwater trip.
The computer watch is small, portable, and usable daily thanks to their style, and they are so advanced that they compete with the classic dive computer.
- the actual depth,
- Duration of immersion
- water temperature
- time for the safety stop.
Today you will find a plethora of offers on the market, so follow the guide to make sure you do not make a mistake on this most important purchase!
Occasional divers: we recommend the primary dive computer. Solid, ideal, and above all, with a battery change!
The i100 is a perfect diving computer for beginners. With a single button, it allows you to select from four operating modes and manage two gases. The computer also keeps all your settings and calculations after each battery change and includes safety features such as alarms.
For 130€ it is the cheapest computer on the market.
Aqualung i300 from 279€ onwards
The Aqualung i300 dive computer is easy to use and versatile. Easy to set up, you can use it immediately for your first dive. This little dive watch at a great price has many functions (air, nitrox, depth gauge with stopwatch and freediving mode), a backlight for easy reading, and an automatic “predive” mode (jump in the water, it turns on instantly!).
The battery is changeable by the user!
For less than 200 € it is the computer we recommend for the ++ options of the i100.
A Nitrox computer is extremely intuitive, easy to use, with all the RGBM functions… Go for it because it is currently at 120 €! very often criticized but one of the most solid! We have 15 of them, and I can guarantee you that they are more reliable than the previous ones mentioned!
A lively debate exists about Leonardo’s computer because it is EXTREMELY conservative, which means that you will be very close to the non-deco much faster with it… They use a specific algorithm ideal for dives until 20m but very conservative and difficult to cope with when doing repetitive dives or liveaboard.
For courses and beginners ‘OPW’, it is an excellent device.
If you want to wear a diving watch daily:
GARMIN DESCENT MK2 From 1000€ onwards
Athletes and multi-sports practitioners (and divers using CCR) will focus on the Garmin Descent Mk1. The MK1 is a hyper-complete and straightforward computer. Easy to use and very fast. Side by side with the TERIC, it is IDENTICAL in terms of data display, deco time, and ascent (same Bühlmann algorithm). The application, the customizations, and the details of the screen make it a remarkable product. The outstanding feature of the DESCENT is the GPS function that allows you to geolocate EXACTLY your entry & exit point. Ideal for dive guides and TEC divers. No transmitter in the MK1 but added in the MK2 release for 2020. A choice without any possible error and the multi-sport is delightful.
TERIC SHEARWATER From 999€ onwards
The aficionados of technical diving will go to the Teric from Shearwater to have a petrel or Perdix to the handle! We have the Teric personally, and it is a JEWEL! Easy to use, extremely readable with the ultra-pure screen. A marvel of design and a very accessible menu!
The only con is the Shearwater app is empty of everything! Little customization is possible, but it is still a fantastic tool.
We recommend taking the transmitter with it. Otherwise, it is a big mistake!
Suunto fans who want a complete, modern computer with a beautiful screen will find themselves on the family’s latest member. It boasts a beautiful screen, full of color, and straightforward to use for recreational diving.
Staff pick :
- Descent Garmin Mk1/Mk2 (winner)
- TERIC (follower with mk1/2 but miss Gps and other activities)
- Shearwater Perdix
- Suunto D5i