Buying your first dive computer can be daunting, and choosing the best beginner dive computer can be difficult.
There are many models, options, features, and budgets. Finding the right computer for you will depend on various factors. What kind of diving are you doing? Where do you plan to take your scuba diving journey? And finally, what is your budget?
We have scoured the market to find the best beginner dive computers and the perfect one for every different type of diver. So read on to find out the perfect dive computer for you.
Best Budget Dive Computer: Cressi Leonardo
When it comes to budget options, the Cressi Leonardo takes some beating in the best dive computer for beginners’ stakes. The Leonardo is feature rich and provides every functionality beginner, intermediate and advanced recreational scuba divers would want. It is easy to navigate with a single-button interface, reducing confusion with multiple buttons as you try to find your menu item.
The Leonardo is versatile and can adapt to your diving style and preference since it is available as a watch-style wrist mount or as a console-mounted device. The console-mounted version costs more but comes with an air pressure gauge and or compass.
Features of the Cressi Leonardo include:
- Depth rated with display to 120m/393ft.
- Air, Nitrox, and gauge modes.
- 60 dive logbook memory.
- Nine-tissue Haldane decompression algorithm with 3 levels of conservatism.
- User Replaceable battery.
- Auditory alarms.
- Back-lit screen for ease of reading in a limited visibility environment.
Leonardo is the first dive computer designed and built entirely by Cressi. An elegant expression of simple, functional design, the Leonardo is a must-have for divers entering the sport and those who “just want to dive.” A single-button interface offers effortless activation of Air, Nitrox, and Gauge modes the first time a diver picks the computer up. An edge-to-edge, high-definition screen gives large numerical displays in a computer that is still compact and travel-friendly.
The Suunto Zoop is a testament to design and ease of use, making it a contender for best dive computer for beginners. The Zoop has a large dot matrix display featuring large digits, making it easier for divers who struggle to read other computer screens. Even with the large display, you don’t miss out on any curial information.
In dive mode, you can clearly see all the information you need, including max depth, current depth, dive time, no decompression limit, and more. The Suunto Zoop Novo is available as a wrist-mounted computer.
Features of the New Suunto Zoop Novo.
- Depth rated to 100 meters/
- Four-button interface for quick navigation.
- Two modes, Air and Nitrox.
- In dive mode, you choose from 5 different modes.
- Dive planning feature.
- Full logbook with up to 140 hours of memory.
- Adjustable for altitude diving.
- Audible Alarms.
Especially user-friendly dive computer for beginners, very large matrix display with extra bright backlight, perfect readable even in the dark, all information bundled at a glance. Five modes: Air, Nitrox, Measure & Free-Diving & Off, Apnea Timer to Improve Breathing Technique, Air & Nitrox Timer, Stopwatch Planning and analysis of dives and information through detailed, graphical protocols on the PC via the Suunto DM5 software, programming of gases, USB cables sold separately Suunto RGBM: algorithm for monitoring dissolved and unsolved gases in the blood and tissue, calculating optimal decompression time to prevent dive accidents
Best Air Integrated Dive Computer: Suunto D5
The Suunto D5 is a trailblazer in looks and functionality and delivers excellent air-integrated performance. Wrist mounted out of the water, it looks more like a high-end timepiece, yet inside is a powerhouse of a dive computer with a host of features.
The sleek Suunto D5 offers excellent air integration and a beautiful bright full color LCD screen, making it a breeze to read on land and in the water. With the ability to conduct gas switches, the D5 is the perfect companion for every level of diver, from novice recreational divers to technical divers conducting staged decompression dives.
Features of the Suunto D5 Include:
- Depth Rated to 100m/328ft.
- Optional air integrations with a transmitter (sold separately)
- Full-color LCD display.
- Suunto Fused2 RGBM decompression algorithm.
- Air, Nitrox, Gauge, and Free Diving modes.
- Nitrox mixtures up to 99%.
- Gas switching in Nitrox mode for accelerated decompression dives.
- Rechargeable battery and firmware that the user can update.
- Backlight screen for ease of use at night and in low light environments.
- Adjustable for altitude and conservatism.
The new Suunto D5 is designed to be so clear and easy-to-use that you can just enjoy and focus on exploring the wonderful underwater world. Play with style by changing the strap to match your looks. After diving, connect wirelessly to the Suunto app to re-live and share your adventures with friends.
Best Console Dive Computer: Suunto Cobra 3
If you are looking for simplicity in a console, then you can’t go wrong with the Suunto Cobra 3. The Cobra family has long been the king of the hill when it comes to console-mounted dive computers. Although the device lacks some advanced features if you want a simple device that is easy to use and mount in your console.
Then the Suunto Cobra 3 is easily one of the best dive computers for beginners on the market today. The menus are easy to navigate since there are only two buttons, and navigation is via a simple short press/long press function.
Features of the Suunto Cobra 3 include:
- The maximum depth rating is 150m/492ft, although the operational display is only 80m/262ft.
- Three modes Air, Nitrox, and Gauge.
- Oxygen mixtures up to 50% can be used in Nitrox mode.
- Backlit screen for ease of reading in low light conditions.
- Auditory alarms and warnings.
- Full logbook memory up to 36 hours of dive time.
- Altitude adjustable up to 3,000 meters/10,000 feet.
- User-replaceable CR2450 lithium battery.
Best Premium Dive Computer: Shearwater Teric
The Shearwater Teric can only be described as a “beast” of a dive computer and arguably the best technical and recreational dive computer on the market today. Not to mention freediving since the Teric is also designed to meet the demands of accomplished freedivers.
Sleek and stunning, the Shearwater Teric is a powerful, no-nonsense dive computer capable of handling everything from a simple shallow recreational air dive to deep closed-circuit mixed gas dives. There is almost no dive that the Teric can not deal with ease.
Features of the Shearwater Teric Include:
- Depth rated to 200m/650ft.
- Stunning full-color AMOLED screen measuring 1.39in/3.5cm.
- Tried and tested Buhlmann ZHL-16C algorithm, which is perfect for technical dives.
- Air, Nitorx, and Trimix modes.
- Open circuit and closed-circuit rebreather support.
- Wireless pressure display from up to 2 different cylinders.
- Up to 5 different gases in diving modes.
- 2 Adjustable layouts for every dive mode.
- Vibration and auditory alerts.
The Teric includes open-circuit and closed-circuit Air, Nitrox and Trimix multi-gas functionality along with a three-axis tilt-compensated digital compass. It has Recreational, Gauge, Freediving, Open-Circuit Tech and Closed-Circuit/Bail-Out modes. The Teric is also very configurable; for example you can set a button to give you a single press access to different tools like compass, stopwatch, countdown timer, etc. There are haptic (vibration) and audible alarms that can be disabled (none, either, both) to prevent annoying other divers in the vicinity.
Best Innovative Dive Computer: Apple Watch Ultra & Oceanic+
The Apple Watch Ultra is a fantastic piece of engineering, as we’d expect from Apple. Combined with the Oceanic+ app, its slick UI, haptic feedback, and ease of use make it a compelling offering for the recreational Scuba Diver. The ongoing development of the app and subsequent releases of the Apple Watch Ultra will see this only go from strength to strength.
The bold move to a subscription will turn some people off wanting to convert to using this as their dive computer. The dive computer app is robust but not as fully featured as other popular dive computers. A fairly limited battery life compared to other dive computers on the market is another area that will concern people.
Overall, this is a groundbreaking development for the recreational diving community and having such big brands as Apple and Huish collaborate is exciting. The Apple Watch is insanely popular, they sell over 38 million a year, so this can only help bring Scuba Diving to new heights.
Features of the Apple Watch Ultra and Oceanic+ Dive Computer app include:
- 49mm case size
- Sensors gauge maximum 40 meters (130 feet)
- Tested to MIL-STD 810H7 (100 meters max depth)
- Up to 2000 nits of brightness
- Sapphire Front Crystal Display
- Certified IP6X dust?resistant6
- Snorkeling/Scuba Dive modes
- Unmodified Bühlmann ZHL-16C algorithm
- Maximum depth 40m / 131ft
- Dive planner
- Weekly/Monthly/Yearly Subscription to Oceanic+