Of the best beginners dive computers, our top pick is hands down the Mares Puck Pro Plus. With a one-button design, this wrist dive computer is easy to use, especially for divers that are just getting started. The Puck Pro Plus provides basic functionality needed to plan and log dives and can store up to 35 hours of logbook information. For the new diver interested in a matching scuba gear setup, this dive computer can be purchased in seven different color options. The wrist strap is adjustable and long enough to use over a wetsuit or drysuit
- One button functionality
- Slim face design
- Air and Nitrox settings
- Seven color choices
- Strap material is not flexible
- The backlight may stick and use battery life
Our pick for the best value for a dive computer for beginners, the Cressi Leonardo, is a widely used model around the world. This dive computer has a single button control and can be changed between Air and Nitrox settings. For the conservative diver, this dive watch can be switched to one of three conservative levels, and it has an audible alarm that is easy to hear underwater. The Cressi Leonardo has the widest variety of color options with fourteen colors to choose from. The display is easy to read and understand for diving beginners.
- Conservative level settings
- Air and Nitrox settings
- Audible safety alarms
- Simple and readable display
- Loud ascent rate alarm
- Not compatible with air transmitter
The Suunto Zoop Novo is an ideal choice for recreational scuba divers. The four-button user-interface is simple to use, and the computer is durable. This dive computer features a bright backlight and matrix display that has large easy to read numbers. Divers can store up to 140 hours in its digital logbook and can switch between freediving, Air, or Nitrox mode. The Suunto Zoop Novo comes in yellow, blue, or black, and divers can choose between the wristwatch or console style.
- Air, Nitrox, and Freedive settings
- Large Matrix-style display
- Four-button programming
- Stored logbook of 140-hours
- Console or wrist style
- Hard to press buttons
- Bulky on wrist
For Nitrox divers, the Aqua Lung i200 is a well-liked and affordable choice. This dive computer has a freediving setting, as well as Air and Nitrox, and is small enough to be worn comfortably as an everyday wristwatch. Divers using the Aqua Lung i200 can purchase the DiverLog software to store their logbook details, as well as share photos and videos from their dives. The user-updateable software makes it easy to get the latest upgrades and features.
- Bright LED alarm light
- Freediving, Air, Nitrox, and Gauge settings
- Compact design can be worn as an everyday watch
- User-updateable software
- One-button access to the last dive
- Does not come with strap extender
- Buttons stick easily
The Mares Nemo is a popular choice among new divers and especially those who need assistance in reading their dive computers. The wide-angle high-contrast display and larger characters make this dive computer a breeze to read underwater. The Mares Nemo wrist computer allows users to select three different gas mixtures in one dive for Nitrox divers. The Mares dive log program can also be used to transfer dive information from the watch to the diver’s personal computer.
- Wide-angle high-contrast display
- Air and Nitrox settings
- Mineral glass lens
- Long strap
- Hard to open the battery compartment
- Screen hard to read at certain angles
The Oceanic Geo 2.0 is a compact and stylish watch for beginner divers and freedivers. This wrist dive computer comes in two color choices and has a stainless-steel accent. The Oceanic Geo 2.0 can be switched between watch, Air, gauge, and freediving mode for different needs on land or underwater. The compact size makes it an excellent fit to wear as an everyday watch, and the backlight is helpful in low light dive or for night diving.
- Two-color options
- Deep stop with countdown timer
- Backlight for night or low light
- Air, watch, freediving, and gauge settings
- Compact size
- No Nitrox setting
- Confusing user instructions
A simple, yet functional dive computer that is great for beginners, the Scubapro Aladin Sport Matrix has an easy to use interface and full dive watch functions. This dive computer is available in a wrist mount or console-style and features a digital compass. The Scubapro Aladin Sport Matrix can be used in gauge, Air, or freediving modes and is a perfect transitional choice for divers who plan to continue their scuba diving adventures at a higher level.
Air, gauge, and freediving settings
LCD segmented display and matrix display
Wrist mount or console option
Cannot link to air transmitter
No bungee straps
A popular choice among compact air-integrated console dive computers is the Sherwood Vision. The Vision is an inexpensive dive computer with a compass for ease of navigation on your dives. The Sherwood Vision connects to the high-pressure regulator hose and can be easily disconnected for storage between dives. The three-button controls are easy to navigate when planning or logging dives. The Sherwood Vision’s settings and dive data also remain stored on the computer even after the user-replaceable battery has been changed.
Digital compass included
Easy to operate three-button controls
Quick disconnect from a regulator
Air and Nitrox settings
Software learning curve
Small display hard to read
The Scubapro G2 is a top choice for beginner divers to freedivers and even technical divers. This wrist dive computer is on the pricier side, but the functionality speaks for itself. The Scubapro G2 features a full-color display with a choice of four different, colorful screen display configurations based on the diver’s needs. This feature allows divers to see as much or as little information as they prefer. This computer can also monitor the diver’s heart rate, skin temperature, and breathing rate, as well as water temperature, to calculate diving profiles.
Screen configuration options
Air, Nitrox, and Freediving settings
Small console design
- Screen glare near the surface
The Oceanic OCi is a robust dive computer with many unique functions. This dive computer is one of the best entry-level dive computers for the diver planning to continue their diving education or become a dive professional. The Oceanic OCi offers six color options and features dual algorithms. This wrist dive computer has wireless air-integrated technology and the capability to sync to up to four transmitters. For the recreational or more advanced freediver, this computer has both a basic and a technical freediving mode.
Wireless air-integrated technology
Freediving and technical freediving modes
Air and Nitrox settings
Multiple transmitter capability
Six color options
User manual confusing for beginners
Becoming a certified scuba diver is an exciting time, but if you decide to purchase your own gear, the process can be overwhelming. There is a wide variety of options when it comes to scuba diving gear. Many dive shops or scuba gear retail stores sell equipment individually or offer packages to get you fully kitted and ready to dive. Choosing the perfect mask and snorkel, fins, buoyancy control device (BCD), wetsuit and dive computer for you can be a daunting process, especially after learning all there is to know about scuba diving during your training course.
A key piece of your scuba diving gear should be a dive computer. Dive computers help you understand the limits of your dive and keep track of your depths and dive times during your scuba diving adventures. Be sure to choose a dive computer that is suited to the type of diving you plan to do. Also, keep in mind that if you plan to continue your dive training to a higher level, you may want to invest in a dive computer that can transition into more advanced levels of diving. There are loads of affordable options for scuba diving beginners.
Type of Diving
The Professional Association of Diving Professionals (PADI) offers entry-level scuba diving training for beginners. Starting from age ten, you can become a certified Junior Open Water Diver. From age fifteen and up, you can become a certified Open Water Diver. Once you become a certified diver, you will want to dive in right away and start exploring the underwater world. Gearing up with the proper dive computer will keep you safe during your dives.
PADI recommends that beginner divers with the Open Water certification have their own dive computer to keep track of and log their dives. Purchasing a basic dive computer may be all you need at this level. Although dive computers come in different styles and sizes, they all have a standard list of features. A basic beginner dive computer should be able to track your depth, dive time, no-stop limits, and store your previous dive information.
If you are a beginner freediver, be sure to select a dive computer that includes a freediving setting to keep track of your dives. Not all dive computers have this feature, so if you are a scuba diver and a freediver, you will need a dive watch that does. Freediving watches are usually compact and can be worn as an everyday watch or for other sports like swimming.
Even as a beginner, if you are planning to dive with Nitrox, it is required that you have a dive computer with the ability to select the enriched air mode and change the percent of oxygen based on the mix in your scuba cylinder. The algorithms in dive watches will adjust based on this so you can keep track of your maximum operating depth (MOD) and dive times.
Size and Style
Dive computers for beginners come in all shapes and sizes. One of the most popular types of beginner dive computers is the dive watch that is about the size of a hockey puck. The Mares Puck Pro Plus, our top pick and also a best budget dive computer, even has the word “puck” in the name of its dive watch. This style of computer is easy to read due to the screen display size and shows all the necessary information for new divers on the home screen. The dive time, depth, maximum depth, water temperature, and no-decompression time are all displayed in one place during your dive.
For divers who prefer a less bulky option, most manufacturers offer a more compact wristwatch style design that can be worn underwater or on land in between dives, or as an everyday watch. These dive computers provide the same functions as the larger versions but take up less real estate on your wrist. Larger, rectangle-shaped dive watches are also an option for beginners who need a more prominent display to help them ready the screen during dives.
For a more streamlined dive computer, divers can choose the console-style. Console-style dive computers connect to your regulator set through a high-pressure port and can be easily disconnected for storage when not being used. During the Open Water course, divers learn how to read the submersible pressure gauge (SPG), which shows depth and the amount of Air in a scuba cylinder. The console dive computer can replace the SPG, showing all of the details of your dive on the screen. Some divers still prefer to have a backup SPG in case a computer fails during or before a dive. Console computers fit into a boot that attaches to a hose. Some of these boots also have a place for a compass or additional gauges. These are typically included in a traditional SPG.
Functionality and Features
Depending on the type of dive computer you choose, the operation and functionality may vary slightly. Overall, all dive computers offer similar functions, but models will be set up in different formats. One difference is the number of buttons used to control the device. The one-button style dive computer is popular among beginner divers, but other dive computers use two, three, or four-button controls. Figuring out how to operate a computer with any number of buttons can be a learning process, so always refer to the user manual and practice changing the settings until you are comfortable.
Most dive computers for scuba diving or freediving come with a low battery indicator to give the user a heads up when it is almost time for a battery change. Color choices may vary among devices, but this will not affect how they are operated.
If you are a diver, who plans to do more than one type of diving, you will also want to get familiar with how to change between modes. The most popular dive watches feature Air, Nitrox, Freediving, Gauge, and Swimming modes. A good number of dive shops offer course add-ons like the Enriched Air Diver and the Introduction to Freediving courses along with the Open Water course, so being able to use one computer for everything is convenient.
If you are taking a navigation course, you will want to find a computer that has electronic compass integration, or you will need to rely on a standard compass for skill practice and navigating during dives. For diving at higher altitudes, most dive computers can be adjusted to take the altitude into account for your dive profile.
Dive Computer Maintenance
Keeping your dive computer in working condition is very important. Scuba diving computers keep you safe and help you track your time and no-stop limits on a dive, so you want to be sure your computer is always in top working condition. After every dive, you should rinse all of your scuba gear, including your dive computer, with fresh water. If diving in saltwater, this is an even more crucial step as the salt can dry and cause the buttons of your computer to stick or malfunction. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for caring for your dive computer. Most manufacturers recommend soaking your computer in freshwater for at least five minutes to pushing the buttons to remove any salt build-up. Once your dive computer has been rinsed and cleaned properly, you will want to store it in a protective case in a cool, dry place to protect it while it is not being used.
Depending on the model you choose, you will need to replace the battery every one to two years to prevent failure during a dive. Most dive computers are equipped with a user-replaceable battery. Battery kits come with a replacement battery, plus an o-ring to help seal the computer to protect from leaking under pressure. Following the instructions to change the battery in a dive computer is a must. As a beginner diver, you may even want to rely on a certified specialist to assist in the process.
How to use a dive computer?
Choosing the right dive computer for you can be overwhelming, so make sure you consider the type of diving you will be doing before you decide on a purchase. When using a dive computer, especially if you are a new diver, the first thing you should do is read the manual provided by the manufacturer. Understanding user instructions is an essential part of using a dive computer. You should always learn how to operate your dive computer before diving so that you know the functions and the safety limits. Most dive computers have visual or audible ascent alarms that will alert you if you are ascending too quickly. Once you set your computer, always be sure to follow your dive computer and observe the display on each dive to be sure you are aware of your depth and bottom time.
What is the best dive computer under 1000 dollars?
Oceanic, Shearwater Research, Scubapro, and Sherwood all sell dive computers that are listed under $1,000. These dive computers come with more features like full-color screen displays, the ability to change the conservativeness of algorithms for technical divers, and Bluetooth dive log sharing capabilities. Some models can track multiple air-integrated transmitters for divers who plan to use a side mount setup or dive with more than one tank. Bungee straps are a key feature for the Shearwater Perdix, making it a breeze to wear when doing drysuit diving. Longines, Victorinox, and Bulova all offer dive watches in the under $1,000 price range with unique features and stylish accents. The Chris Benz Shark Project dive watch even features a shark motif with an engraved case, designed to bring awareness to sharks and the negative views about them.
What is the best dive computer under 500 dollars?
The Mares Quad, Sherwood Vision, and the Scubapro Aladin are all excellent choices for a dive computer under $500. These dive computers have robust functionality and are designed with durable materials, built to last. Within the $500 price range, you will find dive computers that offer freediving and Nitrox capability as well as air-integrated models that can track the Air in your dive cylinder through a remote transmitter. Finding a backup dive watch to assist with timekeeping in case of computer failure is no issue in this price range, either. Neymar, Seiko, Luminox, and Citizen, among others, offer watches that can be worn during your diving adventures. These dive watches are well-built with stainless steel, crystal windows, and laminated hands, with some being rated to as much as 1,000 meters.
What is the best dive computer under 300 dollars?
Cressi, Mares, Suunto, and Aqua Lung, offer dive computers that are under the $300 price range. They come in various sizes, colors, and functionalities. For a scuba diving beginner, the $300 or less price point makes sense, especially if you are planning to purchase a full set of dive gear. These dive watches offer precisely what you need when it comes to settings, so you save enough cash to purchase a buoyancy control device (BCD), fins, a regulator, and a wetsuit while still being a stylish and safe diver. When it comes to backup or secondary dive watches, that can also be easily worn as an everyday watch, brands like G-Shock, Citizen, Timex, Invicta, Seiko, and Casio offer affordable options in this price range. These style watches are waterproof and usually rated to 100 or 200 meters.
What is the best dive computer for a beginner?
Even as a beginner, using a dive computer is beneficial to your scuba diving experience. Choose a dive watch or console computer that is easy to operate and understand based on your diving needs. If you are a beginner to freediving, be sure that the dive watch you choose has a freediving mode. If you are planning to dive with Nitrox as well as Air, pick a dive computer that can be easily switched between these modes. As a beginner, you can choose either a wristwatch style or a console-style computer. The console-style will allow you to connect your dive computer to your regulator through a high-pressure port and can easily be disconnected for storage when not in use. Wristwatch style dive computers vary in size, but many can be worn as an everyday watch as well. If you want to track your air consumption and breathing rates, most Air integrated computers can do this through an air transmitter that also attaches to your regulator.
What is a dive computer used for?
Dive tables and dive computers are used to track the amount of Nitrogen in your body, the plus side of using a dive computer is that you have access to that information while you are diving. Unlike the dive tables, dive computers also track the changes in your depth on a dive and even the water temperature so that the algorithm can track your limits more accurately. Dive computers keep track of your dive time, maximum and average depths, and your no-decompression limits. They will also prompt you when to make a safety stop and for how long before ascending from a dive. Dive computers, if appropriately used, will increase the safety of your diving experience, especially when doing multiple dives over more than one day. You should always follow the prompts and ascent rates suggested by your dive computer.
What is the easiest dive computer to use?
As dive computer technology advances, the user experience has also improved. The easiest dive computer for beginners is one that they can easily understand how to operate and also see the display well during dives. As a beginner, if you know, you will only be doing recreational diving a few times a year, choosing a dive computer that offers basic features is a smart choice. The more bells and whistles in the settings, the more difficult it may be to operate. Practicing using the dive computer before diving into the water will help the user become more comfortable with how it works, making it easier to use during dives. If you are planning to become certified to dive with Nitrox, you will want to make sure to choose a dive computer with this capability, and also understand how to switch modes between Air and Nitrox when necessary.
What should I do if my computer stops working during a dive?
If your dive computer stops working during a dive, you should alert your dive buddy and end the dive slowly, safely, and within the limits of your dive computer. It is not recommended to rely on your buddy’s computer because their settings may vary from yours, and every diver is different. If you do not have a backup computer, it is also recommended that you not dive again on the same day. Dive computers can fail due to leaks in the seal where the battery is held, or due to battery failure. Having a backup or spare dive watch will allow you to continue your dive safely even if your primary dive computer fails. Carrying an extra battery kit along with you on dive travel is always a smart choice just in case you run into issues and need to change the battery. Many dive operators have experience changing dive computer batteries properly; otherwise, you will need to follow the instructions carefully to change it yourself so that the computer does not leak.
Are dive computers suitable for beginners?
Dive computers are suitable for all divers, especially beginners. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) recommends that all scuba divers have their own dive computer. Dive computers use algorithms that keep divers safe and, as a beginner, will help keep you aware of your depth, dive time, safety stop, no-decompression limits, and will assist in creating your dive logs. Many dive computers can store dive log information and even transfer it to a digital logbook on your Mac or personal computer using a connection cord or wirelessly through Bluetooth technology. Using a submersible pressure gauge (SPG) that is attached to your regulator is an excellent way to keep track of your depth and air consumption, but a dive computer will alert you if you need to make a safety stop or are ascending too quickly without having to rely on calculations using the dive tables.
As always, we create our content with you, fellow divers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next dive is a great one!