Best Dive Computers: My 2020 Review


A diver computer is an essential piece of kit, but which one you chose to buy depends on your individual dive needs

As both novice and experienced divers know, your dive computer is just a single yet important part of your underwater life support system when scuba diving.  Dive computers are usually the third item that people buy when they begin diving, being purchased shortly after mask and fins. 

Although Recreational Dive Planner tables are still taught by many dive schools, most recreational and technical divers will use dive computers for a more accurate read of their dive profile, allowing them to read their depths, theoretical nitrogen level and log their dives.  Of course, using a dive computer is one of the easiest ways to avoid decompression sickness when scuba diving.

5/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

With the watch sized, colour screen and stylishly designed Suunto D5 dive computer you will be turning heads everywhere you go, below and above the water.  It has 3 – button interface and allows users to customize what they see in dive mode on up to 4 screens that can each easily be accessed with the touch of a button.

It has all the technology of a larger wrist mounted dive computer but packed into a small watch style design, without compromising on the beautiful colour screen that can be read in all conditions.  The straps can also be changed easily allowing for further customisation.

You can make the optional purchase of the Wireless Tank POD Transmitter to receive cylinder pressures along with breathing rate on the screen display.  There is no doubt that Suunto have opened up a new era to dive computers and recognised them as not only an important tool to have underwater, but as a sign of a diver above the water. This is a diving computer that looks well placed on entry level divers and experienced alike. It certainly is the best dive computer that I have tried.  I even wrote an in-depth review on the Suunto D5.

Best For: All levels

Modes: Air, nitrox, free, gauge, watch

Max Depth: 100 metres

Air Integration: Yes

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

5/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

Possibly one of the most impressive dive computers currently on the market and one that is favoured by many technical divers.  The amount of customization options available for dive computer is next level and it is designed to work with Air, Nitrox, Trimix as well as CCR.  For a watch sized computer, the functions are incredible.   You can add up to two wireless transmitters to monitor gas consumption and re-charge the battery whilst on the go with wireless charging.  The sleek and strong design is a winner in all areas.

Best For: Technical divers

Modes: OC REC (3 gas nitrox recreational), OC TEC (multi-gas,trimix decompression computer), CC/BO (closed circuit fixed PPO2), Gauge, Freediving.

Max Depth: 200 metres

Air Integration: Yes

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

4.5/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

The Aqua lung i450t is one of my personal favourites as I use this for my primary dive computer.  It is sleek enough to be used as an everyday watch with an extremely clear display, plus it’s easy on the eye.  In fact, the main reason I really like this computer is thanks to its display. 

It has an optional wireless air integration which makes keeping an eye on gas management much easier.  For those of us into more technical diving, this computer has the ability to connect 3 different transmitters with 3 different dive gases, each with individual PO2 settings.

Best For: Entry level & Intermediate level divers

Modes: air, nitrox, gauge, free dive

Max Depth: 120 metres

Air Integration: Yes

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

4.3/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

A super compact and lightweight dive computer that is adored by many.  Its sporty design makes it look at home on your wrist above and under the water and is a dive computer suitable for novice to advanced divers worldwide.  The way this dive computer lays out the information avoids any complication or misunderstanding.  It has a dual button interface that makes it easy to scroll through the menus pre, during and post dive.  The sections on the screen split the information nicely so that the data can be easily accessed.

In short, this dive computer is simple to use, does what it says and is amazing value for money, placing it at the top of the game for best budget dive computers.

Best For: Entry level to Intermediate divers

Modes: air, nitrox, free

Max Depth: 150 metres

Air Integration: No

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

4.5/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

One of the most unique features of the Cressi Leonardo is the algorithm that is utilised.  Developed by Bruce Wlenke, the Cressi RGBM Algorithm has been specially adapted which offers safe decompression diving.  This makes this dive computer an ideal purchase for divers that often do repetitive dives and those looking to do liveaboard holidays.

The computer boasts a single button interface that is surprisingly easy to navigate the menu, showing on a clear display, even in low light conditions.  Divers using the Cressi Leonardo can choose to set audible alarms that alert to important information. It is one of the best dive computers for recreational divers.

This is another computer which benefits from user changeable battery feature ensuring that maintenance costs are kept to a minimum as there is no need to send off to a service centre.  Not only that, the battery life is indicated on the screen so that you can plan for your next battery change.

Best For: Entry level to Intermediate divers

Modes: air, nitrox, free

Max Depth: 150 metres

Air Integration: No

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

4.7/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

The little brother to the Suunto EON steel, the Suunto Core Eon is a compact version which keeps the impressive colour screen yet is mounted into a composite frame.  The buttons for the EON Steel were placed on the front of the body but the Core sees them on the side.

With its re-chargeable lithium-ion battery that can last 10-20 hours per charge, and its Fused RGBM algorithm that allows for air, nitrox, trimix, gauge and CCR, this is a brilliantly reliable option for the more advanced divers reading this.  It can also connect to multiple PODS for air integration which allows for a much easier way of reading information whilst diving.

Best For: Advanced and technical divers

Modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Trimix, CCR (Fixed Point)

Max Depth: 80 metres

Air Integration: Yes

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

4.6/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

Easily the most rugged yet sleek dive computer in the industry.  However, along with its ruggedness comes its reliability.  There is little difference between the standard Petrel 2 model and this one, however we all know how important it is that our dive gear is hardy, and therefore this model a titanium bezel around the screen is an ideal choice for technical divers that dive a lot.

It is fitted with a bright screen that is easy to read and individually customise.  The buttons are brilliant, with a piezo-electric concept that do not require any movement or pressure to use, which means its super easy to use even whilst wearing thick gloves.

Best For: Technical Divers

Modes: OC Rec (3 gas nitrox recreational), OC Tec (Multi-gas, trimix decompression), CC INT (closed circuit fixed PPO2), Gauge.

Max Depth: 140 metres

Air Integration: No

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

The Oceanic Geo 4.0 dive computer is an impressive recreational dive computer that can be used everyday as a wrist watch.  It’s sporty style with modern day features such as Bluetooth compatibility, allowing divers to link their Geo 4.0 to their smartphones or tablets via the DiverLog+ App for easy storing of dive data and dive profile. 

Divers can choose how their dive profile will be by taking advantage of the Dual-Algorithm function, allowing a better match to your buddy’s computer.  If you are a regular recreational diver, this computer is a good investment and has all the functions and modes that you will ever need to use.

There are a total of 5 different colour straps available so that divers can personalise their own look and remain stylish.

Best For: Intermediate – Advanced level divers

Modes: air, nitrox, gauge, free, watch

Max Depth: 100 metres

Air Integration: No

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

4.2/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

An ideal computer for new divers that are looking for a travel companion as much as a dive computer.  The Cressi Giotto is lightweight and compact yet hardier than its predecessors.  Like the Leonardo, the Giotto is a beautifully conservative computer that uses the RGBM based upon the Haldane model and is ideal for divers that are going on multi day dive excursions.

The high definition screen displays large, clear digits against a back-lit screen that can be easy to read even in the lower visibility waters. The audible alarm helps alert the diver to important data showing on the screen ensuring that safety is in its best interest.

The screen is larger and the motherboard has been enhanced so that the computer is energy efficient and serves a long battery life.  The Giotto has two buttons to navigate through its features unlike the Leonardos’ one and it also allows for gas-switching between two nitrox mixes during the dive. Another best dive computer for recreational divers that wish to venture a bit into the world of nitrox.

Best For: Intermediate divers

Modes: air, nitrox, gauge

Max Depth: 100 metres

Air Integration: No

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

 

Specifications

4.6/5

Reasons to Buy

Reasons Not to Buy

The Aqualung i100 is perfect for new divers with its single button navigation system that can set the dive computer into one of the four operating modes that are offered.  It is commonly used within scuba diving schools for students because of its ease to understand, reliability and acts as a great introduction to the world of dive computers. 

The high visibility LED screen works nicely at deeper depths and the computer comes with some very handy safety features including audible alarms to help avoid rapid ascents and other dive limits.  For new divers that are looking to progress into diving with nitrox, the i100 has a nitrox mode that upon setting the gas mix, will change its algorithm to suit.

Best For: Entry Level Divers

Modes: air, nitrox, gauge, free

Max Depth: 100 metres

Air Integration: No

User Replaceable Battery: Yes

Specifications

Technology is always advancing, and with this, so are modern day dive computers.  The best dive computer can be hard to find, simply because there are so many on the market. But choosing a diving computer should not be that difficult. With sleek designs, colour screens, air integration and new connectivity to electronic devices such as smartphones, dive computers open up a whole new world.

Katy Jane

Thank you for reading. I started KatyJaneDives.com to share my passion for diving. I am an environmental educator, scientist and now an MSDT diver. This platform has been made to create, connect and share my knowledge in the world of diving.

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