Best Dive Computers of 2018

People always ask me, “what is the one piece of dive gear I should buy first?”. My answer is always the same: a dive computer! You can always get away with renting the fins and BCD and everything else from the dive center you are diving with, but I always want the monitoring of my depth and no-deco times etc, to be my responsibility. 

Besides that, if you are diving with a new dive operator, you really don’t know how responsible they are as guides, and you should really never rely on someone else to keep track of your dive limits and safety. Every diver should have their own dive computer, and know how to use it. 

On top of that, I have been to many dive shops that simply do not have extra computers, so you would be forced to dive without one, and hope your guide keeps you safe. So if you have to choose what to buy, go for a computer. 

Thats what this guide is for. There re a lot of dive computers out there, and this guide is meant to make it easy to find your best possible match, based on budget, skill level, preference and more. If you can’t find something perfect for you here, I don’t know where else you will! 

Dive Computer Reviews

Suunto D6i Novo

Suunto is a top-of-the-line manufacturer, and my personal favorite brand for dive computers. They are easy to use, and come in many colors and styles.

BEST FOR: Recreational Divers & Free Divers

GASES: Air, Nitrox

FEATURES: Wireless Integration Capable, Free Diving Mode

PROS: Easy to use, lots of colors and arm bands. Wear daily.

CONS: Expensive

suunto D6i

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Cressi Leonardo

Cressi Leonardo​

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

The Cressi Leonardo is a great computer for beginners, and you can wear it daily, unlike a Zoop. It might even be cheaper than a Zoop, and looks a lot better. The Cressi Giotto is one step up from Leonardo, and about $100 more. 

BEST FOR: Recreational divers

GASES: Air & nitrox

FEATURES: Single button navigation, large display

PROS: Affordable, user friendly, lots of color choices

CONS: not too bright display light

Shearwater Research Petrel

When ever I see a tec diver, they are using this computer. Sometimes they have another computer as backup, but the Shearwater is a tec diver favorite. Shearwater Research Perdix is even more advanced with air integration. 

BEST FOR: Advanced recreational & technical divers 

GASES: Air, nitrox, trimix

FEATURES: Multiple dive Modes, 2 button interface

PROS: Durable design, large display, big drysuit straps

CONS: No wireless air integration, huge & uncomfortable

Shearwater Research Petrel​

Check out current prices on: Amazon 

Suunto D4i Novo

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

A Suunto D4i with air wireless integration is what I personally use the most. It has/does everything a recreational diver needs, and is cheaper than a D6i. I love this computer. 

BEST FOR: Recreational Divers & Free Divers

GASES: Air, Nitrox

FEATURES: Wireless Integration Capable, Free Diving Mode

PROS: Can Be Worn As A Watch, Lightweight

CONS: Expensive, No Digital Compass

Oceanic Geo 2.0

It took me a while to learn all the settings on the Geo 2.0, even simple things like changing the time, but in the end I really liked this computer, and it was a LOT cheaper than a Suunto equivilant. 

BEST FOR: Divers looking for affordable watch style computer

GASES: Air, nitrox

FEATURES: Free diving mode, Deep stop with countdown timer

PROS: Affordable, easy to read

CONS: Not really user friendly

Oceanic Geo 2.0​

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Oceanic OCi

Oceanic OCI​

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

This is my favorite Oceanic computer, and I really like it. It is slightly cheaper than a Suunto D6i at around $650, and has a lot of great features and looks good. Tec divers prefer it over Suunto a lot of the time.

BEST FOR: Advanced recreational divers & free divers

GASES: Air & nitrox

FEATURES: Watch, dive, gauge, and freedive modes

PROS: Nice display, free diving mode

CONS: Slightly complicated, not trimix capable

Aqua Lung i450T

Designed for the active diver, this computer by the world’s top dive gear manufacturer is one of the best on the market. It’s great for lots of diving, as well as daily wear as a watch. There are a ton of great features and modes. 

BEST FOR: Recreational Divers & Free Divers

GASES: Air, up to 3 Nitrox mixes 

FEATURES: Multiple transmitters, digital compass, 4 dive modes

PROS: Easy to use, tons of features, great manufacturing

CONS: Expensive

aqua lung i450T

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Mares Smart

mares smart

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

If you are a Mares fan, then here is their great entry-level dive computer, that is actually good for all levels. This guy has a great display, all the options you need, and plenty of color options. 

BEST FOR: Good for beginners and higher

GASES: Air & nitrox

FEATURES: Great display, two button navigation

PROS: Cheap at around $350, user friendly

CONS: No wireless air integration

Suunto Zoop

Maybe the world’s best entry level dive computer, and most widely used. If you are a beginner or a not so frequent diver, or just want a cheap, reliable work-horse, this is your computer. 

BEST FOR: Your First Computer & As A BackUp

GASES: Air & Nitrox

FEATURES: Bright LCD display, long lasting battery

PROS: Cheap, Easy To Use, tough

CONS: Small buttons, slightly bulky

suunto zoop novo

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

So what computer should you choose?

Still not sure what one to go with, with all these great options? There are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect computer for you, so lets go through those, and then I will just give my recommendations and all time favorites, that you cant go wrong with.

YOUR BUDGET
Obviously you should think about your budget, check the prices in the links above, and that will be a big factor. But obviously since there are a lot of options around the same prices, there will be more factors to think about.

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU DIVE? 
If you are diving frequently, are a Divemaster or instructor, you are going to want a good watch that will last, as well as one that will log a lot of dives. If you are diving a few times a year, you don’t need the most top of the line.

WHAT IS YOUR QUALIFICATION LEVELS?
Most of you reading this will be recreational divers, and do not need something very technical. Do you do mix gases? Do you use air integration? Will you need  to be able to plan a dive table on your computer for tec diving? If not, don’t get something like the Shearwater Research. It is complete over kill, way too big and uncomfortable to wear, and too expensive for what you need. But if you are tec diving, it doesn’t get much better than that one.

EASY TO SETUP AND USE
This also goes with how much you dive and how much experience you have with computers, but if you are like me, and DO have a lot of dives and experience with computers, yet I still prefer something simple and user friendly. I have tried a lot of computers in my day, and I always seem to revert back to a Suunto. I rather not have to spend time figuring out a complicated computer, so I stay away from most Oceanic or Shearwater, unless for tec.

But that’s just my opinion, and a ton of divers lover Oceanic computers, with more options and settings. I’m just lazy. I also like a big, lit-up display that I can see fast and easy underwater, but now days most are pretty good with that.

So what do I recommend?

I can not say enough good things about Suunto computers. From my very first ever dive, I started with a super simple and cheap Zoop. It’s a little bulky, and doesn’t turn on until in the water, but it is bomb proof, battery last forever, records countless dives, and does everything a new diver can ever need. And it costs like $100

Once I got a few dives under my belt, I upgraded to a Suunto D4i. I think that is the perfect computer, and I see it being used by divers at most, if not all, dive shops I’ve ever been to. You can still get them used, and they aren’t too expensive. Mine has over 1000 dives on it, and I’ve never had a problem with it at all. In-fact, the battery hasn’t even died yet! suunto d4i

Just lately I’ve upgraded to a Suunto D6i (although I didn’t get rid of the D4i), and it is just a better, more sleek (and expensive) version of my trusty D4. It really is an awesome computer and worth the money if you can afford it. 

For tec diving, most divers I have talked to go with either the Oceanic OCi, or the Shearwater Research (or both). I’ve dove with both, and they are great, but the Shearwater is huge and uncomfortable, and meant to go with a dry suit. You wouldn’t wear it on land, but the Oceanic you definitely could as a watch. (A real tec diver will probably wear both on a dive)

I really like the oceanic, and the only reason I choose the D6i over it, is because it is really not user friendly. I never really did learn the settings or use it to it’s full potential, and even simple things like changing the time was a task. But tec divers love the added features. 

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Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!

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