Which Dive Computer should I buy?

Which Dive Computer should I buy?

A question which comes up time and time again, Which Dive Computer should I buy?

Having just qualified as an Ocean Diver, which computer should I buy.
Should I buy the same as my instructor?

Instructors are told to lead by example. Students are going to look at Instructors equipment and emulate the same, hopefully, to a point.

A dive computer needs to be affordable and many are available for between £80 – £200. Designed for the recreational diver market. 90% of divers need nothing more complicated.

Dive Computer Suunto Zoop
Eon Steel Dive Computer

A dive computer being used by an instructors and more experienced divers are closer to the ‘technical’ diving end of the market and considerably more expensive. These are designed to allow the user to do more advanced dives, including accelerated decompression and mixed gas diving.

The more expensive ‘technical diving’ computers have additional features, like a built in compass, colour screens, mixed PO2 decompression calculation, external PO2 monitor features, gas switching, accelerated decompression calculation, Mixed gas capability, CCR bailout options. These are all features that are well beyond a new diver.

Suunto Eon Core

More advanced Dive Computer

One of the considerations about the more advanced diver computers, is that they have features that will potentially date. There are some features that are considered cutting edge dive practice, which may not pass the test of time.

There are also features that will over the next few year migrate to the lower end of the market. They also have the ability to set very aggressive decompression profiles. Something which are potentially dangerous if you don’t understand exactly what you are setting.

The advantage of a standard ‘recreational computer’ is that it is relatively modest investment. Most will accommodate the majority of the diving most divers will wish to do. Even those of us with the more advanced dive computers, have a ‘recreational dive computer’. Most of us still use these, they offer a good back up on most dives. If one computer fails, the batteries die on a holiday, you have a backup for the rest of the holiday.

Suunto D4i Dive Computer

A basic recreational computer should include Nitrox capability.
Additions such as an electronic compass, is a nice to have, as is tank contents.
Colour screens are useful for those older in years because they make the screen easier to read, especially in low light.

More suitable investment

If you are warm and comfortable, you are more likely to go diving. Your life is dependent on the regulators you are using. Spend the extra cash on good regulators (well maintained), and a drysuit and thermal protection. This has a direct impact on your diving now, and your enjoyment. Also – you could spend the money on going diving!

When your interest takes you into diving that requires advanced decompression, or mixed gas diving. There will be newer and more up to date computers available.

The images show Suunto Dive Computer, there are many other manufacturers available.


From a personal point of view, I find the dive computer watches, less than ideal. Unless the conditions are optimal, I find reading the display difficult. (Which may be a reflection on my age.) A lot of information on a small display is less than ideal. I would recommend a dedicated dive computer, this has the advantage of a significantly bigger display, which is clearer and easier to read.

Content provided by Gareth Leyshon

Under normal circumstances we meet on Sunday nights at One Leisure St Ives (the St. Ives Recreation Centre), with theory lessons starting at 6:30PM and the pool is available exclusively for our training from 8:15PM. One Leisure St Ives Recreation Centre Westwood Road, St. Ives Cambs. PE27 6WU.  

Due to Covid 19 we have suspended all Pool training and Try Dive activities.

St Ives Sub Aqua Club is affiliated with BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club)

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