6 Best Beginner Dive Computers Reviewed

Diving is true bliss, with no sounds to interrupt you apart from that of bubbling water; it’s nothing less than meditation.

However, scuba diving demands calculations and tracking factors, which can take away the fun for a beginner if done manually. To have a truly immersive experience, having a dive computer do the job for you can reduce stress. It also focuses on your safety – a priority, which shouldn’t be compromised.

Not sure which model will suit you the best? Well, I can help you with this guide on the best dive computer for beginners. So, dive in for the details!

Best Entry Level Dive Computers – Top 6 Picks

1. Suunto Zoop Novo

On the top of my list is the easy-to-operate Suunto Zoop Novo, designed with simple features for beginners. Suunto is renowned for its accurate compasses & sports gear, and Zoop Novo stands true to the brand’s standard. The fact that it is used and recommended by pro divers like William Trubridge and Jill Heinerth speaks for itself.

What I like about it

Made in Finland, this nitrox-capable dive computer is specifically designed for recreational divers. Are you wondering why? Well, it has a large back-lit display screen where you can see all the key data at a glance.

Additionally, you won’t be fiddling with buttons while diving, thanks to its menu-based user interface and four-button navigation. Because of these straightforward features, the device is a hit among both professional and amateur divers.

What’s more, you get to choose from five modes (nitrox, air, gauge, free, and off) to explore different aspects of your underwater journey along with amazing decompression capabilities. The computer is programmable for oxygen mixtures varying from 21% to 50%, so you need not worry about decompression sickness.

What could be better?

Zoop Novo excels on every front, be it practicality or durability, but it still comes at a reasonable price. It does not come with a USB cable though. Another issue I have is that the buttons can be difficult to press with gloves on. So, I would advise practicing beforehand to avoid trouble underwater.

PROS
  • 5 different diving modes
  • Adjustable oxygen level
  • Four-button navigation
  • Easy to read backlit display
CONS
  • No compass and USB cable
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2. Cressi Leonardo

The next dive computer is from an Italian company, Cressi, that has been on the market since 1946. It has a subsidiary unit called Cressi Elettronica, dedicated to designing and manufacturing innovative equipment for watersports.

Coming from a brand with more than 70 years of experience under its belt, Cressi Leonardo has all the features that a diver needs.

What I like about it

For starters, it is a rugged modular device with a large UFDS display that provides easy navigation. You can effortlessly switch between nitrox, gauge, and air modes using a single button, something that is ideal for beginners.

Apart from an adjustable oxygen percentage, it provides you with an option to alter the partial pressure. It can be set between 1.2 bar and 1.6 bar depending on your depth in the water and external pressure. This reduces the chances of decompression sickness to a great extent, making your diving experience as comfortable as possible.

Lastly, distinct visuals, easily audible alarms, a graphic indicator for CNS oxygen toxicity, and a visual battery indicator are some other top-notch features. This combination makes it one of the best options for beginners on the market.

In fact, this is one of the most popular dive computers around and I see occasional divers wearing it all the time, maybe the great price has something to do with it.

What could be better?

My only complaint about this otherwise great gadget is that it logs the time and depth of only the most recent dive. This means you’ll have to update your stats on a PC or any other device of your choice if you want to keep a record.

PROS
  • One-button easy navigation
  • Bright backlight with high contrast
  • Adjustable oxygen percentage and partial pressure
  • Long and adjustable wrist band
CONS
  • Keeps the record of only the most recent dive
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3. Mares Nemo Wide 2

Next up, I have the second generation Mares Nemo Wide dive computer that is packed with handy features. It has an exceptional display with a viewing angle of 170 degrees and a mineral glass lens, making it stand out from the rest.

What I like about it

The nitrox function in Mares Nemo gives you not two but three gas mixtures to choose from. It has a wide high-contrast screen with data displayed in large fonts, and it’s safe to say that it is specially optimized for readability.

Furthermore, it can be accessed easily, using four buttons to control all the settings. Equipped with a hypoallergenic composite nylon strap and mares-wince RGBM algorithm, this computer has impeccable software and hardware.

Additionally, all your dive stats will be saved by the device, thanks to its logbook function, so you need not keep an extra record. Not to forget, its safety and deep stop functions ensure that you have a safe dive.

What could be better?

Mares Nemo has many quality features to offer, but I would have appreciated it even more if it came with the tank pressure control functionality. It doesn’t allow you to control the partial pressure, something that is expected from a device of this price range.

PROS
  • Three gas mixture settings
  • 492 feet depth rating
  • Audible alarms
  • Temperature and calendar displays
CONS
  • Doesn’t have a tank pressure control
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4. Aqua Lung i300C

With Aqua Lung i300C on your wrist, you’ll be able to focus more on your dive than being caught up with the gear. With very high ratings, this device is loved by customers worldwide because of its wireless connectivity and versatility.

What I like about it

Right off the bat, I wsa impressed by the Bluetooth technology, so you can wirelessly interact with it through your android or iOS device.

Additionally, it has a changeable battery with data retention, meaning you won’t lose any calculations or settings due to battery changes. It can be operated in four different modes; the air, gauge, and nitrox modes have a run timer while free dive can track calculations.

Last but not least, as the water pressure increases, as you go deeper, users can switch between three gasses using this device and avoid discomfort.

What could be better?

First of all, the i300C will only fit a higher budget. Secondly, it has plastic construction, which is not the most durable option available out there. But I believe that its functional features more than compensate for this little drawback.

PROS
  • Light-weight build
  • Wireless connectivity
  • 4 operating modes
  • Free DiverLog+ application
  • Changeable battery with data retention
CONS
  • Smaller screen
  • Plastic construction
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5. Cressi Giotto

Another addition that can efficiently do its job is the Cressi Giotto scuba diving computer. It has simple programming and a three-button interface to navigate through all the functions quickly. Even though the device is compact and travel-friendly, it offers a large and clear display. So, let’s discuss its key features in detail.

What I like about it

First and foremost, the display is noteworthy because of the back-lit high-definition screen and large character capability. It has a distinctly visible battery life indicator and clearly audible alarms to prompt you, simultaneously ensuring an uninterrupted dive with only occasional critical notifications.

Furthermore, the device takes diving to the next level by providing important information like dive time, depth, ascent rate, and decompression needs. Its sophisticated software continuously processes the absorption and release of nitrogen along with the volume of inert gas present in gas mixtures.

There is also a Priority Compartment Digit Display to maintain a continuous dialogue between the diver and the device.

What could be better?

Overall, it is a practical device, apart from a few shortcomings. Some may have difficulty using the buttons with diving gloves on. Additionally, it doesn’t come with a USB cable, so you’ll have to buy one separately.

PROS
  • Replaceable protective screen
  • Equipped with dive memory
  • Oxygen is adjustable between 21% and 99%
  • Adjustable metric system (Celsius and Fahrenheit)
CONS
  • Buttons are difficult to press
  • Doesn’t come with a USB cable
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6. Deepblu Cosmiq+ Watch Computer

This one might fit the bill for those looking for a dive computer focusing on recreational and freediving. Since Deepblu Cosmiq+ comes with an advanced timer function, it is an ideal choice for technical divers as well. Along with that, you can sync it with the Deepblu app for various practical benefits, which I’ll discuss in the following section.

What I like about it

To begin with, I like that it can be used by divers of all skill levels. It has a simple two-button navigation system, so newbies won’t find it overwhelming to use. At the same time, it measures all vital details, measures saturation & desaturation, and performs decompression – features that professionals appreciate.

It can also save data for up to twenty-five dives without wiping it after a battery change. The device can sync with the Deepblu app on a single press, letting you re-experience the dive through an interactive digital log.

On top of that, it has an intuitive LCD with pixel-less EBTN technology for a clear display.

What could be better?

I found the product to be competent, having more or less all the essential features. However, a major drawback is that it offers Nitrox adjustment between 21% and 40% only. With other devices that can tweak it up to 99%, this one is not the best pick.

PROS
  • Versatile wireless connectivity
  • Three safety settings to prevent decompression
  • Accurate Bühlmann model calculations
  • Can be synced with a mobile app
CONS
  • Nitrox can be adjusted between 21% and 40% only
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do Beginners Really Need a Dive Computer?

Since you’re just starting out, it’s only natural to think if getting a diving computer should be a priority considering their high prices. But in my view, these devices simplify diving considerably and that’s why they are great additions to your diving gear. Some of the crucial benefits offered by dive computers are:

  • Will help you plan a safe diving route
  • Measure vitals with accuracy, eliminating the chance or errors
  • Will monitor your ascent speed so you don’t get the bends
  • Keep a record of your dive stats
  • Accurately calculate the Nitrox mix

A dive computer is not a necessity, but considering the risk posed by the slightest miscalculation or lapse in attention, it is good to be on the safe side and get one. It is especially helpful for beginners because all the diving variables, like Nitrox adjustment, saturation calculation, etc., can be overwhelming without it.

Are Dive Computers Even Suitable For Beginners?

Yes, dive computers are suitable for beginners; you just need to carefully look into the options while buying. The products on this list have a simple interface and user-friendly button navigation that won’t have you sweating. Make sure to go through the manuals; you’ll get the hang of things after a single read.

How Much Should You Spend on a Dive Computer as a Beginner?

Any dive computer under $300 is considered to be a cheap one. The features will obviously be somehow limited, but entry level divers do not really need to spend a whole lot on a product with over-the-top features, that are only useful for professional divers anyway.

Conclusion

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned diver, everyone can benefit from a dive computer. It can do the math for you to have a relaxing time under the water, without worrying about the technicalities.

That’s it for the day, but before wrapping up, I’ll let you in on my favorite picks.

With five different diving modes and an easy four-button navigation, the Suunto Zoop Novo is the best dive computer for beginners in my opinion. The Cressi Leonardo is a close second, owing to its outstanding display and adjustable partial pressure.

Until next time. Take care and happy diving!