9 Best Dive Computers in 2024 According to Expert Divers

Rok Valencic

Every independent diver needs a dive computer. I will assume you already know what a dive computer is and skip to the part where you compare the best dive computers side by side and pick the one that suits you best.

So which computer to pick? There are beginner dive computers, computers for experienced divers, air-integrated, multi-gas, expensive ones with hundreds of features, budget computers, etc.

Don’t worry.

I will lay out exactly which computer is good for you and why, and perhaps more importantly, tell you which computers to stay away from if you’re on a budget or don’t know which functions to go for.

I would never dive without a computer today. The fact that 99% of recreational divers use a dive computer only confirms that you’re probably making the right choice of buying one.

Rundown of the 9 Best Dive Computers

Before you take a look at the best dive computers below and call me biased for placing Shearwater in all top 3 spots, let me assure you that the list here isn’t just my opinion but a reflection of the actual opinion in the worldwide scuba diving community.

I hate putting my trust just in one person’s opinion (in this case, mine), so I joined my own experience with the experience of countless divers from around the world to find the best dive computers.

Just a heads-up – some of the links on this site are affiliate links. Should you decide to explore and acquire through those links, I might get a splash of commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

  1. Best overall: Shearwater Perdix AI & Perdix 2
    Jump to review
  2. Most versatile: Shearwater Teric
    Jump to review
  3. Best for everyday divers: Shearwater Peregrine
    Jump to review
  4. Best for diving + other sports: Garmin Descent Mk2i
    Jump to review
  5. Most easy to use: Mares Puck Pro +
    Jump to review
  6. Entry-level budget friendly: Aqualung i300c
    Jump to review
  7. Long-lasting battery: Garmin Descent G1 Solar
    Jump to review
  8. Most innovative: Apple Watch Ultra (with Oceanic +)
    Jump to review
  9. Most stylish: Suunto D5
    Jump to review

My first computer was an old Suunto D4i, which was perfectly fine back then for beginner diving. But, as I became more experienced and started technical scuba diving, I needed something better.

As a student with a low income at the time, I started renting computers, which allowed me to test a bunch of brands and models and really get a feel for what works best.

And Shearwaters (and a couple of other gems here and there) really are the best.

To back my words, over 51% of recreational divers own a Shearwater computer (by far the most), and 83% of all divers would buy a Shearwater as their next purchase.

Best Dive Computers Reviewed by Divers

First of all, let me just say that all the dive computers listed below are the top on the market, regardless of where I placed them. You won’t get a bad computer, whichever you choose. This is a list of the best of the best.

But if you want the absolute best, the Shearwater Perdix and Teric are the obvious winners. It’s them, then a gap, and then all the rest.

Best Overall

1. Shearwater Perdix AI & Perdix 2 Dive Computer

Shearwater Perdix 2 dive computer

Features & Specs

Price: $1,000+ (high-end)

Dive modes: Air, Nitrox, 3 GasNx, Trimix, Fixed PPO2, Gauge

Air-integration: Up to four transmitters

Algorithm: Bühlmann ZHL16-C with gradient factors

Screen: 2.2” color with backlight

Alerts: Vibration

Battery: Single AA

Connection: Bluetooth

Along with Shearwater Teric, the Perdix AI dive computer has everything you need, whether you’re a beginner diver or an experienced tech diver. That’s why it’s the best dive computer.

It has air, Nitrox up to three gasses, Trimix, closed-circuit, and a customizable Bühlmann algorithm. It is basically one of the most customizable computers out there. The backlit color display will let you see in low visibility and at night.

It uses an AA battery, which some divers like over rechargeable Li-ion, and some don’t.

On the one hand, you can always have a spare AA battery on you, don’t have to worry about charging, and can use any AA battery you wish (even more powerful ones that can last months or up to a year). On the other hand, if the battery dies and you don’t have a spare, you can’t use it until you get a new battery.

This is the only Shearwater listed here that works on an AA battery.

It connects via Bluetooth and stores up to 1,000 hours of dive logs. Some Apple users have claimed to have had to try multiple times to connect to it via Bluetooth before succeeding. I’ve never had problems, but then again, I don’t have an Apple computer 🙂

Because it has so many features and customizations, it has a steeper learning curve and will take some getting used to if you’re a beginner.

Beginner Tip
If you don’t plan on tech diving, this dive computer may be a bit overboard with all its features. For occasional non-tech recreational diving, I recommend the Shearwater Peregrine. You will save some money and still get a top-notch computer. Unless you want the best of the best either way or maybe take up tech diving in the future, then by all means, go for it.

What’s Great

  • Full user configurability
  • Bright display with a customizable layout
  • Incredible support
  • Vibration alerts that you can feel underwater
  • Top rugged computer choice for tech diving

What Could Be Better

  • Connecting it to Apple devices can be tricky
  • Steeper learning curve for beginners

There are three models:

  1. Shearwater Perdix (basic model)
  2. Shearwater Perdix AI (air-integrated)
  3. Shearwater Perdix 2 (new model)

The basic model has no air integration, that’s why I recommend the AI or the Perdix 2. Most divers want it down the line, even if they didn’t as beginners, and must then buy new computers.

The Perdix 2 is almost identical to the Perdix AI. What’s new to Perdix 2 is that it has a glass screen instead of a plastic one, which allows better reading at off angles, it has vibration alerts, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the titanium bezels. That’s it.

Pro Tip
If your visibility isn’t the best (because of age, short-sightedness, or whatever reason), or if you plan to dive at night or in murky waters, having a dive computer with a bright display is a must. That said, all Perdix models check these boxes, so you won’t go wrong with any of them.

Needless to say, The Perdix is among the pricier dive computers on the market, but still well worth the price because you’re buying the most advanced computer with top support (if you ever need it), and you’re buying it for life.

User comment about Shearwater Perdix 2
User comment about Shearwater Perdix 2

Most Versatile

2. Shearwater Teric Dive Computer

Shearwater Teric dive computer

Features & Specs

Price: $1,000+ (high-end)

Dive modes: Air, Nitrox, 3 GasNx, Trimix, Fixed PPO2, Gauge, Freediving

Air-integration: Up to four transmitters

Algorithm: Bühlmann ZHL16-C with gradient factors

Screen: 1.39” full AMOLED

Alerts: Vibration and sound

Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion (up to 30 hours in dive mode)

Connection: Bluetooth

The Shearwater Teric is one of the most advanced dive computers and can easily share the first spot with the Perdix AI. Teric is actually even better than Perdix, spec-wise.

The only reason why I didn’t place it above the Perdix is that its additional features aren’t necessary for most divers (even tech divers), and you won’t lack anything if you don’t have them. That and the smaller screen that’s the result of making the watch look more stylish.

The Teric is basically a more stylish and polished version of the Perdix. It looks more like a regular watch and has a higher-quality display. You can choose between different watch faces, configure colors, that sort of thing.

Unlike the Perdix, the Teric won’t require new batteries to keep it running, but you will have to keep an eye on the rechargeable Li-ion battery’s life.

Along with the vibration alerts, there are also sound alerts, which come in handy if you use it as a watch but don’t make a difference underwater.

The main difference, apart from the battery, is the freediving mode, which no other Shearwater computer has. You can use the deep, pool, and repetitive freediving presets.

What’s Great

  • Full user configurability
  • Bright display with a customizable layout
  • Incredible support
  • Vibration alerts that you can feel underwater
  • USB wireless station charging
  • Great look
  • Top choice of a stylish computer for tech diving

What Could Be Better

  • Connecting it to Apple devices can be tricky
  • Steeper learning curve for beginners
  • There is a tradeoff between how much info you see on the screen and how the watch looks
  • Less robust than the Perdix

Like the Perdix, this is one of the most configurable dive computers available. It is perfect for tech divers but a bit less perfect for beginners due to the steep learning curve.

The price is very similar to the Perdix. The Teric is maybe a couple of dollars higher. Once again, this is a high-end personal dive computer, but you’re buying the best there is, so you pay what you get.

Beginner Tip
Like the Perdix, the Shearwater Teric can be a bit much in terms of features and price if you don’t plan on tech diving. That’s why most beginner and middle-tier recreational divers have a Shearwater Peregrine, which I recommend in this case as well. However, the Perdix and the Teric remain the best of the best if that’s what you want. All Shearwaters also don’t lose value with time, so it’s a safe buy.

User comment about Shearwater Teric

Best for Everyday Divers

3. Shearwater Peregrine

Shearwater Peregrine dive computer

Features & Specs

Price: $500+ (mid-range)

Dive modes: Air, Nitrox (up to 40%), 3 Gas Nitrox (up to 100% O2), Gauge

Air-integration: No

Algorithm: Bühlmann ZHL16-C with gradient factors

Screen: 2.2” color with backlight

Alerts: Vibration

Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion (up to 30 hours)

Connection: Bluetooth

The Shearwater Peregrine dive computer is probably the most widely owned dive computer in the world that doesn’t leave regrets.

If you’re not a tech diver, this is the best dive computer you can buy. Actually, even if you are a tech diver, you probably want a backup computer, which should be the Peregrine.

I dare you to find a forum or social media where the majority doesn’t own a Peregrine, or even less likely, owns it and has a complaint.

User comment about Shearwater Peregrine
User comment about Shearwater Peregrine

This is a high-end beginner to mid-tear dive computer with most features that you need as a diver:

  • A large, luminous display that’s clear to see in darker and murkier waters or if your vision isn’t the best. It even lets you customize the display, something that most mid-tier computers don’t have.
  • There are multiple dive modes that are more than enough for entry-level technical diving, even if you’re not a tech diver and just want to try it out sometime.
  • A Bühlmann algorithm for reliable decompression support that you can configure if needed (many divers regret not having it after a while!).
  • It’s intuitive to use and doesn’t have a steep learning curve like the Perdix and the Teric, which makes it the perfect dive computer for complete beginners as well. You won’t lose yourself in the settings of countless features you might never need.
  • A long-lasting battery life and a wireless charging station mean you don’t have to worry about corroded connectors or replacing the battery yourself and risk water-tightness.
  • Configurable vibration alerts that you can feel even over a 5 mm suit. This means you don’t have to repeatedly check that you don’t accidentally dive too deep when half of your dive time is up (or less) and worry about the minimum no-decompression limit.

What I miss most is that it doesn’t have air integration (AI). In other words, you will have to keep checking your pressure gauge for your air supply. If it had AI, it would make it absolutely perfect for non-technical scuba diving, in my opinion.

But considering its other features and the fact that every beginner to mid-tier dive computer lacks at least one of the things the Peregrine has, missing AI isn’t that bad.

For example, I find it much more annoying to dive with a computer where I can’t see half the things on the screen due to the small, crammed display or because there is no backlight and I’m in low-visibility waters than diving without air integration.

But this is ultimately up to you.

What’s Great

  • Bright display with a customizable layout
  • Incredible support
  • USB wireless station charging
  • Multiple dive modes
  • Easy to use
  • Vibration alerts that you can feel underwater
  • Long battery life
  • Very robust
  • Best dive computer for recreational diving

What Could Be Better

  • No air integration
  • No compass
  • Too bulky to be used as a regular watch

The Peregrine costs about half as much as the Perdix and the Teric, but it’s still at the top of the mid-tier price range. This is mostly because you get so many features that most other dive computers in the same tier don’t have.

That, and the Shearwater quality and support that other brands are only trying to catch up to.

User comment about Shearwater Peregrine
User comment about Shearwater Peregrine

Best for Diving + Other Sports

4. Garmin Descent Mk2i

Garmin Descent Mk2i dive computer

Features & Specs

Price: $1,000+ (high-end)

Dive modes: Air, Nitrox, Trimix, 3 Gas Nitrox, Gauge, Freediving

Air-integration: Up to 5 transmitters

Algorithm: Bühlmann ZHL16-C with gradient factors

Screen: 1.4” color with backlight

Alerts: Vibration and sound

Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion (up to 80 hours in dive mode)

Connection: Bluetooth, ANT+ and Wi-Fi

Garmin Descent Mk2i is the best dive computer to have if you want to use it in combination with any other sports and daily activities, like contactless payments, GPS tracking, workouts, music, etc.

It has so many functions and features that I won’t nearly be able to list them all here because, although it was made primarily for scuba diving, it was also made for everyday use.

Be prepared for a high price rivaling the Sheerwater Perdix and Teric (higher if bought with a transmitter!), but filled to the brim with everyday functions and things that Garmin is known by – GPS and tracking.

Regarding diving features, it is practically the same as the Shearwater Teric, but with GPS and a Dive app that will guide you to the preloaded wrecks and dive spots and track your entry and exit points!

User comment about Garmin dive computers

This is a dive computer watch for the most demanding tech divers and tech junkies. You can dive with multiple gas changes and track PO2, N2, and pretty much everything else you can imagine.

If you’re a dive instructor or a parent who likes to dive with their kids, the Descent Mk2i will let you monitor multiple divers with up to 5 transmitters and a proprietary Subwave sonar-based technology that increases the signal strength and range (up to 30 feet).

Beginner Tip
If you’re buying a high-end everyday smartwatch to track your hiking routes, monitor heart rate, pay for Starbucks, and also take it diving because it happens to have dive features, then the Garmin Descent Mk2(i) is a good choice. However, be ready to be overwhelmed by the dive features. You can also buy a regular smartwatch and go for the Shearwater Peregrine for diving to keep things clean and easy to use.

It’s also a stylish watch-style dive computer, which can be both a pro and a con.

If you want to use it as an everyday piece of equipment (which I hope you do, otherwise what’s the point of buying all this) and micromanage your life, sports, sleep, and breathing (I’m not kidding!), then you probably also want it to look good and not be an ugly bulk on your wrist.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to use exclusively for diving, then opt for something with a bigger screen, better brightness, and no ‘clutter’, like the Shearwater Perdix.

What’s Great

  • Bright touchscreen display
  • Connect to transmitters up to 30 feet away
  • GPS
  • Track entry and exit points
  • Long battery life
  • Vibration alerts that you can feel underwater
  • Heart-rate monitor and Pulse Ox sensor
  • Countless sports and daily smartwatch apps
  • Best dive computer to use every day, with everything, and appear stylish

What Could Be Better

  • It’s a smartwatch first, a dive computer second
  • A cluttered screen that could be brighter for diving

And a heads up, Garmin recently released the Descent Mk3 dive computer, but I don’t recommend it. It’s the same as the Mk2 with a better display type (AMOLED) and less battery life, and even more expensive.

The Mk2 is available in three models:

  • Descent Mk2 (no air integration)
  • Descent Mk2i (with air integration)
  • Descent Mk2s (Mk2 but smaller – 9 mm smaller case diameter)
User comment about Garmin Descent Mk2i
User comment about Garmin Descent Mk2i

Most Easy to Use

5. Mares Puck Pro +

Mares Puck Pro + Dive Computer

Features & Specs

Price: $300+ (budget)

Dive modes: Air, up to two Nitrox blends (21-99%), Gauge

Air-integration: No

Algorithm: Mares-Wienke RGBM

Screen: 1.4” monochrome with backlight

Alerts: Sound

Battery: Replaceable 3V coin cell (200-300 dives)

Connection: Bluetooth clip

The Mares Puck Pro + dive computer (like its predecessor, Mares Puck Pro – no plus) is all about simplicity.

Obviously, this is not a dive computer for tech divers because it lacks those features, but it’s a perfect choice for recreational divers and beginners who value ease of use and reliability. There is only one button and an intuitive interface.

If you don’t have eyesight problems or particular reasons for extra luminous and color displays, the Puck Pro + will let you see well underwater, even in lower visibility, with its large display, large digits, and a backlight.

User comment about Mares Puck Pro +
User comment about Mares Puck Pro +

It also supports Nitrox if you dive (or plan to) with enriched air mixtures.

What’s Great

  • Large, backlit display
  • Intuitive one-button interface
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Most easy-to-use dive computer choice

What Could Be Better

  • No compass
  • No depth alarm
  • No air integration
  • Too bulky to be used as a daily watch

The algorithm might be a bit more conservative than the Bühlmann industry standard, but this shouldn’t bother you if you’re looking for a computer to do some diving occasionally. It only means that the computer might tell you to start heading back from your journey a bit sooner.

The sound alarms aren’t the best feature because sound isn’t the best way to communicate underwater, and some divers complain about not hearing them at all. I tend to either rely on vibration alerts when I’m using a dive computer with such alerts, or I act like there aren’t any alerts at all and keep an eye on things.

The Puck Pro + is the most affordable dive computer on this list, but then again, this isn’t a high-end computer, so that makes sense.

User comment about Mares Puck Pro +

Entry-Level Budget Friendly

6. AquaLung i300c

Aqualung i300c Dive Computer

Features & Specs

Price: $300+ (budget)

Dive modes: Air, up to 3 Nitrox gases (up to 100% O2), Gauge, Freedive

Air-integration: No

Algorithm: Z+

Screen: 1.33” monochrome with backlight

Alerts: Sound

Battery: Replaceable 3V coin cell

Connection: Bluetooth

The Aqualung i300c dive computer is very similar to the Mares Puck Pro +, it was also designed with ease of use in mind.

It has two buttons instead of one, but the interface is still very intuitive, and you won’t be wasting time figuring out how to use it.

Unlike the Mares Pro +, the Aqualung has a depth alarm and enough dive modes for every beginner and recreational diver.

There is air, Nitrox, gauge, and even a Freediving mode (the nitrogen calculations are carried over between scuba diving and freediving), which should be more than enough for any non-tech diver.

The display is easy to read, although somewhat smaller than on Mares Puck Pro+. But it’s also backlit for good visibility in the dark or in low-visibility waters.

The Bluetooth is integrated and can be activated with a push of a button, no cables and connectors.

What’s Great

  • Large, backlit display
  • Intuitive two-button interface
  • Integrated Bluetooth connectivity
  • Automatic altitude adjustment
  • Graphical representation of the no-decompression limit

What Could Be Better

  • No compass
  • The screen could be larger
  • The buttons can be hard to press with gloves underwater
  • No air integration
  • Too bulky to be used as a daily watch

The price is just slightly higher than the Mares Puck Pro +, but the Aqualung doesn’t add that much to the table, in my opinion, so I placed it lower. I prefer Mares’ larger screen.

Otherwise, both are friendly-priced entry-level dive computers that will grow with you as long as you don’t switch to technical diving.

Reddit comment about the Aqualung i300c
Reddit comment about the Aqualung i300c

Long-Lasting Battery

7. Garmin Descent G1 Solar

Garmin Descent G1 Dive Computer

Features & Specs

Price: $600+ (mid-range)

Dive modes: Air, Nitrox, Trimix, Gauge, Freediving

Air-integration: No

Algorithm: Bühlmann ZHL16-C with gradient factors

Screen: 0.9” monochrome with backlight

Alerts: Vibration and sound

Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion (up to 25 hours in dive mode)

Connection: Bluetooth and ANT+

The Garmin Descent G1 dive computer (Solar or not) is a tuned-down version of the Garmin Descent Mk2, which strongly reflects on the price.

It’s not an air-integrated dive computer, but otherwise, it has all the dive features of the Mk2. In other words, the Descent G1 is perfectly appropriate for recreational or professional divers because it supports all gas mixes you need: Nitrox, gauge, closed-circuit, you name it.

Once again, this is a smartwatch first and a dive computer second. What I mean is that it was made to look stylish and allow countless everyday functions, such as sports apps, sleep monitoring, heart rate monitoring, contactless payments, and so on.

That also means it has a small display with cluttered information. In this case, a very, very small screen. If you’re looking for a watch to use every day and for diving, then it can still be a nice choice. But if you want a top-notch dive computer with a comfortable interface, this isn’t it.

However, if you want a fully-equipped dive computer for tech dives, don’t care about screen size and air integration, and don’t want to spend a fortune on the Shearwater dive computers, go for the Garmin Descent G1.

Beginner Tip
The Garmin G1 is a good choice if you’re determined to use a smartwatch for diving and everyday things while not spending too much on it. Just keep in mind that unless you plan on tech diving, you’ll be getting a bunch of dive profiles and features you won’t use, which can be confusing.

As far as dive computers go, this is not an entry-level computer. For the best beginner to mid-tier dive computer experience, go for the Shearwater Peregrine. It’s not a smartwatch but was designed solely for diving.

The most prominent feature of all Garmin watches applies to the Descent G1 as well: it has GPS tracking, and it will track all your entry and exit points, which non-smartwatch dive computers don’t offer.

The only thing where the G1 beats the Mk2 is the smartwatch’s battery life. The G1 Solar can go up to 124 days with solar charging and up to 21 days without solar, while the Mk2 lasts up to 16 days. But keep in mind that this is for the smartwatch functionality! The Mk2 has a much better dive life (there is no solar energy there, after all).

The Mk2’s colorful touchscreen display is replaced by a monochromatic interface with five buttons on the G1. This interface has a steeper learning curve and can be harder to press with gloves underwater.

What’s Great

  • GPS
  • Track entry and exit points
  • Long battery life
  • Vibration alerts that you can feel underwater
  • Heart-rate monitor and Pulse Ox sensor
  • Countless sports and daily smartwatch apps
  • Great choice of a less-expensive dive computer to use every day, with everything, and appear stylish

What Could Be Better

  • It’s a smartwatch first, a dive computer second
  • A very small, cluttered screen
  • No air integration
  • Buttons can be hard to press with gloves underwater

The Descent G1 comes in two models: standard and solar. The solar is $100 more, which only makes sense if you’re buying it for the smartwatch functionality, and like that, you don’t have to charge it as often.

User comment about Garmin Descent G1
User comment about Garmin Descent G1

Most Innovative

8. Apple Watch Ultra Oceanic+

Apple Watch Ultra Dive Computer

Features & Specs

Price: $800+ (high-end)

Dive modes: Air, Gauge, Freediving

Air-integration: No

Algorithm: Bühlmann ZHL16-C with gradient factors

Screen: 1.9” color with backlight

Alerts: Vibration and sound

Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion

Connection: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

The Apple Watch Ultra falls into the smartwatch-dive computer category, like the Garmin watches, but with much fewer dive features.

There is no air integration and no Nitrox or gas mixes. Additionally, the dive features only work to a depth of 131 feet (40 m), and only the gauge mode can be used for free without the Oceanic+ app subscription.

Obviously, this isn’t for expert divers. As far as dive computers go, this is the very basic entry-level dive computer. It will tell you the current depth, water temperature, duration underwater, maximum depth, decompression information, and nothing more.

But it can be enough if you plan to dive a few times a year and use it as a smartwatch year-round. It’s not as cheap as some other entry-level dive computers, like the Mares Puck Pro + or the Aqualung i300c, but still cheaper than buying a dive computer and a smartwatch separately.

User comment about Apple Watch Ultra

One downside is that if you don’t own an iPhone, it doesn’t make sense to buy the Apple Watch Ultra.

You can only connect it to an iPhone, which you want to do if you plan to use it as a smartwatch. Otherwise, it’s just a regular watch.

And, without a subscription to the Oceanic+ app, which isn’t proprietary to Apple (hence the $10/month subscription), you lose half of the dive features, and there aren’t that many to begin with.

What’s Great

  • GPS
  • Track entry and exit points
  • Heart-rate monitor and Pulse Ox sensor
  • A bright display, large enough for a smartwatch
  • Easy-to-use crown dial with gloves underwater
  • Vibration alerts that you can feel underwater
  • Countless sports and daily smartwatch apps
  • Great choice of a less-expensive dive computer to use every day, with everything, and appear stylish

What Could Be Better

  • It’s a smartwatch first, a dive computer second
  • No air integration
  • Only basic dive functions
  • Requires an app subscription to access half of those dive features
  • Not the best battery life
  • Smartwatch works only with iPhones

What stands out, like with most Apple products, is its high-end technology and hardware. It has a titanium case and a sapphire crystal display with a powerful luminosity that will be visible in all conditions. The display is also large enough to accommodate all the data you need without feeling cluttered.

There are two buttons and a digital crown button that makes changing modes in gloves underwater much more pleasant.

Like the Garmin watches, the Apple Watch Ultra also comes with a GPS and will track your entry and exit points, which non-smartwatch dive computers won’t do.

It’s also filled with countless features for running, cycling, hiking, and freediving, as well as everyday functions like heart rate monitor, blood oxygen monitor, sleep tracking, music, and contactless payments.

There are two models: the Apple Watch Ultra and the ~$100 more expensive new model – the Ultra 2. Ultra 2 has an even brighter display, a better processor, twice the memory, and they added a double-tap gesture, but it is otherwise the same as its predecessor.

User comment about Apple Watch Ultra
User comment about Apple Watch Ultra

Most Stylish

9. Suunto D5

Suunto D9 dive computer

Features & Specs

Price: $900+ (high-end)

Dive modes: Air, up to 3 Nitrox blends (21-99%), Gauge, Freediving mode

Air-integration: Up to 3 transmitters

Algorithm: RGBM

Screen: 2.09” color with backlight

Alerts: Vibration and sound

Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion (up to 12 hours of diving)

Connection: Bluetooth and USB

The Suunto D5 dive computer is somewhere between a smartwatch and a dive computer, but unlike the Garmin watches and the Apple Watch Ultra, it was designed as a dive computer first and a watch second.

It has enough diving features, such as gas mixes and wireless air integration, to accompany both beginner and tech divers. It’s not as complete as the Shearwater Perdix or Teric nor as the Garmin watches, but more than the rest.

What I like is that they included a backlit color display that is bright enough even in low-visibility waters and large enough not to appear cluttered.

The alerts are both sound and vibration, which makes sense if you want to use them underwater and throughout the day as a smartwatch.

Hearing beeps underwater isn’t reliable, so haptic alerts are great for letting you know when to turn around if you have reached your maximum depth, when to take decompression steps, and if you’re ascending too fast.

The algorithm is more on the conservative side and might send you back to the surface sooner than you’d like, but it’s configurable.

User comment about Suunto dive computers

The battery life isn’t the best, but still fine if you don’t mind charging the watch 1-2 times per week.

It has a three-button interface, which works fine, but some divers complain that cycling through the information on the screen can be a pain because you have to be very precise not to go too far, or you need to cycle through everything again. If you’re wearing gloves…well, you can imagine.

The buttons can also accidentally be pressed if you wear the watch on your left wrist while diving (which most divers do), which can change the dive mode you’re in.

What’s Great

  • A bright display, large enough for a smartwatch
  • Vibration alerts that you can feel underwater
  • Great choice of a stylish air-integrated dive computer at a reasonable price

What Could Be Better

  • You need to recalibrate the compass each time you recharge the battery
  • Not the best battery life
  • Few smartwatch features, considering it is a smartwatch

When you aren’t diving, the Suunto D5 dive computer probably looks the most like a regular watch and won’t stand out like most dive computers would.

You can also connect it to your phone, and it will display mobile notifications, but that’s about it. It doesn’t come near to what the Garmin and Apple watches do in this regard.

It’s in the same price range as the Garmin Descent G1, but it has wireless air integration and fewer everyday functions. They also both look stylish, so it makes sense to buy the Suunto D5 if you want a stylish watch-style dive computer with air integration, but be prepared to pay much more for the tank pod.

User comment about Suunto D5
User comment about Suunto D5

What Sets Apart the Best Dive Computers?

The best dive computers have the optimal combination of features that make the best underwater experience:

  1. Enough dive modes: this means at least air, nitrox, and gauge because this is what most recreational divers use. Even if you don’t tech dive, you might want to try it here and there.
  2. Wireless air integration: this lets you track your gas supply, so you don’t need to check your pressure gauge (SPG). After all, one of the main reasons for having a dive computer is convenience.
  3. Big and bright display: most of us don’t live in the Maldives, where you can see 65 feet away clearly. There is sediment, murky waters, caves, wrecks, and night dives, or you have contacts, wear glasses, or have poor eyesight for whatever reason. The last thing you want is to squint at your display, hoping you see the actual numbers. While a color display isn’t a must, it does help with visibility.
  4. Easy to use and intuitive: while this is relative to each diver, a dive computer should be intuitive to use regardless of your diving experience. That means knowing how to set your dive modes and not accidentally setting something that can compromise your safety underwater. This also means operating the computer easily underwater, with or without gloves, and not accidentally pressing anything with your wrist.
  5. Vibration alerts that you can feel (because you can’t hear well underwater) even through a wetsuit. This way, you’ll be able to focus on your dive instead of continuously checking when to make decompression stops, when you reached your maximum depth, if you’re ascending too fast, when to start heading back, …
  6. Long-lasting battery: you want to be able to make multiple dives per day while logging your dives in between without running out of power. This becomes even more important if you want a dive computer that serves as a smartwatch as well.
  7. Bluetooth connectivity: in addition to the wireless convenience, this is important because it means fewer metal contacts that are prone to corrosion and water entering the computer.

I’ll be honest, not many dive computers tick all these boxes the way I’d want them to. But then again, you might not need all of these features polished to perfection. That’s why I made a short buyer’s guide in the next section to help you narrow down the best dive computers based on your needs.

How to Choose the Best Dive Computer for You?

There are a few categories to consider when buying a dive computer that will help you identify which group of computers to choose from.

The last thing you want is to buy a computer and use it for a couple of months, only to find out it’s unintuitive to you or lacks a feature you didn’t know you needed when you were buying it.

If you’re a beginner and aren’t sure what you might need in a computer, there are two scenarios you should consider and then act upon whichever you agree with most:

User comments about buying dive computers for new divers
User comments about buying dive computers for new divers

I also have a guide on the best beginner dive computers specifically for new divers looking for easy-to-use computers.

You should also decide whether you want a dive computer with wireless air integration to monitor your gas supply because that means buying a computer that supports that and buying a transmitter, which both add quite a bit to the price.

Here are the dive computer categories:

  • Shearwater Teric (a watch, but not a smartwatch, a dive computer first)
  • Garmin Descent Mk2i (with GPS and most smartwatch functions of all dive computers)
  • Suunto D5 dive computer (most stylish and very few smartwatch functions)

How Did I Research, Pick, and Review Dive Computers?

The primary factor when picking the best dive computers was how many dive features they offer and the user experience of all these features during dives.

I tested all these computers in low-visibility waters during the day and in the evening with little to no sunlight. Some of these computers I’ve known for a long time because I’ve been using them myself, while I had to buy or borrow the rest and test them out in a couple of dives. I paid attention to:

  • how intuitive it is and the overall interface user experience (keeping in mind that some dive computers are meant for beginners, while others are for more experienced scuba divers)
  • reading the data and changing displayed information underwater
  • alerts functionality and decompression stop performance
  • did the computer allow me to enjoy my dive, or did I have to keep shifting my attention to the screen
  • accessing dive logs, transmitting log data, and usefulness of the logs

I’m aware that there are many subjective factors here, and what I like might not be what you need or the other way around.

That’s why I did my research and gathered feedback from countless divers from around the world where I wanted to know if they ever had any issues with their diving computer and if anything bothers them. You can see some of them in the reviews above.

Bottom Line

If you feel like you still don’t know which is the best dive computer for you, don’t be afraid to send me a message. I’d be happy to share more information if I can.

Don’t forget to always follow instructions on your dive computer screen to avoid missing safety stops and decompression.

To keep your computer running for a long time, remember always to wash it with fresh water after each dive. Soak it in a bucket or a sink to rinse all the salt away from any contacts and moving parts.

And happy diving!

Rok Valencic

Rok Vale

I’m a sports enthusiast who enjoys spending as much time underwater as possible. Be that diving, snorkeling, swimming, or just falling off the surfboard. I’m a licensed PADI diver and a licensed fitness instructor. I also have a degree in physics to unnecessarily complicate my life.

FAQ

The Shearwater Teric and the Garmin Descent Mk2i are the best dive computers that also look like a watch. The Garmin is even a smartwatch. They both come with all dive modes and features, air integration, and the latest technology.

A good enough entry-level dive computer can be as little as $200-300, which means smaller monochromatic displays, no air integration, and fewer dive features in general, but it’s usually more than enough for recreational divers. Mid-tier dive computers start at $500-600, while the best are well over $1000.

The best easy-to-read dive computer will have a large display with large digits, a bright backlight, and will also be in color. The Shearwater Perdix covers all that and also comes with a good user interface and a lot of dive profiles.

A dive computer is primarily intended for diving, seeing clearly underwater, and displaying more data than you usually need on a watch. That means more robust, bulkier cases and less stylish designs. A dive watch will look much more like a regular watch but will sacrifice some comfort for style.