Best Dive Computers for Beginners | Scuba Dive Like a Pro

If you’re new to SCUBA diving or you have a child or grandchild that is just getting started, one of the smartest tools to get would be one of the best dive computers for beginners.

There are several different models available on the market, but how do you know which one would be the right choice?

Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work and compiled a comprehensive list of 5 of the best dive computer for beginners so you can have an easier time narrowing things down and picking a great model for your needs.

In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 Picks

Top Pick
Garmin Descent Mk1, Watch-Sized Dive Computer with...
Runner Up
Mares Puck Pro Plus Dive Computer Wrist Watch
Best Budget Pick
Cressi Leonardo, black/lime
Garmin Descent Mk1, Watch-Sized Dive Computer with...
Mares Puck Pro Plus Dive Computer Wrist Watch
Cressi Leonardo, black/lime
$974.95
$279.95
$199.95
-
Top Pick
Garmin Descent Mk1, Watch-Sized Dive Computer with...
Garmin Descent Mk1, Watch-Sized Dive Computer with...
$974.95
-
Runner Up
Mares Puck Pro Plus Dive Computer Wrist Watch
Mares Puck Pro Plus Dive Computer Wrist Watch
$279.95
Best Budget Pick
Cressi Leonardo, black/lime
Cressi Leonardo, black/lime
$199.95

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reviews of the 5 Best Dive Computer for Beginners

Whether you’re just starting out on your SCUBA journey or you’re introducing your child or a niece or nephew to diving, our list showcases the best dive computer for beginners should make the decision making process easy for you.

1. Garmin Descent Mk1

Sale
Garmin Descent Mk1, Watch-Sized Dive Computer with...
  • Premium full-featured dive computer with surface GPS in a sleek watch-style design; with bright 1....
  • Built-in sensors include 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter as well as GPS and...

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a top of the line dive computer that’s chock full of features and style, then you are definitely going to love the Garmin Descent Mk1.

This wrist dive computer is ideal for anyone that wants to keep track of their stats while they’re diving. As our top pick, there are a ton of great reasons you’re going to love this fantastic dive computer.

One of the best things about this computer is that it is full of features, some of which include GPS capabilities, a 1.2” brightly colored display with topo mapping.

Being able to see the screen in bright colors makes this a great choice for underwater use. Utilizing the GPS allows you to keep track of both your entry and exit points so you can mark these points for later reference.

It even has a 3-axis compass to help you navigate more easily.

If you’re concerned about how well the battery will perform, that’s not something that will be an issue with the Garmin Descent Mk1.

Once fully charged, you can expect up to 40 hours of life in dive mode, up to 19 days in watch mode, 10 days in smartwatch mode and 20 hours in GPS mode. The times will vary based on your settings, of course.

This is a technologically advanced piece of equipment that allows you to store and review the data for up to 200 dives, which is great if you want to keep track of your progress over time.

Whether you’re going with single gas, multi-gas, gauge and apnea, or nitrox and trimix, this computer allows you to plan your dives on your watch with ease.

Finally, the Garmin Descent Mk1 has tones and vibrations you can customize and set so that you can stay informed on the status of your air and elevation.

This do it all dive computer will change the way you SCUBA dive forever.

Pros:

  • Can store the data from up to 200 dives
  • Plan your dives directly on the watch
  • Has colored display and GPS

Cons:

  • Heart rate sensor isn’t very durable
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Mares Puck Pro

Mares Puck Pro Plus Dive Computer Wrist Watch
  • Slim design for a perfect fit. Intuitive user interface with one-button simplicity.
  • Logbook capacity 35 hours of dive profile at 5-second sampling rate. User-replaceable battery

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Whether you’re brand new to diving or you’ve been diving for a while, the Mares Puck Pro is an option for the best dive computer for beginners and those that want a simply designed watch style dive computer.

You can program, keep logs, and so much more with this fantastic product. As our runner up, there are a ton of great reasons to go with the Mares Puck Pro for your next diving adventure.

The Mares Puck Pro has been on the market since 2008 and has become a fast favorite amongst divers. More than a decade later, this is still one of the most popular diving gauges on the market.

It is affordable, easy to use, and long lasting. The Puck Pro has been upgraded from the original, giving it a slimmer design, larger screen, and upgradeable firmware.

Something that many people like about this dive computer is that it can keep a log of 50 dives or 36 hours of dive time. It also has an ascent rate indicator.

It is a fully functional air and nitrox dive computer, designed with the intention of keeping track of your stats and keeping you safe when diving in deeper waters.

Pros:

  • Keeps track of up to 36 hours or 50 dives
  • Illuminated display
  • Simple enough for beginners

Cons:

  • No stopwatch
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3. Cressi Leonardo

Cressi Leonardo, black/lime
  • A single button Dive Computer makes it effortless to set Air, Nitrox and Gauge modes. Ideal for...
  • FO2 adjustable between 21% and 50%. PO2 adjustable between 1.2 bar and 1.6 bar. CNS oxygen toxicity...

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Cressi Leonardo underwater dive computer is here to change the way you SCUBA dive. The single button design makes adjusting the settings a breeze.

Ideal for beginners, the Cressi Leonardo is a simple machine that will make your diving adventures a new level of fun. There’s nothing better than getting up in the morning, having a tasty meal, and heading out for a day of diving.

As our budget pick, the Cressi Leonardo combines affordability with quality to give you a fantastic choice for your next diving escapade. Let’s take a closer look at the features this computer has to offer.

If you are new to SCUBA diving, this watch style computer would be an excellent choice for all of your diving needs. The single button design allows you to set the nitrox, air, and gauge modes without having too many buttons to keep track of.

Not only is it easy to use, it’s easy to read. The high-definition illuminated screen is easy to view in all types of lighting situations.

When it comes to diving, safety is very important. The Leonardo has a series of adjustments available so you can customize your oxygen and nitrox.

There is even an oxygen toxicity graphic indicator, which allows you to keep an eye on how safe the oxygen itself is. It also includes very distinct and easily heard alarms so you know when it’s time to head back to the surface for a breather.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the quality of this fantastic dive computer, you can rest easy knowing that Cressi, the makers of the Leonardo, is one of the leaders in the industry.

In fact, they’ve been specializing in snorkeling, free diving, and SCUBA diving gear in Italy since 1946.

Pros:

  • Made by an industry pioneer, Italian company Cressi
  • Has illuminated display
  • Visual and audio alarms to alert when there is an issue with the oxygen

Cons:

  • Kind of basic if you’re not a true beginner
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4. SUUNTO Zoop Novo

Sale
SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Scuba Diving Computer,...
  • Operating modes: air, nitrox, gauge and freedom modes
  • Programmable for 21% to 50% oxygen mixtures

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Are you in the market for the best dive computer for beginners that you can strap to your wrist and take with you on all of your under the sea adventures?

Then you will definitely want to check out the SUUNTO Zoop Novo. This stylish piece of equipment is a fantastic choice if you are new to SCUBA diving and want to be able to keep track of all of your stats, as well as keeping an eye on your oxygen and other important details.

If you’re concerned about the visibility of your computer when you’re out and about, there’s no need to worry! In addition to the brightly colored border of the screen, the display is backlit and also larger than many similar models on the market.

You’ll be able to see all of the important details with no issue.

One of the best things about the SUUNTO Zoop Novo is that it is very user-friendly. The 4-buttons are very straight-forward and easy to understand, giving an easier user interface.

These buttons make it super easy to switch between the 5 dive modes. It even has a very straight-forward menu so there should be minimal confusion.

Dive modes:

  • Air
  • Nitrox
  • Gauge
  • Free
  • Off

No matter what mode you choose to use, you’ll be able to navigate to your desired settings without any trouble. After a long day of scuba diving, you’ll be ready to head home and relax with a good meal, excited for your next diving trip.

Pros:

  • Large, backlit display
  • Has 4 buttons for easy navigation
  • Has alarm for alerts regarding oxygen

Cons:

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5. Ocenaic Geo 2.0

Sale
Oceanic GEO 2.0 Computer, Slate Blue
  • Powered by Oceanic's Exclusive Dual Algorithm - Your choice between Pelagic DSAT (Spencer/Powell...
  • 4 Operating Modes: WATCH (Alternate Time, Chrono, Daily Alarm, Countdown Timer), NORM (Air and...

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want an easy to use diving computer that is simple enough for beginners to handle, then you are in luck! The Oceanaic Geo 2.0 is a fantastic choice if you want to learn how to SCUBA dive.

This model has audible alarms, run-timer, and several more features that make this a fantastic companion on your dives.

The first perk to using this great diving computer is that it is very user-friendly. If you have never used a diving computer, this would be a great one to start with.

It is very straight-forward and doesn’t have too many bells and whistles so you don’t have to worry that you won’t be able to get it to work properly.

Another thing that many people love about this dive computer is all of the functions it provides. It has time, date, temperature, and many more normal watch functions.

It also has audible alarms that require user acknowledgement. It even has a history mode that keeps track of 24 dives or 99 free dives in the on-board log book.

Finally, this dive computer is a fantastic choice for low-light situations because it has a backlight for nighttime and for instances where there is less than ideal lighting.

There are 4 modes available, watch, norm, free dive, and gauge. If you’re new to diving, this would be an excellent choice for your needs.

Pros:

  • Backlit display allows you to see data in all types of light
  • Can be used as a regular watch with daily alarms
  • Run on a CR2430 Lithium battery

Cons:

  • User manual could be better
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Buying Guide

When it comes to finding the best dive computer for beginners, there are some things to take into account before you jump in and buy one.

Compatibility

This is a big one. There is no point in investing in a dive computer that is not compatible with your current diving equipment. In addition to the diving equipment, it also needs to work with the computer you have.

If you have a MAC and you end up with a dive computer that is only compatible with Window products, you’ve either got to replace your new dive computer or your desktop or laptop computer.

Always check to see if the piece of equipment you’re buying is going to work with your current setup, that way you can evaluate your options and see if you want to make any changes to accommodate for the dive computer or if you’re going to go with a different dive device.

Screen and Display

All computers are different, meaning you’ll be running into a lot of different styles of display. The screen of your dive computer is where all of the data will be displayed, such as your air time, how long you’ve been underwater, and several other things, depending on the computer.

Some of them have a segmented display, making it easier to differentiate between different values. Always take a look at photos of the display screen before buying a dive computer so you know if you’re going to get something you can understand or not.

Another thing to think about when it comes to the screen and display is if there is any sort of lighting. This is important because some dive computers can be used as watches so being able to see at night is important.

You also want to be sure you’ll be able to see when you’re underwater, since the further down you go, the darker it gets.

Air Integration

This is a really great detail to be able to keep track of since it could end up becoming a matter of life or death. The air integration is a setting that basically means your dive computer can keep track of how much air you have left.

Keeping this information on hand allows your computer to calculate your breathing rate, informing you of the estimated time left based on your current air consumption, and can readjust estimates if there are any changes to your breathing.

Alarms

Finding the best dive computer for beginners that has alarms is very beneficial for a few reasons.

The first is that many computers have both audible and visible alarms, letting you know when you get close to a limit, often pertaining to the amount of air you have left. Some of the variations in the alarms can be a flashing backlight and a beeping noise.

Other alarms include letting you know when you’ve been underwater for a certain amount of time, tank pressure, and when you’re low on gas.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about dive computers for beginners.

What is a dive computer?

A dive computer is a small piece of technology that was designed to keep a diver informed of various stats, as well as often keeping track of their dives for later reflection.

Many divers start off with a wrist watch style dive computer since they are typically easy to use, lightweight, and offer multiple functions, such as being able to be used as a watch when not being used for diving purposes.

Dive computers can keep track of your air, your heart rate, breathing patterns, and how long you have been underwater.

They can also inform you of when you have been underwater for a certain amount of time, when your air levels are low, and if you are at risk of anything else they can detect.

If you are new to diving, it is definitely a great idea to get into the practice of using a dive computer because they are fairly affordable and being able to ensure you will be safe is priceless.

Are there other styles of dive computers aside from the watch?

There are several different styles of dive computers. The watch style is very popular because it is simply strapped to your wrist and easy to see without needing to have a free hand.

Other styles of dive computer include:

  • Dive Console Computer: This style looks like the traditional gauge console that contained a compass, depth gauge, and analog pressure. The newly revamped version has a digital display and shows all of the dive data, plus a compass and tank pressure.
  • Dive Wrist Computer: This style is similar to the watch in the sense that it lives on your arm when diving but that’s about where the similarities end. These compact computers have large screens with easy-read letters and numbers. All of the dive info is on display on the big screen.
  • Hands Free Dive Computer: If you’re looking for something high-tech that feels like it’s out of your favorite spy movie, this style would be a great choice. It is mounted on your mask and has a floating display that utilizes near-eye optics. What does that mean? The information stays displayed in front of you so you can keep track of all the stats you need.

What is the best style of dive computer?

As with most things, what is best for one person won’t be best for everyone. This is true for dive computers and pretty much everything in life. When you think of a dive computer, what style sounds like it would be the best fit for you?

If you want to have something that is affordable, easy to use, and won’t take up a ton of space, a watch style computer would be a great choice. If you want something you can look at when needed but isn’t always in your face, the dive console computer may be the right one for you.

If you want to feel like you’re in a video game with your stats on display, then you would probably like the hands free dive computer.

Conclusion

Overall, if you’re in the market for the best dive computer for beginners, you are in the right place. There are several models that are available, so narrowing things down to find the right one can be hard.

Thankfully, we’ve done the hard part and comprised a list of 5 of the best models available, as well as a buying guide to help you on your journey to finding the right diving computer for your needs.

Our overall best pick is the Garmin Descent Mk1. If you’re looking for something you can use as a beginner that you can grow with, this would be a fantastic choice.

It has all the bells and whistles and can be used in several different ways. If that one seems to be too complicated and you want to go with something more simple and user friendly, the Mares Puck Pro would be a great alternative.

Are you looking to go with a more affordable option? Check out our budget pick, the Cressi Leonardo. No matter which one you choose, you’ll be getting a high-quality dive computer.

The next step is up to you. Try one of the best dive computers for beginners for yourself!