Our Comparison Guide to some of the Best Beginner and Recreational Dive Computers
Dive computers are a technical piece of equipment. Manufacturers are improving on the features offered all the time. Features that were considered high-end not too long ago are now becoming more common on the entry level dive computers as prices also come down. This gives new divers the opportunity to get a reliable and safe piece of diving equipment at a very reasonable price.
Picking a new dive computer can be tricky work. Below is my list of recommended dive computers for Beginners and Recreational Scuba divers.
Click on the link below to take you to the answer of your most pressing question or keep scrolling to read the entire article.
What is classified as Recreational Scuba Diving?
The most recognized definition of Recreational diving is to be capable of safely exploring underwater reefs, popular dive sites, and locations of interest that are within easy reach of the coast.
Many Scuba agencies class the limit of depth for Recreational diving at 130 feet (or 40 meters).
PADI Open Water (OW) training will provide certification to a depth of 18 meters. Advanced Open Water (AOW) certification will give training to a depth of 30 meters. Both of these fall into the definition of Recreational Diving.
Do you need to buy a Dive Computer for Entry Level Diving?
Just remember, buying a dive computer straight away is not essential. These can be hired from dive shops until you're ready to buy one of your own.
That said, once you know you want to spend a big part of your free time diving, and when the budget allows, you'll probably want to buy one of your own. Dive computers at this level are reasonably cheap given the technology and development that's gone into them.
Open Water Scuba classes don’t help much when it comes to choosing a good diving computer from all the different options available. Advanced Scuba classes aren't much help either. Let's face it, they are there to provide training, and not sell a big range of dive equipment.
If you're on the fence and not sure whether to buy one or not, one thing worth considering is that you will quickly become familiar and and gain more confidence when using a dive computer of your own.
All dive computers are suitable for beginners, and also for virtually all Recreational diving.
Don't get too worried about picking the wrong one. Entry-level dive computers are always in demand and generally hold their resale value well. They will also serve you well as a backup dive computer later on, if you decide to extend your training.
All you really need to do is work out your budget and what features you really want, and then just go for it.
Beginners Scuba Dive Computer Pricing
The first consideration is usually your budget. The higher your budget, the more features the dive computer will have. The prices of popular entry level dive computers start around $200 and go through to the mid to high $300's.
Note: The AquaLung i200 can jump around in price online. At times it can be picked up for around $250, but sometimes it's priced in the same price bracket as the AquaLung i300C (which has Bluetooth functionality). This is something to keep an eye on if you're keen to purchase a dive computer in the AquaLung range.
Beginners Dive Computer Comparison Table
All of these dive computers have the basic features and functionality that will keep you safe while diving. Their differences are listed in the comparison table below.
Recreational Dive Computers
The next step up from entry level dive computers are the Recreational dive computers. These have a little more functionality and this is reflected in their price.
Suunto discontinued the Zoop although these are still available to buy online. This leaves the Zoop Novo as Suunto's only entry level dive computer. The Zoop Novo has more functions and this is reflected in its higher price. It retails for between $300 - $400 online.
Oceanic Geo 2.0 is a firm favorite with divers, but it's not user-intuitive. It takes a bit more effort to get to know how to set up it up, but divers love it once they get past this.