A scuba computer has a place in almost everyone's gear bag.
The choice can seem bewildering so I have tried to make a little roadmap so you can narrow down which computer would be best for you.
On this page I cover information you need to to consider when buying a scuba diving computer such as the amount of dives it will keep track of, how you are going to use that information, what price you will need to pay and more.
So let's get into the details.
( If you are thinking of buying a dive computer you might find our free guide to buying a computer helpful. We also give you our recommendations for best dive computers at different price points.)
Your dive computer can keep track of your dive history. How much is kept in the memory varies depending on the model of the dive computer.
On the less expensive scuba computer, it appears that a computer dive log of your last 10-15 dives is about average.
On the more expensive models, a computer dive log of around 50 dives or so seems to be typical.
So if you tend to do alot of dives or go on several dive trips a year, a computer that keep tracks of a higher number of dives is probably the best route to go.
That way you won't lose a dive if you forget to write down the information. I am speaking from experience here.
Our computer, which is about 15 years old, only keeps track of the last dive. Fifty dives sounds like heaven. After each dive we have to write down the information before our next dive or we will lose the data.
Many models of scuba computers also allow you to download your computer dive log to your PC.
If you want this feature, check if you need to purchase the software and/or cable separately. Sometimes it is included in the price but more often than not, it seems you need to purchase the software separately.
Depending on the model, downloading the information from your scuba computer can calculate all sorts of information. At the very least you will probably have graphing capability of your depth and time.
Generally, you will be able to download all the information that your dive computer keeps track of. So additional data such as decompression and no-deco time, ascent rate violations, temperature, tissue loading data, surface interval, air consumption and tank pressure (for air integrated models) may be imported and charted.
Especially in the case of an accident, this data can come in handy.
Reading reviews of dive computer software, it is obvious that some software is more cumbersome to use than others. So if you want this feature, check out reviews of the software your scuba computer uses.
Because chances are if it is hard to use and manipulate, you won't use it much. Kind of defeats the purpose.
Isn't this the million dollar question?
While a scuba computer is a great piece of scuba diving equipment, how much is it going to cost me?
Of course, you know the answer: it depends.
The price of a scuba computer varies greatly. You can get a good basic dive computer for less than $200 or you can spend well over $1,000.
The dive computer price is dependent on the bells and whistles you want the computer to have. (To see all the features of a scuba computer take a look at this page.)
If you want the computer that tells you everything, you will be paying more. If you don't want or need some features, there really isn't any point in paying for them.
For instance, are you really going to download your data to a PC? Some people will, some won't. I know I probably never will, so I may be able to save some money here.
The other major factor that determines a dive computer price is the type of computer you want.
A simple console or wrist mounted is usually the least expensive. An air integrated hoseless is probably the most expensive type you can buy. A nitrox dive computer will cost a bit more than the air only model.
I do recommend here, though, that if you think you will ever dive with nitrox, to buy a nitrox compatible computer. It will save you having to buy a whole new computer if you decide to use nitrox in the future.
Our computer was only $150 - it is obviously a very basic computer. It has lasted for 15 years with no problems. They don't make them anymore so I will be in the market if this one ever dies.
Sometimes I wish it would, so we can try out a new model - ah, such problems.
No matter what you want, you can probably find a dive computer price to fit your needs and budget.
If you are just starting out diving, or your dive computer is in the shop, many places now rent dive computers.
However, it is not cheap.
I see most places quoting $10-$20/day for a dive computer rental. You don't have to rent for many days before you would have been able to buy a basic dive computer for the same amount of money!
If you do go the dive computer rental route, make sure you get a lesson in how to use it. You don't want to be underwater and wondering what the computer is telling you.
And does that scuba computer turn itself on once you hit the water or do you have to do it?
So there are some tidbits of information on a scuba computer that I hope you found helpful.
Dive computers are a great piece of scuba diving equipment and I highly recommend purchasing one if you are going to do any significant amount of diving. The extended bottom time and ease of use make it a more than worthwhile purchase.
For more information, check out our other pages on scuba dive computers:
You can also check out our Computer Store for all the computers we have available.
Looking for other scuba equipment and accessories? Check out our picks for best dive gear.
Here's to a long, safe dive!
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