How To Choose A Dive Computer
You're looking for a dive computer that does what you need and is not a waste of money. Not sure what to choose? Don't pull your hair out trying to figure it out on your own. Get help from professional divers or the PADI Dive location near you. If you can't find such helpful resources, here are a few points to consider in choosing your next dive computer:
What to consider before buying
If you're a frequent diver who goes deep, you'll need a more reliable and robust dive computer than those used by persons who only dive occasionally and in shallow areas. If you have equipment already but need a dive computer to complete it, then it's easier to figure out which dive computer is right for you.
You may also need to consider dive computers that are easy to use since not everyone has the patience to endure a steep learning curve. So, simpler is better if you want to get going with a reliable dive computer immediately.
Consider your eyesight underwater. Is it any good? Modern dive computers are designed with enhanced readability that makes it easy to see everything in the dark water. Displays are also in various colors to make information stand out.
But, what about features?
Expect the standard features that come with every dive computer but look out for cool options that may be worth your while. You should have information like elapsed time, how deep you are, how much time you have left, your stop limits, how fast you are ascending, and emergency decompression at your fingertips.
Options that are also nice to have are a display of your remaining air supply, adjustable settings for deep diving, various gas computers suitable for technical dives or ones equipped with Closed-Circuit Rebreather (CCR), and thermometer or electronic compass built-in.
Let's take a closer look:
Related Topic: Best Dive Computer
Nitrox vs Air
Do you prefer a Scuba dive computer that allows for enriched air? When buying your dive computer check whether it can provide information on Nitrox. Of course, all modern dive computers are designed with Nitrox algorithms that allow users to switch between Nitrox and air. If you're an advanced diver familiar with Trimix - that includes Helium - you'll appreciate dive computers that allow for this.
Select a dive computer that also allows you to check how much air you have left with air integration. This type of dive computer shows your breathing rate and tells you the amount of time you have left to safely complete your dive. It will also correctly show the amount of nitrogen you have absorbed so you know whether to remain underwater or not.
You'll definitely need a reliable warning system while underwater. This means an alarm you can hear as well as see there. Scuba Dive computers are equipped with alarms that tell you whether you are reaching certain limits such as ascent rate, stop time and no decompression. You'll also be able to program your own alarms to ensure a safe and fulfilling dive experience.
The screen guard
Do you find scratched screens rather annoying? The best bet is to use screen guards on your dive computer screens. Most manufacturers of dive computers are including screen guards. Be mindful, though, that these screen guards will become scratched and difficult to read over time. When this happens, you can easily replace them.
Useable with your Personal Computer
One of the conveniences of major dive computer models is the ability to download your dive data to a personal computer. With this feature, it's easy to see your dive history and other information not normally view able on your Scuba dive computer. You may find that software allowing dive data downloads are already built-in in some models while other models require you to buy separate software.
Console vs Wrist
Which do you prefer? Dive watches you wear on your wrist? A console type dive computer? Or a wrist mounted display? It's up to you to decide among these types although later dive computer models also provide capabilities that are comparable. Bear in mind that console Scuba dive computers are bigger and usually require a hose to attach it to your dive equipment. They also use batteries and are not always air integrated. Some of the better-known wrist dive computers are flexible for use in freediving as well as for daily wear. In choosing your wrist dive computer do not forget to reach for specialized bracelets or straps that work well with it. The strap you choose will depend on how often and strenuously you dive.
In choosing your dive computer, consider how well it resists water. The recommended standard for water resistant dive watches is for a minimum depth of 200 meters, which is based on the internationally accepted ISO-6425 specs.
Added features are required for any dive watch that goes beyond one thousand meters. These include thicker crystals, stronger cases, and a Helium escape valve. Titanium or surgical quality stainless steel are recommended case materials. Another consideration is that the case back and crown of your dive watch must also be watertight. Screw down mechanisms with proper gaskets are recommended. High-quality dive watches utilize use cam locking or double gasket mechanisms for a more secure seal.
Here's another important consideration for dive computers – rust resistance! Not only are material that are resistant to corrosion better for longer use, they clean easily and do not allow the build up of marine salt. Check casing to ensure that they are constructed of high-quality titanium or stainless steel. Rubber or ceramics are other materials also found on your dive watch or computer. Do not choose plastic material as they will deteriorate and become breakable with time.
We have shown you a few crucial points you need to consider in choosing your dive computer. Of course, this is not exhaustive as there are other considerations when making your dive-related purchases. The important thing is that your final choice will be in line with your diving needs, safety standards, and your personal preferences. Ultimately, the dive computer you choose must be what is best for your actual situation and desired use.