Fishing comes in many forms. Sometimes, all it takes to catch your big fish is a fishing rod, a line, and a hook. More often, you need some extra gear, such as waders, boats, other accessories and the like. Then there is ice fishing, which is merely impossible to do without winter clothes, a drill and, ideally, some additional equipment, including a tent and a through-ice fish-finder.
So, where does scuba diving into the picture? If you’re going for fish hunting with a spear gun, and you submerge for more than a minute or two using a snorkel, you are going to need a scuba. Having a scuba diving computer is an excellent idea if you do.
Top 5 Scuba Diving Computers in 2019
1SUUNTO D4i Novo Scuba Diving Computer — Best for Newbies and Pros at the Same Time
Suunto is a reasonably good diving computer for beginners. Not just them, but experts as well.
Suunto, in general, is a leading brand when it comes to diving computers, and this one tops them all with its price/quality ratio.
It’s okay, but it’s a little too advanced for beginners it’s designed for. First, it offers wireless air integration, which is cool, of course, but not really required for fishing.
On the other hand, if you like driving for what it is, you may yet explore its other advanced features and modes. With the intuitive interface, it’s not going to be hard.
The display is backlit, precisely what it should be, and the computer is capable of completing a full RGBM decompression algorithm.
The computer can make all the calculations both for regular air and nitrox mix.
All in all, the Suunto D4i Novo is best both for beginners and pros.
- Good for beginners
- Price/quality ratio
- Wireless air integration
- Intuitive interface
- Backlit display
- A little too advanced for beginners it’s designed for
2Aqua Lung i450t Wrist Watch Dive Computer — Best Overall
Is this diving computer something that you’d need? Maybe, but maybe not. It’s definitely beginner-friendly, mainly because of its air integration system. Typically, it’s not really a necessity, but if you’re particularly inexperienced, it can be a lifesaver.
There is a reason why it’s a good idea to get an appropriate certificate. You see, you have to breathe the right way when you’re diving. If you’re not doing it, you are going to consume all the oxygen too quickly. That’s bad for several reasons:
- You’re going to run out of your breathing gas too fast.
- Oxygen is toxic when you consume too much of it. It’s an extremely corrosive and hazardous matter, one that we need to live, but it’s dangerous all the same.
The Aqua Lung monitors the amount of gas left and the rate at which you consume it. It will calculate your safety stops based on the actual real-time data rather than extrapolations. That’s safer, one, and allows you to hunt for that big fish for longer.
You also get a digital compass — significant for navigation — and it can do more than just point you in the direction of the north pole. It also features declination adjustment and a return bearing lock.
The computer can manage 3 nitrox mixes at once, but you probably won’t need that. It uses the manufacturer’s standard patented Gas Time Remaining Algorithm. It’s a pity, it’s pricey.
All in all, it is a professional grade diving wristwatch, but it can be precious for a total noob.
- Air integration system
- The Aqua Lung monitors the amount of gas left and the rate at which you consume it. It will calculate your safety stops based on the actual real-time data
- 3 nitrox mixes
- Digital compass
3Oceanic Geo 2.0 Wrist Computer — Best Bang for the Buck for Diving and Spearfishing
It can handle depth that happens to be a bit deeper than you would need for fishing. However, given how this wrist computer is actually cheaper than some of the less sophisticated options, I can hardly call that a disadvantage.
It’s good for up to 330 feet, which is pretty decent, and lower than most marine life is typically found. You are very unlikely to find some good fish that deep, although it’s still possible.
The Oceanic Geo can manage up to two nitrox mixes, which is less than some of the other computers on my list but definitely more than you need as long as you don’t dive too deep.
If I were to recommend the best bang for the buck computer watch for diving and spearfishing with a spring gun, Oceanic Geo would be the only product I left on the list. It’s that good. Reasonably priced, although not the cheapest diving computer, it can do all sorts of things.
To sum it all up, this wristwatch computer is without any doubt an excellent option for both beginners and experienced divers.
Perhaps experienced divers will find that this computer lacks some essential functions. However, beginners will not experience any problems with that particular issue. And if you are planning a scuba hunt, then this computer is what you need. Although it does not have any special functions, the functions it is equipped with are quite enough for your purposes.
- Cheaper than some of the less sophisticated options
- Can manage up to two nitrox mixes
- Good for up to 330 feet
- Experienced divers will find that this computer lacks some essential functions
4SUUNTO Zoop Novo Computer Console — Most Reliable
When it comes to European manufacturers of diving computers, Suunto is among the top ten. But despite the sheer non-American origin of this brand, this diving computer can provide readouts in both the imperial and metric systems.
Most of reading this post prefer the imperial system, that said, it’s still true that the metric system is adopted in the global scientific community, and if we’re talking about common men only, I still have to remember that Canada has relatively recently switched to the metric system. So if you are a proud Quebec, you don’t have to get confused and get used to the imperial system again. Or force yourself use the metric units. You can choose either.
I find it curious that nautical units worldwide are anything but metric, by the way, but that is a topic for another discussion.
What I really like about this diving watch is the analog pressure gauge. Usually, you don’t want the manufacturer to mix analog and digital up, but not when it comes to a security sensitive topic like this one.
Even if the computer itself fails for some reason, the pressure gauge readout will be enough to calculate the time and duration of safety stops at least approximately.
As for the display, I can’t say anything special about it. It a segment/matrix display, which is also backlit. That is quite enough to provide you with all the useful data. You may still dislike how simple it is.
- Diving computer can provide readouts in both the imperial and metric systems
- Analog pressure gauge
- Display. A backlit segment/matrix display
5Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer for Scuba Diving — Cheapest Diving Watch
Many other diving watches come with a variety of useful features. However, they all share a common flaw: they are costly. The Mares Puck Pro is a very similar watch that lacks that flaw. It is cheaper than the cheapest one among the more advanced watches on our list by almost two times.
This model is quite old when it comes to diving computers. It is more than 10 years old, but it still remains one of the most suitable diving computers for beginners. Despite its age and low price, it is quite reliable, intuitive, and able to calculate safety stops accurately. Like any other diving computer on my list, it can calculate many parameters for nitrox mixes.
It’s only good for 50 dives, but if your hobby is not diving as such, that should be a reasonable enough purchase for most anglers.
The watch is entirely devoid of any superficial features, and while it has no fallbacks, it is perfect for fulfilling the fundamental purpose of a diving computer.
- Able to calculate safety stops accurately
- Old design
- Only good for 50 dives
- the amount of breathable gas you have left,
- the rate of gas absorption, depending on what sort of gas you are breathing.
Safety StopsYou may not need that particular feature if you are just scraping the surface, but if so, you don’t really need a diving computer in the first place. It’s quite hard to find a diving computer that doesn’t offer this feature. That said, you may need that feature after all. It’s not just the depth that’s dangerous, it’s also how fast you are descending or ascending. Fast ascension is especially deadly, as it is very likely to cause caisson sickness, which, in its turn, is potentially lethal. Even when it does not turn out to be fatal in any given situation, it will still be quite unpleasant.
Air System IntegrationIt’s not a must, especially not for a spring gun hunting due to relatively low depths and the nature of such activity, but it’s quite a useful feature to have. It’s still something you probably won’t need, but it’s more accurate.A diving computer only needs one sensor and a timer chip, it doesn’t mean it’s limited to them. Some of the most sophisticated diving computers have a whole lot of sensors, from a digital compass to an integrated ultrasonic depth finder. It is also possible for some computers to get a read on your air supply and how fast you’re consuming your air. All you have to do is connect the computer to your air system.As you can guess, that implies that the air system and the diving computer are both designed to work like that and are compatible.That’s a little bit safer, but for our purposes, computers without air integration are just fine. You only need it if you are a newbie, and your budget allows for such extravagant expenses.
Efficient ReadoutIt’s refreshing when your diving computer slash watch can do all sorts of neat computations. What is not cool is when you can’t get a read on your own gadget, and when you can, understating the information represented there is a challenge.That’s why you need to ensure that your diving computer has a decent screen. By that, I mean it should be large enough and preferably backlit. As a matter of fact, a backlight is something you will surely need, and if you don’t have a backlit display, you will notice how inconvenient that is in mere seconds. As for the size, a larger screen means more light to hit your retina. I would recommend a bigger size and lower resolution. It’s not really all that necessary for underwater, while a low-resolution image allows making out the details much more comfortable.Aside from the size and backlight, there’s also the type of display to consider. As a rule, you have three options available to you: a segmented display, which comes with the cheapest diving computers, a dot matrix display, which is usually installed on more expensive models, and a full-color display, and that category makes the most expensive computers.Many would think a full-color display is better, but its only real advantage is the appealing picture. What matters, though, is if it can give you all the information you need, and if so, how easy it is to access.There is very little difference between a dot matrix display and a full-color display, although some data may be color coded. Not that it’s required often enough for that to be relevant.As for segmented displays, they are usually limited to representing numerical data. They are not quite as good for everything else, but sometimes, the numbers are all you need.
PriceThat something I rarely consider in my reviews and leave to your own judgment, but not in this instance. I assure you that you don’t need anything more expensive than 1,000 dollars, in fact, you don’t even need something that costs exactly that much.You’re going to be fishing with a spring gun, not looking for treasures long lost. For those purposes, you don’t need anything even remotely as expensive.You are not going to be using gas mixes. You are not going to be using air integration. Finally, you are not going to be diving deep enough for most of the other settings and features to matter.If I were to recommend a diving computer for just diving, I would consider all those features in more detail, but as it is, simplicity is the key.Diving computers become more expensive as they become more advanced and customizable, but the point is, you don’t need that sophistication if all you want to do is to catch your big fish.
How Does it Work?Before you commit, you must know how specifically your diving computer works. I don’t mean you should learn the math behind it, no, all you have to know is if it is programmed to make longer or shorter stops and why it’s programmed like that.There is no perfect diving computer or mode. They are all biased either towards either long or short stops. After all, they don’t read the data from your own body, the algorithm has to guess. Which one to choose? If you are totally new to diving, pick one that tends to err on the safe side or comes with a mode that does just that. It’s not perfect, you’re going to burn your oxygen sooner, and you will spend less time in the water doing the hunting and more decompressing, but you will be safe.Whereas a computer that is biased towards shorter stops may kill or injure you if you trust it blindly and don’t know a thing about safe decompression. It probably won’t, but it still might. If you are in doubt, always use a conservative diving computer or mode.
FeaturesModern diving computers can offer more than merely basic calculations. They have other features and parameters to account for.
AlertsThis is something a diving computer must possess. Don’t bother buying a diving watch that has no way of notifying you about your status. The signals are the whole reason for buying one of such things. If a computer has no way of warning you of imminent danger, it’s isn’t worth anything.In fact, it’s worse than not having a computer at all, since it’s going to compromise your safety by making you more confident than you should be. You may know about that in advance, but that’s not going to stop that from happening. I know it firsthand.
BatteriesChanging the batteries underwater is a terrible idea. Unless the diving computer is somehow designed to allow for such a thing, and both the battery compartment and batteries are watertight, it’s impossible to achieve something like that.Yes, I did say impossible. That’s what it is.If your diving computer comes with a built-in battery, then changing the battery is plain impossible.That’s why I recommend that you do two things:
- make sure you have some extra charged batteries just in case those in your diving computer run low;
- only buy batteries with sufficient capacity.