The Best Dive Computers for Beginners in 2024

19th April 2024 By Jim

As a beginner diver, having the right dive computer can make all the difference in your underwater adventures. Dive computers are essential tools that help you monitor your depth, time, and decompression status. Once you have your own, you’ll feel naked underwater without it! 

In this Honest Guide, we’ll explore the best dive computers for beginners. I’ll try to highlight all the key features and benefits you’ll need to help you make an informed decision. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what to look for in a beginner-friendly dive computer, as well as my top recommendations from my favourite brands.



You most likely used a dive com during your beginner training, but just in case they’re brand new to you, a dive computer is a specialised device designed to monitor and track various parameters during a dive, providing crucial information to help ensure your safety and enjoyment underwater.

At its core, a dive computer serves as a digital depth gauge and timer, continuously measuring and displaying your current depth, the time elapsed since the start of your dive, and the time remaining before you need to begin your ascent. It will also help you carry out safety stops and make sure you’re ascending at the best rate. 

Beyond these common basics, many dive computers also incorporate advanced features such as:

  • A dive planning mode, giving you all the information you need to safely plan your next dive, based on the data that your dive computer has captured from previous dive times and surface interval durations.
  • Nitrox compatibility allowing you to use enriched air mixtures, which can extend your bottom time and reduce your risk of decompression sickness.
  • Connection to tank transmitters to tell you how much air you have left, and even estimating how long that will last you.
  • Bluetooth or USB integration is becoming increasingly popular in dive computers for beginners as they allow you to download your dive data to a computer or mobile device, enabling you to review your dive profiles, track your progress, and share your experiences with the diving community.

Ultimately, the dive computer is a crucial tool that helps beginner and experienced divers alike to dive safely, monitor their vital statistics, and make informed decisions throughout their underwater adventures.


Diver wearing one of the best dive computers for beginners


Key Features to Look for in a Beginner Dive Computer

When selecting a dive computer as a beginner, there are several key features to consider that will sway your decision towards the best computer for you:


Easy to Use Interface

The dive computer’s interface should be intuitive and easy to navigate, with a clear and uncluttered display. Beginner-friendly models often feature large, easy-to-read screens and simple button controls that allow you to access essential information quickly. If you know that your eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be, you might benefit from a computer with a large, colour display. This will make it super easy to read the computer underwater.


Nitrox Compatibility

Most beginner dive computers now offer Nitrox compatibility, allowing you to use enriched air mixtures to extend your bottom time and reduce your risk of decompression issues – but just double check. It’ll probably be quite likely you’ll use Nitrox at some point in your diving adventures, particularly if you’re heading to tropical destinations. It makes sense to stay underwater as long as you can!


Connectivity Features

Some beginner dive computers offer connectivity options, such as Bluetooth or USB, that allow you to download your dive data to a computer or mobile device. This can be useful for reviewing your dive profiles and tracking your progress over time. Paper log books are fast becoming a thing of the past, with most new divers opting for a digital log instead. Having some form of connectivity makes filing in your log an absolute doddle – just sync it to an app like Aqualung’s Diverlog+. You can even upload photos from your dive and share the log to social media!



Most of the budget beginner dive computer options will be powered by a watch battery. This will need to be changed periodically, and it’s not really a job you should be doing yourself. I’d recommend you drop it into your local dive centre to get the battery changed by a service tech so they can make sure everything is working properly and the unit is watertight before you dive it.

If you’ve got a little more budget available to you, mid-range dive coms are USB charged or have AA batteries that you can switch out yourself. This will help you save a bit of dosh on battery changes and makes things much more convenient.



Most beginner dive computers come with a watch-style strap. If you’re a wetsuit diver, this will be perfect to wear on your wrist or on top of your wetsuit sleeve. However, most of these standard-length straps will not be long enough to reach around a bulky drysuit sleeve. If you’re a cold water diver, check the options that come with your new dive computer – it may have a strap extender, an interchangeable longer strap or a bungee mount. Personally, I much prefer the bungee – I find watch-style straps a nightmare to do up on my own, especially when I have thick gloves on. The bungee on the other hand is dead easy – just stretch and slide it on, I don’t need my buddy’s help!


Bungee mount on the Shearwater Perdix one of the best dive computers for beginners



As a beginner, you’ll want to find a dive computer that fits within your budget without sacrificing essential features and functionality. Many brands offer high-quality, entry-level models that provide excellent value.

If you know that your future diving adventures are going to take you towards deeper, longer adventures like tech diving, if your budget allows right now, it may work in your favour to buy a top-end computer. It will be perfect for the beginner diving you’re enjoying right now, but it will have the capability to grow with you as you progress through the levels. Think of it as an investment in your diving future – you’ll not need to upgrade and spend more money later if you choose a slightly more expensive model today.



(Nic made me put this one in 😉) If colour scheme is important to you, you might need to go to a slightly higher model than something billy basic. Mid-range computers tend to have more options when it comes to design preferences, plus you’ll also be able to choose from dive coms that can be worn all the time (not just underwater) and some even have sports watch features so you can take it to the gym with you too!


By considering these key features, you can ensure that you select a dive computer that will support your diving journey, enhance your safety, and provide a seamless and enjoyable underwater experience.


Top Dive Computer Recommendations for Beginners

So, with that in mind, here’s some of the best dive computers for beginners on the market right now:


Shearwater Peregrine


The Shearwater Peregrine is an excellent choice for beginner divers. Shearwater is famous for excellent quality dive coms, and now they’ve designed one that’s aimed at recreational divers.


One of the best dive computers for beginners - the Shearwater Peregrine

With the Peregrine, you’re getting that amazing Shearwater dive computer quality without having to pay for the tech features that you may never use.

  • It features a large, full-color LCD display that is easy to read underwater
  • It uses the reliable Bühlmann ZHL-16C algorithm with gradient factors for decompression monitoring, and offers a simplified diving mode that is perfect for new divers.
  • It also comes with a variety of connectivity features, including wireless charging and the ability to connect to Shearwater’s cloud-based dive logging system.


Aqualung i200C

The Aqualung i200C is another fantastic dive computer for beginner divers. I really like these super colourful coms.

One of the best dive computers for beginners - the Aqualung i200c

With the i200c, you’re getting a dive computer that you can also wear top side.

  • Beyond its stylish appearance, the i200C offers an intuitive, single-button interface for easy navigation
  • It features multiple dive modes, including air, Nitrox, and gauge modes, as well as a freediving mode
  • It also boasts Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to sync your dive data with the DiverLog+ app for logging and sharing your dives on social media


Garmin Descent G1

The Garmin Descent G1 is a versatile dive computer that also functions as a smartwatch, making it a great choice for beginner divers who want a multifunctional device – I think they’re really impressive little machines.

One of the best dive computers for beginners - the Garmin Descent G1

The fact that the Garmin Descent G1 is a fully functional dive com PLUS has all the other features we know and love from Garmin for tracking sports, the bang for your buck is insane.

  • It offers advanced dive features, such as customisable conservatism, a dive planner, and a 3-axis digital compass, all while providing a suite of sports and fitness tracking capabilities.
  • Choose the standard G1, the solar-powered G1 Solar, or if you’re really dedicated to protecting the ocean, the eco-friendly G1 Ocean that’s made from recycled materials!


In Conclusion

I’ve dived all three of these computers – they’re all great, with the Garmin ever so slightly my favourite purely because of value for money. If you don’t need a smart watch, then the Peregrine would be my next choice!

As always, if you need some more help, just give me a shout – I’m more than happy to go through all the options to help you find a computer that is perfect for you 😀


James is a PADI Staff Instructor and self-confessed kit nerd. He's literally like a walking product catalogue. If you're looking for a piece of gear, but you're not sure where to start, give James a shout. He will find out exactly what you need, what problems you're currently experiencing and everything you hope to achieve and turn it into a solution... It's amazing! He's been diving for 15 years and an instructor for over a decade. He adores sidemount diving, we can't remember the last time we saw him in a single tank set up outside of the training tank!