Dive computers are an incredibly useful tool for diving.
However, some people have a hard time deciding between wrist and console dive computers.
The best way to determine which option is right for you is to try both, but the units can be expensive.
When choosing the best console dive computer as your first console dive computer or as your next upgrade, you want to be sure you find the right features.
After all, a good portion of your dive budget may be going to this device.
That means you should ensure you pick your instrument very carefully.
Today, learn more about the top two console dive computers.
By the end of today’s article, you’ll know more about the benefits of console dive computers and which option is the best of the best on the market today.
Best Console Dive Computer Reviews
1. Cressi Scuba Diving Two-Gauge Console with Computer
Also known as the Leonardo Two-Gauge Console, Cressi is an entry-level console dive computer that is a great option for many skill levels.
This conservative computer is easy to learn to use, but does it have the features you are looking for?
- Single Button Programming
As with many other dive computers available from Cressi, the Leonardo Two-Gauge Console Dive Computer has a single-button design.
This means that a single button will control every menu, submenu, and selection you make on the device.
While that might seem overly simplistic to those used to a more complex design, it actually helps make the instrument more intuitive.
There is only one button that you need to learn how to use, and the mechanics are very simple.
You need to quickly and easily make adjustments and safety checks on your gauges.
This two-gauge model allows that with the one-button design.
- Important Safety Features
Like all dive computers, the most important thing about the Cressi Scuba Diving Two-Gauge Console with Computer is its right safety features.
The distinct, audible alarms on this model make sure that you know exactly what the algorithm recommends during the dive.
If you are ascending too quickly or miss a stop point, the alarm will go off to make sure that you are aware.
The screen will also alert you as to what action you are missing, so it can be a great learning tool.
You can customize the alarm settings of the Leonardo Two-Gauge Console Dive Computer to some degree.
However, some experienced or technical divers find that the alarms are excessive for their needs.
The screen also has a very clear battery life indicator, which is important while diving.
- Lightweight and Durable
The Cressi or Leonardo Two-Gauge Console Dive Computer is made from a composite of polycarbonate materials.
These materials are very rugged and lightweight.
As such, even after 50, 100, or more dives, this dive computer will still likely be working just as well as it did on day one.
When using an instrument that you rely on for your safety, durability is key.
2. Suunto Zoop Two-Gauge Dive Computer Console
The Suunto Zoop Two-Gauge Dive Computer Console is a mid-range product that is a great choice for beginners and intermediate divers alike.
With two gauges and a highly optimized use system, this dive computer is a favorite among many divers.
Will it become your favorite?
To understand what is offered by the Suunto Zoop Two-Gauge Dive Computer Console, you should take a closer look at the exact features it offers.
- Highly Reliable Brand
With all kinds of diving equipment, it’s important to know that the brand behind the instrument is working hard with your safety in mind.
Products from Suunto, including the Zoop Two-Gauge Dive Computer Console, come with this guarantee.
This is a large part of why so many people like their products.
When using this dive computer console, it is possible to use air and Nitrox mixed up to 50%.
You can easily customize the amount that you are using so that your computer handles the calculations properly.
This integration makes it very smooth and easy to dive with this computer.
- Simple To Read and Use
Using a dive computer needs to be intuitive and easy to do.
When using the Suunto Zoop Two-Gauge Dive Computer Console, it is effortless to use the interface and read the screen.
The display on all of Suunto’s Zoop products is very large with crisp, clear alpha-numerics.
That means every piece of data the computer shows will be easy to digest.
You can make the most of that information while you dive.
- Built-In Dive Planner
In addition to the typical alarms that you will find on all console dive computers, this particular computer also has a built-in planner.
This planner can help you ensure that you’ll do the multi-day dives with great success.
With your input, the algorithm will calculate the appropriate dive times and depths to create the right plans for your dives.
Using a cable available from Suuntos, you can easily upload all of your dive data to the computer to further analyze it after your trip.
Top Features on Dive Computers
When shopping between different options for the best console dive computer of 2020, what features should you be looking for?
To ensure you get the right fit when choosing a console dive computer, you will want to pay attention to the following categories.
One of the most important things to look at when choosing a console dive computer is the interfacing.
You can ask yourself some questions such as "How are the various menus, submenus, and features controlled?", "Are you going to have to study the instructions for hours?", and "Will they be very intuitive to understand with some review?"
It goes without saying that the buttons should be simple to use.
Any dive computer with more than one button should be labeled.
This way, you can figure out what to do in any situation.
If the system is difficult to navigate, it will become a hindrance rather than a helpful assistant on your dives.
Large, Visible Display
Another thing that you will want to consider is the size and design of the display screen.
The layout of the screen, the size of the alpha-numerics, and the availability of a backlight can make a huge difference in readability.
You need to be able to read the data that the console dive computer shows you to use it effectively.
If the display is not making it easy to get info, you need to choose a different instrument.
Air Integration Availability
Many divers will prefer console dive computers that have air integration.
Not only is this convenient, but it also sets up your computer to do more accurate calculations while you are diving.
The integrated calculations will allow for more successful and longer dives, so this is a feature worth prioritizing.
Multiple Nitrox Mixes
If you want a console dive computer that can switch between gas mixes at specific points in your dive, you must look for this feature.
Some advanced dive computers can do this, but it is not found frequently in mid- and entry-level models.
Finally, it’s always good to look for a dive computer that allows for some level of customization.
Many features could use some customization, from setting specific altitudes to controlling the types of alarms you see.
Most dive computers will allow you to customize how conservative the algorithm is when calculating your dive info.
Make sure that you look for a console dive computer that will offer the right types of modes and customizations for your diving style.
Do I Really Need a Dive Computer?
Considering how readily available and affordable dive computers are today, there is no reason not to have one.
There is something to be said about learning how to do the necessary dive calculations using your diving gauge, tables, and other instruments.
Of course, learning those skills and relying on them are two different things.
The technology that goes into dive computers can do wonders for keeping divers alert and safe while in the water.
Additionally, dive computers allow you to do longer dives.
That's because the algorithms work dynamically to give a real-time picture of your dive.
That is not the case when using dive tables unless you do incredibly complicated work in your head to plan your dive.
Dive computers have revolutionized how diving works today.
It is also a great instrument to have on your side.
Dive computers are not 100% necessary to dive safely, but they can help mitigate the risks you will face underwater.
The best option is to learn how to use your other tools to do dive calculations and use a dive computer.
If either option isn’t working, you can rely on the backup.
Why Are Dive Computers so Expensive?
There are several reasons why dive computers might seem to be very expensive.
First, however, you should be aware that the cost of dive computers compared to what they offer has actually gone down drastically.
In the 80s and 90s, computers that only stored a minimal amount of data cost upwards of $1,000.
Today, technology advancements have ensured that even more complex and powerful devices only cost a few hundred dollars.
Of course, a few hundred dollars is nothing to scoff at.
A number of factors contribute to the price of most dive computers.
These include limited market, high overhead costs for liability reasons, limited production runs, and advanced waterproofing.
High-end models usually have extra features.
It might not seem like these factors are enough to create the cost of the average dive computer.
However, there is a lot that goes into making these instruments.
Since your safety underwater is partially reliant on the devices, you want to be sure that they are created with a high degree of accuracy and durability.
How Long Does a Dive Computer Last?
In most cases, you can use a dive computer for at least 10 years without it failing. Of course, there could be problems.
The biggest issue that people face is the batteries needing to be replaced.
That's because even rechargeable batteries can fail after a few recharging years.
Many people find that they want to upgrade to a newer model with better algorithms before their old dive computers wear out.
If you’re comfortable with not having the most up-to-date technology, you can likely use your dive computer safely for a decade or more.
How Do You Clean a Dive Computer?
Like any piece of scuba equipment, you need to clean your dive computer before you put it into storage.
You should follow the advice of the manufacturer on how to clean your dive computer.
Generally, this is how to clean this instrument:
- Gently rinse the dive computer using freshwater and mild or diver’s soap.
- Using a moist, soft cloth, wipe down the housing.
- Hold the unit underwater and press down all of the buttons at once. This will expel any sand or other buildup.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean any water contact or depth sensors as needed.
- Once dried, be sure to store it in a dry place.
Best Console Dive Computer for Safety: Final Verdict
Both of these dive computers are great options when choosing a console dive computer.
That said, the Cressi Scuba Diving Console with Computer or Leonardo Two-Gauge Console stands out as the better option between the two.
That is because of the great balance it strikes between price and features.
The model offers everything that a diver needs while ensuring that everything is as simple and intuitive.
When working with a console dive computer like this one, you can be sure that you will have all of the information that you need.
Staying safe while diving is easier when you have one of the best console dive computers in hand.