Dive Computer Console vs Wrist Units: What You Need To Know

dive computer console vs wrist
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Choosing between a dive computer console vs wrist models isn't too challenging.

Both of the devices work similarly to one another, but how they operate will differ.

There are a few other notable differences to consider, especially if it's your first time buying a dive computer.

What Is a Console Dive Computer?

Console divers work identically to wrist dive computers.

Their main difference is that the computer is mounted to another part of the gear and larger.

Some divers suggest that console versions are more convenient, especially for reading underwater, since their screens are larger.

They will show all of the same metrics as a wrist-mounted unit, such as your depth, dive time, and remaining dive time.

With a single glance at the large screen, all of the critical dive information you need will be readily available.

It's also one of the more traditional options for divers, which is why they are as popular as they are.

Advantages of a Console Dive Computer

Although both units work similarly, there are a few notable advantages of consoles over wrist units.

As you begin to garner more experience diving, you'll be able to decide which model is preferable for your needs.

Visibility, cost, and convenience are the three main points to consider when comparing the two.


Divers often prefer the overall design of console computers because of the size of their screen.

When underwater, you never have to worry about not seeing the information that you need immediately.

The larger screen allows your bearing, dive time, depth, remaining tank time, and more to be displayed in one area.

With the ability to glance at a console dive computer and see the data, diving will be more comfortable.

It's also important to note that the technology in these dive computers makes the data easy to read.

They typically have perfectly bright screens that you can customize based on the amount of light underwater.

You can also view the screens easily from any angle without having to worry about glaring or smudging.


Although they are more extensive than wrist models, console dive computers are far less expensive.

Since they are the traditional option, manufacturers can put many features into a single unit at a low cost.

You can guarantee you can easily fit a console model into your budget, especially if you're buying your first rig.


Console dive computers are typically attached to another piece of equipment, like your regulator.

Even if you were to drop your dive computer, you wouldn't worry about finding it at the bottom of the ocean.

You also won't need to worry about leaving it on the boat or in your hotel room by accident because it's connected.

It's an all-in-one solution that will go everywhere you go.

Cold Water Diving

Console computers are by far the best option for diving in cold environments, especially while wearing gloves.

Trying to manage to reach a smaller wrist dive computer's functions will be challenging with clumsy fingers.

Consoles ensure all of the buttons and switches are easily accessible whether you're in warm or cold water.

dive computer console vs wrist

What Is a Wrist Dive Computer?

Wrist dive computers are one of the more modern options for all skill levels.

They are shaped similarly to a traditional watch, though they have a larger watch face.

Depending on the model you choose, you can find screens ranging from two inches to five inches or more.

These models display the same information as console computers, such as your remaining dive time and bearing.

The simplest way to explain a wrist dive computer is to imagine a console dive computer in a smaller package.

However, some of the more expensive models will have extra features, such as Bluetooth connectivity.

Advantages of a Wrist Dive Computer

Some divers prefer to wear wrist dive computers because of their convenience, along with many other benefits.

You'll find these models are more stylish, offer extra features, and are highly portable.


There's no doubt that wrist dive computers are the more portable option for divers.

If you travel frequently, you'll want a device that is easy to pack in your luggage and takes up less space.

Wrist units are also lighter, which won't add any extra weight to your existing diving gear.

It's far simpler to bring a wristwatch with your diving gear than a large and often bulky console computer.


When you spend a lot of money on innovative diving gear, you'll want to invest in stylish accessories too.

It's easy to create the perfect aesthetic with a modern dive computer that sits on your wrist seamlessly.

The majority of young divers prefer the different styles of wrist computers they can choose from to add to their gear.


Although console dive computers can be easier to read, wrist models can sometimes be preferred for convenience.

Since they are smaller, they allow you to be more hydrodynamic to navigate underwater easily.

You also won't have to worry about pulling out a console computer every time you want to check your stats.

Female divers especially like wrist computers because it's easier to manage all of their gear while merely looking at their wrists.

There are plenty of options for wrist dive computers that allow you to customize the face of the watch.

With this feature, you can decide what important information you want available at a glance.

Any other features are easy to get to with the push of a single button.


One of our favorite features of wrist dive computers is the extra features you'll often be able to use.

Since they are the more modern option, they typically have more up-to-date conveniences like Bluetooth connectivity.

Wrist models also come with compasses and air integration, although these can also be found in console dive computers.

You might also find additional features such as:

  • Auto altitude adjustment
  • Gas switching
  • Several diving modes
  • Special algorithms
  • User-changeable batteries
  • Adjustable conservatism levels
  • Single-button interfaces
  • Color or black and white displays
  • Built-in dive simulators
  • Timers

Dive Computer Console vs Wrist: The Conclusion

Deciding between a dive computer console vs wrist unit depends on wearability and comfort.

Both devices are designed to keep divers safe using the same diving algorithms to provide essential data.

Where they differ the most is in extra features and bulkiness, which is up to personal preference.

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