In this Guide
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and getting into diving for the first time, shopping for equipment can be incredibly daunting. With so many parts and components available, it’s hard to know what you really need. Plus, with all the technical specs and diving jargon out there, it can be overwhelming for newcomers to figure out what’s what!
It’s of the utmost importance that have the right gear when you start scuba diving. Diving with the wrong equipment can turn you off the sport for life, and it can pose a serious safety risk to you as well.
When you’re shopping online, you’re at the mercy of dozens of conflicting buyer reviews, which just make it more confusing. Worst of all, divers speak in jargon, which can make it difficult to decipher what they’re complaining about in the first place! What’s a beginner to do?
We’re here to help first-timers get their feet wet without the trials and tribulations of shopping solo! We’ve put our collective expertise and diving know-how to work to come up with the most comprehensive, helpful guide out there.
We’ve looked at all the best options for beginners, and compiled a list of our favorite kits for first-timers. We’ve found a few great models to recommend, and written our own reviews for each one.
On this page, you’ll find in-depth reviews of our favorite scuba packages for beginners. We’ll talk you through all the key features, and help you get a sense of which ones you should consider buying!
We’ve also compiled a quick at-a-glance guide to fleshing out your diving kit, with featured reviews of our favorite masks, snorkels, fins and more!
Let’s start with a glance at our favorite packages for new divers!
Best on a Budget
- Our Rating: 4.9
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- Our Rating: 4.9
- Popularity: Low
- Our Rating: 5.0
- Popularity: Low
Scuba Gear Reviews
1. Cressi Start
This Cressi package comes from one of the great scuba manufacturers. It’s made in Italy, built to last, and has all the important features you need to get diving with a very reasonable price.
We like the simple, reliable piston regulator in this set, as well as the comfortable, ergonomic BCD. It’s a surprisingly functional kit that will satisfy any newcomer without making much of a dent in your wallet.
It’s a complete kit. This set includes a BCD jacket, a 2-stage regulator with hoses, and a compact analog control console. Those are all the key components you’ll need to get diving, at a very reasonable price.
It also includes the hoses for all 4 components (regulator, octopus, inflator and gauge console). This complete package costs half what many advanced options cost you!
It’s all made in Italy, by a real stalwart of the diving market. While many beginner sets are made in China or other less reputable manufacturing centers, the Cressi is made completely in Europe. When you’re buying dive equipment, safety is super important.
That’s why the Italian engineering, build quality, and quality control are so reassuring. The result is a much more reliable, durable, and safe package than other beginner options. Plus, it’s not much more expensive than the unreliable options.
The BCD is simple but effective. It’s a basic jacket design, with large Velcro-closure pockets, a rigid backplate, and a built-in handle . It’s incredibly durable, made from Cordura fabric that’s ripstop and very resilient. It’s also expandable. There are 2 D-rings installed, and 2 snap hooks for adding a weight belt or other accessories.
We love having a choice of 5 different size options, so you can find your exact fit. There are also 3 color choices as well, so you can add a bit of flair to your kit.
There are three dump valves, with one at each shoulder and a third at the lower edge of the air cell. They’re all dump-able underwater. Two are pull-cord activated, while the third is controlled by the power inflator mechanism. Having all three to choose from allows you to control buoyancy from nearly any position underwater.
Because it’s so rugged and simple, the Start model BCD is a favorite at many dive schools and resort rental centers. Its popularity in high-demand operations is a clear testament to its reliability and long-term durability.
For a regulator/octopus, you get the Cressi XS2 second stage and the AC2 first stage. We love the AC-2 because it’s a piston system at a lower cost than many diaphragm units! Like other piston systems, the AC-2 is very simple and incredibly strong. The design and build quality make it virtually maintenance-free.
While it’s a non-balanced stage, it has an innovative design which performs rather comparably to balanced stage action (giving you a steady supply of air on demand). That’s thanks to a special bush system, which allows for fast, fluid regulation of intermediate pressure.
The XS2 second stage is made from high-density polymers. It uses a lateral downstream system for purging, with an adjustable orifice.
We especially like its pilot air feed, which uses an injection system to improve breathing performance in a compact design. The second stage also includes a flow deviator, which works according to the Venturi effect.
There are also dive and pre-dive settings, so you can tailor performance to your specific conditions. The mouthpiece is made from a soft, comfortable, and hypoallergenic silicone. All in all, both stages are very high quality, and we think they’re a bargain at this price.
The kit comes with a basic analog gauge console. It includes both pressure and depth gauges, in a compact housing.
Even though they’re inexpensive, entry-level components, they’re very well-made and engineered. Both are insulated by a dual-material composite housing, which protects them from knocks and scratches without adding much weight at all.
You can fasten the console to the Start BCD, using the built-in/marked eyelets.
We think it’s an excellent starter set, and will last as your abilities grow. We’ve also read reviews from other divers who had continued to use it for deeper dives, since it performed as well as many expensive models.
It doesn’t have integrated weight pockets. You’ll have to use a separate belt if you’re planning on using weights.
The regulator unit isn’t balanced. That means it doesn’t respond quite as quickly when your conditions change. For example, if you start swimming hard and need more air, you might have to make a manual adjustment or wait a moment for the regulator to catch up. However, this Cressi unit responds much more quickly than other unbalanced options, so it’s not a huge downside.
The analog gauge unit won’t work with dive computers or digital consoles. That does limit you somewhat as you expand your dive range and equipment. However, you can always swap out the gauges later on.
2. Cressi R1
This Cressi package offers a few key upgrades over the Start. It includes a weight-integrated BCD, which is much more convenient than the Start’s jacket.
Plus, this one includes a full dive computer and a digital console. The R1 is made in Italy, like the Start, and comes with the same high-quality, low-cost regulator setup.
It’s a great option for strong swimmers who are getting into diving, and see themselves getting more adventurous fairly quickly.
It’s all-digital. While the Start package comes with a limited analog gauge setup, the R1 has a fully-digital console. That allows you to coordinate the gauges with your dive computer directly, taking any guesswork out of your dive.
It comes with the computer in the box. The Cressi Leonardo is one of our all-time dive computers on its own, so having it thrown in here is a real bargain. It has complete RGBM dive algorithms programmed in, which allows it to calculate decompression and no-fly times based on your nitrox intake.
Plus, since it’s integrated as opposed to sitting on your wrist, it’s getting its readings straight from the gauges. We love the Leonardo for its bright backlight, large, legible text, and single-button control system.
It’s versatile enough to handle both nitrox and air mixes, and it has lots of smart safety features like a battery indicator, audible alarms, and a flashing alert to keep you secure as you dive.
Our favorite feature is the adjustable levels of conservatism in the algorithms, so you can set how much decompression time you actually need. All in all, it’s a perfect companion to this kit!
The BCD is weight-integrated. It has weight pockets onboard, attached with quick-release latches. They make it very easy to switch out weights, as well as swapping weights with dive partners.
The weight-integration makes this one much more convenient than the Start’s jacket. As with the Start’s jacket, the R1 BCD is rugged tearproof material with two large pockets for cargo and other equipment. It has the same 3-valve release system, and rigid back plate.
This model also adds a new flat lock aid system, with pull-locks at the bottom edges of the jacket. It makes getting weights attached and detached a breeze.
You get the same AC-2 regulator setup as the Start, paired with Cressi’s compact octopus. Like the Start, the R1 set comes with all the hoses and necessary equipment in the package. You’ll just need to supply the mask and fins.
Overall, the R1 is a much more versatile set than the Start, and it suits people who know they’ll be doing more than casual diving at some point in the future. It’s also safer, thanks to the integrated computer.
Best of all, it comes with a bag to keep everything in when you’re on the go. We’ve found that the whole thing’s quite light and manageable, and super easy to pack. While you might be hesitant to drop this much money on a beginner set, we think you’ll be instantly reassured by the quality of the equipment and the feeling of safety on your first dives.
It’s more expensive than the Start, by a few hundred dollars. A lot of that extra cost is down to the fact that there’s a computer in the box, so you’ll want to think about whether you’ll actually be making much use of it.
Beginners may not need a computer for basic diving, but on the other hand, some will feel more secure making their forays into diving with digital backup. Aside from the price, we can’t find anything to complain about with the R1! It’s a very well-thought-out, user-friendly starter set.
3. Aqua Lung Titan
This Aqua Lung set is our top quality pick for beginners. It’s digitally-integrated like the Cressi Leonardo, and it comes with a regulator setup, BCD jacket, and dive computer all included. We like the sophisticated diaphragm on the Titan regulator, and we’re very impressed by the compact, efficient design.
It’s ideal for tougher dives where you need maximum responsiveness. This is the best choice for people who aren’t constrained by a tight budget and want to dive in with both feet!
The AquaLung Pro HD BCD has a lot of the same features as the Cressi R1, including click-lock weight compatibility, a built-in handle, and large pockets for equipment and tools. The fabric in this one is also tear-resistant, and it’s designed to hold its color over time without fading from salt or sun.
We also like that the waist is adjustable, so you can find your exact fit within a size. The valves on this one have been redesigned with a low profile. That reduces drag as you swim.
There’s also a dedicated octopus pocket at the front of the vest. In fact, there are scooped openings and pockets all over the jacket, so you can configure your equipment however works best for you. There are knife attachment points, steel D-rings, and latches where ever you may want them. It’s expandable, versatile, and durable.
We have nothing but praise for the Pro HD! All the adjustments, ports, and attachments make it very easy to customize. We also appreciate that it could grow with you as you expand your diving skills and equipment set. It’s available in six sizes, and two color options.
This kit uses Aqua Lung’s updated Titan regulator, which has some important modifications from previous incarnations:
Instead of the normal in-line configuration, which takes up lots of space, this first stage of this version has a T-shaped configuration. That allows for a more compact unit, with optimized hose routings.
It’s a diaphragm rather than a piston system, which makes this one a bit more responsive in high-demand situations than the Cressi. The first stage component is also unique in that it’s forged, which uses less brass than normal construction. That allows for a lighter, more compact unit, as well. The yoke screw has been modified to eliminate excess water.
The first stage also has a rubber-like skin coating, which protects it from impacts and abrasions. It’s compatible with EAN 40 out of the box, and accepts ACD units as well.
As with the Cressi units, the second stage of the Titan regulator has a venture knob for stopping freeflow when needed. It can be configured for right or left handed users, which makes it more convenient than other set designs.
The new mouthpiece design is supposed to stay secure while also reducing fatigue. The exhaust valve has a grid filter built in. It breaks up the airflow, resulting in smaller bubbles and less operational noise.
The whole thing is made from a reinforced polycarbonate material that’s designed to be more durable than previous versions. We particularly like the new side vents on the front cover. They prevent accidental free flow when you’re facing into currents or riding scooters. All those little features make the Titan a bit more adept than the Cressi.
The quick connect system between the stages makes it easy to switch out components on the go.
The computer that’s included in this set is even more sophisticated than the Cressi Leonardo. The i300 is simple and uncomplicated like the Leonardo, but it adds a bit more versatility and a few extra conveniences. For instance, it turns on automatically the second you hit the water.
It also has a special Free Dive mode, which keeps background calculations running while you free dive, so that you can switch back to DIVE mode in the same day without having to guess about your stats.
The Leonardo doesn’t have that same accommodation. You can use a pre-dive feature to plan out your next expedition in advance, and there’s also a one-button viewing feature for reviewing your most recent dive.
There are distinct saltwater and freshwater modes, and the system keeps a complete history of past dives, so you can track your maximum depth, lowest temperature, and overall totals for all your dives.
We’ve found that the Leonardo computer is surprisingly intuitive, even for total newcomers. That’s why we recommend it in our computer buying guide as well as part of a kit! We particularly like the display, and found it both bright and legible. It’s much better than other computers for the price.
It’s expensive for a beginner. Aside from the price, though, we’re hard-pressed to think of anything else we miss with this one!
For rougher conditions or divers with breathing difficulties
1. Mares Dragon Mission
This Mares set is even more user-friendly and convenient than the Aqua Lung, and it has lots of great features which make it one of the strongest performers on the market.
It’s extremely rugged, and it’s smartly designed for maximum efficiency. It comes with a very comfortable BCD jacket with full lumbar support and all the attachments we liked on our cheaper recommendations.
There’s also an integrated computer and compass, with full nitrox compatibility. The Puck computer is a very well-regarded entry model with expandable firmware options, and an intuitive design.
The Mares is excellent for rougher, tougher dives where you need instant, unimpeded feedback from your regulator. Its modified DFC diaphragm design lowers the pressure differential when you start needing more air from the regulator.
It also reduces resistance in deeper diving conditions and when water flow is stronger. In the second stage of the regulator, an additional component helps keep the diaphragm position down, so you don’t have to breathe as heavily to get your air supply.
The super flex hose design also excels at keeping your supply ready and accessible. All those design tweaks give it a faster response time and ratio than our three main recommendations.
It’s extremely durable as well. This set is designed to only need maintenance every two years or so. That’s thanks to the sealed regulator, which doesn’t allow water or other environmental contaminants inside.
All the external parts are made from marine-grade brass and nickel, which resist corrosion and damage from especially hard or imbalanced water. The whole diaphragm also has a slightly tapered design, which prevents freezing in colder conditions.
Since it’s so durable, this is a good choice for people who are going to be diving in rougher, wilder conditions. It’s especially good for people in cold areas, since the regulator is freeze-proof.
We also recommend the Mares to anyone who’s going into diving with a respiratory issue. The super efficient design features make it more responsive and adaptive than other models, which is ideal for anyone who finds themselves short of breath.
For the traveling diver
2. Cressi Travelight
This Cressi kit is ideal for people who go on lots of diving trips by air. It’s a self-contained travel set which comes with its own rolling suitcase that’s specifically designed to handle your dive gear.
We’re super impressed by how manageable it all is when you pack it down! The whole set weighs just 15 pounds, and leaves room in the bag for your mask, fins, and snorkel, even a rolled up wetsuit!
As far as gear is concerned, Cressi have put this whole set together with an eye for portability. It comes with the same Leonardo computer that we looked at in the R1 set, which barely adds any weight to the package.
The Travelight BCD is a similar design to the other Cressi models we’ve looked at, but every aspect of it has been modified to decrease the weight for air travel. The fabric is the first thing Cressi modified. This one is made from a nylon ripstop that cuts out a pretty solid chunk of the weight of the company’s other BCD’s.
The D-rings are made from a special alloy that weighs less than normal ring metals, and the whole jacket is constructed in such a way as to make it very easily foldable. It can then be secured with a hidden strap, and stowed in its included carrying bag.
We’re especially impressed that the packability of this jacket doesn’t lessen its performance at all. In fact, it just serves to make the whole thing more streamlined and easy to swim with once you’re underwater.
The second stage of the regulator is streamlined and modified to make it one of the most compact in Cressi’s range, and the polymer materials are also lighter. The overall result is much less drag in the water, and less weight on your flight.
Overall, this set is just as capable as our other recommendations, and the smart design features in each component make it much more portable for people who want their dive gear to be able to fly right in their carry-on luggage. If you travel frequently on diving expeditions, this one’s a great choice for you.
Which is the Best Scuba Diving Gear Package for You?
If you’re on a budget, the Cressi Start offers all the features and equipment you need at a very reasonable price. It’s not quite as versatile or feature-packed as our other options, but it covers all the basics very well.
It’s rugged, user-friendly, and expandable. The regulator in particular is very impressive, with a sturdy piston design and dependable Italian construction.
You’ll simply want to be aware of the Start kit’s limitations. The Start package doesn’t come with a dive computer, and while you can use another computer with it separately, you won’t be able to coordinate your computer with your air gauges. It’s not a good choice for people who are planning to use their first kit for eventual technical or advanced diving.
If you’re able to spend a bit more money, the Cressi R1 offers a better opportunity to new divers. It has added nitrox capability, and the computer integration makes it a much safer, more expandable setup.
Plus, it’s weight integrated, which is much more convenient than using a separate belt. Overall, the R1 will help you grow a bit further than the Start, and take the guesswork out of your first dive trips. We also think that the price is an absolute bargain considering that you get a full, high-quality computer thrown in!
If you’re looking for the best overall quality in your first dive package, and price isn’t a concern, we strongly recommend the Aqua Lung. It’s a more sophisticated package than the Cressi as a whole, and has a lot of smart features in the regulator which make it more responsive and easier to breathe through.
Plus, the computer that’s included with this package adds an extra dive mode, and more complete dive history tracking. The Aqua Lung’s BCD jacket is more expandable than either of the Cressi’s.
On the whole, this package will help you dive deeper and smarter than the Cressi models, and it provides almost infinite room to grow. Just be aware that it’ll cost you much. This one’s definitely not for people who are tentative about getting into diving.
How to Choose a Scuba Set for Beginners
What you need:
BCD stands for buoyancy control device. The BCD is the jacket or vest apparatus that you wear underwater to help you carry all your equipment at a neutral buoyancy. It floats at the surface, and you’ll coordinate your BCD settings with your weights and other equipment to achieve neutral buoyancy at any depth under water.
When you’re comparing BCDs, you’ll want to think about how they’ll fit in with the rest of your equipment. Think about your regulator and octopus components, and how they need to be stored.
If you’re diving for the first time, you may not have specific preferences as to where you like to keep all your equipment. That’s perfectly fine! We simply recommend buying the most expandable, versatile jacket you can afford.
Look for lots of pockets, ports and latches. You’ll want to accommodate for all your basic equipment, and leave some room to grow your setup as you get more adventurous.
It’s also important to consider all the things you’d think about when you buy a normal jacket. Make sure you choose a model with plenty of size options, and consult the size chart before you pull the trigger.
A lot of dive equipment is made in Europe, and European companies have different size measurements than you might be used to. It’s also worth looking at whether a given jacket is adjustable, so you can accommodate for any discrepancy between the jacket and your actual measurements.
When you’re thinking about fit, don’t forget to account for clothes! Think about your dive shirt, wetsuit, and any other clothing you might wear underwater.
Weights are used to help you achieve neutral buoyancy floating in the water. While BCDs offer some adjustment through their inflation system, ballast weights are necessary to compensate for the positive buoyancy of your air tanks, jacket, fins, and even your internal organs (especially your lungs).
You can use your BCD to adjust underwater, but you’ll use your weight system to compensate for your basic buoyancy level at the surface. Since you’re really just compensating for your equipment, you won’t actually feel your ballast weights as an impediment when you swim. They’re there to keep you balanced.
When you’re thinking about weights, your big decision is whether to get a weight-integrated BCD jacket, or to use a belt separately. Having the weights integrated with your BCD tends to be more convenient, but if you share your BCD, a separate weight belt might not be a bad call.
However, some of the nicer weight-integrated BCD’s have detachable weight pockets, which make it easy to swap out ballast. As a general rule, integrated BCD’s are more expensive, but the price difference isn’t super significant. We’d recommend getting an integrated jacket if you can afford it.
Your regulator is one of the most important components in your diving kit. It’s the device that controls your air flow, keeping your air properly pressurized and balanced. It works between your tanks and your mouthpiece to make sure you’ve always got enough air, at the right temperature and composition.
Your regulator is also responsible for supporting your other aerated components, like your inflatable BCD vest, instruments, and dry suit.
The regulator assembly is made up of two parts. They’ll usually be listed separately in diving kits, and you can easily buy each piece independently if you want to upgrade or customize a kit.
The first part is called the First Stage. It’s the piece that’s connected directly to your air tanks. The First Stage metes out the high-pressure air in your tanks into a normal breathing pressure.
The Second Stage is the piece that goes between the First Stage and your mouth. It contains the mouthpiece and a purge valve, and it’s responsible for actually delivering air to your mouth. It also filters out any waste air or other material if necessary.
When you’re shopping for regulators, you’ll need to choose between a piston or a diaphragm model. All regulators are one of the two. The diaphragm or piston system is the component that actually re-sets the air pressure after the air exits your tanks.
Piston models are the simplest design from a mechanical point of view. Usually, that would mean they’d be cheaper. But because they need to be so precisely engineered, they actually have a higher purchase cost than diaphragm systems.
However, they make up for that cost in improved reliability. They also provide stronger performance in high-pressure situations, where you need more air delivery.
Diaphragm systems are cheaper to buy, but they often perform less well in high pressure situations. With that said, most recreational divers won’t notice any difference in performance. Diaphragm systems are actually better for cold water diving, since pistons have a tendency to free-flow in colder temps.
The only downside for the average diver is slightly worse reliability, and higher repair costs. If you’re an advanced or technical diver, though, we’d advise spending more for a piston system. You can also find some more expensive diaphragm systems which are engineered specifically to make up for the shortcomings of the design.
Aside from the mechanical regulator, key aspects to look at on your regulator/octopus setup are the mouthpiece, purge button, and hose. The mouthpiece should be comfortable and suited to your specific mouth.
Make sure it fits well, since you’ll be depending on it for your whole dive. Most mouthpieces are made from molded silicone, which is hypoallergenic and easy to keep clean and sanitary.
The purge button is the feature on your Second Stage which expels any excess water from the mouthpiece and breathing apparatus. It should be simple to operate and easy to access.
Instruments and gauges:
Any complete scuba package will contain some type of instruments and gauges. They’ll help you keep track of the levels in your air tanks, and allow you to control the settings of your dive apparatus as you go. You’ll generally see air tank gauges and compasses as common fixtures.
Depth, temperature, time, and other factors are taken care of by a dive computer. Instruments and gauges will either be independent (analog), or mounted to a console (digital). Analog controls are inexpensive and easy to control, but they can’t be hooked up to a dive computer.
Console-mounted/digital controls are more expensive, but they allow you to integrate your whole system with a dive computer. They’re the best choice for advanced and technical divers.
Now that you’re set up with your first diving package, let’s look at the other components you’ll need to hit the water!
You’ll also need:
A diving mask is an essential part of any scuba or snorkel adventure. Since the human eye can’t physically focus underwater, there aren’t any if’s or but’s about whether you need a mask!
A good diving mask gives you a wide, clear picture of your surroundings underwater. It keeps water out, and keeps fog from forming on your lens.
The best diving masks fit snugly without feeling firm or uncomfortable. They should feel like a natural extension of your face.
But, just as every face has a different shape, there’s a huge range of masks out there to suit each one. It can be a bit tricky to figure out which style is the best for you, so we put together a whole guide to help you sort through the options.
One of our all-time favorite diving masks is the Cressi F1:
It’s a frameless model which gives you a wide, unimpeded view of everything around you when you’re underwater. The lens on the F1 is made of tempered glass.
The straps and rims are all-silicone, for comfort and a soft but secure fit. We like the frameless design because it slims down the whole design, and brings the lens close to your face. It feels much more seamless than bulkier masks.
Plus, the lower overall volume makes clearing water much easier. It comes in 8 different colors, so you can choose the one that matches your personal style, your snorkel, and the rest of your gear. Overall, it’s a great mask with a clear, full viewing window. It’s sleek, comfortable, and seals very well.
Find our full, in-depth review of the F1, and see more of our favorite options in our guide to the best scuba masks on the market!
As strong as the best swimmers are, human limbs really have nothing on fish. In terms of efficiency, stability, and flexibility, fins are simply the best way to move in the water.
When you’re going for a dive, you’ll want to find a pair of fins that helps you move faster, smoother, and with more control. The best fins are efficient, and translate your effort into movement efficiently. They fit snugly without being constricting.
Just like the mask market, there are simply hundreds of different fins out there, all with their own shape, size, and style. Our special guide will help you figure out exactly what you need from your pair, and show you some of the best models in each category!
One of our favorite all-around fins for scuba diving is the Cressi Reaction:
The Reaction is one of the best diving fins out there right now, and we think it makes a great choice for new divers who are already strong swimmers. It’s on the stiffer end of the spectrum, with a long, tapered blade for extra power and stability.
We especially like Cressi’s special construction process for these fins. They’ve used a molding technique to combine several materials into one. That produces a fin with all the best aspects of each material, without any breakable seams!
It’s designed for maximum efficiency, with a blade that extends over the foot pocket to give you more surface area to work with. The stiffness and snappy response of the Reactions gives you the propulsion you need for sharp turns, longer swims, and adventurous dives.
Read our full review of the Reaction fin, and check out the rest of our recommendations in our special guide!
That covers the essentials. Once you have your diving kit, fins, and mask, you’re ready to get diving! However, if you’re a completist and want to have the rest of the usual diving gear set, these two gadgets are excellent companions in the water!
You may also want:
Dive watches are essentially what they sound like: they’re a watch you can take diving with you. Unlike your average waterproof or water resistant watch, a dive watch can take the pressures of diving hundreds of meters under water without leaking or fogging.
Shopping for them can be difficult, since they’ve become such a fashion trend. Many watches are just “dive-style”, but they’re not actually up to diving.
We’ve gone on a hunt for watches that have both style and function for the deepest dives. You’ll find a range of recommendations in our dedicated guide, so you’re sure to find something that matches your style and your budget!
One of our top picks for diving watches is this Seiko model. It’s a smart, sleek model with a killer look and some rugged specs. We love the automatic drive system, which keeps the watch powered as you move around throughout the day. It works so well that this one doesn’t need a battery!
The whole system is incredibly accurate, and previous buyers said it’s only off by a couple of seconds over the course of a year. At 46mm across, this one’s a big, bold dive monster! It’s rated to 200m, and the stainless steel casing is pretty much indestructible. If you’re looking for the ultimate compromise between style and function, we think the Seiko is a very worthwhile purchase.
Find our full review, and compare this model to the rest of our recommendations here!
Most of the packages we’ve looked at in this guide include a diving computer in the box. If you’re getting a package that doesn’t have a computer, you’ll probably want to purchase one separately.
Dive computers eliminate all the headaches and hassle of calculating decompression stages, no-fly times, and other dive table numbers which can take the joy out of diving. They’re also your tool for keeping track of all the key stats of each dive.
By keeping track of how deep you’ve been, how you timed your ascent, and the amounts of each gas you’ve used for your air tank, dive computers constant re-calculate and re-assess to keep you safe.
One of our all-time favorite dive computers for new divers and experienced divers on a budget is this Cressi Giotto:
This computer has lots of great features which make it a standby for all kinds of recreational diving. We love its simple, uncluttered 3-button navigation system. It makes it easy to scroll through menus and program your settings into the Giotto.
We also like the super compact design, which allows this unit to fit like a dive watch, and to dock into gauge consoles if you’re expanding your equipment. It has a bright, backlit screen, unlike many other budget options, and it works for Air, Nitrox and Gauge diving modes.
With 9 different colors available, it’s also easy to find a Giotto to suit your individual style, and match your other gear. Overall, we think the Giotto is one of the most versatile, well-rounded computers for new divers to start with. It leaves you plenty of room to grow, without ever feeling overcomplicated.
We recommend checking out Amazon’s top-selling packages here! You can compare our selections to the rest of the market, and see plenty more options from all the big brands.