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Thinking of making the leap to an air integrated dive computer but not sure which one to choose? We’ll cover the best air integrated dive computers, key features to look for, and how to pick the right one for you.
Scuba diving computer is the epitome of new-age compact diving equipment, removing the need for a depth gauge and dive watch. But, typical dive computers still require a Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPG) to monitor the air pressure in your tank.
However, as research and development of scuba equipment evolves, some dive computers (air integrated dive computers) now have the capability to read the air pressure in your tank, making the SPG redundant.
Operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Trimix, CCR & Sidemount Memory: 1,000 Hours Pressure display: Up to 5000 psi (350 bar)
The Shearwater Perdix AI is quickly becoming one of the most popular air integrated dive computers among regular divers. It has a large, clear and easy-to-read display that features tank pressure as well as remaining gas time. It is capable to connecting to two tanks, making it an ideal pick for tech and sidemount divers.
Using the Shearwater Perdix AI is quite intuitive, largely thanks to the clarity and simplicity of its display. It has 5 open-circuit gas presets and can record up to 1,000 Hours of diving.
Operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge and Free Divev Memory: 42 Hour Profile and Logbook Pressure display: Up to 5000 psi (350 bar)
The Suunto Vyper Novo is easy to use, rugged, and effective. Designed for recreational diving, this dive computer has a large screen monitor with great contrast, making all information clear and easy to see.
The Suunto Vyper Novo can be operated using a 4-button interface. It can be set to either imperial (feet) or metric (meter) measurements with multiple dive modes like Air, Nitrox (up to 3 mixtures), gauge and freedive. It has a 3-D compass which is effective even if you twist the unit up to 45 degree angle. While it is primarily wrist-mounted, it can be configured to be mounted in the console. The battery is rechargeable and has a 42-hour built in dive log.
Operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Trimix, CCR & Sidemount Memory: Up to 1,000 hours Pressure display: Up to 4,350 psi (300 bar)
With diver-friendly functions and full-color screen options, the Scubapro G2 can be described as an easy-to-read, easy-to-use and easy-to-understand air integrated dive computer. Easy, right? It has a 3-button operation that allows you to access and control its intuitive menu structure that is highly visible via the 2.2 inch display with a 320 x 240-pixel resolution.
The Scubapro G2 is recommended for both recreational and technical diving. It has a transmitter that blinks colors according to the air pressure in your tank: green for full, yellow for midway and red for low on air. This means that your dive buddy can also monitor your air with a single glance at the transmitter. The dive computer has 3 gas modes (air, nitrox and trimix). It is powered by a rechargeable battery that can last up to 50 dives. This dive computer can store up to 1,000 dive log hours that is supported by its 485mb internal memory. Data download is possible via Bluetooth using the LogTRAK app. This wrist-type computer is ergonomically curved with a low profile shape that comfortably fits on the arm.
And guess what? The Scubapro G2 has a console-type version with the same function and the same menu.
Operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Free Dive, Gauge and Watch Memory: 80 Hours Pressure display: Up to 4,350 psi (300 bar)
Designed for the active diver, the Suunto D6i Novo Zulu has several features that adapts to your diving styles and needs. While this is a wrist-type dive computer, it has an optional air integration capability (transmitter sold separately or in package) that allows you to monitor your air without using a high pressure hose. The transmitter is powered by a 3-volt CR2 lithium battery which is commonly available. The dive computer has an optimal screen size with large numbers that indicates Remaining Air Time (RAT), current depth, tank pressure, breathing rate, ascent time and decompression status.
The Suunto D61 has a built-in compass that is tilt-compensated which guarantees to give you an accurate bearing. It has 5 dive modes: air, Nitrox (up to 3 gas mix), gauge and freedive mode. This computer can also be used in altitude diving of up to 3,000 meter (10,000 feet) above sea level.
Operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Oxygen, Mix Memory: 600 Hours Pressure display: Up to 5,000 psi (350 bar)
Carrying a new line of powerful microprocessors, the Atomic Cobalt 2 is a 2nd generation dive computer with a simple and sleek design. This console type air integration computer has a large screen monitor that clearly monitors your no decompression time, dive time, depth, max depth, air pressure and gas time. It has 6 gas modes (air and nitrox) and a built in dive log that can store up to 600 hours of dive time. This computer even has a large electronic compass at the central part of the console that gives both graphical and numerical bearing.
The Atomic Cobalt 2 is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery. It comes with its own charging adapter where a single full charge gives you anywhere from 40 to 60 hours of dive time. While this is a console type, the dive computer can be removed through its high-pressure quick disconnect allowing you to store it during travel.
Operating modes: Air, CCR, Gauge, Mixed Gas Memory: 200 Hours Pressure display: Up to 4,350 psi (300 bar)
If you are looking for an air integrated computer with a large screen display, consider the Suunto Eon Steel. Measuring 4.12″ x 2.38″ x 0.91″ and weighs 347 grams (0.8 pounds), this computer has one of the largest screen monitors in the wrist type category.
The Suunto Eon Steel is ideal for recreational and technical diving. It has a large bright display with a fully customizable interface that is powered by a rechargeable battery. This dive computer is also highly durable. It has 3 buttons to access the menus and has 10 gas modes including air, nitrox and trimix. While it monitors no decompression time, safety stops and depth, you will appreciate how this computer reads your air. It’s just like a fuel gauge in your car that both shows graphical and numerical figures. This computer can also be used in altitude diving up to 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) above sea level.
Operating modes: Norm (Air/Nitrox), Gauge, Free Dive Memory: 24 Dives Pressure display: Up to 5,000 psi (350 bar)
Measuring 8.5 x 6.2 x 3.2 inches and weighs 771 grams (1.7 pounds), the Oceanic VTX is one of the largest and heaviest air integrated computers. It has a large monitor that has a high contrast OLED color screen. This wrist type computer monitors your depth, no decompression time and tank air pressure that is presented in both graphical and numerical figures. It also has a 3-axis digital compass that gives you accurate bearing.
The functions of the Oceanic VTX can be accessed via the intuitive push button menu. It has several dive modes like air, nitrox, gauge and free dive. This computer is also one of the highest ratings in terms of altitude diving where it can function up to 4,200 meters (14,000 feet) above sea level.
Operating modes: Air, Nitrox Memory: 42 Hours Pressure display: Up to 4,350 psi (300 bar)
If you are looking for a console-type air integration computer that has a simple design yet highly efficient and functional, the Suunto Cobra 3 is a solid contender. It has a large screen monitor with an easy to read dot matrix display. The screen displays your current depth, navigational heading and tank air pressure. At the middle of the screen is the all new electronic 3D compass that gives you an accurate reading even if it is tilted up to 45 degrees.
The menus of the Suunto Cobra 3 can be accessed via the simplified four-button operation. It has 3 gas modes like air, nitrox and gauge mode. What’s really interesting with this computer is that it can graph your dive profile with an informative matrix display. It even has a built-in dive simulator. This allows you to test and simulate future dives without the need to go underwater.
Air integrated dive computers monitor the air left in your tank. There are two ways to take this measurement.
Via transmitter: A wireless transmitter is screwed to your first stage. It is paired with your dive computer. The transmitter sends information to your computer throughout the dive. This is the most common form of air integration for wrist computers.
Via hose: A hose connects to your first stage with a pressure sensor attached to the hose. This then reveals the tank information to a console-type air integrated dive computer.
Things to Consider when Buying an Air Integrated Computer
Air integrated dive computers tend to be more expensive than traditional dive computers. An extra cost is added for the computer itself as well as the transmitter, which is purchased separately or as a package. You can always buy an air integrated dive computer without the transmitter–it will still use the same dive computer functions–and add the transmitter later.
Mounting: Wrist or Console
Air integration computer mounting is available in two forms: wrist or console type. Wrist mounting is just like your compact dive computers worn as a watch, but it connects wirelessly to a transmitter that is attached to the high pressure port of your 1st stage regulator. This gives you total freedom, comfort and eliminates the use of a high pressure hose.
On the other hand, the console mounting is embedded directly in your dive console and is usually attached to the high pressure hose. While consoles still need high pressure hose, they are more reliable than the wrist mounting, especially in cases of a transmitter failure.
The larger and more visible the display area, the better. In general, air integrated computers will not just monitor your tank pressure, but will also read other parameters such as depth and dive time. Given that other parameters are being monitored by your air integrated computer, you may want to easily read the figures and should be able to clearly see the data in just a single glance.
Air is the base gas used in scuba diving. However, dive computers also cater to technical diving that uses gas mixtures and you may find yourself the interest to learn this advanced skill. With this, you may opt for an air integrated computer that has different gas modes.
Here’s an indicator: a good air integrated computer can be compatible with air and Nitrox (with different gas mixes like Nitrox 32 and Nitrox 36). If you are really into technical diving, consider an air integrated computer with higher multi-gas variation that includes Nitrox 40 and Trimix. But if you’re not into technical diving, there’s no need to have a high multi-gas variation.
Maybe you are accustomed with using SPG as your primary, or should we say, your only instrument in monitoring air. Having an air integrated computer can compliment your SPG usage or you can treat it as a standalone digital instrument. It is always safer to have two forms of monitoring, just in case one fails.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Air Integrated Dive Computers
What is the best air integrated dive computer?
The best air integrated dive computer will depend on your specific dive preferences. These are some top choices to consider: 1. Best for experienced divers: Shearwater Perdix AI 2. Best for beginner divers: Suunto Vyper Novo 3. Best all-around: Scubapro G2 Read our full review on how to choose the top dive computers with air integration.
Do I need an air integrated dive computer?
You do not need an air integrated dive computer if you have other forms of measuring. For example, a non-air integrated dive computer paired with a SPG. However, if you plan to scuba dive regularly, investing in a dive computer in general is a wise decision and can help you become a safer diver.
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