This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, The Salt Sirens earns from qualifying purchases.
Before I got my freediving computer, I found it stressful to rely on lines and buoys to know just how deep I was diving. Once I got a freediving computer, my diving was much more relaxed and I was able to train more efficiently by targeting depths in minor increments and knowing exactly when my contractions started. This made a massive difference to my diving once I started going beyond the 15-20m range.
I’ve spent hours researching all the latest freediving watches find the best models on the market. While I personally use the COSMIQ+ freediving computer, one of the best value freediving watches, I’ve also had a chance to test out many other options from some of the larger brands. All other computers included in this guide come from the suggestions of 500+ freedivers in a recent poll.
In this guide, we’ll cover the 10 best freediving computers on the market, why you should own a freediving computer, the key features to look for, and our in-depth reviews of each freediving computer.
Measurement readings: Depth, time, CO2/O2 tables Display: Backlight electro-luminescent Data storage: Lifetime Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 100 meters
In a recent poll among 300+ freedivers, the Suunto D4 was voted the most popular freediving computer on the market. Does this mean it’s the best? Potentially not, but it’s worth noting that some of the world’s top tier freedivers trust it on their wrist. The Suunto D4F is Suunto’s answer to a freedive specific computer. While the D4F might not have all the bells and whistles of its more advanced siblings, it’s an accurate and minimalistic option for freedivers who stick to one-breath diving–rather than those who dabble with tank diving. Easy to customize timers and its small size add to its appeal.
Pros: Comfortable and stylish to wear Cons: Lacks a compass, display numbers are on the small side
Measurement readings: Depth, dive time, temperature, descent/ascent rate, surface interval Display: Segmented LCD Data storage: 30 hours of dive memory Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 150 meters
A favorite freediving computer among regular divers, the Mares Smart Apnea is easy to customize and has a unique take on its alarm systems. Alarms can be set to notify divers of depth, time, speed and recovery time as well as trigger a reminder to hydrate. Pacing is including in its features and the watch has a profiling sampling rate of one second.
Pros: Great value, simple and intuitive, mid-range price point Cons: Slight flaws in aesthetic design, not ideal for scuba
Measurement readings: Depth, time, temperature, descent/ascent rate, surface interval, GPS, heart rate, health readings Display: Color MIP display Data storage: 200 dives Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 100m
The Garmin Descent Mk2 is one of the newest scuba diving computers with freediving capabilities on the market. It also has an Mk2S model, a smaller variation for the Mk2 and potentially a better freediving watch for women or petite divers. It also comes with scuba diving air integration capabilities. I would get the Mk2S version, personally, if I had the money.
This high-end freediving watch is on the pricier side, but comes with features that really turn it into all all-around smart watch with massive sports watch capabilities (running, skiing, cycling, surf watch features, etc). Dives are uploaded into the Garmin Dive app, a digital logbook that syncs with other divers.
Pros: Smart and sports watch means it’s a computer that can do it all Cons: High price point
Measurement readings: Compass, depth, time, all scuba-specific measurements, CO2/O2 tables Display: Backlight electro-luminescent Data storage: Lifetime Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 150 meters
The Suunto D6I Novo is the ideal crossover freediving watch for those who scuba dive just as frequently. The computer has five modes–one of them being freedive specific–and can navigate with 3D compass capabilities. It also has wireless air integration for scuba diving. One of the more discretely sized and stylish computers on the market, the watch comes in seven colors and has a smooth, chic appearance.
Pros: Ideal for the professional scuba diver who also freedives. Made with robust stainless steel. Can log nearly everything you can think of. Stylish, compact, long history. Cons: High price point
Measurement readings: Depth, time, surface interval, heart rate, calorie consumption, temperature Display: LCD backlight Data storage: 250 dives Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 100 meters
The Omer UP-X1 is a great freediving computer that with practical features that help freedivers maintain their body stats outside of the water. The rechargeable freediving computer has a carbon fiber ring and can pair with a heart rate chest strap for ultimate accuracy. Freedive mode is triggered at one meter depth, and recovery time is calculated automatically back at the surface. This is a more advanced alternative to Omer’s latest freediving watch model, the Omer Mistral.
Pros: Comes with heart-rate monitor connected interface, developed with Umberto Pelizzari Cons: Not Apple Mac compatible
Measurement readings: Depth, time, temperature Display: LCD Data storage: 99 dives or 30 days Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 100 meters
The SalviMar One is another freediving computer that doesn’t claim to be a one-size-fits-all watch for every type of diver. The SalviMar One is a freediving computer with adjustable time and depth alarms, pacer, and chronograph functions. Its built-in tables display recovery times upon surfacing.
Pros: Low price point Cons: Must be manually triggered to enter freediving mode
Measurement readings: Nearly all scuba-related measurements, depth, time, temperature, timers, ascent rate Display: LCD Data storage: 200 dives on unit that syncs with DeepBlu app Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 100 meters
The COSMIQ+ has a perk of being integrated with the DeepBlu app, where you can log your freediving and scuba diving sessions. This easy to use freediving watch can toggle between freediving and scuba diving modes, and dives automatically start as soon as its immersed more than one meter of water. The screen is bright and buttons are easy to navigate.
Measurement readings: Depth, dive time, surface interval, lap timer, up to six max depths alarms Display: LED LCD backlight Data storage: 99 dives Alarm readings: Visual and audio Max depth: 150 m
The Oceanic F-10 was crafted by freedivers for freedivers, with easy to customize modes. The computer can be set for salt or fresh water, has a history mode with total dives and max depths reached, and has a lap timer for dynamic freedivers.
Pros: Created specifically for freediving, easy-to-use, simple, 10 cm accuracy Cons: Bulky
Measurement readings: Dive time, depth, ascent time, temperature Display: LED lit LCD Data storage: 99 freedives Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 100 meters
The SEAC Partner was created for freedivers who want a freediving watch with minimal bells and whistles that will have enough features to monitor the essentials of each dive. It comes in black or red. This is an ideal freediving computer for those on a budget, as it clocks in well below many of its competitors — while still offering great quality.
Pros: The SEAC Partner is perfect for divers who want a watch for everyday wear. Cons: Since it is a new release, not many reviews or test trials have been published
Measurement readings: Nearly all scuba-related measurements, depth, time, temperature, timers Display: LED LCD Data storage: 24 scuba dives, 99 freedives on unit Alarm readings: Audio and visual Max depth: 100 meters
The Oceanic Geo 4.0 is the upgrade to its 2.0 predecessor. Though it’s primarily a scuba diving computer, it is also freedive compatible. Interchangeable straps means that it comes in dive different color variations. Its large size may seem like a downside, but it’s ideal for those who want prefer to have an easy-to-read display rather than a smaller, more chic freediving watch.
Pros: Great value considering all of its scuba specs, easy-to-read display, durable Cons: Confusing owners’ manual, recommend watching the Oceanic video tutorial
As you become a better diver, you’ll be diving deeper and longer. Our brains are not great judges of time, so even though it might feel like you’ve taken a proper surface interval break – your timing is likely to be off. Since freediving computers display when you should break and when it’s okay to dive, you can focus on your breathe-up and relax knowing that your computer is keeping track of your time.
Freediving computers also have audible alarms that set at certain depths or once a specific amount of time has elapsed. Freedivers often become too relaxed in the water, and can overshoot their target depth and time that they should be spending on their dive. Sometimes, depending on visibility, 30 meters can feel like 10 meters or 10 meters can feel like 30 meters. Setting an alarm helps you relax – you’ll know when it’s time to turn – and ensures that you stay on-target with your goals.
A freediving computer is also more accurate than relying on a marked rope as a depth gauge. Mismarked ropes have cost freedivers their lives. When you dive with a computer, you can verify that the rope is set up correctly, or check if the rope has stretched.
Freediving computers help you progress.
Freediving without a watch is like training for a marathon without mile markers. How do you know if you’re progressing, or how long you’re staying under? Our mental state, what we’ve eaten, our body temperature, and our health all play massive roles in how well we dive. There’s no way to know how long you dived or how deep without a gauge and clock.
Freediving computers keep a long-term record of your dives.
Most scuba divers keep a dive log that details where they dived, how deep, how long, what they saw, the gear they used, etc. Since freedivers usually complete many more dives per day than scuba divers, it’s not practical to keep a paper log. Many freediving computers let you upload your dive information to a PC, where you can keep track of hundreds – or even thousands – of dives at a time.
What to Look For in a Freediving Computer
Beginner freedivers often make the mistake of buying a freediving computer that is more stylish than useful. Ideally, you want a display that is backlit, has easy-to-change functions, and large numbers. A freediving computer that isn’t backlit or has small numbers will be hard to read in low visibility and at deeper depths.
Your mind should be focused on the freedive, not if you are reading the correct numbers or not.
Note that some watch-style scuba diving computers with easy-to-read displays often are meant to be gauge mounted. They’re much less hydrodynamic and much heavier than strictly watch style dive computers.
How deep can your freediving watch go? Most recreational scuba divers will rarely go deeper than 30 meters because of decompression limits and risk of nitrogen narcosis. Freedivers, however, are capable of diving much deeper without these risks, even as recreational divers.
You’ll want a computer that can grow with your depth goals. There’s no point in buying a computer that only has a depth limit of 30 meters if your target goal is 35 meters. Fortunately, almost every watch on the market dive deeper than 50-100 meters. If you’re looking to go beyond that, then there’s a good chance you have a watch in mind already. Fortunately, even freediving record holders rarely reach beyond 100 meters. All computers featured on this post can stretch to 100 meters in depth.
Dive computers vary in how much dive information they can store. Most dive computers can keep a record of at least 100 dives. Since most dive computers offload their data to your PC, this might not be a major deciding factor unless you plan to go on a long trip where you won’t have access to a PC.
Scuba vs. freediving computers
If you’re a scuba diver, you might assume that your scuba dive computer can double as your freedive computer. This isn’t always the case. Many scuba-specific computers will sound an alarm if your ascent rate is too quick. Since freedivers can ascend as quickly as they want, often much faster than a scuba diver can, the alarm will sound nearly every dive. Obviously, a blaring alarm going off on your ascent isn’t exactly the best aid for relaxation.
Scuba diving computers also often have different triggers to when the dive starts. Freedivers want the most accurate data possible, so double check that your scuba diving computer is freediving compatible as well.
If you’re a freediver who also throws on a tank, it makes sense to buy a dual computer. One dual computer is sure to be better and cheaper than buying one computer for scuba, and a separate one for freediving.
One key function in a freediving computer is an alarm. You can set an alarm to trigger at a certain depth or at a certain time. This helps keep you focused and signals where exactly you are in the dive.
Like with many things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to buying a dive computer. You will want a wrist strap made of comfortable rubber or silicone. Metal or canvas is not a great choice for freedivers because the strap will not shrink under pressure like your body tends to. Budget computers tend to require more maintenance, might not have a warranty, and typically require a battery replacement at least once per year.
FAQs about freediving computers
What equipment do I need for freediving?
Recreational freedivers will need a few pieces of equipment on every dive including a mask, snorkel, wetsuit, weight belt, and freediving buoy. Of course, one of the best things about freediving is that you can choose to use more or less based on your diving preferences.
What is the best entry level freedive computer?
The best entry level freediving computer is the Mares Smart Apnea computer as it’s well built, intuitive to use, great value for money, and you’ll be able to progress quickly with it.
Do you need a dive computer for freediving?
You do not need a dive computer for freediving. However, it is helpful to have one if you’re looking to dive deeper or hold your breath longer. You can dive along a freediving line to know how deep you are, but it’s much easier to simply check the bottom time on your wrist.
Disclosure: The Salt Sirens is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We are also an affiliate of LeisurePro.