3 Gauge Console Reviews in 2020

These inexpensive trios are must-haves for new divers—make that any divers.

New divers, fresh from their final classes and check-out dives, are faced with a cornucopia of dive gear and dive-related products to spend money on. We’ve all been there, and we all know it’s a very enjoyable, and very tempting, place to be—standing there in the dive store, surrounded by all that cool stuff, just itching to start pulling items off shelves and filling our dive bags!

But wait, first things first. Topping your list of gear purchases, along with a regulator you can call your own, should be an instrument console loaded with three dive gauges you literally can’t live without: a submersible pressure gauge (SPG) to track your air consumption, a dive computer (DC) to track your N2 loading, bottom time, ascent rate and other critical at-depth data, and finally, a compass to help you find your way around under water (okay, maybe you can live without a compass, but why go through your dive life in a perpetual state of being lost?). These gauges are among the most critical components of your dive rig, and you need them right now.

The question is, which one do you choose? Being new to the sport, it’s hard to be up on all the available makes and models. For example, there are so many dive computers offering so many features and functions, how are you going to know which one you’re ultimately going to need when you’re not sure yet where your new-found love of diving is going to take you?

Best 3 Gauge Console to Buy

Cressi Archimedes II

Oceanic Veo 2.0

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3 Gauge Console Reviews in [date format='Y']
5/5
4.5/5

SPGs and compasses and the consoles that house them are easier to deal with because they’re pretty standard in design and function, and you usually won’t find more than one or two choices of each within a particular manufacturer’s line. However, looking across a range of manufacturers, you will definitely find a number of differences in how they accomplish their specific tasks.

To help divers sort all this out, RDC collected 3 gauge consoles from nine major manufacturers and did a side-by-side comparison to see what they all had in common, and to spotlight where they were different. All of these consoles are the lowest-priced packages in each manufacturer’s line and targeted to the entry-level diver. Most of them can be upgraded, primarily by stepping up to a more feature-rich dive computer.

In their current state, as presented here, these SPGs and compasses will probably be the only ones you’ll ever need. For some divers, these basic dive computers may also be all you’ll ever need. At any rate, they will serve you well as inexpensive primary data crunchers until you can figure out what dive computer you want to move up to, and then they can serve as reliable backups. Waste not, want not.

How RDC Tested

All of the instruments in all of the consoles in this review function as they’re supposed to. So rather than focusing on IF they worked, we focused on HOW they worked, i.e. ease of use, readability and the number of features they offered relative to each other. By comparing them side-by-side like this, many plusses and minuses presented themselves to us that we probably wouldn’t have noticed if we had just looked at each console individually.

For test purposes, all nine consoles were simultaneously connected to a high-pressure manifold which was then connected to a test cylinder. Doing it this way gave us the opportunity to evaluate features and functions at the same time, both on the surface, like how you would view them in a dive store, and also in the ocean at a test depth of 40 feet. Here’s what we found out.

3 Gauge Console Reviews

The following reviews are presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer. Reviews break down each console package into their individual components, followed by a 1 to 10 rating (1 being “It just sucks!”, 5 being a “Solid Good, It Gets the Job Done,” and 10 being “Just About the Best We’ve Seen.”) More detailed comparisons of dive computer features can be found in the DC Comparison Chart. RDC Favorites from this round of testing are listed at the end of these write-ups.

Aeris XR-1 NX 3 Gauge

Product Information
Aeris XR-1 Computer Console

  • Price: $249.95
  • Dive computer: 5
  • SPG: 5
  • Compass: 7
  • www.diveaeris.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

On this 3 gauge unit the DC and compass occupy one side of the console, and the submersible pressure gauge is positioned on the back. The console is compact, only about six inches in length. Gauges can be inserted or removed without the use of tools. A pair of attachment eyes positioned about mid-body are large enough to attach a standard-sized stainless-steel bolt snap or a plastic retractor clip without needing an intermediate split ring or other modification. It comes with a 34-inch HP hose.

Dive Computer

The XR-1 Nx offers all the basic features for air or nitrox diving. What it doesn’t offer is a back light, PC download capability or audible alarms (it does have visual alarms). It uses color coding for its bar graphs so tracking tissue loading or ascent rate is pretty intuitive. The screen itself is well-sectioned with good-sized data digits for easy reading. It uses a single button control and comes with a waterproof prompt card that you can take on the dive boat to keep the screen sequencing from getting too confusing. At depth, data is divided between the main screen and three alternate screens. The DC’s algorithm leans liberal. Bonus: it comes with a free online class on its features and functions.

Pressure Gauge

The 1.75-inch diameter SPG offers a 190-degree viewing area, with the bottom portion of the gauge devoted to temperature. The gauge has large numbers but they have kind of a dot-matrix style font which makes them look kind of fuzzy at depth. There are tick marks every 250 psi with a dab of red coloration on the 0-250 psi zone that flattens to a brown smudge when viewed under water, rendering it virtually unnoticeable. However, the red coloration on the pointer tips of both SPG and temp gauge were both able to maintain their vibrancy at our test depth.

Compass

This is an easy-reading compass with good card graphics, tick marks every 10 degrees and numbers every 30 degrees. A really efficient ratcheting bezel rotates in five-degree clicks. The lubber line is high-visibility for top reading, and a 1.5-inch-wide side window is provided for easy side reading.

Cressi Archimedes II 3 Gauge

Product Information
Cressi Archimedes II 3 Gauge

  • Price: $399.95
  • Dive computer: 8+
  • SPG: 10
  • Compass: 6
  • www.cressi.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

Made of lightweight high-impact polycarbonate, this is a pretty slick-looking console. It’s about seven inches in length and super-slim, even with the compass mounted on back. There’s a single attachment point at the top of the console that’s a tad too wide to accept our standard-sized bolt snap or retractor clip. So we’d need to install a split ring to the loop and then clip to that. The rigid casing requires a tool to remove gauges, but the compass is hinged so you can lift it up to get to the back of the DC to change batteries or reset the residual nitrogen memory, a really nifty convenience feature. The outfit comes with a 30-inch HP hose.

Dive Computer

The Archimedes II is arguably the most feature-rich and easy-to-use computer of this group. It uses intuitive three-button controls with lots of screen prompts so it’s easy to move from screen to screen and mode to mode. It comes with an onboard dive simulator, a large-capacity logbook and a gauge mode. One of only two dive computers in this group capable of handling nitrox mixes to 99 percent, it also lets you choose from two gas mixes that you can switch between at depth. It uses a conservative algorithm and lets you program in an additional safety cushion if desired.

Pressure Gauge

This is one impressive SPG. While a tad smaller than most of the other SPGs in this group, it features a rugged brass casing and, according to Cressi, the front glass acts as a pressure relief valve: in the event of a sudden increase in pressure inside the instrument, the glass rises slightly, allowing the excess pressure to escape. There’s no temp gauge (the dive computer has one) so it can offer a 320-degree viewing area with bold numbers and pressure ticks every 100 psi. Red, green and blue coloration grab your eye on the surface and, more importantly, maintain their vibrancy under water—they literally leapt off the gauge at our test depth. No other SPG in this group came close in terms of eye-popping readability or offered this level of detail in its air pressure tracking.

Compass

Offering traditional card graphics, tick marks every 10 degrees, numbers every 30 degrees and a ratcheting bezel that rotates in five degree increments, this is a solid compass. Bezel clicking action is not as “sharp” as others, and it’s kind of low-profile so can be a little harder to grab and turn when wearing thick gloves. A good lubber line makes for easy top reading, and a 5/8-inch-wide side reading window is also available. Being hinged allows you to position the compass in a variety of angles for reading in any diving situation. In fact, at its maximum angle the compass can actually be seen at the same time you’re looking at the other gauges.

Genesis Resource Pro 3 Gauge

Product Information
Genesis Resource Pro 3 Dive Console

  • Price: $259.95
  • Dive computer: 6
  • SPG: 6
  • Compass: 7
  • www.genesisscuba.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

This is an in-line console, meaning all gauges are stacked facing front. Measuring about 7.5 inches in length, the console is designed so that gauges can be inserted or removed without tools. The attachment eyes are right-sized for hooking standard bolt snaps or retractor clips directly to the console. Supplied with a 33-inch HP hose, the console is also available with the SPG mounted on back if you prefer a more compact design.

Dive Computer

The ReSource Pro offers nitrox capability to 50 percent, a gauge mode, a really nice display with big numbers, excellent graphics and intuitive tissue loading and ascent rate bar graphs enhanced with red/yellow/green highlights. In dive mode there are two screens: the main shows NDLs and current depth; push the single control button and you get bottom time and max depth. It doesn’t come with any audible alarms or a PC interface. It does provide a backlight, but it can be activated only at depth. The ReSource Pro’s algorithm runs decidedly liberal.

Pressure Gauge

This is a large, bright SPG with about a 185-degree viewing area that occupies the top half of the gauge, while a temp gauge takes up the lower half. Tick marks are every 250 psi. The red, orange and green color bars highlighting air pressure status look really nice on the surface, but under water the colors, primarily the red and orange, get really muddy and lose their punch. However, the needle on the temperature portion of the gauge does continue to pop at depth.

Compass

Traditional graphics, bold numbers every 30 degrees and tick marks every 10 degrees make for easy reading. A high-quality ratcheting bezel rotates in five-degree increments. A high visibility lubber line and a 1.5-inch tapered side window allow for either top or side reading. Being an in-line console design, the compass is easy to see while simultaneously monitoring the DC and SPG.

Mares Mission Puck 3 Gauge

Product Information
Mares Mission Puck 3 Gauge Console

  • Price: $429.95
  • Dive computer: 6
  • SPG: 4
  • Compass: 5
  • www.mares.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

This is a super-slim in-line design about seven inches long. Its 34-inch HP hose includes a hose protector on the first stage end, a nice extra. A pair of molded eyes in the main body of the console plus a larger flexible loop at the base all make excellent hook-on points. Our test bolt snaps/retractor clips attached directly to the console without problem. The back of the DC is uncovered so you can get to the battery casing. Gauges can be removed without tools.

Dive Computer

The Puck is a simple single-button data cruncher that offers both nitrox and gauge modes and is PC downloadable. The display is easy to read, with large digits and good backlight illumination. It doesn’t use any color highlights, but does have useful screen graphics. The layout is simple and uncluttered. A particularly good feature is the ascent rate bar graph with ascent speed also displayed numerically. A pretty large onboard logbook is also provided. The DC’s algorithm is solidly conservative plus you can program in additional safety levels.

Pressure Gauge

Offering about 320 degrees of viewing area, this rather smallish SPG is a good-looking gauge when viewed on the surface. The single-digit numbers are decent-sized, tick marks, while rather faint, are found at every 100 psi, and soft colors add some contrast to the face. However, under water these colors and graphics lose virtually all of their pop. The red coloration goes dull to the point of disappearing, the blue is hard to see, as are the pressure tick marks.

Compass

Super compact, this compass’s top-view window measures just over an inch in diameter. Numbers are placed every 30 degrees and tick marks are provided every five degrees, but they’re tucked underneath the bezel, which makes them hard to see when viewing from the top. The compact bezel is easy to grab with gloves and rotates in five degree clicks. Although it’s only about three-quarters of an inch wide, testers found the side window shows the tick marks and numbers much easier than viewing them through the top window.

Oceanic Veo 2.0 Navcon

Product Information
Oceanic Veo 1.0 Navcon 3 Gauge Console

  • Price: $399.95
  • Dive computer: 5
  • SPG: 7
  • Compass: 7
  • www.oceanicworldwide.com
Shop now at Amazon.com Veo 2.0

Console

The Navcon console has a somewhat modular space-age look to it, plus it comes in a eye-catching high-viz yellow. Measuring only about five inches in length, the dive computer and compass are mounted on the front of the casing, with the SPG on back. Gauges can be removed without tools. Attachment eyes are located on each side of the body; they are a bit small, but we were still able to get our test bolt snaps and ratchet clips to hook on, albeit with limited clearance. A 34-inch HP hose is included.

Dive Computer

The Veo 2.0 is one of the more basic air/nitrox computers, without a PC download function, audible alarms or a backlight. It does, however, have one standout feature: a choice of algorithms. Depending on how you feel or what kind of DC your dive buddy is using, you can choose between a liberal-leaning Pelagic DSAT algorithm or a conservative-leaning Pelagic Z+ algorithm. A single control button cycles you through the system, which at depth includes a primary data screen and two alternate screens. All screens are easy to read with good graphics and bar graphs and a bit of color highlighting. Bonus: it comes with a free online class on its features and functions.

Pressure Gauge

This SPG offers a 190-degree viewing area with crisp bold numbers and tick marks every 250 psi. The 0-500 zone is colored in neon red and the pointer tips on both the SPG and temp gauge are also neon red. This looks good on the surface, and it continues to stand out under water. At our test depth of 40 feet the big numbers and red coloration were all are easy to see and read at depth.

Compass

This is virtually the same compass you’ll find on the Aeris. It’s easy to read with good card graphics, tick marks every 10 degrees and numbers every 30 degrees. A really efficient ratcheting bezel rotates in five-degree clicks. The lubber line is high-visibility for top reading, and a 1.5-inch-wide side window is provided for easy side reading.

Scubapro Aladin 2G 3 Gauge

Product Information
Scubapro Aladin 2G 3 Gauge Console

  • Price: $440
  • Dive computer: 7
  • SPG: 5
  • Compass: 5
  • www.scubapro.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

This in-line style console places all gauges on one side of the casing for simultaneous reading. It measures nine inches in length, comes with a 32-inch HP hose and includes a hose sleeve, a nice extra. Attachment points are provided but the loops are thick—our test snaps could just barely fit (it may be necessary to install split rings or zip ties to the attachment points and then clip onto those. Gauges can be installed or removed from the console without tools.

Dive Computer

The Aladin 2G is the other DC in this group (joining the Archimedes II) that lets you program two gas mixes and switch between them at depth. It can also handle nitrox mixes up to 99 percent, and in addition to a gauge mode it offers a free diving mode. The Aladin 2G comes with a waterproof prompt card which is handy because this computer is a little more complicated to program and use than some of the others in this group. A pair of control buttons let you navigate through the system. The algorithm is middle-of-the-road and incorporates micro-bubble technology, and you can program in more conservatism if desired. It comes with a 25-hour logbook.

Pressure Gauge

Measuring 1.5 inches in diameter, this is one of the smaller gauges of the group. It doesn’t include temp—the 2G covers that—so it can offer about 320 degrees of viewing area. It’s one of only two gauges that goes up to 6,000 psi (Scubapro says this is for use with 4,350 psi tanks). The numbers on the gauge are bold but very small. Tick marks are every 250 psi up to 1,000 psi, then every 200 psi after that. The red zone spanning 0-500 psi shows well on the surface, but at our test depth it turned brown and was virtually unnoticeable.

Compass

The card on this compass is illustrated with the shape of a boat hull, a nice touch. Tick marks are every 10 degrees with numbers every 30 degrees. It all looks good, but because of the smaller size of the digits it’s more difficult to read than some of the other compasses in this group. A 3/4-inch-wide side window makes side-reading somewhat easier than top reading because of how it isolates portions of the card. The racheting bezel rotates in five-degree clicks, but its low profile design can be hard to grab with gloves. The bezel also has abbreviated markings that can be confusing to anyone not used to reading a compass.

Sherwood Profile 3

Product Information
Sherwood Profile 3

  • Price: $699.95
  • Dive computer: 6
  • SPG: 6
  • Compass: 7
  • www.sherwoodscuba.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

This is the most compact console of the group. Only about 4.5 inches in length, the console mounts the dive computer and compass on one side with the SPG mounted on back. A couple of attachment loops located on rear portion of the casing are right-sized for hooking on with our test bolt snaps and retractor clips while enjoying full range of movement. Gauges are removable without the need of tools. It comes with a 32-inch HP hose.

Dive Computer

In addition to air and nitrox modes the Profile offers a gauge mode and a backlight in dive mode. It does not, however, come with audible alarms, nor can its logged dives be downloaded to a PC. It operates with a single control button and its screens are highly functional. Along with large data digits and useful screen prompts the Profile provides intuitive bar graphs for tracking tissue loading and ascent rate aided by a dash of color highlights. At depth data is presented on a primary screen and two alternate screens. The algorithm runs solidly liberal.

Pressure Gauge

Offering approximately 190 degrees of psi tracking on top of a very readable temp gauge, this SPG features big, bold easy-to-read numbers and lots of red, yellow and blue accents. At depth, the gauge loses the immediacy of its red danger zone. However, the yellow and blue hold their own, as does the neon red pointer on the temp gauge.

Compass

This compass is identical in size, shape, graphics and ease of operation as the Genesis. You get traditional graphics and bold numbers every 30 degrees and tick marks every 10 degrees. The ratcheting bezel is high-quality and rotates in five-degree increments. The lubber line is bold for good visibility and a 1.5-inch tapered side window gives you a choice of top or side reading.

Sub Gear XP10 3 Gauge

Product Information
Sub Gear XP10 3 Gauge

  • Price: $399.95
  • Dive computer: 6
  • SPG: 4
  • Compass: 4
  • www.subgear.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

Virtually identical to the Scubapro console mentioned above, the XP10 in-line console comes with a 32-inch HP hose. Attachment points are a little thick so it won’t accept all sizes of bolt snaps and clips. The solution is to install split rings to the attachment points and then clip onto those. Gauges can be installed or removed without tools.

Dive Computer

The XP10 is similar in form and function to the Scubapro 2G but lacks many of the 2G’s features. It does offer a gauge mode and it comes with a waterproof prompt card. Two control buttons let you access the system. At depth the most important info is displayed on the main screen, while an alternate screen displays secondary info like temperature and time of day. A three-color nitrogen tissue loading bar graph makes it easy to monitor tissue loading. The Logbook stores 25 hours of dive time memory and is downloadable via an infrared interface. The DC’s algorithm is middle of the road.

Pressure Gauge

his gauge is similar to the Scubapro SPG, except the numbers, while a tad larger, are not as bold. It offers a 0-6,000 psi range with tick marks every 250 psi up to 1,000 psi and then every 200 psi after that. A red low-air danger zone shows okay on the surface but is virtually unnoticeable at depth.

Compass

When compared side-by-side with the other compasses, the Sub Gear compass is the hardest to read. It is similar to the Scubapro compass in size and shape but has even smaller numbers and the tick marks are more anemic. While it is standard-sized with a 1.5-inch top reading dial, and while the card is well illustrated with the shape of a boat hull, everything is just too small. A 3/4-inch-wide side window makes side reading somewhat easier because it isolates portions of the card. The racheting bezel also works okay, with five-degree click rotations, but its low profile design can be hard to grab with gloves. Like the Scubapro, the ratcheting bezel on this model has a potentially confusing abbreviated marking system.

Suunto Zoop 2 Gauge w/SK7 Compass

Product Information
Suunto Zoop 2 Gauge

  • Price: $449.95
  • Dive computer: 7
  • SPG: 4
  • Compass: 9
  • www.aqualung.com
Shop now at Amazon.com

Console

The Zoop console actually comes standard as a streamlined two-gauge console. The compass is optional and can be mounted on top for an in-line configuration or on the back to maintain a more compact profile. For purposes of this review, we mounted the compass in-line which extends the console to about nine inches in length. The console is made of rigid plastic, so a tool is required to add a compass or remove the DC or SPG. It comes with a 32-inch HP hose, and offers a pair of very narrow attachment slots that will definitely require the use of a split ring or zip tie as an intermediary to clipping on a bolt snap or retractor clip. There’s a larger attachment loop on the compass end of the console which might accommodate certain narrow-gauge clips or snaps, but chances are you’ll need a split ring for that one too.

Dive Computer

The Zoop is a great DC at depth, offering all data on a single screen. It operates with three control buttons and a series of screen prompts that make navigating through the system pretty darn easy. The display is well-laid-out with easy-to-read data digits, helpful graphics and intuitive white-yellow-red color bars that simplify monitoring N2 loading and ascent rate. A 50-hour logbook is included along with a waterproof prompt card. The Zoop has no backlight but the LCD display is phosphorescent for low-light conditions. The algorithm runs conservative plus offers a number of ways for programming in personal safety adjustments.

Pressure Gauge

The Suunto SPG offers about a 300-degree viewing area. From 0 to 500 psi you have no tick marks, from 500 to 1,000 psi you have tick marks every 100 psi, then from 1,000 to 5,000 you have them every 200 psi. The gauge has a very pale pastel coloration: pink from 0 to 750 psi, no coloration to 1,600 psi and pastel green from there to 5,000 psi, all laid over rather thin numbers. At depth the gauge’s coloration is almost completely washed out and the very thin numbers can be more difficult to see when compared to the other SPGs in this group.

Compass

The SK7 is by far the nicest, most detailed compass of the group. An intuitively marked card has tick marks every five degrees and easy-reading numbers every 30 degrees. A one-inch-wide easy-to-use side window offers a choice of top or side reading. The ratcheting bezel has nice action and is imprinted with lots of numeric and tick mark detail. The bezel rotates in five-degree increments.

Note: Tusa has a new line of console gauges debuting in 2012 that wasn’t ready in time to be included in this review.

Additional Note: Be sure to go to DiveNav.com to check out a series of on-line classes that are available for many of the computers covered here.

RDC Favorites

Taking the Gold. Cressi Archimedes II 3 Gauge

It offers the most full-featured, easy-to-use DC of the group. The SPG is without question the most eye-catching, easy-to-read pressure gauge of the group; it’s bright and compact, and makes the most of its size and shape. Plus you have a very workable compass.

Taking the Silver. Suunto Zoop 2-Gauge w/SK7 Compass.

This console comes with the best compass of the group; easy to use, easy to read, with good graphics. The DC has a lot of features, a multi-button system for easy programming, and is one of the easiest to use at depth. The SPG is not the best, but not the worst either.

Taking the Bronze. Oceanic Veo 2.0 Navcon.

The Navcon has the coolest console shape of the group. It houses an above-average, easy reading compass, an above-average, easy reading SPG that maintains its coloration at depth, and a solid entry-level dive computer.

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