How to Find the Best Scuba Oxygen Analyzer
One of the distinguishing characteristics of diving as a sport and a profession is the sheer amount of gear necessary to complete a dive. While some of these items are simply to enhance the experience, like proper fins, just the right wetsuit, or non-fogging goggles, others have a more serious purpose: keeping you alive.
For experienced divers and newbies, alike, it may seem overwhelming to be on the market for the tech that you need to be safe under water. After all, you don’t want to find out you made the wrong choice after spending all of that money or, worse, when you’re out there in the field.
But don’t worry. The market today offers a huge variety of quality products that have been rigorously tested and approved. And we’re here to help you make the best decisions about tech that will ease any concerns you have about safety. That way, you can focus on a great dive.
What is a Oxygen Analyzer?
There’s nothing quite as important during a dive as the air you breathe, which is why finding the right oxygen analyzer is a must. These devices, often portable and hand-held, are able to read the gas content in the tank so that you can be sure that what you’re breathing is safe.
Without getting too technical, an oxygen analyzer, also called a nitrox analyzer, works like this: air from the tank is pulled through the device where it reacts chemically with an agent, the oxygen sensor, inside. The reaction produces an electrical current that can then be read by the sensor to tell you whether your mixture matches what the manufacturer promised.
It may seem redundant to own an oxygen analyzer when the distributor undoubtedly tests the air mixture multiple times before selling it to you. Yet, considering the gravity that a mistake on the part of the manufacturer would be, it’s pretty standard practice to check the mixture yourself before diving. After all, if the oxygen content is even one percent off of what you need for your dive, you could be facing critical issues.
How to Use The Device
While the technology inside may seem complicated, modern oxygen analyzers are incredibly easy to use. Most feature a simple interface, a couple of buttons, and, of course, the inlet which can pull gas from the BC or directly from the tank. Make sure to have a few batteries on-hand or charge your device ahead of time and you’ll be ready to get started!
1. Calibrate - This step is important. You should be calibrating the device for each use, and it generally only takes a few moments to do so. On many analyzers, you can simply hold down the calibration button and wait for it to do the work.
2. Open the valve on the tank - You want a slow steady stream of gas so that you can get a consistent reading.
3. Get your reading - Cover the open valve with the corresponding intake on the analyzer and leave it on for a few seconds. You’ll know you’re within a few tenths of your accurate reading when the analyzer begins to slow and stop changing numbers.
4. Make sure the level is where you want it - Many recreational divers make use of Nitrox, which tends to be about 21% oxygen. That said, some mixtures can range from 22% to 40%, so check with the manufacturer to figure out whether your reading matches the correct level.
And that’s it! You’re ready to dive!
Sifting Through the Market
There are a lot of analyzers out there, so you want to do your research before making a purchase. In general, you’re going to spend somewhere between $200 and $400. The sensor inside will need to be replaced after 36 months for around $80. So what’s popular on the market right now?
Nuvair O2 Quickstick Oxygen Analyzer
This nitrox analyzer is designed with simplicity in mind. It comes in the shape of a stick which makes it easy to transport and bring with you. The best part about it is that it's designed for use with a single hand.
Both battery and sensor are replaceable to ensure your investment into the device is safe. The Nuvair O2 Quickstick comes with a one year warranty on the device and a two year warranty on the sensor.
This device is simple, ergonomically-designed, and built to last. Only 2 AA batteries will provide up to 5,000 hours of use, so you never have to worry about recharging when you’re out on the boat.
Highly rated, this analyzer is a favorite for many divers. The MaxO2+A Scuba comes with a two-year warranty.
O2EII Pro Nitrox Analyzer
Produced by Analox, this analyzer is even more aesthetic than the MaxO2 and comes in a variety of colors. It can test air from the B.C. or the tank directly, giving you more control on how you test your oxygen.
The O2EII Pro Nitrox Analyzer comes with a three year warranty.
What sets this device apart is its ability to analyze both Oxygen and Carbon Monoxide. It can be used with or without a smartphone app that can log your oxygen levels, and charges by USB.
You get the Cootwo Dual Gas Analyzer, a carrying case, and the charging cord.
Now that you have the safety of a quality oxygen analyzer, you’re ready to get in the water. With the peace of mind that a reliable piece of technology like this can bring you, you’re sure to have an excellent and safe dive!