How to Find the Best Scuba Oxygen Analyzer
Scuba diving is a gear-intense sport. But, not all gear you need is used underwater. Some are necessary on land. If you dive with Air Nitrox or other gas mixes that are different from regular air then you need to be able to measure the percent of oxygen in the gas mix. Check out the best oxygen analyzers for scuba diving to give you peace of mind that you dive with the proper gas mix!
Are Oxygen Analyzers really necessary for scuba divers? They are not necessary if you dive with regular air as your breathing gas. If you use Nitrox, Trimix, or any other type of enriched air (EAN) then you definitely want to have a Nitrox analyzer to validate the breathing gas components. This will ensure that you’re diving safely and with the right breathing gas mix!
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 underwater. 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.
Nitrox analyzers allow you to validate the oxygen percentage contained in the breathing gas. This ensures that you know what mix you’re using for your dive. If you trust the oxygen percentage that the dive shop might provide and it’s wrong, you could end up with oxygen toxicity or suffer from decompression sickness! Your calculations for your no-decompression limits could be way off. Nitrox analyzers measure the oxygen content with an oxygen sensor giving you peace of mind that you will have a safe dive.
The market today offers a huge variety of quality products when it comes to devices like an oxygen sensor 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.
The Best Oxygen Analyzers for Scuba Diving at a Glance
Here’s a quick overview of the scuba nitrox and oxygen analyzers we review for you below. Check them out here if you’re in a hurry!
Here’s the list of the best Oxygen Analyzers that we’ll review in detail.
- Nuvair O2 Quickstick Oxygen Analyzer
- MaxO2+A Scuba
- O2EII Pro Nitrox Analyzer
- Nitroxbuddy Bluetooth 4.0 Oxygen Analyzer
Before we check out the details about each of these devices, let’s have a look first why you need an oxygen analyzer when you go scuba diving!
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 with the oxygen sensor produces an electrical current that can then be read by the oxygen sensor to tell you whether your gas mixture matches what the manufacturer or dive shop promised.
It may seem redundant to own an oxygen analyzer when the dive shop 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 you dive. After all, if the oxygen content is even one percent off of what you need for your dive, you could be facing critical issues.
Many dive shops will also provide you with Nitrox analyzers to test your breathing gas yourself. As you don’t really know how the device had been used and treated before, you have to decide whether it’s worth not having your own reliable oxygen sensor. A simple mistake or an erroneous reading can have fatal consequences. Many, if not most, dive boats additionally will not have Nitrox analyzers to verify the breathing gas. In our opinion, if you dive with enriched gases, you should have your own reliable Nitrox analyzer to verify the oxygen content in your breathing gas.
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 oxygen analyzer 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 and steady stream of gas so that you can get a consistent reading. The oxygen analyzer will need a few seconds to do its measurements so make sure to give it enough time!
3. Get your reading – Cover the open valve with the corresponding intake on the oxygen analyzer and leave it on for a few seconds. You’ll know you’re within a few tenths of your accurate reading when the oxygen 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 shown with the dive gas analyzers.
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 oxygen sensor inside of these analyzers 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
The Nuvair 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 this oxygen analyzer is that the Nuvair analyzers are designed for use with a single hand. This makes it easy to use when you check the tank at the dive shop.
Both battery and sensor of this Nuvair model are replaceable to ensure your investment in 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 a battery when you’re out on the boat.
Highly rated, this analyzer and oxygen sensor 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 over how you test your oxygen at the dive shop or anywhere else.
The O2EII Pro Analyzer for Nitrox comes with a three year warranty.
Nitroxbuddy Bluetooth 4.0 Oxygen Analyzer
An easy-to-use Nitrox and Oxygen analyzer that connects through Bluetooth to your smartphone. You can record the levels measured by the oxygen sensor on the accompanying Nitroxbuddy App to compare historic values.
You get the Nitroxbuddy, download the app on your phone (iOS or Android) and connect. Ready to go!
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!
Specifically, if you dive with different gas mixes, then getting any of these analyzers will be of tremendous help to verify that the oxygen content in the tank is what you want.