9 Best Underwater drones in 2021 (and what to avoid)
In this article we’re going to talk about waterproof drones, which ones I think are the best and why.
Water resistant quadcopters can provide either piece of mind for you or allow some exceptional use in wet environments which can’t be replicated with anything else.
Most drones aren't waterproofed by the manufacturer, for cost saving purposes or because of technical complexity; however there are specially made waterproof drones that can be flown in rain or even submerged in water.
There is an important distinction you must make when looking for a waterproof drone, not to be tricked by the manufacturers.
Some drones can be splash-proof, but that doesn’t mean anything besides the fact that they can handle the tiniest amount of water. In this article we’re focusing more on real waterproof drones that can even float or handle some serious downpour.
Some of these can even dip or float on the surface of the ocean and even start flying while still submerged. The added benefit of a completely waterproof drone is that it’s impervious to rain and can handle it no problem.
Fact is, there aren’t many consumer level waterproof drones on the market right now, but there are definitely clear winners that combine both great specs with an affordable price for people who are looking at getting and alternative to DJI, but you know… water resistant.
Not to say that DJI doesn’t have some water protection, but more on that a bit later in the article.
Powervision is another drone I also mentioned in my article about underwater drones with their Powerdolphin submarine.
This time they upgraded their popular modular PowerEgg drone with some extra features, including a dedicated shell that allows it to fly in the rain and float on any water body.
It can also take off from water and comes with tracking and follow me, which is also amazing for water sports or simply to follow your boat around.
One very unique thing about it is how compact it can be and the modular design, which allows you to turn it into a handheld gimbal thanks to the hand strap.
The Splash Drone 3+ is one of my favorites, a completely waterproof drone that is also very suitable for fishing. It can easily fly in the rain and comes in 2 versions:
Fishing version with a payload release system
This is a floating drone that can both float, land and take off on water.
It also comes with a solid controller with a built in 5 inch FPV LCD so it justifies its price since you don’t even have to use your own phone and get it wet.
Another important factor to take into account would be the ability to fold the legs and remove the camera, making it a very compact case.
The 25 min flight time isn’t one of the greatest, but definitely enough for fishing and doing some filming out in the ocean.
Another great drone from Swellpro that makes it to the top for me, is the new Spry+ . Its design is completely unique when it comes to waterproof drones, as it has the body of a racing drone and a very slim profile. The new model was shown at CES in 2020 and it improves on the previous specs. It can float on water and the 4k camera that sits in a waterproof housing, it submerges when the drone floats so you’re able to see underwater too.
The drone doesn’t dive on its own, but it’s safe to submerge it, and this makes it completely waterproof and also pretty great for water-sports.
The remote controller is also waterproof and floats (it’s probably the best drone for water sports like kayaking, boating etc)
Definitely the cheapest drone on this list, it's in fact a combination between a drone and a boat, definitely oriented for fun rather than taking aerial photos.
Parrot did a great job as with their other very popular quads, this time basically creating a toy drone that attaches to a boat platform so it can do it both. If you want a waterproof drone for your kids, there’s really no better choice, especially since you don’t need to register it to the FAA. Unfortunately, it isn’t waterproof, so you can’t submerge it, but it can handle some splashing.
Other interesting feats are the ability to do flips, having a VGA camera and I must say it’s quite fast even in water, going about 6.2mph when in the water mode.
The 9 minutes of battery life can be compensated for by buying some additional batteries.
In this section we're talking about what are some of the questions people ask me the most in regards to waterproof drones.
Waterproof drones are mainly used for flying above water in safe conditions as well as in rain or humid areas. These uses can extend from simply fishing as a hobby to more extensive search and rescue operations on the sea.
There aren’t any commercially available drones from DJI that are currently completely waterproof, DJI also doesn’t say their quads are splash proof, but from my experience they can definitely handle light showers and some splashes, however there is a way to make them even more resistant to splashes and rain.
Just like with DJI, they don’t have any specific waterproof drones, but Parrot does make the hydrofoil which can basically fly on water.
There are a few ways of increasing the reliability of these DJI drones while flying above water or in raing
Motor covers for Mavic (rain proof)
These motor covers for the DJI Mini 2 are lightweight and made from aluminum and are used to protect the top part of the motors which is the most susceptible to damage during rain or splashing water. It’s the number one most effective thing you can do against rain and they’re also very cheap.
Floating devices on landing gear
I don’t think floating devices on landing gear makes a drone completely safe when flying above water, since landing on water can be quite tricky and it might tip the quadcopter while trying.
The best use cases for such landing gear is on very steady water surfaces like a lake where you might need to take a shot that requires them.
They are well reviewed by people in general and can definitely help tremendously, but it’s not a guarantee your drone won’t get wet.
As mentioned before, flying in the rain should only be done in emergency situations and with a waterproof drone if it’s for prolonged time.
Waterproof drones aren’t that accessible for everyone, but can certainly help with peace of mind when flying above water and especially if you are doing a water sport like kayaking or simply fishing.
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