Which underwater drone is best? 

You don’t need to be a Hollywood director or international filmmaker to capture amazing underwater footage. Sure, you can swim with a bulky waterproof camera, but that restricts your movements and occupies your hands.

So before you head out to explore an underwater cave or shipwreck, get yourself a remotely operated vehicle (commonly known as a drone) that can accurately capture the submerged action in high-definition. You might not be able to film the Titanic like James Cameron did, but you’ll see aquatic nature like never before. 

How does an underwater drone work?

To glide through the water, drones use similar technology to that of boats or submarines. While the propulsion methods vary, most underwater drones use a series of fans or rotors that spin quickly. The force expelled by the spinning blades is what drives the drone forward.

Controlling a drone is relatively simple. Generally, the two types of control methods are wireless through a mobile phone or tablet, or through an electrical umbilical connected to the above-water Wi-Fi unit.

The camera’s resolution matters

Naturally, you want to capture whatever is swimming around you in as much detail as possible. An underwater drone with an inferior camera will only frustrate you when you review the footage and the beautiful jellyfish looks like a floating plastic bag.

There are no reshoots or second chances, so you must ensure you get it right the first time. To capture anything meaningful, the drone’s camera should film at a minimum resolution of 1080p, which is Full HD. For even better footage, some of the more expensive drones have 4K cameras and can livestream visuals back to the boat. 

Of course, you can never be sure of what the conditions will be like when underwater. Unless you are swimming in crystal-clear water, your footage will benefit immensely if the drone has several built-in headlights. 

Best underwater drones

Best underwater drone with 4K camera

PowerVision PowerRay Explorer Underwater Camera Drone

PowerVision PowerRay Explorer Underwater Camera Drone

What you need to know: With a powerful camera, this drone can capture underwater beauty with an easy-to-use controller.

What you’ll love: The camera records video at 4K resolution and can take still images at a resolution of 12 megapixels. It can dive to a depth of 100 feet, while the base station tether is 165 feet long. 

What you should consider: It comes with a 32-gigabyte memory card, which will fill up quickly when recording in 4K. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best underwater drone with 1080p camera

Chasing Innovation Dory Underwater Drone

Chasing Innovation Dory Underwater Drone 

What you need to know: This is the world’s smallest underwater drone, as it measures slightly larger than your palm.

What you’ll love: Even though it’s small, it still packs five thrusters to move around effortlessly underwater. It records video at Full HD resolution and can stream live footage to the monitor at 720p resolution. 

What you should consider: It has a depth range of only 49 feet, and needs to be within the same distance of the Wi-Fi buoy for streaming.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best underwater drone for shallow diving 

ThorRobotics Underwater Drone

ThorRobotics Underwater Drone 

What you need to know: This is perfect for when you explore a shipwreck or the seabed as the articulated claw makes it easy to grab and pick up items of interest.

What you’ll love: It’s guided through a handheld controller and a mobile device, and the Wi-Fi connection lets you see a livestream from the camera. It has four thrusters and two high-powered LED headlights, and can dive to a depth of 100 feet. 

What you should consider: It weighs just under 10 pounds, so it is heftier than most underwater drones.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best underwater drone with sonar 

Fifish MP200 V6 Expert Underwater Photography ROV Robot

Fifish MP200 V6 Expert Underwater Photography ROV Robot 

What you need to know: Searching for something specific is made easy with this drone’s built-in 2D sonar scanner. 

What you’ll love: Not only can you ping for objects in 2D, but you can also record underwater sounds with the built-in hydrophone. In addition, the MP200 has a 4K camera with a 166-degree field of view, which can also take photographs at a 12-megapixel resolution.

What you should consider: The drone comes with a full virtual reality kit, pushing the price tag to over $6,000. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best sea scooter with an underwater camera

CellBee Underwater Sea Scooter With Camera

CellBee Underwater Sea Scooter With Camera

What you need to know: Functioning much like an underwater drone, this sea scooter has a camera in the front so you can record whatever you encounter.

What you’ll love: With a top speed of almost 3 miles per hour, the sea scooter has a built-in battery that can last for about 45 minutes. A parent can also remotely control the device through a mobile phone, giving it drone-like properties while kids enjoy the views.

What you should consider: It doesn’t have a camera built in, but it does have an attachment for an action camera such as a GoPro.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best underwater drone for cinematography 

PowerVision PowerDolphin Water Surface Drone With 4K UHD Camera

PowerVision PowerDolphin Water Surface Drone With 4K UHD Camera 

What you need to know: The PowerDolphin is an amazing drone if you want to capture Hollywood-style footage above and below the waves. 

What you’ll love: Riding on the surface, it has a 220-degree, rotatable 4K camera on the front that is great for recording epic surfing videos. But the drone can also dive underwater and use the built-in sonar for a quick overview of the underwater topography.

What you should consider: It is only waterproof up to 6 feet below the surface. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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