The underwater world demands only the best technology to capture those magical sub-aquatic moments, which is why you may be in the market for the best underwater drone.
The technological versatility of the drone continues to expand as the demand for them grows, now taking explorers and videographers to the depths of the sea, as well as offering recovery and search and rescue capabilities.
So if you're finding yourself seduced by the 95% of undiscovered ocean out there, you're going to need a high-tech and durable drone that you can rely on.
Underwater drones are more accessible than ever and it is important that you find a reliable model that won't make you reach to far into your pocket, find 5 options below!
1. Gladius Mini Submersible
The Gladius 4K Mini Submersible Drone is packed with features and ready for use straight out of the box. Simply charge it up, download the app to your smartphone and sync it to the drone and you’re ready to go.
A controller connects to your phone for easy manoeuvring of the drone around a lake or other water.
By inserting a mini-SD card up to 64GB you can record hours of underwater marine life, and watch it live on your phone’s screen as it records real-time 3D video. Take wonderful still shots as well.
Streaming live to friends via Facebook or to your YouTube channel or other streaming platform is also a breeze with the touch of a button.
Adjustable lights at the front of the Mini allow you to see and record a lot of what is ahead of the drone without distortion. Its range is up to 100m.
The 4K Mini is highly transportable, weighing only 2.5kg and measuring a small 38.4*22.4*13.7cm, about the size of a tablet. A soft plush cloth is included for cleaning and drying the unit after use. The drone runs on an integrated Lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
2. PowerVision PowerRay
Designed for fishing but also excellent for general underwater photography and video recording the PowerVision PowerRay submersible drone is waterproof up to 30 metres and can be used in both fresh and saltwater for around 4 hours before needing recharging.
The VR capabilities of the drone are an ultra HD 95-degree wide-angle camera which can take real-time 1080P images and 4K 30fps videos. It features a Fast Burst Shot function which takes 5 images in rapid succession with 12 million pixels. LED lighting provides a good visual environment for photography.
The unit is controlled via a controller, mobile app, smartphone or touch. It can be used remotely or when attached to your body like a backpack.
Transmission of the video and still shots to your smart device allows for real-time viewing as well as easy streaming.
A fish finding function, the Power Seeker, alerts you to when a school of fish is nearby. If you’re simply exploring caves and other underwater sights the Power Ray is magical.
There are three different operational modes for beginners, experienced and professional users.
Measuring 46.5*27*12.6cm and weighing 3.8kg (out of the water) it’s extremely easy to manoeuvre. With purchase, you receive the drone, a remote controller, base station, communication cable, charger, Bait Drop, Fishfinder, and mobile device bracket.
3. AQUAROBOTMAN Nemo 4K
The AQUAROBOTMAN Nemo 4K underwater drone is ideal for scientific exploration, boat inspection, general underwater photography for both amateurs and professionals, rescue operations and fishing.
Stabilised by a four-thruster system for crystal clear images all the time, the drone has an integrated 4K UHD camera which shoots real-time 30fps – 120fps video and 16MP still shots in water up to 100 meters deep.
The unit also has a rich film setting function for quality video results, matrix lights and an underwater shooting filter.
Download the App and view the drone’s video captures in real-time. Share with live streaming to your preferred platform.
It can move at up to 2 metres per second. It’s patented QAS-balance technology allows it to perform a floating dive but also several other complex movements including tilt postures, hovering, cruising, and pitching.
Of course, it also moves forward, backwards, and turns. The unique C-Hyperhelix battery is quick-charging and detachable for easy recharging. This also allows you to attach a fresh battery for extra playtime. Normal battery life is around 3 hours.
Nemo is very streamlined and light which means you can travel with it. It’s designed to be used either on your back if you’re diving or remotely.
4. Geneinno Poseidon
The Poseidon I Underwater Drone from Geneinno has a lot of features which make it suitable for many underwater activities but especially great for exploring and photographing or videoing the wonders of the sea world in perfect HD 1080 quality.
The drone has an action camera which is full HD with a 120-degree wide-angle lens. It takes real-time 1080P 30fps video and 1080P still shots with perfect clarity – no distortion thanks to the triple thruster technology and self- balancing control system. Integrated 1200-lumen LED lights on the unit illuminate the area in front of it for better visibility.
Navigation is both smooth and accurate via the remote controller, with six directions being possible: down, up, forward, backward, left and right.
The drone can be used to depths of 120 meters, with a battery life of around 5 hours. It can move at speeds up to 2metres per second.
A buoy is supplied for attaching to the Poseidon I and then to the boat or other base station. This buoy also uses a 2.4GHz frequency for wireless connection of the drone to the controlling device (eg your smartphone or other smart devices) via the Genuine App.
This allows you to live-stream your video footage in real-time to your favourite platforms.
This drone is a little large than many others, weighing 13.2kg and measuring 38.1*20.3*7.6cm, but it’s still compact enough for comfortable travel.
5. BW Space Underwater
Featuring auto-adjust lighting, auto-pilot and a UHD 4K camera, the BW-Space Underwater drone is an ideal companion for those who love marine photography in the oceans or lakes.
Its high-tech design suits both amateurs and professionals alike. It can also be used as a tool for boat inspection, sea-floor exploration, fishing, etc.
Once you’ve connected the unit to its tethered WiFi ‘hotspot’ device (as well as its physical cable), downloaded the YouCan app on the ‘smart’ controller device and synced them to each other the unit is pretty much ready to go.
The reel of cable is long enough for the maximum depth allowance, giving you room to explore a lot of the underwater world around you at any given location.
Controllable movements include forwards, backwards, right and left turns, downwards and upwards, Depth Lock function means you can keep it at a certain depth without needing to keep using the depth controls, allowing you to focus on your photography and videography.
Pitch Control allows for tipping of the front of the unit upwards or downwards (up to 45-degrees) for exploratory purposes and to add some versatility for video shooting.
Stabilisation is good although the drone doesn’t have vertical stabilisers which can create some unwanted movement of the head of the drone. And the auto-pilot function takes some getting used to.
This unit has a UHD 4K waterproof camera. It can shoot HD video and still shots, has a 128GB internal memory, an editing app, live streaming preview function, and instant social media streaming.
Other functions include Intelligent Tracking with Smart Follow and Smart Shooting modes. The submersible can dive up to 100 meters, has an impressive battery life of 7 hours and a maximum speed of 2 meters per second. Its range is 500 meters.
How To Choose Underwater Drones?
There's a few different factors to consider when choosing an underwater drone including:
The Price: Ultimately this is going to be the most important aspect in your search. You have to remember, unlike traditional drones, they aren't cheap. The technology required to provide signal underwater is far different to providing signal above sea level. You will also need to consider the features such as the depth, build quality and camera equipment that will impact the price.
Connectivity: You'll want to consider how to connect to your drone while underwater. Most drones still require a cable of some sort, due to the limitations with radio signals. However, as technology improves we're likely to see some form of wireless connectivity on the market.
Camera Quality: You'll want to ensure your underwater drone provides a high quality camera. The standard now is 4K which not all drones have, but to get the best quality you'll want this. It all depends on the water quality, the clearer the better, but choosing a good camera can help.
Depth: Some underwater drones can only descend a few metres, while others can dive down to depths of up to 250m. You should consider your use case and how deep you need the drone to go down which will likely impact the price and your decision to purchase.
Battery Life: You'll probably want a drone with a long battery life. After all, unlike traditional drones that require high powered motors to fly, underwater drones don't require the same so can offer longer battery capacity, up to 10 hours in some cases.
Range: You'll want to choose a drone that offers a decent range. There's no point choosing one that has a range of 10m as you will be only able to dive down 5m before having to return. Some of the more expensive underwater drones offer ranges of up to 1km.
After Sales Support: It's likely you will encounter an issue with your drone at some point and may need support or to make a warranty claim. It's important to choose a brand that looks after it's customers. Support and after sales service usually comes at a price, so if it's an option I'd definitely add an extended warranty or pay a bit more for peace of mind later down the track.
Why Buy An Underwater Drone?
There's a whole world to explore under the ocean and underwater drones are providing more and more opportunities to do that. The main reason people buy an underwater drone is for fish finding. Yes, it's the number one way to find the best places to cast your line, or see what's happening under the water.
Additionally, here are some of the most common use cases;
Search & Rescue: How many times do you see police divers searching for people who have gone overboard or missing after a drinking session. Rather than manual work, underwater drones can help to find bodies, missing items of clothing and boat wreckage's fast.
Scuba Diving: Scuba divers are another big market for underwater drones as they can follow and record scuba divers in action. Due to the huge depths some of them can accomplish, it's not uncommon to see them being used to train divers or record tour groups.
TV & Film: Underwater drones are regularly used in film and TV capacity as backup and additional coverage for traditional underwater cameras which divers may use. Some times the sea is too rough for traditional divers, so drones can be called in instead.
Recovery: The best example here is the search for MH370, the world's biggest mystery. Underwater drones have been used off the side of boats searching the ocean for any trace of this plane. Additionally, they can be used in your own recovery efforts, similarly to how this company found a missing Argentinian submarine.