- PowerVision Powerray Wizard
Best All Rounder
- SwellPro Spry+
- PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard
Flying a drone can be great fun but there are a number of risks that your drone can face. The most obvious risk is simply the ground or other solid objects. Crashing is also an ever-present – and realistically, likely – risk that every drone pilot will deal with at some point. Another risk is water damage. Electronics are often vulnerable to water, especially when they have exposed moving parts.
Drones are often no exception, it’s generally not a great idea to fly your drone in the rain. The rain reduces the efficiency of the propellers, reduces signal strength, and runs the risk of shorting some electronics. Standing water poses even more of a problem to drones. crashing into a puddle is more likely to kill your drone than a normal crash but you can still get lucky. Crashing into a stream, river, lake, or ocean, however, is going to be expensive. It’s generally a good idea to avoid flying over water if you don’t need to and to be extra careful with your battery levels if you do. If you do want to fly in rain or over water a lot, you may want to invest in a waterproof drone. If you do so, you may even be able to land on water and get some underwater photos.
To help you select a suitable drone we’ve drawn up a list of the best waterproof drones in 2021.
- Fully waterproof
- Can “fly” underwater
- 4K30 video
- Weight: 758g
- Flight time: 17 minutes
- Max Range: 800m
The SwellPro Spry+ is a normal enough drone in the air with the neat trick of being able to land in and then take off from water. It is naturally buoyant and waterproof meaning you don’t need to worry about it sinking. That’s not the end of its party piece though, it can use its propellers to dive underwater entirely. This means that you can get diving shots smoothly from both above and below water.
Helpfully, the remote control is also designed to be buoyant and waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about dropping that in the water either. In normal flight, you can get up to 17 minutes out of the batteries, though this will be reduced significantly if you take it underwater, as will the maximum range of 800m. The controller includes a screen to play a live feed from the drone’s camera.
- Self-righting in water.
- Can carry a payload of up to 2kg
- IP67 rated
- Weight: 2180g
- Flight time: 30 minutes
- Max Range: 5km
The SwellPro Splash Drone 4 is the latest iteration in SwellPro’s waterproof heavy lifting drones. Its design is similar to that of the DJI Phantom but with the addition of waterproofing. It can lift payloads of up to 2kg and has a number of available camera attachments including a 4K30 video camera with 3-axis gimbaling.
It has an IP67 waterproof rating meaning it’s good for submersion down to 1 metre. Realistically this means that you shouldn’t actually try to “fly” it underwater like the Spry+, but you can absolutely “land” it on the water as it is buoyant. You don’t even need to worry about it tipping over as it can right itself with its propellers with a feature called Powerflip. Unfortunately, the drone is extremely expensive, unless you need the heavy lifting capabilities or the improved camera options, you’ll probably get much better value from the Spry+.
- Handheld video camera
- Attachable waterproof enclosure
- Attachable floats
- Weight: 832g
- Flight time: 30 minutes
- Max Range: 6km
The PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard is a versatile drone, it offers a steady-cam handheld function with its stabilised camera as well as a smart camera tracking function. Once you attach the arms and propellers it’s also a competent drone with a half-hour battery life. To waterproof it you need to attach a transparent clamshell around the main body. Unfortunately, this clamshell only comes with the most expensive Wizard variant.
The waterproof shell protects the drone from rain but doesn’t allow it to land on water. This can only be achieved if you add the float attachments to the arms. The camera is capable of 4K60 video, though the sensor is only 1/2.8 inches across. This means the image quality just isn’t as high as you can see on some other 4K cameras with 1-inch sensors. When recording video, it attaches ambient audio recorded from your phone to stand out from the often silent recordings from other drones.
- Underwater drone
- Down to 30m deep
- Cruise speed to 3 knots (1.5m/s)
- Weight: 3800g
- Flight time: Up to 4 hours
- Max Range: 70m
The PowerVision Powerray Wizard is not your traditional drone. In fact, it can’t even fly. It’s a dedicated underwater drone, allowing you to film in 4K underwater. The camera is limited to 25fps at 4K but can also do 1440p50 and 1080p60 depending on your preferences. Its battery can last up to 4 hours, though normal usage can see that drop to 90 minutes. The more expensive wizard variant comes with a sonar sensor aimed at seafloor mapping and fish observation. It also comes with a VR headset for an immersive experience.
One of the challenges of underwater drones is that the water significantly reduces signal quality and range. To get around this, the PowerRay uses a 70m long cable. The cable can be detached from the drone if it gets tangled, leaving the drone to autonomously float to the surface. You still need to be careful though as it won’t be able to navigate around obstacles like this and can still be lost.
- Underwater drone
- Down to 175m deep
- Cruise speed to 4 knots (2m/s)
- Weight: 4500g
- Flight time: 4 hours
- Max Range: 200m cable
The Geneinno Titan T1 Pro is another underwater drone though this one offers the ability to dive down to 175m deep. It has a four-hour battery life, that can be doubled with an external battery pack. The battery pack is mounted to an auxiliary port on the underside which can take a range of other add-ons too. Other add-ons include a laser scaler, a sonar system, a lateral thruster, and a robotic arm.
Like the PowerRay it uses a cable for control and video feedback. The cable is 200m long which may somewhat limit the manoeuvrability at maximum depth. The camera can record 4K video at 30fps, however, this video is in 4:3 so it’s 4000*3000 rather than 3840*2160 as you may expect. The live stream video can be played back at 1080p, however, it is limited to a 2Mbps bitrate which may cause the image to be pixelated in some cases.
Those were our recommendations for the best waterproof drones in 2021. Generally, waterproofing is a specialist requirement, so the cost is pretty high. If you can stomach it though, you can get some impressive gear for unique filming opportunities. Have you bought a waterproof drone recently? Or are you interested in getting an underwater drone? Let us know down below.