We’re used to seeing drones flying about taking pictures and doing tricks. They’re chosen for their convenience as they can reach areas previously unreachable. They do this at a very low cost with their use not requiring any special skills.
These same conveniences can be translated to the use of drones under the water. With water having more perils than land and the air, underwater drones, also known as ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), are now used for most water expeditions, filming and for sport as well. While you won’t personally feel the thrill of the waves, you can reach tiny and dangerous locations, swim with the marine animals, and catch spectacular videos and pictures with your drone.
The best underwater drones have a compact, sturdy and durable design combined with an exceptional camera and lighting to capture high-quality videos and photos. Among other features, they too have a battery that lasts enough for the deepest diving depths.
The following is a review of the top ROVs for professionals and hobbyists including fishing and diving enthusiasts. In addition, find a guide on the factors to consider and features to look for plus DIY option
Cheapest Underwater Drone-Chasing Dory
This is the smallest really easy to use; Plug, plunge, and play underwater drone. It is an affordable, travel-friendly and multipurpose drone you can use for various water activities be it diving, fishing, taking underwater photography, or yachting. The most notable downside is that it can only dive to a depth of 49ft.
Following are features and benefits that chasing Dory comes with comes with.
The camera is one of the most important aspects to check when buying drones. Dory’s camera has the following attributes
- f/1.6 lens support a wider FOV
- Built-in true color restoration algorithm: photos and videos show true dynamic color in all conditions
- Two 250-lumen headlights
Portability (Size and Weight)
This is the smallest and lightest means portable hence travel-friendliest drone. You can take it into a backpack and effortlessly carry it wherever you want to use it
With the chasing dory app all you need is a smartphone to control your underwater experience. From your smartphone, you can control everything from diving, tilting, depth lock and of course, camera settings and capture.
Dual play mode
Two users can operate one DORY. You can have one person control the underwater drone’s movements while the other operates the camera. This feature allows you to share the wonderful advantures with your close friend or family!
Depth & Locking
DORY can dive up to 49ft. It comes with a Depth Lock that allows you to maintain underwater stability at your desired depth.
Look Up or Down
With Dory’s slick angle positioning you can angle DORY anywhere between 45° up or down to view the world underwater.
The DORY app, make it quick and easy to share your underwater awesomeness and even live stream your underwater videos on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or your favorite social sharing platform;
The DORY’S Wi-Fi Buoy connects wirelessly to your devices for up to 50 ft away, which allows you to control the ROV in real time.
Plug And Play
Connect the Buoy to the underwater drone with camera through the 50 ft tether. After the green light flashes, you can plunge them underwater and remote-control DORY.
The Powervision PowerDolphin amphibious drone is the best for a fisher. It packs all the features that could easily make you a master fisher with little effort on your side. It works both on top and below the water with the above-water experience being controlled wirelessly.
When on the surface, the drone can transmit the images and videos up to a distance of 800m. It has a dual-joint camera system with an angle of 220° (150° downwards and 70° upwards) which is more than most options on our list. That means that you won’t need to move the body of the drone much. Rather, simply move the camera angles for that perfect shot. The camera itself has an angle of view of 132° and is a 4K UHD system.
The battery lasts for 2 hours which, although shorter than most of the other drones we’ve tested on our list, is enough for most expeditions. Combine that with the path navigation and auto-return feature and you have a great drone on your hands.
At a speed of 4.5m/s, this is the fastest drone when on the surface of the water. It uses various AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities to make all these aspects possible without a hitch.
You have three modes namely cruise, normal and underwater for different environments as you think best. When underwater, it does a great job of mapping the area for the presence of fish and other marine life with a lot of accuracy. Even better, it can be used to release fish bait close to the fish and even tow a fishing line for you.
- The best in mapping out the ground using sonar technology for easy fish location.
- 220° camera angle.
- Drops bait and tows in fish.
- Can be used above and below the water.
- Self-righting flip capabilities for steadiness and ease of control.
- Can be controlled wirelessly for 0.5 miles.
- 4K UHD camera with various settings.
- Above water speed of 4.5m/s.
- The mobile app isn’t well thought out.
Gladius MINI Underwater Drone
The gladius mini is among the fastest and most stable underwater drone that comes with support for VR (Virtual Reality) accessories. According to the manufacturer, it is the world’s first 5-thruster mini-size underwater drone with intelligent control algorithms.
It is lightweight drone boasts a powerful Camera and an up to 330ft dive. In terms of price, it lies in the mid-range. It is a good choice for diving, fishing, underwater photography/filming, or yachting
Features and Pros
Following are the aspects of this drown that stand out.
Camera and Video
4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) Underwater Photography; MINI can capture UHD footage at 1080p or 4K resolution and 12 MP resolution for photos; Combined with F3.0 lens that supports a wider field of view and 2 x1200 Lumens LED lights
Speed & Design
low resistanceStreamlined biologically inspired design with gill-shaped drainage, low-resistance, and unmatched stability! Its body imitates that of a submarine, and its unique design lets it move quickly with speeds up to 2m/s (3.89Knots).
MINI underwater drone comes with a remote controller, which can precisely control the underwater drone to move, tilt up, down, lock the depth, speed up and adjust LED brightness.
With the CHASING APP, your phone can also remotely control like a gamepad; Exploring the ocean floor is as easy and fun as a game.
Propulsion and Precision Hovering Dive down, rise-up, hover, tilt, and turn with precision. Three vertical propellers combined with intelligent control algorithms ensure the stability of the drone in all directions while two thrusters propel it at high speed.
Adjustable Tilt-Lock -With game-control maneuverability and ±45° adjustable Tilt-Lock mode, GLADIUS MINI moves fluidly in all directions for epic access to underwater scenes at speeds up to 4 knots!
Depth-lock-In addition to the intelligent Control algorithms the Mini comes with a one-touch Depth-Lock Mode to help you navigate freely and hover at depth to find and capture exactly what you want.
Battery Life & Dive Depth-The battery lasts approximately 2 hours if the LED are not on maximum brightness. With maximum brightness and intensive use, it lasts about an hour. It can dive to an incredible 330 feet with 100 m tether
VR Experience– Immersive Underwater VR And Live streaming MINI supports Virtual Reality equipment to provide a stunning underwater VR experience without ever getting wet;
Media Sharing-You can also view and one-click share live media on up to 3 wireless devices, PLUS big screen TV;monitor with HDMI port.
True Color-The image restoration algorithm in MINI APP fixes color distortion and makes the picture clearer, brighter and cleaner.
Size & Weight– This a portable and travel-friendly gadget. It weighs is less than 5.5lbs; The size is 8.9inch*15 inch
Power Vision PowerRay Wizard
Another great underwater drone to have is the Power Vision PowerRay Wizard. Having won several design awards such as the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for 2018, you’re sure to be getting a great-looking drone.
However, the PowerRay isn’t just about looks as it packs a long list of great features. It has the PowerSeeker sonar fish finder which helps you identify the location of fish and other marine life in a short while. With a diving depth of 230ft, you’re assured of finding the right area to explore.
It has a 12MP 4K UHD camera for the best clarity for your pictures and videos. It streams in 1080P and in realtime. You can get the 32GB or 64GB version if you need more storage.
The one thing easy to notice is the fact that the PowerRay has a maximum speed of 4 knots a second. That’s more than double what the competition offers. You thus easily catch up with runaway marine life without trouble.
The battery lasts for a good 4 hours which is more than enough for most expeditions. You can use it to seek fish, monitor divers and other activities.
The video stabilization mode enables the capture of clear and blur-free images and videos. It also features a hovering mode that can stay within 4 inches of your target. The powerful LED lights light up the water for accurate images. You have the Vision + app for android and iOS devices for ease of control and viewing.
The icing on the cake for this underwater drone is the ability to use the PowerVision VR ONE Plus Goggle for a virtual reality experience like no other.
- PowerSeeker sonar fish finder.
- Dives to 283ft.
- 4K UHD with a 12MP camera.
- 1080P real time streaming.
- 32/64GB storage.
- 4kn speed under water.
- 4 hours of operating time.
- Video stabilizing mode.
- Hovering accuracy to 4 inches.
- Powerful front light for dark conditions.
- Vision + app for android and iOS platforms.
- Virtual Reality (VR) experience.
- Has a reverse function.
- The vertical propeller may develop issues.
Chasing F1 Underwater Drone Fishing Finder.
If you’re looking for an underwater drone that is specifically designed for ice, boat and lake fishing during the day or at night, chasing F1 is the perfect choice.
It comes with a detection depth of 28m(91.8ft), allowing you to grasp the depth, temperature, and bottom topography of surrounding waters in real-time. This in turn helps you determine the location of fish quickly, accurately, and with ease.
Ultra 1080HD Camera & Night View
The powerful can clearly observe the underwater view, so that all details are clearly displayed. It can also improve the viewing effect of real-time video playback.
The Infrared camera function can clearly display underwater images at night, meeting the needs of people fishing at night.
Freely Movable Fish Finder with GPS
The F1 fish finder can be moved horizontally and omni-directionally through the wireless control of the APP to find fishing spots, faster and more accurate.
F1 GPS positioning function supports multi-fishing point recording, automatic cruise between fishing points; and realizes the function of returning back with one key that prevent loss of fishing equipment
HD Live Function & One-click Sharing
The f1 fish finder is equipped with a high-definition camera, which allows you to observe underwater images in real time after connecting with a smart phone. In the moment of enjoying the beautiful underwater scenery or catching fish.
At the same time, you can share it with your friends or on social media, no matter what kind of fishing environment you are in. The app supports one-click sharing to Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, etc
The F1 fish finder carries a 4800mAh lithium battery, which can be used continuously for 6 hours and the battery is replaceable, which makes the fish-finder use time longer.
Overall, Chasing F1 underwater drone fishing finder comes with awesome for a long day/night fishing. However, it is only best for calm waters and its dive depth is shorter especially if you’re capture videos/photos of more than 90ft
150M Tether Titan Professional ROV
The 150M Titan is an underwater drone that does it all when it comes to taking pictures and videos, salvage work and fishing expeditions. Its name comes from the length of its tether which is 150m and among the longest we reviewed. You can thus dive deeper than other drones with the Titan.
High on the list of what you get with this drone is the deep diving length at 150m/492ft. That means that you can go at lest 50m deeper than most drones will manage. You’ll be doing that with a 4K UHD camera packed with a 1/2.5 inch CMOS Image sensor for high quality videos and pictures underwater.
The camera lens has a 160° angle of view and supports 1080P live view while providing the most natural image owing to its capabilities to sieve out unnatural colors and lights. In terms of the image quality, you’re guaranteed the best by this drone. You have the choice between 32GB or 64GB of storage.
With 6 thrusters for vertical and horizontal motions, smart hovering and high self-balance, the drone will always stay steady for the perfect shots. The drone can hover within 2cm of your primary target for the best closeup shot possible.
You can even add accessories such as a robotic arm, sonar, microphones and many others.
- 150m/492ft diving depth.
- 4K UHD camera with a 160° wide angle.
- 1080P livestream.
- 32/64GB storage.
- 6 thrusters for stability (4 vertical and 2 horizontal).
- Smart hovering within 2 cm of the target.
- Self-balancing technology.
- 4 hours of battery life.
- No mapping feature.
Nemo Underwater Drone with 4K UHD Camera and LED Fill Light
The Nemo underwater drone is named after the famous Disney character famed for overcoming difficult situations in the deep waters despite the small size. This underwater drone, though small in size, has the features to offer an unrivaled experience.
With the world’s first QAS-Balance stabilizing system, the Nemo ensures that you capture the best pictures no matter the angle of the target or the turbulence of the water. You can then stream the content to your iPhone or Android device through the Aquarobotman app.
With a 4K UHD camera, you’re always on the front seat as your drone explores the depths of the ocean. The camera shoots at 30fps with a Full HD 1080P 120fps available. For the best experience, grab a VR headset then enjoy the content like you’re in the water yourself.
The 1000lm LED fill lights provide the best view even when filming in dark water.
The Nemo also boasts of one of the highest diving speed at 2m/s (6.6ft/s) and will reach the 100m (328ft) limit in no time. With its attached cable, you won’t worry about it getting lost.
The one feature setting this underwater drone apart from the rest is the fact that its batteries are detachable. It means that, if you have a long trip at sea, you can pack several batteries and simply swap them as you go by.
- QAS-Balance stabilizing for steady photos and videos.
- Video can be streamed to iOS or Android via Aquarobotman app.
- Has a Virtual Reality (VR) mode for an immersive experience.
- Provides 4K UHD30fps video with optional Full HD 1080p 120fps mode.
- 2m/s (6.6ft/s) descend speed.
- Dives to 100m (328ft).
- Detachable and exchangeable batteries.
- May have issues in water with bright colors.
Trident Underwater Drone
If you’ve ever had your underwater drone chewed up by a shark or other angry animal, the Trident Underwater drone is your answer to that. Built to last even the toughest of conditions, this drone will take the best videos and pictures from below the waves for you.
The Trident drone is easy to pilot and can be operated from the Trident Controller over WiFi. It also has a rugged design which ensures that no amount of abuse under the water will damage it. Its camera is hardened with sapphire making diamond the only material tough enough to scratch it. Even the motors are rugged to last in sandy and salty areas.
You can also add many other sensors and accessories to the drone on its payload area with ease. These include sonar for detecting fish and mapping the grind and others. The drone itself can go to depths of 100m which is more than most people will require.
All these can be done with a 1080P steaming camera with a color-filtering mechanism for accurate photos. You also get highly luminous lights for dark water conditions.
- Rugged design to withstand tough conditions.
- Dives to a depth of 100 meters.
- 3-hour battery life.
- 2 m/s underwater speed.
- Recorded camera feed of 1080P at 30fps and live feed of 720P at 30fps.
- Doesn’t stream in 1080p.
Youcan Robot Underwater Drone
Spotting the looks of a Star Trek starship, the Youcan Robot BW is one of the best underwater drone on the market at the moment. It packs the very latest of features, is easy to control and will go as far 330 feet below the surface while still anchored to a cable attached to the controls.
It does with a 4K UHD (ultra high definition) camera which takes the best pictures and videos under water. That’s one of the best image qualities you can get at the moment. The images are taken with an image stabilizer to do away with any blur on your videos and pictures. The camera also has digital defogging to keep images clear even under water.
The two cameras on the Youcan can be adjusted through 45° up and down from the horizontal plane. Also, the camera has a 130° angle of view. This way, you can capture images and videos even after your targets have moved out of the way. The drone itself can be moved up and down with ease within the lengths of the cable attachment.
If you’re worried about tight conditions underwater, the drone automatically adjusts the light levels to the most optimal for your images and videos. The depth maintenance setting allows you to see the drone at a specific level in the water. This works well when shooting a scene under the water for example. Better yet, the drone’s battery lasts for good 5 hours of shooting below the water.
- 4K UHD camera with image stabilization and digital defogging.
- Cameras with 45° angles of tilt up and down.
- Cameras have a 130° wide-angle of view.
- Easy up and down movement.
- Automatic light adjustment.
- Depth maintenance shooting.
- 330 feet depth.
- 5 hours of shooting with the 9600mAh battery.
- The manuals aren’t precise.
ThorRobotics Underwater Drone Mini Mariana RC with FPV
When the name ‘Mariana’ is mentioned, it conjures the image of the famous Mariana Trench which is the deepest trench on earth. This similarly named underwater drone from ThorRobotics is aimed at taking you to the depths for a breathtaking show which you can capture on camera.
The Mariana 2458 FPV underwater drone has Ready to Run (RTR) 5.8G HD Image Transmission running the HD camera. While it can be used on land as well, you won’t worry about its integrity underwater as it’s IP68 waterproof. It has child-proof features ensuring that your kid won’t damage it when they’re having fun.
It’s also the first underwater drone capable of using WiFi communication. In this mode, you won’t need a cable and can stream the content to up to 5 users at the same time. While wireless protocols have issues working underwater, WiFi is the strongest of them all and will thus give you a better reception than bluetooth.
The Mariana RC can dive to depths of 100m and has a single camera surrounded by 8000rpm lights for clarity in foggy conditions.
- Dives to 100m.
- Can use both wired and wireless communication.
- Streams to 5 devices when on WiFi mode.
- Child protection features.
- Speed of 2.8km/ (1.5 knots) under water.
- RTR 5.8G HD Image Transmission.
- 800rpm lights for dark conditions.
- Android and iOS apps.
- Can be tied to a yellow duck and dive to 3m for wireless connection.
- It’s a bit complicated to use.
Buy Guide (Features to look for when Buying)
When going for an underwater drone, the aspects to consider include the following:
Quality of the Camera
Underwater conditions are very different from your typical conditions above the water. As such, you need a good camera paired with strong lighting and the ability to switch angles fast. Thankfully, most of these drones have 4K UHD cameras which are powerful enough to provide the best quality images and videos.
Mode of Operation
For most underwater drones, the operation is tethered given that wireless communication such as bluetooth and WiFi work poorly under water. The other reason for tethering the drone is for safety. If the engine of the drone fails or the waves become too strong, you’re sure to retrieve your drone afterwards.
Propellers and Thrusters
Unlike aerial drones, your underwater drone needs to have strong propellers, thrusters or motors which are also protected from obstacles under the water. These also provide the right balance for when you want to move the drone around in the water.
Essentially, you need an underwater drone that does what you want and takes the best quality videos and photos and the ones on our list above are the best on the market at the moment.
How far can Drones go Underwater?
Most portable professional underwater drones can dive between 200-500ft while low-priced small and mini drones can dive up to about 100ft. The depth will depend on the calmness of the water and the length of the cable/tether
DIY Underwater Drone