Anyone purchasing drones for recreational or commercial drones will probably want to know the answer to the question, “Are drones waterproof” before they make a decision on which models to purchase. Strong winds will keep your drones on the ground but more often the reason you’re not flying them (particularly in the UK) is because of precipitation in one form another.
This is of concern to commercial drone users and aerial photographers since it will severely limit the amount of operational hours per year. If the drones are are not flying because it’s raining then your company isn’t earning.
So let’s take a look at the options for waterproof or simply water resistant drones currently available.
Best Waterproof Drones For the Hobby and Commercial Markets
The drone market is growing at a fast pace and offers many potential applications ranging from construction to infrastructure development and agriculture. According to a 2018 report, there are more than 75,000 drones criss-crossing the British skies today, and this figure is only expected to keep growing.
Since drones have such a wide range of applications, one of the most common questions involving these devices is whether drones are waterproof. If you are familiar with them, you probably know that some models can fly in patchy rain and other similar wet weather conditions that are so common in the UK. But are there any drones that are fully waterproof?
In short, the answer is yes. Some modern drones can handle anything from water gliding to short dives into bodies of water, and some models can even land on water and record under water. If this sounds exciting, you’ll want to keep reading / watching to find out what are your options when it comes to finding water resistant and waterproof drones.
Waterproof / Water Resistant Aerial Drones For The Hobby Market
Fishing, kayaking, or camping trips can take on a whole new perspective when you have access to a waterproof drone. But before we get started, it’s important to make a distinction between water resistant and waterproof drones. Water resistant drones can handle the occasional splash or some drizzling, but are not suitable if you plan on using them in extreme weather conditions or under water.
Water resistant drones are quite affordable nowadays, although you’ll have to be willing to compromise on footage quality. A good example is the Parrot Hydrofoil: this is more of a mini-drone which is nevertheless water-ready and can effortlessly glide over water for up to 9 minutes at the time. This device can perform 360-degree flips and stunts, so it’s a good choice if you’re interested in recording water sports. The downsides: a VGA camera and a rather limited 65-feet (20 metres) range. Also, Parrot have ceased selling it, but there appears to be plenty of stock about if you want to try this entry level drone.
What if you’re planning on giving your drone a more intensive use? Waterproof drones for the hobby market do exist, and here are our top picks:
- Goolsky JJRC H31, offers what in our opinion is the best value for money when it comes to fully waterproof entry-level drones. While you can’t expect flawless image quality (the H31’s camera is only 2MP), this waterproof drone can fly within a range of 230 feet (80 metres) for approximately 7 minutes, and can do so in low-light conditions. The actual device is encased in a heavy duty sports frame, so it will function when fully submerged under water.
- If image quality is a must and you’re willing to spend more cash, the SwellPro Splash 3 is a good choice. This device became famous for being the world’s first modular weather-resistant and waterproof drone and for being able to film 4k HD footage under water. Heavy rain, snow, Force 4 winds … whatever you throw at it, the Swell Pro Splash 3 will handle. This drone is also a great option if you’re getting started in the commercial market, which we’ll cover next.
Waterproof / Water Resistant Aerial Drones For The Commercial Market
Once you move on to more professional applications, such as film making, architecture, surface mapping, and entertainment, you’ll realise how much better the specs get. This is a rapidly changing market, but right now the best waterproof aerial drones for professional use are:
- For those willing to invest in a professional drone for the first time, the QuadH20 comes highly recommended. Image quality is a must in commercial UAV applications, and here the H20 delivers thanks to its smart design features, which allow immersive image capture. The airframe is made Epoxy fiber making this device fully watertight, since the camera remains sealed when submerged and the motors are prepared to keep functioning underwater – just give them a quick rinse whenever they’re used in salt water to keep them in tip top condition. Flight time ranges from 8 to 12 minutes, which is decent enough for an entry-level commercial drone.
- Also by the same manufacturer but a step above in terms of image quality and waterproof performance is the HexH20 Pro v2. This device has the ability to capture underwater shots in 4k, can land on water, and has proven its capabilities when filming fast-action scenes, like jet skiing or yachting competitions. Forward speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and flight time of up to 25 minutes make the HexH20 Pro v2 one of the most advanced commercial drones available right now.
Underwater Drones – Fully Submersible
Last but not least, let’s take a look at drones that are in fact designed to operate under water. At the lower end of the price scale we have devices like the GPToys F51, which can record underwater scenes, although image quality can be grainy at times despite the advertised HD capabilities.
For professional or commercial use, we must mention the PowerVision PowerRay, fitted with headlights and a 12MP camera that records 4k footage at 60 frames per second at depths of up to 98 feet (30 metres). Battery life is rather impressive at approximately 4 hours, making this device ideal for commercial fishing, diving, and recreational uses.
As you can see, choice is not a problem when it comes to choosing an underwater drone irrespective of budget or intended use. Waterproof drones do exist and we can only expect their range and specs to improve over time. With a bit of research, finding the ideal waterproof or water resistant drone device will be easy and you’ll soon find yourself discovering new ways of putting your new UAV to the test.