Ever look out a rain covered window and wish you could be out there with your drone? Most of our favorite quadcopters would not do well to get wet, but there are some that can handle it. We’re not just talking about a bit of rain, there are a handful of drones that are happy to go for a swim!
Join us for a quick look at a few flying machines that can handle a dip in the ocean, these are some of the best waterproof drones.
For the most part, our drones today will be almost completely waterproof, but please look into the finer details to make sure that they will meet your needs. That is, you can get splash-proof drones that can handle a light rain, waterproof drones that are not safe in saltwater or fully submersible ocean vessels.
Further, just because a drone is waterproof, does not mean you can land and take off from water. To do so, a drone must float or otherwise get the propellers out of the water far enough to push enough air for liftoff. Breaking the surface tension of the water requires a lot of power as well, most drones will not have an issue with that, but it is certainly something to be aware of when shopping.
Before we get to the list, there are waterproofing measure you can take on nearly any drone. We will not be covering these options, nor promoting them, but a little research on products like Corrosion X may solve your needs. If in doubt, hit you local hobby store that handles RC boats – the electronics in your drone are likely similar to that of an RC boat, if they can go in the water, so can your drone.
We’ve also seen some DIY projects that affix flotation devices to the landing gear of popular drones, we do not recommend this either. Again, not saying you can’t do it, just be wary of that surface tension and extra weight of the water – the failed DIY attempts we’ve seen all either could not lift off, or flipped into the water when a side or corner failed to lift out evenly. That $4 pool noodle sounds like an inexpensive experiment, please don’t let it sink your thousand dollar drone.
Related reading: First time flying a drone? Don’t make these mistakes
Last word on the matter, please do keep in mind the additional power requirements to fly in inclement weather. The impact of water drops on your propellers can be detrimental at its worst. There is a fair amount of extra weight from water on the drone, never mind the risk of water trapped inside the drone. Finally, if flying in the rain, there is a good chance it’s windy out as well. Fighting wind is one of the fastest ways to kill a drone battery. Fly safe.
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GPToys H2O Aviax
As the name implies, the GPToys H2O Aviax is a toy class drone. We cannot ignore how similar it looks to our Syma X5-C, but we’ll take that as a positive sign. Despite being able to survive a complete dive into the water, this is a simple drone, with under 10 minutes of flight and only about a 100 m operating range.
Flips and headless mode make the GPToys H2O Aviax for $34.99 on Amazon an compelling entry level quadcopter. Peace of mind of being waterproof is a bonus.
Parrot Hydrofoil MiniDrone
We’ve seen the Parrot Hydrofoil MiniDrone before, just a brief appearance on our Parrot drones guide. Once again, we’re not looking at a very impressive flying machine here, but as a concept and RC boat, we have nothing but applause for Parrot.
We must admit a little disappointment when we learned that the little quadcopter on the Hydrofoil could not lift the entire assembly out of the water. However, once detached, the MiniDrone portion of this unit is a fairly capable flier, and while not fully waterproof, it can certainly handle some fresh water splashing.
Check out the Parrot Hydrofoil MiniDrone for $55 on Amazon today.
Unleashed through Kickstarter back in 2015, the Splash Drone is an enthusiast built quadcopter with complete waterproofing in mind. This submersible drone offers a waterproof gimbal for your GoPro camera, or an optional Payload Release System. As much as I like the idea behind dropping cargo, please brush up on your FAA rules in the U.S. before you do so.
A long list of features reveals a well equipped drone and accessories ready to fly and float for up to 19 minutes on a charge. Check out the Splash Drone for $1599 today.
Another in the line of small, toy-class drones, the JJRC H31 offers up headless mode, the ability to flip and more. Of course, the reason we’re here, it is also waterproof. That said, we feel as though this one takes liberties with the term. It is certainly splash-proof, and can handle a short accidental dip, but I would hesitate to fully submerse this drone.
Luckily, if anything goes wrong, you will be more frustrated than broke – check out the JJRC H31 for $34 on Amazon today.
This is probably the most expansive drone on our list, but there is much to like about the QuadH2O waterproof drone. In terms of capabilities, the fact that it looks like a flying submarine is for good reason. No, sorry, it’s not a submarine itself, but it could be if you could figure out the propulsion and ballast systems.
Built-in FPV camera, action camera mount, fully floating design, 1000 m range and upwards of 10 minutes of flight on a charge are fairly mediocre specifications. The passionate team behind the product and fully waterproof build add up to $2895 ready-to-fly price tag for the Quad H2O.
Most of us will never intentionally go for a swim with our expensive quadcopters, but for those that would like to do so, we hope these waterproof drones will fill your need. That said, every time I fly my DJI Mavic Pro over top of water I am thinking about that worst case scenario, maybe I should invest in something that floats as well.
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Is there a waterproof drone you prefer, or do you keep your flights to sunny days?