Best Underwater Drones in 2019 – 10 Great Underwater Drones
Underwater drones are stepping into our lives more often now. Even though it is still quite a new thing, it seems that the interest for them is rising all the time. While 71 percent of this world is covered with water, only a few of it was explored. This huge unexplored area was not possible unless we use underwater drones. So with the rise of new companies who make underwater drones, the big question is who are best underwater drones out there.
Underwater drones, like the flying quadcopters, are not cheap. And in the past 3 years, the number of companies who make underwater drones is rising. Some of them are alike others and some of them feature unique capabilities.
So, after watching and reading about several companies who make underwater drones, I decided to bring you out the best underwater drones I know.
There are remarkable underwater drones which will help you discover the underwater world, as this is a dream that comes true for many of us.
Who needs an underwater drone?
Underwater drones are great for boat owners who want to inspect the bottom part of their boat, scuba divers that want to record and film beautiful places that they saw on their dive, inspectors that need to find problems in underwater structures, and even fishermen who want to learn which fish expect to them in certain places. There are more possibilities to explore with underwater drones. I have just listed the major ones.
Generally, once you put the drone in the water you can take it wherever you want – that of course, in its range limitation.
The price range for underwater drones
When the underwater drones first came out they were very expensive, it wasn’t affordable for an average consumer. However, today, their prices got lowered and you can find underwater drones for a 1,000$, and 2,000$.
However, keep in mind that usually, the price for a good underwater drone will be around 3,000$ to 7,000$.
Again, the prices differ from each other due to the completely different capabilities of the drones.
Bottom line, does it worth the money? Well, you will need to decide. For example, inspecting your boat during the winter is not a pleasant thing.
Keep in mind that every underwater drone I will list here is different from the others. Each one has its uniqueness. Therefore the prices are different. It all depends on what you need the underwater drone for.
Which underwater drones I will review
Here is the list of underwater drones I am about to review
- FIFISH V6 – QYSEA
- Gladius Mini – Chasin Innovation
- Nemo – AquaRobotMan
- FIFISH P3 – QYSEA
- Fathom One
- BW Space – Youcan Robot
- BIKI – Robosea
- Power Ray – Power Vision
What will we review
Even though every underwater drone has different skills and capabilities, still, they all have common specifications. So, we will check how many thrusters or motors each one of them has, how long diving time each battery gives. How deep can the drone go under? If they have a camera and what it’s quality. Its’ Speed, size, price, and last but not least, is the drone is wireless or not.
Let’s start, shall we?
FIFISH V6 by QYSEA
The FIFISH V6 is by far our pick for the best underwater drone for 2019. This is thanks to its 6 thrusters and its maneuver capabilities which were not seen till today by an underwater drone. Not mentioning the great price it is trending for (1599$).
What is so amazing about the FIFISH V6 is the ability to rotate 360 degrees in any direction you need. It becomes a serious underwater drone that is capable of doing any underwater task. And its long battery life, of 4.5 hours, basically allows you to complete your entire task in one session.
Like its older brother, the FIFISH P3, the FIFISH V6 has two strong led lights, combined with a great 4K camera that will provide you with a beautifully clear image.
The V6 has 2 editions, one with 50 meters of a tether and the second with a 100 meters of a tether. In addition, you can navigate the FIFISH V6 using VR goggles. And if that is not enough, you have an HDMI output.
Both editions arrive with a 64GB of memory, so you have enough space to record all important videos and photos.
The Gladius Mini came out to market a short time before the FIFISH V6 and was looking very promising. It is featuring 45 degrees of tilting, which gives the Gladius Mini a great advantage over the other underwater drones. The Gladius Mini has a strong community and it is important when deciding to purchase such a device.
The Gladius Mini is having a wireless station unit. Basically, it means that you connect the drone to the wireless station unit, and it connects remotely to your remote controller. which allows you to use your remote controller without being connected to anything.
The Gladius Mini, like its name, is really a mini underwater drone, and it is the smallest size in its category. It has an HDMI output as well, and in addition, it has its memory card in the station unit – and not in the drone.
The Gladius Mini has a great price of 1500$ for the package with 50 meters of a tether – Which I must say, is very affordable. You can, of course, purchase a 100 meters of tether which will cost you an extra 100$ – not a big deal for such a package.
Regarding battery life, it has 2 hours which is okay, and I don’t think you will encounter any issues with it – however, I do think that a 3 hours time could have been much better.
Our first underwater drone to review is the Nemo underwater robot. Nemo, made by AquaRobotMan, is the first personal ROV that applies innovative technology of 4 thrusters’ system. This design enables Nemo to maintain perfect stability underwater. And with its excellent technology, it feasts you with the magic scenery world underwater.
Nemo is great for scuba divers and boat owners. Basically, Nemo has all the great features like other underwater drones, and it has the most affordable price in the market.
It has a great looking design, allowing you 3 hours of operation, 4 thrusters that dive up to 100 meters. It has a detachable battery, so purchasing an extra battery will allow you longer operations on the boat without the need to recharge it. All of that in a speed of 2 meters per second (4 knots). In addition, Nemo has a stability system which allows itself to maintain perfect stability underwater.
The Nemo underwater robot comes in two flavors, standard and advanced.
Both packages have:
- The Nemo drone.
- Nemo Battery
- Wi-Fi Base Station unit
- Wi-Fi Base Station Battery
With the standard version, you will also be getting a 32GB memory stick, a 50 meters’ cable.
However, the advanced package is having a 64GB, a 100 meters’ cable, a reel for the cable and an exclusive backpack.
Regarding the prices, I find it the most affordable. The standard package will cost you 1400$. While the advanced package will cost you 1800$. All with a free and extra fast shipping service.
Another great drone, in our best underwater drones’ article, is the CCROV. CCROV is a professional underwater robot, it was the first underwater drone to have a 4K camera, allowing you to capture stunning videos. You can watch it live even with a VR, increasing your experience to its max. But that is not all, the CCROV can go deep up to 120 meters.
And since the CCROV is around us for a few years already. That means lots of improvements and upgrades this drone had gone thru the years.
Regarding its battery, it is interchangeable, allowing you to replace it while charging. And charging time is 90 minutes which is pretty fast.
Regarding its’ speed, the CCROV is slower than the others and its 1 meter per second (2 knots).
Amazing 6 thrusters
The CCROV underwater robot is the only underwater drone in this list which has 6 thrusters. This enables the CCROV with great stability. You won’t find other ROVs with 6 thrusters. Most of them have 3 or 4 thrusters. 4 thrusters are for horizontal maneuverability, and the other 2 are for the vertical. This allows you to move it up, down, left, right, forward, backward, yaw and roll.
This great maneuverability requires the CCROV to need only one square meter of space in order to perform a full circle in the water.
Another amazing thing about CCROV is its size. The CCROV is small (208×204×158 mm) and you can put it in a standard bag when you travel. As a comparison, the CCROV is half the size of the FIFISH P3 which is my next underwater drone in this list.
You can purchase the CCROV with different lengths of cables. 25 meters, 50 meters, 75 meters, and 100 meters.
The price of it is the highest on our list. The small package is 3,699$ and it goes up to 4,499$ for the 100 meters’ package.
If you are after one of a kind ROV, the CCROV is your way to go drone. You won’t find anything like the CCROV out there. But, don’t make a decision before seeing the rest of the drones in this list.
Another underwater robot, in this article of best underwater drones, is the FIFISH P3 made by QYSEA.
QYSEA is a company which is getting lots of attention in the last year. They have shown their FIFISH drone in many shows around the world, and they have other great products which there are about to launch very soon.
The size of the FIFISH P3 is 492×337×174mm, it has 3 thrusters and it speeds up to 1.5 meters per second (3 knots).
QYSEA has equipped the FIFISH with a 4K camera, having an ultra-wide 162° field of view. And to make sure you will capture high-quality videos. In addition, the camera’s sensor of the FIFISH P3 is 1 inch. When comparing that to the most underwater drones, which has 1/2.3 inch, that makes the FIFISH P3 with the best camera quality.
Another great feature of the FIFISH, is its smart lighting system that is having 8 brightness levels.
Last but not least, is feedback. The FIFISH P3 is getting great feedback from its customers, and normally I couldn’t find any bad feedback about it.
You can read our dedicated review about the FIFISH underwater drone and learn more important details about it. A few days after posting this article, QYSEA reduced the price of the drone, making it more affordable.
iBubble is a unique underwater drone since it is the first drone on this list that it is a hands-free drone. And its main use is for scuba divers. So how you control it you ask? Well, you need to wear a bracelet that informs the iBubble to follow you. For example, the bracelet can inform the drone to come back to you.
The max range of the iBubble is 25 meters from the bracelet and it can go deep as to 60 meters.
As for its size, the iBubble is the biggest one in this list, and it is 570x458x222mm. It also has a decent weight of 9Kg.
The iBubble underwater drone has an integrated obstacle avoidance system, which should keep your drone safe while scuba diving.
Having that said, the price of the iBubble is a bit expensive compared to the others. It comes in 3 flavors, Underwater Drone, Explorer, and Premium. The underwater drone will cost you 4500$ while the Explorer edition goes a bit higher to 5200$. And the Premium edition is 7000$. Prices are excluding VAT.
Currently, you can pre-order the iBubble, and its estimated delivery will begin next month, on March 2019.
I was surprised to see that the iBubble is not coming with a camera. However, you can add an action camera or a GoPro. It is compatible with GoPro 3 and above.
One of the reasons I listed the iBubble in this best underwater drones is since it is hands-free, and it has the integrated obstacle avoidance system. Other than that, I don’t find it really pays to buy it. It’s much bigger and heavier than the others.
Another great robot in our best underwater drones list is the Fathom One. Remember I said that there are good underwater drones for 1000$. So, this is the first affordable robot in this list.
The Fathom One is a modular drone, which means you can detach the thrusters one by one, and even detach the camera. This is allowing you to pack the Fathom One compactable for traveling. Another advantage of being modular is when something breaks. Let’s say that one of the thrusters broke. Normally, you will need to send the drone for repair service. But, with the Fathom One, just get a new thruster and swap it with the new thruster. So, you can take it back to the water right away.
Fathom One has its own app with iOS and Android, so you control it right from your screen.
Another great advantage of being modular is the WIFI link module. Since the previous underwater drones I listed up here are using a tether, that means you are limited in range and also with its diving path. The WiFi module allows you to control your drone thru your smartphone without being connected to a wire. This is, I must say, a great advantage. However, the length of the tether is only 45 meters’ length.
As for the camera, it can record HD videos in 1080p quality. And one battery will give you 2 hours of work.
Finally, is the rail system, which is located at the bottom of the drone, allowing you to attach additional modules like GoPro camera, sinkers, etc.
The Fathom One is not getting good feedback with the customers, as its being reported to not work properly, it is not user-friendly and the instructions of it are not clear.
Another great robot in our best underwater drones list is the BW Space, made by Youcan Robot.
The BW Space has an automatic light adjustment, with 3 thrusters. Its’ camera captures videos in 4K and will transmit live video in HD 1080p. It has 128 GB memory storage, 3 types of tether lengths, 50 meters, 100 meters, and 150 meters.
The BW Space has an intelligent tracking, meaning you can set it up to follow you or other objects you decide automatically. Another amazing feature of the BW Space is its battery life. It gives you an amazing 7 hours of work. which means that probably you will never run out of battery.
Its 2 powerful led lights, which has an automatic light adjustment, will allow you to navigate the drone even in the darkest conditions.
Regarding its speed, it can reach up to 2 meters per second.
Its size is one of the biggest in this list, and it is 520x391x139mm.
Biki is another drone in our best underwater drones made by Robosea. I must say that I was thinking a lot upon including it in here. The reason I decided to include the BIKI is due to its great potential. The BIKI has 2 ways to be controlled. If you are above the water, you can control it with your smartphone. And, if you are underwater, you can control is using an underwater acoustic remote control.
The BIKI has a shape of a fish, moving with a bionic caudal fin (it has no thrusters), but still can dive up to 60 meters. It has a streamlined body that helps it move (or should I say swim) underwater. You can also set on its app a pre-defined route, so the BIKI will go on its own to the desired place you planned. One thing to consider is when you take it out to the sea, you will need to attach a weight to it to allow it to dive. Without the weight, the BIKI will swim close to the water level.
It has an infrared obstacle avoidance system within a range of 30 centimeters from the object.
Another great feature of the BIKI is the return to home. Thanks to the built-in GPS, the BIKI can return to base when it loses contact with the control.
BIKI common specifications
It has a 4K quality camera, with 150 degrees wide-angle lens. The BIKI also has a gimbal to assure a stable shooting video.
One thing which you should consider is its speed. The BIKI is quite slow and its speed is 0.5 meter per second. This is a very slow speed since if you are a diver, it won’t be able to keep the paste with your dive.
The BIKI is very light and it weighs only a 1.2 kilogram, being the lightest drone on this list.
Last, is the price. The BIKI is a very affordable drone, trending, like the Fathom One, for a 1000$.
Do you consider to purchase the BIKI? I would recommend you to wait a bit. According to some reviews, the BIKI has some issues with the acoustic controller, so if you will take it out to sea, you might lose it in some situations. Overall, I think that Robosea needs to work a bit more about the BIKI before making a mass-production for it.
PowerRay by Power Vision is yet another great drone in our best underwater drones list. As always each drone in this list is different from the others. One of the unique things about the PowerRay is the ability to have accessories attached to it.
So, if you are a fisherman, you can have a fish finder installed and a payload release as well. So, in case you see interesting fish underwater, you can drop your bait and maybe catch your fish with it. However, make sure not to have your line tangled with the PowerRay.
The PowerRay cannot dive too deep. The maximum dive depth of the PowerRay is only 30 meters, which is the lowest on this list. Even though It has only 2 thrusters, the PowerRay can go fast as 2 meters per second. And if that is too fast for you, you have 3-speed modes with it, for slower movement.
Other than that, the PowerRay has no special features over the others on this list.
Best Underwater Drone – Summary
After a long review on these 8 wonderful underwater drones, here is a short summary for all the important features of the best underwater drones.
|Drone||Thrusters/motors||Speed||Price (USD)||Size (mm)||Weight (kg)||Camera||Battery life (hours)||Depth||Storage||Wireless|
|FIFISH V6||6||1.5 m/s||1800||383x331x143||4.2||4K||4.5||100||64||No|
|Gladius Mini||5||2 m/s||1600||383x223x137||2.5||4K||2||100||64||No|
|FIFISH P3||3||1.5 m/s||2500||492×337×174||5.85||4K||4.5||100||32||No|
|iBubble||7||1.5 m/s||4500||570x458x222||9||Action Camera & GoPro compatible||1||100||64||Yes|
|Fathom One||3||1.5||1000||?||2||HD 1080p||2||45||64||Yes|
Are they more underwater drones?
As said in the beginning, there are more companies that make underwater drones, for example, the Trident by OpenROV and the Gladius. I didn’t list them since they have the same features like the ones I have already listed but with a higher price. In addition, there are more drones that are supposed to hit the market this year, like Blueye from Norway.
I will do my best to keep this article up-to-date with the best underwater drones.
With the appearance of the FIFISH V6 and the Gladius Mini, the competition between the underwater drones just increased. I expect to see more from QYSEA and Chasin Innovation in the upcoming years. For some companies, like QYSEA, Chasin Innovation, Power Vision this is not the first underwater drone they have developed. These companies are quite experienced in developing such drones.
Currently, your best pick will probably be the FIFISH V6. And if you still have thoughts about which underwater drone to buy. Well, I will encourage you to read our comparison between the FIFISH V6 and the Gladius Mini.
With all these underwater drones, I have just listed, I can expect that the competition in this market to grow even more over time, and I also expect the prices to be more affordable.
One thing is for sure, people are having more interest in underwater drones. And probably, like with the quadcopter drones, we will see them more often soon.
Other than that, every other drone from this list of best underwater drones will be a good choice – it all depends on your needs and budget.
Just decide which features are more important for you, and how you are going to use it. The drones I have listed have different capabilities, so it won’t be hard for you to make that decision.
Do you have any thoughts, or need to get a piece of advice about which underwater drone to purchase? Let me know, in the comments section below, and I will help you.
Till the next time, fly safe and tight lines.