Best Underwater Drones in 2020: The Only Guide You Need for the Best Pick

Underwater drones with cameras allow you to see beneath the water in 4K crystal footages without getting wet and help inspect the hulls without hiring a diver anymore!

More and more underwater drones are invading the market these days for both professional and recreational uses, with much more affordable price tags than ever!

However not all underwater drones are qualified as advertised and worth your investment.

If you are interested in learning more about the underwater drone or want to find the best underwater ROV in 2020, continue reading and I’ll cover all you need to know including the latest underwater drone technologies to get you started.


Underwater Drone Navatics MITO

Underwater Drone Basics You Need to Know

If you are new to the underwater drone, let’s start with the definition:

Underwater drone is a type of robot that is able to operate underwater with wireless remote control on the land. That’s why it is also called Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (or underwater ROV in abbreviation).

Usually the underwater drone has a camera to capture still pictures, record videos and can send live streams to the land in real-time. Some higher-end underwater ROVs can deliver 4K underwater drone footage with 1080p live streaming.

How Do Underwater Drones Work

So how do underwater ROVs work? How do they transmit signals underwater?

To put it in a simple way, the underwater drone works in 3 steps. Here we take the Navatics MITO underwater ROV as an example:

  • Underwater drone records footage and sends data to the buoy via a tether.
  • The communication buoy transmits data to the remote controller wirelessly via the radio network.
  • After connecting the underwater robot with your phone via the remote controller, you can see the live streaming on the phone screen and conduct commands as you wish.
How Underwater Drone Works

And it works in a similar way for underwater drones to receive data from the land.

Note: Some underwater ROVs may use the WiFi network instead of the wireless radio to transmit data in the air (as illustrated in step 2). But in that way, you have to operate within a limited WiFi range.

By contrast, the radio network based wireless underwater drone can be controlled up to 500 meters away, increasing the operating distance greatly.

Further reading: Learn more about underwater communication in our previous post.

As you may have noticed, the submarine drone lives with a tether for underwater data transmission and it has to be that way with the limitation of today’s technology.

You may see more facts about the “wireless underwater drone” in part 4.

What Are Underwater Drones Used For: Top 4 Popular Uses

The underwater drone has now become a must-have for modern divers, yacht or boat owners, and videographers, and is widely used in the following applications:

#1. Underwater Photography & Videography

The underwater drone with camera is the best tool for underwater photography and videography.

With 4K camera and built-in 64GB storage, the underwater robot like Navatics MITO can capture crystal-clear and extremely stable footage even on the move in a depth of 40 meters below the surface. It also features two 1000 lumen bright LED light on the front, so it can see clearly underwater.

Tips: Always choose the underwater drone with auto color correction function for the best underwater pictures in vivid colors.

Underwater Drone Videography

#2. Diving Monitoring & Inspection

If you are a diver, the underwater drone could be a great helper!

The underwater ROV can relay real-time underwater information to the surface while diving, and in this way, you can also easily observe your performance with the recordings. It also helps inspect your assets before getting into the water.

#3. Underwater Drone for Hull Inspection

The hull inspection matters a lot if you are a boat owner.

With an underwater ROV, the inspection is much easier. You can send the underwater drone with camera to monitor the status of ships’ hull with its flexible control system. And there is no longer a need to send divers down for it.

Underwater Drone Hull Inspection

#4. Underwater Drone for Fishing

The fishing underwater drone is very popular among fisherman these days.

You can use a fishing underwater drone to locate school of fishes or individual targets much more efficiently and effectively. And the marine-friendly underwater drone like MITO will not disturb any marine life since it moves silently in water and only leaves a small, negligible wake.

Further reading: Check out other amazing applications for underwater drone like cave exploration, boating, marine research, underwater rescue, or just explore the vast marine life.

Top 4 Essentials to Consider for the Best Underwater ROV

We can see a rise of underwater drones in the market today, like the “tethered” drones and “wireless“ underwater drones. Read the following to avoid being cheated and find the best underwater drone for your needs.

#1. Wireless Underwater Drones

Is there any truly wireless underwater drone in the market without the tether hassle?

Short answer is NO, if the drone is for underwater exploration literally like 40 meters in depth (instead of floating on the water surface).

Truth is the land-to-water communication is much more complicated than that in the air:

  • The radio waves wireless technology, which is most commonly used on land, will quickly disappear as they progress through water mixtures.
  • And the sonar wireless transmission, which is widely used in underwater communication, has rather limited bandwidth to support the underwater robot to transmit images & videos over.
Wireless Underwater Drone Technology Explained

That’s why there is no truly wireless underwater drone that is able to stream live videos to the land in deep water. We may expect technologies breakthrough in the future, but for now, a cable is still necessary for a real underwater drone.

While wireless underwater drone is still a novel, some ROVs are trying hard to break the limit of cables as much as possible. For example, Navatics MITO has innovatively designed a floating waterproof buoy so you can operate the robot 500 meters away, making the underwater drone explore further and more freely.

So if you are looking for a wireless underwater drone that needs no cable at all, make sure what the advertised wireless ROV offers can match your needs.

#2. Underwater Drones with Camera

Most underwater drones out there come with a camera so you can actually “see” the underwater world, and most of them have built-in LED lights with high brightness to illuminate the surroundings underwater.

And the industry standard for the underwater drone camera today has already come to 4K ultra HD for video recording and 1080p for real time live streaming.

Check out the 4K underwater footage from Navatics MITO, the most stable underwater drone with camera, for a better understanding of the 4K video quality:

(To reveal true colors in the videos, it also adopts advanced color correction technology. Learn more >>)

#3. Underwater Drones Battery Life

How long a ROV can stay underwater depends on its battery life, and it could be a concern if the underwater tasks require hours to finish and you can not immediately charge the drone, or if you simply don’t want to charge it often like every one or two hours.

The best solution is to get an underwater drone with swappable batteries. That way, you can explore the underwater freely without worrying about the ROV’s battery life.

#4. Underwater Drones Price

Good news is the underwater drone has become more and more affordable these days, especially with the recreational underwater drone invading the market.

And in fact, the underwater drone price really gets down to the features you need for the underwater robot.

For example, if you are looking for an underwater toy mainly for recreational purposes like having a look at the underwater world near the surface (usually within 1 meter) with 1080p videos, you can get it under $1000.

If you want to get one for photography in 4K, diving monitoring for extended periods, commercial or hull inspection deep down to about 50 meters, an affordable underwater drone price can start from $2000.

And the underwater drone price may fluctuate in the holiday season, so don’t miss out the holiday special deal.

Best Underwater Drone in 2020

What’s the best underwater drone in 2020?

If you are looking for a reliable underwater drone that provides stable 4K quality footage for extended hours at a budget, you should really take a look at the Navatics MITO.

Navatics MITO Underwater Drone
Technical Specs
  • Sizes : 400mm x 300 mm x 135 mm
  • Weight : 3.45kg (including 0.8kg battery)
  • Max depth : 40 meters (130 ft)
  • Water temperature : -5°C ~ 40°C
  • Speed : 2 m/s (3.8 knots)
  • Battery : 4 hours swappable battery
  • Product Hightlights
  • In-house advanced active stabilization system
  • 4K UHD recording for crystal clear images
  • 1080p HD wireless live streaming
  • 1000-lumen built-in bright LED lightss
  • Auto color-correction for both images and videos
  • 45° tilt lock enables it to keep depth and orientation while moving
  • Wireless live streaming up to 500 meters (1640ft) away
  • Solar powered wireless communication buoy
  • Also check out the underwater drone 4K videos provided by its real users:

    Recommended as the “most stable 4k underwater drone” by the media like CNET, and diving professional on Spotmydive, Navatics MITO has proven to be a useful tool for both professionals and hobbyists and has helped users from 100+ countries to explore underwater freely!

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    1. Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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