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1 October 2020

Top five best waterproof cameras for 2020

We pick the best waterproof cameras tested at Which?. Waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof - our expert testing pushes these cameras to their limits.
Best waterproof cameras 2015
Ryan Shaw

You may choose to leave your camera at home when travelling for fear of it becoming damaged by water or worse - with a waterproof model you don't have to worry. 

The best waterproof cameras can withstand being dunked in water and dropped from heights of two metres, plus they can still shoot great quality photos and video. 

It's also worth knowing which waterproof cameras to give a wide berth. We've put every camera through rigorous lab testing in order to discover the best and the worst. 

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

Best waterproof cameras

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66%
£590.00
Reviewed

If you're a bit clumsy with your kit, then this camera is for you; the strong build quality ensures that it can handle a whole number of ordeals. Also, this camera is worth a look if you don't like the ultra-wide angle or fish-eye effect you get from most action cameras.

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66%
£354.00
Reviewed

This camera is pretty good for image quality, and in terms of specs ticks all the right boxes, but unfortunately it misses out on a Best Buy. However, it's definitely worth considering if you're looking for a compact camera that can handle the rough-and-tumble of everyday life.

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62%
£299.00
Reviewed

It's not the very best we've seen, but it is up there with some of our favourites. It's got plenty of cool features, including the electronic compass, which makes this an even better adventure companion. Picture quality and video is good, just make sure you're using it in outdoor lighting as it does struggle with low light.

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55%
£199.00
Reviewed

For a waterproof camera, which aren't known for having the best picture quality, this model is decent as long as you're shooting in good lighting. It's also really durable.

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55%
£130.00
Reviewed

This is one of the cheapest waterproof models we've tested. It's a capable waterproof camera, but it isn't the best. Picture quality is OK, especially if you're using the camera in bright scenarios, but we wouldn't recommend looking at the photos in too much detail.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at May 2020.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our compact camera reviews.

And here are four waterproof cameras to avoid

The waterproof cameras that fared worst in our testing capture very poor-quality images and video, plus they're not as simple to use as you would expect. We've seen some models with poor build quality that capture photos that are fuzzy and with inaccurate colours, and feature treacle-like shutter speeds. Make sure you're not stuck with an inferior model.

Worst waterproof cameras

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36%
Don't buy
£89.99
Reviewed

This is a basic, crude camera that delivers poor pictures. It’s also frustrating to use. Avoid this Don’t Buy model.

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35%
Don't buy
£149.99
Reviewed

We wouldn't even recommend this as a knockabout camera for a child. Its picture quality just isn't good enough and it's frustrating to use. The price might be tempting but there are other, better rugged cameras available.

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34%
Don't buy
£150.00
Reviewed

Despite appealing to budget-conscious buyers, we can't recommend this camera. It may be easy to use, but it falls down where you need it most — on picture quality.

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31%
Don't buy
£66.00
Reviewed

This Don’t Buy camera is not worth your money; don't be tempted by the cheap price and take a look at some of the other waterproof cameras we've tested to document your next holiday by the sea.

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Table last checked May 2020.

How to choose the best waterproof camera

When selecting a waterproof camera, you have to be mindful of what you want to do with it before making your choice. The more you want from your photos or video, the more options you will need from your camera. Also, waterproof models can be more expensive than other compact cameras so only choose the features you need to stick within your budget. Below are some key criteria worth bearing in mind before your next purchase:

  • Size and weight - Choose a camera that is small and light, and easy to shoot with one hand. Check that the camera controls are well defined and easy to use, as you'll be using it underwater.
  • Waterproof depth - Unlike action cameras, this camera type doesn't require an external housing; you can use them in the water as is, straight out of the box. One positive aspect to note: these cameras typically have a broad water-depth rating, which can be deeper than for some action cameras.
  • Drop resistance - The best cameras feature a drop distance of around two metres, meaning you can drop them from a certain height without the camera breaking. It's great for piece of mind, especially if you're clumsy.
  • Photo resolution - The resolution of the camera's still photos will be determined by the sensor size and the number of megapixels it offers. The rule of thumb is that the higher the megapixel number, the sharper your photos will look.
  • Video resolution - Video resolution can go as high as 4K Ultra HD (which is four times the resolution of 1080p), but very few waterproof compact cameras support this. It's more likely that you will find waterproof models with either 720p HD or 1080p Full-HD video quality.
  • Wireless - A good waterproof camera will have some form of wireless capability, whether that is via wi-fi or a Bluetooth connection. Wireless connectivity makes it a cinch to transfer photos and video from your camera to a laptop or smartphone.
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