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Technology.

25 October 2021

Best waterproof cameras for 2021

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

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. 

Best waterproof cameras

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?.

  • 66%
    £399.00

    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%
    £524.74

    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

    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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Some of the models we've selected aren't recent launches, but they're still some of the highest performing cameras out there. You can check our camera reviews page for new reviews bimonthly. Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at August 2021.

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

And here are 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

  • 36%
    £129.99

    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%
    £149.00

    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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  • 31%
    £63.99

    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 updated August 2021.

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.