BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
 
Menu
Blog
Beyond reviews, our team aims to provide you with useful, compelling, and fun how-to guides, gift ideas, and deep dives into trendy products consumers like you love. Here are our latest articles.
August 4, 2022  |  Electronics

Which waterproof camera is best for beach trips and vacations?

Heading on vacation is a blast, but when it’s over, you’ll appreciate having a good camera so you can take your memories home with you. When you’re headed somewhere near water, waterproof cameras let you capture those memories without damaging your camera. There are tons of waterproof cameras out there, but they’re not all of the same quality. Most buyers find a balance of affordability, portability and waterproofing most suitable for their needs.

Things to consider when buying a waterproof camera

Underwater vs. waterproof cameras

Depending on how you plan to use your camera, consider whether you need a waterproof or an underwater camera. Today, most waterproof cameras offer at least some degree of underwater use. However, those shooting pictures at the beach or by the pool that won’t enter the water can save money on a camera that’s splash-proof but not submersible.

Image quality

Simple point-and-shoot cameras are high-quality enough for most people to capture their favorite vacation moments. However, if you want something high-end, you may consider purchasing an SLR or DSLR camera and waterproof camera housing. Keep in mind that low-end waterproof cameras may compromise on image quality.

What to look for in a waterproof camera for beaches and vacation

Waterproof

When traveling somewhere near water, the last thing you want for your camera is water damage. Today, you can find several digital camera options that are waterproof or those that can be submerged entirely. A good waterproof camera is airtight and watertight, and they’re usually rated for submersion to a certain depth.

Durable

Choosing a digital camera that’s built to be durable is also important when traveling or spending time in outdoor locations, such as the beach. Most action cameras include a shockproof housing, meaning they can be dropped and tossed around without breaking. Many are also dustproof, which can be excellent for places like the beach where small particulate matter is likely to get inside your camera’s hardware.

Portable

Some cameras can be bulky and hard to travel with. Any time you’re going on vacation, saving space in your luggage can be helpful. With the improvement of camera technology over the past few decades, even small, portable cameras now take pretty impressive pictures. For that reason, many choose small cameras for travel.

Best waterproof cameras

Top waterproof camera

Best Olympus Tough TG-6 High-Resolution Waterproof Digital Camera

Olympus Tough TG-6 High-Resolution Waterproof Digital Camera

What you need to know: This waterproof camera is super durable, making it great for travel. It has five underwater shooting modes and a zoom that offers 8 times magnification, and it shoots 4K video. 

What you’ll love: This camera can work underwater at depths up to 50 feet. It also shoots excellent pictures outside the water. It includes a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, an anti-fog lens and long-lasting battery life. You can buy this camera in red or black.

What you should consider: A few buyers complained about the camera’s battery life.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top waterproof camera for the money

Best Polaroid ISO48 Lightweight Portable Waterproof Digital Camera

Polaroid ISO48 Lightweight Portable Waterproof Digital Camera

What you need to know: This is a great affordable pick for kids and beginner photographers.

What you’ll love: It features basic functions and can take 16-megapixel photos. It also shoots video in 720p and features a useful contract detection tool. You can buy this camera in black, blue or teal.

What you should consider: The pictures aren’t as crisp as on high-end cameras.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best waterproof GoPro cameras

Top waterproof GoPro camera

Electronics-Best GoPro Hero9 Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Rear Touch Screens

GoPro Hero9 Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Rear Touch Screens

What you need to know: This GoPro camera offers impressive 5K video and clear 20-megapixel photos.

What you’ll love: It includes Wi-Fi, a time-lapse feature and housing meant to stand up to the elements. It’s also smaller than most cameras, making it simple to transport. You can submerge it up to 33 feet underwater.

What you should consider: It doesn’t come with an SD card.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top waterproof GoPro camera for the money

Electronics-Best GoPro Hero8 Waterproof Digital Action Camera with 4K HD Video and Touch Screen

GoPro Hero8 Waterproof Digital Action Camera with 4K HD Video and Touch Screen

What you need to know: GoPro’s Hero8 camera offers a slightly lower price than its newest version, featuring 4K video, 12-megapixel pictures and a 33-foot depth rating.

What you’ll love: This has an easy-to-use touch screen and several shooting modes, including time-lapse and slow-motion. It also offers image stabilization and wind noise reduction, making it suitable even for windy beaches or tumultuous bodies of water.

What you should consider: This doesn’t include Wi-Fi like the Hero9, and users don’t like how short the battery life is.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best underwater cameras

Top underwater camera

Best Akaso Brave 7 LE Wi-Fi Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen

Akaso Brave 7 LE Wi-Fi Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen

What you need to know: This great alternative to a GoPro is an affordable pick. It comes with a plastic housing that lets you use it underwater up to 131 feet deep.

What you’ll love: This camera takes 20-megapixel pictures and 4K video. It comes with rechargeable batteries, a remote and multiple mounting options.

What you should consider: The camera isn’t suitable for underwater use without the housing, though it does have an IPX7 waterproof rating on its own.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top underwater camera for the money

Best Akaso EK7000 Underwater Waterproof Action Camera

Akaso EK7000 Underwater Waterproof Action Camera

What you need to know: This is one of the most affordable waterproof cameras on the market, yet it still features 16-megapixel photos, 4K video and a useful plastic housing for underwater use.

What you’ll love: Buyers love this camera’s price and rechargeable batteries. It also comes with Wi-Fi, an HDMI port and a wrist remote. With the waterproof housing, this camera can be submerged up to 100 feet below water.

What you should consider: The pictures on this camera aren’t as crisp as Akaso’s higher-end Brave 7 action camera.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.