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GoPro Waterproof Guide [All Models] Depth Specs, Cases, Tips

GoPro Tips, GoPro Underwater, How to Use a GoPro

I'm sure you've heard that GoPros are waterproof. Are they really? How waterproof are they? In this post, you'll learn how waterproof your GoPro camera is. I breakdown the specs for each GoPro model, answer common questions, and include some tips and gear for keeping your GoPro waterproof and working well underwater.

gopro waterproof

I know, it seems kinda risky to submerge your brand new (expensive – let's not forget) camera underwater. But fear not. GoPro cameras are truly waterproof.

Now, the specifics vary depending on the model and the application. But, yes, you can submerge your GoPro camera without fear – because every current model (Hero5 – Hero8) is waterproof.

Are All GoPros Waterproof?

Yes, all current GoPro models (Hero8, Max, Hero7, Hero7, and Hero5) are all waterproof. They don't require an additional case for depths up to 33 feet (10 meters), with the exception of the Max – which is waterproof to just 16 feet (5 meters).

Since the Hero5 Black was released in October 2016, every GoPro camera is waterproof without additional housing. Before the Hero5, every camera required a waterproof case to make it waterproof.

And all GoPro cameras (with the exception of the GoPro Max 360) have the option to add a protective housing to increase its waterproofness.

are all gopros waterproof

How Deep Can You Dive with GoPro Cameras?

Here are the specs for each GoPro model – including how deep they can go without (and with) protective housing.

  • GoPro Max: 16 feet (5 meters). GoPro doesn't make a protective waterproof housing for Max.
  • Hero8 Black: 33 feet (10 meters). Increase to 196 feet (60 meters) with protective housing.
  • Hero7 Black, Silver, White: 33 feet (10 meters). Increase to 196 feet (60 meters) with protective housing.
  • Hero6 Black: 33 feet (10 meters). Increase to 196 feet (60 meters) with Super Suit housing.
  • Hero5 Black: 33 feet (10 meters). Increase to 196 feet (60 meters) with Super Suit housing.
  • Hero5 Session: 33 feet (10 meters). Increase to 80 feet (24 meters) with dive housing.

Why Would I Want a Waterproof Camera? 9 Reasons

There are lots of reasons for buying a waterproof camera. Here are a few – only two include underwater sports.

  1. Snorkeling: This one isn't too hard. The newest GoPro cameras are all waterproof for snorkeling depths. For more, check out our GoPro Snorkeling Guide.
  2. Scuba Diving: This one gets a bit more interesting. Some divers like to stay in 10-20 feet of water – well within the range of the new cameras (without additional housing). But go much deeper and you'll probably want an external waterproof housing. Here's our guide to GoPro diving.
  3. High Humidity (Rain and Fog): Having a waterproof camera is important when you're in a damp environment.
  4. Snow and Ice
  5. Filming inside dishwasher: Here's what that looks like. Or maybe inside of a clothes washer.
  6. Filming a water fight: This would be super fun – you never know when a full on water gun fight could break out (like this one).
  7. Water Skiing
  8. Fishing: A waterproof camera can not only shoot underwater – but it will also keep working after you accidentally drop it in the river… Here's our full guide to GoPro fishing.
  9. Mountain biking: While it's unlikely that you'll submerge your GoPro, it could get fully drenched. Even more likely is that it'll get covered in dust and mud – and wacked mercisily with tree branches. A solid housing will keep your camera safe and working like new. Here's our guide to GoPro Biking.

Have one to add? Let me know in the comments!

GoPro waterproof camera

Here are 12 tips for using a GoPro underwater.

Guide to GoPro Waterproof Specs

Here's the breakdown for every GoPro model (back to the Hero3 – my very first GoPro).

GoPro Hero8 Black: Waterproof Specs

Released in October 2019, the Hero8 Black is waterproof out of the box.

  • Hero8 Black: Waterproof to 33 ft (10 meters) without additional housing.
  • With Housing: Add the protective housing and the Hero8 Black becomes waterproof to 196 ft (60 meters).

Note: Ensure that the camera door is closed prior to exposing the camera to water. Also, the camera should be rinsed after each exposure to salty or dirty environments.

GoPro MAX 360: Waterproof Specs

Released in October 2019, the Max 360 is waterproof out of the box.

  • GoPro MAX: Waterproof to 16 feet (5 meters) without additional housing.
  • With Housing: At time of writing, GoPro doesn't make a waterproof housing for the MAX. I'll update this if one is released in the future.

Note: Ensure that the camera door is closed prior to exposing MAX to water.

GoPro Hero7 Black, Silver, White: Waterproof Specs

Released in September 2018, the Hero7 Black is waterproof out of the box.

  • Hero7 Black: Waterproof to 33 ft (10 meters) without additional housing.
  • With Housing: Add the Super Suit housing and the Hero7 Black becomes waterproof to 196 ft (60 meters).

Note: Ensure that the camera door is closed prior to exposing the camera to water. Also, the camera should be rinsed after each exposure to salty or dirty environments.

The frame housing that comes with the Hero7 Black doesn't provide any additional protection. You'll need the Super Suit to increase the depth rating.

GoPro Hero6 Black: Waterproof Specs

Released in September 2017, the Hero6 Black is waterproof out of the box.

  • Hero6 Black: Waterproof to 33 ft (10 meters) without additional housing.
  • With Housing: Add the Super Suit housing and the Hero6 Black becomes waterproof to 196 ft (60 meters).

Note: Ensure that the camera door is closed prior to exposing the camera to water. Also, the camera should be rinsed after each exposure to salty or dirty environments.

GoPro Hero5 Black: Waterproof Specs

Released in September 2016, the Hero5 Black is waterproof out of the box.

  • Hero5 Black: Waterproof to 33 ft (10 meters) without additional housing.
  • With Housing: Add the Super Suit housing and the Hero5 Black becomes waterproof to 196 ft (60 meters).

Note: Ensure that the camera door is closed prior to exposing the camera to water. Also, the camera should be rinsed after each exposure to salty or dirty environments.

GoPro Session (All 3 Models): Waterproof Specs

There are three versions of the Session: Hero Session, Hero4 Session, and Hero5 Session. All three have the same waterproof specs.

  • Hero Session: Waterproof to 33 ft (10 meters) without additional housing.
  • With Housing: Add the dive housing and the Session becomes waterproof to 196 ft (60 meters).

Note: These cameras are only waterproof when the side door is closed and locked. Please ensure that this is done before exposing to water. Also, the camera can retain water after it is submerged. To drain water from the Session, set the camera upright (with shutter button facing up).

GoPro Hero3 and Hero4: Waterproof Specs

Hero4 cameras were release in October 2014 and the original Hero3 lineup was released in 2012. On an unrelated, nostalgic note, my very first GoPro was a Hero3 Silver.

  • Hero3 and Hero4: Not waterproof.
  • With Housing: Add an aftermarket waterproof case and both the Hero3 and Hero4 cameras can go to depths of 147 feet (45 meters). If you can find an original GoPro brand housing for these cameras, they have an even better depth rating, of 196 ft (60 meters).

I should mention that the housing for Hero3 and Hero3+ are not the same. Make sure you find housing for the exact model that you own.

These cameras came with some unique features – like BacPac Backdoor and Touch BacPac. The depth ratings changes (reduced) if you use some of these other back doors.

gopro waterproof cases

Just because your GoPro is waterproof, it doesn't mean that everything works the same underwater. Here's more about using GoPro wifi underwater.

4 Best GoPro Waterproof Cases

Waterproof housing works great underwater (of course) but it is also useful in other settings. The housing will protect your GoPro from dust and mud. And will keep food, ash, or paint off your actual camera. The housing costs about 10% of the camera price – it's worth putting your GoPro in the housing anytime something might hurt your camera.

Here are the best cases and gear for protecting your camera from water, dust, moisture, and anything else you might throw at it.

(Don't miss tip 5 on the list below this section because you'll be needing it when using a waterproof housing.)

GoPro Protective Housing (Hero8 Black)

With the Hero8 release, GoPro also made a brand new protective housing. The housing increases your depth rating from 33 to 196 feet (10 to 60 meters). Perfect for diving – or any other extreme sport.

Check current price on Amazon

Not only does it protect from water, it also keeps the camera safe from dust, mud, and whatever else might come its way.

The GoPro case features a flat glass lens (not plastic like some cases). This will capture better footage and images above and below the water. It also includes a non-waterproof skeleton door – for those times you want to protect your camera but not submerge it. The skeleton backdoor allows access to the touch screen and better audio capture.

GoPro Super Suit (Hero5, Hero6, and Hero7)

This simple housing will increase your depth rating from 33 to 196 feet (10 to 60 meters).

Check current price on Amazon

Comes with three backdoors: Two are waterproof and are great for attaching the Floaty attachment. The third one is a skeleton backdoor (not waterproof) for accessing the touch screen and improving mic pickup.

The Super Suit fits three models: Hero5, Hero6, and Hero7.

GoPro Max Protective Lens

As mentioned the GoPro Max does not have an additional waterproof housing yet, it comes with replaceable protective lenses. They protect the permanent built-in lenses in the camera.

If you're actually using the Max as an action camera, you'll damage the lens – it'll get banged on rocks, scraped in mud, or scratched/cracked on the trails. So the protective lenses are important, and you'll need to replace them.

Check current price on Amazon

GoPro sells a set of 4 for around five bucks each. It's worth having a few in your backpack – I wouldn't want to use the Max without them.

GoPro Hero5 Session Housing

Although its a little old now, the Hero5 Session is still around and (at time of writing) is still available to purchase on Amazon.

This dive case will increase the depth rating 6X (from 10 to 60 meters).

Check current price on Amazon

As with the other cameras, I recommend picking up this case to protect your gear. The case costs just a fraction of the price of the GoPro.

are gopros waterproof

6 Tips for Keeping Your GoPro Waterproof (And Healthy)

  1. Check the Camera Doors: This is the most important tip. If your door is not completely closed, water will get in. Water kills cameras. Double check your camera door every time. 
  2. Rinse Your Camera: It only takes a minute, but it's easy to forget. At the end of the day, rinse your camera (and housing if you used it) in fresh water. This will remove any salt, dust, or debris and keep things working well for tomorrow.
  3. Wipe Your Touch Screen: While the touch screen will work when wet (even underwater) it might be a little glitchy if there are water drops on it. Just give it a wipe or lick and it'll be back to normal.
  4. Check the Gasket: If you're using a housing, make sure that there isn't any sand or other debris in the gasket. If something breaks the seal, the housing will not keep your camera safe. It's surprising how easy it is to get stuff in the gasket.
  5. Use Anti Fog Inserts: If you use the housing, you'll find out very quickly that humidity can affect your image quality. Here's more about the problem, with photos of interior fog. Here are the anti-fog inserts we use to keep moisture off the inside of the lens.
  6. Use Rain-X: Using a hydrophobic spray like Rain-X will keep water from beading up on the outside of the housing lens. While this should work fine on the actual GoPro, I haven't used it directly on the camera. I recommend spraying Rain-X on the housing lens. This will cause water to bead and roll off – preventing super weird photos like these.
waterproof gopro

Your Turn

And there you have it. The GoPro waterproof guide. Have a question or tip to share? I would love to hear from you.

Join me in the comment section below!

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is co-editor of ClickLikeThis: GoPro tutorial blog. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

2 comments… add one
  • Jim Jan 3, 2020, 10:06 pm

    Great article Bryan. I just picked up a Hero7 Black.

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