Thinking of buying or making a new drone? Check out this blog first for everything you need to know about the different types of drones.
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If you want to have some fun, fly a drone.
Whether you want to zoom through courses and dodge obstacles or use an HD camera to take amazing aerial footage, drones (also known as UAVs) are a boundless source of entertainment.
And the best part is there are many different types of drones to choose from. You can buy them ready to fly or build your own. They even come in several sizes to suit your wants and needs.
So how can you know which one is right for you?
We're here to help!
We'll go over the various types of drones and their pros and cons. This will help you make an informed decision so you can get in the air in no time.
Prepare for takeoff!
The Different Types of Drones
Before you start looking for a drone, think about what you want to use it for. The more bells and whistles a UAV has, the more expensive it'll be.
So if you want to fly around your yard for fun, you can ignore most model types. If you want to take professional video footage or learn how to race drones you'll be spending a lot more cash.
There are three main types of drones and a newer style that is starting to become popular. Let's go over each one.
This is by far the type of drone with the most variations. There are so many options and designs to choose from that you should have no problem finding the best UAV for you.
Multi-rotor drones have a central body with arms arranged in different patterns. There is a propeller located at the end of each arm. This is what gives the drone lift and allows it to move through the air.
These drones will have at least three arms with propellers and can have up to eight. The more arms a drone has, the more stable it will fly. And the more expensive it'll be.
Drones with three propellers cost less but are more difficult to use than a drone with eight. The standard is four propellers and you can find these UAVs ranging from less than $100 to over $1,000.
The pros of multi-rotor drones are that they are easy to learn. After a few sessions, you'll be fine. They can have a built-in camera to help guide you and you can operate them in tighter spaces.
The downside to multi-rotor drones is a short flight time. Even the best UAVs will only run for 20 minutes or so. This means you'll need to buy extra batteries if you want super long sessions.
Multi-rotor drones come in many different sizes as well. Their range varies from a few hundred feet to several miles. They are a great starter drone.
Single-rotor drones are helicopters. There is one central rotor that is verticle to the drone body.
While this style is popular in the real world, it's a small niche with drones. But that doesn't mean they're not cool!
The best part about single-rotor drones is their efficiency. Since it takes more energy the more propellers there are, UAVs with one propeller can stay in the air for a long time.
Single-rotors can also carry heavier payloads than multi-rotors. This means the cameras they have can as good as those on multis without the downside of losing flight time.
The downside to these types of drones is the difficulty. They take a lot longer to learn because they are less stable that UAVs with more propellers.
They are more expensive than multi-rotors when buying a comparable size and options. And since there is one long blade rather than many shorter ones, single-rotor drones can be more dangerous.
Don't let the cons of single-rotor drones discourage you. If you like the design, go for it. They are fun to use and can give you much more flight time between charges.
Unlike the previous drone types, fixed-wing UAVs soar through the skies like a plane. This gives many advantages to the operator.
First, since the fixed-wing acts like a real airplane, there is no energy required to keep the drone in the air. The only energy used is to make the drone move forward. This saves a ton of energy and gives you the longest flight times out there.
This means that this drone type can cover vast distances and view larger areas. You can also find gas-powered styles that will give you even greater range.
Second, you can keep a fixed-wing UAV in the air for hours. Even if you go with a battery-operator model, you'll be able to play pilot until you get bored. Which will be hard to do with the cool things you may see!
Fixed-wing drones are hard to use. They're even harder than a single-rotor to learn and get good with. This means more training, which may not be for everyone.
Also, fixed-wing UAVs need a lot of space to take off and land like a real airplane. This may rule this style out for people in urban areas or no access to open spaces.
Fixed-Wing Hybrid Drone
This is a newer drone type that may gain popularity as drone delivery services take off.
The hybrid model uses verticle propellers to take off. There's no need for the runways that a regular fixed-wing needs. But once it's in the air, it has all the advantages of flight time and range that a fixed-wing does.
This holds great promise for delivery services. They can use the vertical propellers to lift a heavy payload in a small space and carry it over great distances.
These aren't popular with hobbyists, but it's nice to know that drone technology is still evolving!
The Bottom Line
So there you have it. These are the main types of drones available. Take your time to decide which one seems right for you and try it out.
You can start cheap and work your way up to professional models.
If drones sound interesting to you, check out our blog. It always has great content for you to learn and share.