When buying a drone, there are a few factors we might get a little worried about; it could be the price, battery life or the quality. Another factor to consider, especially for people unfamiliar with drones, is noise. For this reason, users ask themselves questions such as Will the drone make a noise? or How much noise do drones make?
Drones tend to make a high-pitched buzzing noise, even when they are around 40 decibels more silent than traditional civil aircraft. A NASA study found that people find drone noises more annoying than those made by vehicles on the road. The sound they make ranges between 70 and 85dB on average.
The issue with drones and noises is the fact that they fly at considerably low altitudes, often in populated areas that are not used to hearing noises from civil aircraft. However, drones have become a useful technology, and not only for those in the film-making industry. They have fulfilled an essential role as medical delivery service and in searching for missing people.
How Much Noise Do Drones Make?
There is a slight difference between small recreational drones and serious commercial drones. The latest tend to be bigger and produce more noise due to having eight or more propellers spinning at a thousand revolutions per minute. If they make that amount of noise in their normal state, imagine when they are carrying a load. When drones carry packages, they have to work harder, and the noise produced is even louder. To explain this in a few words, the heavier the load, the harder they work, and the louder the noise.
We have already mentioned that drones produce a noise 40 decibels less loud than traditional aircraft, but still, it can be pretty disruptive. To better understand this, we have compiled a list of everyday examples of noises in decibels.
- Jet engines can make noises up to 110dB+.
- A jackhammer at close range can make noises up to 100dB.
- Loud highway noise can be as loud as 80dB+.
- Loud traffic noise can be as loud as 70dB+.
- Quiet traffic noise can be as loud as 60dB.
- Loud conversation can make noises up to 50dB
- Quiet conversation can be as loud as 40dB.
- Birds flying by can be as loud as 30dB.
- A clock's ticking noise can be up to 20dB.
- Rustling or falling leaves can be as loud as 10dB.
Having seen this, let's see how much noise DJI's consumer drones produce.
|Drone Model||Noise Level|
|Mavic Platinum||70 decibels|
|Phantom 4 Pro 2.0||76.5 decibels|
|Mavic Air||76 decibels|
|Mavic Pro||79 decibels|
|Phantom 4 Pro||81 decibels|
This is compared to excessive levels of noise of around 85dB. Now, let's compare drone noise levels with some other aircraft types at 100 meters above ground level (AGL).
|Type of Aircraft||Above the Ground Level||Noise Level|
|Small fixed-wing drone||100 meters||50 decibels|
|Large Quadcopter||100 meters||55 decibels|
|Fixed-wing aircraft||100 meters||75 decibels|
|Manned helicopter||100 meters||95 decibels|
And last but not least, let's compare a few drone noise levels at different heights.
|Drones||Above the Ground Level||Noise Level|
|Raven SUAS||18 to 61 meters||70 to 60 decibels|
|Draganflyer||3 tp 100 meters||60 to 30 decibels|
|Hexacopter APH-22||0 to 90 meters||57.8 to 31.3 decibels|
|Octocopter||10 to 50 meters||70 decibels|
|Phantom Cycleone||2 meters||60 decibels|
Are Some Drones Silent?
In the strict sense of the word silent, there are no silent drones on the market. But there are one or two options that are pretty close to being silent. It is merely impossible for a drone to be totally quiet because the sound is produced by vibration, which is a result of the rotation of the motors and the spinning propellers that help the drone fly.
Why You Should Opt For A Quiet Drone
The main reason is to avoid unnecessary noise in populated places. By eliminating some of the noise, you get an advantage for many reasons:
- It makes the drone perfect for surveilling any area, so they are a good piece of equipment for law enforcement agencies, private security, and investigators.
- They are an ideal option for nature filmmakers and photographers. Taking wildlife photos in its most breathtaking splendor is possible without much noise interrupting nature.
- They are perfect for filming videos with sound. Filmmakers can shoot aerial videos without overshadowing the natural noises of the location.
- They can be used to deliver small packages in places where silence is required.
Some Key Features Of Quiet Drones
When considering buying a quiet drone, there are some features you have to take into consideration, so let's see which characteristics will make a good drone silent:
- They have a sturdy body to cover all the internal features.
- They are made with materials that can dampen the vibration of their body.
- They have a thick body, which will avoid sounds coming out.
- They are still lightweight to prevent the drone from bogging down.
What Are The Quietest Drones?
As we mentioned, there are a few drones that are a little quieter compared to others. Here we have a list of the best and most silent drones:
DJI Spark, Portable Mini Drone, Alpine White
This drone has good quality video and HDR mode for photography. It is available with a bundle that includes a controller, battery, bag, and some extra propellers. It is easy to fly with decent battery life, and it is perfect as a starter drone.
4K Yuneec Typhoon H Pro with Intel RealSense Technology
This model delivers good video quality on mobile devices. It is quiet on the floor and perfect for intermediate users as it is easy to fly in the air. It has a steady grip, aluminum case, and is a quiet drone that comes in a bundle with a camera.
The Parrot Mambo is easy to fly and offers good quality at an affordable price. It is pretty durable and a very stable drone.
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum 4K Drone Electronics
This model is quieter than its original version. Still, it is really powerful to be a small sized drone. It can capture images and video in 4K resolution, has an excellent battery life, and delivers strong shipping and packaging signal. Additionally, it maintains its elegance in the air.
Altair Aerial AA300 GPS Beginner Drone with Camera
One of the most outstanding characteristics of this drone is the ability it has to fly long distances. The Altair Aerial AA300 is a good option for beginners due to the GPS return to home feature it has and the excellent relation between price and value, and it can also shoot pretty clear videos.
Other quiet drones
- DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Aircraft
- Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K RTF Quadcopter Drone
- Altair Outlaw GPS Drone with Camera & Live Video
- Force1 GoPro Compatible HD Camera Drone
Drones are awesome, there is no doubt about it. However, the noises they make can be annoying and can disrupt the peace and life of those around them. Even if there is not a thing like an entirely silent drone on the market, there are a few that can get pretty close to that.
To know if it is necessary for you to own an almost silent drone, there are a few factors you might want to consider beforehand, like the purpose of having a drone, the type of content you will create, how populated the area is and the laws that regulate drones and noises.
If a quiet drone is essential for you and to develop your projects, above, we gave some pretty good options to consider when choosing the best one that will fit your needs.
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.