What Are the Different Types of Drones That Exist Today?

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Are you planning to buy a drone? Perhaps you want one for leisure flying or professional use such as film-making, aerial photography, agricultural inspection, or package delivery. Regardless of why you want a drone, finding the right drone for your specific needs is the bottom line.

Imagine buying an expensive professional film-making drone to train yourself drone flying skills. And don’t forget the horrible crash that results due to your inexperience in handling the drone. With different types of drones in the market today, it’s imperative to shop for one to meet your intended purpose.

But how do you pick the right drone with a myriad of options available? You need to be clear-headed and understand different drone types, their features, what they mean, and whether you need them or not. Frankly, choosing the right drone is a catch-22.

To get you started on an exciting journey, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide for you. Keep rocked to learn about the different types of drones that exist today.

Multi-Rotor Drone

These types of drones consist of many propellers and rotors designed to allow vertical takeoff and landing. Propellers are the small blades or wings that make the drone fly; they are similar to the helicopter blades. Typically, multi-rotor drones consist of four, six, or eight rotors, with the most common one being four rotors.

The rotors will help you achieve better control of the drone when flying. With more rotors, the drone becomes easier to maneuver, maintain balance and keep hovering.

In case you are getting started with drones, consider choosing a drone with few rotors. With more rotors, the drones become challenging to control, and proper training is thus required to fly. Also, a drone with multiple rotors is limited in the duration of flight and speed due to its inefficiency.

In addition, if you want a drone for drone package delivery or large-scale surveillance, multi-rotor drones might not be the best option. The drones can’t carry heavy payloads and only remain airborne for much less time, with some only flying for twenty minutes.

Fixed-Wing Drone

Contrary to the drones using rotors for flying, fixed-wing drones only have a single long wing. This implies they can’t take off vertically and require a runway or catapult to take off.

However, if you are looking for a drone that can travel long-range and remain airborne for hours. Then fixed-wing drones will offer that as they can fly for 16 hours and for long distances. This is made possible because they don’t have any battery to charge, and some are even gas-powered.

Due to their inability to hover in the air, fixed-wing drones are not the best for aerial photography. They are mainly used for military surveillance due to their capable features.

Also, because they can’t hover, the drones are quite complicated to land and takeoff. This requires individuals with pro skills in drone flying to land the drone without crashing safely.

Single-Rotor Drones

Unlike the multi-rotor drones, this model features only a single rotor. Sing-rotor drones resemble a helicopter, and they come in w wide range of sizes. From little toys to large drones with in-built cameras for professional use.

People know them as the most basic type of drones, and if you want a drone for leisure flying, then this is where to look.

These drones can run on gas rather than electricity for professional use, but this depends on the size. They are a more efficient option for multi-rotor drones but not as fixed-wing drones.

However, this makes them more expensive than their counterpart. Also, these drones may be challenging to fly since they only feature a single rotor compromising on balance. Another drawback of single-rotor drones is that their large rotor blades can easily injure the one operating.

Fixed-Wing Hybrid Drones

Are you looking for a drone combining the best features of fixed-wing and rotor drones? If you are, the search is over as fixed-wing hybrid drones offer that. These drones combine the long flight duration of fixed-wing drones and vertical takeoff and landing of rotor-based drones.

A fixed-wing drone features several rotors attached to the ends of its fixed wings. Due to their ability to take off vertically without the need for a runway or launcher, these drones can be operated anywhere. Fixed-wing hybrid drones can cover long flight distances, fly faster, and offer greater endurance.

They are a versatile choice for a wide range of military and commercial applications such as surveillance, package delivery, and land surveying and mapping.

Small Drones

Small drones are perfect for anyone who is getting started with drones flying. They are relatively cheap, and thus, you don’t have to worry about the initial crashes when training. In this context, a small drone means one between twenty and eighty inches long.

These drones are purely for recreational purposes and can’t be used for commercial purposes. If you are a hobbyist or want to buy a drone for your children, then a small drone will be a great option. Most small drones come with a battery life of about eight minutes and need to be recharged often.

If you are buying a small consumer drone, compare the different options you are presented with. Pick the one featuring an extra battery, higher flight time, and a good build-in camera.

Micro Drones

If you search for a drone to fly indoors and outdoors, micro drones are the perfect option. While amateurs and hobbyists can use micro drones, they are also handy for surveying and visual inspection.

Some micro drones come fitted with an in-built camera. This makes them suitable for application in remote observation of dangerous locations due to their design and size. This model of drone transforms surveying by its low cost, accurate measuring, time-saving, and ability to operate in all-weather and harsh conditions.

Micro drones’ common application areas include archeology and mining, precision agriculture, construction, methane detection, and military surveillance.

If you are planning to buy a simple micro drone for recreational purposes, ensure to check on features of available options to avoid buying a more specialized and expensive one.

GPS Drones

These drones are designed with GPS needs in mind. If you seek a drone to perform GPS-related tasks such as autonomous flight, position hold, and waypoint navigation, this drone type will suit you best.

These drones are equipped with a GPS module to identify their location by linking up to satellites. GPS drones can thus map out their flight and even create data that you can extract.

Using the GPS feature, you can lock the drone to a GPS signal. This means the drone will identify the locked location and maintain its position. Also, it will stay in place without feeding the drone any controls until other controls are given.

This drone can also maintain stability and stay in course even when being blown off by breezes.

In addition, the GPS drone can have a return to home feature. This means the drone can find its way back to the exact location it took off from. This feature is useful if the drone battering is low, you are in outer range for controller connection, or disoriented and unsure how to get your drone back in course.

These drones are mainly used in mining, construction, and indoor inspection, such as industrial boilers and oil tanks.

One of the major drawbacks of GPS drones is that their batteries drain faster due to their GPS feature. Also, these drones are likely to cost more due to their advanced GPS module.

Photography Drones

This is another specialty drone model used in film making and aerial photography, such as the Mavic 3. While there are other types of drones with these capabilities, the specialized drone wins the day. They are designed for a single purpose; take professional-grade shots.

Photography drones come fitted with a high-resolution camera, offer great stability, and can take unlimited photos.

If you are looking for high-resolution pictures, it’s crucial to be very keen before making your choice. Remember, most drones today come with a camera, but not all are can offer the kind of quality you want.

You need to determine if you need a 4K camera on the drone, if the drone can hover perfectly still, flight time, and even intelligent features.

These features are meant to ensure the drone you pick can produce top-quality photos for commercial or even personal use. You can expect videography drones to vary in price depending on the features it has.

Racing Drone

Have you heard of drone racing? Yes, drone racing is gaining popularity all over the world, with more people joining the fun sport. In offering great experience and thrill, more specialized and powerful racing drones are being designed.

The increase in popularity of drone racing can be attributed partly to the formation of professional drone racing groups and competitions. Some racing drones are capable of racing at more than sixty miles per hour.

Like racing simulators, these drones offer the thrill of high-speed competition without any impending danger or need for costly equipment.

These drones are small, agile, high-speed machines with first-person view cameras and goggles for live video transmission. This offers hobbyists the ultimate gaming experience.

Also, if you can’t get the kind of specs you want, you can make your own racing drone from scratch. If you are buying one, know the must-have features for your racing drone.

Tactical Drones

The military explicitly uses these drones, and you can’t shop for one online. They are used in military research, intelligence gathering, and combat missions on the battlefield.

Also, these drones are versatile and can withstand harsh conditions, thus deployable in mountainous terrains. In their application, tactical drones help meet demanding and dangerous military needs without risking soldiers’ lives.

Tactical drones come in a wide range of options featuring varied weight, endurance, flight altitude, payload capability, and ammunition integration. They also come with different flight modes such as manual, fully autonomous, and pre-mapped autonomous.

All these features allow these drones to achieve the kind of functionality and performance required for military needs. But definitely, you are not looking for a tactical drone, are you?

Reconnaissance Drones

Also referred to as recon drones, these drones are purely for military use. Recon drones can weigh over 2200 lbs. and can remain airborne for about 52 hours with a flight ceiling of 35000 ft.

Militaries use them all over the world for intelligence, target acquisition, and surveillance.

Large Combat Drones

When you think of drones in a military context, chances are you imagine combat drones. These drones are about 36 ft long and are used in firing targets with laser-guided bombs and air-to-surface missiles.

They are stealthy and can operate for 14 hours, covering thousands of miles. The US is most common for the use of combat drones in different military operations.

Non-combat Large Drones

These drones are also purely for military use but not meant for use in combat. You can use them in a wide application of jobs such as reconnaissance. They are more suitable for large recon missions due to their endurance and long flight hours.

However, just because they don’t engage in combat doesn’t mean they come cheap and can go for millions of dollars.

Now You Know: Different Types of Drones That Exist Today

When buying a drone, note the more complex a drone is, the harder it is to fly. It’s thus important to conduct your research beforehand to identify the best drones for your specific needs. Also, professional drones can also cost you thousands of dollars, and it’s crucial to make a worthy investment.

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