How to Make a Drone Quieter [Stealth Mode Engaged!]
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There is no way to sugar coat it: my drone is loud! The constant buzzing is enough to give anyone a headache unless I fly my drone way up in the air just to give my ears some relief. There has to be a way to make my drone quieter.
Drones are notoriously loud and currently there isn’t much you can do about this. There are three options for any drone that can make your drone somewhat quieter. You can equip specially designed, noise-reducing propellers. You can also install noise reducing propeller shrouds. Lastly, and probably the most effective, you can install larger, slow spinning propellers to make your drone quieter.
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Why do drones make so much noise?
So why are drones so loud? The short answer is they have multiple propellers that have to spin extremely fast to provide lift.
The propellers cutting through the air is what causes the buzzing sound you hear. It is similar to if you are driving down the road and you stick your hand out the window. It’s amazing how much noise is produced when the wind is whipping around your hand!
The speed of the propeller rotation affects noise level and more importantly pitch. The faster the propellers have to spin, the higher the pitch (which makes the drone noise even more unbearable). Imagine a tiny micro drone vs a helicopter. One has a super high pitched whine while the other is low pitched.
The size of the propellers also affects noise level. Larger propellers can move more air on each spin and thus create less noise than smaller propeller. For any given size drone, you are limited to a maximum propeller size, and you need your propellers to not only provide enough thrust but also be efficient.
The size of your drone, more specifically the weight, will affect noise level. This is purely because of how fast the propellers have to spin to lift the drone off the ground. A heavier drone will require faster spinning propellers and thus typically be louder.
So with all these factors of why drones make so much noise, are there companies out there that are building quiet drones?
Are all drones noisy?
Unfortunately, all drones are noisy. But much like cars (non electric), it is all relative. There is no 100% silent drone on the market today, but there are definitely drones that are quieter than others.
Everyone from NASA to consumer drone companies like DJI are trying to make drones quieter every year. As the research and technology continues to grow, drones are getting more and more quiet by the day.
From new propeller designs to lighter construction, drones have taken huge leaps in terms of noise reduction in recent years. So as of today, what is the quietest drone?
What is the most quiet drone?
The most quiet drone on the market today is the Force1 F100 Ghost!
The brushless motors and well designed propellers keep this drone whisper quiet relative to some of its competitors.
And it doesn’t have many competitors that can compete at this price point, you can buy a whole ready to fly F100 Ghost package for less than $100. That’s insane for the value you get!
This really is a great first drone but it is a stunt drone. It doesn’t come with any autonomous flight modes. You are in full control. The 15 minute flight time per battery isn’t ideal either but the package does come with two batteries so you’ll be able to pull tricks for at least a half hour.
If you want a budget friendly way to have one of the quietest drones on the market today, the F100 Ghost is the way to go!
Which is the quietest DJI drone?
So you are a need of a drone with much better quality and more technology, then DJI has got the drones for you. They are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, consumer drone manufacturers.
Just a few years ago, DJI released the quietest drone on the market with the Mavic Pro Platinum. It was revolutionary with its compact design and 60% noise reduction.
They have doubled down on the compact, foldable design and released an even quieter drone with their Mavic Air 2.
Its compact size and efficient propeller design make this the quietest DJI drone produced thus far.
And you don’t have to skimp on camera quality or autonomous flying technology as the Mavic Air 2 features a 4K Ultra HD camera with 3-axis gimbal and obstacle avoidance and FocusTrack technology.
The Mavic Air 2 isn’t just one of the quietest drones. It is also one of the overall best drones on the market.
- 【UP YOUR GAME】: The Mavic Air 2 camera drone takes power and portability to the next level. It combines a powerful camera with intelligent shooting modes for stunning results. Push your imagination to its limits because aerial photography has never been this easy.
- 【NEXT-LEVEL CONTENT】: Capture impressive 48MP photos with a 1/2-inch CMOS sensor while the 3-axis gimbal provides 4K/60fps video. The secret to incredible HDR video is a high-performance Quad Bayer image sensor. OcuSync 2.0 has a video transmission distance of up to 6.2mi / 10 km and can also deliver 1080p FHD resolution livestream directly from the drone’s camera.
- 【IMPROVED FLIGHT】: An impressive flight time of up to 34 minutes allows you to pull off epic, fast-paced shots. Obstacle sensing in three directions makes it extra convenient for beginners and improves safety for your Mavic Air 2.
- 【INTELLIGENT TRACKING】: Mavic Air 2 features intuitive shooting functions that make aerial photography easier than ever. Spotlight 2.0 keeps the camera locked on a subject while you fly freely. ActiveTrack 3.0 keeps subjects centered. POI 3.0 tracks moving subjects like people and vehicles.
- 【APP COMPATIBILITY】: The DJI Fly app requires iOS v10.0, Android v6.0, or above. Compatible devices include: iPhone (11 Pro Max, 11 Pro, 11, XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6s Plus, 6s, 6 Plus, 6), iPad Pro (9.7’’), iPad Air 2 (9.7’’), iPad mini 4 (8’’), iPad Pro (10.5’’), iPad Pro 2018 11’’, iPad Pro 12.9’’, Samsung Galaxy (S20, S10+, S10, S9+, S9, S8+, S8, S7 edge, S7, S6, Note10+, Note9, Note8), Huawei (P30 Pro, P30, P20, P10, Mate 30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 10, nova 5, nova 4, nova 3e, nova 2, Honor 8X, 10, 9, 20 Pro, Magic 2, Mi 8, MIX 2S, MIX 2, Redmi Note 5, Oppo Find X, R15, Vivo NEX, X27, X21, X20A, OnePlus 7, 6T, 5, Pixel 3 XL, 2 XL, 2, LG V20, LG G6, Sony Xpeial 1.
Which is the quietest micro drone?
Remember what I said earlier in this post, smaller propellers have to spin much faster and thus create more noise.
If you are looking for the quietest drone, then a micro drone is NOT what you are looking for. Not only are they loud but the speed that the propellers rotate at is so high that the high pitch buzzing of a micro drone can be super annoying.
That being said, if you really want a micro drone but also want one that is quieter than its competition, look no further than the DJI Spark.
This thing is tiny, like palm of the hand tiny. And unlike most micro drones with crappy cameras and less than ideal flight technology, the Spark provides a lot of the high quality we have come to expect from DJI in a micro package!
The DJI Spark is the quietest micro drone on the market today.
How to make any drone quieter?
But what if you already own a drone? And maybe it isn’t one of the quietest drones on the market. How can you make your drone quieter?
As long as we are on all same page that you won’t be able to make your drone completely silent, there are three things you can explore that will noticeably make your drone quieter.
Noise reducing propeller design
How your drones propellers are shaped and designed can have a huge impact on how quiet your drone can be. By tweaking the shape and angles of propellers, companies are able to reduce the acoustic signature significantly (60% noise reduction with DJI’s release of the Mavic Pro).
DJI used a “raked wingtip” design to reduce drone noise but other aftermarket companies are trying out their own designs in an effort to make your drone quieter.
Aftermarket propellers designed to reduce noise are hitting the market every year. You will have to do some searching to find some that fit your particular drone but it is worth a look at this list of low noise propellers.
Noise reducing propeller shrouds
Dotterel, the self proclaimed drone noise reduction company, is working on some revolutionary technology when it comes to making drones quieter.
They are building nanofiber propeller shrouds that are designed to reduce drone noise by directing sound upwards away from the ground.
Not only are they proven to reduce drone noise by up to 10dB but they also protect your drones propellers extremely well.
When this incredible noise reduction technology will be made available to the public is unclear. They recently secured more funding to continue building their new line of technology.
When the propeller shrouds are ready to ship, they may not be available as aftermarket parts. They may be licensed to drone manufacturers like DJI to incorporate into their future drone models. Either way, the problem of how to make a drone quieter is being worked on and the future is bright!
Large, slow spinning propellers
Another approach to make your drone quieter could be as simple as using larger propellers. Larger propellers wouldn’t have to spin as fast to create the same amount of thrust resulting in a quieter drone.
There are aftermarket propellers for just about every drone out there and some of them are quite a bit bigger than what comes “stock”.
Unfortunately, it won’t be as easy as slapping on some larger blades and going flying. You are going to need do some thorough research on everything from fitting the propellers to even recalibrating the drone to account for the larger propellers.
The efficiency and battery life of your drone will be affected as well as other things. The effort involved compare to the overall noise reduction may not make this the most appealing option to make a drone quieter.
So can you really make a drone quieter?
Yes, you can make a drone quieter but not nearly as quiet as you probably hoped. The technology just isn’t quite there yet.
The good news is that the drone industry (especially consumer drones) is continuing to grow at a massive rate and with more drones in the sky, there will be even more of a need to make drones quieter.
So for now, my suggestion is to either buy one of the quietest drones on the market like the Mavic Air 2 or just live with the noise on your current drone and maybe even buy some ear plugs!