The Top Surveillance Drones For Sale In 2018
Have you been considering purchasing a surveillance drone but not sure where to start? Not sure if you should opt for a surveillance drone or a more basic model? Keep reading to find out considerations you should keep in mind and which model might be right for your skill level and specific needs.
In the modern market, the demand for drones is increasing every day. There are many types of drones being manufactured and sold, but surveillance drones are becoming increasingly sought after. Previously, these drones were mostly used in military services(see our post on military drones here) only and were inaccessible publicly due to the extreme price and technology used. However, these devices are now utilized by the general public for several different purposes from recreational use to professional projects.
A note about Privacy
Use of these surveillance devices requires you to be contentious about the privacy of others because it is a critical concern to the public rights. If these devices are used beyond the legal rights, then it can be considered unlawful or even in extreme cases, an act of terrorism.Surveillance drones, known as UAVs (Unmanned Arial Vehicle), are the devices that can be used for radio jamming, heat sensing, object detection, and surveillance. These drones became accessible to the public after the Federal Aviation Administration’s Modernizationand Reform Act of 2012.
Since this reform, public use of these drones has increased by the day. Some of these devices require formal registration for them to be legal for personal use within the United States. If they are not registered, an individual caught using one can experience repercussions including fines and confiscation of the drone. This is something to carefully consider before purchasing a surveillance drone.
However, it should not be a reason to forgo the purchase in most cases. Just take the time to know the regulations in your area so you can enjoy and utilize your drone within the law. Who should buy a surveillance drone? Anyone with previous experience flying drones who is looking for a new challenge or improved video and flight experience may want to consider a specialty surveillance drone.
Keep in mind with the improved flight experience and top quality cameras comes a bigger price tag as well. If you are looking for a drone to use to create professional videos, a surveillance drone will certainly meet your needs. They’re not ideal for children or for people who may struggle learning new technology.
A special consideration before purchasing a surveillance drone
Surveillance drones are available to drone users thirteen years of age and older with proper registration. The registration is easy to acquire and most surveillance drones will need it to be flown legal in most areas. In order to register your new drone, simply go to the federal aviation administration’s website and look for the section labeled drone registration. This will cost about five dollars and each drone only needs to be registered once every three years.
Different countries have different regulations so be sure to do your research and consult the appropriate government website for your locality before flying your drone. Registration is required to assist with safety and privacy concerns to prevent unlawful use of the drone and to help watch for potential terrorist activity utilizing drones. Drones offer a great way to provide surveillance and increase security just as much as they potentially can be used for negative purposes. The FAA has imparted rules for drone flying in certain areas such as near airports, White House, and within a thirty mile radius of the Washington National Airport.
There are many no fly zones that have been created for the safety of the public as well as privacy of government agencies. In order to fly within no-fly zones a special permit from the FAA is required. This is generally within a 15 mile radius of a government entity. However, between the 15 mile and 30 mile marks some drones can be flown as long as they meet certain requirements. The drone must be registered and marked according to regulations, weigh less than fifty-five pounds, and can have a maximum flight altitude of four hundred feet. Additionally, the drone must be within sight of the user, only flown in clear weather conditions, and must remain away from other aircrafts to prevent any interference.
Before flying your drone it is imperative to check local regulations even if you think you are within your rights. It is far better to be over cautious than to get in trouble for breaking laws or infringing on the rights of other people unintentionally. You wouldn’t want someone else flying a drone in such a manner that your privacy was invaded and your rights violated, so show other people the same respect you would wish to have shown to you by other drone flyers to help keep the peace.
It only takes a few disrespectful drone users to ruin the reputation and freedom of those who are careful about how they use their drones and keep their drone use within the law. If you do happen to see someone abusing their drone, report it to officials. There are instructions on who to report suspicious activity to on most local government websites as well as the FAA.While there are several different types of surveillance drones available on the market today, we have compiled a list of our five top choices.
5 Best Surveillance Drones
DJI Phantom Pro 3
Another superior drone from Phantom, this done has many features desirable to surveillance drone hobbyist while still having professional applications as well. The Phantom Three is a very stable drone because it has been created as a quadcopter with four rotors to ensure in-flight stability. To provide top quality recordings and pictures, it has a 4k UHD camcorder included with a three axis gimbal.The DJI Pilot app provides 20p HD digital life streaming directly to your choice of mobile phone and makes use of the drone very straight forward. The DJI also has the newest generation of technology. This drone has a vision positioning feature to help get the best view of the predetermined area and includes a variety of sensors which help the drone fly safely indoors and out without obstacles causing interference.
While GPS is included as part of the drone's interface, it can also be operated and directed without a GPS signal active, allowing real-time maneuvering for any need. The GPS can be utilized to provide seamless navigation of take-off and landing.
In flight, the user has complete control of the camera. Images can be enlarged by zooming in when something intriguing or out of place is spotted.The DJI Phamton 3 is incredibly reliable with a carbon fiber hard shell to protect it from virtually anything it may encounter in flight.
It also makes it durable for flight in all types of weather conditions. This drone has a generous 25 minute flight time with a high powered battery that is imperative to surveillance operations. Because privacy is of increasing concern, the drone includes a feature that makes it immobile within a 15 mile area of the nation's capital. This is to prevent legal problems as a result of flying the drone and makes it impossible to use if you want to fly it at home and live within a fifteen mile radius of the nation's capital, which is one drawback to the device but also a completely reasonable safety measure included by DJI.
The basic package for this drone includes only what is required to fly the quadcopter, however, you can purchase several different accessory kits to personalize your experience with the drone. Additional purchase options include batteries, a hard shell backpack, and an SD card.
Three axis, 4k UHD Recording Camera
Dimensions are 18x13x8 inches
Includes one lithum battery
Weight is 9lbs
Elite Edition Quadcopter Parrot 2.0
Yet another excellent quadcopter drone, this drone is easy to fly using an app on your phone. The AR firelight app is free on both iOS and Android and allows full control of the drone in the palm of you hand. It even has a wireless network that is self contained. If you don’t like utilizing an application as your drone controller, you will likely be reformed by this app with its ease of use.
It is very user friendly allowing smooth video feeds without lagging or buffering.The Elite Edition quadcopter comes in a variety of styles including rainforest, desert, and artic. Each bringing it’s own unique design for camouflage in different areas. Two of the four props are also color coordinated with the selected style. The other two remain standard black. A 100mAH battery is included that gives up to 12 minutes of in flight recording time. A charger for the battery is included as well.
The drone has an exciting specialty setting that is available for purchase in the control app. This feature gives your done pre-determined movements based on your desires while giving professional high definition videos. The video features can also be changed including white balance, exposure, and color saturation to give even better effects to your drone recordings.Another feature that stands out with this drone is the exclusive polite mode for the drone, called the piloting mode.
This was created to help novice users learn to control a drone through an app and uses the phone as a return point for drone flight no matter where the drone is and which direction it is facing. All you have to do is tilt the phone with the mobile app in the direction you want, and the drone will head the same direction. New users will quickly pick up on how to fly this drone without any issues.
Weather is not much of a concern with this drone because it has specialty stability sensors and a top of the line navigation system. The drone can tolerate winds up to fifteen miles per hour and will keep responding to your guidance without hesitation. It is ideal for use at the beach and in fields for surveillance in areas wind turbulence may otherwise be an issue for drone flight. The positioning of the camera allows first person views as if you were in the drone’s pilot seat.
You can also record the view to your phone during flight without a need for an SD card. There’s no reason to wait until you are at home or have a computer with you to view your drones recording. If you do want to see the recording on a larger screen, the drone comes with a USB port that can be used.
720p HD Camera
Twelve minute flight time
23x5x23 inches in dimension
100mAH lithium battery
Complete with a three-axis stabilized 4k CG30 precise gimbal camera that provides up to 1080 p of video, this drone is certainly one to consider. It has a 12MP camera to catch your perfect shot every time. This drone is ready to go out of the box and does not require any assembly, making it ideal as a gift or for someone who does not have the patience to assemble a drone.
The controller for this drone has includes an android platform that is used as the camera control and has a touch screen. You can control the quality of video, exposures, and white balance with the touch a finger. The drones sight view can also be seen on the controller, so there is no need to use a phone app to see what your drone is viewing. It also includes flight data.
If you get this drone, you will need to upgrade the firmware to optimize performance. The average flight time is twenty five minutes. Additional batteries can be purchased, but only one comes with the drone to help keep the price reasonable. Although it may not be considered an elite brand, the YUNEECC Q500 certainly gives more expensive drones some competition without the high price tag.
Twenty-five minute flight time
Lithium battery included
Parrot Bebop 2
Don’t let the name fool you; this drone is worth looking at for your surveillance drone needs! A second generation version of this drone series and has a modern fish eye lens. It is a quality drone that gives first person visual experiences, unlike any drone due to the fish lens’ enhanced view, which is 186 degrees.
It has a 14 megapixel video recorder that also captures high-quality still images. It has a lightening fast processes, which fixes distortion issues while streaming directly to your mobile device. The drone also includes a memory of no less than 8 GB so you can store your surveillance footage. Average flight and surveillance time is twenty-five minutes, and it can fly at speeds up to almost forty miles per hour. Don’t try to keep up with this one!
If you like to fly your drone in low light conditions, the Bebop should be your go to drone. It includes a rear LED light that lets you see where your drone is at all time and offers excellent visibility at night. Controls for the light are included in the control app or a specialized controller that can be purchased separately. This controller, known as the SkyController, is ideal if you want to fly your drone over long distances because it is comfortable to hold.
People using the app have the option of purchasing a specialty GPS option that lets you set specific lines for the drone to fly on its own.This drone is known to be very durable and has an auto failsafe mode. Users have experienced falls up to twenty feet with minimal scratches and damage to the propellers, making it an excellent option for new flyers who may accidentally crash the drone or misjudge battery life.
14MP Camera with special lens
Twenty-five minute flight time
15x12.9x3.5 inches in dimension
includes one 2700 mAH battery
1.1 pound product weight
Inspire 1 Pro from DJI
Yes, another great DJI drone! It is part of the same series as the Phantom 3 and along with the increased price comes increased functionality. The design of this drone is superior and will appeal to science fiction enthusiasts. It is truly a next generation drone.The Inspire 1 has all the same features as the P3 and many more. If you’ve considered the Phantom but feel it was missing something, the Inspire 1 is your drone.
It has three hundred sixty degree camera view that can be controlled entirely independent of the drone itself. The basic version of this drone includes a superioer camera with a three-axis stabilization. The Pro version, however, comes with Zenmuse X5, which is the very first to offer a micro 4/3 camera with over ten stops of intense range and the lens is 8x times the size of a typical drone sense. It is specially designed for the surveillance drone enthusiast and top quality aerial pictures.
If you still feel the Inspire 1 Pro is lacking, you must be a true drone snob. Fortunately DJI knows these people do exist and has created the Inspire 1 in a special RAW as well. It is an even more technologically advanced version of the pro and has been a hit within the film industry even before it was released to the public.
Micro 4/3 camera with Zenmuse x5
Twenty-Five Minute flight time
22.6x21x11.7 inches in dimension
Complete Buyers Guide to Surveillance Drones
Purchasing a surveillance drone can be a daunting experience for someone new to the market. There are many different features, styles, and price ranges available that can confuse someone new to surveillance drone flying. Here are a few features to keep in mind before finalizing your purchase.
Most individuals will want to stick with a quadcopter model because they offer more stability than other types of drones and provide more versatility in their use compared to helicopter or airplane style drones.
One of the most important features of any drone is the quality of the camera. A poor quality camera will detract from the drone flying experience and this is even more important with a surveillance drone. Low quality cameras are more likely to fail or provide fuzzy, distorted images than quality cameras.
Look for a high definition camera with a minimum of 720p recording in order to get a clear picture. Of course, the better the camera the more desirable the drone will be. Cameras can be specifically made to mount on drones, and it is possible to upgrade the camera on a drone if the drone is designed for it. You will also want to the camera to offer a 4k close-up option on the camera.
Surveillance is best accomplished when the drone user doesn’t have to remain right with the drone. For this reason, it is important that the drone can be controlled at a distance while still providing full control to the user. Look for a drone that has safety features if it gets out of range. Typically this means the drone will return to a set point, use GPS to find the controller again, or simply hover and wait for the user to approach and be within range again. It’s important to know what your drone will do if it loses range so it doesn’t lose battery power and die in an unreachable or dangerous area.
Click here to see a list of long range drones.
Many people are surprised by the short flight time most drones have. Be sure to understand what your drone is and isn’t capable of when it comes to the length of the trip. Weather conditions will have a huge impact on the flight time. Just because a drone says it has a twenty five minute flight time does not mean it will always get the full flight time on a single battery charge.
If there are many obstacles to work around or wind is an issue, flight time will be significantly decreased because of the increase in power needed to maneuver in these situations. It is best to underestimate the time your drone can fly by at least five minutes so you have time to get it back to you and a charger before the battery dies. Battery enhancements are available for some drones to help increase the flight time.
The stability of a drone in flight has a significant impact on the quality of images it can capture as well as the safety of the drone while it is in flight. Lack of stability will result in a bad quality pictures and videos that are not good quality even if the camera quality is very good. Surveillance drones should have built in sensors and features to help in different flight conditions to help preserve video quality.
Follow Me Mode
This feature is imperative for the average drone user. It keeps the drone within range of the user and prevents the drone from being lost or losing battery while out of range.
We have a post talking about the best follow me drones. Make sure you check it out!
Drone Set Up
Not all drones are ready to fly out of the box. Some may require assembly, upgrades to sofware, or other work before being ready for flight. If you do not want to mess with this, look for a drone with RTF on the packaging. This means the drone is ready to fly directly out of the box. The only thing you should need to do is charge the battery according to the included instruction manual.
If assembly is required, there will be several parts included in the package. This includes propellor guards, landing gear, camera mounts, bolts, screws, and more. Most will also include the necessary tools such as a screwdriver to help assist with assembly.
What applications do Surveillance Drones have?
Surveillance drones can be used for many purposes and are not strictly limited to monitoring functions. Numerous industries have found ways to utilize drones that are marketed for surveillance purposes.
Cinematography and Photography
High definition cameras attached to drones can take still pictures as well as record videos that would otherwise be impossible to get. Drones are often used to give movie goers a first person visual experience to help become immersed in the setting of the film.
People have begun using drones for hobbies such as hunting. They offer a discreet way to find the desired prey without disrupting them and scaring them off. It allows hunters to view areas they might otherwise overlook while on their hunts.
Alternatively, drones can also be used to help designate specific no hunting areas in the case of endangered species so the animals are not disturbed in their habitat. Either way, drones can also be used as a safety device to help watch for predators and help people avoid potentially dangerous situations when exploring the great outdoors.
Drones for surveillance and safety are a subject of great debate because of privacy concerns. However, they are undeniably a great piece of technology for this. They are often being used to replace CCTV cameras in different situations for business and home use.
Drones offer a broader range of sight and their mobility means they can follow perpetrators so they can be caught and help keep people safe by alerting people in the areas potentially dangerous people are headed.
Whether it is a natural disaster or something caused by people, drones can help scout disaster areas to patrol for innocent dangers and look for survivors needing assistance. This market is still developing, but the use of drones in such situations is steadily increasing.
Similar to the hunting and wildlife preservation mentioned previously, drones are an excellent way to see wildlife in their natural habiate. This can help monitor their feeding and reproduction patterns to help preserve and understand them better. Even animals that move very quickly can be followed by drones without disturbing the animals. They are an excellent resource for scientists and a great way for people to learn more about the lifestyle of animals and ecosystems.
The average drone user will fall into this category. Surveillance drones are a great tool for adventure enthusiasts who want to record their journeys while biking, surfing, or doing other exciting activities. They are able to share their experiences with friends and family during their trip in some cases and can share the videos once they have finished the event in all cases.
How to decide which Drone Model to Buy
Still not sure which model of drone to buy? The choices are overwhelming, that is undeniable! All the models listed her are quadcopters, which are suited for most applications for consumer use. However there are still a great variety of styles that are as good as the models listed here or better in some cases for very specific needs. There are certain things such as stability and flight ability that are important no matter what the intended use is,which is why all the models we included are quadcopters.
All of the models listed are reasonably budget friendly and good for the average consumer to use. They offer easy to use flight controls, good quality cameras, and are widely available. For professional use, look for a drone with the best balance of camera quality and flight stability you can afford.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Owning a Surveillance Drone
Surveillance drones offer many benefits to lower level drones. They are excellent for taking aerial photography and video recordings. They offer a great way to record adventures as an active memory book and can help with professional tasks such as film making and security monitoring. Surveillance drones are an invaluable way to monitor the environment because of their mobility and flexible applications covering a large distance in a short amount of time.Some of the drawbacks to surveillance drones include the high price tag and learning curve.
Fortunately the steep price tag is a result of the superior functionality of the drone, making the price worth paying in most cases. Surveillance drones aren’t meant for beginner drone flyers, however. Most of them have technical flying controls. Although they are made as easy to use as possible with modern controllers and mobile apps, a new user will find it overwhelming to start with a surveillance drone and should consider a model geared toward novice flyers before investing in a quality surveillance model.
We are sure you are going to enjoy your new drone no matter which model you decide to try. We are certain that you will not stop at just one! Most drone enthusiasts end up having several different drones fro different purposes and to make sure they always have one ready to go. Families with many drone hobbyist typically have many different types of drones for each family member.
Children do better with more basic models while teens and adults with previous experience flying drones typically prefer more advanced models where they have more control over the recording results and flights. Those with children will also be amazed at how quickly their children pick up on flying the drone, and will likely be asking them for pointers soon! Once again we should emphasize that surveillance drones do have regulations and age restrictions in most areas. Keep that in mind when letting your children use drones and be sure watch them carefully. Make sure they are not breaking laws or infringing on the rights of others on accident, which may be easier to do than you think.