Drone Battery Life: Things to Consider

drone battery life

Drones are popular because they’re so much fun to fly. Even beginner drones turn novice fliers into professionals. However, drone battery life puts a damper on all the fun. Instead of going outside for hours worth of fun, you’re lucky if you get more than few circles around your home before the battery dies.

Average Drone Battery Life

Most commercial drones have abysmal battery life. On average, most drone batteries last no more than 10 minutes and that’s if you don’t get too happy doing tricks. This gives you just enough time to start having fun before you have to charge the battery for another hour or two.

For most people, buying extra batteries is the only way to extend their drone battery life and playtime.

The Longest Lasting Drones

If you’re tired of spending most of your time charging batteries, it may be time to invest in a higher-quality drone with longer flight times. Believe it or not, some drones last for up to 30 minutes at a time. These aren’t the most budget-friendly, but they’re ideal for fliers who want more time to test their skills or take more video footage of surrounding areas.

All prices listed reflect MRSP in USD.

Some of the longest lasting commercial drones include:

  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro – $1499 – This drone has a max flight time of 30 minutes. It’s designed for aerial photography and features 5-direction obstacle sensing. It’s geared more towards professional drone fliers.
  • DJI Inspire 2 – $2999 – This drone features dual-battery technology that gives you up to 27 minutes of flight time. It’s designed for high-quality film making and can function well in even low temperatures.
  • Yuneec Typhoon H – $999.99 – This quadcopter features flight times of up to 25 minutes. It even includes a 7-inch screen to view your flight in real-time. The 4K, 360 degree camera capabilities make it ideal for filming the world around you.
  • Parrot Bebop 2 – $399.99 – This light-weight drone is the perfect mix of affordable and high performance. It features up to 25 minutes of flight time along with a 1080P HD camera. It’s also ideal for beginners due to its flight stability features.
  • Autel X-Star Premium – $799 – This drone is made for fliers of all levels, but features 4K Ultra HD video and a 12 MP camera. You’ll get ample footage with 25 minutes of battery life. Plus, the quick charge feature gets you back to flying within an hour.
  • GoPro Karma – $599.99 – While some people attach a GoPro camera to their drone, this drone already has one built in. Plus, it’s a detachable camera that you can use even if your drone’s battery dies. Flight time is up to 20 minutes and it’s designed for even novice pilots.
  • DJI Mavic Pro – $999 – This drone is built for performance and features up to 30 minutes of flight time. With built-in stabilizers, it’s easy to fly and film. Plus, it folds down to keep it protected and compact during travel.
  • Traxxas Aton Plus – $399 – This drone is made for novices, but pros will love the three distinct modes. Use it for video (drains the battery faster), tricks, or standard flight. Depending on the use, max flight time is 28 minutes.

Related Read: Why You Might Be Using a Drone Camera Very Soon

Buying Extra Batteries

drone battery lifeTo get the most from your drone, it’s always a good idea to buy extra batteries. Many drone kits actually come with a second battery to extend your flight time. For instance, if you bought one of the above drones with a second battery, you could fly for up to an hour with just a brief battery change.

If you’ve looked at drone batteries before, you might have noticed they come in a wide range of sizes. Drones use LiPo batteries, which allow them to pull large amounts of energy quickly. Plus, these batteries don’t discharge as quickly when not in use.

The more milli-amp hours a LiPo battery has, the longer the potential flight time before the battery dies. However, you have to consider one thing. More mAh means the battery is physically larger. This adds weight to your drone which make affect performance and overall flight time.

In most cases, stick with what your drone manufacturer recommends. This is usually the optimal battery for your specific drone. If you plan on flying often or for extended periods, consider buying one or two extra batteries.

Drone Battery Charging Tips

Drone battery life isn’t just affected by how you fly your drone. The way you charge it drastically affects how long the battery itself will last. Plus, if you damage the battery, your flight times suffer.

One of the first things you should know is to never fully charge or fast charge your new battery for the first few charges. It may be tempting, but this actually damages the internal makeup. Think of it like running a marathon. You’d have to gradually work your way up to running that far if you’ve never run at all before.

drone battery lifeYour initial flight times will be much less, but try not to charge the battery past 50% for two or three cycles. After that, go to 75% for several cycles and then finally a full charge. This extends your drone battery life.

Another common problem is charging batteries when they’re not at room temperature. While LiPo batteries work well in cooler temperatures, they may actually overheat if you try charging them when they’re too cold. Instead, let your batteries get to room temperature before charging.

It’s recommended to charge LiPo batteries within LiPo charging bags or cases. This is to protect you if your charger malfunctions or your choose the wrong battery type (for multi-battery type chargers). It is possible for these batteries to burst into flames if they’re charged beyond their capacity.

Some batteries already come inside a case and are compatible with charging stations, such as the DJI Phantom batteries. No matter what type of LiPo battery you’re using, charge it carefully and safely. For best results, never leave your batteries charging unattended and check to see if they’re getting too warm.

With careful charging, your batteries will last much longer and you’ll get maximum flight times every time.

Related Read:
Not Just for Spying on Your Neighbor: 3 Other Uses for Drones

Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.