The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), more popularly referred to as drones, are becoming quite widespread today because of how fun they are to fly, and how easy it is to take great aerial pictures with them. One of the things that makes them so popular is the fact that they are light enough to be carried around so that you pack one with you when you go on a hike, or fit one in your carry-on luggage. On that topic, let’s look at how heavy some of the more common types of drones we have today are.
In most cases, toy drones weigh somewhere between 0.5 to 2 ounces (20 to 60 grams). Meanwhile, consumer drones usually weigh somewhere between 0.5 to 3 lbs (250 to 1,300 grams). Heavier enterprise drones are much more variable and can range from 13 to over 200 lbs (6 kilos to 100 kilos).
As you can see, different types of drones vary in terms of how heavy they are because they are designed to perform different tasks. Some consumer drones are on the lighter side, while some may be quite heavy. On the other hand, the range just becomes larger for enterprise or commercial drones because some of them need to be quite heavy to perform certain tasks. That said, let’s get to know more about how heavy the common categories of drones tend to be.
Some Consumer Drone Weights
|Drone||Weight (in pounds)||Weight (in grams)|
|DJI Mavic 2 ZOOM||1.99||905|
|DJI Phantom 3 Standard||2.68||1216|
|DJI Phantom 4 PRO||3.06||1388|
|DJI Phantom 4 Advanced||3.01||1368|
|DJI Mavic Pro||1.62||734|
|DJI Mavic 2 PRO||2.00||907|
|DJI Mavic Air 2||1.26||570|
|Holy Stone HS720||1.01||460|
|Autel Robotics EVO||1.90||862|
|Autel Robotics EVO II||2.60||1179|
|Altair Outlaw SE||2.80||1270|
Why is the weight of a drone important?
Drones are not one size fits all, but come in many different shapes and sizes, and of course different weights. But why do we even need to know how heavy a drone is? Why is the weight of the drone so important?
First things first, the weight of a drone is important because there is a regulation set by the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA regarding the registration of drones. Specifically, the rule stipulates that any drone weighing 0.55 lbs (250 grams) or more, and less than 55 pounds at takeoff (including the payload) needs to be registered with the FAA for an identification number. Meanwhile, drones that are heavier than 55 pounds have different pathways to operation such as when you get a certificate for commercial operations or a Special Airworthiness Certificate for operations. On the other hand, a drone that is lighter than 0.55 lbs (250 grams) does not need to be registered.
Primarily, the reason that there are registration requirements for drones that are at a certain weight is that the FAA believes that drones that are 0.55 lbs or heavier can be more dangerous to the public in case something goes wrong such as when the drone crashes. However, registration is not the only reason why the weight of drones matters.
Of course, just like any aircraft, the weight of the drone matters when it comes to airworthiness or its performance while it is in the air. After all, there are plenty of different conditions you need to look at whenever you are flying any kind of aircraft, and that is the reason why most aircraft have been designed to be neither too light nor too heavy.
This is where we get to talk about how the weight of the drone matters when we are looking at how it performs when flying.
Which is better? A heavier or a lighter drone?
When considering between a heavier or a lighter drone, which is the better option for you? This is something that cannot be overlooked whenever you are choosing a drone to buy depending on what you are going to use the drone for.
What you need to know is that the weight of the drone affects its overall flying capabilities. It might be true that a lighter drone is easier for its rotors to generate lift, just as lighter birds don’t need to exert as much effort when flying. However, what you also need to know is that lighter drones may not give you the best performance.
The lighter a drone is, the more likely it is to have a battery and rotors that are weaker because they were designed to have fewer parts and components just to achieve a lighter weight. When the rotors are weaker, they are less likely to be able to handle difficult wind conditions or even take the drone very high. Weaker drone rotors are also not as capable in terms of speed, as the motors that are running them are not going to be very powerful. And of course, a drone with a weaker battery won’t have a very good operational time compared to drones with bigger and heavier batteries.
While lighter drones might have some downsides such as their weaker performance, they can be safer to operate. Of course, if ever a lighter drone does indeed end up crashing, the damage to persons or properties will be quite minimal. And that is why the FAA does not require you to register drones that are lighter than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
On the other hand, a heavier drone is heavy for a reason, namely that it comes with more powerful components. Such drones usually have stronger motors for their propellers and larger batteries. Those things do add weight, but you can expect these drones to be much more powerful in the sense that they are faster and are capable of longer flight times.
Another positive side when it comes to heavier drones is that, while their rotors might need to work harder to propel them to the air, they are much more capable of handling rougher wind conditions because the wind won’t be able to push the drones around in the air as much as with a lighter drone. Because heavier drones are built with more powerful motors, they are better at handling stronger winds and at carrying heavier payloads.
The downside, however, is that heavier drones are not only more expensive but are more dangerous to fly. Heavier drones can easily injure or cause damage to persons or property if they end up crashing. As a result, they are regulated more strictly by the FAA.
All that said, lighter drones are better for simple purposes, especially when you are a simple hobbyist who just wants to fly drones for recreational purposes. However, heavier drones are far better for those who plan to use the drones for commercial purposes or anything that demands that the drone needs to perform at a higher level.
Weights of toy drones
As mentioned, toy drones are simply used as toys that you will be able to fly for fun, similar to how a toy RC helicopter is being used. They are best used for practicing how to fly a drone or for introducing drone flying to children.
That said, toy drones can vary a lot in terms of how heavy they are because there are toy drones that are so light that they weigh less than an ounce. On the other hand, some toy drones can easily reach a quarter of a pound.
But, on average, expect a toy drone to be somewhere between 0.5 to 2 ounces (20 to 50 grams) in weight. Toy drones are designed to be as light as they are because they are only used for simple backyard, or even indoor flying, or by children. This makes it easier for children to carry and handle light drones without causing damage.
Weights of consumer drones
Meanwhile, when it comes to consumer drones, these drones are arguably the most popular nowadays as different hobbyists prefer to use such drones for recreational purposes like feeding their love for anything RC-related or taking pictures and videos from the air.
That said, consumer drones also have a bit of variation in weight as they are usually at least 0.55 lbs (250 grams). On the upper end for example is the DJI Phantom 4 which weighs nearly 3 lbs (1,300 grams). One of the lightest commercial drones in the market is the DJI Mavic Mini, which is quite popular because you can skip the need for registration considering that it only weighs 249 grams.
Consumer drones typically weigh around half a pound at the lighter end, but by definition must be lighter than 55 pounds. The reason why consumer drones are usually in the middle of the pack in terms of their weight is due to how balanced they should be in terms of their features and flight capabilities so that recreational drone flyers can use them for different hobbies.
Weights of enterprise drones
Finally, enterprise drones that are used for a lot of different commercial purposes such as for personal business or industrial use tend to be somewhat heavier than consumer drones precisely because they need to be able to handle more heavy-duty jobs. Moreover, these drones may also come with more rotors (such as the Freefly Alta 8) so that they are capable of carrying heavier payloads.
Again, the average weight of an enterprise drone also varies because some of these drones may be quite light to the point that they may be nearly as light as recreational drones. However, some drones are so heavy that one person won’t be able to carry them on their own.
That said, many enterprise drones can weigh in somewhere between 13 to over 200 pounds (6 to 100 kilograms). The weight varies depending on what they were designed for as heavier drones are made to handle heavier payloads and stronger wind conditions while lighter commercial drones are designed for easy maneuverability especially when you need to go through tight spaces.