Drone Life Expectancy (How Long Do Drones Last?)


There is so much fun in flying drones, but before you buy a drone you probably want to know how long that fun is going to last. It’s a good idea to understand the mechanics of the model you intend to buy especially on the question of longevity. 

Your expectations in terms of its performance are important at this stage. No one wants to invest in something that will break down in a week. It’s common knowledge that drones don’t last forever, and therefore with time, you might have to replace your model. However, understanding the lifespan is key to avoiding disappointment and frustration down the road.

Drone lifespan is often measured in usage hours. You can expect to get 150-800 flight hours out of a drone, depending on the drone model and how the drone itself is maintained, provided the drone is not damaged by a crash or other event. For most users, this means you can expect to use your drone for a year or two.

In this article, I will discuss how long drones last and which drones have the longest lifespan. Also, I will cover other topics related to the drone’s longevity. 

What is the lifespan of a drone?

As I have mentioned above, the life expectancy of a drone depends on several factors. To define what I mean by that, let’s say that a drone’s lifespan is the period that it remains serviceable for use. If you invest in a good model and take good care of it, you can enjoy flying for a long time. 

A good drone should last at least two years or more. However, if you want a drone with a two-year life expectancy, you might have to part with a higher amount of money since quality often correlates with price. Drones that are highly-priced tend to be more durable and will give value for money, and will often have a longer lifespan.

Which drones have the longest lifespan?

Whether you are a photographer, researcher, or fly drones for fun, the most durable drones are strong, well-built, and easy to use and will not leave you worried about crashing. However, these are not the only characteristics of long-lasting drones. 

Some other factors make for a drone that will last a long time in terms of lifespan, not to mention better flight times. Mostly, what makes a drone durable are the battery life, safety, and intelligent features like obstacle detection. Here’s a list of drones that have the longest lifespan, and a brief discussion of each model.

DJI Mini 2

What makes it long-lasting

  • Advanced tracking
  • Compact and solid design
  • A propeller strap wrap

DJI Mavic 2

What makes it long-lasting

  • Small and foldable design
  • Obstacle avoidance technology
  • Sensing system
  • Tolerates some moisture without the risk of internal damage because it doesn’t have vents
  • Sturdy body

RYZE Tech Tello

What makes it long-lasting

  • Stability
  • Obstacle avoidance sensors
  • Failsafe protection
  • Strongly built propellers to withstand strong winds

DJI Inspire 2

What makes it long-lasting

  • Strong engine
  • Withstands heavy moisture and rain
  • Obstacle avoidance technology
  • Active sensing systems

DJI Spark Mini Drone

What makes it long-lasting

  • Aerodynamic, compact, and durable design
  • Smartly tracks moving objects
  • Long-lasting battery

Are DJI drones durable?

DJI is an established name in the drone industry, and for good reason. They are one of the best drone manufacturers in the world, and no matter the model you buy from them, you can be sure you’re getting good value for your money. 

So are DJI drones durable? Yes, you will not need to make another purchase anytime soon if you invest in any DJI drone. DJI engineers have spent a lot of time on research and development for each drone model, and great care is taken in manufacturing these drones. They boast a top-notch mastery over each production process, from injection molding to precision machining, without skipping any detail.

Weight is the other aspect that makes DJI drones durable. They are designed to be a little bit more weighty than many other drones, and therefore they have a higher chance of surviving a crash. Additionally, the DJI drones remain more stable in the winds, and even if you are flying one for the first time, you’re not likely to crash it.

Do DJI drones need maintenance?

Despite being among the best drones on the market, DJI drones are not immune to wearing out and suffering various forms of damage. Therefore, DJI drones require some maintenance and care, which should be done before and after every flight. 

Basic maintenance practices for your DJI drone include checking over the propellers, updating firmware, and cleaning the motors periodically. Also, you may need to replace your batteries before the drone itself wears out.

Some types of maintenance, however, require a higher expertise level to prevent operational inefficiency, marginal losses, compromise of safety, and most importantly, reduce your drone’s lifespan. For issues such as worn-out motors, damage to the hull, or camera issues, it’s a good idea to have the drone serviced by a repair technician.

How to make DJI drones last longer

There are two types of drone maintenance when it comes to your DJI drone, and here is a discussion of each.

1. Preventive DJI drone maintenance

This type of drone maintenance aims at reducing mechanical problems. Here are some of the things you can do.

Clean the drone

This is the first step for preventive drone maintenance. You should clean the whole device regularly because it will collect layers of dirt from frequent flights. You can use an air duster or a slightly damp cloth to remove the dirt. If there are tougher stains, use cleaning solutions.

Before you begin the cleaning process, be sure to disconnect the battery from the drone since no moisture of any kind should be near the battery, or the drone when it is powered on. 

Visual inspection

Conduct a visual inspection of all motors, and propellers, and be careful to take note of any loose hardware, cracks, failed bearings, or signs of fatigue. Correct any issues that you spot immediately before launching the drone. Nothing should be ignored, even the smallest crack in a drone.

Check the screws

Loose screws on your propellers are a great risk to the drone. Tighten each loose component, and remove and replace those that are worn out.  However, be careful not to overtighten them because it can cause the joints to strain and get damaged. 

Check the propellers

Propellers are critical and sensitive parts of a drone. This is why you need to closely and carefully inspect them to confirm they are not cracked or loose. This examination should be thorough, even if your previous flight was smooth. Sometimes propellers can have minuscule cracks or chips, and you will not notice until they get worse.

Check the motors

Dirt and debris tend to build up around the motor, and that’s why you should check them over each time you fly. If there is any dirt, remove it – but remember to remove the propellers first for easy cleaning. 

2. Routine DJI drone maintenance 

Update the software/firmware

Updating the drone’s firmware ensures the performance of your drone remains up to snuff since everything will be up to date. The drone will also have the latest features, including bug fixes which are a major cause of inefficiency and delay. Also, a software update reduces security risks. 

There are two ways of updating software. You can do it through a wireless application or the control station interface. Some operators also upgrade manually by plugging the drone into a PC via a particular software cable. However, it is wise to use an updating method that you are conversant and comfortable with.

Update your DJI drone controller

DJI drone control systems also require software updates. This helps make sure your drone continues to function smoothly. The update of the control system is almost the same as that of the drone, only that it will incorporate in-built software updating mechanisms. 

Any drone control app that runs from a tablet or a phone does an automatic upgrade unless directed otherwise. However, just like with the drone software update, you should use a suitable update method.

Update Tip: Always ensure that you refer to your unit’s specifications since different models require different update methods.

Replace the propellers

Of all drone parts, propellers are the ones that get damaged the most easily, more so during a crash. In addition, they play a key role in keeping your drone in the sky. It’s a good idea to replace them periodically even if you don’t see signs of damage.  

Replacement of shaft, bearings, and bullet connectors

You will greatly extend the life of your DJI drone by replacing the shaft, bearing, and bullet connectors. These parts are responsible for ensuring the motor performs optimally and remains stable no matter how long you fly the drone. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can take it to a repair center.

Performing preventive and routine maintenance checks on your drone prevents unsafe drone operations and unexpected damage. Generally, this enhances the survival of your unmanned aerial vehicle.

How long do DJI drones last?

The durability and life expectancy of DJI drones depend on some of the factors mentioned above. However, they don’t all last for the same amount of time, and neither will you have them forever. Here is a list of the life expectancy of the most popular DJI drones.

Mavic Pro 2

This DJI drone can last up to two years, depending on several factors. These factors include how often it is flown, the flight’s aggressiveness, how it is stored and maintained, and most importantly, the weather conditions you fly it in. Let me emphasize that maintenance matters and therefore, you should change the propellers, charge the batteries fully before flying and follow the maintenance tips discussed above.

Phantom 4 Pro

The lifespan of this DJI model is estimated to be four years and a half. However, this is only possible if the drone doesn’t crash and if you clean and store it well. If you don’t maintain it properly, it might not serve you for even a year.

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

Depending on the mileage, the Mavic 2 Zoom drone can last for two to three years if you take good care of it. However, its batteries might not be that long-lasting, and you will have to replace them. Also, some of its parts might need to be replaced some six months down the line for utmost performance and longevity. Additionally, how you store it is a factor. For instance, if you store it in a closet without the batteries, it will last longer.

DJI Inspire 2 

With proper preventive maintenance, the Inspire 2 can go for a year or so. It can serve you longer if you set a usage timeframe and commit to it, keeping an eye on the propellers, motors, and landing gear. 

How long do DJI drone batteries last?

The life expectancy of your drone battery depends on several factors. These include the usage, battery type, and charging mode. Here is a life expectancy brief of various DJI drones.

Mavic Mini Battery

The Mavic Mini battery can last for up to 4 years with proper care. If you want to prolong the lifespan, doing a deep cycle can help. What is a deep cycle? This is a process whereby you fully charge the drone battery and fly it until it gets critically low. Ignore the landing procedure and continue to fly it until the battery is 5%. After that, allow it to land and then shut it off. Leave it for half an hour for the battery to cool down and then charge it fully. All the cells will be reset, and its lifespan extended.

DJI Air 2 Battery

This drone uses an intelligent flight battery with a high-energy Li-ion battery, to be precise. These batteries are commonly used in electronics, and most people prefer them because they have a low self-discharge. They also have a higher density, thus holding more charge. If you avoid overcharging this battery and ensure the charge is balanced, you can expect to use it for more than one and a half years. This is because it boasts all the features that a long-lasting battery has.

DJI FPV Battery

This drone model also uses intelligent batteries, and therefore it requires a lot of care for its durability. With maintenance, the battery can last for up to four years. Some of the things you must avoid in this period include overcharging and over-discharging.

DJI Phantom 4 PRO Battery

You don’t need to plan on replacing your Phantom 4 Pro battery for up to two years. However, that depends on how often you fly it and the storage period. If you store this battery for too long without using it, its lifespan will reduce. The Phantom 4 Pro battery maintenance tips include not running it down to below 5% and not exposing it to heat.

How long do DJI motors last?

As with the drones and batteries, the lifespan of drone motors also depends on the care you give them. Also, the type of motors determines their lifespan. Most drone motors last for two years or more under ideal circumstances and depending on the maintenance plan you follow. 

We understand how knowing the lifespan of a drone’s motor is important, and here is a brief discussion of various DJI motors and their lifespan. 

Mavic Pro Motors

If there are no incidences of overheating, the Mavic Pro Motors will last for at least two years. In addition, the atmospheric condition in which your drone is flying should be conducive for them to last longer. 

Tello Motor

The Tello motor has a short lifespan of 40,00 hours if you are lucky not to crash your drone. This explains why the drones are ideal for indoor use. The good part about the drone’s motors is that they are cheap, and you won’t have to break the bank to replace them.

Mavic Air

Mavic drone motors can last for over a year and a half. However, you have to avoid crashes at all costs, keep the motors clean, and check if they are operating well.

Conclusion

You should now have a better idea of what to expect from the life expectancy of drones and their components. You now know which drones have the longest lifespan and that even DJI drones require maintenance. 

Additionally, we have discussed the lifespan of DJI drones, batteries, and motors. This is an important aspect that every drone enthusiast should consider when buying their next drone. A durable drone is efficient, reliable, and boasts better performance overall. We hope this has been an informative article, and in case you’re looking to upgrade your unit or purchase for the first time, I suggest you go for the most durable model.

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Editor-in-Chief. Elizabeth is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Droneblog. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies such as flying a drone.

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