Consumer drones are great to have because they can do a lot of things for recreational drone fliers out there. But one of the persisting problems with consumer drones is that they don’t have a very long flight time due to the limitations of the batteries. This means that you have to frequently charge your drone’s battery if you are planning on using your drone for an extended period throughout the day. But, how long do drone batteries take to charge?
In most cases, your usual consumer drone battery takes somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes to charge. The amount of time also depends on whether you are using a USB charging cable or a charging hub. USB charging will take longer than using a charging hub, which can charge a drone battery faster.
Different drones and their batteries have different charging times because the drones themselves come with a variety of features as well. However, the good news here is that the discrepancy between their charging times isn’t that big. Still, it’s helpful to know the average charging times of the most common drones on the market today so that you can be a more informed consumer.
Average charging times for common drone batteries
Considering that drones need to be light and compact enough to fly, they come with batteries that power their components to give you a decent amount of flight time. Because flight times for DJI’s recreational or consumer drones tend to be limited to 30 to 40 minutes depending on the model, you should know that you may end up charging your drone quite often if you want to use it for longer periods.
Considering that drones require their batteries to be charged frequently depending on how long you are planning to use them, you might be wondering how long it takes typical drone batteries to charge.
The table below shows the usual charging times of most of the common DJI drones. Most of these drones have batteries that can be charged through either a USB cable or through a charging hub. And, most of the time, charging your drone’s batteries in the charging hub is faster than using a USB cable.
|Drone model||USB charging||Charging hub|
|DJI Spark||80 mins||55 mins|
|DJI Mavic Mini||90 mins||50 mins|
|DJI Mavic Mini 2||90 mins||50 mins|
|DJI Mavic Air 2||–||1 hour and 35 mins|
|DJI Mavic 2||–||1 hour and 30 minutes|
|DJI Phantom 4||–||1 hour and 10 minutes|
As you can see, the charging times of different drone models vary depending on the model itself. The smaller drones such as the Spark and the Mini have faster charging speeds since they do have smaller batteries compared to the larger drone models.
Also, some drone models do not support USB charging for one reason or another. Usually, the smaller drones are the ones that have USB charging because their batteries are small enough to not need DJI’s proprietary charger. Of course, because the Spark and the Mini lines need to be small and compact, it is also helpful that you can use smaller USB chargers for these drones.
Still, you can use the proprietary charging hub that comes with DJI drones to charge smaller drones such as the Spark and the Mini. And because their batteries are indeed smaller, it won’t take a lot of time for the charging hub to charge their smaller batteries.
Factors that influence charging times
Now that you have seen how varied charging times are when it comes to different drone models, you might be wondering why that is so. Let’s look at the different factors that can affect how long a drone’s charging time is:
1. Battery size
Larger drones will require larger batteries because their components tend to be more power-hungry. As such, larger batteries will require more time to fully charge in comparison to smaller batteries found in smaller drone models such as the Spark and the Mini.
2. Charging methods
Different drones also have different methods of charging, which can affect how much power the drone’s battery can receive while you are charging it. For example, the DJI Mavic Mini can be charged using a USB cable and a two-way charging hub. The USB cable delivers 18 watts of power while the two-way charging hub can charge the battery at up to 29 watts. This means that, because the charging hub can provide more power, it can charge the batteries faster.
3. Temperature conditions
The temperature of the immediate environment may affect how your drone’s batteries will charge. Extreme temperatures can have negative impacts on how long your drone’s battery needs to be charged. It is recommended that you avoid charging your battery if the ambient temperatures are either too hot or too cold because your drone’s battery will not only take more time to charge but you could risk damaging your drone’s battery by doing so.
4. Battery health
Of course, battery health plays a role in how long it takes a battery to charge. A healthy drone battery will take more time to charge because it still has full power capacity. Meanwhile, drone batteries that are no longer quite as healthy may end up charging faster precisely because they no longer have the same capacity that they once did.
When to take your battery off the charger
We are often told that we should never overcharge our electronics or leave them charging overnight because some electronics will keep charging even after hitting 100% of their battery capacity. This is something that we often practice in our smartphones and our laptops although this doesn’t apply to some of the newer models of these devices.
That said, the one thing that you should be happy about when you are charging your DJI drone’s battery is that you can leave the battery charging for as long as you need to, but not to the point that you leave them on the charger indefinitely. The reason is that DJI drone batteries are marketed as “Intelligent Batteries” that come with a bunch of safety features.
One of the features that DJI’s Intelligent Batteries come with is that they will not charge over 100% even though you leave the drone batteries on the charger overnight. This is also a feature that we are now seeing many other devices to prevent their batteries from taking in more charge than they can handle.
If you are charging your DJI drone batteries, you don’t have to worry about leaving them for a few hours longer than their supposed charging time because they won’t take in more charge than 100%. That means that the batteries will automatically stop charging once they hit their full charge.
This is why it is safe to leave DJI drone batteries charging overnight. But, make sure that you still don’t leave them charging indefinitely because you could end up damaging both the batteries and the charging hub.
How to store your batteries for longer periods
One of the things that you should know when it comes to DJI drone batteries or even drone batteries in general, is that you have to store them properly to make sure that you will get the most out of their lifespan.
This isn’t usually the case when it comes to the batteries of other electronic devices but drone batteries are made and designed to be quite different. That is why you need to know how to properly store them to make sure that the batteries will reach their expected lifespan.
- Do not keep your drone batteries either fully charged or fully discharged for more than a month because this can affect the batteries’ overall lifespan or may even damage them beyond use.
- There will be times when you need to store your drone batteries for a while without using them. However, it is not a good idea to keep the batteries stored if they have too much power in them. Keep the drone’s battery charge somewhere close to 70%. If it is too low, charge it up. If it is too high, use the drone a bit until it hits 70%.
- Partially discharging the battery will reduce stress on the part of the battery and will allow it to last for a longer time.
- Store the batteries in someplace other than your drone if you are not planning on using the drone for a while. That’s because this can end up damaging both your drone and the batteries. It is best to remove the batteries from the drone whenever you intend to store them for a long time. Keep the batteries in the drone’s case instead of in the drone.
- Store your drone batteries somewhere away from direct sunlight because the heat coming from the sun will damage them. The best place to store your battery is in a cool, dry, and dark location, for instance, a cabinet that is situated away from direct sunlight. Always make sure to store your drone batteries in an indoor location and never in an outdoor spot where it is exposed to the elements.
- Before using the drone again, make sure that you update its batteries to the latest firmware because the drone won’t take off unless the batteries have the same firmware as the drone itself.
- In case of doubt, always check the manufacturer’s manual on battery care. DJI has a separate manual for its Intelligent Flight Battery.
Indicators of battery health – what to look for?
Like with most other electronic devices, drone batteries will begin to deteriorate the moment you start using them. The more you charge them, the faster they will deteriorate because most drone batteries have a limited number of charge cycles. Also, storage conditions can make or break the lifespan of your drone’s batteries. That said, what are the indicators of battery health?
- The DJI GO4 App will show you your battery’s health and other indicators of its health such as its temperature and remaining charge cycles. When you are in the app, access Aircraft Battery and then Details to learn more about your drone’s battery health.
- You can still tell the battery status of some drones without using the app. One way of doing so is to hold the power button down for 5 seconds. The battery LEDs will blink in several patterns depending on how healthy the battery is. Refer to the table below to check out your drone’s battery health if you use this method.
O – LED lights up
U – LED blinking
X – LED not lighting up
|O||O||O||O||90 – 100%|
|O||O||O||U||80 – 90%|
|O||O||O||X||70 – 80%|
|O||O||U||X||6O – 70%|
|O||O||X||X||50 – 60%|
|O||U||X||X||40 – 50%|
|O||X||X||X||30 – 40%|
|U||X||X||X||20 – 40%|
- Of course, a battery that is showing signs of bloating should no longer be used or charged even though it still is working. A bloated battery will only cause problems in the future especially if you try to charge it.