types of drones

Types of Drones: A Buyer’s Guide

VWB Blog 12 months ago 0

As of 2023, almost 854,000 drones are registered in the US, which shows how wildly popular these devices are with Americans.

Not only can it be fun to learn how to operate one, but it can also be exciting to find unique vantage points. And the footage can make all your struggles worthwhile, as you’ll have gorgeous photos and videos to watch over the years.

If you want to buy one of these gadgets though, it can be useful to know what types of drones are available. That way, you check everything off your wants and needs list.

Read on to see what drone types you can buy!

Rotary Blade Drone

Rotary Blade Drone

Rotary blade drones are immensely popular with beginners since they’re easy to use. In addition, they’re not difficult to maneuver in small spaces, so you can even use them indoors if you want.

There are two types of rotary blade drones: multi-rotor and single-rotor.

Multi-Rotor Drone

Within the multi-rotor category are subcategories of tricopters, quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters. The names indicate how many propellers they have (3, 4, 6, and 8).

If you’re on a budget, then the tricopter will suffice. However, most people opt for the quadcopter, as they’re pretty stable and reasonably priced.

If you’re not using a drone for professional purposes, then you won’t need to consider the hexacopter or octocopter. They’re made of high-quality materials and can take professional-grade images/videos, so they’re very expensive.

Do note that because multi-rotor drones need lots of power to keep the rotors running and the drone in the air, most don’t have long flight times. They’re much more difficult to control too.

Single-Rotor Drone

Single-rotor drones are also known as helicopter or remote-controlled (RC) drones. As the name suggests, these look like a helicopter, in that the drones have a small propeller in the back and a tail.

If you’re looking for longer flight times, then you’ve got them here. Not only do these drones consume less energy than multi-rotor ones, but some models use gas engines rather than batteries too.

Single-rotor drones specialize in carrying heavy payloads. So if you want to transport things, this is the drone for you.

However, these drones can be complex, as well as expensive. Plus, they’re larger than other types of drones, so they’re not compact and easy to transport.

Fixed-Wing Drone

Fixed-Wing Drone

Fixed-wing drones have a much higher endurance and speed than other devices, which is why the military uses them. These look like gliders, and because of their aerodynamic features, they can fly for longer.

If you’re used to flying rotary drones, then it can take some time to adjust to fixed-wing ones. It’s a completely different feel, so you’ll need some practice.

Most notably, fixed-wing drones can only fly forward; rotary drones can fly both forward and backward, which means they have more maneuverability.

While they’re more energy-efficient, these drones do require more space for taking off and landing, so if you’re planning on flying this gadget in your backyard, it may not be ideal. The larger models need specialized equipment for operation too.

The upside is, fixed-wing drones are fantastic for long-distance flying. You can cover large pieces of land and fly the drone for hours. In fact, if you get a gas-powered device, it can fly for almost a full day!

Fixed-Wing Hybrid Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Drone

The fixed-wing hybrid VTOL drone is one of the newest drones on the market. It eliminates the need for a take-off and landing space, as it can go up and down vertically, then switch to horizontal flying. It combines the best features of fixed-wing and rotary drones.

Although the technology sounds amazing, it’s admittedly not intended for the average drone hobbyist. Its advanced tech and high price tag make the fixed-wing hybrid VTOL drone ideal for things like surveillance, mapping, and agriculture.

If you want to see one in action, then use Amazon Prime Air. This is the type of drone they use for deliveries.

Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)

Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)

When you say “drone”, people usually think of devices that go in the air. However, there are also drones that go underwater.

The underwater ROV can actually dive deep into the ocean. You can purchase either a tethered or wireless drone; the latter will be more expensive, but it won’t be able to go as deep since it’ll lose connection.

This is yet another type of drone that the common consumer probably won’t purchase. Not only are they expensive, but they have many more capabilities than your basic photography needs.

On that note, you might be wondering, “Do all drones have cameras?” The answer is no, although most manufacturers include cameras in their products.

Other Drones

There are some other drones you may be interested in. For example, toy and mini drones are smaller and more lightweight, which can be perfect for learning the ropes before buying larger, more complex drones.

In addition, there are first-person view (FPV) racing drones. You can participate in thrilling races while seeing the drone’s perspective through goggles or a monitor.

For those who want to use drones in a variety of weather conditions, consider a waterproof drone. They can be flown in the rain, and you can even land them on water surfaces!

Which Types of Drones Do You Like?

Now that you know what types of drones are out there, which ones are you interested in?

As a beginner, it’s highly recommended that you start with a quadcopter rotary drone. It’s user-friendly, stable, and affordably priced.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with a basic toy drone, you can then move on to more complicated and pricier drones. It also wouldn’t hurt to join a drone hobbyist group so you can pull from their wealth of knowledge!

If you want to learn more about the wonderful pieces of tech in the world, then keep browsing our blog page.

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