Battery life is one of the most important features to look out for in a drone. After all, the longer the battery life of your drone, the more time you have to take photos and videos or fly around to inspect or explore. In this article, we’ll be investigating how long drone batteries last. Read on to learn what you can expect from your drone’s battery life.
The typical flight time for most high-quality drones is about 20 minutes. Lower quality drones have battery life ranging from 5 to 10 minutes while mid-range drones have flight time between 15 to 20 minutes. Professional drones have flight time between 20 to 30 minutes.
For a more in-depth exploration of specific drones and their expected flight times, read our post about How Long Can a Drone Fly Without Recharging.
We don’t think we have to spell out the reasons why having a drone with a good flight time is beneficial. Having to charge your batteries every five minutes simply wastes valuable time and takes the fun out of using your drone.
You may consider having multiple batteries, but even then you may need up to four batteries to get your desirable flight time. Not only is having multiple batteries an extra cost, but maintaining all your batteries and keeping them charged and ready for use may prove to be a hassle.
There are many factors that affect the flight time of a drone and we’ll be discussing them below.
Factors That Affect Battery Life/Flight Time Of A Drone
While it’s obvious that battery life is the major determinant of the flight time of a drone, there are other factors that affect the flight time of a drone. Typically, the flight time of a drone is longer when you are hovering since you are not putting a huge amount of demand on the motors. Below are the factors that can affect the flight time of your drone.
This one is very obvious. It’s common knowledge that batteries come in different sizes for different drone models. The more powerful the battery that comes with your drone, the longer you’ll be able to fly it. However, the strength of a battery’s power degrades over time and it’s essential to properly maintain the battery to keep it in top condition for as long as possible. Fail to properly maintain your battery and you may find it not charging efficiently after just a couple of months. Not great, right?
» MORE: 9 Tips for Proper Storage and Maintenance of Your Drone
Lithium batteries are generally considered to last longer than other types of batteries. Also, lithium batteries are capable of storing more charge and are very durable. It’s going to take a while before a high-quality lithium battery starts to degrade. Yes, lithium batteries typically cost more but then you get what you pay for. By paying a bit extra, you are opening up the possibilities to a world of longer flight times.
Weight of the drone
The heavier the drone, the more power that will be required to propel the drone. This can have an effect on the battery life and consequently the flight time of the drone. There is a reason why manufacturers design drones to be compact and lightweight. Yes, the portable design makes the drone easier to store and transport but it also makes it easier to propel in the air, for longer.
The number of motors also has an effect on the battery life. The more motors on a drone and the larger the surface area, the more power that will be required to keep the drone in the air. And this means drawing more power from the battery.
Manufacturers generally put the size of a drone into consideration and will typically incorporate bigger batteries in bigger drones.
Apart from the weight of a drone, the weight of any add-on installed on the drone will also affect the flight time. Except you are just flying a drone for fun, chances are that you are going to put some kind of gadgets on the drone. It could be a camera, sensor, recorder, or any other gadget of your choice. The add-ons add to the weight of the drone and the heavier they are, the more power that is required of the battery to keep the drone in the air. And the result of this is that your battery drains faster and the battery life/flight time is reduced.
How Can You Prolong Your Drone’s Battery Life?
Since you know the factors that affect the flight time of your drone, you should be able to think of ways you can extend the battery life of your drone. But don’t stress yourself too much, we’ve done all the hard work for you and come up with several ways you can extend the battery life of your drone. Here they are:
Upgrade to a battery with higher capacity
You should always try to go for drones with good battery life. But if you already have a drone and the battery life is less than you desire, you can always replace the stock battery with an aftermarket battery. Of course, the battery you are buying should have a higher capacity than your current battery.
You will need to watch out for the weight of the battery you are buying. If your new battery is very heavy, then it may neutralize the longer battery life you are looking for. This is because heavier batteries add to the overall weight of the drone, which would tend to drain the batteries faster.
Fly in the right conditions
It’s important to know the best time to use your drone, and that’s during sunny and bright days. Unless your drone is actually waterproof, you shouldn’t fly it on rainy days. Flying your drone on rainy days requires more power which reduces battery life and may also damage the drone if water penetrates into the interior of your quadcopter.
It’s also advisable to not fly a drone using a lithium-polymer battery in cold weather as the cooler conditions impact the efficiency of the battery and may lead to the battery draining faster than normal. Excessively hot weather is also not the best as there’s more load on the motors of the drone. This is because the motors will have to work harder to create lift and this will drain your battery more quickly.
Windy conditions are obviously not the best time to fly your drone especially if the wind speed is over 20mph. Not only will the drone have to work harder to fly in windy conditions (which will drain the battery faster), strong winds may blow your drone away/of course, crash it into trees or buildings, or cause you to lose the drone. You definitely don’t want this to happen to your precious drone.
Have extra batteries
This is another way you can ensure that you get better flight times out of your drone. It’s a method that most professionals use to make sure they never run out of batteries. However, the only way having extra batteries will make sense is if you have one or two extra high-capacity batteries. Having two extra batteries that can last about 20 minutes each makes a lot more sense than having four batteries that last between 5 to 10 minutes each.
Get rid of any unnecessary weight. Only include gadgets you need for a particular flight. Prop guards are especially useful for beginners as they protect the drone should there be a crash. However, there’s the drawback of the prop guards adding more weight to the drone and impacting battery life.
You should consider removing the prop guards after you become more experienced and comfortable flying your drone.
Having a drone with a removable camera means you can remove the camera if you don’t need it during a particular flight. And this will help improve the battery life of your drone as the camera not only adds weight to the drone but is also powered by the drone’s battery.
Choose the right flight modes
Flying your drone at high speeds will drain your battery faster. Instead, consider using more conservative flight modes as they help reduce power consumption and increase flight time.
A good maintenance practice that can help keep your drone’s battery in top condition is to fully charge the battery once every three months, especially if you have the drone stored away, and not in constant use.
What Drone Has The Longest Battery Life?
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the consumer drone with the longest battery life on the market. Rated for up to 31 minutes flight on a full battery charge, the Mavic 2 Pro offers you more time to capture photos, videos, or just fly around to explore or investigate.
Note that the 31 minutes flight time is based on how long the Mavic 2 Pro can hover in the hair. So when flying the drone, expect the flight time to be a few minutes less and more realistically around 27 or 28 minutes – which is still superb.