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The popularity of drones has grown over the past few years. Drones are being used in various situations nowadays, and one of those situations is cold weather. In this article, we will explain the six best drones for cold weather, and we will explain some things to consider before flying a drone in cold weather and when buying a drone for cold weather.
When your drone is in the air, and air temperature drops to below zero, the lithium battery performance of your drone drops. There’s a risk that your drone will fall when the temperature gets too low. But do not worry; you don’t have to stop your drone in these situations since drones are explicitly built to “survive” these circumstances.
Note: Keep in mind that these are only our opinions based on my thorough investigation of the best drone for cold weather. In any case, please do your own research before deciding which ones are the most suitable ones for your goals and needs.
At this point, it is good to note that all opinions and suggestions written in this article are not considered financial advice.
DJI Mavic 3
DJI Mavic 3 is the first drone on our “best drones for cold weather” list. This is a powerful and well-known drone that is equipped with a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera. However, the drone was launched back in November of 2021, so at the time of writing, it’s still a new drone.
The main feature of the DJI Mavic 3 is that it can fly for 46 minutes or a distance of 18.6 miles, thanks to a new battery with a capacity of 5000 mAh. You will have to register with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since the drone’s weight is 895 grams (the rule is that all drones above 249 grams need to register with the FAA).
DJI Mavic 3 is known for the high-quality images it can produce. However, it also performs extremely well in cold weather conditions. Please see below a beautiful image produced by DJI Mavic 3 in freezingly cold weather.
Multiple tests were done with DJI Mavic 3 in cold weather conditions and it performed fantastically. The battery life performs the same in cold and summer weather. Mavic 3 can also perform during heavy winds.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
The next drone we will explain in this article is also a DJI-based drone – Phantom 4 Pro. The drone is often used for mapping and surveillance, and it’s extremely beginner-friendly and easy to use. DJI Phantom 4 Pro has a high-quality camera so, similar to Mavic 3, it can produce great images and photographs. This drone can record videos at resolution of 720P @ 30fps and 1080P @ 30fps.
The main question here is why is DJI Phantom 4 Pro suitable for cold weather? Well, the answer is quite simple – there were multiple tests done with Phantom 4 Pro and they all showed that the drone can fly at a temperature below 0°C. This is not a common thing for the majority of civilian drones since they can fly on the temperature from 0°C to 40°C. When you purchase DJI Phantom 4 Pro, you will see that its temperature limits are also 0°C to 40°C. However, it’s proven that the drone can (because of its battery type) fly at a temperature far below 0°C.
Autel Evo 2
Autel Evo 2 is the next drone on our list of the best drones for cold weather. When we talk about Autel Evo 2, the first point that should be mentioned is the fact that it can be used without an extra device. Keep in mind that the majority of today’s drones have to connect to a smartphone app if you want to see through the drone’s camera and snap images. Autel Evo 2 offers a color display into the drone’s controller itself so you can fly, record videos, frame images without even connecting the drone to any external device.
The drone is designed to fly in extreme weather conditions. There were multiple tests done with the drone, and users were able to fly it to the degree at -11°C without literally any issue, which is a thing you want to see when deciding which drone to choose for low-temperature conditions. Moreover, users were more than happy with the battery life, which was not affected by the weather, so it’s ~ 40 minutes. However, keep in mind that there were similar tests done at high temperatures, over 35°C, and the battery did not last as long, so Autel Evo 2 actually does not perform well at high temperatures.
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise
The next drone on our list of the best drones for cold weather is DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise. This is a very powerful drone that comes with a couple of upgrades when compared to its predecessors. The main upgrade is related to a high-quality camera. One important factor to note about DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise is that the drone is suitable for both complete amateurs and more experienced people in the world of drones.
As mentioned above, Mavic 2 Enterprise has a high-quality camera so it’s often used to take areal images and photos. For instance, most users of Mavic 2 Enterprise use it for real estate marketing, agricultural imagery, surveillance, mapping, construction, and photography.
The term “Enterprise” in the name of the drones comes from the collection made by DJI of the same name. The other drones that are part of the “Enterprise” collection are Phantom 4 RTK, the Matrice 200 Series, the Phantom 4 Pro, and the Matrice 600. Moreover, the drone is beginner-friendly and extremely easy to use which makes it suitable for complete beginners.
But why is DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise suitable for beginners? It’s due to its heating. In fact, the drone has batteries that are self-heating which makes them work under very harsh and cold weather. As per Mavic 2 Enterprise’s manual, the drone can fly under a temperature as low as -10°C. Also, the drone offers a “hibernation mode” which switches off the battery after 20 minutes of flying and activates the “safe mode”. This feature additionally increases the battery life and the drone’s ability to fly under bad weather conditions.
DJI Mavic Air 2
And the last, but definitely not least, drone on our list of best drones for cold weather is DJI Mavic Air 2. This is a very good drone that is mostly used by aerial photography enthusiasts. Mavic Air 2’s design is pretty typical for all Mavic drones, so I guess that will be the first thing you notice about this drone.
However, despite all the similarities among Mavic drones, Mavic Air 2 has its own, let’s say unique features. The drone is a bit smaller compared to the more expensive Mavic drones. Its size is almost exactly between Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic Mini. Mavic Air 2 is the between weight and price of those two as well.
The drone’s predecessor (Mavic Air) stepped up when it comes to cameras for small drones, but Mavic Air 2 stepped up even further. Similar to Mavic 2 Enterprise, Mavic Air 2 drone can fly under the temperature of -10°C. This is definitely something you want to see when checking if the drone can perform under bad weather conditions. However, please do keep in mind that DJI Mavic 2 Air 2 drone is not waterproof so I would strongly recommend not to fly it in heavy rain. Finally, the drone performs well under strong winds as well.
DJI Matrice 300 RTK
DJI Matrice 300 RTK is yet another drone on our list of the best drones for cold weather. The main advantage of the drone is that it can fly for 55 minutes on a high level. The main reason for this longer flight ability is due to the TB60 type batteries that are combined with unrivaled reliability.
Besides the linger flight option, Matrice 300 RTK offers other exciting features as well which include a 6 Directional Sensing and Positioning system, extremely efficient flight control system, location sharing, PinPoint, and Smart Track. It is safe to say that DJI Matrice 300 RTK is one of the most powerful and best drones in the world nowadays.
Besides all these advanced features – Matrice 300 RTK can fly at some extreme temperatures. Believe it or not, temperatures above 50°C won’t trouble this drone, while it can fly to up to -20°C due to its self-heating smart batteries. Moreover, Matrice 300 RTK has extremely powerful motors that enable it to ascend at up to 6 m/s, fly up to 23 m/s, and handle wind speeds up to 15 m/s or 33.5 mph. Finally, this drone can fly during the rain as well.
Things to know before flying a drone in wintertime
Besides deciding which drone to use under bad weather conditions, there are things you should know before flying a drone in wintertime. Let me give you a few simple suggestions:
Make Sure the Batteries are Warm
The first suggestion is to try to make sure the batteries of your drone are warm. Why do you have to do this you probably wonder? Well, the thing is that low temperature can let’s say, put the drone’s batteries out of their comfort zone which will ultimately decrease the chemical activity within batteries. This is why it’s recommendable to always use fully charged batteries before flying in bad weather and you can also hover for about a minute before the actual flight so that batteries can warm up a bit.
Keep Your Drone Dry
Another piece of advice I can give you before flying your drone in the wintertime is to always keep it dry. You can store it in a dry, non-magnetic place at around 25°C or 77°F. It’s especially important to keep the propellers of your drone dry since the ice on the propellers can literally lead to your drone dropping down in the middle of the flight.
Some people like to fly their drones when it’s heavily snowing so that they can take some great images of that view. And that’s perfectly fine, but keep in mind that flying your drone under the heavy snow or when the snow is “wet” is always a risk. The snow can get inside of your drone and on the camera lens and in this case, it’s best to return your drone to your home to clean it off and then continue to fly and shoot.
Keep an External Battery Pack Around Always
If you plan to fly your drone longer than usual, my strongest suggestion here is to always keep an extra pack of batteries around. The reason is quite simple – is it better to take extra time to change the batteries onf your drone or for your drone to lose power and eventually crash? The latter is a clear answer of course. Keep your external battery pack safe, inside your vehicle for example, since you have to worry about them too and not only your drone.
Make Sure the Drone is Relatively Active
When you plan to fly your drone under bad weather conditions, keep it relatively active and not resting and sitting around doing nothing. You want to keep it engaged so that the batteries and the electronic circuitry continue to stay warm, and there’s also no snow build-up.
Keep Your Flights Short
If possible, you should always keep your flights short when flying your drone at low temperatures and in wintertime. This way, you will decrease the chances of your batteries running out or for the drone to crash if there’s heavy snow or strong wind. If you plan to fly for a bit longer than usual, besides the already mentioned external battery pack, I would suggest going for DJI Matrice 300 RTK since the batteries of this drone will fly it for ~55 minutes which is the longest of all drones mentioned in this article.
Cut Down on the Speed
And last, but not least, the thing you should know before flying in the wintertime is to try and cut down on the speed when your drone is in the air. The main reason I say this is purely to avoid motion blur artifacts under heavy rain for example.
Things to Consider when buying a drone for cold weather
Ok, so once we went through things you should know before flying under the bad weather conditions, let’s now go through some things to consider when deciding which drone to buy for the wintertime.
Size and weight
Make sure to keep the size and weight of your drone small so that it can fly better in the wintertime. When the temperatures are low, the air is thin, so you need a lightweight drone that can fly when the air is thin and cold. Also, if the weather gets even worse, you can put down your small drone and carry it easily in your backpack.
As mentioned above, at low temperatures, lithium batteries’ flight time can drop. So for example, if the “regular” flight time of your drone is 10 minutes, there’s a chance this can go down to 5 minutes during the wintertime. I recommend DJI Matrice 300 RTK here again since the flight time of this drone is close to 1 hour (~55 minutes).
There’s a high chance that you will need to charge your drone multiple times during bad weather conditions. This is why you should consider a drone that charges for, let’s say around 90 minutes. For example, DJI Mavic Air 2 and DJI Phantom 4 have a charge time of 95 and 70 minutes respectively (charging hub).
The main reason you want to fly your drone in the wintertime is probably that you want to take some nice photos and images. So, you will need a drone with a high-quality camera. Moreover, the camera should have a gimbal, an accessory that is used to stabilize the camera of your drone when taking images.
Of course, this is related to your camera, but the photo resolution should be on a high level as well. I would strongly recommend purchasing a drone that can take HD or 4k images. For instance, DJI Mavic Air 2 can take these kinds of photos.
Furthermore, you want a drone that can take some high-quality videos as well. Bad weather conditions can reduce the clarity of your videos, but this can be avoided if the quality is of the video is at the highest possible level (HD and 4k videos).
Keep in mind that the wintertime can heavily signal reception and transmission. So, it’s important to have a stable connection with your drone even if the drone is far away from you. Therefore, always try to purchase a drone with a longer range. Of course, it would be good if your drone can warn and show you a signal then the transmission is weak and also have a “return” button. The range I would recommend for drones that fly under bad weather should be at least 100 meters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s look at some frequently asked questions when it comes to flying drones under bad weather conditions.
Yes, it’s okay, as long as you follow the instructions we mentioned in this article. So, make sure the batteries of your drone are warm, keep it dry, keep an extra battery back close to you, make sure the drone is active, and try to reduce the flight time and speed if possible.
Keep in mind that for the majority of today’s drones it’s not recommendable to fly in temperatures less than 0 degrees Celcius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the drones we mentioned on our list of the best drone for bad weather can fly in temperatures of minus 10 Celcius. So, I would say anything lower than that, it’s too cold for any drone.
Yes, Mavic-based drones can fly in cold weather. Mavic 3, Phantom 4K Pro, Matrice 300 RTK, Mavic Air 2, and Mavic 2 Enterprise are some examples.
Of course, you can. DJI is one of the most powerful technology companies that produce drones, so it would be hard to imagine for them not to have drones that can fly when it’s freezing. Mavic 3, Phantom 4K Pro, Matrice 300 RTK, Mavic 2 Enterprise, Mavic Air 2 are the drones you can fly when it’s cold/freezing and all of these were produced by DJI.
I would not suggest t. Keep in mind that Mini 2 and Mavic Mini are by far the smallest DJI-based drones, so you have to worry about how well they perform in the wintertime. Officially, you can fly these drones at the temperature of 0°C, but the temperature can be even holder if you heat the batteries before the flight.
This is a great question. It’s essential to note that the drone can’t fly in the rain unless they are waterproof or watertight. All drones have extremely sensitive technological components than can shut down if any raindrops touch them. Of course, heavy damage to these components might not happen immediately, but over time, for sure. DJI Matrice 300 RTK is waterproof and can fly in rain.
Moreover, it has a protection rating of IP45. However, this rating is not permanent and it can decrease if there is wear and tear. On the official DJI website, you can find information that the drone should not fly in rain heavier than 100mm/24h. So, my suggestion here is to always check how heavy is the rain actually even if your drone is waterproof and watertight.