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In the last decade, we have witnessed drones go through an incredible evolution. At first, they were used as a simple form of entertainment, with no real utility to them.
However, this slowly changed throughout the years. Companies started to produce more high-quality models, and drones suddenly became incredibly useful for a number of things. From filmmaking, videography, and surveillance to conducting roof inspections.
In this article, we are going to focus on the latter. We will provide you with a list of the best drones for home inspections and explain why drones are such a good alternative for this activity.
Let’s dive in.
What Drones are Best for Roof Inspections?
People that are looking for drones that can be used for roof inspections often make the mistake of believing that any model will do the trick.
This simply isn’t true.
Figuring out the right model for this activity requires in-depth research of the different features. Although there are plenty of high-quality drones on the market, there are some that are simply more suitable for this type of work.
After doing a hefty amount of research, here is a list of drones we find are best for roof inspections.
DJI Mavic 3
The first model on our list is probably one of the best drones you can currently find for roof inspections – the DJI Mavic 3.
While the price of this model may not be for everyone’s pocket (around $5000), the features that come with it are worth every dime.
Firstly, the battery life of the Mavic 3 is amazing – it can last around 45 minutes, which is a huge upgrade compared to previous Mavic models that could last appx. 30 minutes.
The transmission distance is also high quality, allowing users to fly it in a 15-kilometer range without having to worry about any video lags.
DJI is known for upgrading the software on their models each year, and this model is no exception. The omnidirectional obstacle sensor now operates at around 200 meters range. Plus, there are other advanced features such as the return-to-home, APAS 5.0, and ActiveTrack 5.0.
When it comes to footage quality, there aren’t many models that compare to the Mavic 3. You can shoot 4K at 120 fps while also taking incredible images with the 20MP camera.
- Weight: 895g
- Video resolution: 4K at 120 FPS
- Camera resolution: 20 MP, plus 12 MP
- Battery life: 45 minutes
- Max speed: 65 kmh
- High-quality video and camera resolution
- Hybrid zoom feature
- Great battery life
- Not for everyone’s pocket
Autel Evo 2
In terms of footage and camera quality, the Autel Evo 2 beats pretty much all the other roof inspection drones.
This model features 8k footage with up to 100-degree FOV, and you can use the camera for both scalings and zooming in images. There is also a 4x lossless zoom and a 10-bit A-LOG, which alone justifies the price of this robust model. Plus, you get three different camera models.
The flight duration of the EVO 2 has always been much better compared to DJI models, and the battery can last up to one hour of flight time. For transmission distance, the model can withstand an approximately 8-kilometer range.
There are a lot of similarities between the Autel Evo 2 and some of the most popular DJI drones, but the downside of EVO is that it’s a bit heavier, which makes it harder to carry around.
- Weight: 1175g
- Camera resolution: 48 MP
- Video resolution: 8K at 25 FPS
- Battery life: 40 – 60 minutes
- Max speed: 70 kmh
- Spectacular camera resolution
- Omnidirectional sensor feature
- Long flight duration
- Heavier than most models
DJI Mavic Air 2
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly drone for roof inspections, then the DJI Mavic Air 2 may be the ideal option.
Launched in 2018, it didn’t take long for the Mavic Air 2 to establish a stellar reputation among users around the world.
Considering the low price, this model surprisingly has numerous features to offer. For example, one of the main strong points is the robust Hasselblad camera that can capture 4K footage at around 60 FPS.
The battery life is also decent, and it can last for appx. 30 minutes, while the max speed is roughly 70 kmh.
There are also lots of intelligence shooting features and tons of sensors that guarantee the safety of your drone during its roof inspection missions. You can have an overview of your environment in three directions – front, behind, and below.
Users can also take advantage of the digital zoom to capture and avoid chimney stacks or any antenna that may get in the way.
- Weight: 560 g
- Video resolution: 4K at 60 FPS
- Camera resolution: 48 MPX
- Battery life: around 30 minutes
- Max speed: 70 kmh
- Low price
- Useful features
- Great camera
- No top or side sensors included
DJI Mini 2
The DJI Mini 2 is another drone that doesn’t cost a fortune but can still be a very suitable choice for your roof inspecting operations.
As the name suggests, this drone is very small, which makes it easily portable. However, how many features ‘fit’ into this miniature model is the real surprise.
If you live in the US, you will be happy to find out that the Mini 2 doesn’t have to be registered, and you don’t need a pilot certificate to use it. This is because it weighs only 250 grams. You can simply put it in your work briefcase and start inspecting!
For other features, the camera is pretty decent with 12MP, and there is a 4K video recording and high-quality video transmission that reaches around 10 km of radius. This drone can last up to 30 minutes in terms of flight duration.
In summary, the DJI Mini 2 is a great drone for inspecting whether there is any visual damage on your roof, and it comes at a very low price.
- Camera resolution: 12 MP, 3-axis gimbal
- Flight time: around 30 minutes
- Video transmission: 10 km
- Video resolution: 4K
- Doesn’t require a drone pilot license
- Low price
- Average camera
The Parrot Anafi probably has the most unique look compared to the other drones on our list.
When it comes to the camera, users can take advantage of the great 4K HDR resolution that is guaranteed to catch any damages found on the roofs. The 3-axis gimbal is also a great bonus since it provides additional stabilization.
However, the thing that stands out in the Anafi drone is the fact that it uses the gimbal to point straight up as well, something that can’t be seen in other models.
There are also plenty of other features such as the altitude hold, GPS coordination, and the follow-me option. When it comes to the technicalities, the Parrot Anafi doesn’t lack at all.
It can go up to 4 kilometers thanks to the robust Skycontroller, and the battery life can endure up to 25 minutes of flight.
- Weight: 300 g
- Camera resolution: 4K and 21 MPX
- Flight time: 25 minutes
- Control range: 4 km
- Impressive smart features
- Great control range
- Weak flight time
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Here is another spectacular DJI drone you can use for roof inspecting – the Mavic 2 Pro.
However, this isn’t your ordinary DJI drone. The Mavic 2 Pro comes with a lot more robust features compared to the other models, all at a reasonable price.
This model has everything needed for a proper roof inspection, from flight accuracy and GPS features to the foldable design and impressive visuals.
The camera resolution is high-quality, and the drone is equipped with a professional Hasselblad-branded 1-inch sensor. There is also an automated flight mission feature that allows users to take a break from operating the drone if need be.
In terms of battery life, you can fly your drone around for half an hour, and the flight range is approximately 8 kilometers.
- Camera: Hasselblad L1D-20c camera and a 3-axis gimbal
- Flight control: integrated GPS and omnidirectional barrier sensing
- Flight time: 30 minutes
- Flight range: 8 km
- Long flight range
- High-quality camera
- Advanced features
Hubsan Zino 2
The last drone on our list is the impressive Hubsan Zino 2.
This model earned a place on our list due to its great 4k HD camera and spectacular video resolution (60 fps at 4k HD resolution). There is also a 3-axis gimbal that guarantees smooth roof overviews.
One of the main benefits of the Hubsan Zino 2 is the advanced flight functions that make flying much safer, and simpler to handle for beginner pilots.
It includes optical flow positioning that helps you maintain a steady position and there is also the GPS mode that ensures safe home returns.
- Camera resolution: 12 MP
- Video resolution: 4K HD
- Flight time: 30 minutes
- Transmission range: 8 km
- Advanced flight functions
- Impressive camera
- Some users reported experiencing lags with the controller
How Can a Drone Help with a Roof Inspection?
The main purpose of drones is to take pictures. With that said, these pictures can be used for a variety of purposes, one of them being roof inspection.
There are drone models that come pre-built with specialized software that can generate roof reports. For example, these drones can create 3D roof models that make inspection easier.
Roofing inspectors that use drones have an easier time finding issues and damages on the roofs, all from a birds-eye view. You can easily identify broken shingles, damaged skylights, or other major problems.
Another benefit of using drones for roof inspection is that it is much safer. There is no need to climb up to the roof for an inspection when you can do it with a robust device. This can prevent many climb-related incidents.
Drones and Thermal Roof Scans
Some manufacturers have started including thermal cameras mounted on top of their drones in recent years. This is a great way to make infrared roof scans more efficient, and it also reduces the cost of such inspections.
Also, you can even use the drone after dark if need be. The images can be used to create a thermal map of the roof, and you will have an easier time identifying wet insulations and thermal envelope gaps.
What to Look for When Choosing a Drone for Home Inspections?
Here are some of the main things you should keep an eye on when choosing a drone for home inspections.
One of the first things you should make sure your drone has is a quality camera. You will be taking pictures of the roofs, so you will need high-resolution images to notice all the important details.
The ideal drone should have a camera that comes with a gimbal, this ensures good stability and a more smooth inspection experience. If you can afford it, look for drones with a 20 MP camera that can record in 4K HD. This is the best option for detailed inspections.
The next thing you should look out for is the first-person view, also known as FPV. This feature provides users with the ability to see exactly what the camera is pointing at.
If your drone doesn’t include an FPV feature, you practically won’t be able to do any roof inspections at all.
When it comes to flight time, it’s always better to find a model that can withstand longer journeys. This isn’t exactly the top priority, but you shouldn’t look for drones that can’t endure at least 20 minutes of flight time.
An average roof inspection lasts approximately 25 minutes, so that should be your ideal mark when purchasing a model. Of course, you can bring an additional set of batteries with you, but changing them will also require some amount of time, and it simply isn’t worth it.
In most situations, range won’t be of much essence in roof inspections, but this characteristic can’t be overlooked. You will need a drone with a larger range if you do some high-level inspecting, such as celebrity mansions and penthouses.
Don’t look for models that can’t go at least a few hundred meters in range, or else you will always worry about losing control over the drone.
The waypoint feature is typically only included in high-end drones. It’s an extremely useful feature for drawing out a few different waypoints on the map and then customizing them how you deem fit. Of course, you will need a good GPS signal along with it.
When we say customization, it means that you will be able to alter the speed, flying altitude, camera orientation, and plenty of other elements.
After you set up these options, the drone will follow the customized directions, and you will have an easier time inspecting the roof.
The last feature on your lookout list should be the stability of the drone. This is extremely important for roof inspections since it will affect the quality of your pictures as well as the overall performance of the drone.
One of the main things that impact stability is the altitude hold feature. This option makes maintaining drone control easier and improves the overall flight stability.
If you use a drone for building inspections, the average work time is around 25 minutes. Doing the inspection manually would probably require 1+ hours of work.
Of course, this depends on the size of the roof; mansions could take an hour of work, even with drones.
The short answer is – No.
While there are plenty of high-quality drones on the market, not all of them are suitable for roof inspections. There are specific features that a roof inspection drone must-have.
Flying a drone for any kind of business purpose will require a remote pilot certificate. Even if you are using a drone as a hobby, you would have to register with the FFA.
Surveys are generally done before the actual inspection. They include creating an accurate map of the roof in your pre-inspection flight so you will have an easier time navigating the drone later.
Yes, inspecting your own roof with a drone is allowed and even advised since it can prevent any accidents from occurring.
There is no concrete answer to this question since it depends on the insurance company. There are plenty of insurance adjusters that use drones, and this trend is increasing, but there are also a number of adjusters that don’t practice this method.