Most people fly their drones outside, but this comes with some risks. One of those risks is potentially damaging your drone when landing it on uneven, hard, or wet surfaces. The solution? A drone landing pad.
A drone landing pad provides a safe space for your drone to land on, so in this guide we review the top options to help you find the best drone landing pad for you. We’ll even show you how you can make a DIY drone landing paid for yourself! Before that, though, let’s take a closer look at what exactly drone landing pads are and why they’re important.
Why Buy a Drone Landing Pad?
Drones are fragile, and considering many cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, it’s important to take as much care as you can when flying them. One of the greatest risks of damaging your drone is a bad landing.
Sure, many drones now come with intelligent technology like automatic return to home that makes it easy to return to the takeoff spot. However, you need to be very careful when the drone actually touches the ground to ensure there won’t be any damage.
Many environments and surfaces can potentially damage a drone during landing. For example, wet grass could damage the electrical components, gravel and rocky surfaces could knock the physical components, mud can get onto the camera lens, and sand could get into small spaces of your drone and cause some serious problems.
Luckily, there’s a solution to these problems – getting a drone landing pad. This drone accessory provides a flat, stable surface for your drone to land on, ensuring it won’t be damaged. Most drone landing pads are large enough to accommodate a wide range of models but fold up into small sizes, so you can easily carry them in your drone backpack.
Choosing a Drone Landing Pad
When it comes to choosing the best drone landing pad for you, there are three key considerations – the protection it offers, the size of the pad, and the price.
While a drone landing pad may seem like a pretty simple piece of kit, they are some notable differences between various pads. For example, some have hooks on the sides and come with nails so that you can secure them to the ground even in windy conditions. Higher quality pads are weighted by a metal-coated cable running along the outside, so they don’t need to be pegged down and provide better stability.
Some drone landing pads are also completely waterproof, whereas some are just water-resistant and don’t offer quite the same level of protection to your drone.
As we’ve already mentioned, most pads are big enough for most consumer camera drones. If you’re using a particularly large model or a commercial long-range drone like the DJI Matrice 300, it’s important to get a pad that offers enough room to safely land your drone.
How Much Does a Drone Landing Cost?
Finally, price. Most drone landing pads are pretty cheap, costing between $10 and $30. As with any drone accessory, though, the larger pads with better protection are pricier, and some cost over $100, so keep this in mind.
There are also some other more niche aspects to consider. For example, if you’re flying at night you should opt for a drone landing pad with reflective strips or LED lights for improved visibility. Another thing to be wary of is how easy the pad is to fold down and the size it folds down to, as some are a lot larger and heavier than others.
The Best Drone Landing Pads
Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best drone landing pads, from cheapest to most expensive.
Kinbon Drone Landing Pad – Best Budget Option
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
If you’re looking for the cheapest drone landing pad that still offers high quality protection, you can’t go wrong with the Kinbon landing pad. This is a bestseller on Amazon and is rated 4.7 stars from over 4,000 ratings, largely due to the fantastic value for money it offers.
This circular landing pad is 30” across when unfolded, so it’s suitable for all the most popular camera drones like DJI’s Mavic series, as well as most beginner drones. It folds up to 11”, which isn’t the smallest of all drone pads, but is still easily transportable. Plus, it comes with its own handy carrying case and is very lightweight.
The pad comes with three nails to secure it with, as well as eight drone landing pad reflectors to help boost visibility during night flights. It’s double-sided with one side orange and the other blue, so you can choose the side based on which offers the best visibility in the environment you’re in. The high precision printing means it’s sun-protected and the colors won’t fade.
This drone land pad is also made of highly water-resistant nylon material to help protect your drone from the elements, so you can use it on wet grass and even snow. Despite its low price, it’s a solid pad that’s suitable for landing your drone on even on rough terrain.
StartRC Drone Landing Pad – Best for Portability
Price: Check price on Amazon here
The StartRC drone landing pad is a slightly more costly but higher quality option. This is also a slightly more specialist landing pad due to being only 20” when folded out, in comparison to the 30” of the Kinbon pad, so it’s best for drones like the Mavic Air 2S and Mavic Pro.
The smaller size has both its pros and its cons. On the downside, you need to be a bit more careful when landing to ensure you stay on the pad. On the plus side, it folds up to 6.4”, which is considerably smaller than other drone landing pads and makes it much easier to carry without needing a separate case for it.
It’s double-sided, with the sharp contrast between the black and orange sides making it perfect for switching around in different lighting conditions. Both sides are also stain-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about ruining it by using it in mud.
The pad itself offers great water resistance, and also comes with a waterproof storage bag for extra protection. The hexagonal shape of this DJI landing pad also makes it more secure than circular ones like the Kinbon, as it has four nailing points and comes with four nails so you can safely attach it to the ground.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is the only drone landing pad we’ve come across that has a flawless 5 star rating on Amazon, so fliers clearly think very highly of it.
Aurtec Drone Landing Pad – Great for Night Flights
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
If you’re flying at night it’s vital you have a clearly visible landing space so you can safely land your drone, and the Aurtec landing pad provides exactly that.
As well as reflective strips, this drone landing pad comes with two LED lights that really help it light up in dark conditions. This isn’t the only benefit of this pad, though – it’s also bigger than most other similarly priced ones, measuring 32” when laid out, so you have loads of space on which to land your drone. This landing pad folds up to 12” for easy transportation.
It’s made of waterproof nylon and has four hooks for keeping it safe and secure on all types of surfaces. Its large size and stability make it suitable for virtually all consumer drones, from the likes of DJI, Autel and Parrot to Yuneec, Hubsan, Altair and many more.
This is another popular folding drone landing pad among fliers, with a 4.5 star rating on Amazon. People have praised its stability, visibility in low light, and the ease of folding it down, so there’s no doubt this is a great piece of kit.
The Hoodman HDLP-3 is widely regarded as the overall best drone landing pad on the market. The drone landing pads we’ve covered so far are smaller pads that are mostly designed for hobbyist camera drones. However, as you can probably tell by the price, the HDLP-3 is a much larger pad designed for bigger drones and commercial models.
It measures 3ft wide when spread out, so you can safely land small, medium and large drones with minimum stress. It has a zinc-coated cable that runs around the outside, so it remains super stable on the ground without any need for pegs. This is also a fully waterproof drone landing pad, so you don’t need to worry about it getting damp.
Despite its large size, this drone launch pad and landing pad is super easy to pack away as it folds into three smaller circles, so it’s still very portable. It has a color contrast between the two sides, one being orange and one blue, and both very bright to provide exceptional visibility in all sorts of lighting conditions.
The Hoodman HDLP-3 is the perfect mix of size, portability, stability, and visibility, which is why it’s our pick for the overall best drone landing pad.
Ultimateaddons Whitetail Drone Landing Pad – Best for Large Commerical Drones
- Price: Check price on Amazon here
While we rank the Hoodman HDLP-3 as the overall best drone landing pad in terms of quality, if you’re looking for the biggest pad out there, make sure you check out the Ultimateaddons Whitetail drone landing pad.
This drone landing pad is a huge 5ft wide, so it provides plenty of room for landing large drones such as those from DJI’s Phantom and Inspire series, as well as commercial models and heavy lift drones like the Matrice 300. The large size isn’t the only thing that makes this ideal for drone professionals, though.
This is a weighted, waterproof drone landing pad, meaning you can rely on it to safely stay secure on the ground without the hassle of nailing it down. It’s also sturdy enough to withstand the downwash from the propellers of large drones and has proven to stay stable in winds up to 50mph.
One thing to bear in mind is that this pad weighs around 2kg, making it approximately four times as heavy as cheap landing pads, so it’s not the easiest to carry around. But if you’re looking for a large pad that provides fantastic protection for landing on concrete, pebbles, grass, sand, and snow, then it’s a great option.
How to Make a DIY Drone Landing Pad
Fancy making your own DIY landing pad for your drone? The good news is that you can easily make one in the comfort of your home and, depending on the materials you use, can be a fair amount cheaper than buying a drone landing pad online.
The first step to making your DIY drone landing pad is to find a suitable material. You can use virtually anything that’s water-resistant, large enough, and relatively affordable.
As adding hooks onto the material which you can nail down is a little more tricky, you’re best off choosing a relatively weighty material that can still be transported easily. Thick rubber is ideal, which you can easily buy in the form of something like a welcome mat for just a few dollars.
Once you have your material, you just need to cut it into your desired shape, which can be circular, square, or hexagonal depending on your preference. You can then customize the appearance with some acrylic paint – the MavicPilots forum has some examples of DIY drone landing pads if you need some inspiration.
If you do make a custom drone landing pad, we recommend testing it out on a safe surface to make sure it can withstand the wind generated by your drone’s propellers, particularly if you’re using a powerful model like the DJI Phantom 4.