There are so many great things about drones that make them hugely valuable tools for photography and many other applications, from architecture to surveillance. However, one downside is that most drones are pretty noisy, which is why people often seek out the quietest drone possible to buy.
While many manufacturers claim their drones make little noise while in the air, this isn’t always the case, so it’s important to do your research.
To help you out, we’ve tested a range of models that claim to fly quietly and have picked out the best silent drones of the lot.
DJI Mini 2
DJI Mavic 3
Firstly, though, let’s take a look at what makes drones loud in the first place and how you can reduce the sound they make.
Why are Drones so Loud?
A noisy drone can be a real issue for any flier. For starters, it can irritate people, which is certainly something you want to avoid. This is particularly true if you’re regularly flying in your garden if you have close neighbors, or if you’re flying in a public space.
This doesn’t just apply to recreational drone flying, though. For example, if you’re a real estate or construction professional using a drone to take photos of a building, the last thing you want is to have an annoying buzz bothering people trying to get on with their work or day-to-day lives. After all, a study by NASA revealed that people find the buzz of drones considerably more irritating than the noise caused by cars and trucks.
That’s not the only downside of a noisy drone. For example, if you’re using your drone to photograph animals or for fishing, it’s likely going to scare them away and ruin your chances of capturing good footage. Silent drones are also widely used in surveillance operations by security companies, the police, and the military.
The reason many drones are so loud is simply because of the motors and propellers. The motors provide the power and the propellers rotate to allow the drone to fly, and both emit noise.
How to Make a Drone Quieter
It’s impossible to make a drone completely silent, as the moving parts will always emit some noise. There are stories of military stealth drones that are as close as you can get to being silent drones, but you won’t find these on the consumer market.
However, it is possible to reduce the noise a drone makes.
The motors and propellers are the two main things you want to focus on. For starters, you want to use brushless motors rather than brushed motors.
Whereas brushed motors use brushes to generate spin via mechanical commutation, brushless motors replace this with electronic control. The result is less friction, less heat, and higher efficiency — and less noise.
Quiet Drone Propellers & Noise Reduction Shrouds
The design and size of drone propellers also have a big impact on sound.
For example, large, slow-turning propellers result in lower sound frequency, and many companies are experimenting with propeller designs that emit less noise. These include the likes of DJI, whose raked wingtip rotor blades feature in some of its premium drones and reduce noise by up to 60% – more on this further down.
Another option is to consider using noise reduction shrouds on your drone, such as those developed by Dotterel. These reduce noise from propellers while reflecting noise that is emitted upwards, as well as absorbing specific tonal frequencies, greatly reducing flying noise.
It’s possible to customize a drone to reduce noise as much as possible. Companies like Master Airscrew, for example, sell propellers that are optimized for silent flying. For most people, though, the easiest way to ensure quiet drone flying is simply to buy a drone that comes with this guaranteed.
Sure, it may set you back a bit more than a cheaper drone, but if silence is a priority, it’s probably the best way to go. DJI, for example, produces drones that are expensive but well known for being extremely quiet in the air.
We’ll cover quiet DJI drones and models from other manufacturers below so you can easily pick one that suits you best.
The quietest drones you can buy — and the best quiet and silent drones on the market
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Altair AA108 – Cheap Quiet Drone
Drones are a really popular present for kids and teens these days, but if you’re gifting one to your youngster you’ll want to make sure you go for a quieter model so they don’t drive you nuts when flying it around the house or in the garden.
While cheaper drones are generally louder due to it being more expensive for manufacturers to make drones quiet, the Altair AA108 is the quietest we’ve come across in this price range. Not only is it great for kids, but it has enough quality for adult beginners, too.
It has a smart design that reduces friction with the brushless motors, helping it stay quiet while in the air. It’s also suitable for indoor drone flying, as it’s lightweight, has a crash-resistant design, and has propeller guards to help prevent damage to both the drone and its surroundings in the event of a collision.
The Altair AA108 has a 100-meter range, so it’s also fun to fly outside. Thanks to the out-of-range alarm, low battery alarm, and emergency stop function, it’s safe and simple for beginners to fly. Plus, there are three different skill levels, so you can experiment with different speeds gradually as you get comfortable if you’re looking for a drone for beginners.
This quiet drone has a 120-degree wide-angle camera that offers 720P HD quality, which isn’t the best but is pretty good for such an affordable drone. You can control it with the remote that’s included as well as the Flyingsee App, which has some nice features like the ability to draw custom routes.
Parrot Anafi – Best Silent Drone for 3D Modeling & Thermal Imaging
- Price: Check on Amazon here
The Parrot Anafi is one of the few high-quality camera drones that give DJI models a run for their money as a contender for being the quietest drone.
This is a really smartly designed, lightweight drone made of carbon fiber with brushless propellers. It has a wide-angle HDR camera that captures 21MP photos and 4K video, and you can access a great range of intelligent flying features through the Freeflight app.
What we really like about Parrot’s Anafi series, though, is that there are versions of this drone that are highly specialized to suit different applications and professions.
There are five purchasing options in total – the price we’ve quoted is the standard package, while you can get an extended package with additional accessories and an FPV drone version that comes with FPV goggles.
The highlights, though, are the Anafi Work and Anafi Thermal versions. The Anafi Work is optimized for compatibility with the Pix3D modeling software and is aimed at people working in real estate, construction and architecture – jobs in which having a silent drone is highly beneficial.
Then there’s the Thermal, which has a thermal imaging camera meaning it can be used to fly during nighttime and detect things like thermal leaks in buildings. It’s even used for surveilling reserves to protect animals from poachers, another task for which silent flying is absolutely essential.
DJI Mini 2 – Quietest Drone Under 250g
- Price: $599 — Available on Amazon here
DJI is the world’s leading consumer drone maker, known for their drones’ exceptional camera quality, intelligent flight features, and quiet flying.
There’s a wide variety of different DJI models available that vary in price, size, and quality, but if you’re looking for a quiet drone that’s small, beginner-friendly, and on the more affordable side, the Mini 2 is the one for you.
This is much smaller than most of DJI’s other drones, weighing just 249g. Not only does this make it super easy to carry around, but as it’s below the 250g weight limit set by the FAA, you can fly it without having to register, saving time, hassle and money.
Don’t let its small size fool you, though – this is a really powerful drone. It has level 5 wind resistance, can reach altitudes of 4,000 meters, and has a top speed of 35mph, so it can fly in all sorts of environments and conditions.
As is usually the case with DJI drones, the real highlight here is the camera. With the DJI Mini 2, you can capture 12MP photos and record 4K HD footage at 30fps, so you can record some really stunning footage. The 3 axis motorized gimbal ensures video and photos are smooth during flight.
What’s more, you can stream real-time video within a huge range of 10km thanks to DJI’s OcuSyn 2.0 transmission system. There’s even 4x digital zoom for zooming in on subjects without having to get too close.
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum – The Quietest Drone on the Market
- Price: $1,199 — Available on Amazon here
The Mavic Pro Platinum promised to be the quietest DJI drone yet upon its release back in 2017, and it still lives up to that label to this day. It’s no longer DJI’s best model, but it’s about the closest thing to a silent drone that you can find on the consumer market.
There are two main reasons for this. Firstly there are the 8331 noise reduction propellers that have a “raked wingtip” design, in which they curve through the middle and angle back up at the tip.
On top of this, the drone’s electronic speed controllers use field-orientated view technology with a sine wave drive. According to DJI, this results in 60% lower noise than the original Mavic Pro, reducing the decibel count by 4 to 60dB, making it the quietest camera drone out there.
As is standard for DJI drones, the Mavic Pro Platinum offers exceptional camera quality with 4K video and 3 axis stabilization. Its 7km transmission range is slightly shorter than DJI’s newer models, but still far more than virtually all other drones on the market.
This silent UAV drone also has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, making it one of the top-rated drones by consumers worldwide. People have praised all aspects of this drone, including the camera, ease of use, and – you guessed it – just how incredibly quiet it is.
DJI Mavic 3 – Quiet Drone with Exceptional Camera Quality
- Price: $2,199 — Available on Amazon here
The Mavic 3 is DJI’s latest and greatest drone, and like its other top models, it’s extremely quiet while in the air.
It uses a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera which allows you to capture 20MP images and 5.1k video in incredible clarity and detail. Not only that, but the Mavic 3 offers an even longer transmission distance than DJI’s other top-of-the-range drones at a staggering 15km. This is thanks to the upgraded O3+ transmission system, which also ensures live streams and smoother than ever before.
We also need to touch on the DJI Mavic’s incredible 46 minute flight time. This is considerably longer than most other similarly priced drones, which can typically only be flown for 30 minutes at a time, so the Mavic 3 is a true standout in this regard.
This noiseless drone is also one of the safest, easiest to use out there. It has upgraded omnidirectional object sensing so that it intelligently avoids impacts and a new advanced RTH return-to-home system means it chooses routes better optimized for safety and speed.
It’ll set you back a fair bit, but if you’re looking for a silent drone with unrivaled camera quality, you can’t go wrong with the Mavic 3.