The best drones for roof inspections contains several familiar brands. While you may have initially gotten into drones as a hobby, most drone enthusiasts soon realize that there are actually many practical applications for these devices. Take roofing inspections, for example.
Historically, these inspections required either the homeowner or a professional roofer to climb up on a ladder and survey the condition of the roof and shingles. Depending on the size and slope of the roof, this often involved walking around on the roof’s surface, risking a potential fall.
With a good video drone, roofing inspections are much simpler and safer. A homeowner or a roofer can fly a drone overhead, recording video and taking snapshots of the roof’s condition as needed. The video and images can be enhanced and zoomed in, providing an incredible amount of detail without ever having to step foot on the roof.
Drone Features to Look For
When looking for a drone that can handle a roof inspection, there are a few key features you will need.
For starters, the drone must be capable of recording video. It is not absolutely necessary that the video is live, although it certainly helps. Likewise, the drone should be able to take still images. These images will come in handy if you are live-streaming video and come across a potential problem area. You can snap a picture and zoom it in later.
You will also want to make sure that your drone can handle 20 minutes of flight time, at minimum. You don’t want to run out of battery mid-inspection.
Thermal imaging abilities are one feature that may prove useful in certain scenarios but are not absolutely necessary. You are most likely to use thermal imaging if you have solar panels affixed to your roof.
7 Best Drones For Roof Inspections
This is one of the more budget-friendly options when it comes to high-quality video drones. The integrated camera is capable of displaying 4K images as well as recording HD 1080p video. You can even reposition the camera angle using your remote control.
Holy Stone’s drone allows you to create a flight path ahead of time, as well. This frees you up to focus on the recorded video and taking images while the drone flies overhead. The controls are intuitive and easy-to-use, and the drone is even capable of hovering overhead to ensure your photos aren’t blurry or shaky.
The default battery life of this drone is 23 minutes, but this can easily be extended to 46 minutes by using both of the included rechargeable batteries.
Swellpro’s waterproof drone is one of the pricier options on our list. Still, if you can afford the investment, it has a few features that are quite useful for roof inspections.
For one, the built-in camera can take high-quality 4K images and video. The video can be live streamed as the drone is flying, making it easy to spot potential problem areas and take additional images to allow for a closer look. The controller comes with a video screen, as well, allowing for easy viewing as you control the drone.
While this drone from Autel Robotics is also on the higher end of the price spectrum, it’s well worth it for those who have room in their budget. Offering up to 40 minutes of flight time, this drone can take 48MP pictures and record 8K HD video. The video can easily be live-streamed to the controller. This drone is, quite literally, built for taking images and video.
As such, the controls are easy to use, allowing you to spend more time focusing on the video you record. This is especially useful if you are trying to locate problem areas on your roof. The drone itself is also lightweight and easily capable of folding up for compact storage between uses.
The Anafi drone by Parrot comes with a few different options. You can either opt for the most budget-friendly version, the Anafi Base, which can easily perform a basic roofing inspection. If you don’t require thermal imaging, this is probably the best model to go with. It can easily take 4K video and 21 MP pictures with 2.8 times digital zoom. The base version also comes with a battery life of 25 minutes and the ability to perform frequent software updates that may enhance your drone’s features down the line.
On the other hand, if your roof has solar panels or you have another use for thermal imaging, you may want to opt for the pricier Anafi Thermal. This drone truly has it all. Not only can you take advantage of the same camera and video quality that the base offers, but you can also capture images using the built-in thermal camera. If you need a heavy-duty drone that can go above and beyond, this is it.
DJI is a trusted name in the drone industry, and for good reason. Their products are tried-and-tested and generally feature rave reviews. The Mavic Mini is no exception. This is one of the less expensive drone models in DJI’s lineup, but don’t let that fool you. The Mini still contains an impressive array of options that can be quite useful when it comes to roof inspections.
Weighing just over a half-pound, the Mini is lightweight and easily portable– perfect for those who are short on storage space. At 12 MP, the Mini’s camera may not be as powerful as some of the more expensive models out there, but it is more than sufficient to do the job of a roofing inspection. The Mini can grab 2.7K video, as well.
Perhaps the most budget-friendly option on our list, Ruko’s U11 drone is perfect for those who are looking for a starter drone for their roofing inspection. It has all the features you need and nothing that you don’t.
The built-in camera is capable of recording live video as well as 4K images. There is an included controller that comes with a video screen, and you can also download the companion app to take advantage of additional features such as “Find the Lost Drone”. You may be surprised at what a useful tool that can be, especially if you are flying in windy conditions. The device is easy to control, as well, with one-button take-off and landing.
If you are new to the world of drones, the U11 is an excellent model to consider.
A much-loved model by both beginner and advanced drone enthusiasts, the Mavic Air 2 is the second option on our list from DJI.
The included camera is one of the more powerful ones at this price point. At 48MP for still images and 1080p HD live stream capabilities, you will be able to monitor your roof inspection in real-time and take highly useful snapshots as needed. ActiveTrack 3.0 and Spotlight 2.0 are both included features that help you capture more stable and high-quality images.
The Mavic Air 2 is capable of up to 34 minutes of flight time, so there is no need to rush your inspection, either. If you are looking to invest a little more money in a drone that will provide you with the best inspection possible,c consider the Mavic Air 2.
Why use a drone for roof inspections?
The most obvious reason to use a drone for a roof inspection is the safety factor we already mentioned. Not having to get up on the roof means you don’t have to worry about potentially falling off of it. But that is far from the only reason to use a drone for this purpose.
There are cost-saving benefits to using a drone for roof inspections. This is particularly true if you planned on hiring a professional roofer to perform the inspection for you. A drone turns the inspection into something you can easily do yourself. You would only need to consult a professional later on if you determine that repairs are needed.
Drones are also much faster than a human when it comes to roof inspections. It can take a while for a single person to visually inspect the entire surface of a roof. A drone, meanwhile, simply needs to fly briefly overhead and record video. This generally takes less than 20 minutes, even for larger homes.
While you don’t truly need any additional software, there are a few options out there that may help with your inspection. The iRoofing app, available for both Android and iPhone, is one such option. Roof Report is another one. These tools help analyze the video that your drone provides, letting you know when potential issues have been spotted.
Drones are not just for hobbyists anymore. They serve a variety of useful purposes, especially when it comes to roof inspections.