drone vs quadcopter

Drone vs Quadcopter

I will never forget the first time I walked into a hobbyist’s store. As a newbie, I was excited to purchase my first drone and fly it around that following weekend. The sales lady whom I spoke to started talking about all these different models and sharing her experiences with me. I admired her enthusiasm; the only problem was I couldn’t understand what she was talking about.

One of my biggest sources of confusion came from the way she used the terms drone and quadcopter back and forth. I assumed she was talking about the same thing, but it was actually two different things! Needless to say, it made my head spin in circles.

Looking back at this experience, I realized that most consumers – many of whom are novices – do not know the difference between these archetypes. It may only seem like a minuscule detail, but if not addressed quickly, it could cause some misunderstandings, especially when purchasing one yourself.

It is because of this that I want to go back to the basics and discuss the differences between drone vs quadcopter. After a long time, I’ve learned my lesson and want to share them with you.

Basic Definitions

In order to set the record straight, let’s first start with what each one means.

Simply put, a drone is a generic term for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). As long as no pilot is present inside and an object is used to glide through the air, it can be considered this. Some examples are remote controlled helicopters, tricopters, and yes, quadcopters, just to name a few. These all vary in size and can range from being as small as fitting in your hand to as large as a plane!

On the other hand, quadcopters are a particular aerial vehicle with four rotors and arms, which are laid out strategically to ensure optimum hovering efficiency. These are often used for taking photos and capturing footage because of their increased stability. Many of them are durable and ergonomically designed with the ability to cover great distances in a limited amount of time.

Main Parts and Functions

Like I’ve said earlier, a quadcopter is a sophisticated piece of machinery with a complicated system. For everything to run smoothly, each part needs to achieve its purpose and work in unison with the next one.

To help us understand this more clearly, here are the primary components of this device.

1. Motor

Arguably, the most essential mechanism in a quadcopter is the motor. As soon as energy is transferred from the battery, through several wires, rotors are initiated to spin profusely and power the entire instrument. This, basically, is the equivalent of a beating heart.

drone motor

Just like that major organ, every model has a varied strength, which can be measured in Kv or revolutions per minute. When choosing which brand to buy, be sure to consider this because it can greatly determine the aerial vehicle’s range of uses.

2. Frame or Body

The chassis is another important element and it is basically the central skeletal system that holds everything else together. Many standard quadcopters still use a distinctive X shape, but newer prototypes have begun to delve away and use more superfluous blueprints.

quadcopter frame

Similar to motor strength, frames also come in a wide variety of options and selecting one will depend on what you’ll be using it for. Some are engineered using lightweight design to help it go faster, while others are reinforced with stronger materials to take on more weight and remain durable amidst strong winds.

3. Propellers

To help this device glide through the air, propellers, which are usually made up of metal or hard plastic, have been installed on each of its arms. Once these are activated, they rotate rapidly to lift the quadcopter off the ground and allow it to fly.

drone propellers

4. Controller

The gadget that you use to run the machine is called a controller, which uses radio frequencies that connect straight to the quadcopter. On this, you’ll see several buttons and levers that instruct it either to turn on or off, move forward or backward, speed up, twirl, or land. Newer models even enable it to return home with a simple command!

drone controller

If you’re a beginner to this sport, look for one of these that are user-friendly and easy to understand. This should help you learn the basics of flying, while helping you familiarize yourself with all the controls.

5. Battery

The final part that I would like to talk about is the battery, which is the chief power source of your quadcopter. These are normally manufactured using lithium ions and can be recharged whenever its juice is low. Simply take it out, insert it in a charger, and wait for it to reach 100%.

drone battery

Standard Price Range

Buying a contraption like this can cost you anywhere from $25 to $2500, depending on the specs you require. When deciding on what budge to allot, consider also how invested you plan to be in this hobby. If flying these is not something you plan to do regularly, a model in the $100 to $200 seems reasonable. However, if you see yourself using this for work, go ahead and purchase a higher-end one.

Various Uses

Contrary to popular belief, quadcopters are not just a pastime. Drone technology has drastically evolved other the last couple of decades and they’re now being utilized in a lot of different fields. Here are some examples:

  • Photography / Videography – capturing picturesque views and images
  • Agriculture – spraying seeds or fertilizer 
  • National Security – aerial warfare and surveillance
  • Government – transporting goods from one place to another
  • Sports – racing


Now that we’ve reached the end of this article, I hope that I was able to shed more light on this perpetual fallacy of drone vs quadcopter. If you’re still a bit confused, try watching this short video.

Beyond just correcting this misapprehension, I wanted to imbibe a deeper appreciation for drones and quadcopters in you. These aren’t just toys that have no use in the real world; but a growing industry in itself that helps make our lives that much easier. We are hopeful that you find this drone vs quadcopter article helpful!

If you’re truly interested in learning more, I invite you read up on some more of their practical benefits and advantages.

About the Author yklfn~!

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