7 Best Drones for Roof Inspection in 2019 – Buying Guide for Beginners

7 Best Drones for Roof Inspection in 2019 – Buying Guide for Beginners

Do you agree that climbing up the roof to check its condition is dangerous? Do you agree that there’s an easier way to do that?

You can accomplish the job without getting yourself in danger. There are many drones in the market that make light work of a potentially risky job like drones for roof inspection!

Yes, drones are popularly used for entertainment. Flying a quad is very fun and satisfying. However, quadcopters can do so much more than just entertaining you.

Drones are already used in commercial applications from aerial photography and cinematography to various practical purposes in the industry, especially in agriculture. This means that you can use this tool even at home to make daunting tasks easier and faster.

If you are considering buying a drone for roof inspection, you’re just on the right page! I’ll be sharing with you my top pick quads that help me get this job done.

I know you are already very excited, so let’s get started!

Best Drones for Roof Inspection

Not all drones can be used for roof inspection. There are necessary features that a quad must have to get this job done.

You don’t have to figure it out on your own because I’m here to help, I have listed the different factors that you have to consider in one of the sections below. But at this point, here are the best drones for roof inspection that you should consider buying.

1. DJI Spark

Specs

Dimensions: 143×143×55 mm
Flight time/battery life: 16 minutes
Transmission distance: 1.2 miles
Speed: Up to 31MPH
VPS Range: 98 feet
Gimbal: 2 axis
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: 1080p 30 FPS
Weight: .66 pounds (SUPER light)
Camera details: 1/2.3 Sensor Powerful Lens, 1080P resolution
Notable attributes: PalmLaunch, Gesture and TapFly Control, Obstacle Sensing, Subject Tracking from Various Angles

DJI Spark is a mini camera drone, but do not be fooled by its size. This small quad features all of DJI’s signature technologies plus the convenience of portability.

This drone is a great option for roof inspection because it is very stable. It has gimbal that helps you achieve shake-free shots and a powerful lens that delivers sharp and vivid images with minimal color aberration and distortion.

This quad is also very smart, reliable and intuitive. This is also equipped with FlightAutonomy system including the main camera, Vision Positioning System (VPS), 3D sensing system, and dual-band GPS. That’s not all; this also uses GEO system that lets you know where drone flight may raise safety or security concerns.

Overall, Spark is one of the best drones from DJI, not to mention, the most affordable one. So, if you want a DJI drone, I highly suggest that you consider this.

PROS

  • Portable
  • Gestures controls
  • Quickshot modes
  • Control, edit and share via DJI GO  app

CONS

  • Short flight time
  • Wi-Fi range is limited
  • No controller

2. DJI Mavic Pro

Specs

Camera Resolution: 12MP
Video Resolution: 4K at 30FPS
Max Flight Time: 27 minutes
Max Speed: 40MPH
Notable Attributes: Portability, Battery Life

Mavic Pro is a small drone with foldable design which makes it ultraportable. It has retractable propellers and when you fold it, the drone is practically the size of a bottle, if not smaller. Thanks to this, you can conveniently store this at home or comfortably take it with you wherever you go.

Mavic Pro has a serious camera on board. In fact, this is considered a professional camera drone for aerial cinematography and this is exactly the reason why this drone is in my list. I highly recommend this because it has a stabilized camera with 3-axis gimbal and can capture 12mp still photos.

Aside from its impressive camera, it has a flight time of up to 27 minutes and a range of up to 4.3 miles or 7 kilometers. Even if your house or building is tall, you can still fly your drone with confidence that it can reach to the top and give you a glimpse of the roof that you want to examine while you stay on the ground safely.

This quad is also packed with cool features including obstacle avoidance, sensor redundancy, Return to Home mode, FlightAutonomy technology and more for easier control. Mavic Pro offers so much more than what you expect from it. I can assure you that roof inspection is very easy with this quad. So, if you are considering this, have no doubts because this is worth it.

PROS

  • Portable
  • Crash-resistant
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Quieter than other drone models
  • Can be controlled via hand gestures
  • Has built-in Active track feature mode
  • Has excellent flight time compared to other DJI models

CONS

  • Camera doesn’t offer a wide view
  • Not for beginners due to its complex models
  • The bad light may have blue color interferences

3. DJI Mavic Air

Specs

Camera: 12MP
Video Resolution: 4K at 30FPS
Max Flight Time: 21 minutes
Max Speed: 68.4KPH in Sport mode
Notable Attributes: SmartCapture, Gesture Control, Foldable and Portable, 3-axis gimbal for stability, 3-directional environment sensing, 8 GB of internal storage

Mavic Air is another mini drone with a superb camera. This has a compact design. It is also lightweight, foldable and ultraportable.

Just like Mavic Pro, this comes with a 3-axis gimbal system. You can bank on its camera for steady footage and stable shots. It can even capture slow-motion full HD at 120fps and still photos at 12mp with low latency.

This has a decent flight time of 21 minutes and a transmission distance of 4 kilometers. Air is very easy to use and is equipped with smart features that make piloting easy and comfortable. So, even if you are a newbie, you will surely enjoy this and it won’t take long before you master this.

Mavic Air is a great drone from its design and performance. It also allows you to fly farther, faster and higher which is very impressive. So, I highly recommend this!

PROS

  • Foldable
  • Portable
  • Stable
  • Compact and small
  • Better build quality
  • Won’t struggle to fly back home even with strong headwind conditions

CONS

  • Video crop
  • Short battery life
  • Doesn’t support D-Log
  • Poor range and radio signal quality
  • Only slim smartphones fit in the controller

4. GoPro Karma

Specs

Dimension: 11.9 x 17.3 x 5.9 inches
Flight time: 20 minutes
Range: 3 km
Weight: 11.65 pounds

If you have a GoPro, you can use your action camera to inspect your roof. Just pair it with a GoPro Karma drone and you are good to go.

GoPro Karma is one of the best drones for GoPro in the market. Among the things that make this very impressive is the flexibility that it offers you to have complete control of your camera. Plus, it is equipped with super cool and smooth video features that make it easier for you to pilot the aircraft.

This drone records stunning aerial videos and can also shoot without the shakes and unlevelled horizon because it is equipped with a gimbal that delivers an impressive stabilization to help you capture stable videos consistently. GoPro can fly up to 20 minutes in the air with a range of 1 kilometer. It also performs very well once it’s up in the air.

A good quality camera, decent flight time and good range are very important if you are looking for a drone for a roof inspection. So, I suggest that you consider this quad seriously especially if you already own a GoPro camera.

PROS

  • Great stabilization using the Gimbal
  • Portable and easy to use
  • Smooth takeoff, hovering, and landing
  • The integrated screen on the controller is convenient for FPV
  • Fits GoPro Hero4, Hero5, Hero6, and Hero7

CONS

  • Downlink is not very sharp
  • The short controller is hard to hold still

5. Parrot Bebop 2

Specs

Camera: 14MP with fish-eye lens
Video: 3-axis full HD 1080P
Stabilization: Digital stabilization (Parrot system)
Flight Time: 25 minutes
GPS: Yes
Processor: Dual core processor with quad-core GPU
Storage: 8 GB flash storage system

Parrot Bebop 2 is another great quad if you are looking for an aircraft to help you inspect your roof. This uses the combination of the drone GPS + cell phone GPS, visual image tracking and cellphone barometric data. This offers the best target tracking performance that’s why it’s one of the best Follow Me drones in the market.

This is very useful for roof inspection because of its high-quality and high-performance camera that can record videos in 1080p full HD and shot 14mp still photos. In addition, it has a battery life of up to 25 minutes with a signal range of 300 meters.

That’s not all; this also supports FPV. You can fly this with FPV goggles to explore your roof while you control the quad as if you are really seeing it from above.

Parrot Bebop 2 is a good value for money and this will make a great partner when you inspect your roof. You can sit in your favorite chair comfortably and just pilot the drone to see the condition of your roof and chimney.

Bebop 2’s performance, design and quality exceeded my expectations. This drone is highly recommended.

PROS

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Extended range
  • Decent camera for its price
  • Doesn’t need a gimbal
  • Can capture 14MP shots with relatively stable movement
  • Long flight time up to 25 minutes

CONS

  • Image distortions
  • Lack of clear instruction
  • Control sticks are sometimes unresponsive

6. Yuneec Typhoon H Plus

Specs

Video: 4K at 60FPS
Camera: 20MP
Range: UP to 1 mile
Flight time: 30 minutes
Notable attributes: Intel RealSense Collision Avoidance, Intelligent Autonomous Flight Modes and 5-Rotor Fail Safe Mode

Yuneec Typhoon H Plus offers both image quality and flight stability, which are very important for a drone for roof inspection. It has six-rotor airframes with a new one-inch sensor camera that can record 4K videos at 60fps and capture 20mp still photos.

Its upgraded camera performs well even in low-light. It is very responsive and can easily be maneuvered during windy days. So, if you want to check your roof and it’s windy, do not worry because you can still do that with this drone.

It has an impressive range of 1.6 kilometers and a flight time of 30 minutes, which is longer than most drones in the market. This quad is also smart because it is equipped with an Intel RealSense Collision Avoidance, so it automatically avoids obstacles saving you from crashes. Thanks to this feature maneuvering this quad is easier and more convenient.

Typhoon H Plus is a great drone because it is smart, durable and responsive. I’m very confident that this will make roof inspection faster and easier for you.

PROS

  • Powerful transmitter
  • All-in-one controller
  • Controller display
  • Advanced shots with the tap of a button
  • Captures vivid videos and photos
  • Good and fast connectivity
  • Camera rotates 360 degrees

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Bigger than most competitors
  • No average time left calculator

7. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

Specs

Max altitude: 3,281ft
Dimensions: 19.5 x 19.5 x 8.5in
Weight: 3.2lbs
Flight time: 25min
Range: 1.93km
Charge time: 90min
Camera: 4K Ultra HD

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium is another great pick for this job due to its impressive camera, range and flight time. This high altitude drone has a range of 1.93 kilometers.

It is equipped with intelligent flight control system GLONASS and dual GPS, which even makes it one the best GPS drones in the market. Plus, it has an impressive camera that lets you capture stunning photos and videos.

Its Starpoint Positioning System (SPS) measures the drone’s height and tracks it position which is very helpful when maneuvering the drone in adverse weather conditions. This also makes piloting the drone safer.

Another great thing with this quad is that it has a removable gimbal giving you the flexibility to update the camera or drone in future models from Autel. Overall, I’m very impressed with this drone.

PROS

  • Great design
  • Safe and stable
  • Impressive camera
  • Simple controller
  • Awesome live HD range
  • Includes memory card
  • Modular design and features
  • Unique SecureFly technology

CONS

  • Big compared to foldable drones

Why Use Drones for Roof Inspection

The traditional way of inspecting roofs is risky. Drones offer a safer, faster and more convenient way of getting the job done.

Once the flight plan is in place, the inspection can be done faster than the manual inspection. Also, this process is cheaper than the cost of manual inspections.

When it comes to efficiency, this uses a more advanced technique, so you can count on its effectiveness. All the footage is geo-referenced with perfect accuracy. There is no danger or damage to the roof and the people involved are safe.

How Long Does It Take To Inspect a Roof Using a Drone

The speed of a roof inspection using a drone from start to finish is faster than the traditional approach. Once the basic preparation is done, the inspection can take as fast as 5 to 20 minutes depending on the degree of detail required. The size of the roof is another factor to consider. But overall, drones for roof inspection are faster and more efficient.

Factors to Consider When Buying A Drone for Roof Inspections

If you are planning to buy a drone for roof inspections, you must consider durability. Also, the quad should be high-performance and high-quality.

To help you gauge a drone’s performance, here are the main factors that you should closely examine before you make a purchase.

1. Flight stability. This is very important to have clear footage and photos. Drones equipped with gimbal have better flight stability.

2. FPV capability. This feature allows you to pilot the drone from the driver or pilot’s viewpoint. This works using the camera mounted on the front of a quadcopter that captures the footage, which will be sent in real-time on a monitor or a pair of FPV goggles you are using.

3. Built-in GPS. GPS (global positioning system) helps with drone navigation. It gives you real-time data on speed and heading. It also helps you track the drone. All of these contribute to the drone’s stability because it helps you combat adverse weather conditions.

4. Aerial camera. A camera is a must for drones for rooftop inspection. You need this to capture footage of the roof. Without a camera, you cannot use a drone for roof inspection.

5. Flight time. Aside from the camera, you have to make sure that your drone can last up in the air for a couple of minutes. A long flight time, say 20-30 minutes would be best. As mentioned, roof inspection may last 5 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the roof and speed of your drone. If your drone is slow and your quad has a short flight time, you would need to stop to charge the battery or replace it if you have extra, which will make the task daunting and the process will take longer.

6. Flight range. This refers to the distance that a drone can fly from the controller. This is important because drones have different flight range some 50 meters, while others can fly up to 150 meters or more. Flight range matters relative to the height of the building. For example, if your drone has a flight range of 50 meters only but the roof to be checked is 80 meters from the ground, then your drone won’t be able to accomplish the job if you are on the ground. The higher the flight range of your drone, the better.

7. Waypoints. Waypoints are very helpful because they enable the drone to fly to the route automatically allowing you to focus on the camera controls. Let’s admit it, simultaneously managing the flight and camera controls is challenging, but with waypoints, you can focus on the camera so you can capture the quality footage or photo you are aiming for because the quad will take care of itself in reaching the route.

Conclusion

Gone are the days when you need to climb your roof just to check its condition. Buy a drone and let this tool do the job for you. You can see your roof’s condition without risking your life. Stay comfortable on the ground and pilot the drone to check your roof and chimney using the real-time footage transmitted to your screen or FPV goggles.

Have you flown any quads? What’s the best drone for roof inspection for you? Please feel free to share your experiences and ideas with us because we would love to hear from you.

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