Glenn loves writing: no wonder he decided to become a journalist without too much thinking right after his high school. When not working for his magazine, he writes for us on a freelance basis, putting all our findings together.
Vincent is a professional videographer who seems to know everything about the industry. He got his first quadcopter as soon as they appeared on the market, so if any drone-related question arises, we know who to ask.
Last updated: November 30, 2021
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When the air temperature decreases to subzero temperatures, the drone’s lithium battery performance drops; launching a drone in such cold weather will be a risk since it can fail when the temperature gets too low. Fortunately for you, you do not have to stop flying when cold weather approaches. There are several best drones for cold weather in the market whose performance is not affected by subzero temperatures.
We’ve put together a list of the best drones on Amazon that will perform well even when it’s freezing outside! These are all great options for beginners or experienced pilots looking to expand their collection with something new. We created this listing after hours of research and testing dozens of models in different conditions. Our drones for cold weather reviews focused on performance, durability, and ease-of-use in various environments, including winter months.
The Holy Stone HS720E Spider is a versatile quadcopter with some heft – weighing in at 465 grams. Its rotor blades can continue to function even in snowy weather. The drone is equipped with two batteries, with each supporting 23 minutes of flight. The two ensure that you spend less time charging and more flying.
This quadcopter is best for you if you are looking to capture stable images or videos in winter at high altitudes. Its Steady Shot feature minimizes blurring and Hyper-lapse for creating time-lapse. The drone’s 4k camera captures more details than any other in the market. It records videos with [email protected] or [email protected] resolutions. Need to see what’s happening on the other side? No problem! Holy Stone HS720E comes with a remote-controlled 90°adjustable angle that broadens your view, and you’ll never miss a thing. With up to 1640 Feet of smooth image transmission and control distance, it doesn’t get much better than this.
What makes it special?
During our test flights, we liked how easy it is to use the drone. The controls are intuitive and responsive. Its air pressure and optical flow control mechanism ensures that the drone hovers stably in any weather condition. The Holy Stone HS720E quadcopter is also equipped with Advanced Flight Modes, which enable it to fly autonomously. This feature allows you to concentrate on other vital issues, such as getting the right shot. We also liked Holy Stone's customer care and after-sale assurance.
What cons did we find?
We think this quadcopter could be better if the manufacturers improved the navigation system. During our tests flights, it would sometimes behave weirdly. We experienced this problem in about 3 out of 10 test flights. If the problem persists, the drone could crash lead to losses. The drone also had video recording problems. When flying on its own, it periodically stops recording. It is frustrating to launch a drone to a target only to find that it didn't save the footage when it returns.
Second, on our list of the best drones for cold weather is the DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo. This compact quadcopter has all the features of its bigger brothers. With the Air 2 drone, you don’t have to fight with taking off from confined places anymore. It is equipped with obstacle sensing technology in 3 dimensions that improve safety and make it extra convenient for beginners.
The Mavic Air 2 is an upgraded version of the original Mini 2 Fly More Combo. It features a larger battery capacity which means it can stay airborne longer. It also boasts a faster controller and a higher resolution camera of 48MP than Mini 2’s 12MP. In terms of performance, the Mavic Air 2 flies smoothly in almost every environment. It is very maneuverable and agile. You can easily make tight turns without losing stability. The Mini 2 quadcopters are ultra-light and only senses obstacles downwards.
Why did it make our list?
During our review, we found that the Air 2 drone performs perfectly in winter. It doesn't struggle to hover in fierce winds. Air 2 takes portability and power to the next level. With its powerful Camera and AI shooting modes, we obtained stunning image results during our tests. We also loved the intuitive shooting features like moving subject tracking that come with this drone. Its app is compatible with several phone models. The chances are that you can use it with the phone model you have.
What is not ideal about it?
This drone would be better if its app were compatible with a lot of phone models. The app requires iOS version 10.0 and Android v6.0 and above. If your phone is below these versions, then you won't be able to use the application. We also found that the mobile app does not list all the no-fly zones. If you are not careful, you might fly over private property. Every time you make a mistake, you will get fined. Setting up this quadcopter for the first time was challenging, and the customer service offered us no help.
Third, on our list of the top 5 best drones for cold weather is DEERC Drone with Camera. This mini quadcopter comes with a considerable design. You can fold it up into a compact shape that is portable and fits into the most petite travel backpack around. Its two modular batteries support up to 45 minutes of flight.
The DEERC Drone is an excellent choice for beginners as it is highly beginner-friendly. It has user-friendly features such as one key landing and takeoff, speed adjustment, headless mode, altitude hold, and 3D flip functions. The DEERC model also has waypoints flying technology that takes your drone through a drawn course on your smartphone. You can also use simple voice commands such as “left,” “right,” “takeoff,” “landing,” “forward,” and “backward” to control it.
Why are we impressed?
During our flight tests, we loved how this quadcopter provides a smooth FPV transmission. We were able to fly up to 80 meters. At this height, videos and images are captured in 1080 HD quality which is more than enough for beginners. What's more, we liked how you can instantly share the aerial footage of your drone to social media through its official application. You also don't need a remote controller to fly this drone. It is equipped with a G-sensor, vertical and horizontal sensors, making it possible to control voice commands on your phone.
What negatives must you be aware of?
We think this drone could be better if its control distance were higher. You can control the drone up to 100 meters away. It doesn't have any sensors or technology to enable it to keep within the range. If it flies out of the 100-meter range, you will not be able to retrieve it back. All you would be able to do is watch it head to the sun until it disappears. The manufacturers ought to have added a return home feature if it gets out of the recommended range.
As the name suggests, the DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo is a compact drone that weighs less than 8.78 oz. This tiny quadcopter can fit in the palm of your hand. It is, therefore, one of the ideal travel companions you can carry along for aerial videos during your staycation or holiday in a faraway place.
The DJI Mini 2 was succeeded by DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo. The former comes with a 4K resolution camera that captures video at 30 frames per second. It is capable of taking still photos at 12 megapixels. The successor has a more powerful camera that can capture videos at 48mp and 4k/60fos. The Mini 2 drone can capture 4k videos but can only transmit them at 720p quality from a maximum distance of 10 kilometers. When it comes to flight time, the Mini 2 drone takes the trophy by a difference of one minute.
What are its best features?
In our review, we love how this drone can be used indoors as well as outdoors. It works superb both inside and outside in cold/hot weather. Its compact size makes it easy to store and transport. You can control the drone using a smartphone app that is compatible with iOS and Android devices. During our tests, we found that the quadcopter is highly responsive and responds quickly to commands from the official application or the RC remote control.
What could be improved?
One thing that we didn't like about this drone is that its gimbal tilts while flying in sports mode at a fast speed. The second issue with this drone is leaning towards the left while flying. Most buyers have noticed the problems as we have. It would be best if the manufacturer did a software update to fix the issues. Talking of customer service, it is almost inexistent. The company's customer cars will take over two days to reply to a simple query. If you happen to apply for a return and refund or any after-sale service, it will take months to get a replacement.
Lastly on our list is the SANROCK U52 Drone. This quadcopter is small enough to fit into a backpack when traveling. It is lightweight, too, so you don’t need to worry about carrying around extra weight. From our measurements, this drone is 12.6 x 11.2 x 3.3 inches long and 0.38 lbs. heavy.
The SANROCK U53 Drone is perfect for beginners looking for a cheap drone. The quadcopter itself is pretty basic, but it does come with a few features that make it unique. For starters, it is equipped with a one-key landing/takeoff button. There are only two-speed switches, low speed suitable for beginners and high speed for experienced pilots. The drone also has a one-key return button making it the best, most beginner-friendly, and cold-weather quadcopter on our list.
Why did it make our list?
What we liked most about this drone is that you can use it indoors and outdoors without having to worry about collisions. It is also easy to maneuver, thanks to its low center of gravity design. We also liked the Gesture Control feature, which lets you take photos within 3 meters by posting the "V" sign with your fingers. a "PLAM" gesture will make the drone record videos. The Smart Alert feature ensures that the drone does not go out of control. When you fly it past its maximum range, a beep will alert you to press the return button. If the drone is out of power or control, it does an emergency landing.
What is not ideal about it?
We think this drone would be better if it had a longer flying time. Its lithium battery pack only gives you a flight time of fewer than 15 minutes. To fully charge them again, you will take 200 minutes. That's a three and a half hours wait to only fly for 13 minutes. During our tests, we found that the drone is not wind resistant. If you launch it in even mild windy weather, you might lose it to nearby trees. Their customer service has to be the worst we've ever seen. We contacted them for a simple query and never had a reply.
When buying a cold weather drone, there are a few essential things to consider before purchasing. Quadcopters do not come with a label stating that they are suitable for cold weather. So, it’s up to you to deduce if they will be able to fly in low temperatures.
Here are some factors you should consider if you are purchasing a quadcopter to be used in cold weather only:
Minimum working temperature
First things first, the drone is going to be used in cold weather. That’s a given. So you should look for drones that are built to tolerate a low working temperature.
Drones with a plastic body can easily crack in cold weather, so it is preferable to stay away from them. Look for drones with a metal body instead, or at least a body made from a rigid composite.
Beyond the material of the drone’s shell, you should also consider where the motor and electronic parts are placed. A cold wind can easily affect their performance. In general, it is better to have them closer to the center of gravity for more stability.
Some drones have their various sensors placed in the front. If you choose a drone with this design, be sure to look for one that has them placed inside the shell to protect them from moisture.
A GPS lock is handy during cold weather because it will keep your drone stable while flying, making it much easier for you to position accurately. Many drones will not even turn on until they have a GPS lock.
This feature is not common with cold-weather drones, but if you can find one that has an active heating feature, it might be worth investing in for the best experience. Heated batteries will have optimal performance even when it gets icy.
If the manufacturer states explicitly that their drone is capable of tolerating cold weather, then you can bet it will be able to fly in subzero conditions. If the manufacturer does not state anything about cold weather use, you should look at its minimum operating temperature.
Speed and wind resistance
In cold conditions, the wind speeds increase, which can cause problems if you want to take off or land your drone in such weather. Make sure your quadcopter has a decent speed, as this will make it much easier for you to control it regardless of the prevailing wind speed.
When buying a drone to be used in cold weather, there are also other essential factors you should pay attention to before making the purchase. They include the following:
Size and weight
The quadcopter weighs 5.8 Oz and measures 340 x 340 x 65 mm. It is compact enough to fit in any kind of backpack.
A drone that is too heavy for cold weather will not take off in the winter. When temperatures are low, the air is thin. You should find a lightweight drone and small enough to fly in conditions where the air is cold and light. A smaller quadcopter is also easier to carry around and store. It won’t add extra weight to your backpack. So, it is essential to look for one that balances size and weight. For this, we recommend the DEERC Drone with the camera covered above.
As you probably know now, when it is cold, the performance of lithium batteries drops. So, if the drone can fly for 10 minutes during the ideal temperature, the flight time might be slashed to below 5 minutes during subzero temperatures.
As such, you need to buy the drone with the longest flight time on the market. Even if cold weather affects the performance of the batteries, you will get a considerable flight time to complete your aerial footage.
It is also essential to consider the amount of downtime between flights when buying a cold-weather drone. As mentioned earlier, in low temperatures, the battery performance deteriorates
Trusted SourceEffect of Temperature on the Aging rate of Li Ion Battery Operating above Room TemperatureTemperature is known to have a significant impact on the performance, safety, and cycle lifetime of lithium-ion batteries (LiB). However, the comprehensive effects of temperature on the cyclic aging rate of LiB have yet to be found. We use an electrochemistry-based model (ECBE) here to measure the effects on the aging behavior of cycled LiB operating within the temperature range of 25 °C to 55 °C. The increasing degradation rate of the maximum charge storage of LiB during cycling at elevated temperature is found to relate mainly to the degradations at the electrodes, and that the degradation of LCO cathode is larger than graphite anode at elevated temperature.
. You will be flying for less time than the indicated flight time. Hence, you will need to charge it several times to complete your aerial footage.
Charging the battery during cold weather also can be difficult. Low temperatures cause resistance in electrical circuits.
You should find a drone that fills up in under 90 minutes to avoid wasting too much time. For this, we recommend the DEERC Drone with Camera covered above, whose charging time is 90 minutes. For that single charge, it can stay airborne for 12 to 45 minutes.
If you plan to use your drone in cold weather, then you need a good camera. The camera should have a gimbal. This accessory is used to stabilize a camera when taking photos or recording videos from above.
The camera should have other AI features such as gesture control and target following ability.
It should be able to zoom, so you can avoid flying too close to your subjects. Here, we recommend going for the SANROCK U52 Drone covered above. The quadcopter has the necessary technology to make your aerial footage hassle-free.
Cold weather can sometimes be combined with fog and mist. To capture clear shots in such an environment, you need a camera capable of recording and snapping full HD or 4K pictures.
The camera should be capable of delivering the specified quality regardless of its height or distance from you. The Holy Stone HS720E is the best quadcopter for you if you are looking for quality shots. If your device doesn’t support 4k videos, then you will get impressive footage from the DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo and DEERC Drone with Camera covered above.
Your drone should be able to capture stable and quality aerial videos. Cold weather can sometimes reduce clarity. Even with the reduced clarity, a good drone will take quality videos from a distance.
You should also consider the quality of the video feed the quadcopter sends at its maximum range. Go for the one with the highest video resolutions. In our list, this would be the Holy Stone HS720E which can record 4k videos at 60 frames per second. The drone can send this high-quality aerial footage smoothly up to a height of 1640 feet.
Remember that colder temperature and thinner air affect signal reception and transmission. So, your drone should still have a stable connection with its controller even when flying up away from you.
You should, therefore, go the drone with the most extended range. If cold weather and thin air reduce the transmission, you will at least get a considerable reach. The quadcopter should also have a return button and a warning system to know when the transmission signal is weak. These features will avoid losing your drone. Here, we recommend the DEERC Drone with Camera, which has a range of 100 meters. However, it lacks a distance-warning safety feature. The SANROCK U52 Drone will be a great alternative if you do not want to lose control when your quadcopter transmission signal deteriorates.
The most significant inconvenience you will encounter when using a drone in cold weather is battery performance. Cold temperatures reduce chemical reactions in your battery. As such, power will drop down by about 50%. To increase the efficiency of your quadcopter, you can do the following:
Turn your drone on and leave it for several minutes so it can warm up before taking off.
Try to fly in warmer times of the day, when there are no low temperatures.
Charge the batteries before the flight. If you do that, the chemicals inside them will produce more heat, which will help with their performance.
Carry an extra battery pack to reduce time wasted charging up only one battery. Heat your batteries before replacing them.
Keep the extra battery in your pockets or inside your car when flying. This action ensures that it doesn’t get cold.
Invest in a micro battery warmer or a self-heating lithium battery.
Trusted SourceLithium-ion battery structure that self-heats at low temperatures - NASA/ADSLithium-ion batteries suffer severe power loss at temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, limiting their use in applications such as electric cars in cold climates and high-altitude drones. The practical consequences of such power loss are the need for larger, more expensive battery packs to perform engine cold cranking, slow charging in cold weather, restricted regenerative braking, and reduction of vehicle cruise range by as much as 40 per cent. Previous attempts to improve the low-temperature performance of lithium-ion batteries have focused on developing additives to improve the low-temperature behaviour of electrolytes, and on externally heating and insulating the cells.
Here is what you should do to use a drone safely in low temperatures:
Before you fly, make sure your drone is in the best condition possible. Make sure it’s clean, working well, and without defects.
Before you fly too high altitude, take a warm-up flight.
Highly the batteries are full, so they don’t get cold when flying under 5° Celsius or lower.
When flying below minus 10° Celsius or 15° Fahrenheit, always have an extra battery on hand to switch out.
Keep an eye on the weather before flying. If you are not sure about the wind speed, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Never fly if it’s too cloudy or dusty outside, as this will affect your visibility range.
Do not expose your controller to cold temperature as it will drain the battery fast. If possible, control the drone from your heated car or house.
Invest in micro battery warmers.
Monitor your battery levels so that your drone won’t run out of power while taking aerial footage.
With the cold winter months coming, it is essential to know which drones are best for flying in such conditions. The drones in the above list are our top 5 picks for this time of year. Our Editor’s Choice, the Holy Stone HS720E, is arguably the best drone for cold weather on the market. It is light and compact enough to fit in a travel backpack without occupying most space. The quadcopter captures aerial footage in a 4k 60fps quality, which is enough for most pilots.
Our Premium Pick, the DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo, is one of the best drones for cold weather on the market. It has an improved design which makes it wind resistant. It can fly for up to 30 minutes on a single charge.
The drone that offers you the Best Value for your money is the DEERC Drone with Camera. This quadcopter can take aerial footage for 12 to 45 minutes from a single 90-minute charge. It is equipped with numerous user-friendly technologies such as altitude hold, custom path, gesture control, and so forth.
Effect of Temperature on the Aging rate of Li Ion Battery Operating above Room Temperature
Temperature is known to have a significant impact on the performance, safety, and cycle lifetime of lithium-ion batteries (LiB). However, the comprehensive effects of temperature on the cyclic aging rate of LiB have yet to be found. We use an electrochemistry-based model (ECBE) here to measure the effects on the aging behavior of cycled LiB operating within the temperature range of 25 °C to 55 °C. The increasing degradation rate of the maximum charge storage of LiB during cycling at elevated temperature is found to relate mainly to the degradations at the electrodes, and that the degradation of LCO cathode is larger than graphite anode at elevated temperature.
Lithium-ion battery structure that self-heats at low temperatures - NASA/ADS
Lithium-ion batteries suffer severe power loss at temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, limiting their use in applications such as electric cars in cold climates and high-altitude drones. The practical consequences of such power loss are the need for larger, more expensive battery packs to perform engine cold cranking, slow charging in cold weather, restricted regenerative braking, and reduction of vehicle cruise range by as much as 40 per cent. Previous attempts to improve the low-temperature performance of lithium-ion batteries have focused on developing additives to improve the low-temperature behaviour of electrolytes, and on externally heating and insulating the cells.