How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

This article will tell you all about how loud are drones - from noise forming factors to noisiest models and noise reducing tips
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Last updatedLast updated: August 06, 2021

The first unmanned aerial vehicles were developed during WWI Trusted Source A Brief History of Drones | Imperial War Museums The first pilotless vehicles were built during the First World War but drones now have many functions. www.iwm.org.uk , though the term drone wasn’t used until a few decades later. It took several more decades for the drones we use today to show up, with their compact size and amazing modern features. You can use a compact drone for roof inspections, hunting, surveillance, photography, and just for fun since they’ve been upgraded a great deal from the originals.

The issue with the drones of today is that they can be a bit disruptive in terms of sound. If you’ve never noticed how loud drones are, it’s likely because you’ve never been too close to one of them when it is taking flight. Many people find them quite noisy, though the drones on the market are getting quieter every day. If you’re considering a drone for your professional or personal use but aren’t sure how loud drones are, the following information may help you make your decision.

Comparing noise levels

Most drones on the market have a noise level of about 70 to 80 decibels. If you’re unsure what this sounds like, compare this range with the other common noises below.

10 dB Breathing
20 dB Clock ticking
60 dB Electric toothbrush
70 dB Taking a shower
80 dB Kitchen blender
90 dB Subway train
100 dB Electric drill
130 dB Construction work
140 dB Jet plane takeoff

What influences drone noise

In order to understand drone noise, the first thing to consider is what influences the noise a drone makes. More factors contribute to this than you may realize.

Casing

The casing on a drone is one of the most important features when it comes to noise. The exposed motors on a drone will obviously create more noise since there is no barrier to reduce it. Drones like the Autel Robotics EVO, which has a fully enclosed casing over the motor, create less noise.

Distance

The distance you are from the drone also affects the drone noise level. If you are standing right beside it when it’s taking flight, it will be louder than it is when you’re several feet away from it.

The further you are from the drone, the less noise you’ll notice.

Propeller size

Another factor that influences the drone noise level is the propellers. The smaller the propellers are, the faster they need to spin, and the louder they will be. Larger propellers spin slower, so create less noise.

Power

Most of the current drones on the market use a brushless motor, which is much quieter than brushed motors. Brushless motors are also of higher quality and offer more power, so choosing a model with this type of motor is a must.

Surroundings

How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

If the surrounding area is completely silent, a drone is going to seem much louder than if you’re flying it in a busy neighborhood. The more ambient noise there is from other people, vehicles, music, or anything else nearby, the less drone noise you’ll hear.

Attenuation

Attenuation Trusted Source Attenuation | Definition of Attenuation by Merriam-Webster Attenuation definition is – the act or process of attenuating something or the state of being attenuated: such as. How to use attenuation in a sentence. www.merriam-webster.com refers to the fading noise of the drone as it moves away from you. Every time the distance is doubled, the sound of the drone decreases by 6dB. The higher or farther the drone moves away, the quieter it gets, which is why you likely won’t hear it at all once it’s barely visible in the sky.

Drone type

The type of drone you’re using is another factor when it comes to noise levels. The smaller personal models are much quieter than the larger industrial ones, so this is something to consider. The type of drone also matters. For instance, a small fixed-wing drone is usually about 50 dBA, while a large quadcopter is rated at about 55 dBA. The bigger the model, the more noise it creates.

Drone noise levels by manufacturer

There are several different drone manufacturers to choose from, though not all of them offer the same thing in terms of noise levels. For the following sections, the ratings are for 100 meters above ground level (AGL).

Altair

How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

Altair has several drones available, including the Altair Aerial Outlaw. It’s their quietest model at 75dB, which is louder than some other brands but still quiet for a drone.

DJI

How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

This brand has a lot of great models for sale, like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which is a professional model with a ton of great features but runs a bit loud at 81dB.

Yuneec

How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

The Yuneec Q500 is a nice compact model with some great features, plus it has a decent noise level at 72dB, so it likely won’t be too disruptive for most occasions.

Nextech

How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

Nextech only has two drones available, the Atlas V and the Atlas T. The Atlas V has fewer propellers and a fully enclosed casing, so it is relatively quiet at about 70dB.

Holy Stone

How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

Holy Stone is known for its low-cost, high-quality drones, with handy features. The HS720E has a plastic body that keeps the noise level to a minimum at around 70dB.

Where can you use quiet drones?

There are several different ways you can use a drone, though an overly loud model can be disruptive in a variety of settings. That’s why a quiet drone is best for several different activities.

Surveillance

Many different companies use drones for surveillance. The police and army both use these devices to monitor suspects or groups that could be involved in illegal activities. There are also security firms, private research companies, and even private investigators who have also added drone surveillance to their investigations. This is because the drones can be used at high altitudes while still giving them a clear picture of what is going on. The quieter the drone is, the more discreet surveillance it can offer.

Fishing

Using a drone for fishing can improve your day more than you may realize. You can use them to look out over the water to spot the areas where the fish are abundant, plus you can use them for some entertainment while you’re waiting for a bite. Like other types of wildlife, fish may scatter if it’s too noisy, so a quiet drone is best for this activity. You’ll also likely want to consider other features, like the speed, transmission range, and camera. The model you use for fishing should also be waterproof, just in case it gets wet in your boat or drops too low and hits the water.

Photography and Videos

Anyone who’s ever been married knows that getting those perfect pictures is a must to help you remember that wonderful day. That’s why hiring a photographer with a drone for wedding photos is becoming more popular. This allows you to get photos from heights and angles that a handheld camera can’t give you.

You can use drones for all of your other events as well, like parties, family reunions, or other gatherings that you want to capture. You can use them for taking yard or farm pictures or photos of your home town. Drones are even great for maintenance since you can take pictures of rooves or other high areas of your home or business without risking your life climbing up anywhere.

How to reduce drone noise

There are a few different ways you can alter your drone to reduce the amount of noise it produces. So, what does a drone sound like with these improvements? Let’s find out.

Shrouds

We’ve already discussed how noisy the propellers on a drone can be. One option to quiet these pieces down is to add shrouds to the propellers. These won’t make the drone completely silent but they do lower the noise level by at least a few decibels. This is because it diverts the sound upwards, so you don’t hear as much of the noise the propellers make.

Keep in mind that not all drones are designed to be used with shrouds. They also must be purchased separately for the drones that they work with, so you’ll need to find the right ones for the drone you’re using.

Motors

How Loud are Drones and Why They Can Be Noisy

Drones with large wings can have their motors altered to make them quieter. To do this, replace the large motors in the drone with several smaller ones. This allows the drone to produce less noise without altering any of its functions.

Propellers

Replacing the small propellers that are included with your drone with larger ones will reduce the drone’s noise. The larger propellers displace less air than the smaller ones since they rotate slower. The drone won’t be silent but it will lower the frequency of the noise produced, plus it allows the drone to move through the air more easily for an added benefit.

There are also propellers that are designed with different shapes that can also help reduce the noise, like Mavic Air 2. Adding these propellers can reduce the noise by half or more, depending on the type of propellers you buy. You can even sand the existing propellers for less wind resistance.

Rotors

Though the newer drone designs have incorporated an upgraded blade design that helps reduce noise, the older models include electric motors in their main engines that are quite loud. Altering the rotors can help. Simply install a motor glider and then adjust the drone’s speed settings to slow or medium. This method can be combined with new propellers or motors for an even quieter drone.

Final thoughts

There are so many drones on the market these days that it is simple to find the perfect one for the uses you have in mind. Though the old drones are a bit noisy, the current top brands are incorporating new features and designs to reduce the noise levels of their drones for more discreet use. This includes brushed motors, full casings, and larger propellers to keep the noise to a minimum.

There are also many different brands to choose from, all with different features and upgrades that you can add to reduce the amount of noise produced by the drone you buy. If you’re biggest concern is how loud are drones, the modern models and amazing upgrades should convince you to try one out.

References

1.
A Brief History of Drones | Imperial War Museums
The first pilotless vehicles were built during the First World War but drones now have many functions.
2.
Attenuation | Definition of Attenuation by Merriam-Webster
Attenuation definition is – the act or process of attenuating something or the state of being attenuated: such as. How to use attenuation in a sentence.
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