How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?

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Last updatedLast updated: March 26, 2024
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So, how much weight can a drone Trusted Source Unmanned aerial vehicle - Wikipedia An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which include additionally a ground-based controller and a system of communications with the UAV. The flight of UAVs may operate under remote control by a human operator, as remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), or with various degrees of autonomy, such as autopilot assistance, up to fully autonomous aircraft that have no provision for human intervention. actually carry? If you are thinking about buying a drone, whether to use it in a professional or commercial capacity or simply for fun, you might be very interested in knowing the amount of weight that drones can carry. The answer to this question actually depends on the model that you are using.

Since there are so many models from different manufacturers on the market, it is impossible to put a specific value on how much weight a drone can carry. However, there are certain estimates. In this post, we will discuss the average weight drones can carry, the types of drones that you can find, and certain terminologies that you need to know. Also, we will answer some of the most common questions asked by drone owners or people thinking about buying a drone.

Read on to find out all of this and more.

What is the payload?

One of the most important terminologies and most common terms that you will come across when looking to buy a drone is ‘ Payload.’ What is the payload? If you are a fan of war movies, you have likely heard this term used frequently in them. It refers to different things. However, when it comes to the world of drones, payload means one thing.

Payload is the maximum weight that a drone can carry.

The payload of a drone depends on several factors, which we will discuss in this article.

Types of drones and their ability to carry weight

One of the most important factors that determine how much weight a drone can carry is the type. As with other machines on the market, drones come in a wide variety of models. These range from hobby drones to professional drones.

Each one has its advantages and drawbacks, and they also have their range of payload. Let’s consider each type.

Hobby drones

How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?As the name implies, these drones are not designed for someone looking to use the drone in a professional capacity.

Hobby drones are drones manufacturers make for the general public. Since the purpose of these drones is for the public, manufacturers try to create complex models that have a better time of flight and range than their predecessors.

In other words, makers of hobby drones focus more on how long the drones spend in the air and how far they can fly. They do this to the detriment of other things.

One of the best hobby drones, according to reviews that we checked out, is the DJI Phantom 4. It is a solid model that comes with nice features that we will likely love.

Advantages of hobby drones

These drones are built to fly for a longer time than other drones. They are also built to cover larger distances than other types of drones.

Hobby drones are also quite affordable. You can find them at low prices, with some less than $1000. If you are looking for a high-quality yet cheap drone, you should check out the best drones under 600.

Disadvantages of hobby drones

Although hobby drones give you better flight time and range, the fact is that most manufacturers focus on these two factors over anything else.

To that end, they don’t focus on a factor like the payload. If you are looking to carry loads with a drone, then a hobby drone is not the right model for you.

When you consider how these drones are designed, you will see that it already comes fitted with features that enhance what the manufacturers wish to focus on. These features might include a camera and an extra battery.

If you decide to add weight to the drone, it will lose the qualities that make it exceptional. When you increase the weight on it, you will lose stability and the duration of flight.

In summary, how much weight can the hobby drone carry? Well, the hobby drones are made to help beginners learn how to fly, take photographs, and just have fun. They are not made to be used in a serious capacity.

Therefore, they don’t have the ability to carry plenty of weight. From our testing, the average weight that a hobby drone can carry is between 200 to 300 extra grams (7 to 10 ounces).

Although hobby drones cannot carry plenty of extra weight, you can still attach items that do not weigh more than the range that we have specified above. If you add more than that weight, then you run the risk of ruining your device.

Professional drones

How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?The other type of drone on the market is the professional drone. As the name implies, this type of drone is made for serious business. They are the drones that are used in military operations and are specially designed to carry extra weight in flight.

With these drones, soldiers can attach cameras and other equipment. Although it is primarily used by the military, these drones have other applications. They are used in mapping, LiDar systems, and other things. You can find them used in industrial settings as well.

Compared to hobby drones, these are powerful options. Their purpose is to help in carrying weights, and they are made to fly well even when under load.

Advantages of professional drones

If your aim is to carry substantial equipment using a drone, then you simply must get a professional drone.

These drones have the advantage of being built to carry loads. They are versatile and not only used for military purposes but also in industrial applications.

Disadvantages of professional drones

There aren’t plenty of disadvantages, especially if it is weights that you want to use them to carry. However, there are some drawbacks.

For one, these do not have the range or the flight time that the hobby drones have. This is not surprising considering that they have to use more energy to carry weights.

How much weight can professional drones carry?

These drones come in different models. Some of them have been found to carry a payload of up to six kilograms, which is more than half its weight. And these are the relatively weak models.

You can still find some heavy-duty models that can lift up to eighteen kilograms or even more. The record stands at 226kg (498 pounds).

Aside from the hobby and professional drones, you will also find that drones are categorized in three different ways based on the weight that they carry. There are three types of drones in this category. These are:

  • Trick drones
  • Prosumer drones
  • Heavy payload drones

Let’s consider each of these as well.

Trick drones

How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?Trick drones are the lightest drones on the market. They are similar to hobby drones in that they are meant for fun and not for anything serious. That is why they are often built to be tiny and are more affordable than other options. Due to their size and features, they are a perfect fit for hobbyists and kids looking for an ‘advanced toy.’

They come with certain limitations. Apart from being unable to carry large loads, they also do not have extended flight time. Most of the trick drones that you will find on the market come with a flight time between 8 to 10 minutes. Therefore, they are great for use within the house or compound.

They are very affordable, but they are not made to carry a payload.

Prosumer drones

How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?‘Prosumer’ is the professional and consumer hybrid – hence the name. Unlike the trick drones, these models have the ability to carry some payload. To that end, they are heavier and more expensive than trick drones.

They are usually used by photographers and surveillance teams because you can attach a camera to them.

There are several models available on the market. Reviews have praised the DJI Mavic Pro as one of the best types of this drone. It comes with its Gimball-stabilized camera and extra batteries that allow you to take shots and fly for longer.

Heavy payload drones

How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?These, as you might tell from the name, are drones that can carry heavy payloads. They are used in commercial capacities. If you have ever had a drone delivery, chances are pretty high that a heavy payload drone was used to deliver your purchase.

The obvious upside of buying this type of drone is that it helps you to carry plenty of loads. However, it comes with a downside. The major drawback is the price. Some of these can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, if you are buying them, they need to justify the cost.

With these models, you can carry up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of weight with no hassle. They also come with extra features and sensors.

Factors that determine a drone’s payload

There are several factors that determine just how much weight a drone can carry. Here are some of the most important ones:

The power

Motor power is arguably the most important factor affecting how much weight a drone can carry. If the motor in the engine is not powerful, it will not generate enough power to lift a load, not to talk of carrying it from one place to the other. When choosing your drone, you must ensure that the motor can carry the weight attached to it as well as its own weight.


How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?The motor powers the propellers of the drone. While the motor might create enough power, if the propellers are weak, then the drone will be unable to carry the load. The propellers and the motor work together.

Therefore, larger, stronger propellers are more likely to carry loads that are placed on the drone.

Battery type

The battery type will also determine how much load the drone can carry. Our research has shown that when drones have a more powerful battery, they tend to stay in the air for longer. And since carrying weight uses plenty of energy, it is important that your machine have a strong battery that can power it through the distance.

Self-weight of the drone

Remember that your drone not only carries the payload, but it also needs to carry itself.

To that end, it is important that the drone be made of high-quality parts that will ensure that it doesn’t fail while in the air.

Some of the best drones have lightweights. Check out this article that reviews the best drones less than 250 grams.

What things can a drone carry?

There are so many things that drones can carry. It all depends on the payload capacity of the drone and your purpose.

Some of the things that drones have been used to transport include:

  • Food supplies
  • Letters
  • Cameras
  • Video equipment
  • Weapons
  • Online purchases

Drones are also used for things other than commercial and military applications. For example, they are used in fishing. Here are some of the best drones for fishing.

Drones are also used in the filming industry. They are used to lift heavy equipment that even one person might find hard to carry. They are also used to capture images and videos that would be almost impossible without the use of a drone.

Is drone delivery legal?

If you are buying a drone to use in delivering things to people, you certainly want to keep the legal aspect in mind. Is it legal to deliver things using a drone?

Well, the answer to that depends on where you are and the current legislation. So check with your local authorities to determine whether it is legal to fly drones and use them to deliver stuff where you want.

Additionally, if you are a professional drone pilot, you need to have a certificate for that.

Final thoughts

How much weight can a drone carry? Well, the answer to that is not definitive. There are just too many variables. For example, the weight a drone can carry depends on the model of the drone and the type. It also depends on the purpose. With improvements in technology, though, we expect that drones will get lighter and stronger, and they will be used in carrying heavy loads.


Unmanned aerial vehicle - Wikipedia
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which include additionally a ground-based controller and a system of communications with the UAV. The flight of UAVs may operate under remote control by a human operator, as remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), or with various degrees of autonomy, such as autopilot assistance, up to fully autonomous aircraft that have no provision for human intervention.
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