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How Long Do Drone Batteries Last? The Surprising Answer!

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drone flying along the river

Drones1 are unmanned aerial vehicles that have gained immense popularity in the last decade. Their ability to take images and capture videos from all types of surfaces and angles has made them valuable and famous among professionals and newbies.

But drones don’t fly on their own. Instead, they use batteries that allow them to perform their job. And we all know that batteries live for a specific duration only. After the time’s over, they require a session of charging to work again.

How long do drone batteries last? It depends on many factors, such as quality, add-ons, and general use. On average, the most expensive drone batteries can last for 20–30 minutes. At the same time, cheap ones use batteries that only work for 5–10 minutes.

In this article, let’s explore more about drone batteries and what value they offer to drones.

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What Batteries Do Drones Usually Use?

Most drones use lithium polymer batteries that demand special storage and maintenance treatment than most other batteries available. That’s because these batteries combine two significant elements: power and light.

Lithium polymer batteries or LiPo batteries feature individual cells, and each of them is rated at 3.7 volts (V). However, they ultimately get charged at 4.2V.

It isn’t wise to let your drone’s battery drop below 3.7V, thus resulting in complete damage. If you want your battery to work for a long duration, you need to take care of it.

phantom drone with camera

Image Credit: Allef Vinicius, Unsplash

How Long Does a Drone Battery Last?

It is impossible to give a straight answer to this question because the performance of a battery depends on many factors. For instance, many inexpensive drones have batteries that last between 5–10 minutes only. But some expensive models can stay in the air for 20–30 minutes, while the professional drones may stay up all day.

With technological advancement, manufacturers are finding better ways to make lithium polymer batteries more efficient. As a result, they ensure that their drones use the stored energy efficiently and generate longer flight times.

Most people usually include two batteries rather than one to increase the flight duration. But that’s an expensive approach, and if you want to fly your drone for more than 30 minutes, you may want to wait for new technologies to help you with the longer flight time.

shutter camera divider 2Factors That Impact the Life of a Drone Battery or the Duration of the Flight

Your drone’s battery is one of the significant components that keeps the machine going for a long time, but there are a few other factors that also affect this device’s performance and its battery’s performance.

Below we will look at these aspects in detail.

drone landing on a person's hand

Image Credit: Dose Media, Unsplash

Battery Life

Drone batteries are available in different sizes and capacities. Unfortunately, not all are created equally, so the quality of the battery in your machine affects how your drone performs.

If you think the battery you use is everlasting, you may want to think twice. The potency of a drone’s battery degrades with time, and it is imperative to keep it in perfect condition if you want to experience its performance for a long duration.

Don’t be surprised if the drone’s battery fails to charge after you forget to maintain it properly. But luckily, lithium batteries are more durable and high performing, meaning it is least likely that you would be disappointed by their potency.

The Drone’s Weight

The weight of weight directly impacts the flight duration. For example, if you own a heavy drone, it may require more power and energy to hover in the air, meaning that it might drain your battery faster than normal.

This is why most drones that you find today are lightweight and compact. In addition, their portable structures make these vehicles pretty easy to store and also easier to fly in the air for an extended duration.

What’s more, a drone’s battery is also impacted by the number of motors the unit may have. If your machine has a large surface area and more than one motor, it may consume more power from the battery to let you experience a long flight. To overcome this problem, most renowned manufacturers always consider the size of the drone and, in addition, add large batteries to big drones.

white drone with camera

Image Credit: Thomas Griesbeck, Unsplash

Add-Ons

Imagine you have a lightweight drone, but then you decide to install a camera or recorder on it to experience its performance fully. In that case, you might be increasing its overall weight, which eventually affects the flight time.

Such add-ons increase the overall weight of the machine, resulting in more power consumption to allow it to hover longer in the air. This way, your drone’s battery starts to drain faster and loses its capability to serve the machine for a long time.

shutter camera divider 2How Can You Extend the Battery Life of a Drone?

If you want your drone to spend more time in the air than on the ground, some specific tips and tricks can help increase its battery’s life.

Use a Battery With a High Capacity

Most drones come with their own batteries. However, if they have less capacity than you desire, it is always wise to exchange them with the ones with higher capacity. That said, when replacing one, ensure that your new battery is lightweight. Otherwise, it may not offer you long battery life. That’s because heavy batteries increase the drone’s weight, which cancels out the results you may want to achieve.

white drone in flight

Image Credit: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

Avoid Aggressive Flying

You might be pumped up to fly your drone as fast as possible. But unfortunately, this practice drains the battery more quickly than expected. The fast speed of your drone consumes more energy because it demands your drone accelerate to keep up with the momentum.

Therefore, avoid flying the drone at an aggressive speed that the poor machine cannot cope with. Use it correctly so you can enjoy prolonged flight time.

Use Your Drone During the Right Weather

The best weather to enjoy a drone is when it’s bright and sunny. You may be tempted to fly the machine when it’s raining, but remember, that may be your biggest mistake.

Even if your drone is waterproof, flying it during rain may drain its batteries faster than required. Besides, the chances of water penetrating and destroying the machine’s interiors are also high.

Similarly, flying a drone in extreme weather isn’t advisable. For instance, whether it is too cold or hot, keep the machine home as the cold weather depletes the performance of lithium batteries. Similarly, hot temperatures add weight to the drone, impacting its speed.

High winds and drones are also not the best companions. The drone overuses its motor and batteries to stay stable, leading to increased energy consumption.

drone case

Image Credit: Mr.Ronnachai Pattanaphol, Shutterstock

Switch Off Unnecessary Features and Modes

If you feel like recording every aspect of your flight, you may want to reconsider your wishes. This practice robs off the time your drone spends in the air. It is wise to stop the recording and other power-hungry features when they aren’t required.

Similarly, some drones come with a sports mode. This feature makes your flight experience more fun but adds pressure to the batteries. So, ensure that the sports mode is off while your drone takes off.

Image Credit: Diana Măceşanu, Unsplash

Eliminate Unnecessary Add-Ons

Only install gadgets that you seriously need. For instance, if you are a beginner, adding prop guards to your drone will protect the unit. However, they also add weight and avoid them if they aren’t necessary anymore.

If you need a camera during a flight, ensure you get an easily removable one. This way, you can remove the camera as soon as you don’t need it, keeping the drone’s weight as low as possible.

shutter camera divider 2Final Takeaway

Whether you own a fancy and expensive drone or a cheap one, you can’t run from the fact that its battery is everything to keep it up in the air for a prolonged duration. Drones with poor-quality batteries don’t fly for more than ten minutes, while those with high-quality ones perform up to 30 minutes without any hurdles.

So, maintain your battery life if you want to experience a long flight time. Keep it safely stored, avoid using it in extreme conditions, and don’t load your drone with an unnecessary add-on. With these simple tips and tricks, you can enjoy an efficient drone battery for as long as you want.


Featured Image Credit: Karl Greif, Unsplash

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.

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