5 Best Quiet Drones 2020: Reviews and Guide

5 Best Quiet Drones 2020: Reviews and Guide

Perhaps one of the most exciting, and most glaringly obvious, pieces of tangible proof that the future is nigh is the modern, flying, drone. Once termed as a ‘nerd interest’, it has boomed in a big way and it is a controversial development of technology for some individuals, who question their uses for good or for evil. It also raises some well-founded questions of privacy as no one wants an explosion of drone Peeping Toms!

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And these same nifty pieces of technology can be known for their droning and obnoxious humming, something that can cause irritation not only to the pilot and neighbours, but it can also take some of the fun out of the experience when you can’t appreciate the experience on account of your headache. 

There are some amazing real-world benefits of having a quiet drone now, as for many scientists and researchers able to utilise drone technology instead of traditional method. 

For some organisations and government units this makes all the difference when it comes to access, quality and funding. The drone has escalated from thrilling and playful past-time to ranging from a serious sporting pass-time to technology for Military application. 

Before you start flying, you will need to look into whether there are specific flight restrictions in your area (if you live near an airport or a school this is something that might affect you) and if your drone weighs over 250g, you will need to need to register and obtain a flight-number. 

Don’t let this scare or overwhelm you – you don’t have to be a Black Ops Special Agent to want to relish in the bliss of a quiet, quality quadcopter! 

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At a Glance: My Choice for the Best Quiet Drones 2020

If you are in a hurry, check out my top selections right here. You can click through to learn more about the specs and pricing, or continue reading to find their reviews. 

Best Overall: DJI Spark

Second: DJI Mavic Pro Platinum

Best Value for Money: Parrot Anafi

Quiet Drones Comparison Table

Check out this Noise Levels Chart for reference to various sounds levels

List of the 5 Best Quiet Drones 2020

You’re looking at what quiet drones to buy – you know what you need your drone for, you think you’ve gotten to grips with the features you  need to look for and you are armed with your budget. 

So, you think you are ready to dive into the high-flying quadcopter extravaganza that is the drone market? Well it would be an understatement to say that endeavour still isn’t completely and utterly overwhelming.

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Here comes that adage of ‘you get what you pay for’. No one likes to hear those words when scouting a potential purchase but it is true with drones so there is definitely the need to be reassured you are spending your money wisely and that in compromising for a quiet drone you aren’t going to be missing out on all the fun.

Read on because I have made sure there is still an overwhelming amount of fun factor with these drones that’s been found for you! (check this out to see the sound levels drones make)

1. DJI Mavic Pro Platinum

DJI have truly wiped the floor as far as we can see when it comes to the Mavic Pro Platinum. This is an intense drone offering the pilot max speeds of up to 40mph, in Sport Mode, with awesome precision and smoothness.

Hold up! I know what you’re thinking – this usually means a loud motor but the Mavic Pro Platinum performs at an insanely quiet 70dB of sound. Somehow the word ‘Impressive’ is an understatement when it comes to this hush-hush quadcopter. 

The Mavic Pro Platinum ups the standard of what is expected in the quiet drone game: it has LED lighting, Ocusync transmission with over a four mile range, FOC Sinusoidal driver ESC’s for increase stability and Collision Avoidance technology, which actively scan’s the environment for tree’s and buildings, up to 15m. 

You can probably agree with me now that this is an impressive drone, with all these features and there is still more on offer; 4k camera complete with Professional Smart-Video settings like ActiveTrack, TapFly and Tripod Mode. So, you can make the most of this stealth-like drone.

Naturally because it is the ‘Pro Platinum’ it has the ‘little’ extras that you would expect. Extras like the 8331 propellers which are aerodynamically designed to reduce noise, benefitting most during take-off: reducing the overall noise down by around 60% and if you are feeling a little flashy then you can get these propellers in Platinum and Golden tipped!

2. Altair Aerial Outlaw SE

Next in this quietest quality quadcopter list goes to the Aerial Outlaw SE from Altair. This little show-off is an all-skill-levels drone which lavishes pilot’s with 15 minutes of flight-time that they can enjoy to the full as this drone is just bursting with tech, despite being remarkably quiet thanks to the powerful and high-quality brushless motors.

Altair have designed the Outlaw SE in an attractive plastic, white, body with rear-wing lighting in green, red or yellow; but it isn’t just pretty to look at because pilot’s have been equipped with a built-in, 1080p, camera so you get some great aerial shots (using the stabilizing GPS technology!).

As a cherry on the top of the Sundae that is this all-round pleasing quadcopter, Altair have ensured the Aerial Outlaw SE is practical too by loading it up with features; like the One-Touch Return, a quick-use feature which is also perfect for landing, and taking off. 

But wait! There are still two more return-to home functions pilots can rely on. One-Touch return, Out-of-Range Return and Low Voltage return (no fear of running low on battery or losing connection with the transmitter)

3. DJI Spark

As we have come to see from DJI they put time and effort into their technology and this quiet Mini drone is another perfect example. With top-quality performance on a 2-axis gimbal with an operating range of 1900 metres, the Spark spoils pilots with Face Aware, Palm Control and auto-pilot (complete with object detection!).

One of the nifty things to know about Face Aware and one of the ways the drone uses this tech is that you can use it so the Spark Mini lifts from the palm of your hand upon recognizing the users face. Oh, that isn’t for you? Well, it’s Quick Launch capabilities that DJI have crammed in there means that within seconds of powering on, the Spark is hovering and taking off. 

I don’t mean to overwhelm you – but this is a great contender in the ring of Best Quiet Drones because it’s easy to underestimate a Mini drone and if you did that with the DJI Spark you would be robbing yourself of intelligent flight modes like Sport mode, enabling you to reach a whopping 31mph, and ActiveTrack that keeps you in shot no matter how fast you move. 

With a humble flight time of 16 minutes under its propellers, the Spark gives you a good amount of time to capture great shots using their QuickShot feature that only enhances the users experience of shooting with the HD footage and snapping 12mp stills! Beneath the propellers can light up red as well for visibility in low lights. 

You won’t have trouble spotting the DJI Spark either (or feeling like an individual!) as DJI have made it available in Alpine White, Lava Red, Meadow Green, Sky Blue and Sunrise Yellow. 

4. Yuneec Typhoon Q500

A tidy little number is the Typhoon Q500, in a simple black and grey plastic casing it doesn’t scream ‘look at me’ but it does deliver with a 4K, CG03+ Integrated, 3-Axis, precision gimble camera. Yuneec have provided their pilots with no distortion lens, ultra-high definition video capabilities with slow-motion video! 

There’s more! If you are a Vlogger this is the drone for you, as it is quiet (because THAT is a minimum requirement in this list!) and perfect for capturing the world around you. Pilots are lavished with SteadyGrip for capturing top-notch photos and leashes to the pilot for truly focused Watch Me – that you can control directly from your IOS/Android Smartphone!

One thing that is a really great element about this drone is the responsibility that Yuneec have taken upon themselves; in providing such a great videography and photography directed drone they have flown it dangerously close to the Sun and acknowledged this by providing a ‘No Fly Zone feature’. 

Yuneec have come in and introduced what is essentially a parental control block and have programmed their drone to self-moderate so that it wont fly above 400 feet, which is great from a non-drone user’s point of view in terms of privacy (although mainly in cities). It’s a great feature but we couldn’t help but it slightly gimmicky by Yuneec. Almost like trying to win points by showing a more privacy and regulations concerned feature to their drone

That said, they haven’t negated the other handy aspects that we have seen praised on this list and the Typhoon Q500 does have Dynamic Return Home and the GPS system establishes a (around an 8-metre diameter) using fancy geo-fence technology to establish a Safe Smart Circle that prevents the drone from flying too far away from the pilot. 

5. Parrot Anafi

I couldn’t resist another quality, quiet, but also compact – quad drone. The Parrot Anafi is a very robust and sturdy drone and at just over 320g.

This new addition to the Parrot family takes flying to a new level! 

Equipped with  f/2.4 wide angle ASPH lens, HDR, and up to 2.8 times digital zoom, that simply means you are going to take really amazing and cinematic shots while you zoom across the landscape. Plus, it has a Burst mode that lets you take 10 pictures in 1 second, so you know you will definitely get the shot you want. 

It comes with a USD-C type charger and ensures super fast charges, and has a respectable flight time of 25 minutes. Not a big deal since you can get it up and flying in no time!

What really stands out to me is the portability. It folds under 3 seconds (after a few tries), and its size makes it easy to carry around to any location. Without missing a beat, you can be filming right away.

Pair all these cool features with its improved software and you have a winner!

Customer impressions

The 5 drones selected here all exhibit high levels of quietness during operation, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is considered a pretty high end model that is most suitable for beginners moving on to the next level. Build of high quality and comes with advanced features, it justifies its large price tag very well.

The Altair Aerial Outlaw SE performs quite well as a quiet drone, but I find that it is lacking in support, plus the build of the quadcopter borders on low quality. That is likely the reason why it is priced in that range. The price is slightly too high for a beginner, so I personally would not invest in it. 

Next, the DJI Spark is my top overall choice due to its excellent price range, flexibility and high quality. Products from DJI are mostly well-received, and the Spark is no exception. As a mini drone, it is compact enough to bring around on your adventures but still maintaining high quality photos and videos. 

For the Yuneec Typhoon, it is well designed and comes with a plethora of features, so that makes it more suitable for non-beginners. It is sleek and comes with high quality lens, but my main concern would be the after sales service since it is not that established yet.

And lastly, the Parrot Anafi. This is my choice for best value for money drone thanks for its extensive features at this price point. It is great for beginners and you can take it out often to practice your flying skills since it is very mobile. I would stock up on some extra batteries though, since it doesn’t last that long. 

Some common uses of drones

Wildlife/conservation photography

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An area where drones have had a huge impact and have become truly invaluable is to wildlife and conservation efforts. Quiet drones can be used to track and find illegal poachers, discreetly, helping to protect loads of endangered animals. 

There is always room for improvement though as there are issues where loud drones can cause disturbance to birds in tree-tops and certain animals like Elephants that can become spooked, confusing the hum of a drone as the hum from a swarm of bees.

Surveillance

Another great use for drones that helps in minimising the amount of on-site staff certain factories need and costs is surveillance. Drones are popular for use with Private Investigators, Law Enforcement Agencies and Private Security firms. 

It is better that the drone is quieter and less obnoxious for these activities so that it is less likely to distract (and unnerve in truth) employees. 

Professional videography

This is another use of the drone where having a quieter device is going to benefit the film quality if you are intending to use the sound for any purpose. It can be a shame to have a drone with a great capacity for filming and sound capturing abilities, only to have it diminished by a disruptive mosquito-like hum.

Key features to consider when choosing a drone

When drones first appeared on the market people were blindsided by the futuristic technology and thrilling novelty of being able to be a pilot and master the skies and the headache inducing hum of drones was easily overlooked but now the variety of uses of drones are being explored to their maximum potential. Some of that has led to some powerful, and noisy, demands. But what are the features of the drone that are the culprits for the noise? I will tell all!

1. Motors

There is more than one choice available for developers to use in their drones. These are brushed and brushless and generally brushless motors are quieter, and better quality. As with all things there are positives, and negatives to different motors and you might find certain drones have more than one and as many as four. 

2. Speed of rotation

Not to get too technical because you haven’t really got that much control over this but it’s still worth knowing but the speed at which the propellers rotate is going to create a sound, either acute or broad sounding; the bigger the propellers, and the slower the rate of rotation, the quieter the drone will be. 

3. Propellers

Propellers are a great way to manipulate and reduce the sound of your drone. Not all drone brands will give you the option to change the propellers, but some will, and as a pilot that is great because you can swap them for a quieter variety. Design elements like prop pitch, inclination of blade, direction of end tipping as well as size are going to contribute for how quiet your propellers are in motion. 

Best Quiet Drones: Conclusion

Drones are excellent investments, and certainly add a brand new perspective to photography and videography. It doesn’t matter whether you are a budding lens man or an experienced veteran, having a drone is a new and important piece in your arsenal. 

While shopping for your first or next drone, why not consider getting one that does not create too much noise that it unsettles the neighborhood, or the very wildlife that you are shooting? 

Happy shopping and I am sure whichever model you choose here, it will work out well for you. 

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