In the Disney fairytale, Aladdin and Jasmin were shown the world in all its shining, shimmering splendor with a magic carpet. If only magic carpets existed, right? Fortunately, there is a way to recreate that adventure – a flying camera. Mimic the flight course of a hummingbird through a forest or showcase a wedding with a bird’s eye view with a drone.
Drone photography and videography creates unique and interesting photos and videos. One irritating thing about drones, however, is the dreaded drone noise. Nothing creates a scene or disrupts a romantic magic ride like the annoying sound of a noisy drone.
The term “silent drone” is a misnomer, because anything with a motor tends to make sounds. “Quiet drone” is a better term, but it can still be misleading for the same reasons. However, we’ll use the terms “silent” an “quiet” interchangeably and refer to a sound less than 80 decibels – a less irritating drone sound.
So, if you are sensitive to noise and find the high frequency pitch annoying, fear not and read on.
Our Top Silent Drones
Body Size: 14.9 x 12.13 x 6.88“
Weight: 1.6 lbs
Flight time: 23 minutes
Charging time: 60-80 minutes
The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is hands down the best small drone out there. Compared to the 10.5lb pound DJI Phantom 4, this drone is a lightweight robot. So it is convenient to bring along hiking trips, as it can easily fit into a backpack and is easy to assemble.
It’s a relatively quiet drone, too. The 4 decibels (dB) reduction means its noise levels are at 70 dB. It may not be a “silent drone”, but DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is as silent as a drone can get. There is reportedly no real change in rotors, but the volume reduction is mostly due to pitch.
Despite the noticeable size reduction, this drone can fly for almost a quarter of an hour at a speed of 64km/hr in ideal flight situations (i.e., unobstructed, not windy). An important feature to note in flight time is propulsion system and its overall power consumption.
The remote control contains a new OCuSync transmission technology. This is supposedly better for long range connections and is what allows the Pro Platinum to fly up to 7km. It is also equipped with an obstacle sensor and has a Return to Home feature.
Due to its size, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is unstable during windy flights, but its propulsion system and airframe creates better handling for expected setbacks. If we do a DJI drone comparison, due to these improvements, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is better than the DJI Phantom 4, which is actually pretty noisy, too.
- 4k camera
- OCuSyn transmission technology
- Brushless motors
- Return to Home feature
- Obstacle obstruction
- Long flight
- Not in everyone’s price range
- Pricey for spare batteries
- Long charging time
Body Size: 8.5 x 3.6 x 3.3”
Weight: 2.4 lbs
Flight time: 27 minutes
Charging time: 90 minutes
This model may be slightly louder than the Pro Platinum, but this silent drone deserves credit. It is by far the best for professional videographers and photographers. And it is even great for night time photographs and videos.
The Mavic 2 has two models in the series: Zoom and Pro. The only difference between the two is the camera. The latter is best for low-light situations, boasting a Hasselblad camera and a one-inch sensor.
The former’s camera comes with a 2x optical zoom capability and zooms even further up to 96mm. It has a pre-programmed dolly zoom, which keeps the subject the same size while the surroundings come closer.
In terms of sound, this quad is not as silent as the aforementioned DJI product, but it is not noisy either. It registers at 72 decibels, which is only 2 decibels louder. So, it may be “loud” when compared to the DJI Pro Platinum quad, but deserves fair praise for its professional photo/video performance.
- Long battery life
- Flight range of 8 km
- Brushless motors
- Ideal for professionals
- Obstacle sensor for all directions
- Great for night time shots
- Pricey – not recommended for recreational use only
- Not the most quiet DJI quad
Body Size: 5.6 x 5.6 x 2.1″
Weight: 0.66 lbs
Flight time: 15 minutes
Charging time: 80 minutes
Camera: 1920 x 1080
This silent drone looks like a toy – it’s that small. Registering at around 0.66 lbs, it is brilliant for travel enthusiasts and is a compact drone to carry around. Not only does it have a small body, but also the sounds registers only at 55 decibels.
It does not have the best camera quality – 12MP for photos and 1080p for video. However, thanks to the 2-axis gimbal and stable footage, you get great footage. There is nothing more disappointing than great resolution thwarted by an unstable camera.
A popular feature of this drone is the technology behind its three commands. One could use the remote, app, or advance control gestures. While the app is a more convenient method of drone control, you can operate this drone with your hands. How cool is that?
You can also choose from a variety of video and flight modes. The most popular is ActiveTrack, where it locks on to a moving target and follows it around. Another choice is Quickshot, where Spark is locked on to an object and performs a predetermined flight pattern. So for dramatic shots, this is where it performs best.
- Quiet for a portable camera quad
- Intelligent flight patterns
- Brushless motors
- Quality photos and videos
- Cool modes
- Three control options
- Short battery life
- Set of batteries are pricey
- Propellers prone to damage
Body Size: 7.2 x 1.7 x1.9 “
Weight: 1.6 lbs
Flight time: 7-10 minutes
Charging time: 60-80 minutes
The AA108 best fits a beginner friendly profile. It is also quiet enough to be flown indoors without much disturbance. Definitely one of the silent drones ideal for beginners.
The design is made of durable plastic to withstand crashes and even comes with safety features where it lands itself. This is great when your drone runs out of battery or when it experiences communication issues with the controller.
While the camera is not 4k, the 720p resolution is not bad at all, especially for its low price point and what silent drones can go up for. It’s built-in 120o wide angle HD camera is excellent for photos and videos.
It has three flight modes: Headless Mode, Altitude Hold, and one-touch takeoff and landing. Headless Model allows for one to disregard the drone’s orientation. Altitude Hold keeps the drone suspended midair in a somewhat autopilot/auto-hover state. The last mode is a self explanatory feature.
Lastly, Altair created a model that values consumer experience. How? Well, with the model’s poor flight time, the drone comes with an additional battery for free. And even comes with four extra propellers because in case of breakage.
- Auto-land feature
- Comes assembled
- Live transmission video
- Great beginners
- Allows for first person viewing on smartphone
- Good for indoors
- Short battery life
- Not good for the great outdoors
- Not the best camera
Body Size: 7.1 x 7.1 x 2″
Weight: 0.125 lbs
Flight time: 9 minutes
Charging time: 45 minutes
Camera: 1920 x 1080
This is the most inexpensive quiet drone in the market. In fact, it is the most inexpensive drone, regardless of noise. That tends to make people sceptical – a cheap drone? That must mean a bad drone.
Thankfully, that isn’t the case. It may not have DJI-quality photos, but it has a decent 720p camera and is stable for both indoor and outdoor flying. It even has autopilot.
It carries a standard design and two LED lights that change colour to indicate the drone’s status. Although, the LED lights in the front definitely give it the bug like appearance to match the sound. Manufacturers claim its noise level is as “quiet as a wasp.” While not on anyone’s list of pleasant sounds, it is an acceptable sound where drones are concerned.
Battery life is quite short and is varied. The better the weather conditions the longer the life span, but no ideal conditions like winds will drain the battery much quicker. However, investing in a set of spare batteries will not break the bank.
- Drain tanks keeps water off of floors
- High grade plastic covering can withstand high grade alcohol cleaning
- Comes in three different models – slim, mini, and smart
- Low energy consumption
- Great engineering
- Low noise output
Are Drones Really Loud?
Is this a confusing question? How many drones have been flown at festivals and have not been bothersome? They can be noisy, but “loud” seem to be an overexaggeration,
This is simply because the drones’ sounds are significantly reduced when they are a hundred feet above ground, where the unsuspecting populace usually find them. However, the closer these quadcopters are to a crowd their distinct buzz can be heard.
In order to fly, the propellers need to rotate. The rotors slicing in the air is what causes the noise we hear. The propellers convert rotational kinetic energy to thrust, allowing it to take off. A by-product of this is heat and noise, which is not energy efficient. Speaking of, sound and energy in this situation have an inverse relationship.
Another reason why the noise is irritating regardless of decibels is because the sound operates at a much higher frequency or pitch. Think of it this way: would you rather listen to a shrill shriek or a deep shout at the same volume?
Why A Silent Drone?
Is there really a need for a quiet drone or is it just marketing ploy? After all, once it is up in the air the noise is hardly noticeable.
The short answer is yes, there is a market for a silent drone. While noise is subjective and can be dismissed when one goes up a mountain to film a sunset alone, it can be quite distracting if we’re talking more intimate events, like weddings, birthday parties, or tourist attractions.
It is a big complaint among tourists when they find a spot filled with the sound of buzzing cameras. It automatically ruins the tranquillity and the experience.
Additionally, it is useful for shooting videos. Drone footage is almost always overlaid with background music to cover the sound of the propellers. That’s all good if the footage is just composed of nature stills, but can be a con for videos with real time audio.
They can also be used for surveillance purposes. A private investigator or similar agencies can monitor something discreetly. What is the use of good, quiet flight time if the drone gives away its position and is conspicuous?
It is a well known fact that drones can be used to pick up and drop off things like food and water, but did you know that blood facilities in Rwanda use drones to deliver blood and other medical supplies? A noisy hovering pseudo-helicopter can be disruptive for these jobs that could use a little more quiet in them.
Key Features in a Silent Drone
Not all drones come with sensors, so looking for one made of sturdy material is important. Most popular models in the market have good mechanical housing to ensure it is a long lasting product.
Solid, thick build is also helpful in noise reduction. If the motor and batteries are not covered up, the noise is more audible. Anything to dampen vibrations will also assist in the concern.
Another feature to look at are the propellers, of which there are two kinds: quadcopters (four wings) and hexacopters (six wings). The latter is better for long haul flights, since they are a wee bit better for balancing.
The shape is important, too. V-shaped ones are said to produce less noise since they handle air pressure much better.
Experimenting with different sets is a good option as opposed to just buying the entire stock. And just for awareness, extra attachments won’t break the bank either.
The Silent Drone for You
After having read all that, is there a universal best silent drone? Yes, but what is ideal for someone may not be ideal for another person. So it helps to identify what you are looking to get out of the drone should you wish to purchase one yourself.
Is the drone for work or leisure? Is it for a beginner or a seasoned professional? Is the future drone owner a true enthusiast or are they just testing the waters? Answering these questions may help in deciding the silent drone to invest in.
For the Pleasure Seeker
For the ultimate flying experience, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is definitely worth the investment. With a 4k camera and 3 axis stabilization, this provides excellent photo and video quality; worthy for sharing online and printing out.
It also comes with good battery life and a flight range of 7km. Its foldable design also makes it compact enough to bring for camping or hiking trips – lovely spots for photos and artistic videos.
The silent propellers with optimized motor rotation can come in handy when trying to film intimate moments in nature or in life. At 3.3 feet or a meter’s distance it registers at 70 decibels – pretty quiet.
For the Professional
If you’re looking for a silent drone to further your business or career, then the Mavic 2 is something to consider. It is a really quiet, excellent quad that comes with two models: Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom.
Similar to the Mavic Pro Platinum, the camera, too, is 4k with 3 axis stabilization. These models have the longest battery lives in this review – almost half an hour. Coupled with a huge flight range of up to 8km, this drone will suite a professional well.
Its sensing system is impressive. It has a sensor for every direction – up, down, left, right, forward, and backward. Good luck crashing this drone.
The silent propellers and low motor pitch is ideal for filming events like birthdays or weddings, as it not all that noisy. If these events happen to occur at twilight, footage can still be great in these low light conditions.
The Zoom and Pro have only a camera as a differentiating marker, so either would be good. While not a drone I could comfortably recommend for leisure, it is excellent for those looking to make a living with it. The silent feature is an added benefit too, which makes it a decent investment piece.
For the Beginner
If you’re just looking into trying a drone out it is better to look at inexpensive ones first. Teenagers don’t start driving a Porsche just because it is the best and the same principle applies here. The Parrot Mambo Mini Drone and the Altair Aerial AA108 are both two silent budget drones worth looking in to.
The Parrot Mambo Mini is especially great for beginners, as it is easy to fly, affordable, can do some fun acrobatic tricks, has decent camera quality, and it looks like a robot bug.
Flying is not overly challenging and it can be done safely indoors (good for newer pilots with a fear of losing drones mid-flight). While the sound of a wasp is usually a cause for concern, compared to other drones it is relatively quiet; neither an inviting sound, nor an annoying one either.
The camera quality is suitable for leisure film and photo, but nothing professional.
It can also withstand inevitable crashes and collisions most newbie drone pilots experience. Design-wise the heavy duty plastic keeps the device safe.
Finally, you have access to a program where beginners can also show off aerial tricks that are simple enough to do, yet impressive to witness.
For the Child
Thinking of giving a new drone to a child or niece/nephew? If countless video demos on the DJI Phantom or reading review after review on silent drones with brushless motors can’t make you decide which of the models is suitable, don’t worry.
Because the Altair Aerial AA108 is a potential purchase well worth looking in to. It is inexpensive, beginner friendly, has decent camera quality, easy to fly, and is durable. It is one of the best silent flying quads.
Now, like the Mambo, the photos are not picture perfect to blow out, print, and mount on a wall, but it adds visual appeal to your Instagram feed.
Custom flight modes are also available. All one needs to do is program a flight pattern on the phone app and the drone will follow suit.
New pilots tend to crash drones and even more likely if the new pilot is young. Luckily, the AA108 is made of durable plastic and can stand crashes. Its auto-land feature also ensures it will not get lost midflight. This feature activates when the drone senses low battery levels or when the controls lack proper communication.
For the Traveler
Whether or not frequent travels are on the horizon, a drone easily chucked into the bag is great. The chances are high if one travels frequently or doesn’t want to lug around extra weight.
The DJI Spark is one of the quietest portable camera quads available. Oddly enough, despite its size, it is not ideal indoors, but is excellent for outdoor spaces. Its Active Track feature would be great for “come with me” type videos, as it locks onto an object and follows
It has a decent battery life and the camera is not bad at all. It is not a 4k camera, but a rather good one for the price range.
It is easy to edit and share footage on social media through the the DJI app. It is definitely a sublime choice for any fan of compact high quality quad cameras.
Our Preferred Pick
While each drone serves a different and unique purpose as there is unarguably a drone for everyone, there has to be a winner. Which of these flying quad cameras is the best? More specifically, which quiet drone can take you on a virtual, shining, shimmering magic carpet ride
Coming at second with due to its affordability is the Altair Aerial AA108. This one competes better compared to the other affordable silent drone after measuring both flight times. Additionally, the AA108 is robust, ideal for beginners of all ages, has multiple flight modes, operates on fair sound levels, and comes with a return feature.
Probably not coming as a big surprise, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum takes the crown hands down. While not the best for professional work, it is suitable for both business and pleasure. It has excellent flight time, good camera quality, portability, and fairly priced for its value.
Since it is pretty pricey, it might be something a drone enthusiast works his or her way up to and maybe, that’s what makes it an even sweeter treat.