Watchdogs are wonderful. They can tell you when you have a home invader, or keep you safe on your morning walk. Of course, they can also sometimes be bribed with bacon. Plus they can’t exactly let you know whether it’s your favorite cousin or a burglary. Fortunately, there’s another option.
Home security drones can show you the whole picture. They don’t have vet bills. Additionally, they don’t stop working out if the power goes out as an alarm can. Plus, you don’t have to pay them like a security guard, and they’ll never quit to pursue another job opportunity. So long as you keep them properly charged, they’re reliable.
Know Before You Buy
Technology has a solution for every problem these days, or at least most of them. Using a drone at home is a smart, savvy solution to security. However, there’s more to drone buying than looking for a sale and fast shipping time. Because drones can do so many things, they may be subject to mandatory licensing. For the best drone experience, make sure you fly safely and legally.
Flying Without a License
Not every drone requires a license. If you cannot obtain one, or you prefer not to do so, the good news is that you can still fly. Likewise, if you’re just getting started, you may want to fly unlicensed for a while to get a feel for it before you invest in licensing.
Predictably, you’ll be more restricted than a licensed operator, but that only makes sense. Flying sans-license is easy. Many drones need to be registered with the FAA even when you’re flying for fun, so always check before you fly.
- Never let your drone out of your sight. You must have a direct sight line at all times, so no flying behind trees or around corners.
- Pick a drone that weighs less than 55 lbs.
- You can’t make money off of it. It must be recreational only.
- Stay at least five miles from airports and control towers, and always yield to human-crewed aircraft.
- Follow all community guidelines and applicable laws.
Depending on your drone, when, where, and how you fly it, you may need a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly. Consequently, a drone license isn’t very difficult to get. You’ll need to be over 16 and pass a basic background check to get a license. You also have to read, speak, and write in English, and be physically and mentally fit to fly. Follow these easy steps, and you’ll be licensed in no time.
- Schedule a test at your local testing facility. You will have to pay for this test, but since prices change all the time, you’ll have to look up the current cost in your area.
- Pass the written test. You can find all the information you need to learn to ace your flight test at the FAA website.
- Register with the IACRA system to create an account.
- Fill out FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application). Please note that you cannot complete this step without a 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID to prove you passed.
- Get email notification of your background check, which will also provide you with the necessary steps to print your temporary license.
- Print and carry temporary license.
- Your permanent license will come in the mail.
Once you have your license, you are ready to fly. Remember to always keep it on you, or nearby when you’re operating under UAS regulations. Furthermore, you do need to renew every two years to stay current. Beyond that, there’s not much to it other than enjoying your flight and staying within the laws.
What do I Need to Study for a Drone License
If you get test anxiety, take a deep breath. Flying a drone is not like rocket science. You do have to learn and follow some guidelines, but if you can pass a drivers license test, you can pass this one too. Luckily you won’t need to parallel park. Plus, the FAA provides study materials. In general, you need to know about most things that relate to flying a drone.
- Regulations- The rules and laws about flying your drone are essential.
- Classifications- How to identify aircraft is a necessary skill.
- Performance- Both how weather affects it and how much weight it can safely carry are examples of this category.
- Procedures- Using the radio or responding to an emergency requires specific knowledge of the steps to take.
- Decision Making- Not only do you need to know how to make sensible flight decisions, but you also need to display a basic understanding of how drugs and alcohol can affect your flying.
- Inspections and Maintenance- Do you know how to use a preflight checklist? Can you tell what’s wrong when something breaks or replace a part if needed?
- Airport Safety- This is self-explanatory.
- Crew Management- Working together takes skills.
- Miscellaneous- There’s more to learn, but most of the basics are in the categories above.
What Can My Drone Do
There are so many possibilities that it’s not possible to cram all that tech into a single machine. Naturally, you can’t get a military drone that comes equipped with guns, but there are plenty of outstanding features available. When looking for the right drone for your home security needs, always check the features first.
Features to Look for
A security drone needs a handful of obvious things. First, it needs a camera. You can choose photography or video, and some have both included. Next, you’ll want to look at the control system. Do you need a separate controller, or would you rather fly with your smartphone?
After that, decide if you need a drone that can autopilot home. Check out things like how your drone charges and how long the batteries last. Most importantly, make sure you know what you want before you buy. Spending time on research, as we did to curate this list, can save you time, money, and frustration.
The best part about having the cool toys is getting to play with them. You may want to look into what other options you have with your drone. For example, a fast drone is good for racing. Some of the larger drones can lift enough weight to pick up a small child. If you want to be able to move things around with your drone, then that’s something to consider.
Scouting the perimeter and checking things over is the tip of the drone iceberg. You can take epic selfies, or fly a message to someone if the grid goes down. The only limits are your creativity and what your drone can handle.
Only the Best
With their incredible popularity, drones are everywhere. It probably won’t be long before you see them delivering pizzas or dropping off your mail. However, not all drones are created equal. You don’t want to throw away money on lousy equipment, so where do you even start shopping for a good drone? This carefully chosen list has some of the best options available right now.
1- Holy Stone HS100
Let’s start off with a drone that has a smart battery. The HS 100 can not only tell when its battery is getting low, but it will also turn itself around and fly home with enough juice left to make the trip.
The 2500mAh high-performance battery will give you fifteen minutes of flight time. Make sure you provide engines with 5-10 minutes to cool down between flights. You can always pick up the additional warranty, but it might not cover being foolish enough to fly until you burn up the engines.
Beyond that, this option also has a considerable control distance and can be reached from up to 500m away. If you happen to live on a large piece of property, this is the drone for you. It can get further away than most, and take itself home again when the job is done.
The attached view screen on the controller makes it extremely easy to keep an eye on all the action your drone can see. It has a pleasant video game-esque quality you’ll enjoy. The camera is a 1080P FOV FPV Wi-Fi Camera with a 120° lens which is also adjustable by 90° for a very wide view of the action.
You can cover a whole lot of ground with a view like that. Follow a potential source of trouble without getting within reach of danger. When you can spot a thief or stalker from more than three football fields away, then you’ll have plenty of time to get yourself and your loved ones out of range.
As security equipment goes, anything that can keep a problem that far away is pretty impressive. The fact that you’ll have enough time to escape, and still see what you missed out on is next level. Record it all on the internal memory unit, or use your smartphone.
Take off with this drone here.
2- SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone
Tons of Fun
Smart voice control is one of the most interesting features of drone flight. If you’ve ever asked Alexa or Siri a question, then you’ve used smart voice technology. The S5C and drones like it take the idea even further. With the right app, you can tell you drone what to do and where to go for a truly hands-free experience.
Headless mode sounds like a nightmare, but it’s a whole lot of fun. This truly unique feature allows your drone to move in tandem with you regardless of where it’s headed. If you move a meter south, it adjusts a meter south as well, without stopping its other motions.
Gesture control is another extraordinary piece of tech wizardry you can use with an S5C. Remember playing the Wii with a handheld controller for motion capture? Well, modern motion capture is like that, except that a drone can see what your hand is doing and translate that to a command without the stick, more like a Kinect system watching you dance or strafe left.
Filming with the S5C is a snap. This drone is compatible with iPhones and iPads. It can transmit directly from anywhere within eighty meters. If you use Follow Me, then you can edit your live HD footage and upload it almost as fast as it happens.
Of course, that speed can also help in an emergency. Faster uploads mean you can get help faster too, which might mean the difference between getting help in time or not. Alternately, you can warn everyone that danger is coming more quickly. Shooting down missiles isn’t the only way a drone can save a life.
These drones are flying off the shelves here.
3- ScharkSpark Drone SS41 The Beetle
The low price might make you hesitate at first but don’t because you’ll be impressed with what you get. You can hardly find a better deal, and the video quality is surprisingly good. If you’ve been hesitant to spend big bucks because you need more practice, or you need something the kids can play with too, this is a great beginner model.
For the more experienced fliers, you’ll still enjoy this little beauty. It’s light but capable, which makes it a great addition to your growing collection.
View Your Way
Every surveillance drone needs a camera, but the ScharkSpark SS41 has two of them. You can switch between real-time views at the touch of a button. Use the 720P bottom camera to see what’s directly below, and the 1080p HD front camera to keep an eye on the action ahead. This drone takes the idea of giving you some perspective on a situation to the max.
Speaking of cameras, you have to love the included Optical Flow Positioning. This feature works to help stabilize your flight. It’s nice for new learners but even better for getting clear images. Great video and photo quality is a must.
Fly Your Way
Video game enthusiasts love a good handheld controller. However, it’s not for everyone. If you feel weighed down by carrying the extra controller, then why not skip it entirely? You can fly your SS41 with your smartphone if you’d rather. Being able to pick the way you want to control your drone is an excellent benefit to this model.
Learn more about The Beetle here.
4- Potensic T35 GPS Drone, RC Quadcopter
The T35 is more faithful than your ex because it’s designed to come home every time. The return features on this model are stellar. No one wants to lose a drone, and with a T35 you shouldn’t need to worry about where it roams.
Automatic return can send this drone home from anywhere. Plus, you don’t need to worry if power gets low. This Potensic can support low power return. It can even return with no signal once it’s correctly programmed.
One key takeoff and landing is perfect for beginners who are just starting out, or those who don’t want to risk their expensive equipment on imperfect reflexes. It’s also great for people who are somewhat movement impaired. Arthritic hands can rest easy.
Use your drone to make sure the kids get to the neighbor’s house safely. When they finish, escort them back home again even if you’re too sick to get out of bed. Follow them to school, or use yours to track a herd of cattle on your ranch. The uses are endless.
Anything you can think of to need a drone for, you can accomplish. There’s a very good reason why these mighty mini machines have become so popular lately. Whether you are doing light recon or checking the path ahead for trouble, you can do that with ease.
Pick up a Potensic here.
5- Contixo F22 RC Foldable Quadcopter Drone
Some drones require DIY assembly. Fortunately for you, this is not one of them. The Contixo F22 comes pre-assembled and folded. Always make sure you read your product descriptions carefully. Otherwise, you may find yourself in an “IKEA,” sort of situation unexpectedly.
The modes are the show stoppers on this model. With several to choose from, it’s easy to program this great portable drone. Take it out for a test run right out of the box (after charging it), and when you’re done, you can fold it up and stash it easily in the carrying case. Since it weighs only 0.45 lbs, you won’t have any trouble taking it wherever you want.
- GPS- Link your drone to your phone and tell it to follow you everywhere like a puppy. It may seem a little silly at first to ask a tiny quadcopter to hang out and watch you, but if you are out working on your home or property, it can be a lifesaver. Your phone will show you what the drone sees so that you can check for intruders from two angles.
- Orbit- While this mode might make a fantastic panoramic video, it has a more practical application as well. You can set this mode to have your drone circle your house automatically.
- Altitude Hold- Order your drone to hover. You can have it take a clear shot of any episode that may occur. If there’s an incident at home, more evidence is always better. From stalkers to break-ins and bad neighbors, drone footage makes for great proof.
Check out Contixo here.
Bonus- Holy Stone HS220 Drone for Kids
Start teaching your kids to help keep an eye on the place for you. It’s less mess than that puppy they want, and a drone won’t leave any ‘presents,’ on the neighbors’ lawn. It’s never too early to learn. Just make sure you teach them reasonable boundaries as well.
Find their new favorite toy here.
We all want to feel safe. The question is, how. When you hear a crash downstairs, or you think there’s a lurker in the bushes, you could grab your favorite baseball bat and go old-school. Then again, why risk your skin if you don’t have to?
Grab that drone control instead and do some recon. You can see what’s going on without putting your body in the line of fire. Equally important, you can record what’s happening in case you need evidence later. Peace of mind and personal safety all in the same package is a win-win. Never wonder again when you can see for sure.
Don’t forget to register your drones (if required) here.