7 Best Drones for Security Surveillance

Looking for the perfect security surveillance drone can be a daunting task. Drones that can perform security surveillance are in high demand and there are many options to choose from. However, there are certain things you can look for to make your search easier.

Hello everyone! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional drone pilot, a former Army veteran, and a long-time drone enthusiast. Over the past decade, I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing and using drones for both commercial and recreational purposes.

In this article, I will share some helpful tips on what to look for in a good security surveillance drone. I will also provide you with my list of the best drones that can be used for surveillance purposes.

Key Takeaways

  • Camera quality is critical when considering a good surveillance drone.
  • Look for a drone that gives you a comprehensive package.
  • Consider drones that are specifically designed with surveillance in mind and that provide exceptional stability.
Can any drone be used for surveillance?

The quick answer is yes, technically speaking. Any drone with a camera can be used for surveillance. However, not all drones are good for this purpose. There are unique specifications that you want to look for in a surveillance drone.

The average range for a surveillance drone is approximately 50 kilometers, however, most of these types of drones are not for the general public to use. Consumer drones that are used for surveillance may have a much less range.

Depending on the quality and type of drone that you want, you can pay as little as $250 for a surveillance drone. However, higher-end drones can cost well into the thousands of dollar range.

What Makes The Best Drone for Security Surveillance

The best drone for security surveillance should gather information and also be somewhat inconspicuous to not bring unnecessary attention to the aircraft. The drone ideally needs to be small and have a quality camera. 

Some surveillance drones may also have advanced features such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence modules.

Here is the list of features to look for, when choosing a drone for security surveillance.

  • Camera Quality: This feature is paramount when it comes to surveillance. Objects need to be clear and identifiable to provide good information to the user. Look for cameras with high-resolution images and videos.
  • Flight Time: When performing surveillance activities, you should plan what you intend to capture and map out the surveillance area carefully. Having a plan in place allows you to know ahead of time how much flight time you will need to complete the project.
  • Stability: The flying stability of your drone is critical to having quality video footage and sharp images. Drones that have less stability may produce images that are fuzzy or distorted and the video quality may also be inconclusive.
  • Obstacle Avoidance: You want to have protection in place in case your drone approaches an obstacle that you cannot see clearly. The obstacle avoidance features will cause the drone to pause and hover in place or go around the object if possible.

The Best Drones for Security Surveillance

Now that we have discussed what you should look for in a surveillance drone, let’s go over my favorite part…the drones themselves! Here is my list of the best drones for security surveillance.

1. DJI Inspire 1 (Best Overall Functions)

  • Weight: 9 kg
  • Camera: 12 MP with 4K video
  • Flight Time: 25-minutes

When it comes to quality, DJI stands nearly alone in the drone industry. The DJI family of drones gives us my #1 choice for a security surveillance drone. The DJI Inspire 1 is a super functional drone that is very good for these purposes. The design of this drone is impressive. It has a unique mechanical system that makes it very stable.

This model has all of the features needed for security surveillance and has a few unique additions, including the 360-degree panoramic gimbal. The drone has a remarkable range of about 2000 meters.

The camera is good as well. It produces 12 MP images and 4K video, both of which are good, but not superior quality. The 3-axis gimbal stabilizer gives this drone great steadiness in the air.

You can also get the pro version, which comes with the Zenmuse X5 camera, which steps up the camera quality.

While this drone sits atop my list, if I could improve anything on it, it would be the camera resolution quality. 12 MP is good, however, for surveillance purposes, I’d like a higher resolution.

My Verdict: DJI Inspire 1 has a lot of great functions. The 25-minute flight time is very good as are the features of the drone. It is, however, a very costly model.

2. DJI Phantom 3 (Best for Live HD Quality)

  • Weight: 3.9 kg
  • Camera: 2.7K HD
  • Flight Time: 23-minutes

In the number two spot comes DJI once again. The Phantom 3 is a remarkable drone and is great for surveillance uses.

The engine is powerful and quiet, which is necessary for surveillance. The camera quality is very good as is the video production. This drone’s transmission range can reach up to 5 km.

Connecting to a smartphone through the DJI app, you can get a live high-definition stream which is perfect for surveillance. This model uses both GPS and GLONASS signals for positioning measures.

The Phantom 3 doesn’t have an automatic flight mode like the Active Track or Tap Fly feature. Without this feature, the drone is not able to follow objects while you are flying the drone. I am also concerned that this drone does not give you the option to automatically descend when in a no-fly zone.

My Verdict: This is the top choice for a great surveillance drone. It is a combination of power, stability, high technology systems, and intelligent features.

3. Parrot AR 2.0 (Best for POV)

  • Weight: 1.8 kg
  • Camera: 720p HD
  • Flight Time: 12-minutes

Coming in at the number three place on my list is the Parrot AR 2.0 drone. This is an easy-to-use, smart drone with some very nice features. You can download the FreeFlight AR app to control the drone and the drone has a self-generating wifi network, which is very handy.

In addition to these features, it also has a separate smart mode function available through the app. You can preset the drone’s movements before taking flight. The 720p camera is a good one, although I’d prefer a higher-resolution camera for surveillance purposes.

One of the key functions of this drone is the Director Mode. This mode allows the user to set and change camera settings remotely and is useful when conditions change while in the air.

I wish it had a longer flight time as 12 minutes is marginal for surveillance use.

My Verdict: This is a very good choice. It is lightweight enough to use and maneuver easily but stable enough to produce usable images and videos.

4. 3DR Solo (Best Basic Surveillance)

  • Weight: 5 kg
  • Camera: Sony UMC R10C
  • Flight Time: 25-minutes

The 3DR Solo drone is another solid choice for surveillance. The camera system is very nice on this drone and it produces some excellent quality images. 

The Sony UMC R10C camera is among the best in this category. You can also replace it with any of the GoPro Hero lines of cameras for even higher quality. The camera comes with an HDMI port that allows you to connect to a smart device and get a live video stream.

The one-button takeoff and landing feature is very useful. You can suspend your flight while in the air to allow the drone to stop and take photos or videos. The advanced features on this drone are also very notable including the Orbit, Follow Me, Selfie, GPS, and Wireless Video modes.

The biggest concern here is that there are several consumer reports of malfunctions with the drone.

My Verdict: This drone is a great, functional drone that offers some good features.

5. DJI Phantom 4 Pro (Best Photography/Videography)

  • Weight: 1 kg
  • Camera: 3K/4K UHD
  • Flight Time: 30-minutes

We are now back to the DJI series drones. The Phantom 4 Pro is by far the best model on this list for photography and videography needs. However, it works well for surveillance needs also. The camera system on this drone is remarkable. It is an ultra-high-definition camera and video system that produces exceptional images and video.

The drone also has a digital live broadcasting capability that works in conjunction with the Lightbridge technology. It also has built-in sensors that keep it positioned well and causes it to navigate efficiently.

The 30-minute flight time is very good on this drone and it is well-designed with a rigid carbon fiber housing that provides great protection from any external elements.

The design of the Phantom 4 Pro is something I’d love to change. It’s a rather bulky design that sometimes makes it difficult to maneuver. I have also found that not having a built-in display on the remote is limiting.

My Verdict: If professional images from your surveillance is a priority, Phantom 4 Pro is your best choice. It does not have all the bells and whistles of some of the other drones but it is quite functional for surveillance needs.

6. DJI Mavic 3 (Best Monitoring)

  • Weight: 907 grams
  • Camera: Hasselblad 4k
  • Flight Time: 46-minutes

The DJI Mavic 3 drone is a workhorse of a drone. It has up to 46 minutes of flight time which is remarkable. This model is also very versatile. If you’re looking to make some modifications to your drone, then this one is your best choice.

With its impressive flight time, Mavic 3 is designed to stay airborne for a lengthy time. The professional grade image and video system makes it a great choice for surveillance monitoring. 

This drone has some attractive features. The omnidirectional sensing capability is excellent and allows the drone to see and avoid obstacles easily. 

The biggest concern here is the non-mechanical shutter which may cause a rolling shutter effect when taking photos. There are also blind spots in the obstacle avoidance system which DJI is reported to be addressing. It is very expensive as well.

My Verdict: This is a versatile model that gives you a lot of room to modify as needed. The modifications can leave you with a great monitoring drone.

7. YUNEEC Typhoon H (Best Flight Radius)

  • Weight: 1950 grams
  • Camera: 12.4 MP
  • Flight Time: 25-minutes

Last on my list is the YUNEEC Typhoon H drone. This is a good option with some nice advanced features and a large flight radius of approximately 1600 meters. This drone also has a great carrying capacity of about 2 kg.

Another nice feature is its speed. Given its size, it can still move quickly through the air, at about 19.4 meters per second, which can come in handy during surveillance missions. YUNEEC Typhoon H supports Intel RealSense technology that gives it some nice intelligent features, including the Follow Me mode. The camera, which produces 12.4 MP images, has a useful separate power supply module.

This drone has an advanced obstacle sensor that allows you to program optimal flight routes. This is a smaller surveillance drone which also can be helpful in this category.

While this model is listed at a 25-minute flight time, several online reviews report the drone as only having about 19 minutes of actual flight time. This is my biggest concern with this model.

My Verdict: It is a good drone to start within the surveillance drone category. It’s fairly affordable and compact and still gets the job done nicely.

Final Thoughts

Surveillance drones are very specialized designs and have become more prominent in the time that we live in. They are used for various purposes, such as border control, wildlife conservation, and military operations. 

I’ve shared with you my list of the best security surveillance drones I’ve found in the marketplace. I’ve also shared some things that you can look for when considering a surveillance drone. Hopefully, this information is useful to you and aids in your search for the best drone model.

Do you have an experience with security surveillance drones you’d like to share with us? Questions? If so, please leave your comments or questions below and I will respond to you as soon as I can.

Until next time, happy flying and stay safe!

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