How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry?

Drone carrying capacities range from approximately 2 lbs to over 500 lbs depending on the type of drone used. Recreational drones can lift on the lower end of the spectrum while commercial and professional drones can carry weights at or above the top end of the scale.

Hello to all my fellow drone enthusiasts! My name is Lavelle and I am a drone pilot and professional drone owner. Over the past decade, I have used my drones to perform all kinds of projects including photography and videography for commercial and professional use. 

In this article, I will discuss the carrying capacities of various types of drones ranging from recreational to commercial. You also will find applicable tables that you can use as a reference along with other great insights.

Key Takeaways

  • Carrying capacities vary by drone model.
  • Physical specifications contribute to drone carrying capacities i.e. motor type, propeller type, battery, and drone size.
  • Drone carrying capacity can be increased by changing frames, removing a camera and mount, and/or changing propeller type.

How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry

Here you will find some examples of the weight that popular hobby drones, police/military drones, and professional/commercial drones can carry.

Hobby Drones

Hobby drones give enthusiasts a rush of adrenaline and provide the user with unique experiences. Below are some of the popular hobby drones and their carrying capacities.

Drone ModelCarrying CapacityCarrying DistancePayload CapacityEstimated Price 
DJI Mavic Air 2.88 lbsUp to 7 miles400 grams$800
DJI Phantom 4.99 lbsUp to 4.2 miles450 grams$1300
Parrot AR 2.04.4 lbsUp to 1 mile2 kilograms$300
Syma X8C.17 lbsUp to 1 mile80 grams$100

As you can tell from the table above, recreational drones have very light carrying capacities and the actual weight limit depends on factors such as camera weight, wind, and distance.

Police and Military Drones

Police and military drones are used for very different reasons than recreational drones. Therefore, the carrying capacities vary greatly. Below is a table of information about these drone categories.

Drone ModelCarrying CapacityCarrying DistancePayload CapacityEstimated Price 
The Avenger (military)3500 lbs15,000+ Miles1.5876E+6$15 million
AAI RQ-7(military)55.8 lbsUp to 31 miles25.3 kg$15.5 million
Skydio X2D (police)330 lbsUp to 1 mile150 grams$4199
DJI Inspire 2 (police)1.24 lbsUp to 4.3 miles562.4 grams$3299

As referenced in the above table, police and military drones have varying operational uses and as such, they are vastly different in capabilities. 

Professional and Commercial Drones

These drones are typically used for professions such as photography and videography. Commercial drones are often used for construction, real estate, inspection, agriculture, and other such commercial uses. 

The table below provides information about some of the popular professional and commercial drones.

Drone ModelCarrying CapacityCarrying DistancePayload CapacityEstimated Price 
Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced.42 lbsUp to 6.2 miles193 grams$6,240
Matrice 300 RTK – Zenmuse H20T5.9 lbsUp to 9 miles2.7 kg$9,800
Matrice 210 – Zenmuse XT2 – Z30
13.2 lbs
Up to 4 miles6 kg$22,500
EVO II 640T2.3 lbsUp to 5.5 miles1043 grams$5,499

What Affects the Capacity of Drones to Carry Things 

There are many variables that contribute to the carrying capacity of drones. Some of those variables include things such as motor type, propeller type, battery size, and model size. Let’s look at these variables individually.

Motor Types

Drones have many types of motors. If you are a recreational drone user, the most common types of motors are the brush motorbrushless motor, and propeller-motor combination.

The brush motor uses an electromagnetic function to operate. These motors are typically very efficient and are small in size and not as powerful as the other motors.

The brushless motor uses a permanent magnet and boasts longer durability and dissipates weight much better than other motors. The brushless motor is often used in high-production drones.

Propeller Types

The most commonly found propellers on drones are either carbon fiber or plastic propellers:

  • The carbon fiber propellers are typically more expensive and are found on higher-end drones. 
  • The plastic propellers are normally a stock item on most recreational or non-professional use drones. These propellers are more prone to damage than carbon fiber ones. They also wear out quicker than carbon fiber ones.

Propellers also have two different types of ends. Most propellers have a tapered end while some others have a blunt end or bull nose end. 

The tapered-end propellers require less torque to rotate and are most commonly found on lower-end drones. The tapered-end ones require less energy to propel as compared to the blunt-end propellers.  

Battery Types

Typically, most drones use a lithium battery. The lithium batteries are usually “smart battery” that is able to tell battery life in real-time to the controller. 

Other types of drone batteries include nickel metal hydride and nickel-cadmium. Nickel batteries are usually less expensive but hold a shorter charge. 

Lithium batteries last longer than nickel batteries and provide a warning to users whereas nickel batteries do not.


The size of your drone plays a vital role in the carrying capacity of the aircraft. The payload of each drone takes into consideration its weight. 

The heavier your drone is, the more work it takes for the motor and battery to produce a sustainable power source for flying time and carrying capacity.

How to Improve Your Drone Capacity to Carry Weights

There are several ways to improve your drone’s carrying capacity.

Replace the Motor

By replacing your drone’s motor, you may be able to improve its carrying capacity by sheer power improvement. Each drone has a specification for the type of motor it can handle. Therefore, it’s important to always check manufacturer specifications.

Change the Frame

In some instances, you may want to change the frame on your drone. By installing a lighter-weight frame that fits your drone, you may reduce the drone’s overall weight and improve its weight capacity.

Take off Accessories

Another consideration is to take off accessories such as the propeller shroud or camera mounts which are usually installed for beginner drone users. The shroud protects the propeller from damages that normally arise from piloting errors.

Once you have mastered flying your drone, you may want to remove the shroud to lighten the drone’s overall weight.


Below you will find some answers to a few of the frequently asked questions about drone carrying capacities.

Can a Drone Carry 100 kg?

Yes, there are certain drones that can carry 100 kg or more. These drones are usually equipped with multiple motors and are to assist in rescue operations.

Can a Drone Pick Up a Human?

Yes, there are drone types that are capable of lifting an average size human being, usually in the range of 200-230 lbs.

What Is the Heaviest Weight a Drone Can Carry?

The Griff Saviour drone is listed as being able to lift up to 440 lbs not including the weight of the drone. It is listed as the number 1 drone for carrying capacity.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a new drone enthusiast or a veteran drone pilot, carrying capacities are an interest for all. There are varying factors that contribute to the carrying capacity of drones and there are a number of ways to improve a drone’s carrying capabilities. 

Have you ever had to transport a specific payload with your drone and what was your experience like? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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