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How Loud Are Drones? (Do They Make Noise?)

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Have you ever looked up in the sky and seen a robotic flying device with blinking lights and propellers? This is a drone and it can be used to capture some amazing pictures of scenery from a sky-high perspective. 

These drones have a lot of working parts to make it soar up into the clouds. Its propellers vibrate and move rapidly to make this happen. 

Because the propellers are moving so quickly, they emit a sound. If a drone is in your area you will most likely be able to hear the drone noise.

They are not necessarily quiet devices although most aren’t really incredibly loud either. However, all drones are loud enough that they can be heard by the human ear.

Large drones when they are close to you will be about 70-80 decibels (DB) which is the approximate noise of standing next to a busy road. Once you are about 100ft that noise level will reduce significantly however you will still be able to hear the drone. Smaller drones will normally be half (or less) as loud as their larger counterparts.

Larger drones have larger propellers so they are louder. Smaller drones have smaller propellers which in turn make less noise. Some propeller shrouds will have sound-dampening materials but even these low-noise propellers will still have some noise.

Stealth propellers can also be purchased to decrease the noise. This innovation is designed to move less air and in turn, lower the amount of noise that is produced.

These special propellers can have an effect on your battery life and flight time so make sure to take that into account before you go changing out your old propellers.

Hobby drones are known to be noisy enough that you will hear their distinctive sound pretty easily. Even the quietest drones are never completely silent. Because of the vibrations the spinning drone propellers make, all drones produce a buzzing sound when in use. 

The military may have a silent drone for stealth missions or drone surveillance or have one that is close to being completely silent but as far as normal consumer drones go, they are pretty loud devices. 

The average noise pollution of a drone is about 75 to 80 decibels when it is 3 to 5 feet away from you. The sound is similar to a loud vacuum cleaner.

A quieter drone will produce a sound that is about 60 decibels. 

However, the higher the drone is or the farther it is away from you the lower the drone’s decibel levels will be. The drone noise levels will be especially hard to hear when it is flying a few hundred feet in the air.

That will make it hard to hear the drone over traffic noise or other noise around you. 

Another thing that affects how loud a drone is will depend on the amount of thrust that you are using. The higher the RPM of your drone the louder it will be. Your drone’s propulsion system and how hard you are flying the drone will affect the acoustic signature of your UAV.

Different drone manufacturers will have louder or quieter drones as well. For example, a generic drone will normally be much louder than the more expensive DJI models like the DJI Mavic Air, DJI Spark, DJI Phantom, etc.

Saying this, most quadcopters are rather noisy when near the ground unless you purchase one that is quieter. There are also some ways you can try to reduce the sound the propeller of your drone is making which I will go into later in this article. 

A drone is not likely to sneak up on you since you will be able to hear its humming sound. You can hear the drone flying in the air and it is not a quiet aircraft. 

To see the most popular drones just click here. 

Are Some Drones Quiet? 

There you are enjoying your drone flight when someone mentions how loud it is. Or maybe your neighbors constantly complain that the buzzing sound gets a bit old after a while. 

If you are looking for a quieter drone, there are some that are quieter than your average drone, but remember that because of how they are made, you cannot purchase a drone that doesn’t make a sound at all.

Some drones can be quieter than the average consumer drone but all drones will make noise to some extent. 

Now, some drones are quiet like the DJI Pro Platinum which is said to be 60 percent quieter than the other Mavic models. The loudest this drone ever gets is 60 decibels. 

Another is the Parrot Mambo which is considered the cheapest quiet drone. The sound it makes doesn’t get above conversation level sound. 

Then there’s the Yuneec Q500 which keeps its vibrations in check thanks to the insulator material on its body. The DJI Phantom 3 Pro has a feature that prevents the drone from shaking making it quieter as well. This feature also helps the aircraft to get clearer photos. 

The Funksy 913 drone is small and the sound it produces is similar to a high-pitched conversation. 

The DJI Mavic 2 is another quiet drone that resembles the sound of driving in a car at about 60 mph. 

The MJX B3 Bugs 3 sounds like you are running a small vacuum cleaner and is cheaper than the DJI drones. 

Then there is the Holy Stone HS720E which offers a lot of features with less noise. The Holy Stone HS160 Pro is lightweight and a good starter drone for beginners. 

Lastly, the Parrot PF728000 Anafi drone blocks out unnecessary noises normally produced by drones. Keep in mind that more expensive drones will be better quality but if you want a quieter drone so you don’t annoy your neighbors, these are some great options.

Can You Hear A Drone Flying? 

Some people may get annoyed by the high-pitched noise a drone makes. Then there are those who may be a little worried that a drone could be flying right above them and they won’t hear it. 

This however is not the case, You will hear a buzzing sound as well as see the device in the air.

You can hear a drone when it is flying especially in a quiet residential area because of all the distinct sounds the device makes.

Since we’ve talked a lot about quiet drones, let’s take a quick look at the noisiest drones. The DJI Inspire 1 & 2, DJI Phantom 4, and the Mavic Air are considered to be the loudest drones. 

If the sound doesn’t bother you then these are still great drones. But if you’re sensitive to the loud buzzing sounds, these will be the drones to stay away from. 

In the end, all consumer drones will make a sound you can hear and none are totally quiet especially when close to you or your property. 

Knowing this, there isn’t a drone that can sneak up on you and video you without you knowing it is there. First of all, you will hear its buzzing sound, and second, It will have to be really close to get a clear image. 

The reason it is noisy is because of all the features it has and how fast the people move to bring it up into the air. When a drone is flying, its propellers are moving really fast and this makes a sound as it hovers. 

So if a drone is flying above you you will know it.

How Do I Make My Drone Quieter? 

You are shooting a video with your drone making sure all the images are perfect. When you play back the recording you notice a humming sound in the background that takes away from your beautiful images. 

You need a way to make it quieter.

There are some ways you can make your drone quieter by following some simple steps.

First, you can replace the propellers with a “raked wingtip”. This is a more acoustic-friendly designed propeller blade to make the drone quieter. 

Next, drones with electric motors are quieter so to reduce the sound coming from the main rotors you can install a simple motor glider to help with the unwanted sound. 

Another way you can make your drone quieter is by using noise reduction shrouds of nano-fiber materials to capture the sounds it is making and direct them upwards. This doubles as a protective covering from objects for the blades as well.

To make the drone quieter you can also use large and slow-spinning propellers. Since most of the sound comes from the rapid-spinning propellers, by replacing them with slow-spinning propellers you can reduce the noise it makes and reduce the decibels for a lower sound frequency. 

The last tip for a quieter drone is you can use some sandpaper to sand down the surface of the propellers or even just make your own. A smooth surface on the propeller will produce less sound and when you sand them down or create your own blades you can make them however you want.

Final Thoughts 

Flying a drone can be an exciting adventure. However, drones are usually noisy and not many of them are quiet. 

Some quiet drones can be purchased but they are never complete without sound. If you want to make your drone quieter, try replacing the propellers or putting on noise-reduction shrouds. 

If you want a quiet drone, consider purchasing one of the quieter models. A drone is noisy and you can hear it as the aircraft hovers in the sky.