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Types of Drones: Learning More About Best UAVs

Drone types
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Drones have become very popular recently as people are using these devices for a variety of purposes. Whether it is for racing, for recording videos and taking pictures or just to have something fun to play with in the air, drones are truly unique aerial devices that are worth having. The best part is that there are a wide variety of types of drones out there; so many that anyone could actually find a good fit for their needs.

These great drones include an assortment of quality features and some of them are even used with very special applications in mind. Others are made to where they are powered by very specific energy sources although a battery is typically used in most cases. Certain types of drones are designed with a specific activity in mind and this leads to a very specific body design and technical features.

But, before we get in deeper, let’s see the types we are going to discuss today:

  • Quadcopters
  • Helicopters
  • Devices that support a GPS system
  • Drones that are ready-to-fly
  • UAVs that designed for tricks
  • Devices created especially for Photography
  • Delivery drones
  • Drones used for racing
  • Devices that support a different fueling system (gas-powered, nitro-powered)
  • Endurance drones

As you can see, the list is pretty long so let’s get to it!

Quadcopters

The quadcopter is the first and most popular drone you can find in the market. This is an option that uses 4 rotors organized in a square pattern. The rotors are arranged onto each individual corner of the quadcopter’s body. This allows for an even amount of support to get the drone off the ground and to make it turn in different directions.

Quadcopters

Most quadcopters are headless models that don’t require you to keep it pointing in one direction for it to be controlled properly. Also, these are often small in size and can be flown right out of the box depending on what you order. Some models may even come with a camera built on the inside. Others will at least offer a mounting surface that allows you to secure a small HD camera on it.

A quadcopter, like with most other drones, is made with a battery. This can be recharged as needed to give your drone energy. However, you might not be able to use it for too long as it can often work for about five to ten minutes at a time.

GPS drones

A GPS drone is a model that will link up to GPS signals from satellites. This kind of drone uses this as a mean of identifying where it can go or where its base (or point of origin) is. These drones can return to you in the event that it gets out of your control reach or it starts to run out of battery power.

GPS drones

In particular, the drone will identify the GPS location of where it started up and automatically return the device to that location. This should make it easier for you to keep from losing the drone. It will require a clear sight of the sky so it can actually identify the GPS signals that it needs for it to work properly.

GPS for drones

You can use a GPS drone by programming it through a computer feature to move to a particular destination. You will typically need to use a separate program, a link to a computer and a memory card to help you get such a drone to link up to a destination you want it to reach. You can get much more information on this topic by reading our article about GPS drones.

RTF drones

RTF drones are Ready-to-Fly drones. That is, you can get such a drone to start working for you right after you buy it, take it out of the box and charge it up. This is typically reserved for smaller quadcopters and is for those who are new to the world of drone flying.

RTF drone

It is often easier to learn how to fly one of these drones than anything else, thus making them ideal for beginners.

Trick drones

Trick drones are designed to be used as smaller toys. That is, they are items that can pull off barrel rolls, flips and other quick and easy maneuvers.

These smaller drones are typically a few ounces in weight and only about ten inches in length at the most. Also, while some of these drones might come with their own built-in cameras, those cameras are typically very small. They may not record things in HD quality either.

Trick drones

These drones are often used by casual drone operators. They are also ideal for those who are new to the world of drones and want to learn more about how they can work. To find out which models are great for a newcomer in this hobby, we suggest checking out our article about the best drones for a beginner.

Helicopter drone

Whereas most drones are made with 4 rotors, a helicopter drone is different in that it uses a single rotor similar to what you’d get out of a typical helicopter. That is, the drone is like a remote-control helicopter. It is ideal for when you want to keep a drone still in the air for an extended period of time.

This is useful for it is often easier to land and can easily stay in one place at a time. It can include landing bars on the bottom part that are similar to what a real helicopter has as well.

Helicopter drone

However, it does have a head that will point in one direction so you will need to make sure you keep tabs on where that head is going. Also, it is not as agile as a typical drone. It may not be as fast either.

Delivery drones

Delivery drones are designed to transport materials. A delivery drone will work with an anchor or basket-like feature on the bottom part. This will be linked up to the drone’s body to allow it to carry items of all sorts.

Delivery drones are useful for when someone needs to get an item that is a few pounds in weight transported through a particular distance. These drones are especially being developed by Amazon as a mean of making it easier for the retail giant to quickly deliver items in certain parts of the country.

Delivery drones

These devices could, technically, be used in military situations as well. These include drones used to drop off materials for people to use in the combat field.

These may also be used as aid drones. They can deliver first aid materials and other items to a person who needs medical attention while waiting for proper authorities to reach a certain spot. This may be worthwhile in areas where mountain ranges and other large bodies might make it harder for people to access certain sites.

The amount of weight that such a drone can handle at a given time will vary by each model. Such a drone can work with up to twenty to thirty pounds at a time before it can start to struggle with trying to lift items. For a betetr insight on this type of drones, we suggest checking out our article about delivery drones.

Photography drones

While cameras on many drones are designed to take videos, photography drones are designed with still images in mind. That is, they can come with their own built-in cameras designed to take pictures.

Photography drones are typically designed with HD-quality cameras that are designed with guards around their lenses. The guards help to keep the lenses from being at risk of damages from weather conditions in an area or any debris that might fly around.

A photography drone typically has to be easy to keep steady. It is often easier for a drone like this to take clear pictures if the drone can actually stop moving. This can keep the blur effects in a shot from being visible.

Photography drones

The controller used for such a drone will often come with a button. This button can be pressed to allow the camera to take pictures. Not all controllers will have real-time shots of whatever the camera is taking a picture of. There are times when you could get a smartphone or tablet to link up to a drone through a Wi-Fi connection though so you can get a quick look at what is on its camera.

These drones don’t have to be very large. They just need to be big enough to where you can easily get a camera to fit in on the inside. Still, you will need to see if the drone you want to use for photography purposes is of a size that you can use without having to get a license for it. You can get much more information on this topic by reading our article about the best aerial photography drones.

Racing drones

A racing drone is designed to be used for racing purposes in mind, hence the name. Such a drone can travel about 40 to 60 miles per hour in some of the best cases. Also, they are fast and fun to play with.

Racing drones

Racing drones can work quicker with controllers that require their own unique radio connections. These can be used with a variety of frequencies to ensure that the connection between a drone and its controller will not interfere with any other signals. This is important for cases where two or more drones are being flown at the same time during a race.

These drones can be designed with slim bodies and will not be impacted by wind conditions. However, such a drone might require a much stronger engine than a more traditional electric engine. If you are interested in this topic, we suggest checking out our review of the one of the best racing drones, namely, the Arris X-Speed FPV 250 drone.

Gas-powered drone

Batteries are typically used to get most drones to run. However, some drones can work with other materials to power them up. Like the name suggests, a gas-powered drone is a drone that runs on gas instead of an electric battery.

Gas powered drone

This kind of drone can operate for a longer period of time before it has to be charged up again. This is thanks to how you just have to add gas into the drone when necessary. Also, this can often work at greater heights as these drones are typically a little stronger than other models.

However, such a drone can be heavier and more complicated. You might have to check the oil in the drone on occasion to ensure that the drone is actually working and isn’t at risk of breaking down while in flight. If this topic sounds interesting to you, you might get a much better insight by reading our article about the gas powered quadcopters.

Nitro-powered drone

A nitro-powered drone is similar to a gas-powered one in that it needs a particular fuel for it to work. However, in this case, nitro fuel is required.

Nitro fuel combines nitromethane with methanol to create a stronger drive within a device. It allows for better propulsion and can burn cleaner. The most important part is that it brings in oxygen into the combustion process. This allows the engine to run smoothly.

Nitro-powered drone

A nitro-powered drone will more than likely be lighter in weight and agiler. This should be rather easy for you to move around in the sky.

It might be a challenge to find nitro fuel sources in some cases though. In addition, nitro fuel is the only thing that can be used in one of these drones.

You can use a conversion kit on some models to convert a nitro-powered drone into a gas-powered one but this will often require a bit of effort and plenty of construction to help you get it ready for your use.

Endurance drones

An endurance drone is a larger type of drone that is designed to be used for as long as possible. This can fly several thousand feet up in the air and can run for hours at a time. They are typically used for professional surveillance needs and for military demands as well.

These drones are designed for use by the government and military because they are for use beyond the 400 foot height threshold relating to whether or not an operator needs a license in order to operate a drone.

Endurance drones

Such drones like these may work with stronger batteries that are powered by massive generators. Some drones may also use fuel although whether they will use gas or nitro will vary by each model. Still, you are not likely to come across endurance drones when finding ones to get as these are typically reserved for larger governmental entities.

The options for you to look for when finding great drones for your flying needs are varied and will certainly be worth exploring. Be sure to think about your need for a drone, the features of that drone and whether or not you need a license for it so you can choose an option that is right for you.

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • Emily B.

    Nitro-powered drone? Seriously? It is supposed to be very fast. Is it? I’ve never seen this before.

  • You must try it!

  • Jonathan Richardson

    These delivery drones really did catch my eye. imagine what this can mean for future transport of people and goods. Impressive

  • Phil Nelson

    Those gas powered drones are some serious machines. From what I know, they can do heavy duties and fly more. Also, you can refill them instantly and get them ready for a new flying session.

    • That is my favorite feature! 🙂 Just fill it up and you are ready to go!

  • Marvin St. James

    Trick drones are great collector’s items. Tiny drones are fascinating. My first one is a Cheerson CX-10C. It has a camera for taking aerial videos and photos. With just a click of button, it can perform 360-degree flips. Cool for less than $30.

  • Jack Brown

    That is the beauty of these little speed demons! You will have hours of fun for an unbelievably low price, and what is more important, you will improve your flying skills before moving on to a more serious, and more expensive model. Thanks for the comment Marvin!

  • Erna Brook

    Recreational quadcopters and racing drones have been the most popular among other types of drones. And I wonder what’s the main reason behind manufacturing majority of drones as quadcopters, when manufacturers know about the stability of hexa and octocopters. Or is it affordability? Some of the models you mentioned above I have never heard about them before. Thank you for the light dear Jack.

  • Trevor Nel

    Among these drones I’m fascinated by the delivery drones, but don’t know if they will be viable to deliver from one location to another without the FAA regulations restricting such moves. I guess we won’t have to wait too long for our Amazon products to be delivered once these drones become more active.

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