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How Loud Are Drones? (Full Drone Noise Breakdown)

Updated in 2022 by Paul Posea
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If you’re planning to buy your first drone and are wondering whether or not the noise your drone will make will be a hassle, this article is for you. Checking how loud your drone becomes doubly important if you live in a calm area, as drone noise often travels far.

On average, a drone will produce a 80 decibel sound. Bigger enterprise drones are on the higher end of that average. To give you an idea of how loud that is, a vacuum cleaner produces 65 decibels on average. 

That’s right, drones can be louder than a vacuum cleaner, only there’ll be no walls to keep the sound from bothering the people around you. There are several ways that you can use to make your drone quieter.

Why Are Drones So Loud?

You might be wondering just what causes the intense noise that’s characteristic of most drones. The answer to that is simple…

Drone propellers are the biggest factor when it comes to drone noise. Propellers spin at a fast rate, displacing air in the process. The pressure created from their spinning is the main cause of the noise. 

Sure, the motor also causes a little bit of noise, but that’s drowned compared to the noise emitted by propellers. Propellers come a dime a dozen though and can have varying noise emission depending on two things: The shape of the propeller blades and the diameter of said blade.

The Shape of the Propeller Blade 

The less aerodynamic the propeller blades, the more noise it will make. It’s why DJI is putting some effort into redesigning their propellers, and coming out with “silent propellers”.

The Diameter of the Blade

The reason drones make noise is because the propellers spin at a fast rate to displace air around them. So what happens when the propellers are long?

The answer is simple, they’ll spin at a slower rate than shorter propellers, displacing air with less speed and therefore creating less pressure around them, which will mean less noise. To put this logic into perspective, a helicopter’s blade has an RPM of 400 on average, while a small drone has an average of 4500 RPM… Yes, size matters when it comes to propellers.

Drone Noise Compared to Other Household Items

I think the best way to drive the point home is to show you this graph by WeTalkUav comparing drone noises to various household items (there are some items that aren’t considered “household items” per se in this graph).

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As you can see, drones on average are only *slightly* less noisy than a leaf blower. So yeah… they’re loud.

And not just loud, contrary to a vacuum cleaner for example, drones have a high pitched noise that annoys most people. So it might be a good idea to give your neighbors a heads up before flying your drone in your backyard.

How Far Can Drone Noise Travel?

This is probably what you’re here for. Well, I have the perfect video for you regarding this. In this video, a test of noise per distance is conducted to both the DJI Mavic Pro and the Inspire. 

The reason for that is to compare two “extremes”, with the Mavic Pro being considered one of the quietest drones out there and the Inspire one of the loudest.

If you don’t have the time to watch the whole video, I got you covered. Below are two tables summarizing its content.

DJI Mavic Pro noise by distance

DISTANCENOISE LEVELSOUNDS LIKE
0 feet70dbInside a car at 60 miles per hour
25 feet56dbMusic in the background
50 feet52dbNormal conversation
100 feet45.5dbNormal home noise

DJI Inspire noise by distance

DISTANCENOISE LEVELSOUNDS LIKE
0 feet83dbA leaf blower
25 feet68dbHeated conversation
50 feet65.5dbLoud music in the background
100 feet55.5dbNormal background music

The information above is more than enough to give you a solid idea on whether you’ll be annoying your neighbors with your drone or not. A piece of advice, base your decision on the info from the Mavic Pro, as few drones are as loud as the Inspire.

How Loud Are DJI Drones?

The information we covered so far might be a turn off for some people. In fact, it might even make you reconsider buying a drone if that was your intention. That doesn’t need to be the case as there are some drones that are quiet enough for the noise to be bearable. (by you AND the people surrounding you).

I’ve already covered these drones in depth in my previous article, but in case you wanted a quick overview, here is a table that tells you exactly the best “silent” drones I’ve found.

DroneFlight timeRangeCamera Price
DJI Mavic 231 minutes10 kilometers4K in 24/30p$2,599
Altair Aerial AA10810 minutes500m720p$110
Parrot Mambo9 minutes100mHD 720p
$120
DJI Spark30 minutes2 kilometersFHD 1920 × 1080 30p$500 
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum30 minutes7 kilometers4K @ 24 fps$1,149

Can You Make Your Drone Quieter?

Yes, absolutely. In some cases, you can reduce your drone noise yourself to make it quieter by up to 10 decibels, that makes a huge difference.

 In fact, I’ve dedicated a whole article just to discuss ways that you can use right this instant to make your drone more quiet.

I’m not going to go in detail, you’re free to check my other article for that, but here are the 5 ways that you can use to make a drone more quiet:

  • Buy “silent” propellers
  • Buy bigger propellers (remember what we said about the diameter of the propeller?)
  • Consider using propellers with more blades
  • Sand off the manufacturer logo on the propellers
  • Clean your propellers!

As you can see, ALL of my suggestions have something to do with propellers. Because like I said, it’s where 99% of a drone’s noise comes from.

Final Thoughts

Truth is, there is no way to have a completely silent drone, we just don’t have that technology yet. You can however either buy drones that are known for their low noise, or make some effort and apply the tips I showed you to make your drone more quiet.

Just keep in mind, drone noise will always be constant, and you’ll probably annoy a few people, so don’t sweat it.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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