If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve had enough with your drone’s noise. I don’t blame you, drone noise can be quite annoying. The continuous bee-like noise, a signature of most drones, is a turn off for most people.
I myself struggled with this problem for a while. Which in turn made me spend hours and hours researching how to deal with the noise, ruining my own drone’s propellers in the process, but finally finding ways to lower the noise and make it bearable.
Which brings us to the topic of this article, 7 ways to reduce drone noise (and finally bear to fly your drone indoors).
So there are many tutorials out there on how to get one’s drone to be silent. Many of the methods showcased in these tutorials are useless at best, and detrimental to your drones propellers at worst. That might leave you thinking, can drones actually be made to be silent?
Drones can be made quieter, not completely silent. There is currently no way to make a drone completely silent, but there are multiple ways to reduce the noise your drone makes. Drastically, in some cases.
So why are drones loud when they usually barely weigh more than 5 pounds? The reason for that is simple: Propellers.
Sure, the motor may cause some noise too, but you’ll barely hear the motor’s noise over the propellers' loud bee 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.
There are two factors that influence how loud a propeller will be:
The less aerodynamic the propeller blades, the more noise it will make. It’s as simple as that, and the reason why DJI is putting some effort into redesigning their propellers, and coming out with “silent propellers”.
This is probably the most important factor when it comes to drone noise. As I said above, 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.
As someone who enjoys flying their drone indoors, I just couldn’t bear the noise anymore. And like I said, I spent hours researching this topic to finally find what works and what doesn’t. These 7 tips helped me reduce my Mavic Pro’s noise, let’s get right into it!
This is the simplest way that I’ve found to make your drone quieter. It's also quite cheap because propellers, even original ones, don’t really cost much. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty and do some work, it’s a solid option.
I’m using “silent” between quotes because they aren’t actually silent, but compared to normal propellers they’re really quiet. The reason for that is because generally, silent propellers have tapered tips and less pitch.
All of the above results in fewer rounds per minute needed to lift the drone up, which makes the propeller noise a little more bearable.
If you’re wondering whether investing in a silent propeller is worth it or not, check out this video I made a while ago comparing my Mavic Pro’s silent propellers that I got and its standard ones:
Verdict: For the small price of $13, they’re totally worth it. You can get them from DJI here.
I said it before, when it comes to propellers, size matters. Why? Because the bigger the surface area of the propeller, the more lift its blade will produce which means less spinning speed (lower RPM rate).
Like I said, drone noise directly correlates with the spinning speed of its propellers. And yes, something as simple as changing the propellers with bigger ones will make a BIG (pun intended) difference.
There is only one downside though, a drone's motors will usually be compatible with the propellers it came with. Bigger propellers mean more weight that the motors will have to move, which may wear them down over time. So consider yourself warned.
This is actually a great method to reduce drone noise. It’s a well known fact that the more blades a propeller has the softer the sound it emits.
The reason for that is simple, more blades means more surface area which means more lift and fewer rounds per minute to displace the same amount of air a 2-blade propeller does. The more blades a propeller has the slower it’ll be spinning, making it quieter.
Most drones come with two blades, especially the DJI ones, so you’ll have to change the blades yourself. I’ve found a really good video that shows the difference adding blades to propellers makes for noise reduction.
This made me ruin at least two pairs of propellers so be careful with using this method. That being said, I've found that sanding off the logo in the propellers has made my drone quieter and the noise that was once like a bee-swarm turned into a slight humming noise.
The reason for that is that logos by the manufacturer add bumps to propellers, messing with their aerodynamics. A simple way to deal with that is to sand it off with some sandpaper and then touch it up with a scotch pad in the end for a smooth finish.
Among all the ways to reduce noise discussed so far, this is the easiest and cheapest one. Many times clay, dust, dried mud or some other substance will build up on the propellers from use.
Any substance that is stuck to the propellers (like the logo) can mess with the aerodynamics, producing in turn more sound. So make sure to clean your whole drone regularly.
I hope you learned a thing or two on how to make a drone quieter. As you can see, there is really no way for us to make our drones completely silent, but there are many ways to make them at least a little bit more quiet. At least one, if not all, of the tips I outlined above will help you, so be sure to try them out.