This post was last updated on: September 1, 2021
We’ve come a long way since introducing drones when you were lucky to get a maximum of 5 minutes of flight per charge. Today, the battery life of drones ranges from 10 to 30 minutes on average.
BUT - to answer precisely “How long does a drone battery last?”, we have to dive into a more in-depth exploration of features that determine the battery life of a drone and the flight time you can expect.
If you doubt whether your drone functions correctly or want to know what to expect from a model you are considering getting, I will explain everything below.
I’m also going to provide some info on how to extend the battery life of your drone.
How Long Does A Drone Battery Last? The Definitive Answer
To give a more elaborate answer on how long a drone battery lasts, it’s necessary to address all the factors that influence the flight time.
Here’s a rundown of the four major determinants of how long your drone battery will last:
The Type Of Drone
Drones come in many different forms. Naturally, you will choose your fit based on whether you are a hobbyist or professional, but know that your choice will affect the durability of the battery, too.
While this isn’t the rule of thumb, the following piece of info can help you know what to expect regarding the flight time based on what type of drone you get:
Most entry-level drones for beginners will give you around 8-10 minutes of flight time, with some exceptions that can go even up to 13 minutes.
Mid-range drones - say, under $500 - will offer an average of 15-18 minutes of flight time.
High-quality, professional drones - such as 4K drones and specially made long-range drones - will give you around 25 minutes. Some extraordinary picks, like the DJI Mavic Pro 2, which is the longest flight time drone according to my analysis, will provide about 31 minutes.
Weight & Size
The general rule is:
The heavier your drone, the more power you will need to propel it.
Another thing to be considered here is the number of motors. The more motors your drone has, the more power it will require while in the air.
Both of these factors affect the battery life by drawing more power from it.
So, a compact and lightweight drone isn’t only easier to store and carry with you - it could also have a more extended range on average.
Nowadays, most manufacturers manage to achieve that perfect balance between maximum efficiency, power, and the size of the drone. You shouldn’t face a lot of trouble when trying to find a compact drone that performs well battery-wise.
Simply put, some add to the weight of the drone, while others require more power from the battery to keep the drone in the air.
All of this results in your battery draining a tad faster.
Of course, the battery itself will have the most significant impact on your drone’s flight time.
Drone batteries come in various shapes and sizes.
Back to the weight for a moment:
The bigger your drone is, the bigger the battery should be. A high-power drone battery is a key to a long flight time.
When it comes to battery composition, it’s generally better to go with LiPo batteries. Their output speed is faster, and they can store a more considerable amount of power than NiCad batteries.
The result is longer battery life.
Also, lithium batteries will last much longer before they start to degrade. While drones with lithium batteries might be a bit more expensive, it’s worth paying extra for the durability and longevity that you’re getting.
With that being said, it’s essential to maintain your drone’s battery properly to prolong its life. If you don’t take care of it, the quality will deteriorate in just a couple of months - and that’s likely something you don’t want to happen.
That brings me to the next topic.
How To Prolong A Drone’s Battery Life & Range?
Is there anything more annoying than when your drone’s battery suddenly dies in the middle of shooting an awesome video?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Check out my tips and tricks on what to do to maintain your drone’s battery properly and make the battery life more reliable:
#1 Pay Attention To The Flying Conditions
Sunny and bright days are the best conditions for using your drone, period. You should only fly it during rainy days if you are 100% certain it’s waterproof - but know that, even then, it will require more power and reduce your battery life.
Windy conditions also mean your drone will have to work harder, especially if the speed of the wind is above 20 mph. So, avoid flying your drone in strong winds, too.
Not to mention that wind increases the probability of blowing your drone away and causing it to crash into something.
#2 Get Rid Of Unnecessary Add-ons
For each flight, you should only use the gadgets that you require at the moment.
For instance, using prop guards might be helpful while you are a beginner, but make sure to remove them after you become more experienced.
By reducing the unnecessary weight, you will reduce the strain on your battery and prolong its life.
#3 Use Flight Modes To Your Advantage
When you fly your drone at a higher speed, it will also drain your battery faster.
So, whenever you can, consider using slower flight modes because they are power-efficient and will increase your flight time and the durability of your battery.
#4 Charge Your Battery Wisely & Efficiently
With the risk of being Captain Obvious here, it’s important not to leave the drone powered up when you’re not using it.
If you keep your battery in prime condition by following the tips mentioned above, it should be enough to charge it fully - that is, to 100% - every three months.
Charging it fully more often than that will reduce its capacity, which will result in a shorter lifespan.
#5 Have A Backup Plan
If you are a professional and need to get more out of your drone’s flight time, you ought to make sure you don’t run out of batteries.
It’s better to invest in one or two extra-capacity batteries that will last for about 20 minutes than to get smaller ones that only last for 10 minutes or so.
So, now you’re aware of how long does a drone battery last, based on different criteria that determine the flight time of a drone.
Does your drone’s battery last as long as it should?
If the answer is no, the tips provided above should help you minimize your battery degradation and get the maximum flight time out of your drone!