Real Estate photography needs you to put your best foot forward if you hope to close more sales. If you are using a drone, then you need the best drone that money can buy. If you don’t know what to look for, this guide will help you get the best drone for real estate.
We did extensive research on some top drones in the industry, looking at specific features for real estate photography. After plenty of research and consulting other experts’ opinions, we settled on the following as the best drones for real estate.
If you are a fan of DJI, the Mavic Air Quadcopter will easily get your attention. We recommend this drone if you find other DJI options such as the Phantom 4 Pro too pricey for your budget.
The drone comes with a 100Mbps data rate which makes it super easy to capture real estate images and transfer them to other devices.
The DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter is a folding drone that is a bit larger than the Spark but smaller than the Mavic Pro. If you fold it, the device can sit pretty well into the palm of your hand so you can easily carry it with you as you move from one room or property to the next.
From the outside of the drone, you will find downward and forward-facing obstacle avoidance sensors. The inclusion of these two sensors ensures that your drone is 100% safe from hitting any objects during photography.
When it comes to speed, there are only a few peers. The drone rates at 42.5 mph and can go up to 44 mph. This means taking more real estate images and videos in less time. However, if you want fully stabilized real estate footage, 22mph or 19 mph is good enough.
With the Phantom 4 Pro, DJI continues to give its competitors a run for their money in real estate photography where quality and clarity of images are paramount. It features a camera that captures 4K images at up to 60fps. The device also shoots 20MP Raw images and JPG photos.
Its body is identical to the Phantom 4 Pro Plus although it is much cheaper. The device measures approximately 7.0 x 11.5 x 11.5 inches and weighs only 3.1 pounds. You need to get FAA registration before taking your new Phantom 4 Pro up for your real estate photography.
It comes with obstacle avoidance sensors from both the front and rear sides to give it maximum protection. The downward-facing sensors work with the Vision Positioning System for better stability on low-altitude flights. The device features the Terrain Follow flight mode that keeps it safe when flying over hilly landscapes. This makes it ideal to use if your properties are located in hilly areas.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone comes with both beginner and Tripod modes for obstacle recognition from all four sides so that you do not go hitting roofs and walls when capturing images.
Both modes will slow down the device's maximum operating speed, although the Tripod mode goes further and allows you to make extra fine adjustments to the position through control sticks.
When you fly the drone in sports mode, it can reach a maximum speed of 45 mph. However, the obstacle detection modes won't work at this level. So, if your properties are located in areas with a lot of obstacles, we recommend you stick to a slower speed.
The device comes with a comfortable remote control with several buttons that you will have to learn before you master how to use. That way, you won’t have to move from room to room while photographing a property.
If you do not want to follow the FAA laws on drone registration, the DJI Mavic Mini is the best option. It weighs 249 grams, sidestepping the requirement that you should register all drones weighing 250g and above before using them. The size also makes it portable and easy to use in difficult zones like small corridors or streets crowded with buildings.
The drone comes with three-axis mechanical stabilization and includes other handy features such as a swappable microSD card slot to allow you to expand your album for property photos. It is collapsible with arms that fold and unfold whenever you want.
The device does not come with obstacle avoidance sensors like the Phantom 4 Pro or Phantom 4 Pro Plus. However, it has two bases for a smooth landing at the end of the job.
DJI Mavic Mini allows you to capture stunning indoor photographs. It comes with a 2.7K camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal to produce top-quality stills and videos. It has the new DJI app that simplifies your flying experience.
With long battery life, a collapsible design, good quality image, video capture, and the fact that you don’t need to register it with the FAA, we think the DJI Mavic Mini is the best option if you are on a budget.
One notable thing with the DJI Spark Remote Control Combo is its size and heft. The device weighs 11 ounces and measures 7 inches from one propeller mount to another (diagonally). This makes it easy to carry from one property to the next.
The device comes with a 12-megapixel camera. While this might not be good enough for professional real estate photographers, it is enough for beginners. Even with that, the images from the Spark's still camera is good enough that you can show them to your clients or post them on your website.
The same quality applies to the videos you capture with this device. The drone camera captures 1080p videos that are good enough for someone who wants to capture the interiors of a house.
DJI Spark with Remote Control Combo is a practical example of a small-sized drone. However, the size should not deceive you as the device comes with a full pack of modern drone technology. It features obstacle detections, the ability to recognize human hand gestures, GPS, and stabilization features.
It can reach a top speed of 31 mph in sports mode and flies continuously for 15 minutes. With that, you can capture videos of an entire property (both exterior and interior) before bringing it down.
The drone has an up to 1.2-mile control range and enables you to control, edit and share photos with DJI go app.
The Ruko F11 is one exciting drone that every real estate photographer should try. It comes with some high-end features that you can never find in other drones within the same price range.
The Ruko F11 Quadcopter provides you with up to 30 minutes of fly time on a full charge, making it one of the industry's longest flyers. It comes with a spare battery, so you can always replace the first one and get up to one hour flight time. With the two batteries you can capture two or three properties which is good for a full day's work.
When it comes to controls, the drone gives up to a 1.2 km control range when operating it on a transmitter. However, when you are doing live video transmission, the range cuts to below 500 meters, which is still good enough to reach different property landscapes.
This drone features a useful return home function that ensures that your drone doesn't disappear on the horizon.
The device features powerful brushless motors that keep it steady in windy conditions and obstacle-ridden environments. This makes it a good fit if you are taking property footage on a windy day or in an environment with a lot of obstacles.
The device features a 4K UHD camera that gives you high-resolution footage to give your perfect clear photos of every aspect of the property you are capturing. The camera captures 2.7K videos and stills to 8.3 MP. With that, you will get very detailed images for your real estate photography sites.
The drone also comes with GPS Assisted Intelligent Flight function with an orbit mode, custom flight path mode, and a follow-me operation. With these features, you can easily keep track of your drone and decide which areas of the property you want to focus on.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ is a super-powered device with remote control and a built-in screen, an upgrade from the traditional smartphone controller. The screen is like a small tablet with a very responsive touch screen and runs on an Android operating system. This makes it user-friendly especially for realtors who are just learning the basics of drone photography.
The remote control features a 16GB built-in storage capacity and a micro SD card slot if you want to expand it further. With that space, you will have all your real estate work in only one convenient place.
It also comes with a full HDMI port if you're going to display your images on a bigger screen. This makes it stand out from the other products in this guide such as the DJI Spark and Mavic Mini which don’t have HDMI capabilities.
The drone also has obstacle avoidance features that make it ideal for use in cases where the property is situated in a complicated landscape.
What’s more, the Phantom 4 Pro Plus reaches a 4.3-mile signal range and has a large 5,870 mAh battery that gives you up to 30 minutes on air. Its indoor flight sensors function distances as far as 100 feet away to allow you to get perfect photos of an interior design of a house. With that, you get steady hovering even without GPS.
In order to get a good drone for real estate photography, you will need to understand your individual needs. Then you’ll be able to get a drone that satisfies some or all of these needs. While there are many features that make a drone great for real estate marketing, we believe the following are the most important.
The camera is at the center of effective real estate photography. For this reason, it is only logical that you get the best. We recommend that you go for a 4K drone camera if you are looking for top-notch performance. These include the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+, Ruko F11, and Phantom 4 Pro.
Given that most platforms like YouTube and even modern smartphones can play 4K content, this would be a great way to showcase the beauty of your properties. With a 4K camera, you will be able to shoot crisp and sharp images that clearly showcase the different aspects of your property.
However, if you are on a budget or just don’t want to go all the way in already, a lower resolution like Full HD 1080p of the DJI Spark will be just fine.
This simply refers to how the drone performs while in motion. In this regard, the two most important features to check are drone speed and battery life. The speed comes in handy if you are trying to capture real estate images and at the same time capture images of fast-moving objects like cars or boats.
For instance, our overall best recommendation can go up 44mph while the cheapest option clocks 25mph. Other more powerful drones like the DJI Inspire 2 can hit 58mph. The speed you choose depends on how fast you want your drone to go and whether you plan on capturing other fast-moving objects or just the property.
As for the battery, go for at least 25 minutes of battery life. While this looks pretty short, it’s actually long enough to capture enough content for your real estate needs. However, if you are just starting out, you can go with a cheaper option like the DJI Spark which runs for 15 minutes on air.
We do, however, recommend that you carry an extra battery just in case the one you have runs out faster than you anticipated.
Transmission refers to how data travels from the drone to other devices. Most drones use Radio Frequency (RF) to transmit data to and from the Drone. These transmissions include live video, drone location, location of the pilot, remaining flight time, altitude, airspeed, and other relevant information.
For a dynamic video experience and uninterrupted transmission, we recommend that you choose WiFi transmission. This is faster, cheaper, and is supported by most modern drones. Our cheapest recommendation, the Mavic Mini supports WiFi transmission.
The latest transmission technology in the market is OcuSync2.0. It is faster, more reliable, and can cover longer flight distances compared to WiFi. This transmission is supported by most enterprise and professional DJI drones like the Mavic Air.
The transmission you choose will depend on your property location. For instance, WiFi doesn't work in areas that have signal blocking objects.
How much does the drone weigh? Is it foldable? These are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself when it comes to drone portability. Considering that you will be moving around with it a lot, it is vital that you go with a portable option.
For this reason, portable drones like the DJI Mavic Mini come in handy. As the name suggests, this drone is smaller than most standard size drones. This means that you can shoot on the go and not feel like you are carrying something bulky.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a good combination between power and portability, options like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro will be a good fit. While they are bigger than the Mavic Mini, they are still pretty easy to carry around.
While getting the best pictures and video is the core purpose of real estate photography, safety at the site is just as important. This means that the drone you choose should not pose any dangers to yourself, the environment, the drone, and other people you might be working with.
DJI’s line of drones has some flight safety measures to keep you safe while shooting. These include GPS positioning and additional vision sensors for when you are shooting in a complicated environment.
Of course, pricier and advanced drones will have more safety features compared to the cheaper and entry-level ones like the DJI Spark.
If you don’t plan on hiring a professional drone operator and prefer to do the job yourself, you will need a drone that is easy to use. Specifically, the software and remote controller and the aircraft itself should be user-friendly.
If you end up buying a drone with complicated operation, you will take substandard real estate images and consequently, your marketing will suffer. Therefore, you should look out for a drone with an easy-to-use setup that can help you to quickly develop your photography skills.
The whole point of real estate photography is to present your properties to a potential customer better than your competitors. That is why it is important that you consider drones with additional smart features such as intelligent flight modes.
The intelligent flight mode enables you to capture more content in a shorter time. WIth this function, even inexperienced pilots can take some of the most awe-inspiring real estate images. This feature comes in handy if you need intricate flight patterns to produce some dramatic footage that will excite your customers.
You need the best devices to get high-quality pictures for your target clients and sites. We believe that you now have what it takes to be at the top of the real estate game with the best drone in the industry.