The roof of a commercial or residential building can be easy to ignore, but it’s a mistake you don’t want to make. Weathering and general wear and tear can compromise the whole structure of a roof, leaving you in need of emergency repairs and with a hefty bill.
The traditional response has been manual roof inspections, but these are quickly becoming outdated. Manual roof inspections are time consuming, costly & pose a threat to the safety of workers.
In contrast, drone roof inspections are fast, cost-effective and safe.
Whether you’re a roofing contractor, property manager or roofing professional, the efficiency gains of incorporating drones into your inspections are too good to ignore.
But how do you decide which drone is best for the job? To help you out, we’ve covered the six best drones for roof inspections.
The 6 best drones for roof inspections
Our number one pick for the best drone for roof inspections is the Skydio 2+.
Perhaps, the standout benefit of this drone for roof inspections is its 360-degree obstacle avoidance. It features six 4K navigation cameras. That means the Skydio 2+ is constantly aware of its surroundings and won’t crash into obstacles. This makes it a particularly useful tool for roof inspections as it allows you to get up close and personal to examine any concerning features on a roof, without the worry of damaging the drone.
This combination of autonomous AI, obstacle avoidance, and excellent camera quality makes the Skydio 2+ our top drone for roof inspections. In terms of its specs, it has a 23 minute flight time and 3.5km flight range, making it more than competent for inspections. Furthermore, this model is 50% quieter than other models – a low level of noise disturbance which is ideal for residential roof inspections. Whilst coming in at slightly higher costs compared to most of the other recommended systems, its rich feature set makes it rise above the others.
The Phantom 4 is integrated with a new RTK module that provides real-time, centimetre-level positioning data for greater accuracy on image metadata. That means every leaky gutter, cracked tile or piece of debris will have its position accurately recorded – ideal for those larger flat roof types.
It features a maximum flight time of thirty minutes, a 20MP camera with a mechanical shutter and collision avoidance sensors. As the most expensive drone out of our selection, its survey-grade features make it perfect for the commercial inspection industry.
If you’re after a versatile, lightweight and low-cost drone for roof inspections, the DJI Mini 2 is a perfect choice.
Weighing less than 250g, it’s as light as an apple and can fold to fit in the palm of your hand. That makes it easy to transport on the go. Plus, due to its size and weight, it can be flown in places that would otherwise require additional permissions to fly – such as urban areas and congested locations.
But don’t be deceived by its slight structure, the Mini 2 still packs a powerful technological punch. It has a battery life of 31 minutes and is wind resistant up to 29-38 kph. Combine that with its 10 km of HD video transmission with minimal interference, and you’ve got yourself a reliable inspection drone.
It may not be ideal for major commercial roof inspections but is more than capable of handling residential and small scale commercial roof assessments.
Whilst lacking obstacle avoidance, it has a 4K camera and digital zoom capabilities that allow you to inspect the features of a roof from a safe distance without risk of collision.
Next on our list, we have the Autel Nano. Like the DJI Mini 2, the Autel Nano is a great sub 250g, affordable drone.
The Autel Nano has one over on the DJI Mini 2, given it has built-in three-way obstacle avoidance. It’s an impressive feat by Autel integrating obstacle avoidance while still keeping this drone under 250g.
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced
Next, we have the impressive Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced.
This drone features an incredible 32x digital zoom. This is the go-to pick for roof inspections that need to be carried out from a safe distance. The M2EA’s 48 mega-pixel camera supports the insane zoom, capturing clear images and videos no matter the distance.
Adding to the Mavic 2’s versatility is its impressive thermal capabilities. The 48-megapixel camera is coupled with a 640 x 512 thermal resolution camera. That makes it an excellent drone for inspections carried out under poor lighting conditions.
Beyond that, the M2EA supports RTK, allowing for centimetre-level accuracy even in complex inspection missions. It has a max flight time of thirty-one minutes.
If you want a drone that excels in a wide range of conditions, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is an excellent choice.
Last but not least, we have the DJI Mavic 3.
It runs on OcuSync 3.0 and has a 15km range of transmission. Beyond that, it features an incredible 46 minute flight time. In addition, the multiple wide-angle vision sensors provide for obstacle avoidance in all directions.
With regard to image quality, the iconic Swedish brand, Hasselblad designed and built the L2D-20c aerial camera just for DJI Mavic 3, embedding a professional-grade 4/3 CMOS in an unbelievably compact space.
This is an incredible drone for roof inspections but is perhaps better suited to those with a larger budget.