Best Drones For Roof Inspections

Best Drones for Roof Inspections 2023

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As a seasoned drone roof inspector who’s conducted countless drone roof inspections across the country every year, I’ve become quite the expert in identifying the best drones for roof inspections in 2023.

Drone roof surveys are a cornerstone of my business and one of the most profitable services I offer year-round.

I carry a large drone kit when performing roof surveys, as each drone is a versatile tool suitable for different applications.

Drone roof surveying equipment
My Drone Roof Survey Gear Loadout

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my picks for the best drones for roof inspections based on my extensive experience. I’ll cover options for both budget-friendly aerial cameras and feature-packed mapping drones, so you can find the perfect flying companion for your roof survey needs.

By understanding the key differences between these two types of drones, you’ll be able to choose the perfect one for your specific roof inspection requirements in 2023 and beyond.

As an seasoned professional drone pilot, I’ve tested all the latest models and can provide seasoned advice on getting the right drone for efficient, high-quality roof inspections this year.

Read on for my recommendations!

drone analysising roof issues through ai

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro – Best for Comprehensive Roof Inspections

My Top Pick
best drone for roof surveys

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

#1 Best Drone For Roof Inspections

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro stands out as the premier commercial drone for roof inspections, offering a perfect blend of cutting-edge technology and unparalleled performance. One of the most compelling advantages of the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is its ability to perform roof mapping and 3D photogrammetry of roof structures.

The granular data provides immense value to my clients, enabling fully-informed maintenance and repair decisions. When I need to conduct large-scale roof inspections with precision detail, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is my top choice.

Why I Created This List of the Best Drones for Roof Inspections 2023

Over my many years inspecting roofs across the country, I’ve had the chance to test fly dozens of drone models and analyze countless hours of aerial roof footage.

After logging thousands of flights and surveying miles of rooftops, I’ve become an expert on which drones truly excel at roof inspections year after year.

I created this list of the best drones for roof inspections in 2023 to distill my hard-earned knowledge down into actionable advice for:

  • Roofing contractors looking to enhance their inspection capabilities
  • Drone pilots seeking additional income sources
  • Entrepreneurs wanting to start a roof inspection business like mine

My goal is to shortcut the research process for anyone needing an exceptional drone for roof surveys. By leveraging my extensive field experience and hands-on testing, I can confidently recommend the top drones on the market this year for efficient, high-quality roof analysis.

Whether you’re inspecting residential homes, commercial buildings, or industrial structures, this list has a drone that can handle the job.

I’m excited to help fellow roof and drone enthusiasts unlock the power of aerial imagery to revolutionize the way we inspect and care for rooftops!

commercial roofer operating a dji phantom 4 rt

DJI Mavic 3 Pro – Best Drone For Roof Inspection 2023

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

best drone for roof surveys

My personal favourite drone for roof inspections

  • Has a large 1″ CMOS sensor camera that captures 20MP photos and 5.1K video in crisp detail, ideal for inspecting roof conditions.
  • 31 minutes of flight time on a single charge allows thorough inspection of roofs without frequently landing to change batteries.
  • O3 transmission provides a stable HD video feed up to 15km away, keeping roof in view at a distance.
  • Four-way sensors detect obstacles in four directions for safety during low altitude roof inspections.
  • Intelligent flight modes like ActiveTrack allow hands-free tracking of a roof structure to capture images from all angles.

As a professional drone inspector, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is my absolute go-to model for maximizing quality and profitability on roof inspection jobs.

With its large airframe size, phenomenal Hasselblad camera, and 40+ minute flight time, the Mavic 3 Pro captures highly detailed aerial views of roofs quickly and efficiently.

I’m able to thoroughly inspect miles of rooftops in a single morning.

The Mavic 3 Pro’s advanced mapping features are a game changer for my roof inspection business. By processing the drone footage into 3D models and digital surface maps, I can provide comprehensive data-driven roof analysis reports to clients. These premium reports command much higher service fees.

dji mavic 3 cine performing roof inspection
Scenic shot of my DJI Mavic 3 Cine

I recommend the Mavic 3 Pro to any roofer looking to expand revenue by offering next-level drone roof inspections.

The ability to deliver detailed aerial maps and 3D models sets your business apart and demonstrates advanced technical capabilities to customers.

And despite its professional-grade performance, the Mavic 3 Pro is surprisingly easy to fly thanks to its intuitive auto modes. As a seasoned pilot I appreciate its manual settings, but it’s also perfect for newcomers.

If you’re serious about taking your roof inspection business to the next level, don’t wait – invest in a DJI Mavic 3 Pro and start maximizing revenue today! This drone is a game changing tool.

Pros

  • Unmatched image quality – The stellar 24MP Hasselblad camera captures intricate roof detail in vivid 4K resolution.
  • Powerful zoom range – Get ultra close-up views of roof edges and peaks with the 28x hybrid zoom.
  • Extended flight time – Fly for 46 minutes on a charge, allowing inspection of even the largest commercial roofs.
  • Advanced safety features – Sophisticated sensors and algorithms avoid obstacles for smooth automated flight.
  • Detailed 3D modeling – Map entire rooftops and generate accurate 3D models for comprehensive analysis.
  • Leading software integration – Fully compatible with top drone mapping and reporting apps.

Cons

  • Higher initial investment – The professional-grade features come at a premium price point.
  • Expensive RC Pro Controller: The DJI RC Pro Controller is priced at $1,199, which is a significant additional cost if you want to upgrade from the standard controller

DJI Mavic Zoom – Safely inspect roofs from a distance

DJI Mavic Zoom

dji zoom drone

Get close without getting close

  • Stable flight in winds up to 29 mph
  • 2x zoom camera captures fine roof details
  • Omnidirectional obstacle sensing for safety
  • 31 minutes of flight time per battery
  • Lower cost than DJI Mavic 3 Pro

As an experienced roof inspector, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is one of my go-to models for its phenomenal optical zoom capabilities. The 2x zoom allows me to capture highly-detailed imagery of roof conditions from a safe distance.

With the Mavic 2 Zoom, I don’t have to fly dangerously close to rooftops to spot flaws, damage, or potential issues.

The optical zoom gives me the precise close-up views I need, without any loss of image quality. This is far superior to simple digital zoom which just enlarges pixels.

DJI zoom roof defect
DJI Zoom on Roof Fault

The 12MP camera retains its full resolution even when zoomed in, so I can inspect roof elements like skylights, chimneys, and drainage systems with incredible clarity. The stability and safety features like obstacle avoidance sensors also give me confidence during inspection flights.

I love flying the Mavic 2 Zoom in Tripod mode for perfectly smooth and stable video footage, which clients really appreciate in professional roof analysis reports.

After years of relying on my trusty Mavic 2 Zoom for roof surveys, it has proved its durability even after an unfortunate mid-air bird strike! It continues to fly to this day.

Pros

  • Zoom capabilities: The 2x optical zoom (24-48mm equivalent focal length) and 4x lossless zoom in Full HD video mode allow for detailed roof inspections from a safe distance, minimizing the risk of damage or disturbance.
  • Portability: The Mavic Zoom is likely lighter than the Mavic 3 Pro, making it easier to transport and set up for inspections.
  • Affordability: The Mavic Zoom is generally more affordable than the Mavic 3 Pro, making it a cost-effective option for roof inspections.

Cons

  • Lower camera resolution: The Mavic Zoom’s main camera has a lower megapixel count compared to the Mavic 3 Pro, which result in less detailed roof images.
  • Shorter flight time: With a flight time that is 15 minutes shorter than the Mavic 3 Pro, the Mavic Zoom may require more frequent battery changes or charging during inspections.
  • Lack of advanced camera features: The Mavic Zoom does not have the advanced camera features found in the Mavic 3 Pro

Skydio 2+ – Navigate tricky roof areas

Skydio 2+

skydio 2

Best For Obstacle Avoidance

  • Autonomous navigation avoids obstacles without input needed
  • HD video clearly captures damage, defects, and leaks
  • Maneuvers tightly around vents, chimneys, and skylights
  • Stable footage due to 3-axis gimbal stabilization
  • Detailed 12MP still images identify issues on roof surface

The Skydio 2+ has become my go-to drone for navigating tricky roof areas and tight spaces during roof inspections. Its cutting-edge AI-powered autonomy is a complete game changer.

With its array of six 4K navigation cameras using advanced algorithms, the Skydio 2+ provides a level of intelligent, adaptable obstacle avoidance that I’ve never seen in any other drone.

It smoothly maneuvers around complex rooftop obstacles like vents, chimneys and skylights with zero input needed from me.

skydio 2 inspection drone

This allows me to focus entirely on surveying roof conditions as the Skydio 2+ autonomously handles avoiding any hazards in its flight path.

It has made my inspection work vastly more efficient and has virtually eliminated crash risks in confined roof spaces.

Stock Update

UPDATE: Skydio stopped selling consumer drones on August 10, 2023. The company announced that it would no longer offer its Skydio 2+ Starter, Sports, Cinema, or Pro Kits. 

This decision was made as Skydio shifted its focus towards the enterprise market. Despite discontinuing its consumer drone offerings, Skydio committed to continue providing software and customer support for existing users.

The Skydio 2+’s superb 12MP camera delivers incredibly stable, detailed 4K aerial footage thanks to its integrated 3-axis gimbal. This allows me to reliably spot even subtle roof defects or damage when surveying a property.

After seeing the Skydio 2+ in action during my roof inspection work, I can confidently say its self-flying capabilities and imaging quality take my surveys to an entirely new level.

This drone is the ultimate inspection partner for navigating complex rooftops safely and efficiently.

Pros

  • Autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance – The Skydio 2+ has 6 4K cameras for 360-degree obstacle avoidance. It can avoid vents, chimneys and navigate tight spaces without pilot input.
  • High quality 4K 60fps video – With a 12MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor, it captures detailed footage to identify roof defects and damage.
  • Stable footage with 3-axis gimbal – Produces steady, smooth video even in windy conditions on rooftops.
  • Durable design – Carbon fiber frame allows it to handle crashes and bumps during inspections. IP64 weather resistance.
  • 35 minute flight time – Long flight time to survey large roofs.

Cons

  • Proprietary system – Requires using Skydio’s software and accessories, reducing flexibility.
  • Learning curve – Fully utilizing the autonomous features takes training and practice.
  • Limited accessories – Fewer aftermarket accessories compared to more popular drones.
  • No Longer For Sale New: Skydio has stopped consumer sales to focus on the enterprise sector, though existing owners will still receive support.

DJI Mavic 3 Thermal – Roof Heat Loss Capture

DJI Mavic 3 Thermal

DJI Mavic 3t

Best Drone For Thermal Roof Inspections

  • Pinpoint leaks and moisture issues – Thermal imaging detects temperature variances caused by water infiltration.
  • Identify roof decay and damage – Heat signatures reveal degradation and flaws invisible to the naked eye.
  • Conduct inspections anytime – Thermal cameras provide clear imaging at night and in low light.
  • Rapidly scan large areas – Cover vast roof surfaces faster with an aerial thermal perspective.

The DJI Mavic 3 Thermal has become my number one tool for heat loss roof surveys and increasing winter revenue. Its high-resolution 640×512 radiometric thermal camera is a game changer for precisely identifying insulation deficiencies and leaks.

I love using the Mavic 3 Thermal to conduct winter roof inspections for real estate assessments, commercial facilities, and residential homeowners. Its thermal imagery clearly reveals missing or damaged insulation, allowing me to pinpoint areas where heat is escaping a building.

For clients, these thermal drone roof reports identify energy waste and opportunities for savings on utility bills.

And for my business, thermal surveys have become a lucrative additional winter income stream when regular roof work slows down in colder months.

The Mavic 3 Thermal’s superb thermal-visual overlay mode allows me to create detailed maps that combine thermal data with high-res visible spectrum photos. This provides the most useful deliverables for my clients.

And the Mavic 3 platform means I get safety features like obstacle avoidance for effortless piloting. I can easily scan acres of roofs in a single flight.

For any drone pilot looking to expand into thermal work, the Mavic 3 Thermal is by far the most convenient all-in-one package for aerial heat loss surveys. I recommend it to anyone wanting to tap into the winter thermography business. This drone has become an indispensable tool for my year-round roof inspection work.

Pros

  • High-resolution 640×512 radiometric thermal camera detects subtle temperature differences
  • Simultaneous thermal-visual overlay mode creates detailed inspection maps
  • Up to 45 minutes of flight time allows scanning of large areas efficiently
  • Zoom capability enables inspecting roof elements safely from a distance
  • Lightweight and foldable for easy transport to job sites
  • Automated flight modes like subject tracking simplify complex roof surveys

Cons

  • Higher cost than a standard camera drone like the Mavic 3
  • Limited value for non-thermal applications like photography
  • Exporting and interpreting thermal data takes some practice

DJI Mini 3 Pro – Cheapest Drone For Roof Inspections

Best For Roofers
dji mini pro 3 with rc controller

DJI Mini 3 Pro

Basic, Simply, Cheap and Easy Visual Roof Inspection

The DJI Mini 3 Pro, considered one of the best drone for simple roof inspections, is my recommended choice due to its advanced features, compact size, and lightweight design. It is the most advanced sub .55 lbs drone on the market. It’s reduced weight means it can also operate in congested areas which is where the majority of roof survey work is.

The drone is equipped with a powerful 4K camera that captures detailed images, making it suitable for visually inspecting roof conditions, gutter issues, cracks, and missing tiles.

Go-to budget option for small to mid-sized roof inspections.

Despite its low price point, the Mini 3 Pro packs impressive camera quality and safety features into an ultra-portable 249g body.

The 1/1.3″ 48MP sensor captures highly detailed 4K aerial footage that allows me to closely analyze roofs for defects, damage, and needed repairs during my surveys.

The Mini 3 Pro’s tri-directional obstacle sensors give me confidence when maneuvering around complex rooftops, chimneys, and skylights.

dji mini 3 pro take off

I don’t have to constantly monitor the drone, allowing me to focus fully on inspecting.

With a maximum 34 minute flight time, I can easily fully inspect average sized homes or commercial buildings on a single battery charge.

The compact size also makes it easy to pack multiple batteries to extend time.

For my business, the Mini 3 Pro has become the perfect cheap drone for basic roof inspections. It delivers professional-grade results without the premium price tag.

I highly recommend it to any inspectors or roofers looking for an accessible aerial imaging solution. Overall, the Mini 3 Pro hits a sweet spot between price and performance for basic roof inspections. For advanced surveys, higher-end drones may provide more capabilities.

The Mini 3 Pro provides tremendous value.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight – Easy to transport to and from job sites
  • Affordable price – Costs significantly less than advanced drones
  • Good 4K camera and gimbal – Provides clear roof inspection footage
  • 34 minutes of flight time – Enables inspection of mid-sized roofs
  • Obstacle sensors – Allow safe flight around roof structures

Cons

  • Lower resolution than premium drones – Details may be missed
  • No zoom capability – Unable to inspect roof elements closely
  • Basic drone features – Lacks advanced photogrammetry and mapping
  • Smaller sensors – Diminished low light and high wind performance
  • No interchangeable lenses – Limited ability to enhance image quality
drone analysising roof issues through ai

Understanding Roof Inspections with Drones

If you are a roofing contractor, property manager, or roof consultant, you may be interested in using drones for roof inspections.

A drone roof inspection is the practice of using a drone to collect inspection data showing the condition of a roof, then using that data to complete an inspection of the roof. In most drone roof inspections, the data a drone pilot collects is high-resolution photos and video.

They may also collect thermal data or LiDAR data.

Using drones for roof inspections has several benefits. First, drones can access hard-to-reach areas of a roof without the need for ladders or scaffolding. This can save time and reduce the risk of injury for roof inspectors. Second, drones can capture high-quality images and video footage of a roof.

This can help roof inspectors identify areas of damage or wear and tear that may not be visible from the ground.

There are several types of drones that are suitable for roof inspections. When choosing a drone for roof inspections, you should consider factors such as flight time, camera quality, and drone size.

In addition to drones, there is also roof inspection software that can help you analyze the data collected by the drone.

This software can help you create 3-D models of roofs and buildings, which can be useful for identifying areas of damage or wear and tear.

Overall, using drones for roof inspections can be a valuable tool for roofing contractors, property managers, and roof consultants. By choosing the right drone and software, you can save time, reduce the risk of injury, and get a more accurate picture of the condition of a roof.

roofer using drone over commercial roof

Software for Drone Roof Inspections

When it comes to drone roof inspections, having the right software is essential. Not only does it make the process more efficient, but it also ensures that you get accurate measurements and reports.

Here are some of the best software options for drone roof inspections:

DroneDeploy

DroneDeploy is a popular choice for drone roof inspections. It offers accurate, easy-to-use software for both residential and commercial roofing businesses. With DroneDeploy, you can quickly and safely manage your portfolio with roof reporting insights. Plus, their software includes tools for instant detection and accurate measurements. You can even get a free trial to test it out before committing.

Pix4D

Pix4D is another great option for drone roof inspections. Their software, Pix4Dcapture, allows you to plan and execute automated drone flights for mapping and 3D modeling. With Pix4D, you can create detailed maps and models of roofs, which can be used for inspections, measurements, and more. They also offer a free trial so you can see if it’s the right fit for you.

Roofgraf

Roofgraf is a cloud-based platform that offers drone roof inspections, measurements, and reports. Their software is designed specifically for roofing professionals, and includes features such as 3D modeling, thermal imaging, and more. With Roofgraf, you can easily manage your projects and access your reports from anywhere. They also offer a free trial so you can try it out for yourself.

Overall, there are many software options available for drone roof inspections. Whether you choose DroneDeploy, Pix4D, or Roofgraf, make sure to do your research and select the one that best fits your needs.

Drone Usage in New York City

Key Features to Consider

When choosing a drone for roof inspections, there are several key features to consider to ensure you get the best results. Here are some of the most important features to keep in mind:

Obstacle Avoidance

Obstacle avoidance is a crucial feature to look for in a drone for roof inspections. It helps to prevent collisions with buildings, trees, and other objects, which can cause damage to the drone and potentially harm people on the ground. Look for drones with obstacle avoidance sensors that can detect and avoid obstacles in real-time.

Accuracy and Measurements

One of the primary reasons for using a drone for roof inspections is to obtain accurate measurements of the roof’s dimensions and condition. Look for drones that have high-precision sensors and cameras that can capture detailed images and measurements. Some drones even have built-in software that can automatically generate 3D models of the roof.

GPS and Stability

GPS is an essential feature for drones used in roof inspections. It helps to ensure that the drone stays in place and maintains a stable position, even in windy conditions. Look for drones with GPS and advanced stabilization systems that can keep the drone steady and prevent shaky footage.

Battery Life

Battery life is another critical factor to consider when choosing a drone for roof inspections. Look for drones with long battery life that can stay in the air for at least 20-30 minutes. This will give you enough time to capture all the footage and measurements you need without having to stop and recharge.

Camera Quality

The camera quality is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a drone for roof inspections. Look for drones with high-quality cameras that can capture detailed images and video footage. Some drones even have 4K cameras and thermal imaging capabilities, which can provide even more detailed information about the roof’s condition.

Wind Resistance and Obstacles

Wind resistance and obstacle avoidance are both critical features to consider when choosing a drone for roof inspections. Look for drones that are designed to withstand strong winds and have obstacle avoidance sensors that can detect and avoid obstacles in real-time.

Portability and Compactness

Portability and compactness are also essential features to consider when choosing a drone for roof inspections. Look for drones that are lightweight and easy to transport, with foldable designs that make them easy to pack and carry.

By keeping these key features in mind, you can choose the best drone for your roof inspection needs.

how to become a us drone pilot

Drone Pilot and Regulations

As a drone pilot, it’s important to be aware of the regulations surrounding drone usage for roof inspections. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires drone pilots to obtain a Part 107 certification before operating a drone commercially. This certification involves passing a knowledge test and adhering to certain regulations while operating the drone.

To become a certified drone pilot, you must be at least 16 years old, pass the knowledge test, and be able to speak, read, and write English. You must also pass a background check and have a valid form of identification. Once certified, you must adhere to FAA regulations, such as flying below 400 feet, maintaining visual line of sight with the drone, and avoiding flying over people or moving vehicles.

In addition to FAA regulations, it’s important to be aware of any local regulations or restrictions on drone usage.

Some cities or states may have their own regulations regarding drone usage, so it’s important to research and comply with these regulations as well.

When conducting a roof inspection with a drone, it’s important to prioritize safety and follow all regulations. This includes ensuring the drone is in good working condition, checking the weather conditions before flying, and obtaining any necessary permissions or waivers before flying in restricted airspace.

By following all regulations and prioritizing safety, you can conduct successful and safe roof inspections with a drone.

drone being tracked wirelessly

Cost and Return on Investment

When considering purchasing a drone for roof inspections, one of the most important factors to consider is cost. Drones can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the features and capabilities of the drone. However, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of the drone is just one part of the overall investment.

When it comes to roof inspections, drones can provide a significant return on investment. By using a drone for inspections, you can save time and money by avoiding the need for scaffolding or other equipment. Additionally, drones can provide more detailed and accurate information about the condition of a roof, which can help you identify potential issues before they become major problems.

While the initial cost of a drone may seem high, it is important to consider the long-term benefits. Over time, a drone can pay for itself by reducing the need for other equipment and by providing more detailed information about the condition of a roof. This can help you make more informed decisions about repairs and maintenance, which can ultimately save you money in the long run.

When considering the cost of a drone, it is important to look beyond just the price tag. You should also consider the cost of any additional equipment or software that may be required, as well as the cost of training and certification. Additionally, you should consider the ongoing costs of maintenance and repairs.

Overall, while the cost of a drone may seem high at first, the return on investment can be significant. By using a drone for roof inspections, you can save time and money while also improving the accuracy and detail of your inspections.

Additional Uses of Drones

Drones have come a long way from being just a toy for kids. They are now widely used for a variety of purposes, including aerial photography, detailed inspection, and commercial applications. Here are some additional uses of drones that you might find interesting:

  • Aerial Cinematography: Drones equipped with high-quality cameras are used to capture stunning aerial footage for movies, TV shows, and commercials. They are also used in sports events to capture unique angles and perspectives that are not possible with traditional cameras.
  • Home Inspection: Drones are becoming increasingly popular in the home inspection industry. They can be used to inspect roofs, chimneys, gutters, and other hard-to-reach areas without the need for ladders or scaffolding. This makes the inspection process safer and more efficient.
  • Commercial Applications: Drones are used in various commercial applications, such as agriculture, construction, and mining. They can be used to survey large areas of land, monitor crops, and inspect construction sites. They are also used in the oil and gas industry to inspect pipelines and offshore platforms.
  • Detailed Inspection: Drones equipped with thermal cameras and other sensors can be used to inspect buildings, bridges, and other structures for defects and damage. They can also be used to inspect power lines, wind turbines, and other infrastructure.

In conclusion, drones have a wide range of applications beyond just roof inspections. They are a versatile tool that can be used in various industries to improve safety, efficiency, and accuracy. With the advancement in technology, we can expect to see more innovative uses of drones in the future.

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