Autumn isn’t just about “oohing and aahing” the pretty leaves and breathtaking vistas. For homeowners, fall means it’s time for pre-winter maintenance. Home expert Bob Villa, for example, offers a hefty task list for autumn maintenance, including a bevy of inspections that must be done each year – exterior walls, roofs, gutters and driveways, to name a few.
Anyone who’s had the misfortune of dragging a heavy ladder from place to place around your house knows what a pain this process can be – often literally. To quote the tagline from every 1980s infomercial: “There’s got to be a better way!”
And there is! For less than the cost of a heavy-duty ladder, homeowners can let a UAV do the hard work involved in fall home inspections. Thanks to improved stability and interface technology in drone tech, a beginner can easily fly his or her UAV over a house and make easy work of gutter, roof or paint inspections.
Here are six helpful drones from our buyers guide that fit the bill for fall maintenance.
When it comes to video drones for the beginner, it’s hard to beat the AR 2.0 by Parrot. The AR 2.0 is ready to fly right out of the box and features a free mobile app allowing the user to send the Parrot skyward using a smartphone or tablet. The UAV can live-stream video at 720p resolution to your device and save the footage. The quadcopter is also equipped with a propeller guard that is easily installed for added safety. At 12 minutes of flight time per charge, the AR 2.0 is perfect for a quick “look-see” or a more in-depth inspection as it also features automatic position hold. $299
If you’re looking for versatility, the EYE One Xtreme by RC Logger boasts two choices in video resolution. The basic model is equipped standard with an HD 2 camera with 720p (30 frames-per-second) HD video resolution and 5 megapixels for stills (still photography is important for capturing close-ups of your home to store with your homeowners policy). For an extra $20 (a bargain), a buyer can upgrade from the HD 2 to the SOCAM UltiMate camera (1080p/60 fps). As an added bonus, the Xtreme offers three flight modes that allow a beginner to move to intermediate and advanced flight levels as they learn with Beginner, Sport and Advanced modes. The 2.4 GHz transmitter has a range of 400 feet (perfect for the Old Homestead) but only offers 7 minutes of flight time versus the AR 2.0’s 12 minutes. $279
Hobby King’s Quanum Nova is designed for the drone pilot who already owns a GoPro camera. Connect the camera to the integrated gimbal control and the Nova gives you the power to control the gimbal’s tilt and roll functions, which allow a variety of video angles. Flight modes for the Nova include Direction Lock for beginners, Manual and Stable (for hovering). The Nova also features precision GPS capabilities enabling position and altitude hold as well as waypoint navigation and “return-home” functionality. The UAV’s 2.4GHz 7CH transmitter boasts a range of 300 meters. The Nova also features 15 minutes of flight time. $319
The QR X350 is built more for the intermediate user but the quadcopter’s array of features — GPS Altitude Hold, One Key Return Home mode and optional Wi-Fi control – may be worth the learning curve it could pose to a beginner. Like the Nova, the QR is not equipped with a camera but is well suited for a GoPro and offers an optional bracket for GoPro models. $339
Another “camera-not-included” model made for beginner and intermediate alike, the Storm Drone 4 is all about agility and speed. So, after the fall chores are done, the Storm is ready for a nice flight at the local park to celebrate a job well done. The quadcopter carries a muscular, micro 6-axis gyro that enhances stability necessary for exterior maintenance photography. Like most video drones, the Storm comes in at about 6-7 minutes of flight. Unlike the others, the Storm sits on unique sponge balls rather than standard landing skids. This could be helpful in delicate flights to avoid damaging a roof or wall. $359
Phantom FC-40 by DJI
A final intermediate entry to our list, DJI’s Phantom FC-40 in many ways resembles a higher-end version of the EYE One Xtreme in that it also boasts a 720p/30fps HD video camera. In addition, the FC-40 offers a control mobile app that uses a 2.4G Wi-Fi module, providing a first-person view up to 100 meters.
The Phantom FC40 is the least expensive DJI model that comes with its own camera and an accompanying mobile app. The quad’s 5.8 Ghz RC receiver offers a range of 800 meters. Even with a camera, the FC-40 provides 15 minutes of flight time per charge and includes high-intensity LED lights for improved orientation during flight. $499
Are there other ways drones can improve your life? Find out here.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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