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Living in places where you have to deal with freezing temperatures during the winter means you must be ultra-picky in your drone selection so you can find one that can withstand the cold.
What are the best drones for cold weather?
The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is one of the best drones to fly in cold weather, with excellent wind resistance reliable in extreme situations. The DJI Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3, Avata, and Autel EVO Nano Plus are also excellent options if you want to fly in freezing temperatures.
In this guide, I’ll share five drones suitable for flying in cold weather and provide important information about operating drones in freezing temperatures.
1. DJI Mavic 3 Pro – The best drone suitable for freezing temperatures #
Of all the consumer drones, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is the most suitable to sustain extreme weather conditions and wind speeds.
SPECSDJI Mavic 3 ProWeight958 gWind ResistanceLevel 5 Wind Resistance (12 m/s)Ceiling LevelMax takeoff altitude is 6,000 m (20,000 ft) above sea levelFlight Time (Normal Conditions)43 minsDrone Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C)Controller Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C) for DJI RCBattery Charging Temperature41° to 104° F (5° to 40° C)Camera Stabilization3-axis mechanical gimbal**Cameras****Hasselblad: **4/3-inch CMOS capable of recording in 5.1k at 50 frames per second and 4k at 120 frames per second. It can photograph in 20 MP resolution.Medium Tele: 1/1.3-inch CMOS capable of recording in 4k at 60 frames per second and photographing in 48 MP resolutionTele Camera: 1/2-inch CMOS capable of recording in 4k at 60 fps and photographing in 12 MP resolutionTransmission Range– FCC: 9.3 mi or 15 km– CE, SRRC, MIC: 5 mi or 8 km
✅ Pros #
- It’s one of the best consumer drones that can withstand extreme weather conditions and is capable of flying in low temperatures
- The drone can fly very long range and has excellent battery performance
- It has three superb cameras to capture unique scenery in cold, icy weather
- This drone has an omnidirectional sensing system that is excellent for beginners and has several advanced functions
- It has a great follow-me mode, perfect for snowboarding and skiing
❌ Cons #
- It’s an expensive drone to start with
- Flying such a drone in cold weather can be intimidating
- The drone is not very portable
From the hot deserts to filming the icebergs, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is not only rated to withstand frosty temperatures but was tested and flown by various pilots and proved to be excellent under these conditions.
This drone can capture unique scenery, wherever in the mountains, over frozen rivers, or at night to record the northern lights in the distant and rigid northern parts of this world.
With its excellent wind resistance, the Mavic 3 Pro should be considered to fly under the most relentless circumstances.
2. DJI Mini 3 Pro – The most portable drone suitable for cold weather #
Suppose you’re the type of person to venture the distant parts of the world, wherever desert or snowy mountains, to climb and explore.
You’re looking for a lightweight, portable drone to withstand extremely low temperatures.
In that case, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best choice for you.
SPECSDJI Mini 3 ProWeight249 gWind ResistanceLevel 5 wind resistance (10.7 m/s)Ceiling Level4,000 m with the Intelligent Battery and 3,000 m with the Intelligent Battery PlusFlight Time (Normal Conditions)34 mins with the Intelligent Battery and 47 mins with the Intelligent Battery PlusDrone Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C)Controller Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C) with DJI RCBattery Charging Temperature41° to 104° F (5° to 40° C) for both batteriesCamera Stabilization3-axis mechanical gimbal to stabilize the footage when flying in high windsCamera1/1.3-inch CMOS capable of recording in 4k at 60 frames per second and photographing in 48 MPTransmission Range– FCC: 7.4 mi or 12 km– CE, SRRC, MIC: 5 mi or 8 km
✅ Pros #
- It’s lightweight and portable and weighs under 250 grams
- Despite its small size, it’s very resistant to flying in windy conditions and is capable of flying in cold weather
- This is an excellent drone for adventurers and travelers, even mountain hikers
- It’s a perfect beginner drone, simple and easy to use
- Its price is more than decent with the DJI RC
- It has forward, backward, and downward avoidance sensors
- It can fly for a long time, especially with the upgraded battery
- It has a three-axis mechanical gimbal for well-stabilized footage
- It may not be as intimidating to fly in cold weather as a Mavic 3 drone
- It has an excellent follow-me mode feature for winter sports
❌ Cons #
- The drone does not have upwards or side avoidance sensors
- It’s already an older drone
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is one of the best travel drones you can get; it’s lightweight and portable and can fit even in a larger pocket.
If you like hiking mountains and traveling in places where cold weather may affect normal drone use, the Mini 3 Pro was rated to withstand freezing temperatures.
Of course, this drone can fly even in lower temperatures, but do so at your own risk.
As a traveler, you won’t even feel the drone’s weight with the DJI RC, and we recommend the RC with a screen to free up your phone for any situation and also because this remote controller has good cold resistance.
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3. DJI Mini 3 – The best budget drone suitable for cold weather #
If you’re looking for a cold-weather drone but don’t want to invest in a more expensive one, the DJI Mini 3 is the cheapest drone capable of flying in freezing conditions, according to DJI.
SPECSDJI Mini 3Weight248 gWind ResistanceLevel 5 (10.7 m/s)Ceiling Level4,000 m / 13,100 ft with the Intelligent Battery and 3,000 m / 9,800 ft with the Intelligent Battery PlusFlight Time (Normal Conditions)38 mins with the Intelligent Battery and 51 mins with the Intelligent Battery PlusDrone Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C)Controller Operating Temperature32° to 104° F (0° to 40° C)Battery Charging Temperature41° to 104° F (5° to 40° C) with both batteriesCamera Stabilization3-axis mechanical gimbalCamera1/1.3-inch CMOS capable of filming in 4k at 30 frames per second or 2.7k at 60 fps. It can photograph at 48 MP resolution.Transmission Range– FCC: 6.2 mi or 10 km– CE, SRRC, MIC: 3.7 mi or 6 km
✅ Pros #
- It’s one of the cheapest drones that can fly in frigid temperatures
- It’s lightweight and portable and is perfect for travelers
- It weighs under 250 grams, so you may benefit from relaxed drone laws
- It has good wind resistance despite its small size and weight
- Excellent flight times with both batteries
- Good transmission range
❌ Cons #
- It does not have any obstacle avoidance sensors
- The DJI RC-N1 is not recommended for use in freezing temperatures
The DJI Mini 3 excels if looking for a cheap drone capable of flying in wintry conditions, even below the freezing point.
Not many other drones as cheap as the Mini 3 are capable of flying in cold weather.
For instance, the newer DJI Mini 2 SE has a minimum operating temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), which is not suitable for your purposes.
Now, it may not be the best drone in terms of camera quality, but the Mini 3 has terrific flight time and good flight performance, which you need if you fly this drone in cold weather, where the flight time will be drastically reduced.
4. DJI Avata – The best FPV drone kit that will function well in freezing conditions #
When we talk about flying FPV drones in cold weather, that’s another story.
Generally, FPV drones warm up more because the VTX module has more energy requirements due to low latency and robust video transmission.
But that doesn’t mean they can fly excellently well in freezing conditions. However, according to DJI, the Avata is suitable to fly in cold weather.
SPECSDJI AvataWeight410 gWind ResistanceLevel 5 Wind Resistance (10.7 m/s)Ceiling LevelMaximum altitude takeoff is 5,000 m or 16,400 ftFlight Time (Normal Conditions)Max 18 mins Drone Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C)Controller Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C) for the Motion ControllerDJI Goggles 2 Operating Temperature 14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C)Goggles Battery Charging Temperature32° to 104° F (0° to 40° C) Drone Battery Charging Temperature41° to 104° F (5° to 40° C)Camera StabilizationSingle-axis with RockSteady and HorizonSteady (if enabled)Camera1/1.7-inch CMOS capable of filming in 4k at 60 frames per second or slow motion at 120 frames per second in 2.7kTransmission Range– 6.2 mi or 10 km in FCC zones (USA)– 1.24 mi or 2 km in CE zones (Europe)– 3.7 mi or 6 km in SRRC, China
✅ Pros #
- It has surprisingly good cold resistance as an FPV drone
- It’s a ready-to-fly drone that requires little setup
- Being a Cinewhoop means you can fly close to objects, people, and areas where other drones cannot fly due to obstacles
- It has a decent battery life for an FPV drone
- It’s the latest generation of FPV drones with the best transmission system that offers you the top image quality of any FPV drone
❌ Cons #
- Although it has decent wind resistance, it may tumble in high winds or during sharp turns
- Flying with FPV goggles in cold weather is difficult due to reduced visibility
- Controlling an FPV drone with any FPV remote controller and cold hands is challenging as you won’t be as accurate and reactive when flying in acro mode
The DJI Avata is an FPV drone with mixed reviews because of the tumble risk but very positive feedback regarding flight performance, video smoothness, and excellent image quality.
Flying an FPV drone in cold weather is difficult if you have cold hands.
However, with Avata, if you have the Goggles 2 and the Motion Controller, you can enjoy the immersive VR experience in Normal Mode with head tracking.
Avata is more than a standard FPV drone capable of flying in cold weather.
The ability to fly close to objects makes this drone unique if you fly in areas with snow, near snowy trees, above frozen lakes at slow speed, and so on.
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5. Autel EVO Nano Plus – The best bundle drone that can fly in icy weather #
If looking for a drone capable of flying in cold weather other than from DJI, the Autel EVO Nano Plus is a perfect choice.
Moreover, this drone comes in an expansive bundle with three batteries that will help you extend your flight time in cold weather.
SPECSAutel EVO Nano PlusWeight249 gWind ResistanceLevel 5Ceiling Level4,000 m max takeoff altitudeFlight Time (Normal Conditions)28 minsDrone Operating Temperature14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C)Controller Operating Temperature32° to 104° F (0° to 40° C) Battery Charging Temperature41° to 113° F (5° to 45° C)Camera Stabilization3-axis gimbal stabilizationCamera1/1.28-inch CMOS capable of recording in 4k at 30 frames per second and photographing in 50 MP resolutionTransmission Range6.2 mi or** **10 km in FCC zones
✅ Pros #
- It’s a small, lightweight, and portable drone capable of extraordinary flight performance
- Can fly well in cold weather
- It has good wind resistance, despite its small size
- It’s capable of long-range flight
- It can benefit from relaxed drone laws (always check your country’s laws before flying)
- It offers decent flight time
- It has 360-degree anti-collision sensors (forward, backward, and downward)
- It also comes with a “follow-me” feature
- Excellent photographing resolution
- No geofencing restrictions
❌ Cons #
- It does not have side avoidance sensors
- The remote controller should not operate in freezing weather
The Autel EVO Nano Plus is a fantastic little drone capable of flying long-range and in cold weather. This drone also excels at photographing from above, which may be great for capturing unique frozen scenes.
This drone also has good wind stability and is proven reliable with binocular vision obstacle avoidance to decrease the risk of crashing your drone.
When flying in cold weather, remember that the remote controller is not advised to be used in conditions below freezing.
Why do we need drones suitable for cold weather? #
Most drones cannot fly well when the temperature drops below freezing.
More drones should withstand freezing conditions to capture the beauty of the icy world during winter.
A standard drone can develop ice crystals on the electronics if it doesn’t radiate enough heat, making it unsuitable for flying or even damaging the drone.
Moreover, flying these drones in cold weather will severely impact the lithium battery, which may drastically decrease the flight time.
Some drones are rated to fly in freezing conditions. They’re not so great in temperatures below freezing, but this is an advantage over many other drones.
For instance, a few of these drones are rated to fly between 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 to 40 degrees Celsius), indicating the drone can fly in “sub-zero” conditions.
The drones with a minimum temperature rating of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or above are contraindicated to fly once the temperature drops to the freezing point.
Now it doesn’t mean that a drone rated to 14 degrees will do well in cold weather; it’s just a safe number, merely a guideline.
I have seen pilots flying drones in arctic weather with extreme wind speeds and low temperatures, and the drones did just fine.
Of course, this is a personal risk to take. However, drones with a minimum temperature resistance of 32 degrees should never be flown in very cold weather.
What are the factors that can influence a drone flight in cold weather? #
**Ice crystals: **This is the biggest issue, as tiny icy crystals can form on the drone camera, frame, and even electronics.In general, the electronics produce heat when in use, making it difficult for those ice crystals to develop.
Condensation: This applies to FPV goggles where condensation can get inside, affecting the visibility of the screen and forming water droplets.Even ice can form inside if FPV goggles are used well below freezing temperatures.
Batteries: Yet another critical factor when flying a drone in cold weather is that the lithium battery is discharged at a faster rate.Spare batteries can be damaged if they’re not used (they don’t warm up when flying a drone) and remain outdoors in freezing conditions.It’s recommended you hover the drone for a minute or two for the battery to warm up before sending it afar.
Your abilities as a pilot: Cold hands reduce reaction time and will drastically affect your ability to fly a drone in cold weather, especially if you’re flying an FPV drone where you need quick reaction time.
What are the best practices when flying a drone in cold weather? #
**Prepare your drone before going outdoors: **It would be poor practice to stay in cold weather and set up your drone, update the firmware, and deal with all the unexpected issues that can be solved before you even leave your home.
Keep your spare batteries in the car or a warm place: If you have multiple batteries with you, keep the unused ones in a warm place to avoid discharging because of the cold weather.
**Ensure your batteries are fully charged: **The cold will drain your batteries faster, and your flight time can even be halved. Ensuring your batteries are fully charged before leaving your home is a good practice.
Warm up your hands and use special controller gloves: You don’t have to be affected by the cold weather when flying your drones if your hands are warm.Choose gloves with finger openings to operate the joysticks while your hands remain warm.
Make sure your propellers are dry: If they aren’t, ice can form, affecting the flight performance and stability of the drone.
Keep an eye on the controller battery (or Goggles battery): These are also affected by very cold weather, and the battery will drain much faster than expected.
Disable avoidance sensors if flying in foggy weather: It’s unsafe to fly with reduced visibility. Disable the obstacle avoidance sensors in these scenarios, as the sensors may falsely activate due to reduced visibility in the fog.The sensors perceive obstacles ahead when there are none.
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