Drone purchase feedback

Investigating first drone purchase - recommendations please!

There’s a few pretty good options, I’d compare DJI and EXO. You’ll want two batteries and I believe buying DJI drones retail you get two included and with EXO you pay extra for that. And I do NOT recommend the “laser obstacle avoidance” that I know EXO offers and I don’t know about other brands. It just doesn’t work that well, it makes the drone refuse to cooperate to get away from trees.
Also do you have the FAA license yet?
Edit, I recommend a 4K camera, you’ll be able to blow up pictures and if you fly the drone correctly, I honestly think it replaces the need for inspectors to climb roofs to do a complete visual inspection which I know is controversial

2 Likes

I like my Mavic Mini. The Mini 3 is out now and I believe it has a better camera and more obstacle avoidance than the original Mini. And the original Mini camera is already excellent.

4 Likes

I have a Mavic Mini as well. The camera is only 2.7K, but that is more than adequate for our purposes. I bought the kit with extra batteries, charger, propeller guard, and carrying case - really nice.

4 Likes

I don’t have direct experience with this but if I was buying a drone today I’d try this one, checks all the boxes, and I have good experience with Amazon’s returns if it isn’t as advertised

1 Like

Read up on FAA Remote ID. To fly a drone commercially your need to be licensed under 14 CFR Part 107 and, starting in September 2023, your drone needs to have Remote ID. There might be an exception to drones weighing less than 0.55 lbs, but not sure it that applies to commercial operators. All drone manufacturers need to be Remote ID compliant by September 2022 (date might get pushed back a bit) . Check if Holy Stone is advertising right now that their drone is compliant with Remote ID or they have a clear upgrade path. If it is not, then it is likely that you will need to purchase and attach a Remote ID Broadcast module in the future of unknown cost and weight.

DJI was expecting that they would be able to retrofit most of their drones to be Remote ID compatible with only a software update. If so, that software update will need to be in place by September 2023. I bought my DJI drone with the hope that they will come through for me and I will not have to buy a new drone or broadcast module in 2023.

1 Like

You pay for what you get! Buy cheap, Expect to get cheap!
I have the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum.

4 Likes

I have an EXO drone and a Walmart drone,

This was half the cost and it flies better. I love it. Only don’t recommend because it’s not 4K camera, and in practical use for inspections it’s meant I can only barely make out stuff I want to see like exposed fasteners on shingles

1 Like

Here are a few drone images with my Mavic Pro the other day…

4 Likes

That does look sharper than what my Walmart drone does




Edit: BUT because it’s a Mavic PRO and not the Mini it does have a 4K cam. Hopefully soon I can get inspections with my EXO drone, I’d love for us to compare images. Admittedly whether it’s 4K or not isn’t everything, if the more expensive drones focus better or have better lenses that may make it worth spending more

2 Likes

I ordered a DJI Mini 3 Pro! Thanks all for your advice!

3 Likes

You can get full warrantee refurbish ones from DJI and save some money. they are like new… See if they have the one you want. This is what I did.

1 Like

Ya think…Let’s see you check for loose shingles or look down the chimney with that there fancy drone.
In all seriousness, there are times when drones make sense, but if you can walk the roof, you can simply do more and find more and do it more quickly.
As a side note, I was paid to do a drone promo where the drone operator checked out the roof with great photos. Then I went on the roof and immediately started flipping up loose shingles that were not adhered.
That promo was scrapped and they reshot it on a different roof with a different home inspector.

4 Likes






It does depend on the roof =) But there’s much, much better images of every nook and cranny of the roof with a good drone inspection. The future is here. These are old pics of my own house (yes I had work to do) with my EXO ranger drone I want to get fixed and use for inspections

We all say that, but not always in a positive way.
I talk to lots of HIs using drones. Amazing how many do not have the license despite the heavy fines. And only one of them, actually follows the FAA rules for using them.
Some years ago, I crashed my first drone (Yuneec) in a surprise wind gust. I’ve had a new one for over a year, and haven’t flown it once, even in a practice flight.
Back in May, I shined my flashlight down a 30’ chimney onto a snoozing racoon. I would have never seen that critter with a drone. Your photos of your roof remind me that it’s pretty difficult to find those soft spots with a drone, too.

2 Likes

The only time I use one is if the roof prohibits me from climbing it.

Jonathan,
These pictures do look better. perhaps the lighting was better that day. Small image sensors found in entry level drones do best in bright light.
Did you find any defects in those pictures?
Was the roof covering in good condition?
Was the flashing in good condition?
Are there any findings to report?

I have the same drone. Just started using it recently after falling off a roof last year and missing about 7 months of work. Very easy to fly

1 Like

Do clients complain that you didn’t go on the roof?

I do go on roofs so no. Drones are for roofs that are not safe to walk on for one reason or another