drone roof inspections

What’s the best drone for roof inspections?

What is the best drone to use for roof inspections?

You really don’t need to do anything fancy! I was thinking about the use case for drones in roof inspections when I was at my mom’s house in Missouri over the weekend. (I live in a condo building in San Francisco, so no need for me to do my own roof inspections here!)

Roof inspections can get fancy. You could add a thermal camera (particularly if you have solar panels on your roof). If you had a huge roof and needed to fly the exact same route every time, you might want to use Skycatch, which could even generate a map for you.

But for most roof inspectors, all you want is a relatively small drone that is stable, easy to fly, can get close to the roof, is safe, and offers both a live video feed and generates high qualities images or video that can be saved.

Often, all you need to see is a clip something like this, which I took when my mom asked me to drone-photograph her house for her:

I shot the following clip on the Autel X-Star.

So what drone should you use for roof inspections?

There are really 3 drones I would recommend, all of which cost less than $800 including camera, and offer at least 20 minutes of flight time. Each of these drones also

If you need to do more advanced roof inspections — such as needing a dual controller, scroll down for more recommendations.

autel x-star
I did a mock roof inspection for my mom using this Autel X-Star drone.
  • Yuneec Q500 ($785):  This drone is light and easy to transport (including a carrying case). It has a 4K camera for high quality video, and is smooth and easy to fly. This drone is awesome because it has a live video feed directly in the RC transmitter, allowing you to see your roof in real-time using nothing more than the drone and controller.

This drone also comes with a sun shield/hood to make it easier to see the screen.

See Drone Girl’s entire Yuneec Q500 review here.

  • DJI Phantom 3 Standard ($491.98): This drone is incredibly wallet friendly. The camera quality here is 2.7K quality, so while it’s not quite as good as 4K (and wouldn’t necessarily be Hollywood-film ready), it’s more than high quality enough to see details in your roof. The video streams through your smartphone or tablet, which you can use to get real-time video.

You might also want to buy DJI’s transmitter hood to better see your screen.

  • Autel X-Star ($699): The X-Star looks a lot like an orange DJI Phantom. But, there are actually quite a few differences. For about $700, you’ll get higher quality video (4K) than DJI’s Phantom 3 Standard. It also has a removable gimbal meaning you’ll potentially be able to update the camera or drone in future models from Autel.

See Drone Girl’s entire Autel X-Star review here.

All of these drones can hover and maintain their position, so in theory you could get a good look at the roof while also controlling the drone (with a spotter of course).

But there may be instances where it is significantly safer and easier to have a dual-controller for your drone.

Here are some (slightly more expensive) options if you need a dual controller:

  • DJI’s Inspire 1 ($2,299) has a dual controller option — allowing one person to control the drone and another to control just the camera.
  • Yuneec’s Typhoon H ($1,299) offers a neat option called Team Mode. With Team Mode, you can bind one Ground Station to Typhoon H and another Ground Station to the CGO3+ camera simultaneously. Capturing truly creative content is vastly more practical with cooperation between pilot and camera operator.

See Drone Girl’s review of the Yuneec Typhoon H here.

12 thoughts on “What’s the best drone for roof inspections?”

  1. The Autel X-Star supports a Trainer/Learner Configuration that I think can be used to split pilot and camera operator functions.

  2. Hello drone girl
    Have you tryed flying the XIRO XPLORER V.
    I own two of them they do a good job for roof top inspection.

  3. I’ve recently reviewed Heli Max 1SQ Quadcopter and I highly recommend it. The model is quite cheap – if you do your research you can find it for 70$. It has great air speed and smooth controls.

  4. Great article. I like the XIRO XPLORER V as well. I am a roofing contractor and I use it often. The other day I was at a home finishing a roof repair, and got called from a neighbor a few streets down, and pulled it out and inspected it quickly. We were able to give her an estimate that day. Amazing tool!

  5. I was thinking about the use case for drones in roof inspections. For instance, lots of people are using drones for roof inspections. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info.

  6. I never thought about this kind of use of drone. Actually, I liked the idea and I think all the roofing contractors also use this to save time and the resources to inspect the roof to find out any damage or punctures. I really appreciate that you shared this drone options.

  7. Using the drone for roof inspection will undoubtedly help a lot to roof cleaning service providers. This will not only save the time but also help to save the manpower as well. This type of practice can be used to inspect gutter as well. Nice concept though.

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