Can you fly a drone below freezing? You may be curious about whether flying your drone in the winter isn’t something you should be doing, and this post will help clear that for you.

Not only are drones used by hobbyists for recreation but high-grade quadcopters are regularly used by videographers and surveillance agencies. The weather outside isn’t always clear and in those less-than-ideal conditions, being prepared can go a long way when your drones.

Can You Fly In The Cold?

The short answer is – yes, you can fly a drone below freezing but you may experience issues like batteries draining too fast, weird control issues, and motors powering off.

Drones can certainly fly in the winter- and you don’t have to worry about your drone albeit your cold hands may be an issue. However, if you live in an area where snowfalls are common and you risk getting snow into your drone, I’ve covered that for you here.

Why Flying A Drone Below Freezing Is Not A Good Idea?

Well, you may think that flying in the air when the surroundings are frozen is a great way to capture some stunning footage, you also need to think about these factors:

Drone Batteries Don’t Like Cold

Lithium-Polymer batteries, which are the kind of batteries found on drones, perform best at temperatures above 50 F.

drone batteries in the cold

The reason why batteries don’t perform well in the cold is because of something called discharge rate. Batteries store charge inside of them and when you hook them up to a circuit, they discharge slowly over time.  An increase in discharge rate can be caused due to frigid temperatures, or your battery could simply die- and the drone will drop dead in its tracks.

In order to keep the battery health in good condition, you shouldn’t put it through the stress of charging when it’s too hot or cold. If it seems puffy. it might be because it’s damaged- it’s ideal to throw away your puffed-up batteries to prevent the risk of explosions.

Avoiding Water Damage

Even if your drone batteries aren’t damaged in the cold, if you are flying your drone in the cold, you risk getting snow/ice on your drone’s body. There could be a thin layer of ice on your propellers or the camera, and it could easily seep into the insides of your quadcopter.

flying drone in the rain

Liquid damage is harmful to any electronic device, but on drones- it can either short-circuit the motherboard or make the drone unresponsive and crash into something nearby.

Personally, I like to keep my drones as far from water as I can because not only can water instantly kill your drone electronics but it can also leave residues on the insides, which will definitely corrode and damage the electronics over time.

Poor Footage

If you are going to fly your drone out in the cold, it’s probably because you need stunning footage.

When it’s snowing or moist, the cameras tend to get foggy and the surroundings won’t be captured clearly as well. So, it’s a good idea to wait till the weather clears up before flying your quadcopter in chilly weather.

What To Do If You Need To Fly A Drone In The Cold?

You do risk many issues- battery health and water damage if you fly your drone in the cold but if you have to do it, these are some things you should keep in mind.

Keeping The Drone Clean

If you are flying in an area where it’s always snowing, you may want to land the drone after some time and wipe away snow and ice from the drone body and propellers.

keep drones free from snow and ice

When possible, it’s always best to fly a drone when it’s completely dry. This is to prevent chances of water damage or any snow and stuff getting inside your drone.

Spare Batteries Can Be Handy

It’s a well-known fact that batteries don’t perform that well in the cold, and your batteries will last about 10 – 15 minutes shorter than they normally would. So, keeping extra batteries can come in very handy.

Also, if you don’t have additional batteries at hand, you can try waiting for the batteries to cool down first, then charge them. Keeping the batteries warm (not scorching hot) by using a heater is also a good idea.

Fly Shorter Distances

Cold and batteries don’t mix that well. So, you should make sure that your batteries are fully charged before you take the plunge, and keeping the batteries warm when being stored is also a good idea.

You should also expect the drone to last for about 10 – 15 minutes if it usually lasts about 25 minutes.

Adjust Camera Settings

If it’s cloudy and dark outside, you may want to take a look at the ISO levels- and try increasing them to see if the image got any brighter.

shooting footage of snow and cold surrounding with a drone

Excessive ISO levels could introduce grain into the footage, so keeping it moderate is the key to excellent pictures.

Take Precautions In The Cold

Last but not the least, if you are going to be operating a drone in the cold, getting warm clothes and a nice set of gloves can come in very handy. Any glove would do but I prefer photographer’s gloves when possible as that would allow me to maintain my finger dexterity when flying the drone.

Getting some accessories to protect your drone propellers can also be a nice idea. We’ve got a nice list of drone accessories if you’re interested.

Final Thoughts

Flying a drone in the cold can be a fun thing to do if you are trying to capture shots of snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and nearby surroundings. Flying when it’s below freezing isn’t advisable but if you need to do it, you can take some precautions that will help you fly safely.

Blurred vision can also be an issue if there’s fog so you should also think about that if you are flying in FPV. So, if it’s avoidable, I would recommend staying warm indoors instead of flying drones out in the cold. You may also be interested in reading our buying guide to budget drones, thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the coldest temperature you can fly a drone?

Personally, I think -10 degrees Celsius is the sweet spot but not flying drones below freezing is a good idea.

Can drones freeze?

Drones will certainly freeze if the manufacturer hasn’t mentioned anything about flying below freezing.

What weather is bad for drones?

You can probably get away with flying your quadcopter in a little wind, rain, or snow, but if you don’t want to risk your batteries being damaged, avoiding temperatures below freezing or when it’s snowing is a good idea.

How cold can I fly a Mavic Air 2?

You can fly a Mavic Air 2 up to negative 10 degrees Celsius.

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