Propeller guards can be an incredibly useful thing when you are learning to fly a drone or if you are performing very complicated manoeuvres in tight spaces. Nowadays many drones come with propeller guards and there are many options to buy propeller guards if your drone does not come with them. In this article we are going to go over the best drone with propeller guards and the important aspects that you should consider about buying a drone with propeller guards. Also, will go over some of the common misconceptions about propeller guards and what they are really used for.
The best drone with propeller guards is the DJI Mavic mini. That is because the DJI Mavic mini has no other senses to protect it during its flight. The propeller guards provide all of the protection for flights where you are not as comfortable all are pushing your capabilities. Another great option is the Ryze Tello. Both of these drones have propeller guards that completely in case the propellers which you can purchase separately.
In a hurry? The best drone with propeller guards is the DJI Mavic mini
DJI Mavic mini
The DJI Mavic mini is a super lightweight, portable drone that can be flown outside without registration in a load of different countries. It is incredibly compact and light which means that this drone can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes – which is longer than most drones which are much more expensive. Just because you are paying less it does not mean that you are skimping out on other really important drone features.
It can support 12-megapixel aerial photos and can shoot high definition (2.7 K) videos. In such a small device you even have a three-axis motorized gimbal so you can be assured of a steady and blur-free recording or photography session. It even comes with a remote controller so you can keep track of your drone and control it with ease. Having a controller cannot be understated it really improves the piloting experience.
+ 30 min Max. Flight Time
+ Under 250 g
+ Smart features of much more expensive drones
~ No 4K – understandable at this price point
~ Effected by strong winds
~ No avoidance sensors
The reason I have selected the DJI Mavic mini as the best drone with propeller guards is the simple fact that the DJI Mavic mini does not have any other senses for detecting obstacles around the drone. For this drone, which is one of the best beginner drones that you can buy, propeller guards are of paramount importance for protecting your drone.
Other drones such as the DJI Mavic Air 2 have a range of sensors that will keep your drone safe. This includes downloads, forwards, and backward-facing sensors with multiple cameras and precision takeoff and landing options. The DJI Mavic mini has none of these and therefore the likelihood of a crash is slightly increased. I absolutely love the DJI Mavic mini, I recommend it to pretty much every new drone flyer that asked me for advice and the propeller guards are a very important part of flying this drone.
If you want protection for your DJI Mavic mini you should look at the protective cage:
This drone case is a fully enclosed propeller protection cover for the DJI Mavic mini. It quickly clips on to the arms of the drone and provides 360° protection. If you are doing something particularly crazy with your DJI Mavic mini this could be a good option for you.
Another option for drone with propeller guards
If you want to know more information about which drone is the easiest to fly check out my other article – click here. I go through everything you need to know about easy to fly drones including the senses that each drone has as well as advanced flying options for making the flight as safe and easy as possible.
Ryze Tello – best for beginners
This drone may be small and lightweight but it has a tonne of features powered by a very reputable drone manufacturer, DJI. DJI are the leaders when it comes to drones and they have perfected this entry-level drone. Here are the features that this drone comes with:
- Tello App – The Tello app makes it really easy to fly. It makes even the most complicated maneuvers just a simple touch of a button.
- Lightweight – this very small drone fits in the palm for your hand and weighs only 80g.
- You can perform stunts – start flying by tossing the drone up into the air with the Throw&go technology. You can also perform stunts and tricks (like flips) using the app
- Safe to fly indoors – Thanks for rotor guards and it’s vision positioning system the Tello drone is fun and safe to fly indoors
- 13 minute flight time – a huge flight time for a drone of this size powered by the best drone batteries on the market – DJI batteries!
- Programmable – You can learn the basics of programming by using Scratch – an MIT developed coding system especially suited for students. Fly your own flight patterns
This thing is by far the best drone for travelers that are new to drone flying and want to test the waters of capturing their adventures.
+ Really inexpensive
+ super easy to fly
~ Needs another battery for continuous fun
~ May not be robust enough for heavy travel
The DJI Tello also comes with a fully enclosed protective cover for its blades. This is exclusively made for the Tello drone and is really great if you’re using it in an educational setting. The blade guard only weighs 13 g which means that it does not affect the flight and it is especially designed for the small drone. It is easy to use and quick to mount. The only thing you can do with it is use the flip function when the drone is equipped with the propeller guard.
What is a propeller guard?
Propeller guards are used to protect the propellers from causing injury or harm to the things in the environment. They are typically made from plastic as it is lightweight and does not affect the weight of the drone very much. The propeller guards at like a bumper bar around the edge of the propeller blades. They are fixed in place on the arms of the drone and the propeller spins inside them.
Typically, propeller guards only provide lateral protection to bumping into obstacles as the top and the bottom of the propellers need to be kept free so that there can be free air flow. That is because the propellers this place air to lift the drone up into the sky if it could not displace enough air the drone simply would not take off. It would also be likely that the motors would overheat from working in an enclosed environment.
You can buy propeller guards for any drone in the DJI system and typically come with the drone as standard. The benefits of using a propeller guard are:
- confidence – when I fit propeller guards on my drone I am confident that the drone will not fall out of the sky and that the propellers will continue to spin if I bump into something on the side, front or back. That protects my investment in the drone.
- Training – if I want to practice flying in confined spaces such as in my living room I always use propeller guards. This is because in enclosed spaces the drone performs very differently. If the drone gets too close to the ceiling or walls of an enclosed space the airflow can become turbulent and the drone can be very hard to control.
- Protects the drone – drones can be very expensive and there is no doubt that taking out into the wild for the first few flights can be very scary. Adding a layer of protection between the environment and your drone will mean that the investment you have made will not be wasted through silly accidents.
- It protects people around you – even though drones are relatively safe spinning propellers can cause a fair bit of soft body part damage. I once caught my finger in the spinning blades of my drone and took the skin off causing a fair fit of bleeding. That will teach me for trying to catch my drone out of the air.
Some people don’t like to use propeller guards because they can be seen as novice and beginner additions to a drone. As long as you don’t let your ego get in the way of flying this should not be an issue. I’d much rather return from a flight mission with my drone intact than not use propeller guards because of the way I may be perceived. As you get more confident flying a drone there will be less need for you to use them but they are always nice to have just in case you are feeling uneasy about your planned flight path.
Let’s take a look at who would want to use propeller guards and what they would be able to do for them.
Who would want to use a propeller guard?
Propeller guards may be used by a range of drone flyers. Here are examples of people who could want to use a propeller guard on one of their drone flights.
If you are a beginner drone pilots than it is advisable that you fly within your capacity and slowly extend your range of capability by using propeller guards. This is arguably the most common type of drone pilot that would require the use of propeller guards.
All of the beginner drones will have propeller guards. This is because the manufacturers know that getting used to flying a drone comes with near misses and small accidents. If you want to find out more about the best drone fee you check out my other article – the ultimate drone buying guide – click here.
People flying a different type of drone than normal
If you are flying a different type of drone than you usually fly it may be advisable to use propeller guards. If you are staying in the same ecosystem of drones for example DJI Mavic drones it is unlikely that you will require propeller guards to make your flight as safe as possible. However, if you are changing from DJI drones for example to the parrot Anafi it may be suitable for you to put on some propeller guards for your first few flights.
People flying in enclosed spaces
Perhaps you are a drone photographer/videographer who is planning to take some images in enclosed spaces. This could include industrial warehouses and larger enclosed spaces but enclosed spaces nonetheless. Propeller guards will allow you to focus on the most important aspect of your mission – getting the perfect shot – rather than worrying about bumping into things. Propeller guards take another aspect of drone eight of the equation so you can focus on expressing your creative vision.
Another reason for in flying in enclosed spaces is for reconnaissance and surveying purposes. If you cannot see the drone through line of sight you should definitely protect the propellers from coming into contact with anything. There are specialised drones for enclosed spaces which not only include side protection but completely in case the drone in a protective mesh. The mesh is important as it still allows the airflow to move around the drone completely freely.
Whatever the use case for using propeller guards they are easy to use and affordable I keep them in my drone case just in case I want to try something a little bit out of the ordinary and ensure the protection of my drone and the things around it.
Now, let’s look at some of the most frequently asked propeller guard questions and their answers.
Frequently asked propeller guard questions
Even though propeller guards can seem like simple bits of plastic there are plenty of questions arising from their use. When you are buying a drone you must make sure that you are using propeller guards that are well fastened to the body or arms of the aircraft. Being so close to the propellers you don’t want any flexibility in their movement which could cause them to come into contact with the propellers.
Do prop guards affect flight?
Propeller guards have been designed so that they have minimal effect on flight. You will notice when you see propeller guards that they mainly provide protection at the sides of the spinning propeller. That is because propellers work by sucking in air from the top and pushing it out underneath the drone. The amount of air that is displaced needs to weigh more than the drone to create thrust and upwards momentum. Anything that would inhibit this would also affect flight.
Typically, propellers have no protection on the top and bottom of the propellers. So if you are using propeller guards in a situation where you have overhanging obstacles that you could thrust up into consider using another form of protection for the blades.
Make sure that you use official manufacturers propeller guards as these would be the least likely to affect flight.
Can drone propellers hurt you?
For more information on this subject check out my other article – can a drone cut your finger off? – Click here. In this article I go through everything you need to know about propellers and the damage that it could cause.
Propellers can hurt you. I have had an incident where I was trying to catch the drone out of the sky while landing and my fingers came into contact with the blade. Check out this YouTube video which shows the damage that was caused:
My experience with coming into contact with the drone was:
- the bruising from the injury was far worse than the cuts to my finger. It took a fair amount of time for the bruises to go down as the propeller didn’t slice into the skin but rather continually bash at it while it was spinning.
- The drone stayed in the air – as I was trying to catch the drone out of the air the drone remained very stable and compensated for the extra friction by increasing the revolutions per minute on that propeller. If I were to have completely blocked the path of the propeller the drone would have fallen out of the sky.
- The cuts to the fleshy parts of my finger healed up quickly and had no lasting scarring. The lasting effect was an appreciation for how quickly the blades of the drone are spinning and how much damage that can cause to your fingers.
In summary, just make sure that you stay completely clear of spinning blades. If you feel like the mission could involve getting close to yourself or other people then I would recommend using propeller guards.
Do propeller guards work?
Yes, propeller guards work incredibly well at protecting the drone and the things around the drone. As long as you are not doing anything too crazy propeller guards will protect you from the smallest of bumps and knocks into walls and other items. Propeller guards will not protect you from overhanging obstacles that could get caught in the top or bottom of the blades. If you are going to be flying in a place with overhanging things such as tree branches then consider upgrading your propeller guards to fully encased propeller guards or change your drone flying mission location.
How long does it take to install propeller guards?
It only takes a few minutes to install propeller guards.
Typically propeller guards will have a plastic clip that clips onto the arms of the drone. Making sure that you use official manufacturer delivered propeller guards will ensure a good and sturdy fit around the rapidly spinning propellers.
There we have it, there are the best drones with propeller guards. Importantly the propeller guards in the examples given are the primary source of obstacle protection for the drones. That is because they lack senses. You can also buy propeller guards for all of the DJI series of drones as well as other manufacturers.
Propeller guards are the perfect way to ensure that your drone and the things around the drone remain safe and secure throughout your flight.
When choosing a drone with propeller guards just make sure that the propeller guards are secured firmly to the arms of the drones so that it does not come loose during the flight.
Propeller guards are best for beginner flyers and if you are a beginner flyer check out my other articles so that you can feel as confident as possible when flying. Happy drone Flyingand stay safe with or without propeller guards!