Many years ago, the only way to watch over larger areas was to keep driving around the area many times. Even then you could never look at the whole area at the same time, but only in a few meters radius from where you were standing.
Now that the technology has improved, there are many options you can monitor the area around you. The best and most used option are spy drones. Other than being quicker, a great thing about them is that they capture a very large area, filming from the sky in a high view perspective.
These drones are amazing surveillance technology. Of course, it is important to not misuse this technology and go spy on your neighbors or something else ridiculous like that. Technology is here to serve humans but in a way that is safe, legal, and fair to everyone.
Spy drones are often used for neighborhood safety. They „spy“ by flying over and filming the streets in residential areas making them safer, especially for children. Less frequently, spy drones are also used by the army, secret agents, and jealous spouses.
What Exactly Are Spy Drones?
The name is pretty self-explanatory. Spy drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are aircraft that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously. They’re used for the purpose of detecting the location and activity of the enemy or any other person or group of interest.
The term „spy drone“ is mostly associated with the military because we often hear those two things connected in the news or on the internet. They are mostly super expensive, high-tech devices that help solve global issues for the military forces, because they capture hidden information and allow the military to create unexpected and smart strategies without deploying their troops on foreign grounds.
One of the famous drones in the world is Predator MQ-1. This article is not focused on those types of drones though, because their accessibility for „regular “folks is quite low.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll not be focused on spy drones in the military that are also called law enforcement drones. These drones are not even for sale, so you can’t buy them even if you have the money! Instead, here we will talk about civilian drones, which you can buy at almost every technology shop.
One of the famous drone models that is used for many purposes (Including spying) is DJI Phantom 4 Pro, so you can check it out.
Can You Become a Drone Secret Agent?
When we say we will give you tips on becoming a drone secret agent, we don’t mean that we are guiding you into an FBI agent carrier. For that, you would need more than a simple article. But we can guide you and give you a tips on how to become a capable spy drone user.
Basically, what you need is, obviously, a drone, a camera, and an LCD screen to see what your drone is viewing, and a recorder to save the filmed material. Instead of a regular monitor, you can also use the FPV goggles.
These FPV goggles are portable mini-screens that you wear on your face. They are connected to the actual drone and they give you the a real-time view from the quadcopter. This experience is definitely more exciting than just looking at a computer screen.
If you want to know more about FPV Goggles, I wrote an article 10 Best FPV Drone Goggles in 2021, full review.
What Does the Law Say About Spying With Drones?
Sadly, the law can sometimes spoil all the fun. Spying on someone can be a serious offense. As a drone (unmanned vehicle) operator, you are responsible for the drone’s whereabouts, just like you would be for your child’s.
So, if someone feels their privacy is violated with any of your actions with the drone, they can easily file a lawsuit. Because the laws on this topic are still not quite clear, you might get away with it, but you also might get into a lot of trouble. So, be careful.
When buying a drone, it is important to know that the larger the drone is, the stricter the rules and regulations will be. Filming animals or spaces that you usually could not approach, but want to see, is maybe a safer way to use spy drones than for filming and spying on other people.
If you want to know more about this topic, I definitely advise you to refer to the Federal Aviation Administration website.
5 Best Spy Drones on The Market
1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
DJI Phantom 4 Pro. There are a few different versions of the DJI Phantom. Newer models have a built-in camera, while older versions don’t. If you already have an action cam then you can go for the first Phantom series without the included camera. That way you will save money for sure. But, if you do not own a camera, then the much-improved Phantom 4 Pro, with a built-in HD camera and an FPV system is an excellent option for you.
This newer model comes with a 14MP camera that can record in 1080p has a built-in WiFi streaming system, so you will be able to look over your filmed area instantly and in HD quality too! A frequent question is: Can you connect it with Android and iOS devices. The answer is, yes you can!
Thanks to a great gimbal stabilator the camera is stable at all times and captures great non-shaky, clear footage. This footage can even be used for movies, which self explains how excellent the resolution and general filming quality is.
The only con of this model is the price. The price is usually somewhere around $2000. But if you want a versatile drone that can be used for filmmaking and “spy” work, this is certainly the best choice. Keep in mind that this is the second most expensive model on our list, and there are much cheaper models than this.
2. Hubsan X4 H107D
Hubsan X4 H107D. This is a perfect spy drone model for beginners. The quadcopter is small, stable, and durable. The drone comes with an ideal FPV set that helps you see what the drone is recording. It comes with a video transmitter and receiver, an antenna, a video monitor, an HD camera, and sometimes even FPV goggles. This is the only quality model whose price ranges under 100 dollars and that is actually worth the money.
It does take some time to get used to how it works and learn how to navigate the drone using FPV, but just like any other skill, you will get better with time. Since this set is very simple to use, it does allow beginners to excel in its usage in quite a short time.
The Hubsan X4 H107D comes in two models: the basic and the advanced. We absolutely recommend the basic one to every beginner because the drone flies stably and slowly which is great for mastering piloting skills. The advanced model, on the other hand, is a bit wilder in its flying and is meant for more experienced pilots. That model can catch great speeds and avoid obstacles very well. Which is perfect for spying. Some people even used them for following high-speed car chases.
It comes with a forward-facing camera fixed in that position. The camera does not change placements or viewpoints in filming, so if you would like a more adventurous camera positioning to choose some of the drones listed underneath. With this product, you really do get the most for your money though.
3. DJI Spreading Wings S1000
DJI Spreading Wings S1000. If your budget is not tight, then this spy drone is the perfect solution for you. If you want to use a drone that can carry serious amounts of filming equipment this is it! This DJI is absolutely magnificent.
The S1000 is a specially made drone for filmmakers and that’s why it offers many great possibilities for image and video creators. Also, it has a great zooming ability. By this, you can see clear imagines even when they are filmed from a large distance, which can be good for spying.
The drone itself is very light but manages to pick up heavily weighted cameras and any other hefty equipment. The fact that this is one huge drone, capable of lifting some serious payload, makes it ideal for spy missions that require you to be far away from your mark.
However, because of its large size, it can be very noisy and that makes it not as ideal for spy missions that must be kept as secret. Its price is pretty high (ranges somewhere around $4500) but it is one of the finest pieces of equipment on the planet.
4. 3D Robotics Iris
3D Robotics Iris. As the name itself tells you, this model is extremely high-tech and modern. It offers a Pixhawk autopilot system that allows you to program autonomous takeoffs and landings, but it also comes with the autonomous return to takeoff position. You will also be able to tingle with mission parameters which makes the drone circle around the point of interest and perform patrol flights.
The con of this drone is that it does not come with a camera and its price is a little bit expensive. On top of that in can only stay in the air for about 15 min (the average flight time of a drone is about 25 -30 minutes). But overall, this is one of the best spy drones, and if spying is your goal this might be the best decision for you.
5. Skybotix Coax Autonomous
Skybotix Coax Autonomus. The CoaX is a small but exceptionally smart flying computer. It can fly quietly as a leaf in the wind.
With that being said, you can then guess that this is a perfect spy mission drone. It’s small and silent, what else do you need? It comes with two cameras and a Gumstix Overo Microcomputing system that operates on Linux. Additionally, it has four sonar and pressure sensors attached to its body making it extra aware of its surroundings.
However, the price ranges around $5000, and well, that may not be an amount of money everyone is willing to spend on a drone! But, if you are a fan of awesome spy technology features and you are ready to invest your money into this mastermind flying computer, you will not regret it.
How To Choose The Best Drone?
Drones are wonderful toys, and they can be very entertaining to use. Besides you can use them to spy on someone, they also have a lot of potential for being used in creative ways such as filming incredible footage from high up in the sky!
Picking the right model for you can be a stressful task, knowing that there are so many different models available on the market. It is important to set a price range within how much money you are willing to spend and point out features that are important to you.
With adequate research and knowing those two points, you should be able to find a perfect option for you. If you are unsure if you even actually want a drone, we made a short list of pros and cons in owning one. Here they are, listed underneath:
- They can create amazing aerial videos and images.
- They are very versatile and can be used in countless areas of human interest.
- If you wanted to experience the thrill of flying without attending pilot school and had a strong wish of seeing the world from the bird’s perspective, this is an awesome gadget for you.
- If you do not have any prior experience, your first flight may be difficult and it will take time to master the skill of flying. If you do not have patience, maybe this will bring you more frustration than pleasure.
- For more affordable models, the battery life is a very low.
- It can be an expensive hobby.
Spy Drones are the perfect way to monitor a large area. They can fly up high and capture footage of everything that’s going on, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything. You’ll be able to see every detail from the sky in a bird’s eye view. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night because they’re equipped with infrared cameras for nighttime surveillance too. What you need to pay attention to is privacy. You may not film other people without their permission. I hope you have learned what the role of spy drones is and how they work.