The best indoor drone for real estate agents

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about the best indoor drone for real estate agents that uses FPV. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I would like a high-end, FPV mini drone to fly indoors and tight spaces, specifically to fly through homes for real estate purposes. I’ll be making videos for the realtors, so I’m not looking for a live feed.

Drones are no longer just for capturing breathtaking aerial views. They’re revolutionizing the way we showcase homes indoors. Imagine soaring weightlessly from room to room, revealing stunning open floor plans, capturing intricate architectural details, and offering buyers a unique, bird’s-eye perspective they can’t get from traditional photos. Using drones to capture indoor real estate images is an incredible use case. Luckily, there’s one especially good drone to help you do it.

What you’ll need is an FPV drone. FPV stands for first person view, and it allows you to get a feed of what the drone’s camera sees — even if you’re not physically in that room. Now there are many excellent FPV drones out there, but they’re generally optimized for racing. They can whip around at high speeds or fly in dizzying patterns. But they generally don’t shoot the high-quality video that you’ll need for real estate videos.

That largely changed in August 2022, when DJI launched its Avata drone. This easy-to-fly FPV drone is designed for indoor flight. It’s also relatively affordable, starting at just over $600.

Of course, while Avata is easily the best bet, it’s not the only one. Here’s your ultimate guide to using drones for real estate:

Best indoor drone for real estate agents: DJI Avata 2

Sally French, The Drone Girl, reviews the DJI Avata 2 with the DJI FPV Remote Controller 3. (Photo by Sally French)

The DJI Avata 2 isn’t just any drone; it’s a game-changer for indoor real estate photography. Its compact size, cinewhoop design (protected propellers for safety), and intuitive FPV controls make it perfect for navigating tight spaces and capturing unique angles. The high-resolution camera shoots stunning 4K video with excellent low-light performance, and features like Rocksteady and Horizonsteady ensure smooth, cinematic footage. 

The Avata 2 is the next generation of the original Avata. Though in a battle between the Avata 2 vs Avata, I’d almost always consider the Avata 2 the winner.

Some key DJI Avata 2 specs:

  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Internal storage: 46 GB
  • Weight: 377 grams
  • Size: 185×212×64 mm
  • 1/1.3-inch CMOS Super-Wide-Angle 12MP Camera
  • Films at 4K/60fps and slow-motion footage at 2.7K/50/60/100/120fps.
  • Ultra-wide-angle lens with a viewing angle of up to 155°
  • 10-bit D-Log M Color Mode offers richer detail in highlights and shadows, which can be brought out in post-production and streamlined color grading

Read my full DJI Avata 2 review here.

Here’s an awesome example from OriginaldoBo showing an actual real estate tour using DJI Avata:

Best indoor drone if you also want to fly outdoors: DJI Mini 4

Price: $769

Flight time: 34 minutes per battery

Camera? Yes; 1/1.3-inch CMOS camera; shoots images at up to 48MP and video up to 4k/60fps

The DJI Mini 4 Pro is designed as an outdoor drone, and I recommend mostly using it for outdoor flying. But it performs surprisingly well indoors, making it a great pick for real estate who want to have one drone that takes amazing exterior photos showcasing the whole property and fly it indoors for those home tour shots.

That’s largely thanks to a feature called omnidirectional obstacle avoidance. While DJI won’t outright call it crash-proof, this is pretty much as close as you can get.

Here are some key DJI Mini 4 camera specs:

  • A 1/1.3-inch CMOS camera sensor with dual native ISO: This means footage from either camera can be packed with rich coloring and natural lighting transitions.
  • Aperture: f/1.7, which is ideal for low-light and nighttime performance 
  • High-quality capture: It shoots images at up to 48MP and video at up to 4k/60fps 
  • Digital video zoom: It’s available up to 2x in 4k, up to 4x
  • HDR Video recording: Available in 4k/60fps 
  • Night Shots video: Delivers clear, cleaner footage in low-light conditions  

Additionally, since the DJI Mini 4 Pro is under 250 grams, it is not subject to the same FAA regulation as larger drones. Notably, you won’t have to register it.

Best place to buy: Amazon ($769)

Here’s a pretty compelling property tour that was filmed in part on the DJI Mini 4 Pro:

Some of the ground shots were also shot on a fancy on-the-ground camera, the Sony Alpha 7SIII. But, it’s pretty obvious which shots came from a drone — and there are good examples of both indoor and outdoor drone shots — showcasing the versatility and quality of the Mini 4 Pro.

Best true FPV drone: Flywoo Explorer

For a true FPV drone that takes incredibly high-quality video, you’ll need to products in tandem: the Flywoo Explorer LR 4″ Quadcopter HD w/ DJI O3 and the Flywoo Naked GoPro 10 Action Camera w/ Touchscreen + Filter Set.

At just 4″, it has a small footprint (and makes a lot less noise than a 6-7″ drone. The drone itself comes with top tier components including a DJI O3 FPV Air Unit and DJI O3 antenna, which is a compact, lightweight FPV camera and transmission module system to deliver incredibly high image quality.

The drone also has an impressive 30-minute flight time assuming no payload (e.g. no camera mounted to it). Of course, you’ll want a camera, which is why it’s best paired with the Flywoo Naked GoPro 10 Action Camera w/ Touchscreen + Filter Set. this camera takes the  GoPro Hero 10 and strips out all the unnecessary features beyond what you need for FPV flying to make it weigh just 44 grams (critical in your FPV flight). Flywood also added new features like an aluminum sheet to reinforce and make it more durable.

Together, this drone and ‘naked GoPro’ provide the ultimate FPV drone setup for high-quality, truly mind-blowing FPV footage. The Naked camera costs $689 and the drone itself costs $489, putting this total kit at just over $1,100.

Best if you don’t want to fly: DJI Osmo Pocket 3

You might want to augment your drone photography with images taken from the ground — but that still match the same style of the drone’s camera (and capture that silky-smooth, flying look). This can be helpful for getting into small spaces that not even a drone could get into, like an intricate cabinet system or a tiny closet.

Or, maybe you like that drone flying aesthetic, but you can’t fly a drone. That could be for reasons including that you don’t want to learn how to fly a drone, or maybe the homeowners don’t want a drone flying through their house (hey, even the best pilots might at one point crash and ding up a wall!).

Enter: the DJI Osmo Pocket 3. This handheld gimbal camera that takes the silky smooth look you see in drones and puts it on a camera that you hold. The DJI Osmo Pocket 3 entails a 4K camera, a remarkable 1-inch CMOS sensor, and D-Log M and 10-bit , designed to provide a bright, cinematic look.

Videos can be recorded at a maximum video resolution of 4K/120fps at 100Mbps. It also supports 4x and 8x slow-motion video shooting.

Even better is that it’s among the most affordable options on this list, coming in at just over $500. Learn more about the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 in our full review.

Buy the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 now:

The best indoor drone for real estate if you’re on a budget: DJI Mini 3

Sally French, The Drone Girl, reviews the DJI Mini 3 Pro in May 2022.

Do you need FPV specifically? FPV is short for first person view, meaning that the drone is operated by looking directly through the camera’s video feed for spatial awareness, rather than looking at the drone as it flies in the sky. It enables a style of flight common in the flashy world of drone racing, where pilots execute wild, lightening-fast flights between narrow alleys, through windows and whipping around race tracks.

But is that the look you need for real estate photography? I’d actually venture a guess that it may not be. If you need to fly through doorways, you could fly via line of sight with a traditional drone. If that’s what you need, I recommend the DJI Mini 3, which is well suited for indoor flying.

The average exterior standard door width is 36 inches, and an average interior standard door width is between 28 and 32 inches. The Mini 3 is just over 14 inches wide when unfolded, including the propellers. That provides more than enough clearance to fly through doorways.

Not only that, but it’s pretty affordable. It’s one of a couple great options of DJI drones under $500. Compared to the nearly-$800 DJI Mini 4 Pro, the old model comes in at less than $500 while still offering powerful features including a 1/1.3-inch CMOS and 12 MP of effective pixels. That means you’re still getting a super good camera system.

The real loss with this drone is you’re not getting the forward, backward, and downward vision system alongside DJI O3 transmission found in its more expensive siblings like the Mini 3 Pro or the Mini 4 Pro. That means you’ll need to rely on your piloting skills in order to not crash. May the odds be in your favor.

DJI FPV

What about the DJI FPV drone?

The DJI FPV drone marked the Chinese drone maker’s first foray FPV drones. As the predecessor to DJI Avata, it’s quite simply not as good. It’s heavier, and it’s larger, making it more cumbersome to carry around — and tougher to fit through doorways in those real estate videos. After all, it’s just over a foot in width. While a doorframe is generally more than 2 feet, that could be risky.

Now the DJI FPV drone is certainly compelling as a bit of a hybrid of a photography drone and a racing drone. And, it certainly has value for real estate photography given its larger, higher-quality lens than most FPV drones, providing high contrast and sharp image quality. The camera shoots at 4K/60fps 120 Mbps — far higher than most FPV drones — with the option to film in 4x slow motion in 1080p and 120 fps. Plus, a built-in stabilization system called RockSteady keeps your footage smooth.

But those features just pale in comparison to DJI Avata. If you want to explore further, I took a deep dive comparing DJI Avata vs DJI FPV.

Key features for indoor real estate drones

The best indoor drone for real estate agents might not necessarily involve FPV. Ask yourself why you need FPV. That said, no matter which drone you go for, there are some key features that all indoor drones for real estate need to have.

  • Size matters: Indoor spaces are tight, so compactness is crucial. A standard door frame is 36 inches, though a 30-inch doorframe is not uncommon. Ensure your drone is smaller than that.
  • Safety first: Precise control and obstacle avoidance are paramount indoors. Opt for drones with features like GPS positioning, collision sensors, and return-to-home functions.
  • Prioritize camera quality: High-quality footage is essential. Especially when trying to sell a home, consider drones with stabilized cameras that shoot clear 4K video and offer good low-light performance.
  • Control is key: Choose a drone with intuitive controls and a reliable connection. Smartphone control is convenient, but dedicated controllers typically offer more precise maneuvering.
  • Flight time is money: Aim for a drone with at least 10-15 minutes of flight time to capture a full property without constant battery swaps.
  • Consider propellers: For indoor flight, propeller guards can be useful, no matter your skill level. They’re lightweight and protect you and everything around you from getting hit by propellers (and you don’t want to ding up the home’s freshly painted walls). Using propellers will impact your light time. While inconvenient, that’s what spare batteries are for anyway.

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