How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry? Real Cases (lbs & kg)

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Ever looked up at a drone buzzing overhead and wondered, “Just how much can that little guy carry?” 

Well, you’re not alone. 

In this article, we’ll be looking at real-world examples of drone payload capacities, from small drones like the DJI Mavic Air 2s and DJI Mini 3, to medium drones like the DJI Inspire 3 and Freefly Alta 8, and even the heavy lifters in the large drone category like the DJI Matrice 600 and Airbus UAV.

Weight Can a Drone Carry

Here is how much weight drones normally can carry: 

Toy drones are lightweight, indoor-friendly devices that can carry small items of a few grams (less than 0.01 lbs).

Hobby drones, ideal for recreational photography, can usually handle payloads of 200-500 grams (0.4-1 lbs).

Advanced consumer drones, like the DJI Mavic 3 and the DJI Inspire 3 can carry payloads ranging from 500 grams to 2 kilograms (1-4.5 lbs). 

Heavy lift drones, designed for commercial and industrial use, can carry substantial payloads from 5 to 20 kilograms (10-45 lbs), with some models capable of even more.

Here are some real examples of popular drones and their payload:

  1. DJI Mavic 3 Pro: 500 grams (1.1 lbs)
  2. DJI Air 2S: 230 grams (0.51 lbs)
  3. DJI Mini 3: 250 grams (0.55 lbs)
  4. DJI Inspire 3: 2 kilograms (4.41 lbs)
  5. Autel Robotics EVO II: 500 grams (1.1 lbs)

Understanding Drone Payload Capacity

Let’s dive right into the heart of the matter – understanding drone payload. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t it just about how much weight a drone can carry?” Well, yes, and no. 

It’s a bit more nuanced than that, and understanding these nuances can make all the difference. So, let’s break it down, shall we?

What is Drone Payload?

Drone Payload

In the simplest terms, a drone’s payload is the extra weight it can carry in addition to its own body weight. This could be anything from a camera for those breathtaking aerial shots, to a package for delivery, or even a life-saving medical supply being transported to a remote location.

Overloading a drone can lead to poor performance, loss of control, or even a catastrophic mid-air failure. And nobody wants that, right?

Factors Influencing Drone Payload

Now, how do we figure out a drones payload capacity? It’s not as simple as just looking at the size of the drone. Factors like the drones motor power and battery life also come into play.

 Drone Size and Weight

The size and weight of a drone are the first things that come to mind when we talk about payload capacity. It’s pretty intuitive – larger drones generally carry more weight than smaller ones. But remember, it’s not just about size. The drones design and build quality also matter.

Motor Power and Battery Life

The power of the drones motors and the capacity of its battery are also key factors. More powerful motors can lift heavier payloads, but they also drain the battery faster. So, there’s a bit of a balancing act here. 

You want a drone with enough power to lift your payload, but also enough battery life to complete your mission.

Real-World Examples of Maximum Weight Capacity of Drones

Drones maximum weight capacity

Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s take a look at some real-world examples.

Small Drones

First up, we have the small drones. These little guys may not look like much, but they can pack a punch when it comes to payload capacity.

DJI Mavic Air 2s

The DJI Mavic Air 2s is a favorite among photographers and videographers for its compact size and impressive camera. But did you know it can carry up to 230 grams? That’s about the weight of a small DSLR camera!

DJI Mini 3

Next, we have the DJI Mini 3. This tiny drone is perfect for beginners and hobbyists, and it can carry up to 250 grams. That’s enough for a small camera or a couple of action figures for some fun aerial photography.

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is larger and more powerful than the Mini 3. It can carry up to 500 grams, and it is a great choice for professional photographers and videographers.

Medium Drones

Moving up in size, we have the medium drones. These drones are a bit larger and can carry more weight, they are mostly used for commercial use.

DJI Inspire 3

The DJI Inspire 3 is a beast of a drone,  a favorite among professional photographers and filmmakers. It is capable of carrying up to 2 kilograms. That’s enough for a professional-grade camera and lens.

Freefly Alta 8

The Freefly Alta 8 is another heavy-hitter in the medium drone category. It can carry up to 9 kilograms, making it perfect for commercial applications like package delivery or industrial inspections.

Large Drones

Finally, we have the large drones. These drones are the heavy lifters of the drone world, capable of carrying substantial payloads.

DJI Matrice 600

The DJI Matrice 600 is a professional-grade drone capable of carrying up to 6 kilograms. That’s enough for a professional cinema camera and lens, making it a popular choice for film and television production.

Airbus UAV

The Airbus UAV is in a league of its own. It can carry an impressive 25 kilograms, making it perfect for heavy-duty commercial applications like package delivery or emergency supply delivery.

Consequences of Overloading a Drones Carrying Capacity

Overloading Drones

Alright, folks, it’s time for a little drone reality check. We’ve talked about how much various drones can carry, but what happens if you try to push those limits? 

Well, spoiler alert: it’s not pretty. Overloading a drone can lead to all sorts of problems, from poor performance to catastrophic failure. So, let’s take a closer look at the consequences of overloading a drone.

Poor Performance

First up, let’s talk about performance. Drones are designed to carry a specific payload, and when you exceed that limit, performance suffers. The drone may struggle to lift off, or it may not be able to maintain a stable hover. It may also have difficulty responding to control inputs, making it hard to fly accurately or perform maneuvers.

Reduced Flight Time

Next, there’s the issue of flight time. The more weight a drone has to carry, the harder its motors have to work, and the faster its battery drains. So, if you overload your drone, you can expect your flight time to take a serious hit. And let’s face it, nobody wants their drone to run out of juice mid-flight.

Damage to Components

Overloading a drone can also cause physical damage to its components. The motors, for instance, can overheat and burn out from the strain of carrying too much weight. The battery can also suffer, as the increased power draw can cause it to overheat or even fail.

Catastrophic Failure

Finally, and most seriously, overloading a drone can lead to catastrophic failure. If a motor burns out mid-flight, for instance, the drone could crash. And if the drone is carrying a valuable payload, like a camera or other equipment, that could be a very costly crash indeed.

Catastrophic Failure

So, the moral of the story? Know your drone’s payload capacity, and respect it. It’s not just about protecting your drone and your payload; it’s also about ensuring a safe and successful flight. 

After all, as the old saying goes, “The sky’s the limit” – but only if your drone can handle the load!

FAQ About Drone Payload

Q: How much weight can a drone carry?

A: The amount of weight a drone can carry depends on the type of drone, its propellers, and motors. Small drones can carry around 0.5-2 kilograms (1-4 pounds), while professional and commercial drones can carry up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) or more.

Q: Are there drones specifically designed to carry heavier loads?

A: Yes, there are professional drone models designed for specific purposes, such as search and rescue, agricultural applications, and drone deliveries. These drones typically have a higher carrying capacity than recreational drones.

Q: How does the propeller size impact the amount of weight a drone can carry?

A: Larger propellers generate more lift, allowing the drone to carry heavier loads. However, larger propellers may also require more powerful motors and will consume more battery power, potentially reducing flight time.

Q: What are some considerations when adding weight to a drone?

A: First, check the drone’s manufacturer specifications for the maximum take-off weight to avoid exceeding the recommended weight limit. Additionally, adding weight may affect the drone’s center of gravity, stability, and flight time, so it’s essential to balance the added weight properly and be aware of any changes in the drone’s flight characteristics.

Q: How do drone delivery services handle weight limitations?

A: Drone delivery services typically use specially designed drones capable of carrying heavier payloads. They also account for the weight of the drone, the payload, and the necessary remaining battery power to ensure a safe and efficient delivery process.

Q: Can a drone lift a person?

A: While most commercial drones are not designed to lift a person, some custom-built drones have been demonstrated to carry a person for short distances. 

Q: Is there a difference between carrying capacity and payload capacity?

A: The terms are often used interchangeably. Carrying capacity refers to the maximum weight a drone can safely carry, while payload capacity typically refers to the amount of weight a drone can carry in addition to its own weight, including any cameras, sensors, or other additional equipment. Both terms are crucial for determining the drone’s overall capabilities and safe operating limits.

Q: Can adding too much weight to a drone damage its motors or other components?

A: Yes, exceeding the recommended weight limit may cause the motors to overheat, resulting in damage or reduced efficiency. It can also put additional stress on the drone’s frame, potentially leading to structural failure.

Q: How do I determine how much weight my drone can carry?

A: Refer to your drone’s manufacturer specifications to find the maximum take-off weight or consult the user manual. This information will help you determine the carrying capacity of your drone and ensure you do not add too much weight that could negatively affect its flight capabilities and safety.

Q: Can any drone carry a small package or payload?

A: No, not all drones can carry around a payload. Commercial drones can carry a small package or payload, but the weight of the drone, number of propellers, and carrying capacity can limit the amount of weight it can carry.

Q: Is it safe to add additional weight to my drone?

A: Adding weight to your drone may impact its stability and flying ability. It’s recommended to only carry a payload that is within the drone’s specifications to avoid accidents and damage to the drone.

Q: Can I use my drone to lift objects, such as a camera or tool?

A: Yes, you can use your drone to carry a payload such as a camera or tool. However, it’s important to know the drone’s carrying capacity and not exceed it to avoid damaging the drone or payload.


Well, folks, we’ve come to the end of our drone payload journey. We’ve soared through the skies of drone basics, dived into the nitty-gritty of drone payloads, and navigated the potential pitfalls of overloading. And through it all, I hope we’ve answered that burning question: “Just how much can a drone carry?”

So, keep your eyes on the skies, folks. The world of drones is a fascinating one, and it’s only going to get more exciting from here. Until next time, happy flying!

Jesse Young