Home Surveillance Drones – Should You or Shouldn’t You?

drones for home surveillance?To drone or not to drone – that’s the question. Many of you who are serious about home surveillance and defense strategy have been chewing on this question.

Drones – unmanned aerial vehicles – are getting more common. Yes, you could use them as a home surveillance tactic. The technology’s solid.  “Hobby” drones  have been available for a few years now. They have stirred up controversy along the way. We’re going to take a look at the basics here and see if it’s a good fit for home security.

Let’s be clear. We won’t come to a final decision in just one post. In the end, whether you choose to use a home surveillance drone or not is up to you.

The Basics

So you’ve decided to get a home surveillance drone and you want to get started right away. Hold on. Here’s a few things you need to know before you fly.

For starters, the Federal Aviation Administration requires all U.S. drone owners to register their unmanned aerial vehicles. If you fail to comply, you’re subject to civil penalties. The entire process is available online – check it out here.

These guidelines were developed after various complaints about invasion of privacy. That’s a big concern around drones and we’ll come back to that discussion another time. Here’s what you need to know now:

  1. Drones must fly below 400 feet and stay clear of surrounding impediments.
  2. Keep the drone within sight at all times.
  3. Flying within 5 miles of airport is prohibited unless you have prior approval from the airport
  4. Stay away from people and public places, like sport stadiums.
  5. Drone should weigh no more than 55 pounds.

Consider Some Cons

Home security and surveillance aren’t about bringing attention to the systems you’ve put in place. Think low-key, nearly invisible techniques to protect you and your family. Anything that screams for attention just tips off a would-be burglar or intruder that you have things worth taking.

  • Unwelcome Attention
    Here’s where the disadvantage of using a home surveillance drone could tip the scales in favor of something less attention-grabbing. Does this automatically make the drone unsuitable? No, but it certainly makes you think about it before making that kind of investment.
  • Recharging Time
    While we’re at it: remember a drone for home security isn’t always monitoring your home – like a static mounted camera would. It runs off batteries and charges in a docking station. That means when it’s docked it isn’t doing anything else.
  • Off-Duty Cycles
    When it’s in-service working a drone could be a great addition to your home-defense strategy BUT how willing are you to risk your security when its off duty?


Before making a final decision about whether a drone is right for your home security, do your research. Take precautions when investigating any technology – new or otherwise – for use in your home surveillance. Technology is a moving target. It’s constantly changing; mostly for the best but sometimes not.

Come back, and check out the next post in our series about drones and home surveillance.

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image credit: By Halftermeyer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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About Bret Smith

I am a long-time lover of all things outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting, fishing or just hiking and camping, I take every opportunity to enjoy nature and share it with others.

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