What is a quadcopter?

So, you may find yourself watching a video of or hearing about these miniature flying helicopter-like things… and you may ask, what is a quadcopter?

A quadcopter is multi-rotor copter with four arms, each of which have a motor and a propeller at their ends. Quadcopters are similar to helicopters in some ways, though their lift and thrust comes from four propellers, rather than just one. Also, helicopters have a “pitch” or tail rotor that helps stabilize the craft, whereas quadcopters do not. In a quadcopter, two of the propellers spin in one direction (clockwise) and the other two spin the opposite direction (counterclockwise) and this enables the machine to hover in a stable formation.

Syma X1 Quadcopter with Remote - A great starter model!

Thanks to advances in processors, batteries, and general innovation, quadcopters are now available in ready to fly consumer kits for under $40! In the last few years, their capabilities have increased dramatically and pretty much anyone can pick up a quadcopter and have it flying with a good degree of control in 5-10 minutes. There are a wide range of quadcopters out there – from the $40 mini or micro-quadcopters, to moderately priced models with integrated HD video capabilities, to multi-thousand dollar professional rigs.

Quadcopters oftentimes are referred to by different names, including: quadrocopter, quadrotor, quad copter, quad-copter, quadrokopter, UAV, UAS, or drone. There are also tri copters (three blades), hexacopters (six blade), and octocopters (eight blades!). The multirotors with a high number of blades are typically larger and designed to carry a heavier payload. For example, Amazon’s recent announcement about using unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages shows the company utilizing octocopters, given their increased range, stability, and ability to carry moderate amounts of weight.

Quadcopters are great fun for folks of all ages, from kids playing around to adults utilizing them for photography and video filming. Additionally, quadcopters and multirotors have been utilized in disaster management and recovery efforts, police operations, military engagements, and agricultural applications. As technology has advanced and costs have come down, many industries are finding that quadcopters can offer innovative solutions to their problems and help them reduce costs as well!

Hope that this helped answer your question what is a quadcopter! Here at QuadcopterHQ, we offer information and resources on quadcopters and multirotors – reviews, specifications, and news. Explore the site, and if there’s anything that we’re missing please drop us a line via our Contact page. Happy flyin!