Multicopters vs Quadcopters

QuadcopterWhile both multicopters and quadcopters belong to the family of the multicopters, the term multicopter defines a larger field. Quadcopters are specifically multicopters with 4 engines. To put it simpler it’s like on bicycles that start from unicycles to bicycles, tricycles and finally quadracycles with four wheels. On this article we will be discussing general facts, pros and cons about multicopters and quadcopters.

Multicopter definition:

Multicopters are defined as flying objects, where are arranged 2 or more rotors on a level. Thus, Duo, Quadro -, Hexa -, Tri – and finally Octocopter fall under the definition of the term multicopter.

Multicopter advantages:

The question when searching for a model is what each of these have that cannot be found on the others, and what are the pros and cons of each engine configuration.

First of all it is very important to say that a multicopter can carry more weight with a higher number of rotors. So while a quadcopter may carry a weight of approx. 200-300 grams which is enough to attach a GoPro, for larger cameras like DSLRs this is not enough. If you are into big fancy cameras you should reach for Hexa – or even Octocopters because these will generally have no problem, since they can carry a weight of up to several kilograms. This is of course a big advantage, considering that for semi- professional aerial photography the gimbal and DSLR camera are far exceeding the weight limit of a regular multicopter with up to 4 engines.

Another plus for larger multicopters is the stability and quiet flight. The more rotors a copter has, the more air is displaced downwards and covers more area. This way targeted maneuvers can be performed, but also the tilt is reduced (this can be considered a good thing for some and a minus for others depending on what you do).

Also the aspect of the security of Hexa – and Octocopters is much higher than, for example, at Quadcopters. This is due to the number of rotors. There will be an outage of 2 propellers, so an Octocopter can compensate well, since it has 6 more rotors which can compensate the loss if the software is designed to do so, and many companies seem to start implementing this types of software that prevents nasty crashes. When you look at a Quadcopter with a failure of the same magnitude this is fatal, because 50% of the rotors do not work and the crash is imminent. So when speaking about the compensation cases (for Hexa – and Octocopter) these also offer increased redundancy.

Maxcnash.com - XIRO Xplorer Quadcopter for GoPro

XIRO Xplorer Quadcopter for GoPro

If you wish to see actual product reviews on this topic we would like to suggest Max Nash’s article on quadcopters: http://maxcnash.com/best-gopro-quadcopter/. Or his best GoPro Accessories page.

Multicopter cons:

However there are also some more or less serious disadvantages: these include the often higher price, which is composed of the increased complexity of the software and components, as well as more physical material that is put into the manufacturing of the multicoper. Moreover, most of the multicopters on the market do not come in a ready to fly configuration out of the box (RTF). Manufacturers frequently offer a basic frame on which you must also purchase motors, a control unit and a remote control to make it functional. This is something that you won’t find so often on quadcopters. So in the end you must know that multicopters are less user friendly than quadcopters since multicopters tend to address the professional’s needs.

Conclusion:

In the end, everyone must be aware of their needs. If you would like to have a relatively low-cost bundle as a beginner, you can’t go wrong with a regular quadcopter, however if you plan to attach a DSLR to your copter you definitely need to look for a hexa or octocopter.

Multicopters with a higher number of rotors are recommended if the maximum lifting capacity (and not price) plays an important role. If let’s say you want to the transport a larger camera or other heavy elements. That’s pretty much it. Now that you know what to look for, you can make an objective and informed decision. Have fun!

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