How Does a Drone Look at Night

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated June 27, 2022

The best drones are easy to spot at night for the convenience of everybody around them. This also helps them avoid collisions in the air, which is crucial to keeping your drone safe.


  • You can normally spot even the quietest drone at night by looking for their navigational lights.
  • The detection of drones is possible by using a drone detector application, as well, including those that are drones for surveillance by law enforcement.
  • Most drones feature anti-collision lighting to ensure safety while flying in the dark, which you can use to spot them at night.

Of course, you can’t always rely on drone noises to alert you to their presence, and some models are made to remain unseen. For those drones, you can use a drone detection app on your cell phone to keep track of them.

How to Spot a Drone at Night

If you’re looking to spot drones at night, then keep reading. We’ll go over the types of lights consumer drones use at night time and what they look like.

Insider Tip

Anti-collision lights that can strobe white are crucial for drone pilots flying at night so they can avoid colliding with other drones.

There are many different models, so reading articles like this Yuneec Typhoon H Pro review will help you spot different types of drones. You can even learn how to 3D print a drone now.

What Type of Technology do Drones Use?

The type of light used depends on the drone type. Hobbyist drones have bright anti-collision lights to avoid unsafe situations. These lights are red, green, white, and blue and can be solid or blinking.

However, some kinds of spy drones and surveillance drones made for government agencies may lack lighting altogether. This is true of the commercial drones used by police officers.

For more information on the assortment of technologies used in drones, try reading up on how drones are made. Another critical question you should ask yourself is, “How do drones fly?” for a more technical look into their aerial physics.

Why are Drone Lighting Systems so Important?

The biggest reason a drone has a lighting system is for safety. Most hobbyist drones aren’t going to have motion detection cameras, for example, although some high-end models may have anti-collision features. As a result, most rely on the naked eye to avoid disaster.

Night vision might be necessary for other models, so lighting is minimal or non-existent. This is important for photography, as well. If you’re looking for more information, we have a great article on how to get into drone photography. You’ll also want to learn how to edit drone footage.


Some police drones can see into your property at night and lack a communication signal, so it’s important to learn how to visually spot a drone at night.


Are drones visible from the ground?

For the most part, hobby drones are easily spotted from the ground. This is because of many factors, including the navigation lights you can often see installed on them.

What color lights do drones have?

There is an assortment of colors that done lights might be, depending on a few factors. Manufacturers usually include anti-collision lights of some sort. This helps drone operators see where they’re flying.

How far can drones see at night?

That depends on the types of drones that you’re talking about. Every model will have different abilities. Some of them use night vision cameras, like police drones.

What type of drone lighting is used?

There are a few different types of light you might see on a drone:

  • White light
  • Infrared lights
  • Blue lights

STAT: The commercial drone registrations currently stand at around 318 thousand. (source)

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