Hexacopter vs. Quadcopter: The Pros and Cons

It’s clear that RC drones are becoming more and more popular. It’s only a matter of time before they become totally mainstream.

In this article, I want to show you a hexacopter vs. quadcopter comparison.

Specifically, I want to discuss the pros and cons of each. That way, you can make a better decision when shopping for an RC drone.

Hexactoper vs Quadcopter: Overview

“Hex” stands for “Six”, so a hexacopter is simply a drone with six motors. “Quad” stands for “Four”, so a quadcopter is a drone with four motors.

Many people automatically assume that having more motors is better. However, this isn’t always the case.

For example, even though a hexacopter has more motors, it’s also more expensive. Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons below.

The Pros and Cons of Quadcopters

Personally, I’m a huge fan of quadcopters. At the moment, my favorite model is the DJI Phantom 3, although that may change in the future.

In general, quadcopters are fast and highly maneuverable. They’re also decently priced and easy to build if you’re taking the DIY approach.

The 4-propeller design is simple, yet, highly versatile, which is why I love it so much. Unfortunately, quadcopters don’t have any “backup” motors, so if one fails, it’s going to crash.

This isn’t necessarily the case with hexacopters, which can remain in the air even if one of their motors fail. Also, quads can’t lift heavy payloads.

Pros

  • Fast
  • Highly Maneuverable
  • Cheap
  • Easy to Build

Cons

  • No Backup Motors
  • No Heavy Payloads

If you’re a beginner, I recommend checking out the Syma X5C quadcopter. It’s a great model for newbies who are learning how to fly.

For more advanced flyers, check out the DJI Mavic or the Parrot Bebop 2.

Are you interested in building your own quadcopter? If so, check out my guide on building a drone. ​

The DIY approach is incredibly rewarding in my opinion. It also gives you more control over how you want your drone to look, feel, and fly. 

The Pros and Cons of Hexacopters

Hexacopters are fun to fly, too. They’re generally quite powerful and can lift heavier loads. Due to the increase number of motors, they’re very stable in the air.

So, if you’re getting into aerial photography, you may want to consider a hexacopter. Aside from power, it’s also easier to fly hexacopter at higher elevations (due to the increased stability).

Here's a video demonstrating the stability differences between a hexacopter and a quadcopter: 

As you can see from the video, the quad model crashed while the hexa model was able to keep flying (albeit, a bit bumpy). This video proves just how stable they can be in the wind. 

Finally, they’re also safer. With 6 motors 120 degrees apart, if one dies, you can still safely pilot your drone to the ground.

This can't be said for a quad model. If a motor dies on a quad, then you're going to crash. There's simply no way to avoid it. 

The downside to hexa models is that they’re not easy to build and if you buy one stock, it can cost more than a quadopter.

Also, due to their large size, hexacopter drones can be difficult to fly in narrow spaces.

For instance, it will be difficult to fly these models in wooded areas, inside abandoned buildings, etc. They're simply too big and bulky in my opinion. ​

Pros

  • Power
  • Height
  • Stability
  • Safety

Cons

  • Size
  • Price

There are some great RTF (Ready-to-Fly) hexacopters that you can buy on Amazon. A good one to check out is the JJRC H20 Nano Hexacopter

It's compact, lightweight, and will provide you with hours of fun. I also recommend the DBPOWER X600C FPV Hexacopter. It's more expensive, but the FPV flying is worth every penny. 

You can also build your own hexacopter. I found a really great guide on DIYDrones.com that should help you get started.

What About Octocopters?

Originally, I wasn’t going to talk about octocopters in this article. But after thinking about it, I realized that some people might be curious about them, so here it is.

Octocopters are drones that have eight motors. As you can probably guess, they’re very powerful. With 8 motors, you’ll experience massive stability.

DJI S100 - A Fun BNF (Bind-N-Fly) Octocopter

If you're interested in buying an octocopter (rather than building one), then check out the DJI S1000. It's a little pricey, but it's also super-stable and powerful. 

If you’re getting into aerial photography as a business, then you should invest in a good octocopter. I like the fact that they aren’t heavily affected by wind or rain.

This means that you can fly them on the beach without having to worry about getting swept away by the strong wind. 

As a drone operator, it’s nice to have this kind of peace of mind. The downside is that they aren’t cheap (they’re the most expensive model on this list).

Important Note: If you want to maximize your flight time, then you should buy an octocopter. These tend to have better flight times than quadcopters. Check out this article for more information on how to keep your RC drone in the air longer.

The Bottom Line: Which is Better?

Of all three models, my favorite is the quadcopter. Although they aren’t as stable, they’re cheaper and aren’t as difficult to build.

With that said, I like hexacopters and octocopters as well. The price tag for these copters are higher, but it’s well worth it in my opinion.

In the future, as their prices drop, they may become my preferred choice. But for now, my favorite are the quads.

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