Pictured above: DJI Phantom 3 Professional
Choosing which drone to buy isn’t easy with all of the options on the market. It can be especially hard for the beginner or first-time buyer.
We don’t want that to stop you though. Owning and flying a drone can be incredibly fun. You can see and discover new places for the first time, take amazing aerial photographs, and much more.
We invited Chris from TinyDrones.com to weigh in with some insider tips on what first-time drone buyers should be looking for. He came back with some great suggestions. This guide will help you decide what type of drone will serve you best, and which brands or models are worth looking into.
Beginners Guide to Buying Your First Drone:
Type Of Drone
When people think of a drone they often are only thinking of quad-copters (four wings). The truth of the matter is that any flying RC device is considered a drone. This includes helicopters, multi-rotors, fixed-wing planes and of course quad-copters. These all vary in difficulty however the way your drone looks will help decide whether or not you actually use the darn thing! So while performance matters, it’s best to choose something you like the look of too. However, there is a reason quad-copters are so popular especially for beginners. We’ll discuss this in detail soon, but they’re known for being relatively easy to fly and capable of carrying a camera.
When selecting your first drone, size DOES matter. You have to consider what you are hoping to accomplish with your new hobby. Are you looking to just zip around the house and have a bit of fun? Maybe something small and inexpensive like the Hubsan Q4 or Cheerson CX-10 is right for you (both are under $50 on Amazon at the time of posting this). If you are wanting to fly outdoors, then you can look at a wide array of drones across various lines including Hubsan, Syma, Cheerson, DJI, JJRC and much more!
Camera Or No Camera?
Do you need a camera? This is an important question to ask yourself before shopping for a drone. If you don’t plan on using your drone for video or photography, then you can save a LOT of money by choosing a drone’s camera-less counterpart.
If you do opt for a camera, you need to decide how good of a camera you want. If you want 1080p quality be prepared to shell out $500-$1000 on something like a DJI Phantom. If you are only wanting see what you drone sees, and don’t care to much about the quality then you can go for something simple like the Hubsan X4 which can be purchased for around $100, and is still a respectable 720p.
Ease of Use
Sometimes we pick a drone that may be a bit to complicated for us to use. Rather then getting frustrated later it’s better to pick a drone appropriate for your skill level right out of the gate. If you have never flown an RC device before, a quad-copter is the best recommendation. The reason they are the most popular right now is because they are so easy to pick up and learn to use right out of the box.
After you have learned the basics you can try your hand at more complicated systems like helicopters and fixed wing drones. Remember that when you are first learning how to use a drone, its best to have as much open space as possible. This will allow you to practice safely and without damaging your new investment. Want to learn more? You can check out some great Quad-copter flying tips over at Tiny Drones!
We’ve learned that anyone can buy and fly a drone, for less than $50. At the same time, you can buy truly cutting-edge flying technology with a 4K HD camera if you’re willing to spend $1000+. The price range is huge, and so is the difference between the variety of drones available for purchase in 2016.
While there are still a lot of options and choices to make, we hope this info helped distill it down into a management decision for you.
If you’re on the fence, buy a cheap drone and practice a bit to see if you like it. It’s a lot easier to buy something small and easy to learn with and then upgrade, rather than buying a big expensive model to start and constantly worrying about crashing it.