Buy a Drone: Drone Buyer’s Guide

Do You Want To Buy A Drone?

You’re in the right place! Buying a drone can be confusing and daunting, so we’ve created our drone buyer’s guide to help you make the correct purchase. Anyone from a novice to expert can learn how to buy a drone after reading through our expert-level suggestions.

A few questions to ask yourself before you dive in. What are you looking to do with your drone? Why are buying a drone? What do you already know about drones? If you know nothing, then reading through this buyer’s guide before checking out our drone reviews will help you tremendously.

We’re here to offer you the best advice on all different types of drones and help you reduce the stress that comes with making a drone purchase. Take your time buying a drone – they are expensive. You want something that will last, meet all of your needs, and keep you satisfied as a pilot.

Remember that like any other product, the major drone retailers are constantly making and improving on their drones. Buying the most up to date drones with the newest technology will help prevent you from having to constantly purchase new models (like we always end up doing!). Also, realize that drones malfunction and it’s easy to lose your drone during a long flight. This is an expensive piece of equipment. If you’re flying your drone over water and you happen to lose control, you may never see your shiny multirotor again. Don’t turn to us at this point, as we will just say smile and say, “I told you so.”

The most important part of purchasing a drone is knowing how to pilot one. This means starting with something cheap and moving your way up to more advanced models. If you don’t, you’re likely going to throw your transmitter into the water too out of frustration.

ImageRankModelAvg Price (USD)Best Deal
dji-s10008DJI s1000$2,669Check Price
ladybird-review-square10Walkera Ladybird V2$69Check Price
dji-matrice-100-review7DJI Matrice 100$3,299Check Price
udi-u818a-review5UDI U818A-1$99Check Price
solo-quarter-500x50093DR Solo Smart Drone$949Check Price
inspire-grid6DJI Inspire 1$3,099Check Price
phantom_32DJI Phantom 3 Advanced$999Check Price
phantom_31DJI Phantom 3 Pro$1,259Check Price
dji-phantom-3-standard11DJI Phantom 3 Standard$699Check Price
phan-2-plus-grid14DJI Phantom 2$699Check Price
parrot-bebop3Parrot Bebop$449Check Price
walkera-qrx5-pro-grid18Walkera QR X350 Pro$369Check Price
blade-grid13Blade 350 QX3$399Check Price
parrot-grid4Parrot AR Drone 2.0$349Check Price
airhogs-grid12Air Hogs Helix X4$105Check Price
syma-grid17Syma X1 UFO$33Check Price
hubsan-grid15Hubsan X4$40Check Price
syma-grid16Syma X5C$53Check Price

Glossary

Accelerometer: An electrical device that measures acceleration for a specific direction of flight

Almost Ready to Fly: Usually comes with everything you need but will require some minor assembly.

Gimbal: The device that holds the camera on most drones. These will have small motors that shift and tilt with the drone’s direction of flying to help increase video stability.

Drone: A slang term for an unmanned aircraft vehicle and our favorite word for these machines

FPV: A mountable camera on the drone that allows the pilot to see in real time what the drone is seeing.

Gyroscope: A device most high-level drones have that measures angular velocity and helps to keep your drone stable.

Hexacopter: A multirotor vehicle with six rotors for flight.

Multirotor: A vehicle with multiple rotors used in flight.

Payload: How much your vehicle can lift on top of its own weight and batteries.

Quadcopter: A multirotor vehicle with four rotors for flight. The most common type of drone available on the market today.

RC: Radio controlled. Used to describe unmanned vehicles.

RTF: Ready to fly. Take it out of the box and get going, requires no assembly and can basically be flown straight away.

UAV: Unmanned aerial vehicle, AKA drone.

Why Are You Buying a Drone?

Are you a surf photographer looking to make a video with your drone? Are you buying a drone as a toy? Are you looking for optimal flight experience? Are you looking for the best video drones? Assessing this beforehand will help you better understand exactly what you’re going to need, which well help us find you the best possible drone.

Drones come in all shapes and sizes. Before quadcopters, you were stuck with a helicopter or an airplane. Airplanes and helicopters are difficult to land, hard to fly, and expensive to fix. With the introduction of quadcopters, the industry has changed immensely. Multirotors (or drones) have motors and propellers on the end of each arm. The two propellers parallel to each other spin clockwise and the other two spin counter-clockwise. This adds stability during flight. Quadcopters are generally easier to repair than helicopters or airplanes. There are also other multirotor copters, such as an octocopter. These more advanced copters are newer and can lift heavier loads.

Drones come in all shapes and sizes, and they each serve a different function. Small drones are generally considered toys. Large drones are built for carrying heavy loads, such as video cameras for filming. Many medium sized drones have built in cameras that do not need to carry heavy filming equipment and are more affordable than larger, advanced drones.

Many drones have first person view (FPV) cameras built in that are iOS and Android compatible. These cameras show the pilot in real time what the drone is seeing directly below it. Reading thoroughly through our reviews will help you to understand the capabilities of each individual drone. Cameras and camera holders also differentiate in quality. Many drones have swiveling camera holders capable of creating a full 360 degrees view from hundreds of feet in the air known as gimbals. Other small drone models have cameras but they do not have the capability to record from long distances. Check out our quadcopter with camera section to understand more about the cameras on your drone.

A major difference in drones is their flight time. If you plan on recording something for upwards of ten minutes, you need to make sure you have a drone capable of staying in the air for that long. The batteries on drones are small to keep their weight down for optimal flight control. This also means many of the batteries only last for ten to twenty minutes. Choosing a drone based on the battery life is important to meet your needs.

If you still have any questions about buying a drone or how to buy drones, feel free to head over to our contact page, or head to the extremely helpful Drones Subreddit. We’re experts and we’re here for you – we guarantee we will be able to help you find what you need so you can buy a drone.