Flying drones is becoming a popular hobby for many, and an essential in some industries, including the movie industry, agriculture, search and rescue, among others. If you are new to drones, a drone buying guide will come in handy. Our drone buyers guide spells out what to look for when shopping for a quadcopter in 2020!
It is easier to make a buying decision when you have an understanding of the features to look for. Here are the things to look for when shopping for a drone.
Drone Buyers Guide: Flight Time
Flight time is the amount of time a drone with a full battery will fly for. This ranges from as small as 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Do not expect more than 5 minutes flight time from the most budget drones
At the higher end of the spectrum are drones that are capable of flying for 35 minutes on a full battery. Regardless of how good your drone’s flight time is, however, it is a good idea to have spare batteries on you when you go flying.
Drone Buyers Guide: Flight Range
How far away from you can your drone fly before you lose its control signal? That is what range is about. There are drones that have a range as limited as 30 metres, while there are others with a range of 7 kilometres. Again, it boils down to your needs and budget.
Drone Buyers Guide: Camera
Some drones have a camera built-in, while others allow you to attach a camera as an extension. Entry-level drones have the most basic cameras, just as with smartphones. Do not expect the stunning pictures or videos from those. You will get 720p video capture on many budget drones.
If you need a drone for shooting high quality video, it is a good idea to get one with a minimum of 1080p video capture. More professional drone cameras produce even better quality video.
Drone Buyers Guide: First Person View / Live View
This is a feature that lets you fly a drone using a monitor screen connected to a camera on the drone for live video feed. The connection is via WiFi. If you need this feature, be sure to look for it on the specs sheet when shopping. It is also referred to as Live View.
Note that even with Live View, it is best to keep your drone in sight, except you are flying a military strike drone with a more advanced location and guidance system.
Drone Buyers Guide: Altitude Hold
Altitude Hold is a feature that lets you lock the flight height, so you are free to focus on directional flight. The drone stays at a fixed height all through the flight.
This is great if you are new to drone flying. Of course, it is better to learn to fly a drone without Altitude Hold in use, as you polish your flying skills better.
Drone Buyers Guide: Headless Mode
Anyone who has learnt to pilot a drone knows that mastering orientation when flying is a tough one. headless mode is a feature that allows you to fly without worrying about orientation. Here is a quick explanation of how Headless Mode works:
When you take off with the drone pointing in the front, algorithms running in the drone’s micro-controller ensure that any directional change is compensated.
In other words, even when you yaw your drone 90 degrees to the left (so that it’s now ‘facing’ your left), it’ll still go forward when you push the rudder forward (on a non-headless mode drone, this would make the drone go left).
You can read more about it HERE.
Drone Buyers Guide: Return Home Function
This is a quick way to bring your drone back to you. If you ever lose control or sight of your quad-copter, rather than panic, just press a button and your drone returns to you. That is, if it has the feature. Note that the Return Home function works best with Headless Mode.
Drone Buyers Guide: How much does it cost to buy a drone?
As with all shopping and buying decisions, price is always a major factor. No matter how much you need a feature, your pocket will determine how far you can go. There is a wide range of quadcopters available to pick from with prices ranging from as low as $20 to as high as $6,000.
Many of the features already explained are now trickling down to budget drones; they just work better and/or produce better results on more expensive models. For example, you will find a 720p camera, altitude hold, a flight time of about 7 minutes, and foldable arms on the $80 GoolRC T47 FPV Drone.
Not bad at all. For about twice the price of the GoolRC T47, you will find the Potensic T18 GPS FPV drone.
The $250 Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone has Camera Live Video, GPS Return Home, 720P HD WIFI Camera, Follow Me, and Altitude Hold.
For more professional use, there is the $3,000 DJI Inspire 2 Quadcopter with a 7 kilometre flight range, 27 minute flight time, Live View, and shoots Apple ProRes video at up to 5.2K quality. The DJI Inspire 2 can also broadcast and live stream. That is the most basic configuration of the Inspire 2. Even more advanced configurations include a much more capable camera and accessories that can bring the total cost of the drone up to $6,000.
Drone Buyers Guide: FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
So, you often have questions about drone. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. I try to keep this page updated, and it is currently good for 2020.
How much does the Mavic Air weight?
The DJI Mavic Air weighs 430 grams (0.43 kg). The Mavic Air’s weight in ounces is 15.17. The Mavic Air’s weight in lbs is just under 0.95.
What is the range on a Mavic Air?
The range on the Mavic Air is advertised as 4km (about 2.4 miles) which is double that of the Spark, with the Mavic Pro coming in at 7km (about 4.3 miles).
Is DJI Mavic Air good for beginners?
Yes; the Mavic Air is a a good drone for beginners.
Can you fly the DJI Mavic Air in the rain?
No, no, no, and no. Do not expose your Mavic Air to water.
What is the price of Mavic Air?
The regular price of the Mavic Air is $799 and it may drop as time goes by, especially with the introduction of the Mavic Air 2.
Will DJI release Mavic Air 2?
I’ve got good news for you – the Mavic Air 2 has been announced by DJI in April 2020. If you want one, go buy it! It starts shipping in the United States from 11th May. Prices start from $799 all the way up to $988.
Which is better Mavic Pro or Mavic Air?
Better is a tough thing to spell out. Let’s just say that the Mavic Air is faster and smarter.
Can you fly Mavic 2 in rain?
The Mavic 2 is not waterproof or water resistant. Do not fly it in the rain, unless aliens have invaded earth and it is a matter of life and death.
Is Mavic Mini waterproof?
No. Don’t fly it in the rain or under a waterfall.
Are DJI drones waterproof?
DJI is not known for producing waterproof or water resistant drones and so none of their drones till date have that feature. But who knows what the day after tomorrow may bring? For now, do not fly your DJI Mavic drone in the rain and do not drop it in water.
Which drones are waterproof?
If you want a waterproof drone, here are some available options:
- SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Fisherman.
- JJRC H31 Waterproof Drone.
- Parrot Hydrofoil.
- SwellPro Spry Drone.
- Goolsky Q353 Triphibian Quadcopter.
- Goolsky IDEAFLY Poseidon.
- Eachine Waterproof Hovercraft Toy
What’s the best drone for the money?
If you are asking this question, I take it that you are on a lean budget and want the best bang for your buck,. Have a look at the DJI Mavic Mini. But there are many options out there, which leads us to the next question.
What drone should I buy?
Other options for best drone for money include: DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic 2 Pro (which is a beast, so hold your cheque book), DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, DJI Mavic Air, DJI MAvic Air 2, DJI Phantom 4, Parrot Bebop 2, and Parrot Anafi.
Your mileage will vary and there are plenty of options to pick from.
What’s the best inexpensive drone?
There are lots of drones out there – including ones that sell for as low as $28 (₦10,000) e.g. the JJRC H37 Elfie Selfie or $70 e.g. JJRC H47 . But those are toys. If you want the best inexpensive drone for more professional aspirations, I will give this to the DJI Mavic Mini.
Which drone has the longest range?
The Mavic 2 Pro is generally regarded as the drone with the longest range, the last time I checked. It has a flying range of 8km (about 5 miles).
Where can I buy a drone?
Drones are available from electronic stores, as well as e=commerce websites in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, as well as many other countries around the world.
What size drone requires a license?
In many countries, any commercial use of drones requires a license. If you are flying a toy drone (one of those that cost anything from $20 to $100), you really do not have to worry about a license.
If wanting to use a drone for commercial purposes, consult the regulatory body in your country for guidelines, requirements, and rules.
A Drone For Your Purpose And Budget
As you can see, there is a drone for your purpose and your pocket. We hope that you have found our drone buying guide useful. If you have any questions, do use the comment box below and I will do my best to answer them. Please use the social buttons on this page to share it with your networks.
Disclaimer: While we take the pains to ensure accuracy, we can not guarantee that the specs and information on this page about drones are 100% correct. If you think that any information for the current phone is wrong or missing, please contact us.
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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.