CAMERAS & OPTICS

The Best Drones for Beginners

2 years ago

Drone technology has come a long way in the last few years. The device used to be accessible only to technical mavens with some expertise, no boundaries, and deeply intrusive, malicious intent. Now drones are made for more of the general population who simply want to have fun watching them fly, receive cool images, and have them do mid-air flips. But not all drones are inherently user-friendly — some are complicated, hard to operate, or bitter about their jobs. There are, however, some drones that are better suited to teach beginning users the joys of aerial manipulation. Here are ten of the best.

Is Learning to Fly a Drone Difficult?

What are the best drones for beginners?

Many beginners wonder whether flying a drone is easy or difficult. As hilarious as watching a drone fail video is, these are expensive pieces of equipment, and you want to get the most out of them.

The easiest comparison to flying a drone is controlling an RC car. The controls can feel awkward to get to grips with, particularly for people with little experience flying remote-controlled vehicles. It’s why it’s strongly recommended that beginners refrain from simply taking to the skies.

Depending on where you live, you may find that there is special beginner flying classes for people with a new beginner drone. Alternatively, flight simulation also offers a good introduction to drone flying.

The difficulty inherent in drone flying is managing a device that few people have had experience with. Wind conditions also need to be considered, as they significantly influence such small devices.

Even when you have mastered the list of basic controls, it takes time to find your feet. In the beginning, expert fliers strongly recommend an open field as the only option for flying with drones for beginners.

Some are also harder to fly than others. The best beginner drone will come with a GPS, Virtual Positioning System (VPS), and other automated controls to extract you from trouble if something appears to be going wrong.

There are also several newbie tips you should incorporate:

  • Be patient. If the conditions are not optimal, avoid flying.
  • Watch for trees, powerlines, poles, and anything that could knock your drone out of the air.
  • Stay within your range. Read up on your optimal range and stay within it.
  • Avoid flying too close to the ground. Flying too low creates the dreaded propeller wash, which is the least stable flying situation for a drone.
  • Start small and cheap. Whether you’re on a low or high budget, the perfect drone is the one you can afford to lose until you get to grips with everything.

The best entry-level drone is one you have complete control over. Refrain from splurging on a highly advanced drone in the beginning. Many experienced operators revealed that it had taken them months before they became completely comfortable with the controls.

For total beginners | SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone

If you’re a true beginner who’s just now getting into the thrilling world of mobile surveillance, the SNAPTAIN may be the best drone to start out with. It simply takes one push of a button to launch and is maneuvered using a controller familiar to anyone who’s ever used a home gaming system. It has advanced voice control and headless mode, both of which give the pilot more power in steering the drone where they want it to go. It’s an excellent jumping-off point for the drone neophyte.

  • Control Range: 80 meters
  • FPV Range: 40 meters
  • Charge Time: 120-150 mins
  • Flight Time: 10-12 mins

Pros

  • Good-looking design
  • Simple to fly for the total beginner
  • Built well, so it can take a few hits

Cons

  • Vulnerable to wind fluctuations
  • Low 720p camera
  • Camera angle needs to be adjusted manually

No place like home | Holy Stone GPS Drone

The Holy Stone drone’s most user-friendly feature is GPS Auto Return. With this function, the drone actually memorizes its “home” location. If it ever gets out of range, drops its signal, or runs low on power, just press a button, and it will return “home” before it becomes lonely, afraid, and desperate and turns to a life of armed robbery and petty crimes just to survive. It’s also got an HD camera to record images, which is especially useful when it has to sit in the corner and think about what it’s done.

  • Control Range: 300 meters
  • FPV Range: 150 meters
  • Charge Time: 180 mins
  • Flight Time: 13 mins

Pros

  • Advanced flight functionality
  • Large flight distance

Cons

  • No HD photo capture
  • No foldable design
  • Lack of obstacle avoidance system

Come into the fold | Dragon Touch DF01 Foldable Drone

As its name suggests, a handy feature of this drone is its ability to be folded down to the size of a football. This makes it easier to transport and less detectable from the outside. The Dragon Touch also connects to smartphones and VR headsets for clear images and videos of the sights it sees along its path of terror. It also has a full array of neat aerial bonuses, like 360-degree flips, headless mode, and the ability to hover in their air, looking innocent and denying responsibility.

  • Control Range: 90 meters
  • FPV Range: 90 meters
  • Charge Time: 90 mins
  • Flight Time: 10 mins

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Compact and easy to transport
  • Takes decent photos and videos

Cons

  • Struggle to maintain control
  • Poor flight time
  • Low control range

Brush it off | aovo GPS Drone with 4K Camera

This drone offers superior, 4K Ultra HD picture quality, which is obviously leagues better than 3K Just-OK LD. It has a camera that adjusts by 90 degrees and returns super-clear videos and pictures. The aovo also has a brushless motor, which employs electromagnetic resources that help limit its overall power consumption and help it go farther and longer (as much as 30 minutes). It’s also got single-button operation for both takeoff and landing so you don’t have to turn on the “fasten seat belts” sign yourself.

  • Control Range: 1,000 meters
  • FPV Range: 800 meters
  • Charge Time: 4-6 hours
  • Flight Time: 30 mins

Pros

  • Large flight distance
  • Superior flight time
  • Incredible camera

Cons

  • Long charging time
  • Challenging for beginners to control
  • Shaky camera when turning

Some lead, others follow | SANROCK B5W GPS Drone

This item isn’t so much a drone as it is a solid, dependable, somewhat emotionally distant companion. Its big calling card is its Point Of Circle technology, which allows it to automatically orbit around you, making a video as it goes. That must be wonderful for users with low self-esteem. It can also fly along whatever path you program, or follow you above while you’re driving down the road. It will never complain about your driving, even if it knows it should.

  • Control Range: 700 meters
  • FPV Range: 500 meters
  • Charge Time: 5 hours
  • Flight Time: 23 mins

Pros

  • Stable performance
  • Excellent flight time for a single battery
  • Responsive app

Cons

  • Slow charging time
  • Heavy at 1.5 kg
  • Low flight time

The power of four | DROCON Quadcopter Drone

The DROCON’s most obvious traits are its four individually mounted, extended propellers. These fearsome tendrils, along with the frowning-eye decals in the front, make it look like a ticked-off spider that’s about to give the guy working the exchange counter a piece of its mind. It’s actually not that angry, though. It always alerts when its signal weakens, even when it’s 1000 feet away, and performs 3D flips and rolls upon your request. The DROCON’s four foreboding appendages make it easier to navigate agreeably through intense winds.

  • Control Range: 500 meters
  • FPV Range: 300 meters
  • Charge Time: 5 hours
  • Flight Time: 20 mins

Pros

  • Low-cost drone
  • Extremely powerful
  • High stability

Cons

  • No advanced functions
  • Poor flight time to charge time ratio
  • Too simplistic for serious fliers

The gravity of the situation | Force1 U49WF Drone with Camera

The Force1 caters to beginners with its remarkably stable flight path, simple remote-control operation, and something called the Gravity Induction feature that allows you to use a mobile phone to dictate its direction. You can also connect this drone with WiFi and get a first-person view, in which you can see everything the drone sees with its camera while it’s flying. This is especially helpful to keep it from stopping at tourist traps.

  • Control Range: 150 meters
  • FPV Range: 150 meters
  • Charge Time: 3 hours
  • Flight Time: 15 mins

Pros

  • Takes HD images and videos
  • Stable in the air
  • Built-in safety features

Cons

  • Non-foldable drone
  • App challenging to use
  • Low flight range

Wheels in the sky | Syma X400 FPV Drone with Camera

The Syma X 400 also features a first-person view (FPV) that lets you see where it’s going. You can also use a smartphone app that allows you to program its route by tracing it on a map with your finger or a stylus. With two rechargeable batteries, one-key takeoff and landing, and a generally acquiescent attitude, the Syma is ideal for young beginners, adult novices, or people who have stumbled into the drone world by accident.

  • Control Range: 84 feet
  • FPV Range: 84 feet
  • Charge Time: 90 mins
  • Flight Time: 12 mins

Pros

  • Great beginner drone with camera
  • Easy to control
  • Excellent performance

Cons

  • No advanced features
  • Small control range
  • Beginners will grow out of this drone quickly

A nice gesture | DEERC D20 Mini Drone

The DEERC D20, as the name might imply, is small but powerful. It’s got easy-to-understand controls that allow you to dictate all its crazy flips and turns. But its primary assets are Voice Control and Gesture Selfie. With Voice Control you can literally tell it to take off or land. With Gesture Selfie, it will stop whatever it’s doing and take an aerial picture of you if you flash a “V” sign to the drone with your fingers. That’s one of the two most common figure gestures people make at drones.

  • Control Range: 40 meters
  • FPV Range: 40 meters
  • Charge Time: 80 mins
  • Flight Time: 10 mins

Pros

  • Cost-effective drone
  • Best starter drone for children
  • Longer flight time

Cons

  • Overheats easily
  • Few advanced features
  • No automatic HD camera adjustment

Hold everything | SIMREX X900 Drone Optical

This drone is ideal for beginners because it has Optical Flow Positioning and Altitude Hold. These features let programmers lock the drone in position for flawless, precise hovering, without the operator having to manage every moment like a stage mom or a soccer dad. The SIMREXX900 is easily navigable using either the included joystick device or a tricked-out mobile phone. When it’s time to put it away, the SIMREXX folds like a losing poker player.

  • Control Range: 120 meters
  • FPV Range: 80 meters
  • Charge Time: 90 mins
  • Flight Time: 12 mins

Pros

  • Integrated wide-angle 1080p drone camera
  • Long flight time
  • Fully collapsible

Cons

  • Short-range
  • Fixed camera
  • Performs poorly in the wind

Licensing

The days of being able to fly a drone without any permits or restrictions have long gone. Due to several incidents across the country, authorities have implemented strict rules on drone use. Failing to comply with licensing requirements could see you being fined and/or having your drone confiscated.

Countries across the globe have enacted different laws, with some banning drones entirely. Your punishment will depend on the severity of the infraction. While it might be tempting to fly your drone anyway, some people have been caught and punished harshly.

However, getting the correct licensing within the U.S. is simple. First, you must be at least 16-years-old to qualify to fly a drone legally. Second, you need to be physically and mentally able to fly a drone safely.

Most of the requirements you likely already meet. You will also need to pass the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test.

Here are some tips for ensuring you pass this examination:

  • Study the test materials early.
  • Don’t overthink the easier questions. If the answer seems obvious, that’s because it is.
  • Use common sense. None of the questions are there to try to catch you out.

This test is not like a driving exam in that it requires months of study to pass. It’s an examination designed to help people familiarize themselves with the rules of flying a drone.

Once you’ve passed this exam, the final step is to look into your state and local requirements. Municipalities have radically different rules on flying drones. For example, some have very few, whereas others prohibit drone flight within residential neighborhoods.

The chances are your municipality has some online resources on drone flights within their jurisdiction. If not, don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Average Costs

The best starter drone is often based on what you want. Deciding to buy a drone with a camera for beginners means setting a budget and seeing what’s available to you. The difficulty in checking out a drone set is that there’s so much variation across the industry.

One of the best drones for beginners is a toy drone to show you the ropes to flying these unmanned aerial vehicles. Small toy drones cost anywhere from $30 to $90. They rarely contain any additional features, as they’re designed for children and absolute beginners.

The best drones with cameras for newbies begin at $300 and range up to $500. These are the cheapest drones with a camera you’re likely to come across.

Once you’re confident in your ability to fly and the best beginner drone with camera and GPS is no longer sufficient, you might want to look at a mid-level consumer drone. Now you’re starting to enjoy some of the advanced features of drone technology.

A mid-level consumer drone costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000. For even more added extras, expect to pay more.

Drones can cost as much as $10,000, depending on what you need them for. Professionals looking to shoot documentaries, TV shows, and other crisp productions will invest thousands into their drones for the best results.

While you learn how to utilize the features of a drone properly and master the basic controls, you should be looking at the best drones for beginners exclusively. Too many novices splurge on a drone only to instantly destroy it when they find they cannot control it.

Here are some Price.com top tips for choosing the right drone for you:

  • Flying Time – Flying time varies wildly, with more expensive drones giving you more minutes. Many people underestimate how quickly their drone’s battery can deplete.
  • Batteries – Look for a battery that charges quickly and stores a lot of minutes. Some drones can even pack in multiple batteries to amplify your flying time.
  • Cameras – How important are cameras to you? Not everyone needs ultra-HD cameras capable of taking amazing images and memorable videos.
  • Range – Your control range is how far you can fly before your drone falls out of the sky. The right range is based on what you want to use it for.
  • Repairs – Some drones require more maintenance than others. Are you someone who enjoys opening up your drone’s guts and learning how it all works?

To find the right drone for you, take your time, do your research, and don’t overestimate your flight skills as a beginner.

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