Drone Buying Guide

Buying a new drone is an exciting affair, because it's basically a flying camera that lets you discover new and interesting views of the world. We hope this Drone buying guide will help you to take the right decision.

Drones are typically built for recreational purposes, but they are also used for professional aerial photography and videography, transporting cargo, inspecting bridges, flares and industrial smokestacks, tracking wildlife, and a number of other emerging drone-related fields.

New use cases are constantly being found, leading to an increase in drone jobs and the growth of the drone industry itself to keep up with the demand for drone work. Advances in drone technology have made owning a drone more affordable and cost-effective than ever before.

As a result, the UAV community has flourished in recent years. It’s an exciting time to be working in the drone industry or owning a drone in general. Drones are transforming construction workflows all over the world. The real-time insights provided by aerial technology are a critical advantage when it comes to completing projects on time and under budget.

Different Types of Drones

There are many different types of drones, from expensive models equipped with the latest technology to cheaper drones that you can use to fly around your home and garden.

  • Professional Use Drones

Professional drones are best used by a pilot with some experience at the helm, although some of the technologies included make flying incredibly easy. Designed for professional photographers, filmmakers, site surveyors and more, these drones are the most advanced on the market, capable of delivering unmatched results.

With features like GPS and controllers that provide smooth and precise flight control, they deliver unmatched results. With interchangeable gimbals, cameras and lenses, these drones can be customized to help you reach your desired destination. They also have longer battery life and often more than one battery, so you can stay in the air longer. professional drones are leading the way in their technologies and recording capabilities, offering 4K recording and more.

  • Advanced Camera Drones

These drones are the stepping stone between professional drones and entry-level drones. They often feature similar technologies to professional drones, such as obstacle avoidance and return to origin. They are perfect for serious and avid amateur photographers. They’re also ideal for business use if you don’t want to spend too much money, and offer an excellent return on investment.

They’re great for flying outdoors, as their larger and heavier design can withstand windy conditions and help you capture incredible bird’s-eye views. Many advanced drones are equipped with a powerful camera that can capture footage in excellent 1080p Full HD. Some offer ultra-sharp 2.7K or even 4K resolution. Those that don’t come with a camera usually have a mount that can attach action cameras like GoPro, giving you control over the recording quality.

  • Racing Drones

Drone competitions are becoming more and more popular, and official races are being held all over the world. What makes a good racing or stunt drone? These drones are designed for speed and can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h. Their small bodies make them extremely maneuverable and great for flying around corners.

With such high flying speeds, it’s important that these drones are responsive so you can maintain control and get back into the race. If racing isn’t your thing, stunt drones are exciting and can be tossed around in the air to produce impressive routines and displays. With 360-degree control, stunt drones are brilliant for flying and rolling through the sky.

  • Basic Camera Drones

A good way to get into drone flying is with simple camera drones that offer good flight characteristics to get used to the technology. They offer more basic technologies, although some of these drones can be surprisingly powerful and even include high-end features like collision avoidance or an adjustable camera. With a built-in low-resolution camera, basic camera drones offer a way to enter the world of aerial photography without breaking the bank.

Features To Look For in a Drone

When it comes to buying a drone for the first time, many people are extremely overwhelmed. They don’t know what to look for and what features are really important for beginners.

  • Flight time

Depending on the type of aircraft and the size of the battery, the flight time can vary from 5 to 30 minutes. Most entry-level drones have flight times of about 5-10 minutes, but their batteries are easy to replace (and much cheaper, too). Many people get 3-4 spare batteries and just swap them out when they run out of juice and continue flying.

However, with larger and more expensive drones, the accessories get more expensive as well. Depending on how seriously you take your new hobby, you can get an extra battery (or more) and practically double your flight time.

  • Speed

The maximum speed of a drone depends on several factors, including the drone’s weight, dimensions, and engine power, as well as weather conditions. Large professional drones and camera drones typically reach speeds of 30-50 mph. These drones also handle flights in bad weather conditions much better and have a long flight time and range.

Some professional and lightweight racing drones are the fastest commercial drones on the market. RTF (Ready-To-Fly) racing drones can easily reach over 100 mph, but most other drones max out around 75 mph. The fastest recorded drone is the DRL RacerX, which set the Guinness World Record for fastest ground speed in 2017 at 163.5 mph.

  • Battery life

The battery life of a drone can vary greatly depending on the model. On average, most drones have a battery life of 10 to 30 minutes, with higher-end models tending to offer longer flight time. If longer flight time is important to you, you may also want to invest in replacement batteries. The duration of charging a battery may vary, but can be up to 2 hours.

  • Camera

The camera is a widely used drone accessory. On cheaper drones, it often comes as an add-on, and it’s up to you whether you want to install it or not. If you leave it on, you can get a few more minutes of flight time out of your aircraft due to its lighter overall weight. So if you don’t plan on shooting footage, my advice is to leave it on the ground. However, when it comes to drones for aerial photography/videography, cameras are a must (clearly).

Some drones have their own body-mounted cameras, while others come with a GoPro (or other action camera). Depending on the manufacturer, there are numerous features that can be fine-tuned, such as ISO, shutter speed, photo/video size, and more. Think of the camera as a professional photo/video equipment that flies through the air. You get a lot of freedom and can take stunning shots.

  • Headless mode

As we all know, every drone has a front and a back. If you and your drone are facing the same direction, pressing the left control stick on your remote should make your drone fly to the left. However, when your drone turns around and faces you, the front of the controller and the front of the drone are in the opposite direction. So if you push left, the drone will fly to your right and vice versa.

This can be very confusing, especially for inexperienced flyers. We think every drone flyer has experienced an unintended direction change (or crash) because of this. But when headless mode is enabled, this problem is easily solved – as long as you turn on the mode when the remote and the front of the drone are facing the same direction, it will always fly left when you press the left stick, and always fly right when you press the right stick. This is great if you just want to have fun and not constantly pay attention to which direction the drone is facing.

  • 3-axis gimbal

The gimbal stabilizes movement in three axes: pitch, roll and yaw. This helps ensure that shots remain stable throughout the flight, regardless of the direction and tilt of the drone. To illustrate the importance of a gimbal, here is a video that shows how a shot with a gimbal compares to a shot without a gimbal.

  • Range

The Range of the aircraft limits how far you can control your drone. My advice is to consider what you want to achieve with your drone before you buy. Range is very product specific and can vary from 50-100 meters for entry level quadcopters to 5000 meters for advanced products like the DJI Phantom 4.

  • Durability

If you plan to use your drone despite a weather disturbance, you must secure its hardware. The drone must have rugged hardware designed to withstand severe weather, such as a carbon fiber housing.

  • Sensors

Drones have a variety of sensors. Some have essential or primary sensors such as debris detection, while others have multispectral sensors. This allows drones to capture thermal imagery, terrain mapping, and more for comprehensive data collection in the field.

  • Spare parts

After you have chosen your first drone, you should make sure that you can buy spare parts for it, because you will very often find yourself in situations where you need them. Even a slight crash can cause you to have to replace your propellers, motors, camera or landing gear. So make sure you choose a model for which there are many spare parts. The good news is that there are already plenty of replacement parts available online for most beginner-friendly quads.

  • Navigations

Some drones are not equipped with a remote control. In this case, you need to download an application to your smartphone and connect it to the drone. Navigation could become confusing, especially if the sellers have not informed the users about it.

  • Controller

Drones usually need to be controlled by a drone pilot via a remote control or RC (Radio Control) transmitter. These remote controls usually take the form of those seen on RC toys. The controllers allow the pilot to remotely control the drone and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can also come with or without LCD screens, and even smartphones and tablets can be attached to them.

Ideally, the controller should have at least four channels. Also, most drone controllers operate at a frequency of 2.4 GHz. For greater range, a controller with lower frequencies is required. RC transmitters can also be operated via Wi-Fi.

  • Weight and portability

If you plan to use your drone away from home, you should consider how portable the models you are considering are. Usually, cheaper models are lighter and smaller, while professional drones are both larger and heavier. If you need to take your drone with you on the way to where you want to film, a lighter drone will be easier to transport, but may not perform as well in high winds.

  • Safety features

If possible, look for a drone that not only has inbuilt geofencing and object avoidance, but also has emergency controls that will allow you to stop its movement, command it to hover or return back to you when the need arises. If you are planning to use your drone out in public, these features not only help to ensure the safety of your drone, but also the safety of others.

  • Flight stabilization

To capture great photos and videos on the go, look for a drone with flight stabilization. This feature counteracts the effects of wind and erratic flight, making it easier to capture better quality photos and videos. A gimbal can also contribute to greater stability.

Special Autopilot Flight Features

Now it’s time to have fun! Many drones have special programs or apps that let you do things that would normally take a pair of drone pilots a long time to master. Not only that, but some autonomous features allow you to fly your drone more safely and avoid disasters.

  • Aerial Acrobatics

This is something you usually only see on toy drones. Special buttons allow the drone to do things like rolls, flips, and loops without having to master these skills like a real drone pilot.

  • Collision Avoidance

Another important safety feature, collision avoidance, allows your drone to automatically avoid large objects (such as a wall or tree) that may be in its flight path and that you have not seen for some reason.

However, it does not allow you to avoid small objects such as birds. Most drones that have collision avoidance can only avoid forward, meaning the drone could still collide with something it didn’t “see” on the sides. More expensive, advanced drones also have collision avoidance on the side, back, and even bottom.

  • Return Home Function

The return home function does exactly what you think it does – it returns your drone to its home point with the press of a button. This feature works great in situations when you lose the aircraft from your sight, you lose control of it and you panic or simply want to return the drone where it took off. However, there’s a difference between the “Return Home” on a GPS-enabled expensive drone and a “Return Home” on a $50 toy drone.

For a GPS-controlled drone, you should first wait for the drone to lock onto GPS satellites. This way, the drone knows exactly where it is before taking off, and when you press the “Home” button, it knows where to fly.

If you use this feature on a cheaper aircraft without a GPS module, the drone will simply fly backwards when you press the “Return Home” button, but only if “Headless Mode” is enabled. Otherwise, you will probably have to chase your drone in the opposite direction. In summary, if your drone does not have a GPS module installed, ONLY use the Return Home function in “Headless Mode”.

  • ActiveTrack

With this autopilot mode, the drone can target an object and follow it wherever it goes. This allows you to track a vehicle, a person or even an animal.

  • Programmable Flight Paths

With apps like the DJI Go app, you can program waypoints for your drone to fly to. This allows you to focus on the camera and not worry about where the drone is going. Other apps like Litchi and Autopilot give you even more flexibility with flight routes, and you can even program the camera. You can also set up safety zones to prevent your drone from flying to places that could harm it or others.

Check Drone offer FPV view

One of the coolest things about owning a drone is experiencing flying as a pilot, not just someone standing on the ground making something fly. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a bird, now is the time! With FPV (First Person View), you can do just that. Flying with FPV means you look through your drone’s camera and control it like a real pilot. You can see the world through the “eyes” of your drone on your smartphone/tablet or controller with a built-in monitor.

DJI FPV Goggles Although not technically allowed by the FAA – especially for commercial pilots – flying a drone with FPV allows you to control the drone when it is no longer possible to do so by line of sight from the ground. In addition to the fully immersive experience FPV offers drone pilots, flying with FPV allows you to see exactly what your camera is capturing, so you can be sure you’ll always get the shot you want.

If you want to take FPV to the next level, grab a pair of FPV goggles and shut out the rest of the world by only seeing the view from your drone. Even better, get a pair of head-tracking goggles that let you adjust the camera angle based on your head movements, so you can look up, down, left, and right.

Price

If you are a beginner, it is better to stick to the cheap drones until you get the hang of flying. Also, find out about the drone’s features and compare them to what you want to do with it to avoid paying extra for features that aren’t important to you. For example, do you want a drone camera to take aerial photos, or do you just want to have fun flying a drone?

Conclusion

Buying a new drone is an exciting affair, because it’s basically a flying camera that lets you discover new and interesting views of the world. We hope this Buying Guide will help you to take decision.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!

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