How To Pick Your Drone
You might not be 100% sure on what to look for when buying a drone so here’s a quick drone buying guide that covers the basics.
Your drone’s battery life will indicate how long you can fly your drone before needing a recharge. The longer the battery life, the better. You can always purchase multiple batteries to keep your drone in the air for longer but it’s always nice to stay in the air on a single charge.
Not all drones have an onboard camera. The beginner drone pilot may not care for a camera while they learn the basics of flying, it depends on your personal preference. You can also purchase a drone mount for a GoPro camera, if you already have one lying around.
Drones come with either a classic hardware controller or a downloadable RC app. Both are fun but your classic controller setup is usually the preferred option as it usually allows for closer control of the drone.
The range of your drone details how far away the drone can travel from its controller without losing signal. This measurement is usually in feet and it’s an important one to take note of. Drones are all about exploring the sky so try and go for the longer range options.
You’ll want to check the maximum speed your drone can fly at. This is usually in miles per hour. Drone drag race, anyone?
Return To Home Setting
Some drones have a ‘return to home’ setting which will automatically guide the drone back to the controller using GPS technology. It’s a handy little feature but may not be absolutely necessary for the beginner pilot.
Drone Safety Advice
Always read the manual – The user manual will explain everything you need to know to fly your drone successfully. The manufacturer usually puts some useful tips and tricks into the user manual so it’s definitely worth a read.
Consider the weather – Strong winds and areas full with obstacles do not make for an easy flight. While learning, only fly in low winds and try to find an open area of land for takeoff.
Don’t touch moving parts – Always keep away from the rotors on your drone. They move incredibly fast!
Minimise damage when crashing – If the drone is going down, minimise the impact. Lay off the speed and do your best to avoid crashing into hard objects. Your wallet will be thankful.
Consider privacy – When flying a drone that has a camera, it’s your duty to respect other people’s space and privacy.
Overall drones are great fun to fly and can give you a whole new perspective on the world. Fly safe and enjoy the experience!
Best Budget Drones
When choosing your first drone, it can sometimes be a better option to go for some of the cheaper options on the market. The budget drones listed below are perfect for a first-time flyer and won’t break the bank if it does all go wrong.
Hubsan X4 H111 Review
If you’re just getting started in the drone hobby, why not opt for a nano drone? There are more and more nano drones exploding onto the market and they can be a great way to learn the basics of flying.
The Husban X4 H111 is small enough that you can fly it indoors so weather conditions become much less of an issue. The X4 has outstanding build quality and won’t fall apart easily even after multiple crashes (trust us on that!).
It’s definitely a fun drone to fly around the house. The main problem with nano drones is their twitchy and unbalanced nature when in flight. The Husban does suffer from some of these issues but it’s not detrimental to the overall experience. This is a great drone to purchase before stepping up to the larger outdoor alternatives.
- Very inexpensive
- Nano drones are great for learning
- Sturdy build
- Extremely small size
- Twitchy and sensitive in flight
- Hard to control in strong winds
Syma X5C Review
The Syma X5C is a top choice for the drone buyer on a budget. Flight performance is extremely good indeed, you certainly wouldn’t expect such high levels of flight control for a low budget machine.
The Syma comes equipped with a HD camera and other small accessories such as a spare set of propellers. The camera isn’t amazing, but it is good for the money. This is quite a high-tech drone making it the perfect stepping stone for a more premium (and higher cost) drone.
The Syma X5C’s design uses 6-axis gyro stabilization which basically means the drone will automatically attempt to stabilise itself during flight. This is an amazing feature for the beginner. The Syma comes highly recommended by lots of enthusiasts and it’s hard to really go wrong at this price.
- Flight stability technology
- Equipped with high-tech features
- HD camera included
- Easy to control in the air
- Low battery life
- Camera quality could be better
Holy Stone F181 Review
Another fully featured drone at a very low price is the Holy Stone F181. This is an updated model which comes packed with new features. This quadcopter also comes with a HD camera and flight stabilisation technology.
This drone even comes with an all-new hover mode! Simply release the throttle control and the drone will begin t hover at the current height. This feature makes is perfectly suited to beginner pilots. You wouldn’t usually expect this kind of technology in the low budget drone range.
The drone also boats three separate speed modes, a short charge time of 60-90 minutes and headless mode. The headless mode feature allows you to fly the drone without worrying about travelling too far away – the F181 will stay close by to the operator.
- Packed with high-tech features
- Includes a camera
- Short charge time
- Comes complete with a hover mode
- Flight time of around 10 minutes
- You will need time to learn the different features
Best Beginner Drones
What’s the best drone for a beginner? You want to look for a drone that’s easy to handle in the air, relatively cheap to purchase, includes high-tech flight features and is fun to fly! The drones listed below are perfect beginner options but are slightly more expensive than the budget drones listed previously.
DJI Mavic Air Review
The DJI Mavic Air is new to the drone market and is one of the more premium options when it comes to beginner flying. This is because the Mavic Air comes is an absolute joy to fly. This drone really is a marvel of engineering that is capable of limitless exploration.
The Mavic Air is foldable and portable, making it one of the best travel-ready drones money can buy. It’s max flight time is 21 minutes which is more than double the time you can expect from the more low budget drones.
It also comes complete with a 4K camera that is capable of some pretty amazing shots. The Mavic also comes with all the high-tech features you’d want from a drone of this type including 3-Directional Environment Sensing and a 3-Axis Gimbal. The Amazon reviews of this drone are very positive indeed and it’s easy to see why.
- As good as it gets for beginner flying
- A joy to fly + long flight times
- HDR photos
- Control the drone via an app with hand gestures or simple point to where you’d like to fly!
- A more expensive option
- You don’t want to crash this drone
Syma X5UW Review
This Syma drone is a lot cheaper than the Mavic Air listed previously and doesn’t come with anywhere near as many features. Despite this, it still makes are list thanks to a combination of affordability and control.
The Syma X5UW is definitely a step up from the lower-end of the drone market. It offers gravity control mode for easy flying and the ability to switch between controller and phone as a pilot. The 720p HD camera provides crisp images of your flight and all your photos and videos are delivered to your phone in real time.
This drone also comes equipped with a hover mode for easy flying and better photo opportunities. This Syma also comes with a brand new long-life battery for longer flight times and quicker charges.
- Very cheap
- Hover mode included
- A step up from budget machines
- Good camera quality
- Responsive control
- Slick appearance
- Controls take a while to learn (although it’s very easy to fly)
- Quite a fast drone for the beginner to control
Holy Stone HS160 Review
Another extremely affordable option is the Holy Stone HS160. This product comes from a very respected brand so you can be sure of good build quality and the latest onboard tech. This drone also boasts a clever folding design that makes the drone portable and small. It’s incredibly well designed.
You aren’t going to get better image quality in this price range than the H160’s onboard 720p HD camera system. The camera even provides a live video feed while you travel through the air! Real-time image transmission is enabled through the use of a smartphone app which comes with the drone.
With one key start, altitude hold and adjustable speed settings – this is a step up in beginner drone flying.
- Great camera quality
- Best price point for this level of technology
- Good camera quality
- Come with extra battery
- Adjustable speed settings
- Altitude control included
- Takes some time to get used to all the different controls
- Can be harder to control in the air compared to other beginner machines
How To Fly A Drone And Not Crash
So once you’ve purchased a brand new, high-tech drone the last thing you want to do is crash it into a wall and throw all that money down the drain. So how can you learn to fly a drone as a beginner? Here are some tips.
What’s the best beginner drone? For us, it has to be the Holy Stone HS160. This gives you a taste of the higher end machines without breaking the bank. The price point on this drone is simply amazing. While we do love all the incredible features of the Mavic Air, it simply won’t be affordable for most beginners.