Beginners Guide to Buying Your First Drone

Where Do I Start

Are You New To Buying Drones – If So Where Do You Start !?  

 

Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place!

 

Welcome to our simple and straightforward guide to buying your first Drone or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) !!

 

If you have already had a look you will have seen there is a wide variety of choice when it comes to buying a Drone.

 

However, don’t worry we as have some sage advice that will help and guide you to pick the exact one that’s just right for you.

 

If you haven’t owned a Drone before it’s important you know exactly what you want to use it for because this should drive your decision to buy.

 

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What Exactly is a Drone?

 

A Drone is also known as UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and basically is a remotely piloted aircraft.

 

The most common type of recreational Drone is a Quadcopter, although there are Remote Controlled (RC) Planes, Helicopters and other multi-rotors.

 

Recreational Drones are mainly used for flying, racing and photography/videography purposes.

 

Do you know the Differences Between UAVs, Quadcopters and Drones?

 

Drone Design

 

The majority of all personal Drones are in Quadcopter format which means they have 4 rotors.

 

Quadcopters come in two main designs;

 

X Frame – probably the most popular and widely used for general use

 

 

H Frame – tend to be used more for racing

 

 

 

Design doesn’t really affect you as a beginner and this should be down to your personal preference.

 

Some Basic and Useful Features

 

These are some of the basic features you can look out for when deciding on your Drone;

 

  • CAMERA: Most Quadcopters come with a camera these days for photo and video

 

  • 6-AXIS GYRO: Control system which helps with stable flying

 

  • 2.4 GHz TRANSMISSION: For more responsive controls and minimal interference

 

  • HEADLESS MODE: Usually the forward direction is the same as the Quadcopter nose direction, but if using Headless mode the forward direction will be the same as your remote controller

 

  • 3D FLIPS:  Ability to perform 360° Flips with one press of a key

 

  • BLADE PROTECTORS: Useful for preventing the blades getting damaged during collision and for safety

 

  • LED LIGHTS: Colorful Flashing Lights useful if you want to fly at night

 

Things to Consider Before Buying Your First Drone

 

It’s important to do your research thoroughly and to help you we have listed the key areas you should consider when making your choice;

 

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  • Price – Costs vary significantly, from very cheap Toy Drones through to the more expensive premium products like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, so deciding on your budget upfront will make your search a lot easier from the start

 

  • Learning to Fly – You need to Practice. Some people think they can just buy their Drone, take it out of the box and fly it around like a seasoned pro. Sadly this is not normally the case. As with anything, and especially an Aerial Vehicle, practice, practice and more practice is required to gain some degree of competency. Always start with a cheaper Drone and the Easiest to Learn to Fly designed specially for beginners- you can always move on later

 

  • Further Investment Be prepared for crashes as there will be lots of them in the beginning. Again it’s usually best advice to start with a low cost beginner Drone as the last thing you want is to destroy an expensive one and have to find further funds for costly repairs or even replacement!

 

  • There is a lot of choice – Make sure you know what you are getting. Do you know what RTF, BNF and ARF mean, if not check our post explaining the Different Types of Drones.

 

  • All Drones are not created equal – there are various functions available to make flying easier, especially for beginners. 6 Axis Gyro and Headless Mode are some of the functions that will help you learn to fly quicker so look out for them.

 

  • What do you want to use it for – Drones have multiple uses, you may just want to enjoy flying around, or perhaps you are keen on photography and want to explore this further using your Drone. You might even have your mind on Racing with FPV (First Person View) which is a growing new sport. There is a Drone designed for the purpose you want, so take your time and find what is right for your needs.

 

  • PowerFlying time of beginner Drones are usually fairly short – 6 to 8 minutes as an average. It a good idea to invest in some extra batteries so you can extend your flying time as recharging your battery will take a couple of hours, so factor that into your budget.

 

  • Check the Law – Always check the Rules and Regulations in your country before you buy. For example, Drones require FAA registration in the USA if over 0.55 lbs.

 

Happy Drone Hunting…!

 

We hope that you find the perfect Drone for you.

 

Please check out some of our Reviews and if you have any questions or need any help or assistance with making your choice please let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

Good Luck and Enjoy !!

 

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15 Comments

  1. Great article, I learned a lot. First of all I had no idea I could purchase my own drone. This is news to me. This information is useful because I may consider buying one for my husband in the future. I am quite sure that he would love it. I also find the prices to be quite reasonably. Thanks for this informative article.

  2. Thanks Nigel this is such a good article for me
    I have been doing surfing photography now for some time.
    I use the usual zoom lenses and have even invested in an in water housing for my camera.
    The next step for me is to buy a drone.
    Do you have any opinion on the upcoming Karma form GoPro?

    1. Hi Keith,

      I think you would get a lot out of a drone for capturing amazing images and footage and hopefully you will share some with us in the future. Unfortunately you may have seen in the news the GoPro Karma has been recalled and had some major issues so not sure how that will play out in the future yet. Having said that, the DJI Mavic Pro is excellent and you should definitely check it out. Of course it’s dependent on your budget and you can get lower priced drones that will do a great job for you as well.

      Thanks for the comments !

  3. It’s actually extremely funny that I stumbled upon this post. As someone who is single and dating, I actually was thinking of a cool proposal idea. I was thinking of using a drone to fly over to my future wife-to-be (whoever she is) and to deliver the ring right by her during something like a dinner or picnic. Would any drone be capable of doing that?

    1. You smooth devil Ariel !!

      Funnily enough this has been done a few times and there are videos on youtube if you search them out to see how it’s turned out.

      Good luck and wishing you all the best when the time comes (however you decide to do it).

      Thanks for the comment, Nigel

  4. We grew up with all sorts of cool flying toys. My dad was an avid model builder and toy plane flyer, I think he would love a drone! I am wondering though…How do you know the restrictions of flying? how do you stay out of trouble? I keep hearing about drones being a very dangerous hobby, flying into the wrong areas? I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

    1. Hi Maria,

      Sounds like your dad would enjoy a drone, they are great to fly and very exciting if you use First Person View (FPV) which I think he would really appreciate. When we hear in the news about the negative/dangerous things this is usually people not using common sense or just ignoring the rules. If you check out our “Drone Guides and Information” section there are more details about the rules and regulations, which are fairly straightforward.

      Thanks for your comments !!

  5. Hey Nigel,
    Just what I was looking for, a guide of some sort to help me in what it is that I should be looking for. You answered one of the questions I had in mind about how difficult they are to fly, as you stated it will take time and practice.
    So I’m wondering about the quality of the cheap ones, will they hold up with the learning (crashing) of flying them, or should one look for a not so cheap one?
    One other question, do you have one in mind that would be good to start out with?
    Great article, this has given me some food for thought.
    Kim

    1. H Kim,

      Thanks for your comments and glad you found the guide useful. You can get pretty good low cost starter Quadcopters like the Syma X5C or Hubsan X4 and they are quite robust and can take some crashing as long as you practise in an open space, no trees and plenty of grass for softer landings ! Once you get going and are sure it’s for you then invest in the higher priced/spec models.

      All the best, Nigel

      1. Thanks Nigel, I will give those two a look at, we have a large back yard with grass and only a couple of trees, I think this will work out great for me.
        Thank you for the response!
        Kim

  6. Wow Nigel,

    Your article on the selection of best drones has been so helpful. I have personally learned a lot from this article.

    I need a drone, but as you said, since I haven’t used one before, I didn’t know just which type will be good for me.

    I like your explanation on the X – Frame and H – Frame, now I do know that the X – Frame is for general use whiles the H – Frame is purposely meant for racing.

    My question is, if I want to buy a drone for a personal home use, which type will you recommend for me as the best choice?

    I will be looking forward to your reply.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your comments and glad you found the article useful.

      It’s always best to start off with a very low cost Drone so you can learn to fly as it’s not a big deal if you crash a lot (which you will)!!

      If you check out our post on Easiest Drones to Fly for Beginners this should help you along.

      If you need any more help please just ask!

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