Buying Your First Drone – Part 1

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So you think you want to get into drone flying.

There are a lot of things to consider before making a decision to purchase a drone.

First, there are literally hundreds of drones to choose from. I had no idea when I got my first drone a few years ago. For me, it’s always been about the fun and freedom I felt from each flight, as well as finding  a bird’s eye view of my surroundings.

Of course, my interests have evolved now that I’m several years into my drone flying experience. I suspect most people who become addicted to flying drones as I have will eventually want to own bigger, better, and more sophisticated models with advanced capabilities such as 4K photography and videography and FPV (first-person view) drones.

Two things to consider:

If you are just starting out, and looking for your first drone, the two things to consider are cost and how serious you are about flying. I started out flying small, inexpensive drones (under $100.00) I recommend the same for any beginner to get a sense of the flight experience without risking too much out of pocket.

Purchasing inexpensive drones meant I could try out cheap but fun ultra-light, miniature drones. These can be a blast to fly. The only caveat is that these drones don’t do well in windy weather. In fact, most of the inexpensive line of ultralight drones are underpowered. This means they are not easy to handle in any type of breeze. A calm, still day is best for outdoor flights with these tiny toys.

Power and stability:

The next level of ultra-light drones is more expensive, but well worth the money, and can be insured. They can range in price from $150 to $600. These are the drones that come with the gimbal-mounted cameras and brushless motors. Also, because they weigh less than 250 grams, FAA registration is not required.

The motors are more powerful than the ultralights and minis previously mentioned, and can handle higher winds, sometimes as high as 20mph. They often come with cameras that record in both 4K and 1080P. Some are mounted on 3-axis gimbals for smooth video.

Fun Features:

You can program them to track your movements and follow you whether you are riding a bike or surfing the waves. These drones are amazingly easy to fly. Just download the app and pair the drone and controller to your phone! This allows you to not only gain access to the drone’s many settings, but it also to view in real time what your drone is recording while you are flying it!

This is what gets a lot of people hooked on flying drones—you get a birds eye view of your surroundings from as far as 400 feet up. Some of these drones have amazing range, up to 5 miles away, and can fly as fast as 36 mph. 

So there you have it. This is where I recommend you start, with an ultralight drone that fits your budget. Start out slowly to get to know the drone’s movements and responses to your commands. Be careful with the controller. Use small movements and be cautious. Know your surroundings—someplace with lots of room and few obstacles such as trees, cars, and people is always the safest place to enjoy your drone.  Have fun and happy flying!