Whenever we start picking out the perfect drone for our pleasure, we must consider some things with care. While some believe you cannot overdo diligence, you can certainly paralyze yourself with excess data – to the point you do nothing at all.
What fun would that be?
The trick is knowing what’s most important for your drone experience. And what to look for to maximize your own personal pleasure and enjoyment.
With that said, let’s move forward with some pointers.
Biggest considerations when picking your drone
Listed below are what we believe are the things a beginning drone operator should focus on when picking out their first drone:
- Current skill level
- Why you want a drone
- What features you must have
- What you plan to spend
Now let us examine each of these things individually and focus on the specifics.
Current skill level
The very first, and perhaps the most important step, is to honestly assess your current skill level when it comes to flying drones. While in most cases, if this is your first drone, you are probably a complete novice.
But there are situations where you may be a little more than a novice. For instance, have you flown radio-controlled airplanes or helicopters? Or are you fairly savvy when it comes to eye-hand activities like video games and using a joystick?
You are the only one who can answer the question honestly.
The reason for this is you have to decide whether or not your first drone is one to bang around with or one that you will keep for the long term.
Complete beginners shouldn’t buy expensive drones with all the bells and whistles – only to crash it into their roof on its maiden flight. These kinds of things happen, and it sucks.
Additionally, there are some drones out there that are easier to fly than other drones. Most of this depends on how they are designed and the features they offer.
Some drones on the market can only be flown by experts, but you will want a simple model with decent quality for your first flight. If you get one that is too cheap and flimsy, you won’t enjoy the experience, defeating the purpose.
Remember that you can add features to many drones on the market as your skill level improves.
The good news is there are several drones available that are designed specifically for novices. They’re not necessarily the cheapest, yet they aren’t the most expensive either. But what they do have is a robust, intuitive design and are very responsive in-flight – perfect for beginners.
As time goes on, you can decide if you must have a drone in your life. If this is the case, then the next drone you buy could be the one to go all out for.
One last point about knowing your skill level is that it narrows down the potential choices you have – making the process much easier.
Why you want a drone
One thing about drones, there is no end to their uses. It really depends on how creative you are. But of course, the creativity usually doesn’t come until after you’ve become a skilled drone operator.
Most of us became interested in drones because of a specific activity we think we’d enjoy. So let us review what some of those drone activities might be that first piqued our interest.
Playing around with them. Like flying a kite, it’s kind of cool to send something into the sky and play around with it. But unlike kites, a drone offers much more control and other cool stuff.
Some people want a small drone to fly indoors, and there are indoor drones for that purpose. Others just want to spend some time playing with them in the backyard; some units are perfect for that too. Remember that these two kinds of units are very different – an indoor drone is smaller, flimsier, and will not withstand any outdoor winds.
When you want to play around with your drone, it’s a much different choice than getting one for other purposes. However, keep in mind that after you fly your drone for a few months, you may decide that you’d like to do more things with it.
Interested in drone photography. Drone photography has grown enormously over the past decade or so. People are now using these services for many things like weddings, real estate, surveying; you name it.
More and more people are now making a living with drone photography because the opportunities are endless. If this is your intention, then your choice becomes very different than a typical enthusiast.
Watching over their property. Property inspection and security is another subtopic in the drone community that has grown in popularity – and for a good reason. If you have a large farm, you could surveil your borders via a live feed from your drone.
Should you have large structures on your property, you can fly your drone into difficult-to-reach areas and inspect them without risking arm and limb on a ladder or scaffold.
While very few novices are interested in the drone activities listed above, it is a good way to illustrate the different uses available.
What features you must have
Now that you’ve identified your skill level and know why you’d like to get a drone, you are better equipped to look for features that would best serve you.
As with anything electronic, drones offer a huge variety of features. And in addition to this, they usually offer different quality levels of those features. But don’t let that overwhelm you; it’s not as daunting as it may appear.
The key for a first-time buyer is simple and user-friendly. You definitely want to pick a drone that is RTF (ready to fly). This means that everything is in place for you to take home and fly instead of a hardcore drone veteran who is building their own drone.
Accept the fact that you’ll probably have a few crashes in the early going. Several features will minimize many rookie mistakes. For instance, there are propeller guards to protect your props from minor bumps – into objects and people.
There are also collision avoidance sensors that help you avoid objects in general. You will definitely want GPS and Glonass to ensure that your drone never loses satellite connection. There’s also a failsafe point to home feature on most drones, which means they automatically fly to that point if they ever lose their signal – but it usually requires a minimum number of satellites to work.
Unless you are dead set against it, I highly recommend getting a drone with a camera. It offers a dimension of drone pleasure that you have to experience. Many new drone owners are delighted that they got cameras with their units – even though they didn’t want one at first.
One last thing is to ensure that the charge on your drone’s battery lasts at least 15-20 minutes – and get an extra one to take with you when flying. Otherwise, you will come home early and be disappointed.
What you plan to spend
This is where the rubber meets the road. How much are you willing to invest in your new adventure?
The more you are willing to spend, the more features you can get and the higher quality you can get. Obviously, deciding what to spend is a balancing act.
As of this writing, beginner drones with a decent amount of features cost anywhere from $150 to $500. So it all depends on your budget and what you are seeking.
I wish you the best in your drone adventures!