Beginners, here is ultimate list of drones you should buy

If you have been living under a rock in the last year or so, then you might have missed the news about the most popular tech trend that’s shaking the world. I am, of course, talking about drones which are becoming huge parts of our everyday lives. When they first appeared on the market they had expensive price tags on them and to be honest, they were primarily designed for experienced pilots.

There were only few drones for beginners back in that time. Back then, they weren’t equipped with technologies such as stability systems, GPS for drones and autonomous flights, all of which greatly help beginner pilots.

With this being said, if you have just started doing your research on modern day drones and would really like to buy one, but you ended up with a huge surplus of information and you’re no way near the end result… Don’t worry, this list has got you covered. You’ll soon find out what’s the best drone for beginners. It features some of the best drones that are suitable for beginners in all aspects. So, without further adue, let us start with the list!

Drone beginners & First time Flyers : FAQ

What makes a drone suitable for beginners ?

So, you have never operated a drone before and you are finally ready to make your dream come true. But, as soon as you started your “shopping” routine, you stumbled upon more than a few issues. The main one is certainly the type of drone you should look for.

It’s safe to say that modern day drones possess a plethora of unique characteristics. If you are a beginner (and I suppose you are since you are reading this article), or you’re buying a drone for your kid, the most important one you should look for in your first drone is ease of use. Drones (especially higher end models) can be tricky to operate properly and require a lot of training before jumping to the action. That’s why, you need to make sure your drone incorporates intuitive controls without needlessly large operating manuals and all that other complicated stuff.

In addition to that, you should also make sure your first drone is not made out of cheap plastic materials. Since you’re a beginner, you will most likely end up crashing it a couple of times before you get the controlling scheme correct. In order to minimize the chances of breaking your drone during the very first crash, make sure it has prop guards and solid build quality to start with.

So, to summarize – there are just 2 main aspects that you should consider when purchasing your first drone: ease of use and build quality. Start off with those 2 and build your way up to more precise characteristics that are subjective to your needs…

How much does a good starter drone cost ?

In terms of cost, I would be lying if I told you that you have to spend a lot of money on a good beginner’s drone. In fact, the story goes pretty much the exact opposite of the above stated claim. Beginner friendly drones are usually those which just have easy controls and can take quite a beating. When it comes to their pricing, you probably won’t need to spend more than $200 on your first model.

After you have gotten accustomed to the controls and you wish to step up your drone game, then (and only then) I would recommend going up a notch and aiming for a mid to high end drone. So conclusion is, the best starter drone doesn’t have to be expensive.

 

What are your plans for the future?

If you are aiming to buy a drone just for recreational purposes, then you don’t really need to aim high up in the premium drone market. There are plenty of entry-level recreational drones that don’t cost a fortune and are capable of providing you with incredible amount of fun. In the long run, if you don’t plan on doing any serious business with your drone. Such as aerial photography, real estate drone marketing, commercial flights and all those other “business” reasons, I warmly recommend you going for a cheaper one.

On the other hand, if you want to start off with a nicely intuitive drone that has great potential (some would call it future-proof, but I don’t know if that is a good term to use in this context) for doing certain jobs in the future, then you should go with one of the more sophisticated ones. Still, that does not mean you have to spend a fortune on it. There are plenty of entry level models that are suitable for this.

For instance, take a look at MJX Bugs 3. It’s a cheap, entry-level model that has great specifications and action camera support meaning you are not bound to 1 camera for the whole lifespan of your drone. Best of all, it is insanely easy to use and incorporates a sleek design with intuitive controls that will suit people who are flying it for the very first time…

 

UNDER $100

Best starter drones :

NameImageCameraRangeTimePrice
4. JJRC H8D2MP100m10minSee price now
3. Holy Stone F1812MP100m9minSee price now
2. UDI U818A2MP100m9minSee price now
1. Syma X5C2MP70m7minSee price now

4. JJRC H8D

This drone comes in a nicely protected package. Well, it is not exactly a package, more like a blue metal suitcase that you can use to transport it from point A to point B. Inside, you will find a whole heap of accessories among which are extra batteries, spare props, prop guards, chargers and spare motors.

The H8D sports a 2.0 MP camera which is actually pretty good. It is capable of providing you with live FPV feed as well, after connecting via 5.8 Ghz to its dedicated controller that has a built in LCD display with a shade block on top. The controller is top quality, very responsive and with a nice clean OSD information.

When it comes to specifications, JJRC H8D could easily be the best drone for beginners. With FPV on you can witness live feed for more than 100 meters away, plus it can fly for around 10 minutes on a single full charge. All things considered, if you are a newbie when it comes to drones, but you are willing to spend close to $200… you will not find anything much better than JJRC H8D!

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3. Holy Stone F181

If you are ready to splash out around $90 for a slightly better-quality drone, then Holy Stone has a great one for you. The F181 is an outstanding drone with a bunch of handy features such as headless mode, one key return, altitude hold and even one key 360 flips. Many will agree this is one of the best starter drones.

As you can see, it has a lot more features than the X5C by Syma, but to its defense, the F181 is more than double its price. In addition to all of these features, this little fella is equipped with a HD camera as well. To top it all off, you will be happy to find out that it is able to fly for up to 9 minutes and can reach up to 100 meters.

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2. UDI 818A HD+

This 100 bucks drone sports an HD+ camera which is, with help from its 6-axis gyro stabilizer, capable of shooting decent photos and videos. Combine that with headless mode and return to home functions and you will understand why this drone is so popular these days.

It’s very popular during winter and rainy days because of it’s protective frame design which makes is one of the best drones for indoor flights.

But not only is it popular, it looks cool as well. With 1 pair of black and 1 pair of white blades surrounded by built in prop guards, this drone has quite a sexy look to it. Still, when it comes to flight range it is only capable of going up to 100 meters. Luckily, its flight duration improves its image – you can get around 9 minutes on a full charge.

All things considered, UDI 818A is a solid contender for best value for money in “under $100” price range. Keep in mind that it’s a drone specially designed for beginners and will most likely disappoint more experienced pilots. Despite that, it’s still definitely worth trying out!

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1. Syma X5C

If you have never owned a drone up to this point, then there is no doubt that you need good practice. You need to hone your piloting skills and truth be told, Syma X5C is one of the best drones for beginners.

It’s also a great model that perfectly fits your needs if you’re a first-time flyer. Not only is it made out of decent quality plastic (can’t expect premium build quality for this price) but it also sports a pretty decent 2.0MP camera (If camera is important factor to you, check out our list of best camera drones) that can provide you with decent quality images… as long as you don’t expect any masterpieces.

It has a 6-axis gyro stabilization system for optimal stability along with one button 3D flips. Other than that, it is also important to add that you can fly it around for about 7 minutes and it can reach about 70 meters away from its transmitter. All things considered, we are talking about a dirt-cheap drone that serves great as flying practice for new pilots. Buy it, test it out and see for yourself.

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$100 TO $300

Best beginner drones with camera:

NameImageCameraRangeTimePrice
3. MJX Bugs 3GoPro300m15minSee price now
2. Hubsan H501S1080p300m20minSee price now
1. Upair One2.7K500m20minSee price now

3. MJX Bugs 3

For those of who want a drone that can lead you all the way from your first steps into drone piloting to semi-professional aerial photography, there are no better options than the outstanding MJX Bugs 3.

This entry level drone comes without a dedicated (or built-in) camera but makes up for it with a great support for a wide variety of action ones to suit your cravings for aerial photography.

In terms of specifications, MJX Bugs 3 is more than good, especially considering its low price. It runs on a 1800mAh LiPo battery that can hold it up in the air for about 15 minutes.

You will also have roughly 300 meters of flying range which should be enough for all your casual or aerial photography needs. When it comes to ease of use, it’s safe to say that there aren’t many better models than this one. Its controller is highly intuitive and responsive, allowing even the first-time pilots to have fun with it.

So, long story short – if you are a beginner but you still want a great drone that can do a lot (in terms of features) and still remain intuitive and easy to use, then MJX Bugs 3 is a great choice!

Show me the best price for : Bedminster, United States

 

2. Hubsan H501S

Hubsan H501S is a hot topic these days. The sales are going up and people seem to finally start realizing what a great value for money this little fella brings to the table. It’s priced ridiculously low for the features and hardware it possesses. I’m not even exaggerating guys, check this out!

Hubsan H501S comes packed with a FHD camera capable of shooting outstanding aerial footage. If that’s not your thing, then perhaps you’ll be satisfied with a 4.3-inch LCD screen for FPV monitoring that’s built into the controller. The controlling works with 2.4Ghz connection while FPV uses a much more reliable (and stronger) 5.8Ghz.

Moving forward, features include GPS, auto return to home, altitude hold, headless mode and best of all – follow me feature. In terms of specifications, the situation is solid nonetheless. Flight time is roughly 20 minutes and the range goes up to 300 meters without any issues. Do you think this is the best beginner drone with camera?

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1. UPair One Drone

If you’re an Apple fan, you will really like this drone. The build quality (and design) is nothing short of spectacular. It sports a minimalistic, clean white finish and awfully resembles DJI Phantom series.

The controller breathes the exact same qualities as well – with its huge 7 inch LED display for FPV monitoring it will surely stand out from the crowd. What else stands out? Let’s take a closer look and see!

Upair One is equipped with an outstanding 2.7K camera that can, in combination with its stability systems, capture great aerial footage time in and time out. You can upgrade your purchase for roughly $50 and opt for a 4K camera package if you’re into aerial photography. Upair one also has a smart battery which lasts up to 18 minutes on a single charge which is a great trait nonetheless.

When it comes to its features, it has a dedicated GPS system, one key return function, auto return, failsafe return and many more. Specifications-wise, this little guy works via 5.8 Ghz frequency which enables it to fly up to 800 meters away from its transmitter without ever loosing connection. But still, keep in mind that if you have FPV turned on, you probably won’t make it further than 500 meters.

Still, that’s a great distance nonetheless, especially considering you get a crisp clear image on a 7 inch LED display. With all of the above in mind, there is no doubt that Upair One is a must have if you are thinking of making drones your main hobby.

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$300 TO $600

NameImageCameraRangeTimePrice
4. 3DR SoloGoPro1km20minSee price now
3. Traxxas AtonGoPro300m18minSee price now
2. Hubsan H109s1080p1km30minSee price now
1. DJI Spark1080p2km15minSee price now

4. 3DR Solo

These days, for a little over $300 you can get the 3DR Solo (regular price is cca $700) which is a great drone in all aspects. Truth be told, it lacks a camera which might be an issue for some of you. But still, it offers a good solution with its dedicated gimbal that you can either buy separately or bundled together with the drone for a little over $600.

The price is significantly higher than the standalone drone, but the gimbal itself is amazing and will serve as a great aerial photo platform, especially if you have a top-quality action camera.

Other than that, it is important to add that this drone simply breathes quality. It’s made out of sturdy and durable lightweight material and possesses a bunch of handy features such as orbit mode, follow me, cable cam and even a dedicated selfie mode.

When it comes to its specifications, the 3DR is nothing short of brilliant. With more than 800 meters of clean, lag-free experience and around 20 minutes of flight duration, you can’t expect to find anything even remotely close to this for just $330.

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3. Traxxas Aton Plus

If you are looking for a great all-in-one drone, it doesn’t get any better than the Traxxas Aton Plus. For around $380 you will get this drone bundled together with its dedicated gimbal that is able to significantly improve the overall quality of your images and videos.

Keep in mind that you need to have your own action camera because this drone doesn’t come with one.

Besides that, it is important to add that Aton is an extremely speedy drone, clocking in at around 80 kilometers per hour (50mph) in its sports mode. But if you switch from sports to film mode, the drone’s speed will be lower but its stability, control accuracy and smoothness will all greatly increase, giving you a sensational flying experience.

With dual mode GPS system, return to home, bright LED lights, 2 flight modes and air brakes, it’s needless to say that we are talking about a very high-profile drone.

To top it all off, its range is maxed out at around 300 meters even with FPV on (yes, it supports great FPV experience if you pair it with a decent action camera), but at that distance I doubt you’ll be able to see it quite clearly.

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2. Hubsan H109S X4 Pro

Hubsan-H109S-X4-ProSlowly but surely, we are reaching the most expensive drones in this list. This beefy little fella is one of Hubsan’s top models, ready to make a proper name for itself out there on the market.

With features such as GPS system, headless mode, altitude hold, auto return, follow me, and even an Android-powered controller, there is no doubt that this drone has all it takes for you to start off your drone piloting career.

A full HD camera that is able to shoot great aerial footage carries the photography flag, mounted on a motorized gimbal for extra stabilization. It is pretty clear that this drone doesn’t joke around when it comes to aerial photography, that’s for sure !

But wait, it gets better! When it comes to its specifications, things are starting to look outright unearthly. For just $400 you will get a drone that can fly for almost half an hour on a single charge. Combine that with its flight range of around 1 kilometer and you’ll realize why this drone is ranking so good on the market.

All things considered, for this relatively modest price, it’s obvious that Hubsan H109S X4 Pro is a great option. Unfortunately, it is not that popular as other similarly priced drones. The word underrated would be a good term to start off with, but I’m sure its luck will change as soon as the word of its awesomeness spreads…

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1. DJI Spark

DJI’ newest drones is quite a weird one. The name is Spark and, believe it or not, it’s even smaller than the Mavic Pro. That’s right – SMALLER! It’s not foldable though, but that still doesn’t mean it is not travel friendly.  On the contrary, with a ridiculously small size factor, this little fella can be packed in jacket pockets…

Stepping away from its size, DJI Spark incorporates a miniature FHD camera with a 2-axis stabilizer for improved smoothness of your aerial shots. Don’t let the 2-axis term fool you, Spark’s camera offers more than awesome image quality that even fully fledged (read bigger) drones wouldn’t be shy of.

In terms of specifications, it was too much to ask for them to be anything close to the Mavic Pro. Of course, at this price range, such a thought would be nonsense. Still, the Spark is paring pretty well against similarly priced competitors.

Roughly 2 kilometers of range (when you’re operating via its dedicated controller) and 15 minutes of flight time are more than a pleasant combination. You’re getting plenty of time for selfies and aerial shots and decent range for exploring that weird noise down the street at 4AM… Do you agree this is one of the best starter drones?

Show me the best price for : Bedminster, United States

 

Over $600

NameImageCameraRangeTimePrice
3. Yuneec Q5004K1km25minSee price now
2. DJI Phantom 44K5km25minSee price now
1. DJI Mavic Pro4K7km26minSee price now

3. Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon

There is no doubt that the Q500 is the ultimate drone model coming from Yuneec’s factory of wonders. With a built-in professional quality 4K camera that is able to record insanely high-quality aerial footage, it is pretty clear that this drone is meant only for people who know what they want from their drone.

You might ask yourself – but why should I buy an $800 drone as my first one? Well, despite its awfully high price, you will get a top-quality tech gadget that is actually ridiculously easy to control. Why is that so?

Well, when compared to some of the cheaper drones (some of which have been actually featured in this list), the Q500 showed off incredible responsiveness and superior flying assistance, making it by far the most beginner-friendly drone on the market. In addition to all of this, the Q500 comes with an excellent ST10+ controller which is able to effectively control it up to 1000 meters.

Still, with the FPV turned on you cannot expect more than 500, even though that’s an excellent number in its own right. As far as the flight duration is concerned, despite Yuneec claiming it can reach 30 minutes, in real-life scenarios you’ll be more than happy with 22-25 minutes; still pretty awesome and among the best specs in this price range.

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2. DJI Phantom 4

And finally, we have come to the most expensive drone that is well-suitable for beginner pilots. As if there was any doubt in which drone will take the crown. Of course, the DJI Phantom 4 is the ultimate king among drone with a whole set of incredibly useful features, some of which are directly targeting beginners. Let’s take a closer look at it and see what exactly can it do!

First off, as is the case with most GPS powered drones, the Phantom 4 is able to fully assist you while flying so you can concentrate more on taking the perfect shot or finding the perfect angle for your aerial video. So, it’s quite clear that the beginner-friendly aspect is present.

Additionally, with its 4K ultra HD camera, professional grade photos/videos should not be an issue, especially considering the fact it can shoot slow motion footage at full HD if you need to capture some dramatic shots. Combine all of that with incredible gyro stabilization accompanied by motorized gimbal, and you got yourself a great drone. DJI Phantom 4 is one of drones compatible with FPV Goggles.

To top it all off, this little fell can fly up to 5 kilometers (yes, you read that right) and its respective flight duration varies from 22 – 26 minutes, even with the camera turned on. These numbers are truly amazing, but people tend to expect amazing things from a drone that costs more than a small fortune.

All things considered, there is no doubt that all drone pilots, no matter whether they are experienced or first-time flyers, will really enjoy piloting this beast. With a huge price tag comes great performance, and that is exactly what can be said about DJI’s newest professional aerial platform called Phantom 4.

Show me the best price for : Bedminster, United States

 

1. DJI Mavic Pro

I’m sure many of you, even though you’re most likely beginners, are already well familiar with DJI Mavic Pro. It’s been heavily advertised in all forms of social media so I really doubt you’ve managed to miss it.

But, for those of you who have, here’s the deal: Mavic Pro is DJI’s smallest (or, I should probably say was DJI’s smallest before the Spark) drone that can nicely fold up and fit in a laptop backpack, and can still boast with excellent hardware.

It brings no compromises to the table with amazing 7 kilometers of range and 27 minutes of flight time, miles (and minutes) more than any other miniature drone on the market. With such a significant boost to the hardware part, DJI ensured their Mavic Pro will be a hot topics for months to come. The customers are loving it and it’s slowly but surely becoming a standard in foldable drones portion of the market.

Features aren’t far behind either. It has all the necessary smart flight options covered by GPS. TapFly and ActiveTrack are here as well, together with a miraculous FHD camera with proper built in stabilization. It’s quite costly though, but to be honest – it delivers the same performance as DJI Phantom 4 and in a much smaller package.

Show me the best price for : Bedminster, United States

 

CONCLUSION

There you have it guys. You have come to the end of our Top 15 Drones for Beginners list. As you could see, beginner drones come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and price ranges. It takes quite a bit of work to find the perfect one, but with a little help of this list you should be all set to pick out the right one!

 

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Dennis Bartholomew

Is there any place you can go to learn to fly drones prior to purchasing?

I'm an "old school" realtor (and old realtor) and can see the potential, having a drone for photos and videos for my listings but need to know I can fly the thing before shelling out big buck$.

Beginners, here is ultimate list of drones yo…

by Vito Dronelli time to read: 19 min
1