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So, you are planning to purchase a drone?
No matter who you are (a drone hobbyist, wildlife tracker, building site mapper, land surveyor, or an aspiring aeronautical videographer), let’s be honest – there are barely any more fantastic things in life than getting yourself a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). Is not that so?
Truly… they are great!
Below is the ultimate buying guide you may want to know, especially when you begin taking the plunge into the drone industry.
To successfully present this guide to you, we have spent incalculable hours researching, watching videos, and referring to feedback from users about UAV models, from straightforward indoor quadcopters to further advanced octocopters.
We have been fortunate enough to fly a lot of these products as well!
As you know, the UAV industry is quickly evolving. It is a remarkable time to dip your toes into the intriguing drone pond, and we do hope that this beginner’s guide provides you with the sort of information you are searching for.
WHAT IS A DRONE?
“Drone” has conventionally been more of a military-impacted term. Still, it has gotten equivalent to other names such as UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) and UAV, the two of which define RC (remote controlled) or autonomously programmed flying machines.
While drones are commonly constructed for recreational purposes, people utilize them for professional flying videography and photography as well, to track wildlife, to convey freight, to inspect industrial chimney towers, flare stacks, and bridges, and in various other fields associated with UAVs.
New use cases are being continuously discovered, prompting the proliferation of drone occupations and the development of the UAV industry itself to stay aware of the need for work.
The UAV innovation has made owning a drone model that is a good value for the amount of money paid more approachable than ever before. Thus, the drone community has prospered over a recent couple of years. It is a great time to work in the UAV space or to get yourself a drone – when all is said and done.
In case you missed it, a new chapter in commercial aviation has been written, since government entities – for instance, the FAA in the USA and Transport Canada in Canada have worked through and set up the new rules and regulations.
It is an excellent time to join the drone community!
WHO SHOULD BUY A DRONE?
Who would not have any desire to own a flying robot?
But be that as it may, genuinely, you ought to think about purchasing a UAV if:
- You have a commercial enthusiasm for drone innovation
- You are a videography/ photography professional searching for an amazing new perspective
- You are a conventional radio control hobbyist (cars, boats, helicopters, and others)
The most fantastic approach to become familiar with the UAV industry is to fly your own drone. You will be able to appreciate how accessible these cutting-edge aerial systems can be, and honestly, while they are hard to ace, they are anything but difficult to pick up. It is sort of like snow skiing.
READY-TO-FLY (RTF) VS. DO-IT-YOURSELF (DIY)
The first thing you should know about purchasing a UAV is that you do not need to buy one.
You can make one yourself!
For sure, this is something that is difficult and takes much effort to learn. As you can see, you will have to assemble, code, and calibrate various pieces. Take out your soldering iron, and get the DIY support forum bookmarked, since it will help.
In case something turns out wrong, you will need to check and debug yourself. Based on your degree of mastery, getting your first DIY drone off the ground can take a lot of time.
What is great is that various firms are assembling RTF (ready-to-fly) or ATF (almost-ready-to-fly), making it extremely simple to get started. If you purchase the Phantom 1 quadcopter from DJI, you will have the option to build and calibrate the unit in about 45 minutes. In case you buy the X4 (H107C) quadcopter from Hubsan, you will be able to fly it in a matter of minutes after you open the box.
When it comes to the price, based on what you are planning on utilizing your UAV, you may not wind up setting aside that much cash building one yourself. You can purchase a pre-constructed, RTF quadcopter at a favorable price!
Likewise, a couple of the further advanced UAV kits use parts that, whenever bought as stand-alone things, would be far more costly – to such an extent that if you were to re-make several more pricey units, you may eventually spend near a similar amount of cash you would getting it pre-built.
The bottom line is, drone innovation has progressed significantly, so far that DIY may now be most suitable for those with the curiosity about learning how a UAV vehicle functions, and not necessarily for people who primarily wish to fly without having to spend a lot of money.
Okay, let’s delve into the most crucial part of the guide.
There are numerous sorts of customer drones out there these days, yet most of you, especially those who are a newbie, may want to be loyal to quadcopters.
Quadcopters commonly have an H or X square frame and boast their unwavering quality and stability. The four propellers on just about any quadcopter can create adequate lift to carry one pound or two and can move smoothly, even at wind velocities of 10-15 mph.
Every quadcopter follows a similar essential construction system: propeller blades and four motors, and an accelerometer or a gyroscope to quantify the quadcopter’s yaw, roll, and pitch (the factors that decide how it is situated in space).
Utilizing this information, the quadcopter is capable of adjusting every one of the four motors individually and automatically, allowing it to hover in place. The pilot leverages a transmitting controller for directing the quadcopter. It can turn 360 degrees, move right and left on a horizontal plane, and either lose or gain altitude.
Since this is a beginner’s UAV purchasing guide, we will address more about pre-constructed RTF quadcopters. Other sorts of UAVs can be more complicated for the rookie automaton pilot.
Also, bear in mind that, regardless of whether you are on the market for a particular drone for a more specific use case, such as doing three-dimensional land mapping or live-streaming airborne videography, you will need to ace the essentials. A quadcopter is an extraordinary UAV to learn on! And there are key features you should think about when buying them:
Flying robots can be costly, and more often than not, the more cash you invest in a model, the more durable you will desire it to be.
Less expensive flying machines are typically produced using plastic. On the one hand, such material is light in weight and not costly; on the other hand, it is not generally reliable. In case you are attempting to minimize expenses, search for not less than ABS plastic that is more long-lasting when compared to regular plastic.
Else, carbon fiber and fiber-glass UAVs are considerably tougher. They are, likewise, significantly more costly. Consider it as a wise investment.
In case you are certain you will utilize your flying robot a great deal, the additional expense might be justified. Also, you might need to avoid aluminum unmanned aircraft vehicles since that light metal will not take up nicely to mishaps.
The Drone’s Range
Most of the time, the further your robot is capable of flying from the transmitter, the more fantastic it will be. Inexpensive UAVs may come in a range of just thirty meters or somewhere in that range; meanwhile, more costly product units can go for a significant distance and not lose contact with your transmitter at the same time.
In case you are keen on utilizing a flying robot for videography and photography, the range turns out to be extraordinarily significant as a more extended range will enable the UAV to arrive at areas a human just proved unable. In the event that, with that being said, you simply want to fly your drone for the sake of entertainment in some places where you have the choice to make your UAV stay in your sight, an extended range might not be as critical to you.
Check out this post: How far do drones fly?
The Time of Flight
In contrast to standard passenger airplanes, UAVs do not convey tremendous stores of fuel, which implies that they will not be able to remain flying for long. The battery of a robot restricts how long it is capable of flying for. A twenty minutes to half an hour of flight time is quite common and favorable; however, a couple of less expensive robots may just have the option to remain in the air for about five minutes.
For a lot of UAV pilots, the general purpose of the device is to have a good camera into the air. Hence, many flying robots boast of their very own camera; else, they have the capacity to position GoPro or other external cameras. While the additional weight will lessen the drone flying time, it is justified for the astonishing pictures and recordings that you will be able to take with the UAV that would in some way or another be difficult to get.
In case the robot you are thinking about has its own camera, then you have a couple of more concerns to account for. Look into the camera details, focusing on shutter speed, image stabilization, aperture, and frame rate. Such variables will influence how impressive the photographs you capture can be.
Your flying robot’s live video is an amazingly valuable thing to get. In addition to that it enables you to figure out when you are in a situation to take a fantastic airborne picture, it viably allows you to see through the robot’s eyes as though you are not too far off with it. That does make flying the UAV safer and more straightforward.
What is more? When you are in the market for a flying machine with an integrated camera, we recommend you search for one with the ability to transmit the live feed either to your tablet/ cell phone or an LCD screen integrated with your transmitter.
In the event that you want to pick a UAV that comes with a camera mount, ensure that the camera you leverage has a similar capacity to transmit a live feed. On the one hand, live feed capacity is likely to add a touch of cost to your UAV; on the other hand, it is an attribute well worth getting.
Spare Parts’ Accessibility
Those who have a vehicle may be comfortable with the idea of extra parts. Most of the time, the more well-known the robot is, the more generally accessible extra parts will be. Do not be deceived into thinking otherwise! – Spare parts are necessary. Devices wear out over time, and believe it or not, even a pretty small accident can harm your robot’s components.
Picking a model that comes with spare parts accessible should decrease the expense of ownership and guarantee that your robot has an extended time stay aloft and less time in repairment and all that. It may even be your smart thought to buy a couple of extra parts simultaneously since you get your UAV with the goal that you will have them ready when needed. A few main spare parts are the drone propellers, controllers, batteries, motors, and landing gear.
Read through the next part for the top well-priced drone available today, and the following section for the excellent camera UAVs out there.
THE TOP 5 AFFORDABLE DRONES
It is eventually a personal choice regarding whether you kick off with something less expensive/ more favorably-priced or challenging yourself with a more professional system.
For all the less costly systems, there are a couple of essential things to know:
- These product units are LIGHT. Which is indeed excellent for repair/ training purposes because they are pretty tough given their hard external shells and light mass, On the other hand, they’re lightweight, so they will not be able to deal with the wind that well – Any wind amount and you are at the risk of losing control with gusts.
- As they tend not to provide a three-axis gimbal adjustment system you are missing out on video/ picture stabilization.
- Battery life, for the most part, will not be over ten minutes, so we suggest purchasing multiple batteries for flight missions/ training.
Well, you will simply increase flight confidence and figure out how to ace multirotor proficiency without smart attributes such as GPS that you would get with a more professional model.
Our rundown of suggested favorably-priced drones is right below:
- Force1 Drones with Camera for Adults – U49WF – FPV Drone 720P HD Live Video RC Drone, 360 Flips and Easy to Fly Quadcopter, Compatible with VR Headset – by Force1
- Ryze Tech Tello – Mini Drone Quadcopter UAV for Kids Beginners 5MP Camera HD720 Video 13min Flight Time Education Scratch Programming Toy Selfies, powered by DJI – by Tello
- Foldable Drones with Camera for Adults or Kids – F111WF WiFi FPV Remote Control Quadcopter Drone for Beginners, Folding RC Drone Helicopter Toy Gifts – by Force1
- Force1 UFO 4000 LED Mini Drones for Kids – Small RC Drones for Beginners w/ 2 Quadcopter Batteries – by Force1
- Force1 Scoot Hand Operated Drones for Kids or Adults – Hands-Free Mini Drone, Easy Indoor Small UFO Flying Ball Drone Toys for Boys and Girls – by Force1
IN A NUTSHELL
We hope that this guide offers a great starting place for you as far as buying a drone goes.
Still have questions? Leave your comments below. We are more than happy to hear from you.