How to Buy Drones – Guide for Flyers of Various Levels


Drones are next generation devices which are intended to open up new frontiers for people who love to fly remote controlled devices as a hobby or for practical purposes such as photography. Even when you are not flying, you can actually feel like being up in the sky and watching the world from high above with the birds.

Drones – Definition and Meaning

Drones are aerial multi-rotor vehicles which are operated with remote control. These offer an all-new way of viewing objects and people from angles never seen before, and sharing the experiences with others via videos and photos that you capture from the heights. Lots of remote controlled drones provide users with FPV or first-person-viewing experience and make them see from the cockpit perspective. They can get an enjoyable ride as they race and explore from the point of view of pilots.

People who harbor dreams of entering air races and performing dangerous stunts in the air can feel like an actual pilot while operating a drone. This gets close to the real thrill and an exhilarating ride is guaranteed with the new drone technology.

Choosing Drones – Which one is perfect for you?

The cost of drones tends to vary from less than 100 USD to more than 3,000 USD. But you need not choose the costliest drone in order to get the best quality drone. The best one tends to depend on your level of experience and the way you plan to use the drone.

With the prices skyrocketing, drones are getting sturdier and more capable of holding additional hardware in flight, such as an action camera and a stabilizing mount. However the actual difference lies in what is inside the drone, such as onboard processor and flight controller, which makes it more easily operable and stable. The more powerful the chips are, the greater is the ability of the drone to perform more stunts and tricks in air. Drones in the camera-integrated section tend to be higher in cost depending on the camera quality.

Beginner-Level Drones

Most of these are lightweight and small in shape, and range between 50 and 200 USD in cost. Sometimes, these can also be operated safely in an indoor setting. Given the small size and simple technology that drones come with, maneuvering these outside can be tough – particularly in windy condition. Those equipped with cameras but more affordable in price tends to capture video and images of lower quality than pricier drones. But these are a terrific way to start flying and learning the ropes.

Intermediate-Level Drones

These come at the next level and the price ranges between 300 and 1,000 USD. Such drones are heavier and bigger in shape, and designed to make flights in outdoor settings more stable and easier. These may come fitted with a built-in quality camera able to shoot images and videos at 720p quality or an external camera. These devices can be used to take bird’s eye views of the home, shoot amazing vacation videos or even for taking excellent footage around a park.

Advanced Drones

There are drones with 4 rotors, termed as quadcopters, and even those consisting of 6 – 8 rotors for greater stability and lift. The cameras built into the devices can shoot amazing videos and photos in stunning 1080p quality. Unless a camera is included, such drones may consist of an external camera along with a superior stabilizing mount in order to make the image quality as stable and smooth as possible.

GPS, open-source programmability, feature-rich software and advanced flight controllers let you maneuver the drone in every possible way, which include mapping flight paths from before for fully autonomous flights. These drones can offer hitherto unexploited cinematic scenes and angles to serious photographers, which can be expected to be achieved only with a helicopter or a charter plane.

Best Add-On and Accessories for Drones

Extra hardware can be added to drones having enough lift from their propellers and motors. Before buying a drone, you need to check the website of the manufacturer in order to check its lift capacity. Drones which are designed to support an additional camera are generally capable of transporting ½ pound or more of the extra weight, above that of the drone. The additional weight puts the motors under greater pressure and is likely to reduce the time span as well as the stability of flight while a drone is airborne.

Action cameras

Purchasing a drone pre-set with a camera is the most convenient option if you are in search of a drone which can fly easily and shoot images even with minimal amount of installation. It has an already attached camera and is assured to have compatibility with any of the controller applications and software for your drone that you can set up in your tablet and smartphone.

You can also benefit when you mount an action camera of your own after purchase.

  • Purchasing a drone minus a camera is a lot cheaper as compared to those equipped with one.
  • Drones without a camera may consist of a mount that is designed to be compatible with more popular types of action cameras available in the market, such as the HERO4 and GoPro HERO3. These are extremely lightweight cameras and carrying them does not impact the time of flight or battery life in any way.
  • Using an isolated action camera also offers greater versatility, considering the fact that it can be taken out and used for capturing footages apart from the time of flight of a drone.


Gimbal is an additional accessory which can be attached beneath the frame of the drone in order to offer a more stable type of platform to the camera as well as better motion range than a camera which is mounted in the frame. The camera and gimbal can work with each other and ensure smooth footage when the drone rolls, pitches and slants during time of flight, just like how a camera is stabilized by a news helicopter.

The controller independently operates the drone and the gimbal, so that the camera can be at level and aim on specific targets even when it is panned, turned or tilted in any direction when the drone hovers in position.

Even cameraless drones might consist of a gimbal, and before buying one you have to ensure its compatibility with the camera that you think about mounting. In case you are purchasing a gimbal in an isolated manner, check whether it is compatible with both camera and drone.

Remote controllers

Remote controllers send commands to the flight controller of the drone. Depending on how advanced these are, such controllers can measure various external factors such as barometric pressure and wind speed in order to change commands to action. The settings of the controller vary from dual joysticks which can regulate turning and thrust to complicated layouts which can control each aspect of the camera and the drone at the same time.

On the basis of the type of transmitter and drone that you have, your range of control can be anywhere between 300 feet to a mile or even more. The controllable distance can also be impacted by external factors such as weather, interference to signals from radio towers and more.

Drone batteries

On just one charge, a drone battery can give you anywhere between 5 and 25 minutes of total time of flight. These can take 1 hour or even more to get recharged. Often, however, you can remove the battery easily and replace it with a brand new one when it is discharged. In order to get more flight time with every session, you can buy one or even more additional rechargeable batteries having compatibility with the kind of drone that you have.

Drone propellers

Drones are frequently available with spare or additional propellers. You can also buy these in a separate manner. Remember that half of the propellers of a drone can spin in a clockwise fashion while half of them spin anti clockwise in order to improve stability. Naturally, you would need two spare propellers of each type.

Drone Firmware/Drone Software

Once you have a drone delivered at your place, do not immediately begin to fly it as soon as you take it out of the package. Other than a remote controller, the majority of drones come with an application that can be downloaded in order to regulate it with the help of a tablet or a smartphone. Before flying the drone, go through all the instructions properly and update all firmware and software.

Connecting Drone to Tablet or Smartphone – How to Do It?

Once you have downloaded the required application into your tablet or smartphone, you can use a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to pair it to your drone. The application can also allow you to save photos and video to your cloud storage system or device from your flight.

Advanced Drone Flight Controls

Your copter may boast of open-source features, so that tinkerers, 3rd party developers or even you can develop software in order to perform various tasks. For example, you will be able to download applications which can allow you to use Google Earth in order to create camera focus points and flight path points to make the drone operate. You can also download radio-tagged objects, video/image editing and sharing apps and many more.

FPV (First-Person-View) Mode – How Does it Function?

Based on your model of choice, the signals sent from the drone may consist of a real-time video feed due to the camera. By using the video, you may use a tablet or smartphone as a controller as well as a viewing screen. In case you intend to use a remote controller, there can be an HDMI port which can pair the drone to a compatible screen and simultaneously keeping the functions of the main control with its remote.

You will find a display, similar to that of a video game, laying over the flight video on your screen. The display consists of telemetry data, like battery life and altitude and probably even a small map which uses GPS to show an overhead view of the position of your drone. In case the drone is attached to a touch-screen display, there can be fast control functions such as image and video capture as well as automatic commands and preset tricks which consist of return home, takeoff and hover, which make it safer and easier to fly.

How Can You Avoid the Drone From Crashing?

In order to make it easier to fly it, most manufacturers offer various kinds of safety settings on drones. These include auto return and auto land functions to make sure that the drone does not fall from the sky when its battery power begins to get reduced.

Other functions consist of flight ceilings and no-flight zones, which can help you to ensure that you do not accidentally take the drone into a restricted zone or out of the range of control. The drone’s telemetry data that is transmitted might consist of distance from house and altitude in order to assist you in staying in safe zone. Some apps for drones let you visit an online flight school for drones, where you will be able to learn how to fly drones in a virtual world before actually flying one.

Where to Learn More about Responsible Flying of Drones?

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is an amazing resource where you can learn about flying of drones. The organization can assist you in finding remote-control flying clubs and drone lovers in your zone. Getting in touch with others enthusiastic about drones is an ideal way to know about proper methods to fly, advanced tricks and tips and where to fly. People regularly meet in such clubs to fly and discuss about drones as well as race them.

Usage of drones – also referred to as tiny unpiloted aerial vehicles, can be controlled. You need to check various websites in order to know how the regulations can affect you and make proper, responsible decisions regarding the same.