Over the past few years, drones have become increasingly mainstream with a huge surge in the consumer drone market. Flying drones is no longer just for the professionals! This is great news for beginners looking to buy their first drone but also tricky because there are so many options, it's hard to know where to start.
This article aims to help with that. With some advice on what you need to know, what to look for, which drones are best for which task, along with the top 6 drones we would recommend to beginners right now.
Before we get too far in, It's worth noting that the drones recommended here are
based on a combination of value for money, features, ease of flying and flying
time. This means that most of the recommendations here are 'all-rounders'. And
for good reason; we wouldn't recommend you buy a best-in-class racing or
photography drone until you've tried things out and made sure flying drones if
definitely for you!
First up we have the Ryze Tello drone. This tiny drone packs a punch with its 'smart' capabilities and robust build offering a wealth of features usually seen on more expensive drones.
At only 80g this drone is great indoors and out, controlled by one of the best apps we've seen lately, the Ryze Tello app. It has a number of built-in flight modes including auto take off and landing and low battery protection. And perhaps most exciting, a number of stunts at the touch of a button include 8D flips, throw and go (take off and land in your hand), bounce mode and 'up and away' mode.
It has a reasonable flight time of 12-13minutes and provides an advanced
altitude hold sensor to make flying super easy straight out the box. It's a
fantastic drone for beginners, combining quality with relatively easy flight
controls to give you a good taste for drone flying.
The ThiEYE stands out from other comparable drones with its striking appearance. Like the Tello, it's super compact and lightweight, boasting similar capabilities.
Capture 1080p videos and take 8 megapixel images during your 8 minute flight time, and take advantage of a whole bunch of built in flight modes including auto take-off and landing, throw and go, selfie mode, altitude hold and position hold, just to name a few.
This drone is great for indoors and out and comes with detachable propeller
guards to help when you're learning to fly without damaging your drone. It's
super easy to fly and a great drone for beginners just getting
The DJI Spark is certainly a step up in terms of capabilities, compared to other drones on this list, the price tag reflecting this. However, it is the smallest and least expensive of the well known DJI range and comes highly recommended as a beginner drone.
It's another compact drone, and comes with a 2-axis gimbal, providing incredibly stable recordings. Along with its 1080p video and 13mp camera, this makes it a fantastic option for aspiring photographers. It's compact too, so no problem travelling around with it and launching it from your hand to capture incredible holiday snaps.
You'll get around 15 minutes of flight time and a number of autonomous modes via
the DJI app, including hand gestures and built-in intelligent flight modes. Most
interestingly, the DJI spark also comes with forward facing obstacle avoidance
which can really help if it's your first time flying! If your budget can stretch
to this then it would certainly be a fantastic all round beginner
The Holy Stone F181 is certainly in the 'toy' drone category but don't let that put you off. It has some serious capabilities. And at under $100, a fast and easy purchase from Amazon you can be up and running flying this drone in no time.
It comes with a detachable 2 megapixel camera which allows you to take reasonable photos and 720p video. For a toy drone, it's very easy to fly and whilst it doesn't have GPS it does have 'one key return' which means it will fly back along the course it travelled if you lose signal.
You'll get around 10 minutes of flight time with this and should be able to get
around 100 metres of control range. It's a pretty durable drone too so a good
one for younger flyers looking to test out their drone flying skills!
Along with DJI, Parrot are likely to be the other brand name you've come across if you've been searching for drones. One of the great things about the Bebop 2 is its long flying time of 25 minutes which really gives you a lot of time to work on your piloting skills before having to come back in for a battery swap (if you buy spares!).
Shooting high quality photos and video with its 14 megapixel camera and 180-degree fish eye lens capable of recording video in 1080p. It's also a pretty speedy drone too with max speeds of around 35mph, although that can be adjusted down until you're ready for it.
It's worth noting that the standard package doesn't include a controller, which
is a bit of a shame. It's flown using the FreeFlight app via your smartphone
which is really well designed. However, if you're thinking about getting this
drone, it's well worth considering one of their bundles which typically includes
FPV goggles and a controller.
For around $30, you can get yourself this fun mini drone. Don't be fooled by the low price though. This drone flies incredibly well and is well suited to beginners due to the ease of piloting and the fact it handles crashes pretty well!
The flying time of 9 minutes at the most is probably the main downside of this drone, but spare batteries are cheap and the charge time is quick. Included in the price is a controller with instructions that are easy to follow, making it pretty much ready to fly out of the box.
Whilst it's not a racing drone, if that's the reason you're getting into drones,
this might be a good starter option. It's pretty nippy and a great drone to
practice your flying skills as it's suitable for both indoors and out.
Of course, this is yet another list of drones for you to make a decision on! Which one you choose really depends on what you're most likely to use it for. If you've got the budget then you really can't go too wrong with the DJI spark. You'll get a high quality, well built drone that's easy to fly, is packed with features and takes impressive photos and video for such a small bird.
However, if you're more interested in having some fun and getting used to flying without the risk of binning an expensive machine then the Holy Stone F181 or Hubsan X4 might be a better choice. Both come with controllers, are at a much lower price point and handle crashes pretty well!