When it comes to flying a drone, I consider myself...
Beginner
Intermediate
Experienced

Correct!

Wrong!

What will you use the drone for?
Aerial photography
Recreation

Correct!

Wrong!

How good should its camera be?
Very good
Somewhat good
I will attach a GoPro

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Wrong!

Will you be using the drone to record yourself?
Yes
No

Correct!

Wrong!

Do you need it to fly for a long time on one charge?
Yes, flight time is very important
No, average flight time is good enough

Correct!

Wrong!

Do you need the drone to have GPS?
Yes, I need that
No, I don't need that

Correct!

Wrong!

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How to choose a drone

In recent years there have been a surge in affordable drones on the consumer market. Never before has it been so easy to capture breathtaking photos and video for your friends and family to see. Even the movie and television has started to use drones in their productions.

Not only can drones be used for creating stunning visuals, it can also be great fun to just play around with. Modern drones are relatively easy to control for anyone which provide fun for the whole family.

With so many drones on the market it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming when choosing the right one for you. So here is a quick summary of what you should have in mind before purchasing. If you want to skip this read and let our product finder do the job, then go back to the top of the page and follow the steps.

Types of drones

We will only be covering the more larger consumer drones here. We will not talk about the small indoors ones or the toy models.

So, essentially we can break it down by assigning two categories; The ones with a large built-in camera on the bottom, and those which comes without any camera attached.

Those which come without any camera, can sometimes be used for attaching a gopro underneath, but keep in mind, you won’t be able to see what you’re recording in real-time if you don’t connect your phone or tablet with the gopro. And it goes without saying, these models are usually cheaper than those that come with camera.

Built-in camera models do either come with a controller with a screen, so you can see real-time recording. Some do also come with an app for you to control it with.

Features

We won’t cover all the features here, but we’ll give you a brief overview of some of the most important features and what to expect for them.

Camera: To continue talking about cameras, which is what most people look at when purchasing a drone, and the biggest purchasing factor. You would ideally want a drone which can capture full HD video in 30p, which means 30 frames per second. If you have the money to spend, you could also get one that shoots in 4K. Those are of course much pricier, but they keep getting cheaper with every year.

Integrated GPS: Another thing you will find in high end consumer models is also GPS. This feature will help the drone, and you, to know where it is located. By knowing where it is, it can return home by itself if it gets out of your sight. It will also let you find it if you crash somewhere far away.

Battery life: The usual amount of time you could expect to fly your drone is somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes. In fact, most drones do not allow you to fly more than 30 minutes before needing a recharge. That being said, you can always buy spare batteries and just swap them out when needed. Charging the batteries could also take a few hours, so keep that in mind.

Follow me mode: This feature usually comes with models that has built-in GPS. It does exactly what you think it does, following you around without the need to control it. This is useful if you want to focus doing something else like biking, kayaking and other activities you want recorded.

Range: The last feature we will cover is range. This is also something that will get better as you move up the price range. No matter how far your drone can fly, keep in mind you should always see your drone. When it gets out of your sight, that might mean trouble.

What will you use it for?

What you will be using the for will of course decided what feature you rank as the most important. Will you have fun just flying it around in your backyard? Then maybe easy controls and flight time might be your top priority. Will you be using to record video? Then look at the camera specs. Will you be using it to monitor areas like fields at a farm? Then you would need a models with GPS.

Always keep in mind what you want out of it, don’t just go for the most popular one. People use drones for a lot of different things.

Your skill level

The last thing we want to cover is skill level. You might already have flown a drone before, or you might be completely new. Consider your skill level and choose one that can be easily controlled and has features such as obstacle avoidance or headless mode, which is a mode that makes the drone move relative to you, not where the joystick is pointing.

Also consider if you like the idea of controlling it with a smartphone or tablet. Using a dedicated controller might be easier and more forgiving than your phone.