Drones generally are unmanned aerial vehicles, that have the ability to fly in the air. Unlike helicopters, jets, and airplanes, drones do not have space for onboard pilots. Instead of being controlled by onboard pilots, drones are usually controlled using a remote control.
Over the years, drones have evolved from being military surveillance equipment to be available for purchase to individuals. Non-government officials can now own their own drones. The laws guarding the use of drones has also gone soft. Many countries now allow the use of drones. What does this translate to? With these favorable conditions for the use of drones, the use of drones has grown immensely, we now have a large number of people using drones, a cool new tech, that allows users get cameras up in the air, without having to sit in a helicopter.
The fact that you stumbled on this article, and ended up reading it, is an indicator that you are interested in getting a drone for yourself. Like any newbie out there, purchasing a drone can be very difficult. Knowing the parameters to look out for when purchasing a drone is key. In this article, we explore a comprehensive guide to buying a drone. Here we explain the various parameters to look out for when purchasing a drone.
Knowing The Drone That Suits You
Before you kick off your search for a good drone, you need to be aware of the fact that, there are different categories of drones. These categories explain the needs of different drone users. The categories of drones we have are: Beginner
1. Beginner Drones: Drones are in this category are the cheapest, they are pretty basic. Beginner drones usually have shorter ranges and flight times. Beginner drones are easy to fly.
- Must Read: 10 Best Drones for Photography Beginners
These drones are durable enough to survive minor crashes, their parts are also affordable. In summary, beginner drones are drones designed for people who just began flying drones.
2. Hobby Drones: As its name clearly illustrates, Hobby drones are designed for who flying drones have become a hobby for them. They have graduated from the beginner level, and have become aware of some of the features of drones. These drones are affordable and durable. When compared to beginner drones, hobby drones houses more advanced features, they have specialized cameras =, long ranges and lots more.
3. Camera / Professional Drones: This is the most popular categories of drones. Most drone owners today purchased their drones, for the purpose of taking professional aerial videos and photos. Drones in this category are the most expensive of the bunch. They feature higher quality cameras and they often feature GPS tracking.
4. Racing Drones: All drones can race, but drones under this category, have been to excel more when it comes to racing. The most advanced racing drones go from 70MPH or even 100MPH. These drones feature the first-person view, which allows users to fly drones as they are sitting inside the drone
- Must Read: 10 Best Professional Drones Under $1000
Note: drones can be packaged in different modes. The Modes drones are packaged are stated on their package. These modes of packaging are very important, as they play a very huge role, in the way we fly these drones. These modes are listed below:
- RTF – Ready to fly. This means your unit comes with everything necessary to get it in the air within minutes from opening the package (if your batteries are charged )
- ARF – Almost Ready to Fly – This would appeal more to the hobbyists and the DIY-lovers out there. An ARF drone does not come in one piece, and often requires a good level of assembly on your end to make it ready to fly.
- BNF – Bind-N-Fly. BNF products come with everything you need except for a transmitter. With BNF products you can use the transmitter of your choice and bind it to the receiver included with the model.
Features To Look Out For When Purchasing A Drone
These are the important parameters that differentiate drones from one another, they tell how powerful a drone is, justifying its cots. When purchasing drones, it is important you pay attention to these parameters. These parameters are listed below:
1. Flight Time: This parameter tells how long the drone stays in the air before it lands for a recharge or battery change. Drones today have flight time ranging between 5 and 30 minutes. One thing you should know is that drones do not have very long flight time, finding a drone that lasts up to 30 minutes in the air is very difficult.
- Must Read: The Do’s and Don’ts of Flying a Drone
This is facilitated by the fact that drones do not carry large batteries so that they can fly. Carry high capacity batteries can inhibit flying. Logically everyone is certainly going to opt for drones with bigger batteries, but if you cannot afford to get a drone with very decent flight time, you could also get spare batteries. As soon as the battery on your drone runs out, you can immediately swap them with the spare batteries you have.
2. Camera: Owing to the fact that most people today purchase drones for photography and cinematography, it is easy to say that cameras are important drone accessories today. Some drones come with cameras, while others have slots to be filled. Depending on the drone you purchase, some drones that come with cameras attached allow provided users with a ton of options for customization, these options should also be taken into consideration. Some of these cameras attached drones let users adjust ISO, the shutter speed, the size of the photo/video and lots more.
3. Headless Mode: If you are new to drones, the headless mode may not make much sense to you, but not to worry am going to break it down for you. Generally when flying drones, hitting the left nav button sends the drone going left, and hitting the right button send the drone to the right side. But when the drone turns around and is facing you, the controls change. Hitting the right nav key will take the drone left and hitting the left nav key will take the drone right. This where the headless mode feature comes into play. When the headless mode is activated, controls remain the same, including when the drone is facing you.
4. Return Home Feature: The Return home feature helps your drone find its way back to take off point when its battery goes down. This helps keep your drone safe when it’s out of sight. It works as read, you start flying your drone, the battery in the drone gets exhausted, and the drone flies back to you.
Please note that there is a difference between the Return home feature a $50 drone and the Return home feature on a GPS enabled drone. The Return home feature on a GPS powered drone brings the drone to the exact point of taking off, while the Return home feature on a $50 drone causes the drone to go backward.
5. 3-axis gimbal: Drones with 3-axis gimbal stabilizes motion in 3 axes: pitch, roll, and yaw. This helps the pilot maintain stable footage throughout the flight, no matter the direction the drone tilts. It’s important you look out for this feature when purchasing a drone for videography.
6. Range: Range tells the extent your drone can travel before you are unable to control it, with the drome controller. Drone range can go from 50-100 in beginner drones, to 5000 meters in advanced drones like the DJI Phantom 4.
7. Availability of spare parts: When purchasing, it’s important you purchase drones whose spare parts are readily available. This will aid repair when needed. Fixing damages due to impromptu crashes may lead to propellers, motors, cameras replacement. It is very important that these spare parts are available. Purchase drones with accessible spare parts.
There you have it – a comprehensive guide to buying a drone. If you have other questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.