Are you planning to get your feet wet in the world of drones? Or maybe you want to upgrade your current drone. Whatever the case, buying the right consumer drone is invaluable.

Whether you are an aspiring land surveyor, aerial videographer/photographer, wildlife tracker, or drone hobbyist, rest assured you can find a perfect drone for the intended purpose.

But choosing the perfect drone is easier said than done. Do you go for a rotor-based model, fixed-wing, or VTOL model? And don’t forget to check on the pricing, camera, functionality, purpose – the list is endless.

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Well, you’ve got a myriad of options to choose from. With a simple mistake, your hard-earned money can wash down the drains. Imagine investing to buy a professional photography drone but ending up choosing a racing drone, horrible, right?

Before you start shopping for a drone, be clear-headed and understand what factors to check for. Are you wondering what to look for when buying one?

Worry no more; here is a comprehensive consumer drone guide on choosing the perfect one.

Learn About Different Types of Consumer Drones

How many types of drones do you know? Apart from knowing your need for a drone for racing, photography, or videography, are you aware of the types of drones that can accomplish this? In the drone world, you’ve got a lot of things to learn to get started.

Before you go out and start shopping, what type of drone are you looking for? Remember, different types of drones come with different features, benefits, and drawbacks. For instance, while rotor-based drones are easy to hover, take off and land, they have limited flight time.

Knowing the types of available drones, their unique features, and their purpose will help you determine the perfect one for you. Also, with multiple different options out there, you can reduce the number of potential drones by knowing what to look for.

Whether you are looking for a drone to perform aerial aerobatics, aerial filming, or one with a first-person-view for racing, clearly understand your needs and what can do that. While some drones are said to be multipurpose, some are designed specifically for a certain purpose.

Also, learn that some drones require pro skills to fly. This means they are not ideal if you are getting started in drone flying. Here, you want to find one that will offer you a smooth learning curve and sharpen your flying skills over time.

In addition, determine if you are comfortable with assembling drone parts. Some drones require assembling before flying them, and it’s important to determine if your skills allow.

When it comes to types of drones, there are several terms that you are likely to come across. They include:

Ready to FLY (RTF)

Are you a first-timer looking for the best consumer drone to fly? RTF is your ideal option. As the name suggests, RTF drones are the easiest to fly.

RTF is an ideal choice if you are getting started since they come stocked with everything you may need. However, keep in mind that RTF drones may still require some assembling to be done before flying. This may include charging the batteries, attaching the rotor blades, and programming settings.

These drones are way out of the kids’ toys but still an ideal option for beginners. It will take less time to master the controller and operations to enjoy an ultimate flying experience.

Bind and Fly (BNF)

Unlike RTF drones, BNF drones require extra items or parts for optimal functionality. For instance, most of these drones require the buyer to acquire a transmitter separately as it doesn’t come with the drone.

When it comes to buying extra parts, it gets complicated. For instance, not every drone will work with any transmitter. Also, while a transmitter may work on the same frequency as your drone, this is not an assurance that they will bind.

It’s important to ensure that the transmitter you purchase and the receiver uses a similar protocol to work. You may want to confirm if the drone you are buying will need a transmitter or not. If it does, is a compatible transmitter readily available?

BNF drones are ideal for pro users who already know about the transmitter. Also, these drones may be much cheaper compared to the RTF drones but require a lot of work to get flying.

Plug and Play (PNP)

While the name may suggest otherwise, PNP drones come without a receiver or transmitter. You there need to purchase these extra accessories to make it ready for flight. Remember, any drone isn’t of much use without a transmitter and receiver.

While these drones may not be ideal for first-timers, they are a great choice for those replacing a drone. It gets easy to use the accessories from your current drone, and this even becomes much easier for you to learn.

 Almost Ready to Fly (ARF)

If you are a drone novice, you might want to stay away from these drones. The word almost is very different from your perception.

ARF drones are popular with hobbyists looking for racing drones. They allow for a high degree of customization to suit the needs and preferences of the user. For instance, the user can customize them for more speed and stability during flight.

With their intensive assembly work required, these drones are better left to skilled users only.

Check on Certain Features

Each type of drone is unique and comes with different features. In most cases, the features of a drone are the deciding factor on what drone you will buy. When buying a drone for a specific use, it’s imperative to ensure it has features to support the intended purpose.

For instance, check on the camera features if you want a drone for aerial photography and videography. For clear, high-resolution images and videos, go for a drone with a 4K camera.

However, while you want to buy a drone with a high-resolution camera, don’t forget other features that may promote this. For instance, there is no point in buying a drone with the best camera but forgetting to check on its flight time.

While you want the best drone for the intended purpose, don’t compromise on other essential features. At times, that feature you think is of no use to you may turn out to be the most supportive one for the optimal functionality of your drone.

When shopping for a drone, have a list of all the key features you need. Find a balance between getting all those features without having to pay a higher price for those you don’t need. For instance, if you need a recreational drone, a drone without a high-resolution camera will still serve the purpose.

Key Features to Consider

You already know drones aren’t so easy to fly, especially to beginners, right? To better the experience, there are certain features that you need to check on the drone you are buying. Also, there are certain features that your drone must have if you are to enjoy flying it.

When buying your next drone, check on the following key features:

Materials Used

Some drones are expensive, and when purchasing one, you want to get value for your money. For a drone to last long, check on the material used to make it.

Most of the cheaper drones you’ll come across are made from plastic. Plastic is light and cheap but not durable. As a first-timer drone flyer, you are sure to encounter several crashes when learning how to fly and control the drone.

To avoid damaging the machine beyond use, buy a drone made from ABS plastic. While this material is cheaper and light, it’s tougher than regular plastic thus more durable.

Also, you’ll find carbon fiber and fiberglass drones, but they are more expensive. If you are a more advanced drone user and plan to use the drone for a long, consider opting for these materials.

Drone Range

Before buying that drone, how far from the transmitter can it fly? You’ll have a great experience if you buy a drone with a longer range.

Most of the cheap drones in the market come with a limited range of about thirty meters. However, some high-end drones can travel for up to ten miles and still maintain contact with the transmitter. The drone range depends on what you intend to use the drone for.

For instance, if buying a photography or filming drone, the range is key. Basically, you want a drone that can take unique footage and images of places you can’t reach. Thus, go for a drone with longer ranges for the best experience.

However, if you just want to fly a drone for fun, then long-range might not be an important consideration.

Flying Time

It’s important to check on how long the drone you are buying can remain airborne. Time of flight largely depends on the battery capacity of the installed battery. While some drones, such as the Mavic 3 Pro, can fly for more than thirty minutes, others will only remain airborne for five minutes.

Your next drone’s flight time will depend on your budget. An expensive drone will offer you with longer flight time, while the cheaper models will only last for a few minutes. However, if you need a long flight time but you are on a tight budget, consider buying extra batteries for your drone.

Check on Camera

For most people, the major reason for buying a drone is to have an aerial view. This explains why most drones come with an in-built camera or the ability to mount one.

Mounting a camera on the drone adds to its weight-reducing its flight time. However, you can capture excellent footage and photos with the drone.
If you purchase a drone with an in-built camera, consider shutter speed, aperture, frame rate, and image stabilization. These factors impact the quality of images you will take.

Consider Consumer Drone Flying Guidelines

Do you know Federal Aviation Administration regulates the use of drones in the US? Any drone weighing more than 0.55 pounds needs to be registered with the FAA. Also, the user must display the registration number on the drone.

If you buy a drone weighing more than 0.55 pounds, FAA registration will cost you five dollars and will last for three years. Also, if you are buying a drone for commercial use, there are more stringent rules regulating its use. Even after flying your drone, there are additional rules that you’ll need to consider;

• You should not fly the drone more than 400 feet

• Don’t fly the drone near airports or other aircrafts

• Don’t fly over government facilities

• Always maintain sight of the drone

• Don’t fly over emergencies or sports stadium

Also, remember your state may have additional regulations on the use of drones, and you need to observe them too. And don’t forget these rules and regulations are subject to change, and you want to keep yourself updated.

Consider Extra Costs

When purchasing a consumer drone, remember it comes with extra costs. It’s thus important to determine what these costs are before making the purchase.

For instance, while drone batteries can be expensive, you need to purchase one to better your flying experience. Also, you may need a camera or filters for the in-built camera to get impressive images and videos.

If buying a drone for professional videography, you need a computer for video editing. It’s thus crucial that when developing a budget for the drone to buy, consider the extra costs for necessary accessories.

Consider These Factors When Buying a Consumer Drone

Regardless of why you want to buy a drone, it’s important to buy the perfect machine. Buying the right drone is beyond walking into a store, taking a drone, and starting flying. You must know the right consumer drone tips to buy a drone to suit your needs and offer the ultimate flying experience.

Here are considerations to make when buying a consumer drone.

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