If you’re a new drone pilot then you’re probably wondering which hobby drones you would need to register with the FAA, (Federal Aviation Administration.)
According to the FAA, the law states that any hobby drone or UAV that weighs more than 250 grams, (0.55 lbs,) needs to be registered with the FAA. This includes but is not limited to the DJI Phantom, the Spark, and the DJI Mavic Pro.
That’s only a few drones, I decided to go all out and list every single hobby drone that needs to be registered with the FAA, and I’m going to show you how easy this registration process can be.
Register These Drones With The FAA
Now that we know all drones that weigh over 0.55 lbs need to be registered, let’s take a look at a list of drones that weigh over 0.55 lbs.
The table below shows a list of drones that need to be registered with the FAA.
|DJI Mavic Pro||743 grams or 1.64 lbs||$950||VIEW|
|DJI Mavi Pro Platinum||734 grams or 1.62 lbs||$900||VIEW|
|DJI Mavic 2 Pro||907 grams or 1.99 lbs||$1499||VIEW|
|DJI Mavic 2 Zoom||905 grams or 1.98 lbs||$1249||VIEW|
|DJI Mavic Air||430 grams or 0.94 lbs||$795||VIEW|
|DJI Spark||300 grams or 0.66 lbs||$350||VIEW|
|DJI Phantom 3||1260 grams or 2.77 lbs||$650||VIEW|
|DJI Phantom 4||1388 grams or 3 lbs||$1,599||VIEW|
|Parrot Anafi FPV||311 grams or 0.68 lbs||$799||VIEW|
|Parrot Bebop 2||500 grams or 1.1 lbs||$599||VIEW|
|Autel robotics Evo||862 grams or 1.9 lbs||$1000||VIEW|
|Skydio R1||996 grams or 2.2 lbs||$2500||VIEW|
|Hubsan Zino 2||915 grams or 2 lbs||$549||VIEW|
|Hubsan Zino Pro||700 grams or 1.5 lbs||$399||VIEW|
DJI Mavic Pro
Weighing in at 743 grams or 1.64 lbs, the DJI Mavi pro needs to be registered. It’s a great drone that was actually designed to be smaller than some of DJI’s other drones. DJI realized that travelers are their biggest customers so the started designing smaller drones to make it easier for jet setters to travel with their drones.
The drone costs around $950 which is substantially cheaper than some of the Phantom drones. I had a look at amazon and the drone gets outstanding reviews. On most listing, it gets 4.5 stars out of 5. So if you’re looking to get a drone, the Mavic Pro might be a great option.
DJI Mavi Pro Platinum
Weighing in at 734 grams or 1.62 lbs, the Pro platinum was designed with a brand new look and some impressive new features. What sets this drone apart is it has an increased flight time of up to 30 min. And the best part, DJI also managed to reduce the noise the Mavic Pro Platinum by whopping 4dB, which is 60% lower than the DJI Mavic Pro. Very impressive!
If you’re been in the drone world long enough, you’ll know that the high pitched sound drones tend to make is a big problem, and it’s nice to see that DJI has been working on a solution to that problem. How much will this cost you? Surprisingly not much at all compared to the higher-priced Phantom drones. The Mavic Pro Platinum will cost you around $900.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The Mavic 2 weighs more the pro with a total weight of 907 grams or 1.99 lbs. This drone was designed for aerial photographers who need the best quality pictures and videos. The Mavic 2 Pro is even capable of capturing 20-megapixel aerial shots.
Amazon reviews on this drone range between 4 and 4.5 stars out of 5, which isn’t a surprise for the DJI. However, the price is a bit steep. The Mavic 2 Pro will set you back around $1499.
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
The Mavic 2 Zoom takeoff weight is around the same as the Mavic Pro 2 at 905 grams or 1.98 pounds. Just like the Mavic Pro 2, this drone was also designed for the travelling photographer who needs great quality photos and videos.
If you’re looking for picture quality, the Mavic Pro 2 is the way to go. However, the Mavic 2 Zoom is slightly cheaper at around $1249.
DJI Mavic Air
This drone is a lot lighter and smaller than the other Mavics at just 430 grams or 0.94 lbs. That being said, this drone also needs to be registered. What makes the Air unique? This drone was designed to be folded away and it’s a lot smaller which makes it extremely portable for those frequent travelers.
The camera is also able to shoot a 32MP sphere panoramas by stitching 25 photos together in just 8 seconds. The camera has a 3-axis gimbal which is rare for a drone this small, and the camera shoots outstanding ultra high definition video quality and shoots 4K at 30fps while recording at 100 Mbps.
In a nutshell, it’s easy to fly, it’s got amazing video and camera quality, and it’s easy to travel with. With a price of just $795, it’s also a lot cheaper than other high-end hobby drones on the market.
The spark is extremely light at only 300g. Just a mere 50 grams more than the minimum registration weight. The drone was designed to be a fun mini drone for beginner drone enthusiasts while also trying to keep some of the features DJI is known for such as mechanical gimbal cameras and intelligent flight control options. The spark only costs around $350, so if you’re a new drone pilot this might be a great starting point until you get rid of your training wheels.
DJI Phantom 3
The DJI Phantom is a beast at 1260 grams or 2.77 lbs. Which doesn’t surprise me, the Phantom wasn’t designed to be lightweight or portable. It was purely designed for aerial photography and videography. The Phantom series is also commonly used for commercial practices such as land surveying and roof inspections etc.
The Phantom 3 is no longer in production, however, they are still available on Amazon second hand for around $650.
DJI Phantom 4
There are three different Phantom 4 drones out at the moment, however, they all roughly weigh the same at around 1388g or 3 lbs which are even heavier than the Phantom 3. Keep in mind these drones weren’t designed to be light and compact. They were designed to have the best eyes in the sky for hobby photographers, filmmakers and even for commercial use.
The Phantom 4 gives them the tools they need with a 1-inch CMOS sensor that can shoot 4K/60fps videos and 20MP photos. Impressive!
How much? The Phantom 4 series is reasonably priced at around $1,599.
Parrot Anafi FPV
The parrot Anafi drone weight in at 311 grams which is really light, however, you’ll still need to register it with the FAA. The drone comes FPV, (first-person view ready.) This means you can enjoy quite a unique flying experience with goggles that covers your entire vision.
The drone is also small and portable with legs that fold away, which makes it easy to travel with. The price? Only around $799 which also includes the cockpit glasses.
Parrot Bebop 2
This drone weighs in at 500 grams or 1.1 lbs which are also lightweight compared to the DJI models. It also has an impressive camera that can film and record in HD. This is not as impressive as the DJI Mavic Air Ultra HD camera, however, for the lower price of the Bebop, it’s not surprising.
The Bebop 2 costs $599 which also includes the FPV glasses.
Autel Robotics Evo
This drone weighs 862 grams or 1.9 lbs, and it costs around $1000 just for the drone which prices it at around the same as the DJI Mavic. The drone features a 4k ultra high definition camera and shoots video of up to 60 frames per second which destroys DJI Mavic Airs 30 frames per second.
This makes the drone perfect for shooting videos that have a lot of movement. This drone costs around $1000.
The Skydio R1 weighs 996 grams or 2.2 lbs. This drone is American designed and manufactured and is well known for its fully autonomous flight tracker. The drone doesn’t have a controller at all. It works by locking on to people or objects in the phone app, then you let it follow whatever you locked it to.
With state of the art obstacle avoidance technology, the drone is capable of following a mountain biker among the trees through the forest.
However, the price is very off-putting at $2500. With that price, you can very easily buy three Mavic Airs. That being said, Skydio is launching an R2 model that promises better features at more than half the price of just $999.
Hubsan Zino 2
The Zino 2 weighs in at around 915 grams or 2 lbs. The drone packs an Ultra HD 4K camera that is stabilized on a three axis gimble. Which is impressive for a drone that’s only $549.
Hubsan Zino Pro
The Hubsan Zino Pro weighs 700 grams or 1.5 lbs. This high end drone is only $399 but has some amazing features such as a 4k Ulltra HD camera, three axis gimbal, automated landing and even image tracking. This makes this drone great value for money.
How To Register Your Drone As A Hobbyist
Registering a drone is actually really quick and easy. All it takes is a few minutes of your time filling out an online application form. Once done, the registration process happens immediately, so there isn’t much wait time.
Some things to know before you register.
- You have to be over the age of 13.
- The process will cost you $5.
- This registration number only lasts for three years. After that, you must go over this process again.
- Make sure you mark your drone with the registration number before you fly it. You’ll get your registration number after you follow the steps below.
Here’s how to register.
- First, go to the FAA drone zone here https://faadronezone.faa.gov/
- Next, click on the “register” button next to “I fly under the exemption for recreational flyers.” The option above that mentions “[part 107” is if you’re registering drones for commercial use within the U.S.
- Fill in your email and password on the next screen.
- Confirm your account by clicking on the long messy looking link in the “confirm your account” email you received.
- Now it’s time to sign in.
- You’ll be taken to the dashboard where you complete your profile.
- Fill in all the details.
- Click on the blue button at the bottom of the screen “Proceed to checkout.”
- Now you need to acknowledge the safety guidance. Make sure you read through it. You’ll see there’s a section that talks about the “knowledge and safety test,” as far as I’m aware, this test isn’t available yet. But you can stay updated by viewing the “knowledge and safety test,s FAA website page.
- Now it’s time to make payment. Once payment has been received, you’ll get your registration number immediately that starts with “FA.”
- Make sure you mark your drone with this registration number as shown below.
NOTE: Drones that are used for commercial use need to be registered a bit differently. Visit this website to learn more.
Some people might go out and try to find drones that weight below 250 grams just so that they don’t have to register them. DJI even created the Mavic Mini that weighs exactly 249 grams so that owners don’t need to register them. I honestly don’t see the fuss and I won’t let the weight affect my buying decision. The FAA has made the registration process so cheap and easy that trying to get away from registered a drone just doesn’t make sense to me personally.