How to Buy a Drone (Explained for Beginners)

How to Buy a Drone (Explained for Beginners)

You need to purchase a high quality drone with a digicam and every little thing, however this can be your first drone. Admittedly, you’re not precisely positive the place to begin. Camera specs provide you with a headache, and what the heck is an digital velocity controller anyway? 

You can gloss proper over the technical info if you wish to, and nonetheless completely get pleasure from shopping for and flying your first drone. But educating your self only a tiny bit on drones can go a great distance towards serving to you perceive what you’re shopping for!

When shopping for a drone for the primary time, be taught a bit concerning the components of a drone and the way they work. Next, set your self a finances, and search for a sturdy, easy-to-fly drone that matches inside your finances. Then store round to search out the most effective offers in your most popular newbie drone. 

In this information, we’ll show you how to perceive every little thing you could learn about UAVs. First, we’ll go over the components of a drone so you can also make sense of these. Then we’ll focus on the qualities a newbie drone ought to have. We’ll even suggest just a few easy-to-use drones to get you began!

Drone Anatomy 101

A drone, additionally known as an unmanned aerial automobile or UAV, can be utilized for leisure and industrial functions alike. Your drone is comprised of many components, so let’s begin by speaking about these. This means, the following time you have a look at a product description for a drone, you’ll perceive what your cash would get you.

As an FYI, some drones would possibly embrace different options than these we’re about to cowl. These are the fundamentals although.


The body is the drone’s physique. Inexpensive drones would possibly function a plastic body whereas many higher-end, costlier fashions use extra sturdy however light-weight carbon fiber for the body. Most frames are within the form of an X, because the 4 arms which are equidistant to 1 one other enable the drone’s propellers (extra on these in a second) to reliably hold the drone up within the air.

Not solely do the arms of the drone assist the propellers, however throughout the body are digicam elements, the facility distribution board, and the battery. It’s much more vital than it appears to be like, and there’s lots happening below the floor!


Some folks name the propellers the rotors, however many extra drone fanatics seek advice from them as props, which is a short-hand means of claiming propeller. The propellers enable for drone liftoff and hold your drone floating within the air till you convey it again down.

How many props your drone will embrace is dependent upon its kind. Some drones are single-prop fashion with one arm and one propeller. Tricopters have solely three arms and thus three propellers. The commonest, nonetheless, the quadcopter, is the usual X-shaped drone with 4 arms and one prop per arm.

A drone with six arms and simply as many props is called a hexacopter. Although you gained’t come throughout them usually, octocopter drones do certainly exist. Yes, they’ve eight arms!

The form and size of the propellers range by drone producer and the kind of drone. The supplies used to make props run the gamut from stainless titanium to fiberglass, nylon, carbon fiber, or plastic.

Your drone props can come off, whether or not by means of put on and tear or in case your drone takes a tough touchdown. You can all the time purchase substitute props by means of your drone producer of selection so your UAV can quickly fly the skies once more. 

In truth, your drone will usually include a few spare propellers, simply assuming that they would be the a part of the drone that will get essentially the most put on and tear. 


How do the propellers spin? A motor throughout the drone housing powers the rotational movement. The commonplace motor for drones is a brushless out-motor runner however relying on how a lot cash you spend in your drone, it might have one other kind of motor. Each arm of the drone could have one motor to show the propeller, so a quadcopter could have 4 complete motors.

Most drone house owners, particularly inexperienced persons, gained’t contact the motor. Maybe you’ll often open the housing of your drone to take a look at the inside elements just like the motor and guarantee they’re not soiled. Otherwise, you’ll be able to depart the motor alone.

The motor gained’t final perpetually, after all. If the motor is instantly very noisy when it normally isn’t, or if it usually makes sounds nevertheless it’s gotten even louder, these are indicators that it is best to contact a drone restore technician. The motor might be going to fail quickly. 

Electronic Speed Controller

Your drone could have an digital velocity controller or ESC as nicely. As the title tells you, the ESC retains every drone motor from spinning too shortly or slowly. How does this occur, you ask? The ESC communicates along with your drone’s flight controller (extra on this subsequent).

The flight controller tells the ESC to extend the voltage to a selected motor or pair of motors to get the drone to yaw, pitch, or roll. Basically, a rise in velocity on one aspect or different of the propellers will get the drone to maneuver in several instructions.  

For every motor in your drone, your UAV could have one ESC. Four-in-one ESCs are an choice as nicely, however not to your first drone and presumably not the second both. 

If ESCs appear a bit complicated to you, that’s okay. There shouldn’t be any want so that you can tinker with the ESC as a newbie drone proprietor. You’d know one thing is improper with yours in case your drone is touring sooner or slower than you command it to. 

Flight Controller

Okay, so what’s the flight controller? Hint: we’re not speaking concerning the distant management. Think of it like your drone’s mind. It’s a field throughout the drone’s body that runs software program. Before your drone does something, the flight controller oversees the actions.

As we touched on earlier, the flight controller can obtain and ship indicators. The indicators are then transformed right into a movement, corresponding to your drone ascending, dashing up, slowing down, or coming to a touchdown, executed by means of initiating velocity modifications within the related motors. 

Even steering your drone or turning on the digicam includes the flight controller. It’s among the many most vital components of the drone, arguably crucial. Without the flight controller, your drone does nothing. 

Power Distribution Board

The subsequent a part of a drone is the facility distribution board or PDB. It’s a circuit board housed throughout the drone body. As the title alludes to, the PDB sends energy to the varied components of your drone that want it, such because the motor, the digicam, or the propellers.

Some drones function the PDB as a part of the flight controller relatively than as a separate part. You’re extra more likely to see this in case your drone is new or solely a few years previous. The flight controller can now monitor how a lot energy your drone makes use of with the PDB once they’re bundled collectively, so the inclusion is useful. 


Like loads of tech as of late, drones run on a battery. How a lot time you get out of your drone battery earlier than it wants recharging varies relying on the producer, the drone mannequin, and the situations the drone is constructed to resist. For occasion, in windy situations, your drone has to work more durable, which depletes its battery sooner.

Almost all drones use lithium-ion polymer or LiPo batteries (read our article here to learn more about LiPo batteries). DJI, which is the preferred (and among the many costliest) drone producers, consists of Intelligent Flight Batteries with their drones. Other drone manufacturers would possibly use sensible drone batteries as nicely.

While a few of the drone options we’ve talked about so far are these that you could largely ignore, you’ll need to get to know your drone’s batteries nicely, as you’ll recharge them on a regular basis. Fortunately, this isn’t exhausting to do!


The drone receiver is one other integral function. The receiver takes electrical indicators from the radio transmitter and sends them to the flight controller for interpretation. To try this, many receivers function an antenna, whereas in some instances they’re hidden throughout the body.

The receiver lets you direct the drone’s yaw, throttle, roll, and pitch. Yaw is your drone’s pivot motion, rotating in a counterclockwise or clockwise movement. Throttle dictates your drone’s movement up or down. 

Rolling refers to your drone’s proper or left movement. You can consider it as a sliding side-step. Finally, there’s drone pitch, which is obvious and easy backward or ahead movement.

» MORE:  Read more about drone directional controls in our Beginner’s Guide


Although not each drone has a digicam, most do, so we now have to speak about this function. A less expensive drone digicam would possibly solely shoot pictures whereas a dearer one will take movies as nicely. The drone digicam incorporates a sensor that determines the dynamic vary, depth of area, low-light talents, decision, and picture dimension. 


Although it’s the flight controller that technically strikes your drone, your drone will embrace a distant that you need to use to command it. The most elementary drone remotes solely have buttons and a few joysticks. More costly drone fashions would possibly embrace a distant with a built-in show display screen, or one which connects to your smartphone to let you see the drone’s digicam feed and flight controls by means of an app.

The display screen will inform you pertinent details about your drone, corresponding to its location, velocity, and battery proportion. 

What to search for in a newbie drone?

Now that you just perceive what the components of a drone are, you’ll be able to start researching your choices. With a large number of drones available on the market, how do you select? Here are the options of a beginner-friendly drone. 


You’re new to piloting a drone, so that you’re sure to make errors. Your drone ought to have the ability to deal with crashing or narrowly lacking hitting a tree. Its housing should be constructed robust, as ought to its different elements. If it breaks after one use, you’ll change your drone too usually, or surrender earlier than you’ve even gotten began.  

Propeller Guards

Propeller guards are a security function that we extremely suggest for inexperienced persons. The guards cowl every propeller so that you don’t need to instantly contact the prop. With prop guards, you’ll be able to pull your drone out of the air along with your palms. You additionally don’t have to fret about getting lower up by the props.

Another added advantage of propeller guards is that they improve the longevity of the props. If your drone does crash, the props are shielded from the brunt of the impression so they may survive for use one other day.

If your drone doesn’t include propeller guards, you’ll be able to all the time purchase them individually. 

Automated Flight Modes

We additionally suggest a newbie drone with automated flight modes. With the push of a button or the contact of your finger, you’ll be able to ship your drone on a predetermined path that’s mapped out routinely. 

Your drone would possibly even have the ability to do automated flips and different methods which is able to absolutely impress your pals.

Many Sensors

Sensors are an impediment avoidance function, so the extra your drone has, the higher. You can forestall your drone from hitting a chook or a constructing even if you happen to’re having a tough time recognizing your drone as a result of it’s that top up. 

Low Price

A newbie drone may be your first UAV, nevertheless it gained’t be your final. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg in your first drone, particularly if you happen to’re utilizing it to apply flying.

Save your cash for a dearer second or third drone. 

How a lot cash must you spend on a newbie drone?

To make sure you finances correctly, precisely how a lot cash must you pour right into a newbie drone? 

As we coated within the final part, it’s greatest to maintain them low-cost. If you will discover a high quality drone that checks the above bins and retails for lower than $100, then purchase it. More than seemingly although, you’ll spend between $100 and $200 in your first drone.

Within this value vary, your newbie drone ought to function a high quality digicam and automatic options like observe me mode and extra. 

Once you graduate to your second drone and you’re feeling extra like an intermediate, you would possibly spend as much as $500 on a drone. Professional-level drones are $600 to $700 and better. 

Shop round for offers

You don’t need to click on and purchase the primary drone mannequin you land on. Shop round on the internet for the most effective costs, or package deal offers that will give you extra equipment for a discount. Or take into account going to field shops (keep in mind them?) the place you’ll be able to typically discover nice newbie drones on sale. 

» MORE:  Check out our article on the Best Places to Buy a Drone for extra concepts on locations to search for good drone offers. 

You can even anticipate particular gross sales occasions like Black Friday or Cyber Monday or different buying hotspots all year long to search out some actually tremendous costs on newbie drones. 

Our 3 favourite newbie drone fashions

For now, after all, you want a drone that’s not too complicated and falls in the correct value vary. Here are three UAV fashions that match the invoice.

Tello Quadcopter Drone

The Tello is true inside our beneficial value vary of $100 to $200, because it retails for $99. Even at that low value, Tello features a digicam with a picture processor. EZ Shots let you report movies utilizing modes like Up & Away, 360, or Circle so that you appear like a professional.

To use Tello, all it’s important to do is throw it within the air and it’ll start flying. The Tello doesn’t include a distant, however as a substitute, you management it with an app out of your smartphone. Easy contact instructions let you make this drone carry out almost any trick or stunt your coronary heart needs. 

Dual antennae present steady video transmission. Get a VR headset to observe the place your Tello flies so you’ll be able to expertise its flight path in first-person view.

Holy Stone HS165

Holy Stone produces drones for inexperienced persons and seasoned drone pilots alike. The HS165 is a high quality newbie quadcopter drone with a 2K digicam that incorporates a 90-degree lens. That’s not unhealthy in any respect for $150!

The HS165 additionally options a number of clever flight modes corresponding to observe me, circle fly and faucet fly – normally solely obtainable in a lot higher-priced drones. Single-button takeoff and touchdown make it simple for newbie drone house owners to determine tips on how to get their UAV within the air and again on the bottom. 

You additionally get GPS and return-to-home options, that are nice for inexperienced persons, and a headless mode making it simpler to get began with flying. When it’s time to cease flying, the drone folds for simple portability. It additionally comes with a carrying case. 

The 880 mAh battery helps you to fly for intervals of 14 minutes at a time. 

DJI Mavic Mini 

Okay, so the DJI Mavic Mini is a bit more costly than the sum of money we urged you spend in your first drone, because it prices $350 or extra. For a DJI drone although, that’s about as low-cost because it will get. 

The Mavic Mini features a 2.7K digicam to seize high quality HD video and 12MP pictures. The three-axis gimbal, which is motorized, stabilizes the digicam when in flight so your photos and movies come out in clear high quality. 

The inclusion of 360-degree propeller guards is a pleasant newbie function. Also good for inexperienced persons is QuickShot mode, which helps you to use modes corresponding to Rocket, Helix, Circle, and Dronie for taking spectacular drone footage. 

The Mavic Mini boasts as much as half-hour of consecutive flight time. By downloading the DJI Fly app, you are able to do much more along with your Mavic Mini. For occasion, you’ll be able to edit your movies on the go or entry the Flight Tutorial everytime you want a refresher. 

» MORE: For extra concepts on newbie drones that gained’t break the financial institution, try our article on the Top 9 Budget-Friendly Beginner Drones.


As a newbie, drones might be complicated, however they don’t need to be. Beginner-friendly drones make it simple to search out your footing and improve your confidence. We hope the data on this information helps you purchase and function your first drone. Good luck! 

Image Credit: Holy Stone, DJI

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