how to choose a drone

How to Choose the Right Drone: Drone Buying Guide

Drones are among the coolest gadgets in the tech industry today. Everyone wants one, and why not considering everything that these gadgets have to offer? They are ideal for having fun, and there are many emerging commercial uses of drones.

Today, drones come in all shapes and sizes, and they are much more affordable than they were in the past. However, with so many options to choose from, how do you determine the right drone for your needs? In this comprehensive drone buying guide, you will get to learn about the different types and uses of drones as well as important features to consider when buying one.

Types and Uses of Drones

Drones are categorized based on factors such as design, size, and usage. Since every drone is designed for a specific use, we will categorize the different types of drones based on this factor. They include:

Photography Drones

Photographers are using drones to expand the horizons of their photography capabilities. They use these drones to take still aerial images from elevated position from a first-person point of view, which was difficult to achieve in the past. Photography drones are also used for shooting aerial videos. They come equipped with powerful cameras.

Selfie Drones

With everyone trying to take the best selfie, selfie drones have become popular among selfie enthusiasts. These are small drones that are used to take up-close photos from an elevated position. They should not be confused with photography drones.

Fishing Drones

Fishing drones are making it easier to catch fish. They are used for several purposes. Their most basic use is reconnaissance, whereby the drone is used to scan the waters to spot the most ideal fishing spots. Drones are also used to cast line to extended distances (further than 50 feet) and even to pull the fish once they take the bait. There are also underwater submersible drones used for more sophisticated commercial fishing.

Toy and Kids’ Drones

Kids are going bananas over drones. Kids’ drones are ideally small and easy to use. They are designed to facilitate fun playtimes, and kids are coming up with creative ways to use them. There are endless types of toy drones, from simple ones to Star Wars drones with realistic spaceship features. 

Waterproof Drones

Waterproof drones are designed to withstand extreme winds and rain. They are often used for search and rescue purposes in extreme weather, but are also useful for those who want to safely photograph above water. Some waterproof drones are also capable of operating under water, but only up to a certain depth.

Features to Consider in a Drone

Every drone brand markets itself as the best. However, it is the individual features that determine just how good a drone is. As such, it is these features that should be taken into consideration when shopping.

The most important features to consider in any type of drone are:

Battery Life

The battery is arguably the most important component of any drone – and of many devices, including your beloved smartphone. How much juice can the battery store, and how much power does the drone use? The drone’s battery’s capacity will determine how long you can fly it – and, ideally, given the option, most users would wish to fly their drones for as long as they wish.

Most drones’ batteries last for about 30 minutes on a single charge. However, some emerging drones are coming equipped with larger and more powerful batteries. Be sure to review the battery’s capacity in the drone’s specifications.  

Camera Power

Most people buy drones so that they can get a bird’s eye view of the ground. Hence, most people are more concerned about the camera than anything else. They are right, and you too should be concerned about the power and quality of your chosen drone’s camera, especially if you are buying it for photography and videography purposes.

The most important factor to consider in a drone’s camera is its photo and video resolution. This determines the quality and clarity of the images and videos that the camera captures. Most mid-sized drones are equipped with decent HD cameras that will suit you needs.

In addition to a powerful camera, check to see whether the drone comes with integrated gimbal technology. Gimbal technology keeps the camera steady when flying at high altitudes and in windy conditions. It is essential to precise photography and video recording, which makes it essential for photographers and search-and-rescue first responders. Most mid-sized drones come with this technology, but mini drones do not have the capacity to support it. 

Most of the emerging drones come with decent in-built cameras. However, you also have to option of buying a customizable drone in case you wish to attach your own camera.   

Range

Range refers to the distance the drone can fly from your location before losing connection to the remote controller. Range differs greatly from drone to drone – some drones have a range of several hundred meters while more sophisticated drones can fly for miles. Ideally, you want the drone with the highest range relative to other features and pricing. Nevertheless, it is prudent to always have a clear line of sight to your drone in case of any accidents.

Integrated GPS

The best drones are those equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System) technology – in fact, all of the latest drones come with integrated GPS to keep up with the times and competition.

There are several benefits to having GPS technology integrated into your drone. For starters, the drone will fly more stably and expand the horizon of your navigational skills – only drones integrated with GPS technology can hover in one place, which is essential for most drone types.

Most importantly, drones integrated with GPS technology don’t easily get lost, even when connection to the remote control is severed. This is because they are capable of knowing where they are in the world. They also have a return-to-home capability, which means that they will automatically fly back to where they started once connection is severed.    

Motors and Rotors

Motors and rotors are responsible for getting the drone up in the air. While they all look alike, some types perform better than others. Ideally, you should go for a drone with motors powerful enough to meet your needs. It is also advisable to look for brushless motors as they are designed to make less noise when flying your drone, which will help avoid impeding on other people’s peace. Brushless motors are a bit more expensive than ordinary ones, but they are also more durable, so you will save some money in the long run.

Obstacle Avoidance

As mentioned, it is prudent to always have a clear line of sight to your drone. This is because your drone may fly into obstacles such as trees and buildings. However, maintaining sight of your drone is not always possible, or convenient for that matter. This is why your desired drone should ideally be fitted with obstacle avoidance technology.

Drones with obstacle avoidance capability can map out their surroundings and identify potential obstacles. They are also designed to automatically change their course of flight to avoid hitting obstacles. It guarantees the drone’s safety, as hitting an obstacle can deal a death blow to the average drone.

Obstacle avoidance technology is more sophisticated in some drones than it is in others. As such, be sure to research and read reviews about how the tech works in your desired drone. 

Follow-Me Mode

Will you be using your drone while on the move? For instance, you could be scanning the water from your boat while still flying your drone overhead. In this case, you should go for a drone integrated with follow-me mode.

Follow-me mode enables the drone to automatically keep up with your movements as you move. You don’t need to control the drone the entire time – it will tell where you are and tag along. This is convenient as it frees you up to handle other hands-on tasks while the drone flies on its own. It is recommended for professionals who cover large distances on the ground while using drones above-head.

Headless Mode

How much experience do you have flying drones? It is not as easy as the pros would make it look. For newbies, there is always the risk of crashing or losing the drone.

It will take you some time to get the hang of flying your new drone. In the meantime, you should make use of the drone’s headless mode if it has one. This technology makes it easier to control the drone with minimal experience. For instance, the drone will move to the direction you tilt the joystick to relative to your position. Normally, the drone moves in the direction relative to where the joystick is pointing, which is not easy to get used to without the relevant experience.

Final Word

Drones are cool, fun, and functional. There are numerous brands and types of drones – so many that you will be overwhelmed with options. Do not be stranded, and do not waste your money on a drone that will not meet your needs. Use these tips to choose the best drone for you based on your desired use. You can also check out our lists of the best drones under $100 and the best drones under $200 to find the best option within your budget. 

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