Drones were once exclusively for serious flying experts, but now there is a drone for everyone. Beginner drones are a great way to practice your skills without the fear of crashing thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and they also make a fun and educational way for kids to learn.
There are so many drones to choose from with so many different purposes nowadays that deciding on the best beginner drone to meet your needs can be a befuddling experience. If you want to take to the skies but don’t know where to start, read on.
What to look for in a beginner drone
There are a number of things you’ll want to consider when buying your first drone, such as the price and the features available.
The last thing you want to do is buy your first drone for thousands of dollars and crash it into a tree on your first flight. More expensive drones also tend to be heavier (because of the added features), more complicated to set up, and more difficult to fly.
Again, there is a likelihood that you will crash when you first start flying, so look for a drone made of hardy plastic or metal with propeller guards that protect your drone as well as people and objects around you! Also, check that any replacement pieces are available and affordable.
Some drones are designed for maximum stability, and these are some of the best drones for beginners because they will stay afloat without very much input.
It’s also advisable to go with a light machine initially because they are easier to maneuver and control.
Your first drone should have a simple interface, and it is probably best to choose a drone without loads of added features such as cameras. First-time users should learn how to fly before anything else, and doing this without the distraction of snapping selfies every five minutes is wise for beginner pilots.
Flight length and distance
You’re not going to be able to fly for hours across fields and mountains with a beginner drone, but this is actually ideal because you can keep your UAV in your line of sight. The distance will vary from 50-100 meters for starter drones, and your drone will probably stay in the air for around 8-10 minutes.
Some of the features you can expect in your beginner drone are…
This feature is incredibly helpful in the best beginner drones because it will keep your gadget stable. Even if you take your hands off the controls, you won’t have to worry about your drone drifting away.
Once exclusively available on advanced drones, you’ll find this feature on many basic models on the market today. Also known as carefree mode, it basically eliminates the need to orient your drone, so you won’t find it flying towards you rather than away.
One touch take-off/landing and return to home
This feature can be very useful if you are learning how to fly and land the drone safely.
How to fly a drone for beginners
If you’re flying recreationally, you don’t need any special training or certification before taking your drone out for a spin (although remember to register your drone with the FAA if it weighs over 0.55lbs). However, that certainly doesn’t mean you should start flying without understanding some of the basics so that you can fly your drone safely and effectively.
The first and most important thing to do is to read the instruction manual and charge your drone so that it’s ready for take-off when you are.
The next thing is acquainting yourself with the basic controls:
The left-hand stick controls
- Yaw—rotates the quadcopter
- Throttle—adjusts the height/altitude of your drone
Right-hand stick—This controls:
- Pitch—forwards/backward movement
- Roll—Left/right movement
Lift off and landing
Pushing the left stick upwards will make the drone climb higher, and pushing it downwards will slow the motors down causing the drone to descend. As we mentioned above, many drones now have one-touch lift-off and landing, which makes life much easier for beginners.
Keeping your drone in one position is probably the most difficult aspect of drone flying, and it’s really a matter of getting used to your specific quadcopter, figuring out the responsiveness of your controls and practicing daily.
It’s best to practice flying in a wide open area, so you have less chance of crashing into something. Another vital thing to do when you begin drone flying is to check with the FAA for any flight restrictions in your area.
What are the best drones for beginners?
You should look for a quadcopter as your first drone because they are the most stable of drones and are generally ready-to-fly (RTF). The following are all cameraless quadcopters that are great for beginners.
Holy Stone HS170 Mini
This is a feature packed drone with wind resistance, headless mode, and 3 different speed modes so beginners can build up their confidence. Use the trick button to fool onlookers with amazing mid-air flips. This mini-drone uses a 6-axis gyroscope system so that you get a stable flight, and it can even be flown indoors, so you can practice before unleashing your skills on the outside world.
The JJRC H31
This is an affordable drone that is virtually indestructible (it’s even waterproof), making it great for first-time flyers. It has a lot of beginner-friendly flight features like headless mode, 1-key return to home (RTH), LED lights so you can fly at night, and it’s also incredibly light. The high and low-speed settings make learning a breeze.
Syma X5A-1 RC
This is an extremely easy to fly quadcopter that is pocket-sized, so you can carry it anywhere. It boasts high & low-speed modes, headless mode, one-key take off and landing, and you can even do 360° flips and rolls, which will make you look like an expert when you’re actually just touching a button. It also has the fun addition of colorful LEDs and can be charged up in the blink of an eye.