You are interested in joining the wonderful world of drones. Like most new ventures, it is a good idea to start with the best drones for beginners.
Entry-level drones are available in a number of price ranges and sizes. It will give you the opportunity to practice your remote-control flying skills before upgrading to a higher end drone. What you ultimately purchase will depend on your budget and the reasons you got interested in the first place.
Beginner versions will have fewer features or will be less complex, nonetheless you will find a lot of fun hours learning the principles and honing your skills. Look for a unit that is stable in the air, easy to operate, and strong enough to survive crash landings. If your eventual purpose is for video recording, you may want to find something affordable with recording and hovering capabilities. If you are joining with kids, you might want to consider adding collision sensors. It will be a bit more expensive at the outset but it will save disappointment and multiple trips to the drone store.
Look for something light. The more complex technology on higher-end drones can be difficult to work the core controls. Starting easier and being thoroughly comfortable with maneuverability will pay off in the end.
As you shop, be aware of regulations. In both Canada and the United States, anything under 250 grams (8.8 ounces) is free. However, if the drone is over that weight limit, you fall under regulations that require registration and passing an online exam. In the long run, it is always best to stay on the good side of the federal government.
There are some features that are fairly common like two-stick controls. Many will also have a touch-based app for the phone screen. Mode 2 handles the up/down motion (throttle) and rotation (yaw) with the left stick; the right stick handles the direction (roll and pitch). Other common features include:
- rechargeable batteries
- an even number of rotating props
- remote-control receiver
- processor to turn the drone
While these are the standard features, you will find differences as well. If you are planning on racing your drone, look for speed and maneuverability. Indoor use means you need to watch for safety guards. If you are on the road to videography, find one that is high on stability and has good camera quality.
DJI Mini 2
This fits under the weight category, it is easy to use with a GPS return flight feature plus other pilot-assists. It photographs with QuickShots. It handles well in winds up to 24 miles per hour and is fairly vibration free. It is pricey but good value for the money spent.
DJI Mavic Mini
This is another version under the weight requirement. It records very good video according to YouTube and Instagram. It also uses QuickShots if you are trying to simultaneously learn to fly and shoot videos. Launched in 2019 this remains popular with a number of safety fetures like hover, tutorial, and geofencing. On windy days you can move indoors with the propeller guards.
DJI Air 2S
An upgrade from the Mavic Air 2 it has a 5.4K video to crop to a 4K without loss of resolution and a 20 megapixel camera for wide-angle shots. It has all the safety sensors that will not just stop but plot a course around the obstacle. However, the sides have no sensors, so you still need to be careful. It has a strong controller, good battery and access to speed.
E58 Pro X
This drone x pro is particularly nice because it has a 4K HD camera that can fly anywhere. You have up to 30 minutes of flight. This is an updated version with improved handling and distance. The video is streamed in real time, you can save everything to your phone or FPV headset, and an SD card is required. This is one of the latest and greatest.
Parrot Anafi FPV
A particular favorite for photographers, the camera can tilt up and down for 3D models and unusual angles for action shots. It comes with First Person View (FPV) goggles and upgraded software means you can use other VR headsets now. A pretty important add on, you will need to opt for a collision-sensing system.