Top 5 Drones For Your FIRST Drone (Beginner Drones Reviewed In 2020)
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Looking for your FIRST drone?
Drones have quite literally skyrocketed into popularity over the last few years. These small gadgets are easy and fun to use, but they can also make a huge difference if you’re an aspiring videographer.
But choosing your first drone isn’t always simple because of the many options on the market. It’s not just about buying the most expensive drone since that could actually be an expensive mistake. You first have to learn how to fly it.
Continue reading as we’ll discuss some of the basics that can help you when selecting your first drone. Below the buyer’s guide, we’ve listed the best five first drones that are a combination of value, ease of use and features best for beginners.
What’s a drone?
This was first a military term that’s also used to describe Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Still, they are all RC or remote-controlled aerial machines.
They are built for fun and recreation though many people nowadays use them for professional videography and photography. They can make some impressive footage if in skilled hands. Many machines are now also used for carrying cargo, inspecting buildings, chimney towers and buildings, as well as for tracking wildlife and many other things.
New things you can do with it emerge all the time which is why the industry keeps growing. New technologies are presented all the time in order to keep up with the demand.
Because the industry grows as fast, owning a drone is no longer a luxury. It’s a rare thing to see a YouTube influencer for example that doesn’t have a UAV for vlogging.
What’s the best FIRST drone for beginners?
As we’ve mentioned, beginners shouldn’t opt for the most expensive options.
You should first learn all about these machines, how they work and what laws are regulated in your country.
High-end units have many features that you might struggle to understand. Plus, since you’re a beginner, you might not be as good in flying it. For this reason, it makes more sense to opt for a more affordable machine that you wouldn’t be as sorry to maybe crash.
Your first drone should be easy to use above anything else. As you’re learning to operate it and become more comfortable, you want something that has clear instructions that won’t confuse you.
Laws and regulations
More countries around the world are quite strict when it comes to flying these. Also, new laws keep coming out as the machines become more and more popular. It’s crucial you’re well aware of the laws in your country because even the smallest wrong step can lead into trouble.
Still, most laws are similar from country to country. For example, most places around the world prohibit you from flying the drone in and near airports.
It’s also forbidden to fly it in the airspace of another person in order to capture unauthorized pictures. Most countries also require you to register your drone and keep it at a certain height when in the sky.
Why is size important?
Size it’s crucial since it determines how portable and convenient the machine is. Of course, these come in many different sizes that range from palm-sized to those that need a special case.
The way you choose one is by considering why you need a drone and when you’ll need it. If you’re looking to have one at hand at all times, it’s best to go for something smaller that you can carry around with ease.
Keep in mind that smaller machines usually lack a few features, but it all differs from model to model. If you’re into photography, look for a larger drone. These typically have many useful features and support higher image quality.
It’s recommended you start with a smaller and cheaper one that you can fly inside the house. These are a bit simpler to use and will be perfect to get you into flying.
Also, there are a few things you should know if having a camera attached is essential to you. Cameras add to the overall price as well as weight, so these are also a bit trickier to fly. They also drain the battery faster. So, if you want to make quality videos, you’ll have to invest which isn’t at all recommended to beginners.
Best UAV for beginners
There are several different types of drones on the market, but because we’re talking about what’s best for beginners, we’ll stick to quadcopters. These have an X or H square frame and are the most stable type of all. The four propellers can carry up to 2 pounds and are quite easy to control.
Ready-to-fly RTF quadcopters are your best choice to learn on as a beginner.
Even if you want to get into high-quality videography, we still recommend you start with this one. It’s the best kind for learning the basics before you can handle some more complicated machines.
We’ve done many hours of research on what could be the best drone for you. Since there are so many to choose from and we wanted to keep this as simple as possible, we’ve selected five that are good choices.
Continue reading to learn all about these units, how they perform and what exactly makes them as great for beginners.
The Top 5 First Drones for beginners
1: Blade Nano QX RTF Quadcopter
NOTE: This drone is no longer available. Try this one with similar specs.
The Blade Nano QX is probably one of the most affordable choices on the market. It’s excellent as a first drone thanks to its simplicity and overall ease of use. However, it’s important we mention this one lacks many features such as a camera or GPS.
Simply put, it’s a learning drone. It’s an excellent option to start with as you’re only learning how to fly the vehicle. For this reason, this one is robust and sturdy so it can take quite some knocks. Also, you can fly it inside as well as outside.
Still, it’s not that ordinary as it features the exclusive SAFE technology along with agility and stability modes. It has a small frame that measures 14.1×8.4×4.5 inches in total. This means it’s easy to carry it around if you want to test it out in a more open space.
It also has brushed motors that give it a powerful lift that’s not as common for such affordable vehicles. The battery included is the 3.7V 1S 150mAh 25C LiPo.
This quadcopter is tough and can handle some rough operation. It’s easy to use because the frame is lightweight and has blade guards for in case you bump into something.
- Durable frame
- It has blade guards
- Suitable for indoors and outdoors
- Doesn’t have a camera
Another affordable quad is the Hubsan X4, but this one is different because it features a camera. It has a flight time of 20 minutes and the camera featured is simple and of good quality. The charging time is about 150 minutes, and the control distance is approximately 300m.
The Quad features a battery 7.4V 2300mAh LiPo while the transmitter has a 4×1.5V AA battery. The overall weight including the battery is about 410g. It measures 220x220x70mm in total.
This one features a 4G TF memory card while its maximum support is 64G. It comes in many different colors to choose from which is a nice touch. The quad features 5.8G FPV with a 1080P HD camera that makes this one ideal for beginners who also want to capture some quality photos.
It has a GPS position system, and accurate positioning location. The quad comes with a brushless motor that’s slightly better than its brushed counterpart. More so, it’s suitable for beginners because it comes with instructions on how to use it if you’ve never had a quadcopter before.
Another few features that are worth mentioning are the headless mode, follow me function and the one key return. It’s also suitable for both indoors and outdoors use. Check it out here!
- Has a quality camera
- Extended flight time
- Control distance of 300m
- High memory capacity
- Takes a while to get used to
This one is a bit pricier compared to the two above, but it delivers more, so it’s understandable. The first thing we should mention is its stellar gimbal that stabilizes the camera when it’s in the air. The motorized system helps a lot especially if you’ve never operated a UAV.
It features a 4K camera that has a fixed aperture of f/2.2 which helps make satisfactory pictures even in low light conditions. The resolution is 12mp, so you’ll get some impressive footage.
Probably the best thing about this one is that it’s foldable. This makes portability as simple as possible which is rarely found in such entry-level devices. You won’t need a special case for it as you can simply carry it in a backpack once it’s folded.
Ideally, it goes up to 7km if the weather allows it. This is definitely more than enough for beginners as well as some more advanced users. The manufacturer claims you get 30 minutes of use, but realistically, you get a few minutes less.
Another feature that makes it ideal for beginners is the return-to-home function. This GPS feature helps with retracting the drone back home which can sometimes be tricky to new users. Also, its front sensors detect and avoid obstacles. Check it out here!
- High-quality camera
- Return-to-home feature
- Collapsible frame
- Stabilizing motorized system
- Android app doesn’t always work
4: Xiaomi Mi Drone
NOTE: This drone is no longer available. Try this one with similar specs.
Its several features make it ideal for all entry-level users. Not only it’s easy to use, but it makes some high-quality footage suitable for photographers and videographers.
It has a 12.4 mp camera that shoots 4K photos and videos. You can lower the resolution if you want more frames, though this is something you can play with as you go. The drone comes with gimbal, so it’s steady when taking your pictures and videos.
The distance is over 3km which is more than enough for beginners. Also, the battery will last you about 24 to 27 minutes depending on the features you’re using.
Another great thing about it is the GPS that allows it to return home when you lose signal or the battery is low. This is something you should always consider when buying a drone as a beginner.
It has some setbacks though, and one of them is definitely the size. This one isn’t as easily portable, and you’ll need a special case for when you want to carry it somewhere. Also, it’s a bit louder than the ones we’ve mentioned before. The Xiaomi Mi lacks front sensors so you’ll have to be a bit more careful when operating.
- High-quality camera
- Built-in GPS
- Long battery life
- Lacks front sensors
- It’s a bit loud
The DJI Phantom has a quality camera and a combination of features that make it easier for beginners to make some impressive footage. The 4K camera has a 1-inch sensor of 20mp so the pictures you take during the nighttime won’t have as much noise.
This one shoots 4K in 60fps as well as Full HD in 120fps, so we’re sure you’ll be pleased with the footage it makes. The mechanical shutter helps deliver smooth videos.
Another thing that makes it ideal for beginners is the sensor that works in five directions to avoid obstacles. It has two front sensors and two infrared side detectors. It also has cameras on the bottom to land precisely.
It has a flight time of 30 minutes which is fairly enough to take many pictures and video footage. The 3-axis stabilization system helps with when the drone is in the air. It can go up to 7km while the dual-band transmission makes the signal far more secure than in previous models. One setback is that it’s quite large and loud so this is something you’ll have to get used to.
- High-quality camera
- Stabilization system
- Dual-band transmission
- Five obstacle sensors
- Loud and bulky
And that’s it!
How to get better at drone racing
If you’re just getting into this hobby, it can be overwhelming. I spent a while writing a detailed guide on becoming a better drone racer. It’s a guide to actually WHAT to do to become better and get more control over the drone.
If you just jump straight in, you’ll find yourself crashing and just unable to control the drone, so my guide should help you out a lot with that! Plus it’s free.