Drone flying is not just great fun, it’s really easy (and relatively cheap) to get in to, here we list what we think are some of the best drones for beginners.
As a beginner you can get a really cool drone that is easy to control, shoots video (possibly stills too) plus some extra batteries and spare propellers for around £50.
If you’ve got a slightly bigger budget we’ll also cover some of the best drones for under £100.
Are cheap drones any good?
There are plenty of offers out there for drones for less than £25, but there are a few drawbacks with these that you need to be aware of;
The very cheap drones usually come without a controller – you download an app and use a smartphone to control the drone, this is not easy.
You can try it for yourself as there are quite a few drone simulator/ flying apps and games available on all mobile phone operating systems. Most are free so it won’t cost you anything and you’ll quickly see how tricky it can be. Unless you (or the person you are buying for) is very adept at playing fast moving games on their phone or tablet we recommend looking for a drone that comes with a controller.
The smaller the drone the less weight it can carry, and the largest contributor to a drone’s weight is the battery. So a small drone can only carry a small battery and a small battery will only last a few minutes flying time.
This is a fact of life – you can’t change the laws of physics – but you can purchase some additional batteries and a multi charger so that you can enjoy your drone for a reasonable amount of time between charges.
So the first thing you need to check is that you can buy spare batteries for your drone.
What Spares Do I Need?
Whether you choose to control your drone by smartphone or a controller, as a beginner you will crash – frequently. Most drone bodies are robust enough to handle a crash on grass and possibly a low speed crash on pavement, but it’s inevitable that propellers will be damaged or broken.
So when looking at drone options, you should check;
1. Does your drone come with (or you can buy) propeller guards – these are a must for newbie flyers and anyone using a drone in doors. They protect your propellers and help to reduce the risk of damage to people, pets and possessions.
2. Does your drone come with (or you can buy) additional propellers – quad copters have two different propellers, installed diagonally opposite each other. They often come in different colours so you can tell front from rear. So 4 spare propellers actually only means ONE spare prop for each motor. We recommend buying several spare sets.
3. What type of propellers does your drone have? In our experience tri-rotors (rotors with three blades) are much much easier to control. We strongly recommend fitting tri-rotor propellers if you have the option. You will notice a reduction in flying time as these rotors draw more power, but the benefit of being far easier to control far outweighs this.
4. If you’re unlucky, you might cause more damage to your drone than just propellers. Does the drone you want come with other spare parts like spare motors, LEDs or even a spare body?
This is why we recommend the Hubsan H107C as the best drone for beginners. You can pick up a cool green and black drone, 6 spare batteries and charger, crash kit and some tri-rotor propellers for around £50. See the box at the top of the page.
We strongly recommend you get a few packs the tri-rotors – they make the drone incredibly stable and easy to fly and are well worth the investment.
Some of you may be asking what about a racing drone for beginners? Well, a half-way decent genuine racing drone is going to cost you nearer to £100, so if you’re upgrading from a basic drone to a first racer then take a look at our page on buying advice for racing drones, if this is you first venture into drone flying we’d strongly recommend going with the Hubsan – it’s plenty quick enough for starting off.