Best Drones for sale 2017 : Review and Buying Guide

Drones, despite being one of the latest and hot-selling tech inventions, didn’t catch my attention until I saw people shooting a pre-wedding bash with them. That’s when it struck me hard that how they have managed to sneak into our lives, especially when the general folks like me have been more focused on how some countries like Sweden are banning them, whilst considering them as pervasive as equivalent to surveillance. In other news, FAA and North Royalton have also prohibited camera drones. Yes, there was also some news GoPro Karma drone falling from the sky, which was later attributed to faulty latches that hook the batteries to the drones making them lose power in the middle of flight.

Best Drone for sale

So, when you see such constructive use of a drone, you are bound to sit up and take notice. For a cynical like me, who has very narrow mindset on the use of technology, drones were something that I hated at the first instance but this one incident made me review top-rated and bestselling drones of the year already! I was already late in catching up with drone tech, I admit, and so, here I am making up for all of it!​

Top 10 Best Drones for Sale 2017

Best drones 2017

The team considered best drones for sale out there and has selected a few of them that top their respective categories in term of price, features, availability of the spare parts , after-sales support, reputation of the makers and so on. Based on this, the makers have been able to zero in on these five drones. Read on for the drone review that could come handy if you are looking to buy one.

1. DJI Mavic Pro : Best Camera Drone

It is a small drone that lets you shoot with one of the sophisticated cameras out there. It has an all-new transmission system of about 7km range, a stunning 4K camera, 5 vision sensors and a camera stabilization system, gimbal of 3-axis. It is FCC compliant and all this is available and can be accessed with a tap of your finger. A little pricey but all these features it is loaded with, makes it all worth it. Unlike Go Pro Karma, you can’t uninstall camera or gimbal when you are using it for filming on ground but its controller and ease of usage makes it a clear winner. If you want something, which is handy and easy to operate this beautiful piece of tech can easily be one of the best mini drone you could lay your hands on!

2. DJI Phantom 4 : Best Drones For Beginners

This drone might not be the best cheap drone you are looking for but it certainly is the top-rated and most-liked drone in its category. If you are looking for a drone that could protect itself from untoward crashes, fly for longer periods, give you amazing picture quality and stable videos, this is it! Its forward-collision system enables it to sense the obstruction and stop in the tracks, saving you the money you have invested in it. Its press-and-lock system makes it really easy to change the propellers. Apart from the stunning 4K recording, the Phantom 4 shoots 120 frames/ second at 1080 pixel. The better and redesigned body repositions the gimbal in a way that it protects the camera. Its lens cut is now redesigned to give you better picture quality and less of distortion than its predecessor, Phantom 3. Some of the features include Sport Mode, which can be used for racing and other sports as it reaches about 45mph, ActiveTrack to follow the subject you are tracking or shooting and TapFly that is a one-tap function that flies whenever the screen is tapped on. The makers claim the battery life to be about 28 minutes under the controlled environment, which can vary from 20 to 25 minutes depending on the variables. It won’t classify as a cheap drone anyway, however, it certainly is the best drone for money if you are a photographer or an adrenaline junkie.

Its predecessor, Phantom 3 could be your choice too if you are looking for a drone in a mid-range category. It offers smooth aerial shoot and the video quality is same as its successor at 1080p. However, you might need to compromise on battery and other features that aren’t as smooth as the newest kid on the block in its series. Phantom 3 Standard should be your choice if you are a beginner with the drone tech and you can settle with the Phantom 3 Professional, if you want to add some serious bling to your aerial photography. The range is good and you could connect it to the iOS and Android device with the controller. It can land safely and won’t crash when the battery is low.​

3. 3DR Solo : Best Drone under $500

Well, you are in for a surprise what this drone is capable of. It packs in the largest sensor ever on a drone and weighs less than five pounds. For people, who are into real estate and construction, this drone can be really helpful for them to create accurate maps to keep tabs and survey. Its Sony camera can pull off stunning pictures for inspections, surveys and mapping purposes. Its video game style controller is very easy to maneuver and you can simply use push buttons to control the camera and copter to take off, land, adjust and stop the drone in the midair. You also get high-quality HDMI port, which can be used to connect to the port to a screen. However, it doesn’t feature gimbal and you would need to invest in a camera separately. This makes it quite pricey. The upgraded version of Solo now features Orbit and Follow modes too. Orbit mode enables a circular track for the drone while keeping the camera fixed on the subject. In addition to this, you can activate Selfie Mode for the camera for an aerial shot of yours in a portrait and landscape mode. Cable Cam mode of the drone lets you pan and tilt the camera without shaking the picture and as a result, you get even photographs that are smooth and have brilliant textures.

4. Yuneec Typhoon H Pro : Best 4K Drones for sale

Ready out of the box, this drone has built-in collision avoidance as well as is FAA compliant. It offers 4K ultra high-definition video and features full 360 degree anti-vibration gimbal. With the help of retractable landing gear, you can experience and shoot 360 degree. With features like ultrasonic collision prevention, automatic return to home and 8 smart flight modes, no wonder that it has become the preferred choice of many beginners. Its all-in-one controller is 7-inch Android touch screen and you can just start shooting aerial pictures as soon as you take it out of the box. Its compact size allows for an easy maneuver and transportation. You can fold down the six rotor arms to a resting position and carry it anywhere you want. The props can be disconnected easily and re-installed too. The flight time under controlled condition is reported about 25 minutes.

The best part is that you get all these high-end professional drone features at a reasonable price. Typhoon H Pro has also won ‘Best of Class’ award in the 2016 Consumer Electronics show.

5. Hubsan X4 Quadcopter with FPV Camera Toy : Best Drone for Kids

This medium-range drone scores high on durability and control. It offers steady flight too but if you are looking to buy a drone especially for video, this is not the one you should invest into. The users aren’t particularly happy with the recording quality. The control distance of the drone is up to 100 meters and the live video distance is also about the same. This lightweight drone features 6-axis flight control system with gyro sensitivity that can be adjusted. You can’t record directly as the footage is sent to the transmitter. Thanks to its auto cut-off safety PCB, when the battery is low, the drone lands safely and doesn’t collide. The battery is 380mAh li-po at 3.7V.The batteries for transmitters aren’t included in the pack and you might have to shell money separately for them. Once you have learned to maneuver the copter, it can be fun despite its evident limitations.

Best Camera Drone

There is no dearth of good camera drones out there but here we are talking about finding the best camera drones for 2017 that are affordable and best in terms of their feature, durability as well as maintenance. One of the most-loved camera drones is DJI Mavic that has opened up new avenues for photographers and filmmakers. Taking a crystal-clear bird eye view was never this easier before. Or shooting a bungee jumping as well. Though, there has been an upgraded version in the form of DJI Phantom 4 or the Inspire 1 but if you are looking for your first professional drone, which is not prosumer, you can start with it without giving it a second thought. It also features modes like sensor redundancy and obstacle avoidance. It also has GPS and GLONASS for perfect positioning during the flights.

DJI Inspire 1 offers you a camera resolution of 12 megapixels whereas the video resolution is 4K at 30FPS. Under controlled and stimulated conditions such as no wind flow, it can give you the speed of 22 m/ s. The maximum flight time recorded so far has been 18-20 minutes. It flaunts of multiple Zenmuse camera system and dual operator mode. The latter allows one person to control the camera and let other person fly the machine. DJI Phantom 4 is an upgraded version of the previous model DJI Mavic as it offers better flight time, improved battery and new camera lens.

For best camera drones, you can also think about Yuneec Typhoon H and Parrot AR Drone 2.0. They are worth a shot.

Best Drone for Kids

Kids love drones too! However, they have to try their hands on a quad that is simple, easy to operate and fun with no complex technicalities so far. This is why; they are called kid drones, hobby drones or toy drones. They should not take an altitude of more than 50 meters keeping safety in mind and should be durable as well so as not to take a beating if crashes happen. It should be a ready-to-fly model because if kids have to spend time on assembly of the parts and getting it ready for the flight, they will eventually lose their interest in them.

If you are looking for a kid quadcopter for your kid, you can choose from models like Traxxas 6608 LaTrax, Sky Viper HD V950 Video Drone, Syma X5C, Heli-Max 1SQ RTF Quadcopter, Inguity MJX X500 and many more. Traxxas, for instance, comes from the same company, which makes the cars your kid is fond of. Its car can certainly be termed as one of the best RT cars out there. Traxxas is their ready-to-fly model, has 650mAh battery that gives a flight of about 6-10 minutes. Thanks to its 6-axis flight model, your kid has no trouble maneuvering the system for the better control and navigation of the machine. The Sky Viper is a mean machine at the price you can’t refuse. It juts out high definition pictures of 720 pixel. This quad comes equipped with a 4GB MicroSD card that can store up to 20 minutes of captured footage. Along with this comes, the ease of usage through single touch button, 360 degrees of video shoots and a duraflex body that can withstand crashes.

Best Racing Drone

Planning to buy a drone that is fit for its job? Because, a drone for beginners might not be perfect for racing or competitive to beat other drones that are especially designed for it. While the realm of racing quads is quite in its nascent stage, there are drones are available in the market that can give you the thrill and fun ride you are hoping for. If you are looking for drones for racing, the motility, ease of usage, price points and durability should be the decisive factor of your purchase. Since after all, you wouldn’t want your drone to be just the “fastest” machine out there and get tangled in the tree after a crash. You also wouldn’t want to spend a fortune on a drone that is just fastest but not at all durable.

What makes racing drone different from other consumer-oriented camera drones that they are designed for specialized drone racing events and purposes to take high-quality video of landscapes, surfing contests and architectures. The main idea behind them is FPV racing and hence, the price tag that comes along with in lieu of their features. If you are a pro drone racer, you know the drill. You customize the drone as per you want. If you are a pro at consumer drone stuff but new to the racing part, the likes of Hubsan’s popular X4 H107D, Vortex 250 PRO, HobbyKing TBS Vendetta 240, Storm Type A S3 and Diatone Crusader GT2 200 should be your choice.​

Best Drone for Beginners

If you are new to the world of drones, you can go for the best drones for beginners. If you want to acquire the necessary knowledge to fly a drone, it is recommended that you invest in the drones that are user-friendly, offer you a gamut of features and are pocket-friendly too. UDI 818A is one drone that you can rely on as it offers you advanced features at a cost that you wouldn’t mind spending on it. Though, you have to compromise on the features of camera that is mere 2 megapixel but heck, you are in your learning phase and that should be least of your concern. Easy controls and props can give you a go ahead on your drone flying skills. The 500mAh battery is fairly okay as it can keep this machine up in the air for about eight minutes. It can gain a height of about 90 feet. It also has altitude hold function that lets you keep the quad steady at height. Its plastic body is durable, a feature that comes in handy when you are flying it outdoors where crashes happen a lot too easily. Apart from camera, the major pain point of this drone is low battery, which can take more than 2 hours to recharge. That’s a lot of time. So, if you decide to buy it, keep a couple of spare batteries handy to enjoy the flight. You also can’t live-stream that camera feel to your smartphone but this feature is a USP of professional quads that are at higher price points.

Drones Price

That’s one factor that totally decides whether you are going to purchase drones for sale or not! Because if you are loaded, you can anyway buy the latest drone and stack it in the drawer when you aren’t in the mood of playing with one and can afford to just forget about it once the rush and initial thrill of owning a drone is over. However, when you are a smart buyer, you would like to compare best drones vis-à-vis features and price. :

Yes, one more thing. The price of a drone varies heavily and like, any other gadget, it depends on their feature. An entry-level drone, with no camera but amazingly value-for-money, Axis Aerius drone is available at just $35 whereas GoPro Karma is $799 and if you add Hero5 Black camera to the mix, it goes up to $1,099.​

The new breed of drones such as GoPro Karma and DJI Mavic Pro can even make you go crazy with their jaw-dropping feature and stunning design. They are actually the ones that set a benchmark with their aesthetic and totally workable design and cool features. For starters, they can fit in your backpack unlike those heavy machines being launched in the name of drones. They offer you a stunning quality 4K footage with a battery standby time of 20 minutes or more. So, if you are a traveler or an adventure junkie, you just don’t have to carry another burden to record your trek or while jumping off a chopper.​

So, I guess you get the drift now. If you are looking for features like auto-hovering, longer flight times, color live video and more, show the money, baby and win the world!​

However, despite the price tag, these are the specific pointers you should be checking out for, if you are looking to buy a drone this year.​

Best Drone for less than $100

Thanks to the new features and technology, the scenario of the drone industry is changing really fast. But as the new safety features and aspects add to the cost of the drone, there are quite a few drones making a grand entry in the market. These seem to have quite a promising start and are also available at ridiculously low prices.

Now everybody can own a toy drone or even professional quadcopter for less than $100! If you think you would have to compromise on features in lieu of money, you are mistaken. Take SYMA X5UW for instance. This drone can easily be rated as one of the best drones for less than $100 as it offers both indoor and outdoor flight. Its distance range is 80 meters, which is at par with its counterparts that are expensive. Its durable frame lets you take risks with respect to flight as it can withstand crashes. The advanced features include altitude hold, FPV and mobile app control. At 3.7V and 500mAh, its battery can easily be termed as one of the best batteries for its series. It gives you 5-10 minutes of flight time. If you want more flight time, you can remove camera and props to reduce weight. This improves motility as well.Similarly,

in this segment, you have choices of HUBSAN X4, JXD 509W, JJRC H26W, TARANTULA X6, JJRC H31 and many more. In fact, JJRC H31 is a waterproof, cheapest and offers longest flight in the series of drones for less than $100!

Best drone for Less than $250

If you are looking for drones for less than $250, you can find a range of quads that can be used indoors as well as outdoors. However, we suggest that once you have acquired basic learning to fly a drone outside and indoor. When you fly outdoors, a gust of wind can blow it away whereas when it is indoors, it can crash repeatedly.

There are many drones available in the market for less than $250. Some of them are BLADE Nano QX RTF quadcopter, DB Power Hawkeye III, Holy Stone U818A Plus and more. BLADE Nano is a professional-level drone and yet cheaper! It offers superior features at a pocket-friendly price. It is .58 ounces and hence, it is suggested that it should be used only indoors as it can be blown away with the wind easily. Equipped with SAFE technology, it is a straight out-of-the-box –and-fly model. Packed with 150mAh battery, it provides you an impressive seven minute of flight time whereas it provides about 5-7minutes of flight time and takes about 25 min to recharge completely.

If you are looking particularly for a budget drone for outdoors, DB Power Hawkeye is the option to go for. This drone is designed for both indoors and outdoors as you can use the restriction mode while flying it inside whereas you can remove those controls for better output. This drone is equipped with amazing features such as headless control where the front of the drone is its direction of the flight.

Best Drone for Less than $500

These are called mid-range drone. Once you have crossed the initial beginner level and want to try your hands on something that is the connecting link between the prosumer and professional level. If you want to hone your drone flying skill on an intermediate level of drone, go for these amazing ready-to-fly quadcopters such as XIRO XPLORER MINI, PARROT BEBOP 2, WALKERA F210, AP10 PRO, 3DR SOLO and many more!

If we talk about 3DR Solo, you get GoPro Gimbal, spare battery, a sturdy carrying case and a drone that runs on 2 processors! All that at $500! One of its processor is inside the drone whereas the second one is latched on to the dedicated controller. Since the drone’s processors are working on a dedicated signal, you get superior responsiveness and even the connection range is considerably improved. You can switch the drone to Smart Shot Modes where the drone becomes an autonomous system and is capable to fly on its own, letting you focus on getting the best aerial stills and videos. Similarly, Walkera F 210 is the third machine into the market by the maker after Runner 250 and Furious 320. Based on anti-drop and anti-collision mechanism, it is the perfect quad for drone racers owing to qualities like adjustable 120 degrees angle, FPV, night vision and 700 TVL camera.​

The flying time for most of camera drones in this series is about 20-25 minutes.​

Best drone above $1000

When you are ready to shell this much money, be ready to get confused even more! Because you will have a gamut of choices and makers have made sure to include amazing features to woo you. Drones in this category are professional quadcopters and give you commendable quality of videos as well as pictures. Be it durability, live transmission, intelligent remote control or GPS hover, you get them all!

However, what would be the best drone above $1000 for you is something that you need to decide in accordance with your need and the features you are looking for. Features like obstacle avoidance, better battery life, upgraded camera and even insurance against crashes are covered by the makers, if you are willing for such a whooping price. Some of the drones in this category that are catching our fancy are Yuneec Q500 Typhoon Quadcopter, DJI Inspire 1, Walkera TALI H500 RTF5 Hexacopter, and DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter. If you are looking for stunning quality of aerial shots and video, go for them. Since these drones are for professionals, they aren’t ready-to-fly. They come with additional parts that need to be installed and assembled before they take off. They have gimbal as well, which help the camera to stay stable and click pictures even when there is wind or too much disturbance.

However, please note that even after such price, you may have to struggle with battery life that in controlled conditions are said to be no more than 30 minutes and in real life it doesn’t go beyond 20-25 minutes.

How to Buy a Drone: Your Drone Buying Guide

Before you get all hyped about buying a drone, we advise you to check the rules and regulations about flying a drone in your country and respective city. Once you have done that, scroll down to read 5 things you should know before you buy a drone!

1. ​The Flight Time and Battery:

Despite all these cool drones you get to see online and in retail stores, the flight time of drones still lags behind. It is the pain point that no maker have been able to get past as the average time for camera drone is still about 20 minutes. DJI Phantom 4 has a battery life of 28 minutes, which is the longest so far. Usually toy drones stay even lesser in the sky for about 5 to 12 minutes.

Some experts have suggested the use of Intelligent Energy and Hydrogen fuel cells to make it viable for the drones to have longer flight time. Usually, when you see the claims of makers of having particular flight time, it is under ideal conditions and controlled environment during the testing phase. In real life scenario, a lot of things add to it such as stronger winds, weight, faster flight times and more.​

2. Price (Terms and Conditions Apply!)

The price of the drone is only the beginning. Yes, because there is always an asterisk, a tiny and not-so-liked star that makes all of us cringe. So, the least you need to do after buying a drone is to invest in a couple of good spare batteries, prop guards and propellers or even charger. Usually, many drones are at risk of crashing during the flight that could either make you spend money on replacement parts or repairing. Though, DJI offers crash insurance now for its drones but if you aren’t covered, you are most likely to spend on the repairs as much as a new drone.

While you can’t do much about the replacement, you can definitely take note of the availability of the parts and customer support provided by the maker. Please note that it is important to get original parts of the drone because if you don’t, you can have serious quality and safety issues pertaining to the drone.​

3. Why do you need spare batteries and charger?

Because you wouldn’t want to spoil the fun in just 10 to 20 minutes! The flight time for the drones is just about 10 minutes in the air and they need at least 30 minutes to recharge.

4. The range of drones:

This depends mostly on the laws in your city. Most makers claim it to be over a 100m, chances are you could never get it more than 50m. Anyway, in the UK, you can’t let it go beyond your scope of the eye. While most cheap drones are the best bet to start with, they can never handle high winds. Hence, it is better that you pilot then on dry and warm days when there is no chance for them to be blown around. You can fly micro drones indoors too.

​This depends mostly on the laws in your city. Most makers claim it to be over a 100m, chances are you could never get it more than 50m. Anyway, in the UK, you can’t let it go beyond your scope of the eye. While most cheap drones are the best bet to start with, they can never handle high winds. Hence, it is better that you pilot then on dry and warm days when there is no chance for them to be blown around. You can fly micro drones indoors too.

5. Drone Cameras:​

If you want to fly the drone in your line of sight, you don’t have to have a drone with camera. But if you want your drone to cover something, you might need one of the best FPV drones out there that could provide you a real-time stream of the footage without even being in the line of sight.

You can get cheap drone with camera offering you a 1280x720p video but if you are looking for aerial view photography, you need drone with camera that could give you a stunning 1920x1080p quality.​

Moreover, just keep in mind, if you are buying a drone only for photography, it should have gimbal to keep the camera steady. On a limited budget, you can go for GoPro camera, WLToys V303, Flying 3D X8 with a gimbal mount.​

Drone with camera can record videos in two types. They can either record a video directly to a microSD card / USB drive or directly to a mobile. The latter is clearer and qualitative as the video is recorded directly and not over the air before being recorded to the USB drive.​

FAA Registration for RC Aircrafts:

Before you proceed to buy drone online, please note that you need FAA registration for each RC aircraft (homemade or commercial) unless it is a toy. It has been made mandatory by the US Federal Aviation Administration to register UAVs weighing anywhere between 0.55 pounds / 250 grams and 55 pounds / 25 kilograms irrespective of the fact that you are buying it for recreational and personal purpose. If you don’t this, you can be fined for $27,500 whereas the criminal penalties can go up to $250,000 and / or an imprisonment of up to three years. Toy drones weighing less than 250 grams such as Air Hogs Millennium Falcon are exempted from the FAA registration.

You can use a kitchen scale to weigh your drone and mostly all drones under $100, fall in the first category of 250 grams. So, chances are you need to register too and you can do it online in just $5. And you don’t have to register your aircraft but yourself. In return, you will be given a number to verify yourself that you are flying a drone. By doing this, you agree to the safety guidelines and directives of FAA that include flying your drone below 400 feet and not closer to the airports by staying away from them more than 5 miles.​

In Australia and the UK, you don’t have to register yourself for using a drone if you aren’t using it for a commercial purpose.​

Know your Drone:

What is a drone?

A drone is often called UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). In a simpler context, you can consider it as a flying robot or an unmanned aircraft.

For the starters, it is important that you should be able to differentiate your drones for sale and know what you want as well as what you are going to buy. Like any other technology you are coming across these days, drones have their own cool lingo, which you should know.​

RTF: Ready-to-fly, it is a drone that doesn’t require assembly and more like plug-n-play version. Just take it out of the box and it is all set.​

ARTF / ARF: It is more like RTF version that would require a bit of skills to assemble. It comes with radio transmitter (Tx) and Rx or receiver.

BNF: Bind-N-Fly drone models are RTF models that come installed with a receiver but if you want to throw in a radio transmitter to the mix, you need to shell out some money and buy it separately.​

FPV: Using this First-Person-View drone, you can shoot from the camera and video feed. This model has been used by pilots for an immersive experience during flights. You can also frame photos and videos using this drone.​

RTH: So, when a drone flies, it uses this model to fly back to its source destination. This feature comes in handy when you want your drone to reach to you after the flight.​

Gimbal: This is a camera stabilization system used by drones to bring you sharper photos and stable photos even when you are flying high in the sky.​

Headless mode: Using this mode, a pilot can steer the drone always forward irrespective of the direction he is pointing the remote’s stick in. This is quite a handy feature for beginners who have trouble keeping the drone pointed in a direction.​

Follow me: This feature utilizes the GPS signal of the pilot’s mobile, remote control or the subject it is tracking. This lets the drone follow the subject.​

Brushless motor: If you aren’t comfortable with the noise cheap drones usually make, shell a couple of dollars more for brushless motor, which is comparatively quieter and more efficient.

Final Words

Hope this lets you make an informed decision when you buy a drone online or offline. Drones can be a wonderful thing and used constructively once you have managed to maneuver them. Make sure that you comply with the authorities and regulation of your province before you fly one.

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