Drones have never been more popular. But shopping for drones is intimidating.
It’s hard to know which drone to buy. Many drones offer similar benefits and capabilities. Some drones cost $100 while others cost over $5,000.
What’s the best drone available today? Which drone should you buy? What’s the best cheap drone? We’re here to answer your questions.
Here’s our ranking of the best drones of 2021.
The Top Drones of 2021
We did hundreds of hours of research. We contacted manufacturers, pored over real-world tests, customer reviews, and expert analysis. After all of that research, here’s how we ranked the world’s best drones of 2021.
- DJI Air 2S
- Drone Nerds Consumer Drones
- Drone Nerds DJI Mavic
- Drone Nerds DJI FPV
- Explore AIR
- Tactic AIR Drone
- Tac Drone Pro
- XPRO Drone
- Novum Drone
- Skyline X Drone
- QuadAir Drone Pro
- Drone Pro 4K
- Drone 720X
- Drone X Pro
- T Drone
- Stealth Hawk Pro
- Drone XS
- DJI Phantom Pro
- Holy Stone GPS Drone
- Holy Stone HS720E
- DRONEEYE 4DV4
- SANROCK U52
DJI Air 2S
The DJI Air 25 is an all-in-one drone available in multiple configurations. You can buy the DJI Air Quadcopter ($999), for example, or the DJI Air 25 Fly More Combo ($1,299). Whether purchasing the base or upgraded model, you get a great drone from a reputable manufacturer at a reasonable price.
The DJI Air 25 Quadcopter is one of the world’s most popular drones. It features a 1-inch CMOS sensor, powerful autonomous functions, and a compact body weighing less than 600g. It’s ideal for everyone from hobbyists to photographers.
The DJI Air 25 also comes with a 20MP camera capable of filming a 5.4K video (with 30fps) or 4K video (with 60fps). Other valuable features include obstacle sensing in 4 directions, ADS-B, MasterShots, and 12km FHD, among other perks. For all of these reasons and more, the DJI Air 25 is one of the best drones available today.
Drone Nerds Consumer Drones
Drone Nerds offers a range of consumer drones at competitive rates. The company offers popular drones like the DJI Air 25, the DJI Mavic 3, the Autel Evo Series, and the DJI Phantom lineup, among other options.
Found online at DroneNerds.com, Drone Nerds features drones for all budgets and uses. Whether looking for an entry-level recreational drone, a high-end drone with advanced features, or other drones for other purposes, Drone Nerds has what you need.
Why pick one drone company when you can choose several? With Drone Nerds, you can pick from an extensive selection of drones at competitive prices. Plus, they’re an authorized DJI dealer, giving them added legitimacy over other low-quality drone stores online today.
Drone Nerds DJI Mavic
The DJI Mavic is one of the best-selling drones on the Drone Nerds online store. Whether buying the original DJI Mavic, the DJI Mavic 2, or the DJI Mavic 3, you can get the high-quality, good-value drone you need at a competitive price from Drone Nerds.
The latest DJI Mavic 3 is priced at $2,199 and offers a high-end drone experience unlike anything else on this list. Drone Nerds even sells a Cine Premium Combo drone for $4,999, allowing you to enjoy unparalleled photography and imaging for commercial use.
There’s even the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced ($6,500), which offers high-resolution thermal imaging, 32x zoom capability, a 48MP visual camera, and other perks you won’t find on consumer-grade drones.
Standard features on the DJI Mavic 3 include 46 minute flight time, the 4/3 20MP Hasselblad camera, the 5.1K Apple ProRes, and the omnidirectional obstacle sensing, among other perks. There are even two cameras on board for maximum image quality.
Drone Nerds DJI FPV
Drone Nerds’ DJI FPV is one of their best-selling drones. Priced at $1,299, Drone Nerds claims the DJI FPV can redefine flying while helping you rip through the clouds with speed, power, and control.
The DJI FPV is ideal for consumers who want a high-end videography and photography experience without needing the features of high-end commercial drones. The DJI FPV comes with 4K/60fps super-wide FOV, HD low-latency transmission, a brand new S mode, an intuitive motion controller, and an emergency brake and hovers function.
FPV has never looked this good before. With the Drone Nerds DJI FPV, you can get a great drone at a better price from one of the best drone retailers in the business.
The Explore AIR is a top-rated quadcopter priced at just $99. While other drones on this list cost $1,000 or more, the Explore AIR is priced under $100, with further discounts available when buying multiple drones at once (dropping the price as low as $59 apiece).
Although the Explore AIR doesn’t compete with the best drones in terms of features, it does offer several premium features. Including an ultra-wide-angle camera (120°), follow me and gesture functions, an easy-to-use remote control, quality build structure with shock-proof technology, and 12 to 15 minutes of flight time on a single charge.
If you want a decent drone that offers surprisingly good value, then the Explore AIR is one of the better options available. It may lack the recognition of other top-ranked options listed here, but the Explore AIR punches above its weight for value.
Tactic AIR Drone
The Tactic AIR Drone is a drone that offers similar features to the Explore AIR above. You get a smart follow me / private photographer mode, intelligent gesture recognition control, and a dual-camera and picture-in-picture display, among other perks.
Priced at $99 per drone, the Tactic AIR Drone offers similar value to other budget options on this list. The drone won’t fly as far, as fast, or as long as other top-ranked drones listed here. However, it’s not designed to compete with the best providers. It’s intended to give you a great drone at a better price.
Tac Drone Pro
The Tac Drone Pro is a quadcopter with a dual 4K HD camera. That camera records crystal clear videos at 120fps while taking photos up to 12MP.
The Tac Drone Pro also has a feature we don’t see on other drones: Intelligent Headless Mode, which helps users find the right direction and reach their landing spot. There’s also a gravity sensor to detect obstacles and avoid collisions automatically.
Plus, with wi-fi FPV, the drone allows you to see aerial photos and videos in real-time from your phone. Backed by an average rating of 4.6 stars and priced at $99, Tac Drone Pro offers similar features and functionality to other budget drones on our list.
The XPRO Drone is a budget drone that’s twice the price of the cheapest drone on our list, making it an effective low to mid-range option for all types of drone operators.
Key features on the XPRO Drone include a precise remote controller with rechargeable batteries, active stabilization with dedicated processing against the wind, 26 minutes of airtime, GPS calibration, and self-return function on battery low – all with breathtaking 4K videos and pictures.
Ultimately, the XPRO Drone packs a lot of features and functionality into a budget drone. At $199, the drone can help with photography, videography, mapping, and general drone usage. Plus, the price drops as low as $140 when ordering multiple drones at once.
The Novum Drone is a foldable, lightweight drone precisely engineered for easy flying. It’s also more durable than other budget options on our list. If you want a light, high-quality drone that doesn’t break the bank, then the Novum Drone is one of the best options listed here.
Other perks of the Novum Drone include the foldable propellers, gravity sensor (to avoid the ground and obstacles), slow-mo mode, and HD photos and videos at 60 frames per second.
If you want a basic drone that doesn’t break the bank, then Novum Drone is one of the better options available today, offering similar value to other $99 drones on our list. Plus, the price drops as low as $59 when taking advantage of the “Pro Pilot Pack” and buying multiple drones at once.
Skyline X Drone
The Skyline X Drone is a lightweight and foldable drone described as “a marvel of engineering and design.” The drone can follow you wherever adventure takes you.
The Skyline X Drone also has features we don’t expect on budget drones, including altitude holding and trajectory flight. It also has all the features you expect on budget drones, including an HD camera with photos and videos, a medium battery light, and app control, among other perks.
Another perk of the Skyline X Drone is its range of 3,000 feet, putting it beyond the wi-fi-only coverage of some of the cheapest drones available today. You can fly further and faster than you would with other budget drones while enjoying self-stabilization and an HD camera. What’s not to like?
QuadAir Drone Pro
The QuadAir Drone Pro is yet another lightweight, foldable drone ideal for budget-minded consumers who just want to get into the air.
Featuring a surprisingly sleek design, the QuadAir Drone Pro claims to be “the highest customer rated drone on the internet.” Although we’re skeptical of that claim, the QuadAir Drone Pro punches above its price with options like a gravity sensor, slow-mo mode, HD photos and videos at 60 frames per second, and a foldable design, among other perks.
Plus, with a top speed of around 30 miles per hour, the QuadAir Drone Pro may be the fastest drone in this budget range. It’s also designed to be easy to control. Priced as low as $60 when buying multiple units, the QuadAir Drone Pro has a regular price of around $99.
Drone Pro 4K
The Drone Pro 4K is a budget-friendly drone that offers a sturdy design despite being one of the lightest drones on our list. Featuring a controller that attaches to your phone for easy operation, the Drone Pro 4K beats some of the higher-rated drones in terms of value.
Although it may not have the durability and features of some of the top-ranked options on our list, the Drone Pro 4K is a decent option for those who just want to get in the air at a great, low rate.
The Drone 720X lets you see the world from new heights while snapping pictures and shooting videos from the skies. Featuring a 720p camera with 30fps resolution, the Drone 720X lives up to its name by just meeting the HD requirements.
Like other budget drones on our list, the Drone 720X has a short max control range that limits its usability (it works over a range of around 70 meters). However, that still gives you over 200 feet of room to explore around your house or property. Plus, with a surprisingly fast max speed of 49mph, the Drone 720X is one of the quicker options on our list.
We also like the Drone 720X because of the accessories included in the box. Oh, and did we mention there’s a live streaming view. Priced at $99, the Drone 720X is one of the best-value drones on our list.
Drone X Pro
The Drone X Pro lets you record epic adventures while offering an easy flying design that matches other budget drone options on our list. The sleek, black design makes the Drone X Pro look like something the military would use.
Plus, the Drone X Pro has all of the features you like to see on a mid to budget-range drone, including the ability to record HD photos and videos (with 720p resolution), a gravity sensor, a replay mode, a panorama mode, and foldable propellers. The 10 minute flight time isn’t the longest on our list, but it gives plenty of time to explore your local area.
Like other budget drones, the Drone X Pro features a controller that mounts on top of your smartphone for easy usability.
The T Drone is the cheapest drone on our list. Priced at just $70 per drone, the T Drone lets you get into the air at a more affordable rate than any other drone on our list.
The T Drone doesn’t compromise on all features to hit that price point. The drone has a 720p resolution, 15 to 20-minute battery life, and different speed settings, for example.
It’s rare to find a usable drone with a camera at this price range, and the T Drone checks a lot of boxes despite being a budget option, making it one of the best-rated options on our list.
Stealth Hawk Pro
The Stealth Hawk Pro is one of the most unique-looking drones available today. It looks more like a tiny helicopter than a traditional drone here. Instead of a quadcopter design, the Stealth Hawk Pro has a single rotor design – like an ordinary helicopter.
You can charge the drone with micro-USB, then let it fly for 10 to 20 minutes per charge. It’s equipped with an optical flow positioning camera, and you control the drone via an RF remote. Plus, you get a smart battery management system for a safe landing, ensuring your drone never crashes when you run out of power.
At $149 per unit (or as low as $89 each when buying multiple drones), the Stealth Hawk Pro offers one of the most fantastic designs on our list without breaking the budget.
The Drone XS is a budget drone offering stable, precision control via an RF remote – similar to most other $99 and under drones on our list.
We also appreciate a perk with the Drone XS we don’t see with all other drones: propellers with rounded tips to reduce the risk of injury. Plus, with an easy-to-charge battery and live video streaming from the drone’s camera, the Drone XS doesn’t sacrifice features to reach its low price point.
At $89, the Drone XS is the second cheapest drone on our list. It’s small and limited compared to other leading drones, but the Drone XS gets you in the sky for under $90.
The IZAX-PRO is a cheap drone priced at the same rate as the Drone XS above, which means it’s tied for being the second most affordable option on our list.
A 14-day money-back guarantee backs the IZAX-PRO. It features the perks you would expect on a sub-$100 drone, including the ability to film 4K, watch HD images in real-time, and take off and land in the palm of your hand.
If you want a small drone that provides basic recording and image capture, then the IZAX-PRO is one of the better options available for under $90.
The Qinux drone is one of the few budget options on our list with a 4K camera. While most budget options only use a 720p HD camera, the Qinux claims to offer “the best resolution on the market” with a 4K camera.
Although we’re skeptical of Qinux’s claim of offering a 4K camera, the drone is easy-to-use and has advanced features like return to home for better safety in flight. Plus, with a high-precision gimbal that adjusts the camera’s pitch angle during flight, the Qinux drone is more manageable to fly than other budget options.
And, priced at just $110, the Qinux drone won’t break the bank. It’s also lightweight and easy to store, making it ideal for anyone looking for an easy-to-use, hassle-free drone.
Best Drones on Amazon
You can easily buy high-end drones from Amazon. We applied the same ranking factors to Amazon’s top-selling drones. Here are the best drones available on Amazon today.
DJI Phantom Pro
The DJI Phantom Pro remains one of the most popular drones ever made. Today, the latest model, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, offers incredible value from one of the biggest manufacturers in the drone space.
The DJI Phantom Pro features a 3-axis motorized gimbal and a 1-inch 20MP CMOS sensor with a mechanical shutter to eliminate rolling shutter distortion. Plus, the optical remote control has a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD screen, giving you unprecedented control and visibility over your drone.
Plus, with a maximum flight speed of 72km/h and an 8km transmission range, the DJI Phantom Pro is powerful enough for all different tasks – from recreational to commercial use. There’s a reason it remains one of the world’s most popular drones year after year.
Holy Stone GPS Drone
The Holy Stone GPS Drone is equipped with a 1080p HD camera priced at under $170, making it one of the best-value drones ever released on Amazon.
Backed by 3,000+ ratings and an average score of 4.3 stars out of 5, the Holy Stone GPS Drone is also one of the best-rated drones online (ignoring other drones with fake reviews and perfect 5.0-star ratings).
The Holy Stone GPS Drone has features we don’t expect on budget drones. These include a 1080p HD FPV camera, customer flight path setting, automatic following capability, and GPS auto return (set home in the drone and have it always return home). It’s one of the best drones for beginners.
Holy Stone HS720E
Holy Stone’s HS720E is the more advanced version of the original Holy Stone GPS Drone. Featuring a 4K camera with 130° FOV, the Holy Stone HS720E is ideal for beginners who want added capability and features.
Advanced features on the HS720E include a 4K EIS anti-shake camera with a Sony sensor to reduce video blurring, giving you some of the crispest 4K video recordings you’ll find at this price range. The HS720E records 4K video at 30fps or 1080p video at 60fps.
Plus, with a 5GHz FPV transmission, the Holy Stone HS720E guarantees a transmission of 1,640 feet. The HS720E competes with drones twice or even three times its price with advanced flight mode and intelligent battery.
The DRONEEYE 4DV4 lacks the brand recognition of some of the top-ranked drones on our list. However, you also get a functional drone for under $90.
Priced at $89.99 per drone, the DRONEEYE 4DV4 is a usable quadcopter featuring a foldable design and an easy-to-use, smartphone-based remote. Plus, with a one-key start and altitude hold, it’s a great way to show beginners the ropes of operating a drone.
What holds the DRONEEYE 4DV4 back is the poor customer reviews. Like other sub-$100 drones, the DRONEEYE 4DV4 has poor controllability, poor camera ratings, and poor battery life, among other drawbacks. At $90, however, it provides the capabilities you expect on a cheap drone.
The SANROCK U52 is a 4K UHD drone with 30 minute flight time, a GPS return function, and an extra battery and carrying case – all for under $300.
If you’re avoiding the high price tag of DJI drones but still want a top-quality option, then the SANROCK U52 is one of the better options available today. Also known as the Ruko F11, the drone offers a 2,500mAh battery for longer flight time. And, because the drone comes with two batteries, you’re effectively getting 60 minutes of flight time (30 minutes per battery).
If you want a 4K UHD camera that doesn’t break the bank, then the SANROCK U52 is a top-rated option backed by plenty of solid reviews online – and one of the most competitive prices on our list.
How We Ranked The Top Drones
Comparing drones can feel overwhelming.
Many drones seem to offer similar capabilities. After hundreds of hours of research – and countless hours of deliberation – our team compiled the rankings above based on the factors below.
Features & Capabilities
Some people want all the bells and whistles on their drones, while others don’t even want a camera. We weren’t biased towards specific features and capabilities. However, drones with extensive customization options, advanced features, and better usability options (like automatic take-off and landing) were ranked near the top of our list.
Price & Value
You can spend anywhere from $100 to $6,000 on a drone. Some people want the best cheap drone, while others are willing to pay more for a premium drone. We weren’t biased towards a specific price point. However, we wanted each drone on our list to offer good value at its chosen price point. If you’re paying a low price for a drone, you should get a good budget experience. If you’re paying a premium price, you expect a premium experience.
Some drones offer a range of accessories in the box. Others require you to buy things like extra propeller blades and adaptors. It wasn’t the most crucial factor, but we liked drones that included a wide range of useful accessories in the box.
Build Quality & Durability
Some drones promise the world, only to fall apart after a single rough landing. We preferred drones with the most substantial build quality and durability to ensure they lasted through whatever you’re putting them through.
There’s no replacement for customer reviews and real-world experiences. How does the drone perform in suboptimal weather? Does the drone respond well to feedback? Is the drone easy to use? Although we tested our best drones of 2021 whenever possible, we also combed customer reviews.
Battery life varies widely across drones. For example, some drones offer strong performance for just 10 to 20 minutes, while others last for over an hour at maximum performance. Generally, battery life is one of the most important things to users, so we considered battery life in our rankings.
Does the drone have an excellent mobile app? Is the app easy to use? Is it hard to control the drone? Is the drone responsive to commands? All of these things impact the user experience. We tested drones whenever possible, and we also checked customer reviews to verify the best drones on our list offered the best possible user experience.
The drone world has plenty of established companies with a strong reputation, including DJI. We considered manufacturer reputation in our rankings, preferring drone companies with a long and proven reputation for creating high-quality drones. However, we weren’t biased towards older companies specifically. Any company with a track record of releasing multiple quality products was pushed towards the top of our list.
Some drones have a long list of accessory options to enhance their usability and effectiveness of drones. DJI, for example, offers low-noise propellers, hard cases, and combo kits, among other valuable accessories and packages. Although it wasn’t the most critical ranking factor, accessories were essential for getting the most from your drone.
When a drone has an extended warranty, the manufacturer believes the drone will last a long time. When a drone has a short warranty, it means the manufacturer is less confident. The best drones on our list have an extended and powerful warranty, offering complete coverage for your drone for years past your purchase date. That’s standing behind your product.
Who Should Buy a Drone?
Anyone can buy a drone. Some of the people who should buy a drone include:
- Kids, teenagers, and adults eager to explore an exciting new technology
- Anyone shopping for a great Christmas gift
- Photographers and videographers who want to upgrade their shots
- Anyone wishing to start a successful drone business
- Hobbyists, homeowners, landowners, and anyone else who wants to experience the thrill of flight without actually flying
Categories of Drones
There are four categories of drones. These categories could play a role in receiving certification from the FAA, CAA, and other aviation authorities.
Categories of drones include:
Multi-rotor drones include quadcopters, which are the most popular types of drones in the consumer market today. Multi-rotor drones are easy to fly, even for those with limited experience. Most multi-rotor drones have four props, although some have 6 (hexacopters) or 8 (octocopters).
Single Rotor Drone
Some recreational drones are single rotor drones. They have one large rotor that functions like a big, spinning wing. They also have a smaller rotor on the tail for stability and direction. They’re harder to fly than multi-rotor drones.
Fixed Wing Drone
A fixed-wing drone is popular for mapping and spatial analysis. It looks more like an ordinary airplane than a recreational drone. These drones require special training to fly.
Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Drone
VTOL drones are a new concept. They’re like a hybrid UAV combining a fixed-wing system with a traditional multi-rotor system. The main advantage is that you can launch the drone from the ground without needing a launching system (or needing to throw the drone).
10 Fun Things to Do With a Drone
You’ve just bought a new drone. Now, it’s time to put that drone to use. Here are ten fun things you can do with a drone.
Create an Obstacle Course
Want to test your skills as a drone operator? Create an obstacle course at home. Fly your drone between trees in your yard and attempt to land in a specific spot as quickly as possible. You can set up garbage cans or hang hula hoops from trees to challenge yourself.
Take it Hiking
Many people take drones hiking for aerial videos and photos. Taking a drone video on a mountaintop, for example, can create a spectacular show you’ll treasure forever.
Create a 3D Map of your Property
Drones are more advanced than many people realize. They can create a 3D image of your property while taking many photos. Just install the software, then fly around your property taking pictures. The software maps each image to specific points, allowing you to create a highly-detailed image of your home, property, or land.
Film Special or Major Events
Is there a significant parade in your area? Want to get great crowd shots of a festival? Want to get a unique perspective of someone’s wedding? Drones are ideal for significant events. Although they’re banned from some events (notable sporting events), drones can give a unique perspective to other important events.
Join a Local Flying Club
Many drone operators join a local flying club as there are likely plenty of drone operators in your area. It’s a great way to meet other drone pilots and like-minded people.
Join a Drone Racing League
Think you’re an excellent drone operator? Test your skills at a local drone racing league. Drone racing is an intense activity where you dodge obstacles, navigate obstructions, and attempt to reach the finish line before any other drone.
Take Unforgettable Holiday Photos and Videos
Bring a drone on vacation for amazing videos and photos. Get a great shot of you relaxing on the beach as your drone zooms away above you, for example.
Check Your Property for Damage
Some property owners use drones to check their roofs and gutters for damage, for example. You can check for damage without actually getting on your roof.
Take a Selfie or Group Shot
You think you’ve taken a great selfie or group shot – but wait till you try it with a drone. Get a group of friends on a mountaintop to take a fantastic picture with a drone, for example. Capture a group from an angle that usually requires a high ladder.
Start a Drone Business
If you want to take your drone operator skills to the market, you can start a drone business. Some people start a drone business because nobody else in their area is offering drone photography and videography. Others create a drone business because they like flying drones and want to do it professionally. If starting a drone business, there are many options available.
Commercial Uses for Drones
People launch commercial drone businesses every day. Some drone businesses are jacks-of-all-trades, helping everyone from land surveyors to real estate agents. Other drone companies specialize in aerial thermographic surveys or topographical surveys.
Some of the most popular commercial uses for drones include:
Drone Aerial Inspection
Some drone businesses perform a range of aerial inspections. They check the property, photograph real estate, or inspect industrial equipment, for example.
Drone Thermographic Aerial Survey
The drone company uses thermal imaging sensors and standard RGB sensors to inspect energy loss, leakage, heat buildup, insulation effectiveness, electrical components, and more. Industrial sites, plants, or even homes could benefit from an aerial thermographic survey, as it could indicate premature failure.
Long Range Asset Inspection
Some drone companies have powerful RGB cameras to perform long-range asset inspections. Some drone companies provide close-up examinations of components that would typically require shutdown or isolation, for example.
Land Survey and Topographical Surveys
Drones have changed the land survey world. They can cover more ground faster than traditional surveying methods. They can also tie end data into pre-positioned ground control points, creating an accurate map of an area.
3D Imaging and Point Cloud Analysis
Drones can help with 3D image development and 3D modeling, which is helpful for new construction developments. Drones can also create point clouds from a series of data points. Drones capture overlapping images and reference them using coordinates, making a point cloud.
Internal Inspection and Confined Space Surveys
If you need to inspect an enclosed space, like a storage tank, then a drone could help. Drone companies may offer tank inspections to reduce downtime and minimize safety hazards, for example.
Promotional Videos & Photography
Many drone companies specialize in aerial videography and photography. The drone operator may work with real estate agents, event venues, or marketing agencies to create promotional videos and photography.
Roof and Home Inspection
Some drone companies specialize in roof and home inspection. You might travel around your neighborhood after a storm, for example, and offer to inspect someone’s roof and gutters for damage.
Search & Rescue
S&R crews around the world now use drones for operations. They can help locate someone in rugged terrain, for example, and save someone’s life.
Insurers are increasingly using drones to inspect the property, verify claims, and assess damages.
Farming and Agriculture
Some people use drones to monitor crops. Farmers can see their crops in real-time and make adjustments. Other companies lend their services to farmers.
Drones are revolutionizing the delivery industry. In the future, most small goods and services will be delivered with drones – and we see more drone deliveries every year.
Entrepreneurs succeed when they spot an opportunity nobody else has spotted. The drone industry continues to grow. As drones become more advanced, they become more useful than ever. There is an endless range of business possibilities available for your future drone business.
FAQs About Drones
We get plenty of questions about drones. We’ll answer our most frequently asked questions below.
Q: What is a drone?
A: A drone is a crewless aerial vehicle built for recreational and commercial use. A pilot on the ground controls drones.
Q: Where can I fly a drone?
A: You can fly a drone in most places, except for areas where it’s forbidden. For example, per FAA regulations, you cannot fly a drone over 400 feet in altitude above the ground. You also cannot fly recreational drones near airports. However, drone operators with a commercial license may avoid certain restrictions.
Q: How big are drones?
A: Some drones are as light as 4oz and can fit into the palm of your hand. Others are larger than a car and designed for military use. Most recreational drones sold today weigh 2lbs to 20lbs. Per US regulations, recreational drones can weigh no more than 55lbs (25kgs).
Q: How old do I need to be to fly a drone?
A: You must be 13 years old to register a drone with the FAA in the United States, and drone registration is required for all drones that weigh more than 0.55lbs. Technically, however, there’s no age requirement for flying a drone in the United States, and the person who registers the drone does not need to be the person flying the drone. Nevertheless, larger drones may require careful operation and sudden decision-making to avoid accidents. Generally, children who can ride a bike in traffic or use a computer without supervision are old enough to fly a drone.
Q: Do I need to register my drone?
A: Any drones that weigh over 0.55lbs (250 grams) need to be registered with the FAA. The person flying the drone (who does not need to be the person who purchased the drone) must be at least 13 years old.
Q: Does every drone have a different number?
A: As a drone owner, you can use the same registration number for every drone weighing between 0.55lbs and 55lbs. Drones over 55lbs require a unique registration number.
Q: Do I need a license to fly a drone?
A: No, you do not need a license to fly a drone for recreational purposes.
Q: Where can I not fly a drone?
A: You cannot fly drones around airports, National Parks, sporting events, or in restricted military areas without getting permission to do so. Additionally, some private communities, parks, and other regions have banned drones. Plus, some drone apps prevent you from flying in restricted areas. Check local restrictions before you fly.
Q: Do I need permission to fly a drone?
A: You do not need permission to fly a drone in most areas, although you may need permission in some areas. In all areas, you also need to register your drone with the FDA before flying it (assuming the drone weighs over 0.55lbs). If flying a drone in restricted airspace, for example, then you need FAA permission. If you are flying a drone for commercial purposes, you must get FAA certification as a commercial drone pilot.
Q: Does my drone need to be inspected?
A: The FAA has not set any requirements for drone inspection or testing.
Q: Do I need permission to modify or change my drone?
A: No, you do not need permission to build, change, or modify your drone. However, changing your drone may impact the manufacturer’s warranty. Additionally, you may need to register your drone if the changes make it heavier than 0.55lbs or if you plan to use the modifications for commercial purposes.
Q: Can I bring a drone on a plane?
A: Most airlines have no restrictions for bringing drones on planes, although you may need to check the battery capacity. The FAA has set rules on rechargeable battery capacities that may impact the transport of larger drones.
Q: Can I mail or ship a drone?
A: You should be able to mail or ship a drone, although some companies have restrictions on mailing and shipping drones.
Q: What does RPAS mean?
A: RPAS stands for Remotely Piloted Aircraft System. Some people use the term “RPAS” interchangeably with “drone.”
Q: What does sUAS mean?
A: sUAS stands for Small Unmanned Aerial System. It’s an alternative word for “drone,” and it’s prevalent among military personnel.
Q: How high can I fly a drone?
A: As a recreational drone pilot, your drone needs to stay lower than 400 feet above ground level. If you’re a commercial pilot, you have different limits.
Q: How far can I fly a drone?
A: Per US regulations, you or someone else assisting you must remain in the visual line of sight of the drone at all times during operation.
Q: Can I fly a drone under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
A: It’s against FAA regulations to operate a drone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Q: What does UAV mean?
A: UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Some prefer using this term instead of a drone.
Q: What does PfCO mean?
A: PfCO stands for Permission for Commercial Operations. This permission allows a drone operator or commercial drone service to operate commercially.
Q: What does NQE mean?
A: NQE stands for National Qualified Entity. For example, a drone training company might advertise themselves as NQE certified, which means they have been approved to help operators and companies obtain Permissions for Commercial Operation (PfCO).
Q: What does it mean to fly a drone for commercial purposes?
A: If you get paid to operate a drone or earn money in exchange for photography and videos taken with your drone, you are running a drone commercially. Commercial drone pilots require a commercial operator’s license – like a PfCO.
Q: What is the FAA?
A: The FAA is the Federal Aviation Agency of the United States. The FAA is responsible for regulating aviation safety in the United States.
Q: What is the CAA?
A: The CAA is the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom. They’re responsible for regulating aviation safety in the United Kingdom.
Q: What does VLOS mean?
A: VLOS refers to Visual Line Of Sight. You or someone helping you must have VLOS of your drone during operation, per FAA regulations. Some aviation authorities also set specific thresholds for VLOS. The CAA maintains 500m as the maximum threshold for VLOS, for example.
Q: What is BVLOS?
A: BVLOS is Beyond Visual Line Of Sight. Some drone operators need to go BVLOS when mapping large or remote areas, for example.
Q: Can I fly my drone in the rain?
A: Most drones aren’t weatherproof, and most drone operators do not fly in the rain for that reason. However, some advanced or high-end drones are water-resistant and can be flown safely in the rain without damage.
Q: What’s the best drone?
A: Any of the top-ranked drones on our list are among the best drones available today. The DJI Air 25, the DJI Mavic, the DJI FPV, and the Explore AIR are among the best and most popular drones available today.
Q: Is it hard to fly a drone?
A: Some drones are hard to fly, while others are easy to fly. Generally, cheap drones are easy to fly, while higher-end drones have extensive features that make them more challenging to fly. However, many high-end drones also have usability features like automatic take-off and landing, making them easier to fly.
Q: How long does a drone fly?
A: Drones typically fly for 15 to 25 minutes. Few drones are designed to fly longer than 30 minutes, and many drones fly fewer than 10 minutes before needing to be recharged.
Q: What’s the best place to fly a drone?
A: The best place to fly a drone is an open area with few people – like a field, a mountain top, or a wilderness area.
Q: Can I put a camera on my drone?
A: Some drones come with cameras pre-installed. Other drones come with camera attachments allowing you to add your own. Some drones are not designed to work with cameras at all.
Q: How long does it take to charge a drone?
A: It takes 1 to 2 hours to charge a drone from 0% to 100%. You may need to charge the drone controller and the drone.
Q: Do I need extra drone batteries?
A: Buying an extra drone battery is not a bad idea because it allows you to fly your drone longer without needing a recharge.
Q: Can I fly my drone over water?
A: Yes, you can fly your drone over water. However, it can be difficult to retrieve a drone that has crashed into the water, and most drones are not waterproof.
Q: What happens if I crash my drone?
A: If you crash your drone, it may have minor or severe damage. Some crashes destroy drones. Others leave cosmetic marks. If the impact was due to a user error, it’s unlikely that you can make a warranty claim. If the crash was due to a manufacturing error (say, if the drone flew away, stopped responding, and crashed on its own), then you may be able to file a warranty claim.
Q: Can I build my own drone?
A: Yes, you can build your own drone. You can find plenty of DIY Drone kits on the internet that give you all of the parts you need to make your drone.
Q: How much do I need to spend on a good drone?
A: For a premium drone experience, prepare to spend $600 to $1,000. The more expensive drones have high-end cameras, easy flying controls, and powerful performance.
Q: What is FPV?
A: FPV stands for First Person View. Some drones allow you to fly via FPV, which could make it easier to pilot your drone.
Q: What’s the cheapest drone I can buy?
A: Some of the cheapest drones on our list cost $60 to $100 while offering a decent range of features, making them the best cheap drones on our list.
Q: Do I need insurance for your drone?
A: You do not need insurance for your drone. However, you may want your drone covered under your existing insurance policy for liability insurance and replacement coverage. If you have homeowners insurance or renters insurance, then this insurance may already cover your drone. Check with your insurer, as some high-end drones may require an endorsement (required on items over $500 or $1,000).
Q: Is it hard to take off and land a drone?
A: It’s not hard to take off and land a drone. Many drones have automatic take-off and landing systems. However, you may need to take off and land on your own with cheaper drones, and many accidents occur during this phase.
Q: Can I add my GoPro to a drone?
A: Yes, you can add a GoPro to your drone. Some drones are designed to carry GoPro cameras.
Q: What happens if I fly my drone too far away?
A: If you fly your drone beyond the range of your controller, then it will automatically land or return to home (come back to your controller). Not all drones have this feature, however.
Q: What’s the penalty for failing to register my drone?
A: According to the FAA, If you fail to register your drone, you could pay anywhere from $27,500 to $250,000 in fines or spend three years in jail.
Q: Do I need to carry my proof of registration when operating my drone?
A: Yes, you need to keep your FAA registration certificate in your possession when operating your drone.
Q: Do I need to register my drone even if I’m just flying it for fun in my yard?
A: The FAA requires you to register any drone over 0.55lbs flown anywhere within the United States, even if it’s just for recreational purposes within your yard.
Q: How much does it cost to register my drone?
A: It costs $5 to register your drone with the FAA, and you must renew your registration every three years.
Q: Do I need to register my drone with the state?
A: Depending on your state, you may need to register your drone with the FAA and the state’s aviation authority. In Oregon, for example, drone operators must register with the Oregon Department of Aviation (ODA) and pay a $25 fee every year to legally operate a drone.
Q: Can I fly my drone at night?
A: Most drone operators do not fly drones after dark. If you fly your drone at night, make it visible at all times and have appropriate lighting.
The Top Drones of 2021 Final Word
Today’s drones are advanced systems loaded with excellent features.
Some people use drones for business purposes. Others use drones for recreational use. Again, these are the best drones to buy in 2021:
No matter how you plan to use your drone, you can find the best drone for your unique needs on our list of the best drones of 2021 above.
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Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely a substitute for sound medical advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Make sure to consult with a professional physician before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary as the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.