Despite the limitations of current legislation,UAVs are a very attractive gadget for their wide variety of designs, options and budgets, which is why many people are embarking on the adventure of buying a UAV.
If this is the case for you, in this UAV buying guide you will find tips on how to find the most suitable UAV for you among a range of models from 10 to 3,500 USD
What to consider before buying a drone
If we are determined to buy a drone, the first thing will be to be clear about what type of drone we want, what we hope to use it for and what investment we will make. Of course, we will have to take into account what the law says.
Types of UAVs
In general, we understand that UAVs trample on an unmanned aerial vehicle, although on the market we also find land and water-based UAVs. However, the most common and popular are airborne, and they are focused on this article.
In this type of aerial drone we find recreational or leisure drones, which we will devote to have fun with it in our hands perform flights, acrobatics, snapshots and recordings of more or less quality, which can even touch the professional. As far as drones for professional activity are concerned, the main difference with the previous ones is the quality of your camera and in bigger technical specifications, which we will go into more detail later.
Another way to classify aerial drones is by the number of drone rotors. In the input range, it is common to find quadcopters, i.e. models with four rotors. This type of UAV is simple, is mainly intended for domestic flight and is easier to control thanks to managed flight systems. As we progress in the range, we find models with six and eight engines where the range and speed increase, making it difficult to fly outdoors. Other features such as stabilisation or GPS come into play here.
Another classification to take into account when buying a UAV is the possibility of mounting it yourself, something particularly interesting if it's for racing, or if it's an RTF model, ready to fly as soon as you take it out of its packaging.
Eye on the information sheet: range and autonomy
If we are already clear on the type of UAV we want, it is time to take a look at the data sheet, where we will find information on its autonomy and range, two fundamental aspects when choosing a UAV. And if we're going to use it to take pictures or videos, we'll also have to pay attention to what the camera that's built in is.
The range is the radius of operation of the drone, both in distance and height. When a UAV reaches the maximum range and loses contact with the controller or smartphone, it usually stops or returns to the starting point.
Obviously, the more radio, the more room you have to fly, but also the more you have to be extremely safe. In the case of interiors, it's not such an important aspect, but if you're going to use it outdoors, the minimum should be about 150 ft. to ensure a satisfactory flight experience. As we increase the budget, we are finding features such as GPS or height limiters to better control the location of the UAV.
If you get itchy drones and start flying them assiduously, one thing you'll greatly appreciate is enough autonomy for the experience. Unfortunately, even if you choose a high-end model, the range of the drones is not very high. The recommended minimum for an interesting experience is 15 minutes, although the most common range is between 10 and 30 minutes. One way to overcome this limitation is to have spare batteries and a quality charger.
The next important point is the camera, in case your goal is to use your drone for photos and videos in the air. Low cost models lack a camera and as we increase the budget, we find proposals with a higher resolution (1080p quality or even 4K) and with a gimbal based image stabilizer. Another option is that they have a stand to attach a camera.
These three features are the ones that make the difference between the simplest and the most affordable and the most complete and expensive drones, but they are not the only ones to be considered.
Another important factor is the way the drones are controlled, something that can be done either through the smartphone using an application or with radio frequency controls. Smartphone drones are the most affordable and lowest-cost drones because they are paired via Wi-Fi. In drones that use controls the radius is larger and if you want to make long-range flights, it is ideal to look for an FPV or "first person view" model, so that the drone is like your eyes.
If we're looking for a model that is moderately affordable, but won't get us out of it quickly, we'll take a look at the type of engine. Specifically, whether it's a brushless or brushless engine. So, while in professional racing or recording drones you will find brushless motors, the low end will be brushless motors. Brushless motors with less durability, while brushless motors are more robust, optimized, powerful.
Finally, it is not necessary to see if the drone we are going to buy has spare parts. In the case of drones under 50 USD, it is not worth it, but in the rest of the models, it is interesting to check that we can buy propellers, batteries and other components to keep our drone in perfect condition against use and deterioration.
Which drone to buy:
The wide range of drones on the market allows us to find models that meet our needs in a wide range of prices : simple drones for interiors, basic drones to get us started, good value drones, racing drones, drones with quality cameras...
In this article, you will find 23 models that match all budgets and expectations. To make the search easier, we offer drones in different price ranges and some of the most popular and proven models, always trying to offer as much diversity as possible.