First, I want to tell that I am not being paid to promote these drones.
I have picked random drones as an example to show what is possible, and also used my own as an example.
I have ordered a lot at Gearbest, and therefor using their site to show the drones. Feel free to look somewhere else
What is the best drone to start with…
Tough question to be honest, it all depends what you want, but I would suggest to start simple.
Indoor flying is a great way to start, and there are a lot of small drones you could use for indoor flying.
Most of these drones (not all) have propeller guards and will protect you, your stuff, and the propellers against damage.
Flying indoors is also great because there is no wind, this way you can stay focused on the controls instead of controlling the drone and correcting it against the wind.
The most important thing to learn when you buy a drone, big or small, cheap or expensive, are the controls!
I think most of you have driven RC cars when we were young, but a drone is somewhat different.
Some drones can be ordered with either a Mode 1 or Mode 2 controller, and some have the option to switch between the modes (mostly drones that have altitude hold) Mode 2 is the most common
Here are the differences
As you can see, the remote controls a lot! And it might take some time to get used to.
My advise is to try and do things step by step. First try to hover, then try to move around.
When you are able to maintain altitude and move around try and make squares, or a figure 8
This all helps with learning the controls.
Normally when you move the forward stick up the drone moves forward, if the rear is facing you.
But when the front of the drone is facing you, the controls are a bit harder. Left stick input makes the drone go right, it’s still left for the drone though!
This adds to the learning curve of controlling a drone.
Cheaper, or drones without altitude hold are a great learner.
There are many makes, and just as many models. A small one is usually good for flying indoors.
All the cheaper drones have bushed motors. (getting back to that later)
Brushed motors don’t have too much power, so they are perfect for flying indoors.
Here are a few examples:
JJRC H36 (Tiny Whoop knock off)
This one has good protection, and is tough! damage will be none if you hit something, or yourself.
And it’s available in many great colours.
This is a small drone, and has no propeller guards.
The size makes is a great indoor drone, and it’s available in black and white.
The ones that almost sell on every corner of town are mini quads.
These come in a lot of colours, some even have a camera!
Have a look here to see how many there are.
I still fly my little hexacopter everyday! It is great for flying indoors.Correction, it’s broken! only after 2 weeks the drone doesn’t fly anymore.
And also the LiDi drone gets flown indoors.
But when you want to do a bit more, and want to fly on a field, or in your backyard these small ones are not really the ones to have.
For a bit outside flying you’d need a slightly bigger drone.
A small drone gets out of sight after a meter or 10, but if you have a somewhat bigger one you can fly further without losing sight of it.
A very common one is the Syma X5C.
This one has many knock-offs, ,basically every brushed drone of this size is a knock-off from the great Syma X5C.
The X5C also comes with a camera, this is not the best one, but it records 720p video and 2mp photo’s
It’s available in black, white and red, and it’s a nice looking drone.
I started flying with a knock-off of a Syma X5C and I still have one. this is a LiDI R/C and is even waterproof, so you can crash it in water and still fly it!
I would highly recommend using a Syma, or any knock off for use and learning outside.
It is very stable and controls are great! in fact, controls are so good that you can even fly it indoors without problems!
Like I mentioned before, these are all basic drones that have no assistance from a compass, barometer or even GPS.
The next step from these drones would be one with altitude hold (barometer)
This function makes the drone hover at the same height even when you let go of the controls. this option is a great addition if you want to learn to photograph with your drone.
This would be a drone that is capable of hovering (Altitude Hold)
Make sure when you are looking for this option that you choose one with ALTHOLD or Altitude Hold
One step higher would be a drone with GPS.
A drone with GPS it way more advanced that just altitude hold. GPS locks it’s position and maintains that.
A drone with only altitude hold will drift away with the wind, it only stays at the same height.
GPS lock makes the drone stay in place, even when the wind plays with it. with GPS you can keep the drone at the same place (GPS) and at the same height (Barometer) and due to the compass it even maintains it’s heading!
The absolute cheapest GPS drone at this moment is the Hubsan X4 Desire H502E
I have one as well, and it was my first step in GPS drones. the reason it is cheap is because it has brushed motors.
This little drone is rock solid at GPS hold, and has a 720p camera onboard.
You can read telemetry from the remote (Height, Distance, Heading, etc) and it has return to home!
That means that with a push of a button it returns to the GPS location you’ve armed it. This is accurate within a meter or 2. great when you lost sight of it, it will return to you without you bothering about the whereabouts.
Hubsan also has an S version (H502S) that comes with First Person View (FPV).
The drone is the same, only a different camera and controller.
This camera and controller shows a live camera feed on your controller. you are able to see what the camera sees right from in your hands!
So far the step from absolute beginner drones to the basic GPS drones.
Like I said, I think these are great to learn, but are not that good at taking pictures, and durability of brushed motors is not that good. Some last longer than others, but brushed motors will wear out, and will need replacing sooner or later.
The next step would be all the goodies from the H502E/S in a better package.
This is where the Huban H501 comes in.
Again, you will have 2 versions, 1 with and 1 without FPV
The 501C is the basic model without FPV, the S has FPV
This is the next step because it has brushless motors.
Brushless motors can last forever, and have a lot more power.
downside is that the motors are a bit more expensive, that results in a higher drone price, but it’s worth the money.
The camera is also a bit better, and it’s a bit bigger as well.
As you might have noticed, these drones all have a camera that is either attached, or built in the drone.
If you want to do some video or photo works with your drone these are not ideal.
Even Though the H501 has a decent camera that does nice stills, it’s still not the best for aerial photography, let alone videography.
If you want to do this kind of work, you will need at least a 2D gimbal.
A gimbal is mounted under the drone, and compensates the movement of the drone.
This is great for aerial photography, because the camera is always level!
Theses drones come at a much higher price than the drones mentioned before, but you will have greater footage of them as well. I have an UpAir one, and the footage from it is just awesome.
And from here there is almost no limit in possibilities and prices.
DJI, Yuneec, and so many others make great drones that are all good in their own way.
You can also leave the camera drones aside and start racing drones, racing is a complete different kind of droning.
You are looking at prices €450,- and way up for camera drones.
That is why I started with the cheap ones, you don’t want to crash a drone that costs a month’s worth of rent/mortgage. and therefore these cheap options are great to learn.
This is my opinion, and other people might have other opinions, but I don’t make €3000,- a month, so crashing high end drones is not something I prefer.
I hope you had fun reading this, and helped you in your decision what drone to buy.
Let me know in the comments.
Now that you have read this it’s also good to read about the batteries drones use.
These are not your ordinary batteries, LiPo’s are a lot different, and need extra care.
These is alo a lot more to read when you are new to this great hobby.
This article shows you a lot of other useful tips after you have bought your drone