Drone Buyer Guide
Welcome to ZapRC.com, where we give you the latest news and reviews on RC drones, RC helicopters, RC quadcopters toys and more. It’s an exciting time to join the R.C drone hobby. With all the new emerging drone technology there is a lot to choose from. ZapRC’s Drone Buying Guide will help you put your foot in the door and get off on the right step to your RC drone flying in no time. Whether you are new to RC drones or just looking for some reviews and articles on some of the products out there, our drone buyer guide has something for you. .
Drone Buyer Guide : OverviewTypes of Drones
We’ve created an easy to use drone buyer guide for you to read over if this is your first time getting into the drone hobby. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran flyer, our guide has something useful for you. We covered drone features to look for, different types of drones, drone technology, drone price ranges, safety and flight tips and guidelines, and picked out some top rated drones for beginners and experts.
What to Look for When Buying Your Drone – Drone Features
Advancements in drone technology have created a market of user friendly, affordable and fun drones. There are basic industry standards for manufacturers in making a quality drone. If you’re wondering what you should be looking for when making your first or next drone purchase, here are 5 basic features that you should always pay attention to when choosing your next drone.
Drone Flight Time & Battery Life
The battery life or flight time is how long you can keep your drone in the air. The longer the better of course. Estimated flight time and battery life will vary depending on drone size, power and other features. You should always have a spare battery or two charging while you’re flying, so you can easily switch the batteries out to keep on going.
Speed is a feature everyone wants in their drone. It’s part of what makes flying drones so much fun. The faster the more fun, but remember to be safe and not crash your drone. Some drones, like the DJI Phantom 4, can reach speeds of up to 45 MPH
The range of your drone is an important feature and something to always be aware of. The range lets you know how far you can fly your drone away from you, in feet, before losing contact with the remote control. If you fly too far you can lose signal and crash. The stronger the range, the further exploration you can achieve.
When you’re buying your drone make sure to see what kind of controller it has. The controller is one of the most important features. Some drones come with both an RC controller, as in a radio controlled physical controller with thumb sticks, and also have the ability to hook up to an app based on your phone or tablet. Drones with app based controllers and with a camera are nice because you can actually see your drone in first person as you fly through the air. RC thumb stick controllers can be a little harder to get the hang of. App based controllers can have a tap to fly feature, like the DJI Phantom 4, and can allow you to easily tap on the screen and fly your drone in the direction you want.
Cameras for drones or drones with optional camera slots are important features to look for. Part of the reason drones were invented in the first place was for aerial photography and surveillance, so why not enjoy them to their full ability. Some higher end drones have 4k high definition cameras for taking clear and beautiful photos, and stabilization technology for making professional videos. Some drones have an optional slot area for attaching a GoPro or another camera of your choice, while some are already built in. If you’re looking to film or take photos while you soar through the sky with your drone, then pay close attention to the camera specs that come with your drones.
Types of Drones
One of the only types of drones available for commercial purchase is the quadcopter type of drone. Every drone you see for sale from a manufacturer is going to be a quadcopter. Quadcopter drones basically consist of a control board and panel in the center, with 4 extensions in an X pattern, 4 rotary blades for air lift, and aerial rings around the rotary blades. There are variations in design, size and features for quadcopters. They are the most stable to fly, allow for the easiest setting for aerial viewing, and offer an overall great experience for remote control drone flight. While there are dozens of types of drones the military uses, and some custom designs by private engineers, quadcopters are the primary design for public use.
While drone technology might be a little limited for the public, the military has a wide array of advanced stealth drones, aerial surveillance drones and attack drones..maybe UFO’s?…A lot of the military drones we know of have been neatly organized on a cool chart, thanks to designer Ruben Pater. The Amsterdam based designer created a great chart full of advanced military drones, and ways to avoid them, creative techniques for hacking drones, blinding drones, and more. You can order an aluminum paper copy of the Drone Survival Guide from the maker’s site if you want to support them. You can check out a digital copy of the Drone Survival Guide here on ZapRC too.See the drone survival guide
Drones for Beginners
There are a lot of drones for beginners. Most RC drones are actually made for beginners because companies want more and more people to get into the hobby. There are some drone manufacturers that clearly stand above the rest when it comes to entry level drones for beginners. Some of the features you’ll want in your first drone are
- Durability – you’ll probably be crashing a few times your first flight. Get something that can handle it
- Easy Controls – easy to use remotes and app based controls will make flying easier to get the hang of
- Battery Life – longer battery life is great, the more you practice the better you’ll get
- Speed – medium high speeds are great for beginners. 7-15 MPH is a good range to stay in
Racing drones are made for exactly what their name implies, racing and speed. Racing drones can go very fast, 60 MPH +. These types of drones should be flown by experienced drone pilots. They’re some of the funnest drones to fly and if you have some friends, and a course, you have a race. Remember to always be safe when flying drones at speeds racing drones are capable of. Here are some features to look for when buying a racing drone.
- Speed – This is an obvious. If you want to race and be competitive you’ll have to get something fast
- Agility – You’ll want something agile with easy to use controls. When you’re flying fast, you’ll want total control of your drone
- Durability – Durability is a must. You’re probably going to crash your racing drone no matter how good you are. When you’re flying this fast it’s bound to happen
One of the coolest things about technology and gadgets is they get smaller and smaller over the years. Drones are no different. Within recent years some companies have been manufacturing miniature and micro sized drones, and they are awesome. Micro drones are very user friendly, easy to fly – you can fly them inside – micro drones are fast, fun and great for everyone. Some micro drones even have cameras on them so you can get the same filming experience you’ll get with normal size drones. Some of the features you’ll want on your micro drone are
- Durability – micro drones are quick and could crash if you aren’t being careful, best to get one that can take a few punches
- Speed – If you’re going small you might as well get one that goes fast
- Camera – Some micro drones have cameras now and its a great feature to have while you fly around your house
- Range – Just because its small doesn’t mean it can’t go far