What you need to know about buying a drone

People are keener than ever to record the world around them. From selfie sticks to action video cameras, there are now more ways to get your experiences on social media, the news or just to keep for your own pleasure. When you add to this the thrill of piloting a remote flying machine, you have something that has captured the imagination of people all over the planet.

There are many drones out there, so how do you decide which the best is for you?

You get what you pay for

As with most things, the price you pay for a drone will determine the quality of the camera, stability and range.

If you have a lot of money to spend, you can get drones with 4K cameras that will give you amazing shots. If you are mostly recording video or taking pictures, you will want a drone so the better the camera, the greater the detail.

If you are on a budget, you can still get a decent drone with a good 1080p or better camera for around $500.

How to tell a drone from a toy

There are certain features that differentiate a drone from a flying toy. Drones are very sophisticated machines that can do a lot of things without direct control.

A drone will have GPS stabilization so that it can remain level and the right way up. They also have a clever back home feature. If the battery gets too low or it goes out of range, the drone will automatically return to its launch position and land.

Most toy flying machines don’t offer these features, so you should check the specifications before buying.


Safety is quickly becoming an important issue. If you want to fly any drone, there are drone rules you will need to be aware of in your part of the world.

It is important to read up and find out, but as a general rule, most countries do not allow flying near airports without permission. They also impose a height limit and no-fly zones and breaking any of the rules results in a fine.

Ready to fly or built it yourself?

You will find a lot of very good drones on the market that are ready to fly straight out of the box. They require minimal setup except maybe an Android device to see what it’s filming.

If you want something special, or you are a professional photographer, you might want to consider a pro version. These come in kit form, so you need to have a little technical knowledge.

The good thing about the kit versions is they are customisable. You can fit different cameras and fittings to accommodate other accessories.

Flying a drone is a great experience, and they are becoming more sophisticated all the time. Some people enter drone races to test their flying skills against other pilots.

The important thing to remember is that you need to do your research and decide from the beginning what you ultimately want from your drone.

Photograph by Pexels