The drone market has really exploded over the past two years, so with more models than ever before, just how do you go about selecting the right drone for you? or someone else if it is a gift for that matter? There are new models coming in from China as global trade continues to blossom and some of them are relatively cheap compared to the original giants among the radio-controlled modeling world. They are appearing on the shelves or via online shopping portals so, just how do you go about choosing which of them are among the best drones to buy?
Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how many props it has, Drones are Cool!
But if you are wanting the best you must be prepared to put your hands deep into those pockets and don’t just buy the first one you see. This is especially true if you don’t know the first thing about them, first, you need to read up a little and then you can try to narrow down your selection.
To do this, you must first decide on what it is that you want to do with your drone, is it a toy drone you are after then this process is a little easier but you still need to know if it is just a bare drone you need then you go for what suits your pocket, but if you want a camera then decide if you are wanting the camera to shoot single images or video, or do you need to see through the lens? Using a smartphone, you can do this and most kids do have a smartphone these days.
But by now I think you may be getting the picture, it’s not just a case as buying the first drone you see, it is far better to select from the best value drones to buy. If you can use a table of sorts that lays everything out for you then you can go to the correct table, compare the different features and then make your selection. The alternative is simply look up all the current manufacturers of the drones and scroll through all of their information and specification sheets and try to select your drone from there, but that will take time.
There are so many models off drones out there now so if you were to look at the top ten to fifty drones you will find they will vary a little depending who is carrying out the review, but you should expect to see some of the same names cropping up repeatedly. Once again dropping them into a price band can only help the selection process for the right drone for you.
There has also been a lot of changes to the style of the drones with some models keeping with the single rotor like the helicopter, then going to four or five or six or even eight. However, most of the market has settled on four rotors hence the reason why some call their drone a quadcopter drone. But the majority have stuck with the manly sounding term of a “drone”. I think the military’s range of drones has possibly had something to do with its influence plus the influence of the gaming market.
So, as I mentioned earlier, when choosing yourself a drone much will depend upon what the drone is going to be used for and whether it is going to be used for pleasure or for commercial means, to make money from it. Once that is settled then you can focus on the features that you know you are going to need.
For example, if you were a keen photographer and you wanted to use an aerial drone platform to get those high up shots then you are most likely going to focus on the drones with at least four going up to possibly eight propellers, because you may need that many drone motors to give you the lift to get your camera equipment in the air.
You would also require the stabilizing gimbals and the Glonnas and GPS systems to keep your aerial drone platform stable and in the positions, you going to need. Plus with any expensive equipment, you want to be sure that you are going to get it back so there is a need for that king of specification to be added to your list.
When we first began to see drones come on to the market their numbers were few and there was only a couple of uses that they were built to serve. Many were seen as toys or for the more serious hobbyists, like the Radio-Controlled market including aircraft, boats, and cars. But as time has passed the more serious commercial aspects of using a drone began to materialize, these uses were as a surveillance drone, for keeping a watchful eye on someone or something, as a search and rescue drone for trying to locate someone in difficult terrain, or for surveys of buildings and unsafe structures where it would be dangerous for people to go.
So, as you see there are many ways in which you can use a drone so once you have focussed on your intended use of the drone you can sort out the toys from the way more serious and highly technical drones.
There is a third element to the use of a drone, which is that of the racing drone, built purely for speed it’s not going to win any beauty prizes because speed and versatility are the main requirements along with the First-Person View (FPV for short) Camera and goggle for the user.
So now we have our groupings I suppose the next consideration will be the cost because some of these beauties carry huge price tags. So, if you know what your drone is going to be used for and you know how much you can afford to spend. Your next decision is whether to buy a complete done for you package or do you want to get your hands dirty and build your own machine from a box of bits?
If you go down the route of a self-build drone, it may save a few dollars on the purchase, but you need to know what you’re doing because if one or more of your motors isn’t working you need to know how to fault find and how to fix your machine. In our review, we have focused on the ready to fly straight from the box drones.
As with any market, there will be the low cost, budget end of the market and then the high-end technically advanced models increasing from there. Bearing in mind that you only get what you pay for you must first ensure that you are looking at the right drone for you and go from there. One avenue you could try is to find a review site where you can view and consider all the relevant data in one place which applies to you and then make an informed decision.
Safety Features of Some Drones Its worth noting that on some drones even within the lower to mid-range, still have some essential safety features that would keep the unwary out of trouble. One of the fundamental safety rules is that you should maintain sight of the aircraft at all times, but quite often you experience most of your problems when your craft is at its farthest range away from you so what do you do?
Fortunately, many of the manufacturers have already thought of the what if scenarios and as a result, they have built into their drones some cool safety features. We all know what GPS is and how it can help us find directional routes etc, but to have GPS installed in a drone where it operates an automatic Return-to-Home functionality. Yes, it will really return to the point at which it took off from and safely land too! It will even start to return to land if it detects that the battery is running low, bearing in mind that most drones will only fly for around twenty minutes.
If you are flying in the United States of America, there is a maximum height of 400ft which you must not exceed under any circumstances (if you do you will probably find that a real drone will come along a blow you out of the sky!) Joking of course but you get the point it is a serious rule.
Once again, some manufacturers have already acted on this rule and built their product with a maximum altitude of just under the four hundred feet. So, it’s another good safety feature that will help to keep the unwary out of trouble.