If you are a fan of aerial photography or videography, getting a drone is an absolute must. The best beginner drones are super easy to fly, reliable in performance, and budget-friendly. As drone flying always comes with risks, starting with an affordable and beginner-friendly option is an excellent way to gain some experience. This way you can learn to pilot a drone before investing in something a bit more expensive and feature-rich.
For this article, we have rounded out the best flying machines every novice should consider. From easy to operate options to slightly complex (yet still affordable), this buyer’s guide covers all the top drones with cameras for first-time pilots. Keep in mind, the design and price of a drone differ depending on the purpose you use it for. Of course, if you need more features, you will have to shell out some more dollars. Also, always check drone regulations in your area to avoid any trouble.
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10 Best Drones for Beginners
1. DJI Mini 2
DJI Mini 2 is hands down the best beginner drone, although a bit expensive. It has everything you would otherwise expect from a drone to double the bill, including a GPS-based return to home feature and other similar pilot assist functionalities. Not to mention, it weighs just below 250g, which is the weight limit for pilot registration in the US as well as China.
The remote offers up to 6.2 miles range in FAA areas. That means you can confidently fly the drone in as strong a wind as 24mph without losing connection. The gimbal keeps all the images horizontal and vibrations free, while recording videos up to 4K resolution. There are also other options like visual effects, exposure bracketing, raw footage, etc.
Furthermore, the sonar distance sensing system and downwards facing visual sensors help it fly without GPS. Optional propeller guards come in handy to prevent any accidents. So, the plethora of videography options available with DJI Mini 2 requires some familiarity. It’s an excellent beginner drone with a camera to fly. But, you should at least know how to handle the camera.
2. DJI Mini SE
DJI Mini SE is the best foldable drone for beginners. It has all the features of a DJI Mavic Mini with the looks and design of a DJI Mini 2. Oh, and it’s a fantastic package overall for the price, although it doesn’t have the resolution, range, and battery of much superior DJI Mini 2.
What makes this drone ideal for beginners is its auto Quickshots feature. If you are not confident enough in your ability to fly and shoot video simultaneously, Quickshots gives several dramatic shots without losing the focus or frame of your target.
Unlike other beginner drones, DJI Mini SE achieves this feat using its main camera. There are no extra scanners or sensors. Perhaps that’s one reason why this beginner drone can pull off an impressive 30 minutes battery time. However, DJI has made this drone available US, Canada, and Australia only. If you live in Europe, you will have to order from overseas.
This quirky little red quadcopter is a remarkable upgrade on toy-grade drones. It remains highly stable in the air and remains super easy to fly. No guesswork is required as it is a very beginner-friendly drone. All you need to do is take the drone out of the package, insert the battery and experience the fun.
The quadcopter remains stable in the air. It has multiple speeds along with a headless mode. While flying we did not experience any trouble getting into the headless mode. The high speed is very fast but the drone remains responsive even at higher speeds.
Overall, it’s a very well-made and durable quadcopter. During our test flight, it bounced 14 feet onto the tile, repeatedly without causing any damage. If you are already familiar with JJRC H36, you will find the Holy Stone HS210 super easy breezy to fly. Wish it had a camera, though.
4. Ryze Tello
In a market dominated by DJI, Ryze Tello is offering stiff competition. It is a feature-rich drone that’s also programmable. The compact flying machine doesn’t skimp on the technical aspects without escalating the cost. Hence, it is capable of sending a 729p video to your smartphone if it is within a WiFi range of 100 meters.
The drone itself is quite capable during the take-off and landing. Thanks to its 14 core processor and built-in sensors, you can easily operate it in different weather conditions and regions. Moreover, Tello is capable of a “throw & go” launch, flips mid-air, and supports SCRATCH. Wait, what’s scratch?
Scratch is a very simple to understand block-based programming language for kids. With Scratch, even kids can create programs to guide a gadget. So they can have fun ordering the drone about stuff. Overall, Ryze Tello is an excellent fun gadget for kids to venture into videography and have fun while at it.
If you are looking for an alternative to DJI Mini SE that packs better safety features, DJI Mavic Mini fits the bill. With 2.7K resolution video, GPS functionality, altitude hold, and a mechanical gimble, DJI Mavic Mini bring adequate quality to the table for novice Youtube videographers.
There is an excellent range of safety features in this drone. You can “hover” the drone, return to home, force it into a “tutorial” mode, or choose “Geo-fencing”. The combination of these safety features makes it an excellent option to consider if you live near a high-security area.
However, keep in mind its motor isn’t that powerful. It can only compensate for a Force 4 wind at max. Sure, you can play indoors on windy days and stay safe thanks to its propeller guards, but still, keep this limitation in mind.
6. Parrot Anafi
Parrot is slightly slower than the competition to adopt new technologies. However, the Anafi is the epitome of all the fun and functional aspects of the drone market, you have come to expect from them. The reason is, it comes with additional features like the FPV kit without inflating the cost – unlike its competitors.
By looking at the features alone you can tell it’s a professional drone. It comes with a 4K gimbal-stabilized camera. Oh, and thanks to the specialized FPV goggles (included in the package), you can also experience flying the drone like a real pilot.
Lastly, this drone comes with a 2700mAh battery. That means you can fly it around for approximately 25 minutes (more or less) depending on the weather conditions. While the Anafi is quite robust, unfortunately, it lacks a collision sensing mechanism.
7. Syma X400
While the Syma X300 is an entry-level drone and the Syma X500 is pro-consumer level, X400 is a nice combination of the two. It is a nice snappy and fast racing-like drone that comes at a very economical cost.
It features a 720p FPV HD camera with WiFi transmission. It also has a fantastic single-button barrel roll trick feature. So you can fly it around very fast and do barrel roll just like a professional pilot. Plus you can control it with a remote control or the Syma app on your smartphone.
Furthermore, the one key take-off feature, altitude, and headless modes are all very interesting settings to play around with. Lastly, as there are two batteries in the package, you can charge one while flying with the other. Nevertheless, a single charge gives you about 6 minutes of flight.
The Altair Falcon is an exceptionally well-made recreational drone with a camera for beginners. It is capable of 720p live video recording, autonomous hover, positioning system and comes with two spare batteries to give you maximum flight time.
It flies well and is very easy to pilot around. The controller is very intuitive, simply pick it up, turn on the drone and you are flying. Besides, the AHP does what you expect, hovers in a place, and responds well to the controls.
However, its interface is a bit flaky when you’re trying to capture a still picture. You have to stop the video if you want to take a photo and then resume again. Overall, it’s one of the best starter drones. We hope the little quirk we saw gets fixed with a software update.
Piloting a drone with the help of goggles provides a virtual cockpit experience. It’s ideal for many different uses and substyles like stunts, cinewhoop, gaming as well as racing. But, when you are a beginner things get a little complex. And that’s where the BetaFpv Cetus Kit steps in. The Cetus is a beginner-friendly yet complete FPV Kit.
It feels like a real-life video game and includes all the familiar video game-like controllers (and goggles) you have come to expect from video games. However, what sets the Cetus apart from its competitors is the introduction of the optical flow hover. We don’t usually see it in FPV kits.
Also, the goggles are super easy to use, without being overly powerful or heavy. Because of its low cost, don’t expect any advanced features like video recording in goggles. The glasses also don’t allow for glasses, which is a shame. Overall, it’s fun to fly and the pairing BetaFPV light radio SE transmitter is dream come true right out of the box.
The Green Hornet SE is a good beginner drone for kids and adults. It has a decent battery life of 15 minutes, is very sturdy, and is well-balanced mid-air. It flies great even in slightly high winds, but we wouldn’t recommend testing its flight in windy weather conditions.
With a flight range of 300 meters, the Green hornet is a good option for kids of all age groups. You can take decent-quality pictures and send them directly to your phone. The calibration process every time before the flight can be a bit of an inconvenience at first. But like everything else, it gets easier with time once you get the hang of it.
What’s more, it comes with Altair intelligent flight control functions. That means, if the battery gets consumed in the middle of a flight or you lose connection for whatever reason, your drone will safely return home.
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So, what’s the best beginner drone overall? We believe DJI Mini 2 takes the cake. It’s lightweight, compact, and fairly easy to fly – thanks to a redesigned controller. You can fly it up to a range of 6.2 miles, even in slightly windy regions while recording a 4K video. However, that doesn’t mean all the other options on this list are any less. Each of them comes with unique features and caters to the requirements of a different customer base. The best drone for you is the one that works best for you. In general, the more you can spend, the better drone you can get. Thanks for reading.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it hard to fly a drone?
Not at all. Flying a drone is no more difficult than playing video games or using apps on your smartphone. It’s a very straightforward process. However, be sure you understand all the features of the drone at hand and any legal restrictions on flying drones in your area. Rather than rushing into flying a giant drone, we suggest starting with these beginner-friendly drones initially. You can build up from there.
How to choose the best drone?
Well, finding the best drone depends on your usage and preference. Even drones for beginners come in all designs, sizes, and costs. Even the best beginner drones above differ from one another in certain specs. For instance, racing drones are built with better maneuverability and resistance to air pressure. On the other hand, the best photography drones come with better camera quality and overall drone stability. Similarly, if you want to fly a drone indoors, make sure it has collision detection and all the safety features in place.
Do I need a license to fly a drone?
Several countries around the world have strict drone laws. That means you cannot fly a quadcopter without a proper license in certain regions. Also, there are some restricted areas such as airports, national parks, private residences that forbid drone flying due to privacy and security concerns.
In the US, for example, you do not need a license to fly a drone that weighs below 250g. But you will still have to follow the local laws to avoid any legal trouble. Local laws can change as well. In the UK, any drone weighing less than 250g used to be exempt from registration. However, this has changed now. If you live in the UK and you have a drone with a camera, you will need to register to get an operator ID.
So, always check with your recent local laws and avoid any restricted airspace.