Looking forward to getting one for yourself and unable to decide which is the best quadcopter? Luckily, you don't have to skim through hundreds of drones out there both online and in stores. Because we have conducted the extensive research to compile and present you the rankings and reviews of best drones and quadcopters to choose in 2018.
This is a very detailed article where we feature our personal favorite products, including a buyer's guide and discuss FAQs about drones.
Now, moving on to your favorite section.
Being one of the most reputed brands in drone makers, DJI offers this incredible piece of engineering, DJI Phantom 4. You will appreciate the aesthetic appearance of DJI Phantom 4 at the first look, but what lies beneath is the sheer operational features.
There are plenty of reasons why Phantom 4 is being counted as one of the professional drones out there. It features a massive 12 Megapixel HD camera that can shoot 4k videos at 30fps. To support the storage, the device comes with a 64gb memory card.
It's not just the camera that's a highlight of this product, but its core functionalities that impress us.
Phantom 4 has advanced stabilization system and vision positioning system that allow the drone to adjusts itself in the air by sensing obstacles. A flight time of 20 minutes per charge is one of the best flight time metrics out there. The build quality of the product is excellent, and you will witness the craftsmanship that has gone into making this gadget.
If you are a drone camera hobbyist or experimenting to get crisp quality aerial pictures and videos, DJI Phantom 4 is the answer.
DJI Phantom 3 is no less than the Phantom 4. Read our full review of DJI Phantom 3 here.
In fact, the price difference is pretty noticeable, and you can get the whole bunch of premium features for a lot lesser price when compared to Phantom 4. The only difference regarding camera would be this product live-streams videos at 720 pixels whereas the Phantom 4 delivers 1080 pixels.
DJI Phantom 3 is an example of advanced engineering and one of the best quadcopters when it comes to professional aerial photography using drones. Speaking of core features, Phantom 3 boasts an impressive range of 5 km, and you can expect a flight time about 23 minutes.
It has good stabilization features such as vision positioning allowing you to fly the drone safely.
You get a nice looking control unit that displays live HD view while your drone is on its flight mode. Easy to navigate controls make your life hassle free when it comes to operating and controlling the drone. If you are a first-time drone pilot, a mode called as 'Beginner Mode' would help you to fly it with the right settings to ensure maximum safety.
You can also choose to control the device using your mobile with the help of mobile app provided by DJI.
DJI is pretty advanced and matured as a drone making company and this drone adheres to a database of 'no-fly' zones and adjusts itself while it is in the sky.
If you are looking for a low-cost, yet highly functional quadcopter for a hobby, then UDI U818A is an excellent choice. It's incredibly cheap and will give you that first drone flying experience without spending hefty dollars.
It's extremely popular owing to its low price. UDI U818A integrates a six-axis gyro sensitivity with posture control. There are capabilities in this product for positioning itself well when it's in the sky.
You will get a flight time about 7 minutes on a single charge and a flying distance of 30 meters.
This product comes with a camera as well. However, you won't be getting a full HD quality. Having said that, it will allow you to take pictures and videos that can be stored in the 2GB memory card provided in the kit.
UDI U818A might not be a high-end product, but if you are looking for flying a drone first time and experience a good fun filled package then your search should end at this device.
UDI 818A HD is an advanced version of U818A, and a lot of added features can be observed. If you are looking for a hobby drone that works great also allows you to capture photos and videos without making a hole in your pocket, then UDI 818A makes an excellent choice.
The device is well built, lightweight and offers a flight time of 6-8 minutes after charging the drone for an hour. It's equipped with some cool features such as headless mode and return to home functions. Both of these features means the drone can be landed safely to a home destination with just a push of a button.
Speaking about camera. this device has a HD camera that can take pictures at 1280 x 720 reslution and can shoot videos at 720 pixels.
We have one more low-cost, highly functional device that packs some great features too.
Holy Stone Predator is a solid product with excellent features making it a 'must-have' if you are learning flying a drone. Being one of the cheapest quadcopters out there, it doesn't compromise on the core performance aspects.
About the design, it looks great and attractive. You can expect a flight time of 6-8 minutes and a flying distance of 30-50 meters/ We were surprised to observe that this product boasts some advanced stabilization features such as headless mode which is usually seen in mid-range and high-range devices. The product also has 6 axis stabilizing technology.
On the flying aspects, the drone can flip itself to 360 degrees and roll as well making it a fun-filled flying stint. It comes with 3 different flying modes to cater to the needs of various flying levels. As an add-on, the colorful LED lights make the drone suitable for night flying as well.
Let's talk about one of the most popular quadcopters for adults that are not heavy on the pocket and features excellent specifications. Syma X5C has won hearts of thousands of people all over the world, and it's not without reason. It delivers excellent performance with good specifications to people without them having to spend a whole lot of dollars.
Again, this is not a professional quadcopter with ultra HD camera capabilities. However, it packs enough features to justify its aggressively low price tag.
Like many of the other low-cost drones, Syma X5C also gives you a flight time about 7 minutes. It has a 2 MP camera that can snap good quality pictures. Don't expect those images to be ultra-crisp clear. However, they are good enough.
The product has 6 axis stablization system and is also wind resistant and you will experiences less 'crashes'. You will appreciate its modular design and the build quality makes it a stable product.
Holy Stone HS110 fits perfectly in one of the best mid-range quadcopters for drone hobbyists. This product offers better transmission range of 100-120 meters and a flight time about 9 minutes which is better than the entry-level drones.
HS110 offers some incredible features for its price. First of all, it boasts four modes of operation to cater to the needs of varying flying expertise including beginners. The drone has an HD camera that is capable of taking beautiful pictures, and also it supports live streaming. Speaking of live streaming, the device supports FPV (First Person Viewing), which means that you can view the live feed on the control unit as well on your smartphone if paired with a drone.
The product has some of the best stabilization technologies integrated within such as gravity sensor and gyro sensors. It also has a unique feature called altitude hold function which allows the drone to maintain the current height. Using a single button, you can make the drone take off and landing.
The HS110 has the very popular headless mode and return to home functions that add to the security features of the product.
Overall, a great value for money and you won't be disappointed with this solid, well functioning piece of engineering.
How about a small quadcopter that can fit in your hands? We have picked up one of such tiny product (not tiny regarding popularity) that can fly in rooms and offices as well, eliminating the need for large open space to enjoy a drone flying experience.
Well, the best feature of this product is its small size. Flying Nano QX doesn't require a vast training, unlike others. You can choose the 'SAFE' mode and start flying this cute looking mini-drone. Once you obtain the grip of the product, you can switch to 'AGILITY' mode provided in the device.
Since it's primarily designed for indoor operation, the range is not great. Though it's a mini-drone, build quality of the product is quite robust and stable. It can survive many crashes (most of them will happen in your office cubicles or home).
We have features this product in our best picks compiliation because it's one of the best compact quadcopters out there for adults.
Hubsan is a Chinese company specializing in making products related to hobbies and toys. They have carved a niche for themselves in quadcopter making area too.
The product we have featured in our top ranking list is Hubsan X4 H107L. It's one of the low-cost picks that has a full range of core features that would expect in a functional drone.
The design of the drone looks unique and appealing. The product integrates some of the good stabilizing methods such as gyro and six-axis flight control systems. The product has two modes 'normal' and 'expert'. LEDs provided in the drone comes handy during night flying.
Like many other drones out there, this model gives you about 7 minutes of flight time. This time can be increased if you use additional batteries (many would agree that the 7 minutes is a less flying time after an hour of recharge of batteries). The control unit is great and easy to navigate.
Overall, a very decent product that works and impresses you with its performance.
It looks like there's a war between quadcopter companies to offer best of the best features at a competitive price. DBPOWER MJX 400W packs as much as possible features for a very aggressive low price. You would be surprised by the list of features this great looking drone.
Talking about core aspects, you can expect the drone to provide a transmission range of 100 meters which is not bad at all. A flight time about 9 minutes is good (remember the additional battery tip in an earlier review).
Regarding the features, we were impressed with its few useful ones such as headless mode and FPV real-time transmission. Not to forget, this product also has a camera for taking good pictures while it's in the sky.
One of the unique features we loved about this product is it's compatible with VR Headsets (Virtual Reality) which allows you to look the world with more realistic, 3d angle. During night flying, you can take the advantage of LED lights provided in the product. X400W also supports smartphone controls.
Before we get into price and brand aspect of a quadcopter, we need to discuss a lot about technical details of what a quadcopter is comprised of. Learning about these details significantly improves your chances of getting the right product for your needs.
Below are some of the factors you need to consider while buying a drone.
In layman's language, the flying range is the distance the quadcopter can fly from the control panel. There are varying flying ranges based on the model, brand, requirements, etc. However, you need to go for the right flying range depending upon your personal choice and availability of space for flying the quadcopter.
For instance, Syma X11, being one of the widely popular Hobby Quadcopters will provide you flying range of 40 meters. Some can offer you a range of 200 ft. So understand your needs and choose the suitable flying range when you are selecting a quadcopter.
Flying time is the duration that the quadcopter can fly with a single electric charge. Usually, the flying time will be in minutes (5 -20 minutes) and greatly varies based on the model you choose. The price of the product can significantly go u if you would like to have higher flying time since it necessities a better battery.
A popular hobby quadcopter can give you the flying time of 5-7 minutes upon a single charge. High-end professional models such as DJI Phantom 3 will give you flying times up to 23 minutes.
Drones need good stabilizing systems to fly efficiently and be controlled by the pilot (you). Without the stabling arrangements, one can't even imagine flying a drone.
So, what are those stabilizing systems then? There are many indeed. The key ones being, gyro sensors, headless mode, throw-to-fly, etc.
Make sure you get the best of the stabilizing systems integrated when you are selecting a drone. We will discuss in our next article about what are these each of the stabilizing technologies.
The popularity of drones has been quadrupled because of the fact that they are becoming fantastic tools for aerial photography and videography. Drones can house cameras ranging from few megapixels to Ultra HD 4K resolutions. So if aerial photography or videography is your primary goal of buying a drone, then choose the one that has a great camera integrated. There are drones that have specific integrations to action cameras such as GoPro.
Since a quadcopter works on radio frequency, it's paramount to have an anti-interference system integrated; else the device could receive signals from other remote controlled sources causing serious issues.
Flying a drone requires some skills for sure. It's not the case that you take the control unit and expect the device to fly high 🙂 Make sure you have a good training and understanding of working of a drone and obtain necessary skills for flying the same.
Federal Aviation Administration needs the drones and quadcopters to be registered with them even if they are flown for hobby purposes. Please make sure you adhere to the rules, and the quadcopter you are purchasing complies to the governing point. There are some models that are excluded from registration. However, make sure you conduct your research well.
If you are a first-time drone flyer, it's natural to have many questions. This section will try answering most of those questions
Q: Why do I need to register my drone and are there any drones that are exempted from registering?
FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) requires drones to be registered with them to allow them to fly. It's because drones are powerful machines, given the freedom of movement and remote control capabilities, they can be a threat to privacy, interfere with general aviation. Hence FAA, asks drones to be registered before you can fly them (USA).
However, there are certain models that need not be registered to operate them. Usually, it's because of their less weight.
Q: How much flying time I can expect if I buy an entry level quadcopter for a hobby?
An entry-level drone will give you flight time of 7-10 minutes
Q: Why I need additional batteries?
Buying extra batteries is optional. However, given the short flight time, having extra batteries integrated will increase the flight time.
Q: How can I bring back the drone that has gone too far from my control unit?
Most of the drone control units have a function called 'return to home' that will bring the drone back to takeoff place
Q: Can I shoot professional pictures and videos using a drone?
Absolutely! Professional drones such as DJI Phantom 3 have HD Cameras for capturing crisp images and shooting HD videos.
Federal Aviation Association Website - For learning about registration of drones in U.S.A
Drone Training Online - UAV Coach is a community of 40,000 drone enthusiasts
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