5 Best Drones for Beginners 2019 – Tips & Buying Guidelines

Do you want to join the drone bandwagon? Are you planning to get your first drone with camera?

Drones are taking over the world and this is obvious in the gorgeous aerial travel videos and photos that have flooded Instagram and YouTube daily. Also, many drone sales pop up every day online. However, let’s admit it – buying a drone can be overwhelming for beginners.

What factors and features should you consider? Which brand to buy?

Don’t be afraid because we are here to help newbies like you get familiar with drones and help you choose the best one that suits your requirements. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Since you are still new to drones, we will give you a brief background about drone cameras so you will have a solid understanding of them.

What is a Drone?

A drone is simply an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Quadcopters are drones which regular people use. The four propellers at the corners ensure a stable hover and flight.

Each propeller can change speed because of its individual motor. Moreover, the gyroscope can measure the position of your drone.

You probably read some unfamiliar abbreviations when you shopped for drones online. Don’t worry; we will break those down for you:

RTF – Ready to fly. Everything you need for flight is ready, so there’s no need for assembly. You can take your unit out of the package and get it in the air. That is, of course, if you have your batteries charged.

ARF – Almost Ready to Fly. If you love DIY, this one’s for you. You need to put some of the pieces of an ARF drone before testing it out.

BNF – Bind-N-Fly. BNF kits have everything except the transmitter. You can bind your preferred transmitter to the drone’s receiver.

Types of Drones

Drones come in many shapes and sizes. There are several types of drones in the market based on the level of your expertise.

You can find drones that suit your needs whether you are an aspiring or professional photographer or videographer. Maybe, you’re a speed racer that dominates the sky or probably a tech geek that likes new gadgets and devices. Either way, here’s an overview of the types of drones in the market.

Beginner drones

Drones for beginners are affordable and easy-to-use. Get one of these if you are trying out flying a drone for the first time.

Beginner drones are easy to fly and build. They can also withstand minor crashes.

However, beginner drones have shorter ranges and flight time. You can buy cheaper accessories, spare parts, and batteries to fix this.

Getting a beginners drone is a good start if you are new to flying drones in terms of budget and features. A beginner drone is also perfect for newbies’ level of expertise.

Camera Drones

Drones with camera are the most popular drones today. Aerial photography and videography reach new heights with camera drones.

If you are passionate about photography, you can improve your skills using drones with camera. With this device, you can explore new angles and take some cool panoramic shots that you will surely love.

If you get a drone with camera, you don’t have to worry about shaky cams because camera drones have a gimbal for good stabilization.

Hobby Drones

Hobby drones as the name suggests are for hobbyists. These are more affordable and durable compared to racing drones but you will experience the same fun because they come with more advanced features compared to drones for beginners.

Most entry-level kits lack specialized cameras and other advanced features present in higher end drones. Thus, hobby drones are ideal for extended recreational use. Hobby drones are also great for drone enthusiasts.

Racing Drones

Racing drones are built for speed. The most advanced racing drones can reach speeds up to 70 MPH or even 100 MPH.

Racing drones are used to compete in FPV (first person view) racing events. Unlike camera drones, racing drones cannot capture high-quality images and videos of sceneries and your travel adventures.

The first-person camera lets you fly the drone as if you’re inside it.

However, these are NOT for beginners. Flying high-speed racing drones without experience leads to disasters. There’s a big chance that you may damage properties. Worse, hurt somebody.

When choosing the best types of drone, consider your level of expertise and not just what you want. It would be wiser for you to get the kind of drone that you can use according to your skills or get a powerful one, spend more and waste its powerful features because you can’t maximize it.

Drone Features To Consider

Do you know that there are certain factors to consider when buying a drone? Most people are too overwhelmed with the information they read that they forget to think about the must-have features.

Here are the different features you have to consider when choosing the best drone for beginners, so you won’t get wrong once you have your drone in your hand.

1. Flight time

Running out of juice in just a few minutes is a bummer. Your drone’s flight time mainly depends on the battery size and the weight that the done supports.

Beginner drones can last up to 5-10 minutes. More sophisticated yet costly units can fly up to 30 minutes.

Extra batteries are necessary if you want your drone to fly longer. You can always opt for a more expensive drone that has your ideal flight time.

Ask yourself how serious you are with this hobby. Are you willing to spend the moolah on high-end drones or extra batteries?

2. Camera

Drones usually have camera accessories. That’s awesome for photographers and videographers who want to get some aerial shots.

Most of the time, the camera is removable. Without a camera, your drone will have a slightly longer flight time. We suggest to take out the camera if you’re not in the mood for taking pictures.

Some drones have a camera attached to the body. Meanwhile, others are ready for action cameras like GoPro.

You can adjust the camera settings such as the ISO, shutter speed, size of the photo/video etc. Thanks to these features, your drone can be your go-to professional gear for aerial shots.

3. Gimbal

A gimbal levels your device in three axes: pitch, roll, and yaw. With a gimbal, you can capture stable footage, no matter how the drone moves.

Here is the difference between having a cheap gimbal vs. without gimbal

The video is more stable even with a cheap gimbal. Shaky footage is common if you don’t have a gimbal for your drone.

4. Range

Range is how far your drone can fly with your control. You can use your phone to move your drone with an app. However, your cellphone doesn’t have a long distance wireless range.

For that, you need a dedicated remote control to make your drone fly higher and farther.

The range can vary from product to product. Most entry-level drones can reach up to 50-100 meters. Advanced quadcopters, like the DJI Phantom 4, can have a range up to 5,000 meters.

5. Return Home Function and GPS

Return Home feature makes the drone go back to the point where you launched it which is very helpful for beginners. If you lose control or lose sight of your drone, don’t panic,  press this dedicated button and your drone will come back to you.

However, this function only works for beginners drone with GPS. You have to figure out if your drone is GPS-enabled. If you have a toy drone that’s worth only $50, the chances are high that it won’t have GPS because cheaper models don’t offer this.

GPS-enabled drones must first lock onto GPS satellites. In that way, your drone will know precisely where it took off from and return safely. However, before pressing that button make sure that your drone is in Headless Mode.

A drone can have two fronts or two lefts which can be confusing especially for beginners. The headless mode function eliminates the need to keep track of the orientation of the quadcopter. Whether the drone is facing you or not, when in Headless Mode and you click the Return Home button, the drone will fly back to you

Tips for Buying a Drone

I know you are very interested in purchasing a beginner drone. At this point, we will leave you some tips that you should consider before buying one. After this, we will give you a list of the best beginner drones in the market.

1. Drone laws in your area

Keep in mind that you can’t just fly a drone. You have to be aware that there are certain guidelines for drones that vary for each country. In the US, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) set the drone laws.

Drone rules are important because people are concerned about their privacy. Without this guideline, anyone can fly their quadcopter in their neighbor’s premises and do as they wish, which is creepy.

You must register any radio-controlled (RC) aircraft except toy drones. The drone registration costs about $5 and it’s done online. You can do so here.

For more information about drone laws in the US, read here.

2. Budget

Your spending won’t stop when you buy your first drone. You can buy a simple beginner drone and spend more on accessories to make it more powerful or go for a more expensive camera drone with impressive features.

Depending on how serious you are, buying extra batteries, spare parts, and equipment is inevitable. Also, you probably want to save for the future in case of a crash as this is common when you are a total noob in this activity.

Research is the key to finding parts and accessories. Don’t just spend money on the first thing that you find online. Always note the prices of products then compare before you buy.

3. Availability of Spare Parts

When you purchase your first UAV, you are likely to smash it or snap something. Don’t feel bad when this happens as most beginners experience the same. For this reason, it’s crucial that replacement parts are readily available in case you need it.

Imagine this, your drone’s propeller was damaged and you couldn’t find any replacement. So what will you do with it? Of course, you wouldn’t want to toss it away, but if you can’t do something about it, then perhaps, your toy would end up that way

4. Size and Weight

Most drones for beginners are within the scale of one-foot by one-foot square. These copters usually fit in your palm. Cheaper versions like the toy drones are lighter weighing below 50 grams.

5. Location

Ideally, most think of using their drone outdoor. However, some models that are sensitive to wind depending on their size and structure. Also, if you are planning to use your quad indoor, then you should consider getting a smaller one.

Best Beginner Drones in 2019

Now that you already know the things to consider, you’re probably ready to learn the best drone for beginners. You might think that cheap drones are not worth your money but think again!

Beginner drones are becoming more advanced as time passes and of course, they are cheaper compared to other types of drones. There are already drones for beginners with intelligent flight control and onboard cameras with high resolution.

We put up a list of the best beginner drones in 2019. If you are looking for the best value camera drone for beginners, this section is definitely for you!

1. Ryze Tello

Specs

Flight time: 13 minutes
Flight distance: 100m
HD transmission: 720P
Smart switching: 2 antennas

Flying your first drone couldn’t be easier with Tello! This beginner drone allows you to control your quad with your phone using its intuitive controls so you can enjoy flying anytime or anywhere.

Ryze Tello is a small, lightweight drone you can use even without FAA registration. You can control this drone either through an app or remote control.

The battery life lasts only for 3 to 5 minutes, so make sure to have extra batteries when using Tello.

This beginner drone is VR headset compatible and lets you fly with a breathtaking first-person view. With this, you can take off and experience the world from atop whether you are at the park, in the office or at home.

Both beginners and experienced users would find Tello easy-to-fly. Ryze Tello is durable, perfect for crash-prone nippers. It has plastic bumpers that protect the four propellers and extended arms for a smooth landing.

Also, it is super safe to fly which makes it perfect for beginners! Tello has auto takeoff/landing, low battery protection, failsafe protection, and vision positioning system for precise hovering.

All in all, Ryze Tello is a small and fast model for beginners. Tello’s flight is similar to DJI models making it a great starter drone if you plan to switch to more advanced drones in the future. We recommend Tello for newbies looking for drones with camera.

Features

  • Throw & Go. Start flying by simply tossing Tello in the air.
  • 8D flips. Slide on screen to perform cool aerial stunts.
  • Bounce mode. This beginner drone flies up and down from your hand automatically.
  • EZ Shots. Record coordinated short videos with Circle, 360 and Up & Away.
  • Electronic Image Stabilization. Can capture clear images consistently.
  • 5MP Photos. High-resolution pictures to preserve great moments.

PROS

  • No FAA registration needed
  • Small, lightweight, and fast
  • The flight is similar to more expensive DJI models
  • Durable, can withstand minor crashes
  • Can be controlled through an app or remote control

CONS

  • Short flight time
  • Scratch programming is inconvenient for beginners

2. SYMA X5HC

Specs

Dimension: 33 x 33 x 11 cm
Flight time: 5 – 7 minutes
Camera: HD 2MP
Range: 30 – 50m
Frequency: 2.4G
Charging time: About 130 minutes

Syma X5HC has excellent features considering its value. This drone with camera is lightweight and can fly swiftly on a good day.

This beginner drone comes with the latest 6-axis flight control system and 3D lock. It has a blade protector too for anti-drop and anti-collision.

Photographers and videographers will surely love this because it has HD cameras. The 2MP camera is capable of taking a decent clear shot for its low price.

Syma’s features include headless mode, flip mode, and altitude hold. You can also do 360° for a perfect and marvelous performance.

Just avoid flying it to high altitudes when the wind speed is 5-10 mph. Since this quadcopter is lightweight and small, strong winds might take it away.

The altitude hold is one of the more advanced features of this model. It allows your model to be locked at a certain height. Best of all, you don’t have to control it much.

The downside with this is the flight time because it can only last for 5 to 7 minutes. However, it’s not bad for a beginner drone as this type of UAV doesn’t last for too long.

We can say that the Syma X5HC is a steal. It is perfect for people who are learning how to fly a drone. Casual drone flyers could enjoy using this as well.

Features

  • Colorful flashing lights. Keep the aircraft at night flying excellent.
  • Blade protector. High elastic protector for anti-drop and anti-collision.
  • Headless mode. Control the drone following the direction of remote controls’ operating rod.
  • Barometer set height. Allows the drone to hover at the height where you release the joystick (accelerator).

PROS

  • 2MP camera for clear shots
  • Can lock at a certain height without much input
  • Has a lot of features for its low price

CONS

  • Not built to withstand strong winds
  • Short flight time

3. SYMA X8G

Specs

Flight time : 7min
Camera : HD 5MP 1080p 30fps
Battery Type : 2000mAh LiPo
Range : 100 meters
Transmitter Frequency : 2.4 GHz

Syma X8G is one of the easiest beginner drones to fly. The camera and other features of a drone are important but maneuverability is even more significant, and it’s no secret that Syma X8G nails a smooth flight experience.

Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC) allows you to choose which side of the drone you want to be at the front. Enjoy a seamless and effortless flight when you use IOC to your advantage.

Syma X8G comes with a 6-axis flight control system that ensures stabilized light. This beginner drone is so easy to maneuver both indoor and outdoors. It can also withstand medium wind because it is large and heavy, so rest assured this won’t be flying away with the wind.

Just like SYMA X5HC, this comes with an LED light for easy flying during night, blade protectors and landing gear to keep the drone protected from casual crashes. It also includes a holding case for the camera. Although this isn’t near gimbal, it’s an affordable version of a mount.

The model comes with a detachable 8 MP camera, which is impressive for an entry-level drone. Not only that. You can take HD videos and go as high as 1080p. However, you can not use the camera if you take it out of the drone.

The camera shares the drone’s battery. Syma X8G can fly 10-12 minutes, which is pretty standard to the products on the same price range.

X8G is completely RTF and comes with landing gear and extra propellers. This drone best suits beginners who want to try both drone flying and aerial videography.

Features

  • 360° rolling. Continuous rolling for a perfect and marvelous performance.
  • Headless mode. No need to position the drone’s headpiece, just control quad according to the direction of the remote control’s operating rod.
  • Blade protector. For anti-drop and anti-collision.
  • Colorful flashing lights. Keeps the drone at night flying excellent.

PROS

  • 8 MP camera for HD videos
  • IOC allows you to have a seamless flight
  • Includes additional parts

CONS

  • The camera is only usable when it’s attached to the drone
  • The camera consumes too much of X8G’s battery

4. Altair Aerial AA108

Specs

Dimensions: 183mm X 198mm X 43mm
Weight: 85 grams
Range: 300 feet
FPV range: 120-150 feet
Flight time : 20 mins (10 mins x 2)
Camera : 120° wide-angle 720p HD camera
Range : 100 meters

Altair Aerial AA108 is durable and easy to fly which makes it a perfect drone for beginners. Also, it comes with high-end features or innovative usability functionalities like one-button takeoff and landing, headless mode and multiple flight modes.

This beginner drone’s durable plastic material is strong enough to withstand crashes while its carefully-constructed design gives it a more stable hover.

When the battery is about to run out, or it stops communicating with the controller, rest assured that this drone will not just crash because it can land itself safely on the ground.

If you are into photography or videography, AA108 can help you further your skills because it has a built-in 120° wide-angle 720p HD camera that allows you to take amazing photos and videos in bird’s eye view straight from your phone.

What makes this beginner drone a standout from its competitors is its long range and flight time. It can be flown for 7 to 10 minutes with a transmission range of up to 100 meters away from the controller. The box includes a second battery so you can double the fun when flying this drone.

Another great thing about Altair Aerial is its dedicated customer service. The brand’s support is very professional, responsive and knowledgeable. If you have any after-sales concern, they’ll handle it well to ensure that you have a great experience with them.

Features

  • Easy fly mode for beginners. Includes one button take-off/landing and emergency shutdown for quick control.
  • Emergency stop button. This button allows the drone in-flight to land gently on the ground which is helpful when you start losing control.
  • Safety features. Will alarm you when the drone goes out of range or when the battery is low.
  • Three skill levels to practice. Keep up with your flying experience with this feature that allows you to fly the drone faster with each level.

PROS

  • Easy to fly
  • Good camera
  • FPV capability
  • Has several safety features
  • Dedicated customer support
  • Longer flying time compared to competitors

CONS

  • Lacks camera stabilization
  • Cannot fly in fairly strong winds

5. Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter Drone

Specs

Dimensions: 31 x 9 x 31 inches
Weight: 1.7 pounds
Range: 100 meters
Flight time : 9 minutes
Camera : 720p HD
Charging time: 80 minutes

If you are looking for cheap drones with camera for beginners, then this one is definitely for you. However, don’t be fooled by F181’s price because this one comes with amazing features that will surely give you a great flying experience.

This beginner drone has durable batteries and motors that offer reliable power to the drone to support longer flying time. It has one key engine start/landing to make it easy and safe for you to start your flight which is perfect for newbies.

As you improve your skills, you can enjoy the 4-speed control modes that allow you to fly from low to high making it perfect for beginners and experts. You can also experiment with its 3D flips and rolls for a more impressive performance.

This quad is very easy to maneuver. If in case, you lose sight of your drone, or you lose control, don’t be afraid because you can press the One Key Return button to summon your drone back. No sweat!

Another great thing with this drone is its 720P HD camera that allows you to enjoy photography during flights. However, this has no FPV and you cannot connect it to your phone.

Despite its limitations, this quadcopter remains a great beginner drone considering its price and the features it offers. For under $100, you already have a working drone camera and that’s something most competitors can’t beat.

Features

  • 720 HD Camera. Lets you enjoy photography during your flights.
  • 6-Axis Gyro Technology. Makes it possible for you to perform flips and rolls with a simple push of the button.
  • 3D Flip. Even beginners can now perform impressive flips for a wow performance with just a push of a button.
  • Headless Mode. The orientation function that makes it easier for beginners to maneuver the quadcopter.
  • One Key Return Home. Press this button to summon your drone back.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Easy to fly
  • Good camera
  • One key return home
  • 4-speed control modes

CONS

  • No FPV
  • Cannot connect to your phone

Conclusion

Beginner drones with camera are perfect for those who want to join the drone bandwagon. These drones are usually easy to fly and affordable. Depending on the features, the more functionalities the quadcopter has, the higher its price will be.

If you aren’t sure if you will stick with this hobby, it’s best if you get the cheapest drone for beginners. In this way, if you won’t continue flying drones, you won’t feel bad as you didn’t spend too much for it. If you enjoy flying quads, then you can upgrade and get a more advanced drone as your skills improve.

What’s the best beginner drone for you? Feel free to share your experience with us below!