7 Best Hobby Drones in 2019 Buying Guide for Beginners

7 Best Hobby Drones in 2019 Buying Guide for Beginners

Do you love flying drones? Are you looking for one that can keep up with your hobby?

More and more enjoy flying drones. According to 3DInsider, in 2017, the total number of drones that have been registered with the FAA is 770,000. By January 2018, the figure had increased to over 1 million.

By 2019, the number of drone registrations is expected to reach 2 million. However, the number of actual drones is expected to increase to about 2.4 million because hobbyists are only required to register once even if they own multiple drones. Also, lightweight drones are not required for registration.

By 2020, FAA predicts that there will be about 7 million drones in the United States alone. If you want to be ahead in the game, get your hobby drone today!

Flying drones is fun and exciting, so it’s understandable if you jump on the bandwagon. If you are looking for a quad, you’re just on the right page because I’ll be sharing my list of the best hobby drones in the market here.

Best Hobby Drones

If you love flying drones and you want a quadcopter that can keep up with your passion, look no further. Here are the best drones to buy for your hobby!

1. Tomahawk

Specs

Dimensions: 13.4 x 12.9 x 6.6in
Weight: 3.25lb
Range: 300-500m
Flight time: 15-17min
Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer

Altair Tomahawk drone is the upgrade of the previous model Blackhawk. It has a unique and stylish design and looks very professional.

This hobby drone can easily be controlled and handles strong winds well. It comes with a camera that is super easy to use and delivers amazing footage making this a sure winner among beginners and intermediate fliers who are looking for a cheap camera drone.

Also, from the first look, you might not find this flexible and portable. However, on the contrary, this is ultraportable. You can easily remove the action camera, its landing legs and guards. You can still fly this drone without those items for a faster flying experience and longer flight time.

I am particularly happy with the HD photos and footage it delivers. It is also equipped with powerful brushless motors that create strong propulsion force for faster maximum flying speed.

Also, for a safer flight, this includes a built-in barometer that detects changes in the air pressure for a smoother and more stabilized flight controls. Overall, this is very easy to fly even for those who have no prior flying experience.

I am very impressed with Altair Tomahawk’s design, quality, and performance. So, I highly recommend this.

PROS

  • Compact and portable
  • Easy to fly 
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Durable and high-quality
  • Decent flight time
  • High-quality images and videos
  • Stylish design but looks professional

CONS

  • Lacks GPS module

2. DJI Mavic Air

Specs

Camera: 12mp
Video Resolution: 4K at 30fps
Max Flight Time: 21min
Max Speed: 68.4kph in Sport mode
Notable Attributes: SmartCapture, Gesture Control, Foldable and Portable, 3-axis gimbal for stability, 3-directional environment sensing, 8 GB of internal storage

Mavic Air has a foldable design making it ultraportable. This is perfect if you are always on the go and you want to take your drone with you all the time.

This quad is designed to be your constant companion. It features an impressive camera that shoots videos at an incredible 4K at 30fps and records 100mbps to capture every second with UHD quality.

Also, if you are into extreme sports, this will perfectly document your activity because it can record 1080p at 120fps slow-motion videos to capture high-speed adventures.

Aside from an impressive camera, this drone comes with a 3-axis mechanical gimbal with angular vibration range. Its gimbal and triangular formation help users create steadier shots.

When it comes to the quality of photos, Mavic Air has a new algorithm that automatically enables it to obtain the right exposure settings intelligently, according to lighting conditions. It processes the overexposed or dark areas for more natural transitions between highlights and shadows.

Overall, Mavic air exceeded my expectations. It is smartly designed to be portable and it offers intelligent features that make it so easy for me to use it. I had fun flying this drone and I’m confident that this would be a great partner whenever you want to go outdoors to fly a drone.

PROS

  • Foldable
  • Portable
  • Stable
  • Compact and small
  • Better build quality
  • Won’t struggle to fly back home even with strong headwind conditions

CONS

  • Video crop
  • Short battery life
  • Doesn’t support D-Log
  • Poor range and radio signal quality
  • Only slim smartphones fit in the controller

3. Parrot Bebop 2

Specs

Camera: 14mp with fish-eye lens
Video: 3-axis full HD 1080p
Stabilization: Digital stabilization (Parrot system)
Flight Time: 25 minutes
GPS: Yes
Processor: Dual core processor with quad-core GPU
Storage: 8 GB flash storage system

Parrot Bebop 2 is a product of 2-year design efforts and you will immediately notice this when you see the quad for the first time. It has a compact size and is very lightweight because it only weighs 500 grams. Thanks to its smart design, you can comfortably take this with you wherever you go.

Despite its being lightweight and compact, another thing that makes me very happy with this aircraft is its long flight time. This can fly up to 25 minutes, which is long enough for me to enjoy flying it.

Aside from its design and flight time, this drones is very smart. It has the best tracking performance and is actually one of the best Follow Me drones in the market. It uses a combination of the drone GPS+ cell phone GPS, visual image tracking and cellphone barometric data to follow and track a subject in any position accurately.

If you will be using the drone for its camera, you will be satisfied with this quad. It has an impressive camera that can capture 14mp still photos and record videos in 1080p full HD. It delivers stunning videos and pictures that won’t disappoint you.

Parrot Bebop 2 also comes with a free mobile app that is dedicated to the Parrot drones – the FreeFlight Pro. This app makes it easy and convenient to fly the drone, film, and share your aerial photos and videos to your friends. For beginners, the app includes Smart Flights feature that assists you when taking photos to capture the perfect shot.

Parrot Bebop 2 is a very impressive drone. If you want to experience all the good things it offers, don’t think twice. This drone is worth it!

PROS

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Extended range
  • Decent camera for its price
  • Doesn’t need a gimbal
  • Can capture 14MP shots with relatively stable movement
  • Long flight time up to 25 minutes

CONS

  • Image distortions
  • Lack of clear instruction
  • Control sticks are sometimes unresponsive

4. Holy Stone F181

Specs

Dimensions: 31 x 9 x 31in
Weight: 1.7lb
Range: 100m
Flight time: 9min
Camera : 720p HD
Charging time: 80min

Holy Stone F181 RC quadcopter is one of the best drones under $100 in the market. For its price, it is equipped with a decent camera and has smart features that make piloting so easy and fun.

This has a cool design with an equally impressive transmitter. Its motors and batteries are durable and very reliable when it comes to providing the drone its needed power to fly up in the air.

Also, you won’t get bored with this because it can perform flips and rolls with a simple push of the button. Simply hold down the right direction stick to perform each roll in any direction. The drone is agile and highly responsive, so it will do as you wish. For sure, your friends will be impressed when they see you do that.

Also, if you are new to flying drones, this quad is beginner-friendly. It supports Headless Mode and has One Key Engine Start/Landing feature.

That’s not all; this comes with 4-Speed Control modes that cater to all skill levels. If you are a beginner, you can fly the drone at that level and work your way up to the expert level, so you will never outgrow this quad.

This drone is durable and high-performance. It is stable and has a great camera. Most of all, it is very easy and fun to fly that even beginners without prior flying experience would enjoy it. So, I highly recommend this.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Easy to fly
  • Good camera
  • Stable and durable
  • One key return home
  • 4-speed control modes
  • Great lights for night flying

CONS

  • No FPV
  • Manual in the package is not clear
  • Cannot connect to your phone

5. Holy Stone F181W

Specs

Dimensions: 12.6 X 3.3 X 12.6in
Weight: 4.9oz
Video recording modes: 1280 x 720p
Battery of quadcopter: 3.7V 750mAh Lipo Battery
Battery of controller: 4 X 1.5V AA Battery (Not included)
Charging time: about 70-90min
Transmitter operation range: about 50-100m
Playing time: 7-10min

If you want more of the F181 series from Holy Stone, I suggest that you check out F181W RC because this is the improved version of the former. It costs more but it’s one of the best drones under $200 that you can find in the market.

Holy Stone F181W is a powerful and feature-rich starter drone. It is easy, fun and safe to fly because it can withstand strong winds. Also, it has a built-in 6-axis flight control system that offers stability. It also allows you to implement various flight movements smoothly.

Since this is very stable, you will surely enjoy it because it can perform 3D flips and rolls with a press of a button. You can now show off your flying skills to your friends and they will surely be impressed.

Just like F181, this quad is beginner-friendly. It has a Headless mode that eliminates the need for users to check the drone’s orientation which can be confusing. It has One Key Return Home function, too, that enables the drone to fly back to the direction of the transmitter. Thanks to this function, you can easily have your drone back to you in case you lose sight of it.

It also comes with several settings and pre-programmed modes that make it so easy for users to maneuver the drone. I’m sure that even novices can pull it off. This drone also offers four-speed levels for low, medium, high and expert users.

F181W is a great value for money. If you are looking for a hobby drone under $200, I highly suggest that you consider this.

PROS

  • Stylish design
  • Stable during in-flights
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Automatic Altitude Hold function
  • Mobile control with a smartphone
  • Records clear and steady videos
  • Spare parts can easily be obtained

CONS

  • Mediocre flight time
  • FPV requires smartphone and app
  • RC controls can short out
  • Pairing and range are spotty

6. Cheerson CX-10

Specs

Brand: Cheerson
Model: CX10
Main Rotor Diameter: 1.14″ / 2.9cm
Speed Control: Integrated
Required Radio: 4Channel
Frequency: 2.4G
Flight Time: Approx. 4-8min
Charging Time: About 30-40min
Battery: Rechargeable 3.7V 100mAh Lithium Battery
Control Distance: About 40m
Body Material: ABS Plastic
Dimensions: 1.65 x 1.65 x 0.79in
Weight: 1.02oz / 29g
Suitable for: Ages 14+

Cheerson is a small quad with a compact frame. Despite its size, it is very easy to control and surprisingly, very stable, that’s why this is one of the best nano drones in the market.

Cheerson CX-10 lacks windproofing but flies well in the wind due to its 6-axis gyro system. Thanks to this feature, it can perform in-flight stunts like 360-degree flips and fast turns smoothly and without any issues.

Its remote control is also very handy. It is small but fits perfectly into the palm of your hands. All the buttons are fitted nicely and are coated with anti-adhesive materials to prevent your thumb from flipping.

Unfortunately, this is not for you if you want a camera drone because this doesn’t include one. However, the lack of a camera isn’t a big deal if you just want to fly a drone because this is highly versatile and has excellent maneuverability.

Aside from the lack of camera, this has a short flight time because it is very small. However, it’s one of the cheapest drones you will find considering its performance and quality.

Cheerson CX-10 is not the best drone, but for its size and price, I must say that it offers more. For those who want an affordable hobby drone, I highly recommend this.

PROS

  • Very versatile
  • Easy to operate
  • Good flight time
  • Excellent maneuverability
  • Can perform stunts
  • Intuitive remote control

CONS

  • No camera
  • Lacks windproofing
  • Propeller guard is not included
  • No Return Home feature

7. Altair Aerial AA108

Specs

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

Altair Aerial AA018 is a high-quality drone. It is designed with a durable plastic material that is strong enough to withstand crashes. It is also carefully-constructed enabling the drone for a more stable hover.

This makes a great hobby drone because it is very safe to fly. It has smart features that will help you keep the drone longer.

For instance, when the battery is about to run out or if it stops communicating with the controller, you can be assured that the drone will not crash because it can land itself safely on the ground.

If you are into aerial photography and videography, AA1808 can help you improve your skills in that area because it comes with a built-in 120° wide-angle 720p HD camera for amazing photos and videos in bird’s eye view straight from your phone.

Also, for beginners, this comes with high-end features and innovative functionalities for smoother and easy flight experience. This drone is designed with one-button takeoff and landing, as well as Headless and multiple flight modes, that make piloting it so convenient.

As for its performance, it has a transmission range up to 100 meters and flies up in the air for 7 to 10 minutes. Good news, this comes with a spare battery, so you can double the fun.

I’m very happy with this drone from its price, quality, and performance. You should try this one, too.

PROS

  • Easy to fly
  • Good camera
  • FPV capability
  • Durable construction
  • Decent range and flight time
  • Has several safety features
  • Dedicated customer support
  • Longer flying time compared to competitors

CONS

  • Lacks camera stabilization
  • Cannot fly in fairly strong winds

Conclusion

These hobby drones offer decent flight time and smart features to help you enjoy your favorite past time. The models mentioned above are high-quality and durable. They are also easy and fun to fly. Most of all, I made the list comprehensive, so no matter what your budget and requirements are, you will surely find one that’s perfect for you.

If you know any other great drone, not on the list, that you would like to recommend, please feel free to share it with us. Your suggestions are welcome!

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