From being used exclusively by the military, drones have been developed further to include recreational use. Though there are some drones that are still used for military surveillance, different types of these unmanned vehicles are now available on the market to be enjoyed by the public. Thus, individuals who are interested in using these vehicles, are having difficulties in choosing the right drone for their hobby, profession, or passion. If you are still undecided on the best drone to buy for your own use, then this article might be able to help you out.
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are a general term for any type of vehicle that can be controlled remotely. As mentioned earlier, they were first developed to assist the military in their surveillance of the area. These small vehicles can go to places that are otherwise hard to reach or heavily guarded by the opposing faction, thus making it a useful tool for military operations, and you can read more about them in our article about law enforcement drones.
However, a number of companies have started developing types of drones that are less than military grade, and are available for use by the public. These vehicles have lesser capabilities than those of their military counterparts, but still have an essential feature of the drone: to be able to fly remotely.
There is a wide array of products available in the market. These drones may be used for photography, racing, surveying, and anything else the user can think of. There are also drones that are best for teaching beginners or challenging advanced pilots. We list the five of most impressive drones in the market today depending on their function, to give you an idea of what to expect from these flying vehicles.
Top 5 Best Drones on the market today
UDI RC U818A
First on the list is UDI’s RC U818A, a drone designed for ease of use and toughness. Its features are great for amateur flyers who want to learn how to control a UAV for the first time. UDI RC U818A is easy to assemble thanks to its symmetrical and modular design.
First time users will have little to no problem in building the unit, and will be able to fly it on the air in just five minutes. It is easy to fly thanks to its light weight, and is stable in windless condition thanks to its flight system. It also has a remarkable toughness and is water resistant.
In terms of performance, UDI RC U818A provides more than what its price asks for. It has a flight time of up to 10 minutes, with a battery charge time of just two hours. You can fly it up to 30 meters from your original position with no problem, and with great ease. It can withstand high falls and still operate smoothly, great for first time users who are still new to a drone’s operations. This vehicle is made to enable its users to fly it without much worry that they might break it because of their lack of knowledge in flying.
It is also equipped with a camera that can capture images and record videos with acceptable quality. What’s more, the product only costs around $60. It definitely is a must buy for beginners, who don’t want to spend a fortune in learning how to fly UAVs, and if you wish to get more familiar with what it has to offer, you can also read our UDI U818A in-depth review.
Like this product? Then you can buy it here.
DJI T600-Dual-Controllers Inspire 1 Quadcopter
The DJI T600 Inspire 1 boasts advanced and high-quality features that professional photographers and pilots are looking for. This drone does a lot of exciting things in the hands of an expert handler. It has a strong body that is made from high-quality materials, allowing it to perform great despite the external factors that may hinder it otherwise. It can also be controlled using two controllers: one for the flight and one for the camera.
In terms of performance, Inspire 1 is capable of shooting 4k quality videos and capturing great images thanks to its 12-megapixel camera. The camera also has a 3 gimbal system that allows it to stay stable even in unfavorable conditions.
DJI T600 Inspire 1 can fly 18 minutes straight before its batteries run out. You can also upgrade the batteries to make its flight time up to 22 minutes. What’s more is that you can control the drone from a mile away. These features alone make the DJI Inspire 1 a go-to gadget of professional photographers who want the best quality for their videos and photos.
These features however come with a price, as DJI T600 Inspire 1 costs almost $3,500. Though the price is reasonable for the drones capabilities and features, it is something that amateur or recreational pilots are not willing to spend for a drone. Thus, this drone is definitely for professional pilots and photographers only, and it does not perform any less than what they expect it to do. If your budget is capable of withstanding such a blow, or you simply want to find out much more about this model, we suggest that you read our Inspire 1 review as well.
Like this great product? Then you can check its price on Amazon.
ARRIS FPV250 Mini Racing Drone
Drones can also be used for racing, and ARRIS makes one of the best racing machines on the market. Their best-seller, FPV250 Mini Racing Drone, is a great catch for avid racers who want to experience a rush of adrenaline while using the vehicle. FPV250 is a low-weight racing quadcopter, so low, in fact, that it only weighs 900 grams. It is also built using a mixture of carbon and glass fiber to give it superior durability. The drone is capable of flying at high speeds thanks to its weight and its composition.
FPV250 also has a built in 700 TVL camera that can be used to get live feed videos of the drone while flying, without any delay. To get live videos, just connect the drone to your monitor or FPV goggles. The unit can last up to 10 minutes on air and at high speeds.
Its small size and body weight allow it to easily maneuver obstacles along its way. The vehicle can be easily modified depending on your preference. What’s more is that all the parts of the drone are located on a single frame, making their modifications easier. If you want to dig deeper for this model, we suggest checking out our in-depth, Arris X-Speed 250 review.
FPV250 have two variants. The first is already assembled by the manufacturer, and is ready to fly already. The other one is to be assembled by you in case you want to put some modifications. However, you still need to buy a battery and a transmitter before you can start racing with this quadcopter. These features come at a relatively low price of just 208$, perfect for a racing enthusiast like you.
If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can check the current deal for it on Amazon.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Power Edition Quadricopter
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is a great drone for individuals who want to use these flying vehicles as surveyors. They can fly really far and long, allowing the user to capture the entire features of the area in question. This particular unit is a great choice if you want to try being one of those spies that you see in movies.
The vehicle has an astonishing flight time of 18 minutes which can be doubled when you put another battery, making it 36 minutes of potential flight time. It is also color black, making it a great drone to fly at night when you want to be camouflaged by the lack of light. The drone can readily be operated using a smartphone.
You just need to download the free application from Google or Apple store and you can readily control the drone with just you device. The drone can also fly as far as 50 meters or 365 feet away from you, giving it great reconnaissance powers.
In terms of control however, the vehicle is equipped with an autopilot feature that gives it easy to fly and land capabilities. It can be controlled by both beginner and expert pilots with little to no difficulties.
The AR.Drone 2.0 is available on Amazon for as low as 370$. This drone is a great aid for individuals who want to survey a particular area, or play spies and do some covert operations. A truly fun drone to use both professionally and recreationally, Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 gives the fun, stability, and performance that pilots are looking for a suitable remote controlled vehicle.
Like this amazing product? Then you can purchase it on Amazon.
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Drone
If there is a product which can perform whatever task its user need it to do, it has to be DJI Phantom 3 Advanced. This quadcopter is user-friendly, and can be operated by pilots of varying flight experience. It can be used by beginners to learn the fundamentals of flight, and by experts who want to do advanced tricks on air.
The quadcopter also has the capability to capture 2.7K HD videos, making it a gem for photographers. It can easily capture 1080p videos and high-quality pictures of the area.
The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced can fly 23 minutes straight from a full battery, allowing it to cover a lot of areas. This feature is good for individuals who are looking for drones suitable for surveillance. In terms of durability, the Phantom 3 is made out of durable materials that withstand unfavorable conditions.
It can also be configured to give a live feed through a smartphone or tablet. It also flies at relatively fast speeds, without much instability while in flight. These features make it an eye-catcher for racers who want to try a new type of remote controlled vehicle.
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced is a versatile drone capable of providing different features for particular needs. It is also cost-effective at 1000$. Because of this, this particular model is one of the most sought-after products in the market now. If you are a racer, a photographer, a surveyor, or a beginner, it matters not because this vehicle can address to your needs. Furthermore, if you want to get to know more about this drone series from DJI, we suggest checking out our article about the Phantom 3, the entire series.
If you interested you can check its price here.
Different Classifications of Drones
There is really no centralized classification of drones available in the market now. The primary reason is that these remotely controlled vehicles are designed and produced for the sole purpose of flying in the air while being controlled by the user from the ground.
However, there are certain features of a drone that make it more suitable for a particular activity. Do note that these drone classifications are only available for those used by the public, as UAVs used by the military have different specifications.
Essentially, the products available in the market can be divided into four types: for photography, for recreation, for racing, and for surveillance.
If you are using a UAV for photography, then you are looking for vehicles which have a good and stable camera. Your vehicle’s primary function is to capture breathtaking photos and amazing videos using its camera. Thus, it is imperative to look for products that have a good camera. It is a plus if the product you are eyeing is equipped with a gimbal system, as this improves the stability of your camera.
Through the gimbal system, the drone can capture high-quality images even if there is wind resistance that is making the drone wobble while flying in the air. That being said, if you don’t buy a drone with a gimbal system, it should still be stable enough to be able to withstand unfavorable conditions while still delivering good quality images and videos. Drones used for photography also need to have a good battery life, and a suitable flight radius to be able to give you a great view of the area.
A good battery life means that the drone can go to a lot of places while capturing every scenery that is good to the eye. Lastly, you should take into consideration the ease of flight, so that you can properly maneuver the vehicle in ways that will give a good perspective for your videos and images. A lot of drones have a function wherein they automatically follow the user while they are midair. This function will be of great help when you want to focus on taking pictures and videos of the area, without worrying too much on your UAV’s flight.
There are also drones which are being used for racing. These drones are made out of durable materials that can handle excessive stress. They are mostly made out of carbon and fiberglass, two materials that are found on products which require high durability and sturdiness. They can fly smoothly even under windy conditions, thanks to their composition. They also have great speeds and long flight times in order to give their users a great experience.
These vehicles need not have a good camera, as the only use of the camera is to give them a live feed on where the drone is, and to help the user maneuver it on obstacles if there are any. What set these drones from other types is their construction. They are constructed in such a way that all components of the vehicle are found in only one frame. This is to reduce weight and to improve air dynamics.
This frame is usually made of high-quality materials that are able to withstand the weight of the whole drone while still giving enough air resistance to keep the drone from suddenly falling. Drone racing is an emerging sport, attracting many remote controlled vehicle owners to compete for who has the fastest drone. For those who love a sudden rush of adrenaline, then this type of drones is a must-try.
Another type of drone is the one used for surveillance. These drones need to be small and handy in order to be able to maneuver tight spots and hard to reach places. They also need a good quality of camera to be able to record the area’s features easily. These drones are usually used by the military to scout certain areas that are unknown to them, or have potential hostile groups lying in ambush. However, these vehicles are also being used by real estate agents, engineers, and architects in order to survey the land.
When used by professionals, these drones are great in helping develop lands through the use of an aerial perspective. Since the land is shown from above, the professionals can easily make the necessary calculations for the land. They can also make all the necessary considerations accompanying the land such as water source, elevation, and a lot more.
Lastly, these drones can be used by farmers in order to optimize their land area. They usually send these vehicles above the air to spot areas in the field where there are anomalies. They can also readily see the cause of some problems through the use of these drones. If the land area is really large then the need for a drone to assist its owner will increase.
The last type of drones is those used for recreational purposes only. Users who only want to fly the vehicle, take a couple of pictures and videos, and marvel at the abilities that these flying machines can do, may opt to buy a drone that is not pricey and offers limited features. What matters to this type of pilots is the drone’s battery life, its charging time, and the camera. You should also take into consideration the ease of flight of the drone, especially if you are an amateur pilot who is just beginning to study the dynamics of its flight.
The camera should be good enough to let the user enjoy the full view of the area. You should look for cameras that are at least 2 megapixels. In terms of battery time, you should look for products which can give at least ten minutes of air time. This is to ensure that you get the most out of your vehicle.
In ten minutes, your drone can cover a lot of places, and can give you a lot of breathtaking views from above. Another thing you should consider is the length at which you need to charge the battery to full. Ideally, you should charge them the least amount of time possible in order for you to enjoy flying your UAV many times.
Difference Between a Military and a Personal Drone
There is a distinct difference between drones that are used by the military, and drones that are used by recreational pilots. As we mentioned earlier, the first use of drones is for military purposes only. These drones are bigger, faster, and more durable than those used for recreational purposes. Military drones generally fall into three categories:
- For reconnaissance – these drones are used to fly behind enemy lines where it is more dangerous for humans to cover. These UAV’s are used to scan the area for possible exploits, look for hostages or trapped civilians, and map the general area so that the soldiers can easily break through the area with minimal casualties. These vehicles are great in stopping the war before it actually starts. Because of these vehicles, the military can readily plan their course of action, and do so in a swift and fluid manner.
- For defense – these drones act as dummies for actual aircraft to act as their first line of defense. These drones are first detected by anti-aircrafts, and thus are gunned down, leaving the real aircraft unscathed. They are useful especially in places where it is hard to send foot soldiers to fight the enemies.
These UAVs save pilots and aircraft from being blown away to pieces. They can also be mounted with weapons and can be sent to the enemy’s base to disarm their defensive weapons, allowing for the military to blitz the base without much resistance. These drones are really helpful in catching the enemy off-guard, and thus tip the scales of the battle in favor of the military.
- For actual battle – these military vehicles are equipped with guns and ammunitions to aid their soldiers in actual combat. These vehicles are usually sent first in order to scout the area and eliminate possible hostiles before the actual soldiers enter the battlefield. They are used to secure areas which are heavily guarded by armed hostiles.
Since the drones are made of metal, they are not easily destroyed by guns. Also, they can readily neutralize the enemies through the use of a pilot from a safe distance. Through the use of these UAV’s a lot of good lives have been saved.
Military drones offer versatile features for the wide range of their uses. They are equipped with the latest technologies depending on what the current battlefield demands. They are a great addition to boost the military’s capabilities, and to save a lot of lives.
Through the use of military drones, the warfare just got a level higher. These machines of the future pave the way for unmanned combat, thereby decreasing the risk of soldiers dying on the battlefield.
On the other side of the spectrum are the drones which can be used by ordinary individuals for their recreational activities. These vehicles are equipped with cameras, which helps individuals like to get a new perspective of the area – the bird’s eye perspective. These vehicles also have limited flying capabilities supplied by their batteries.
We’ve discussed what different types of recreational drones are being used by professionals and hobbyists today. These drones also provide a wide range of capabilities and uses that the general public can enjoy doing. They can be used as toys for teens who want to fly their first flying vehicle. They can also be used by photographers to take breathtaking images from above.
Racers, on the other hand, have made a new sport involving these fast-flying vehicles. Lastly, professionals mainly use them to survey lands, waterways, farms, and other terrestrial structures to make the necessary calculations and assumptions.
The possibilities of these flying vehicles are endless, and the bounds are its user’s imagination. As long as there is a place to fly, these drones will reach them. On a different note though, drones that are used for commercial purposes, or any other purposes other than recreational ones, are required by the FAA to be registered.
Still Not Decided Yet?
Because of the popularity of these flying vehicles, there are countless of products to choose from the market today. These products have different features, capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
To give you an easier choice, we list a few questions that you can ask in order to determine what drone is suitable for you.
- Do I need to take good pictures and videos?
- Do I need something that is durable and can fly fast?
- Do I need something that I can use anytime to do various activities for me?
- Am I confident with my flying skills, or do I need to practice first?
- Do I need a drone for my profession?
- Do I have the budget required for buying and maintaining a drone?
These are just some guiding questions that you can ask yourself before buying a particular product that you see in the market. You can use these questions to come up with a detailed research about the type of drone you want to buy.
Based on your answers, you can have a rough estimate on what features you future UAV must have. If you still have further questions, we will be happy to answer them for you. Just comment below the article to ask one!