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We are all witnesses of how drones are “taking over the world”. In the last couple of years, we were able to find civilian drones for sale on numerous online shopping sites, and they are not as near as expensive as they used to be when they first showed up.
The term Drone comes from military, and it is used to describe an unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV. However, nowadays, UAV’s are not only reserved for the military uses, and more and more manufacturers are making civilian radio controlled versions. Since the official name sounds kind of dull, and you need to break your tongue to pronounce the entire name, people simply call them ”Drones”. If you want to get much more familiar with this topic, we suggest checking out our article about what drones are and what is their main purpose.
We have to admit that drones have come a long way since their beginning. If you decide to enter the world of RC drone hobby, you will have a problem with choosing the right one for you because the market is literally overloaded with all kinds of models.
You can buy surveillance drones (which can basically be any kind of drone with a camera and a live feed video transmission), micro drones, racing drones, professional filming drones, delivery drones, and the list keeps on going. To make sure you choose the best one, we put together a list of the most popular models on the market right now.
Top 6 best drones on the market
Eachine H8 Mini
For a price of $21.99, there isn’t a better and cheaper way to get into the world of RC drone hobby. As an owner of this amazing little drone, I can personally tell you that you will have hours and hours of fun with it!
It does take some time to learn how to control it and get used to it, but after a few hours, you will perform tricks, fly it under the table, and feel like a real pro. It can be used both for indoor and outdoor flights.
Even though it is a really small drone (fits the palm of your hand), it is amazing how fast it can go, and what range it offers. Furthermore, it is practically indestructible, and can even handle moderate winds. You can hit walls, crash, even your dog can fetch it for you when it falls, and it will keep on flying.
As far as the controller goes, the controls are great, and offer two modes, low rew and high rew. Low rew is basically for when you are indoors, and don’t want to hit the lamps or any expensive electronic equipment around the house. On the other hand, when switched to high rew, it flies like a bullet!
So, make sure that you use that mode only outside. Pairing the controller with the drone is automatic and fast, and you even have trimm controls on the controller, in the case your drones goes sideways on its own. Here are some of the characteristics:
- Flight time: 7 minutes
- Battery charging time: 30 minutes
- Maximum height: 30 meters
- Headless Mode
You can find out much more on this model by checking out our Eachine H8 Mini in-depth review, and you can also see how it flies by watching this video:
If you interested in this product you can buy it here.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
For Photographers and movie makers, there isn’t a better aerial filming tool than this quadcopter! The main advantage of the Phantom, over hexacopters and octocopters, is that it allows you to concentrate on filming, while the flying part is mostly taken care of by the drone.
It comes with an Ultra High Definition camera and a 3-axis stabilization gimbal, offering you a chance to film some amazing, movie-like 4K resolution footage. It also offers 720p live video preview and simultaneous 4K recording on the SD card.
As for the flying, this quad is unbelievably stable, and even amateur drone pilots can control it with ease after a few hours of training. It comes with sensors that allow the drone to avoid any obstacles on its way, which is great when filming indoors. Some other awesome features of this drone are:
- autopilot takeoff (with the press of a button it takes off on its own, and then hovers until you give him other commands),
- pre flight course setting (you can make a route on the map before the flight, and it will follow that route while you concentrate only on filming),
- “follow me mode” (follows the controller automatically),
- “lead the way” mode (flies in front of you while the camera is facing your direction – Great when you want to make driving footage from bird’s eye perspective),
- “circle around the point of interest” mode (select a point of interest and the drone will circle around it, while the camera is facing the point of interest all the time).
The control distance for the Phantom 3 professional is 2km, while the highest altitude is 500 meters. When it comes to the controller, basically it pairs itself with the drone automatically, and you just need to calibrate the drone’s compass before flying, and that’s it. Considering what this drone offers, the price of $898.00 is a great deal if you ask us.
Here are the characteristics that make this drone on of the best in the market:
- UHD video recording (4K resolution videos) with fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal
- Vision Positioning System avoids obsticles and offers stable flight indoors
- 720p live viewing of the flight (UHD video is simultaneously recorded on the microSD card)
- Included flight battery and rechargable remote controller allow the drone to be ready for flight out of the box
- DJI Pilot app for iOS and Android allows live viewing and complete camera control ove your phone or tablet
- Flight time is 27 minutes
You can see the type of footage quality you can expect from this drone, in the video below, and you can also check out our DJI Phantom 3 series, in-depth review:
If you interested in this product you can buy it on Amazon.
Walkera Racing Drone 250
This quad is meant for pilots with a decent amount of drone flying experience, and are comfortable with flying in self leveling mode. Even though it is capable of carrying a small action camera, beside the built in FPV camera that only transmits the flight (doesn’t record it), this is NOT a camera drone; it is a racing drone.
The racing drones sacrifice ease of use and flight time for speed and performance. It doesn’t come with a GPS flight assistance, so you will have to constantly adjust the controls in order to hover. Basically, if you are an absolute beginner, this is not a drone for you.
Even though it is small in size, the drone is unbelievably powerful and fast, and controlling it can be a problem for pilots with little experience. This model is for pilots who have outgrown the standard drones and camera drones, and are looking for a ready-to-fly quad, to get into the drone racing hobby.
As for the controller, the Devo 7 radio controller, that comes with the package, is not a high-end radio, but is solid and well made. The control sticks are height adjustable, and feel smooth to move. Furthermore, the menu is pretty easy to read, backlit, and even offers a 15 model memory, so you can use it with other models as well.
All in all, if you are interested in drone racing, the price of $278.85 is pretty affordable, and you will experience real adrenaline raising FPV flights. We also have the Walkera Racer 250 detailed review, for those who want to get more familiar with this model.
Here are the main characteristics of the Walkera Racing Drone 250:
- Super resistant to hits
- Durable Carbon fiber structure
- Simple to disassemble and re-assemble.
- Extreme speed with tactile control, 40km/h max speed
- Long range, high sensitive, remote control
If you interested in this product you can check the current deal for it on Amazon.
The Cheerson CX-33S is an amazing FPV tricopter, and is one of very few of its kind. It offers 5.8G FPV video, which is transmitted directly to the monitor attached to the controller (both included included in the package).
This manufacturer also offers the CX-33W version, which transmits the FPV video over WiFi. However, the CX-33S is in advantage because it doesn’t rely on WiFi to transmit the video feed, meaning that the 5.8G signal is much more reliable.
The video quality of your footage will, however, vary a lot, because it records on the video receiver. This means that every little interference will be recorded as well. This tricopter comes with one very awesome feature and that is the a barometer, which gives the drone the ability to hold the altitude based on air pressure.
The CX-33S offers an amazing amount of power, due to the 7.4v battery and 6 motors, and it is one of the most powerful tricopters available in the market. Other features include one key take off and landing, and the ever present LEDS. Here are the main characteristics:
- Real time video transmission straight to the transmitter
- One-key to take off and land
- The barometric pressure sensor that allows the drone to hold its height
- 6 motors
- Y-shaped structure
Here is a video of the Cheerson CX-33S in action:
If you interested in this product you can check its price here.
Typhoon H Hexacopter
For great stability, and the ability to shoot amazing aerial footage, Typhoon is one of the best choices on the market. This drone is made of carbon fiber, which allows it to weigh just 1.8 kg, which is not much, considering that it has 6 motors and 6 arms. When not in the air, the arms fold down, allowing the Typhoon to take less space in the Hardcase Backpack.
One of the great features this hexacopter offers, is the ability to retract the landing gear, allowing the camera to make 360 degree panning. This is a feature that has so far only been seen in high-end professional octocopters.
The camera that comes with the drone can record in 4K format, as well as take 12-megapixel pictures, and is equipped with a 115 degree F2 lens and electronic shutter. The video can be transmitted up to 1km, and comes with an HD 720p video downlink.
Thanks to the 14.8V lithium-ion battery, the maximum flight time is 22 minutes. The heighest altitude this hexacopter can reach is 120m. As for the controller, it is controlled with an Android-based ST16 controller, and comes with built in 7-inch display.
It offers modes and features like Geo-fencing, Dynamic Return Home, FAA No Fly, Low-Battery Return Home, Point of Interest, Variable Speed Control, and Orbit. Furthermore, it also offers failsafe mode that, in the event of a motor failure, brings the drone safely to earth. The main features of the Typhoon H Hexacopter are:
- One personal ground station can control the drone and one can control the CGO3+ camera simultaneously
- Collision avoidance system detects and avoids obstacles automatically, providing a safe flight
- Retractable landing gear provides an unobstructed 360-degree view for the camera
The Typhoon H can be bought for $1,799 and you can see a video of what this amazing Hexacopter is capable of, here:
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If you plan on using a professional heavy camera such as the Canon 5D mark 3, and a professional Zenmuse gimbal, then your choice should be the DJI’s S1000.
The first thing that you will notice when you see this octocopter is that the arms can fold straight down, allowing this massive drone to be easily portable in a minute. The weight of the S1000 is around 9lbs, and it can carry up to 22lbs. This allows the users to use heavier camera equipment, or even some cargo, which makes this drone a delivery drone as well.
Thanks to the 15000mAh 6S battery, it can stay in the air up to 15 minutes, with the filming gear mounted. To allow the camera to have the total freedom and a full 360 degree open view, no matter in which direction the drone is flying, the S1000 comes with integrated retractable landing gear.
All in all, this is a two-man filming drone (one to operate the drone, and one to operate the camera) for serious filmmakers, who don’t want to be limited by small cameras. You will be able to use some serious heavy-duty cameras and lenses for breath-taking aerial footage. However, owning your personal flying, filming studio doesn’t come cheap, and the base price of this octocopter is around $2000. For much more information on this model, check out our DJI S1000 in-depth review.
Here are its main features:
- Strong and Stable
- Large Carrying Capacity
- Highly Portable
- New Power Distribution System
- Removable Upper Center Board
- Spark proof Plug
Here you can see how the drone looks in the air:
If you interested in this product you can check its price on Amazon.
The most popular types of drones
As you can see, there are several types of drones out there and many are named according to the number of arms they support. Let’s see below the most popular models.
As we already mentioned, surveillance drone can basically be any kind of drone that can carry a camera, have a stable flight, and transmit live video feed.
But, since we are talking about drones for sale, not military or police drones that we couldn’t buy anyway, it is enough for you to know that if you plan on flying a drone over your neighborhood, and have a live feed of what is going on, you have to know that invading other people’s privacy is punishable by the law.
So, you might consider flying it somewhere where no one will be bothered by your drone, and simply enjoy the view it offers.
Here is how one of them looks and flies:
If you interested in this product you can buy it from Amazon.
This is the most popular type of UAV’s. They come in numerous shapes and sizes, and their price can go from just $15 to a couple of thousands.
If you are a beginner, without any drone flying experience, we suggest you start with micro quads. They are cheap, and offer great flying lessons. The “cheap factor” is very important, because in the beginning, you will crash it a lot, and since the price is low, you can always order a new one for $15 to $20.
The reason why they are so fun is that they, as the name suggests, have 4 propellers, and, can literally fly in any direction you want it, and change directions without a problem.
- A cheap way of getting into the world of drone piloting and mastering your flying skills
- You can hit them and crash them, but they will keep on flying
- Capable of performing amazing air stunts
- Hours and hours of fun
- Short flying time (5 to 7 minutes maximum)
- Short control distance
- Not so good in the winds
Here is how one of them looks and flies:
If you interested in this product you can purchase it on Amazon.
Quadcopters for Aerial Filming
If you are interested in aerial photography and filming, quadcopters are the best way to go. For amateurs, there are numerous cheap models with all kinds of cameras that offer decent enough footage.
But, the professional photographers and movie makers are not forgotten as well, and there are models that offer some serious camera models, capable of making cinema quality aerial footage.
- Bigger and more serious than micro quadcopters
- They offer you the ability to make videos of your flights
- Longer control distance and maximum height
- Longer flying time
- More stable than micro quadcopters
- Can withstand moderate winds
- Not meant for aerial acrobatics
- More fragile than micro quads
- More complicated for piloting
Here is a perfect example (you can watch this video in 4K resolution):
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For those who want to enter the world of drone racing, racing quads with FPV systems (First Person View) are what they should be looking for. The main characteristics of these quads are that they are insanely fast, capable of making unbelievable sharp turns, and they can transmit live video feed on long distances.
Usually, drone racers use FPV goggles, which are really awesome, and give you a feeling that you are flying.
- Unbelievably fast and agile
- With FPV goggles, they make you feel like you are actually flying
- Very powerful
- Shorter flying time than aerial filming quads
- Difficult to control, meant only for really experienced drone pilots
Here is how it looks from the drone’s perspective:
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When it comes to mechanics, tricopters are a bit more complex than quadcopters. Quadcopters control the yaw by adjusting the speeds of the blades, while the tricopters use a moving motor for the control of the yaw, and come with servo for pivoting the angle of the back motor.
Since there are only three motors, tricopters don’t eat the battery as fast as quadcopters, and are cheaper than quads, which is why many start off the drone hobby with them. However, in case of an engine failiure, unlike quads which are capable of landing even with an one engine out, tricopters will definitely crash.
Like quads, tricopters can also be bought with a camera for aerial filming, so at the end, choosing between these two drone types comes down to personal choice.
- Faster and more agile than quadcopters
- Since they use less motors, batteries last longer
- A bit more complicated to control than quads
- Unable to safely land if one engine dies during the flight
Here is how they look and fly:
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As the name itself suggests, these drones have 6 motors and 6 propellers, and they represent the next step in the world of drones, after a quadcopter. The number of motors adds more power and stability, so for those who want to make great aerial footage, with a more expensive camera that is heavier than a GoPro, a hexacopter is a much better choice than a quad.
Basically, these drones come with all of the same major benefits of a quad, but with more power, ability to go much higher. However, their price is also higher when compared to quads.
- More stable than quads
- Faster than quads
- Capable of achieving higher flights
- Longer control distance
- Much bigger and heavier than quadcopters
- More fragile than quads
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The octocopter is the king among commercial drones. It has all the benefits that come with a hexacopter, but offers even more power, unbelievable control (wind and rain simply can’t move it) and higher altitude for filming.
Octocopters are anything but cheap, but if you are a professional photographer or a movie maker, and plan on strapping a $1,600 camera to your drone to get some breathtaking footage, then your only option is an octocopter.
When it comes to design, this drone comes with 8 motors and propellers, which provide the same benefit that the hexa provides over the quad. Plus you can safely land it even if up to 3 motors die during the flight.
- Capable of carrying heavy filming equipment
- High altitude flights
- Long distance control
- Amazing stability
- Capable of withstanding strong winds and rain
- Needs two man crew (pilot and camera operator)
- Shorter flying time than both quads and hexacopters
Here you can take a look how his majesty, the octocopter, looks and flies:
Like this product? Then you can check its price here.
Not sure what model to buy?
We have offered you the best drones for buying, and it is up to you to decide which one is the right one for you. Each of the mentioned types has its pros and cons, but it mostly depends on what you plan on doing with your future drone. For example, if you have no experience with drone piloting, then a cheap mini drone would be your best choice.
On the other hand, if you got bored of filming, and are looking for new excitement, then the adrenaline raising drone racing might be something that you could try. Or, in the case you want to make your aerial footage look like it was done with a professional high-budget movie equipment, then the octocopter is the perfect drone for what you need.
In any case, you need to know what you want from your drone, how big your budget is, and how sure you are when it comes to drone piloting, because you don’t want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for something that will end up not being used, and just collect dust in the attic.
Now that you know everything there is to know about commercial drones, it is up to you to decide which type is the perfect one for you. But, no matter which drone type you chose just remember to always fly safe and responsible, and what is most important, HAVE FUN!
If you have any suggestions or questions, or you think that we left something out, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.
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