Writing a text about choosing drones 2020 is difficult. The development among drones goes incredibly fast and to say that “one” drone is better than others is not possible. Without being too technology or brand-specific, I go through various factors that can influence your drone purchase. Based on this, you can search for what you think is important to find a drone that fits your needs and your budget.
With that said, what I think is most important in order of priority:
- Flight time
- Follow me and Obstacle Avoidance
If I find two that I like that are equal, then it is the noise level that can determine.
The two I would choose from at present are DJI Spark or Parrot Anafi and it would not be an easy choice. Anafi is my favorite right now, just because it is quieter than the others. However, you want to buy an extra battery directly (about $ 99) to get more flying time. If you feel that you risk burning a few hundred dollars without knowing exactly what you are getting, then various flash sales that are advertised on, among other things, Facebook are an alternative. I haven’t tested this one yet. You can look for some drones under 200 online if you’re looking for budget drones.
At present, a four-leaf clover of drone manufacturers dominates the market. DJI with kiosk stroller Phantom 4. DJI also has the cheaper DJI Mavic Air as well as the budget variant Spark. Parrot is for those who like racing and Gopro has finally come up with a sensible aerial platform for their cameras Karma. Then we have the toy category where, for example, Hubsan X4 plus 107P is a good example. Get features, plastic, bad if any camera and battery life of 7-10 minutes.
Whichever drone you choose; I think you should buy a cheap toy drone. With it you will learn to fly and hone your skills as a drone pilot. Test limits, learn how to operate, maneuver, etc. You won’t have to cry crying over expensive spare parts when you break it!
Must Read: What to Look for When Buying a 4K Drone?
Step 1: Set a budget
First, you have to decide on a budget. Do you want to spend under $100, $200 or $300? Or more, it may happen that you find the features of a drone that makes you choose a different budget than your intended one. But start somewhere.
Step 2: What is the purpose
What is the purpose of your drone? Are you going to play with it, aerial racing with it? Shoot / film with it? Should it be used for monitoring? Finding wild? Scare others? Be able to deliver things to others?
A racing drone can advantageously be used for reconnaissance, scare maneuvers, and surveillance. A camera drone is usually not suitable for hard turns and rapid elevation changes.
Step 3: What features are important to you
Some of these features can be found in the specifications, others you can find out through google, youtube, and more.
The flight time is determined by the batteries. Generally speaking, cheaper drones have shorter flight times. There are few drones that come up in more than 30 minutes of continuous flight time. If you find a cheap drone where they write about long flight time it is most likely that they mean you can fly 7 minutes, then you get a battery change, and then you have three batteries you get 21 min flight time. Then the battery life is more or less shameless lies. It is as with fuel consumption on cars.
All the drones sound awfully much. Racing drones tend to sound more as they are built for speed.
A racing drone is designed to fly around on a three-dimensional track with lots of obstacles, so it can turn quickly. This is especially important if you intend to use the drone for surprise visits and should look into someone and what it looks like there.
For example, DJI Mavic can fly at 65 km / h. Admittedly, it drains the battery, but few are left with it. What manufacturers claim should always be taken with a rubbing salt (in large loads). Most drones are tested on youtube so just search for your imagined drone there and you will find out the truth.
Speed rise and vertical maximum speed
How fast the drone can rise is important if you want to get away from the scene quickly. If at full throttle you can rise 10 m / s and spin with the drone randomly from side to side, it is impossible to shoot it down.
Portability / towability
An important factor is how easy it is to drag when you are not flying with it. For example, Phantom 4 is not something you take with you into the woods on a longer hike.
There are laws that stipulate how high your drone may fly and most drones have software barriers that regulate this. On the web, you can easily find information about the correct maximum height from people who have removed the height barrier.
That’s how far you can fly without the drone losing touch. This often varies depending on the hand control you have. Some models have a range of 4 km with optional hand control.
The better the drone, the more obvious this is. Some waterproof drones (which can launch / land in water) do not have or it is lousy to change the battery
Can the drone follow you? How does this detection occur? Is it something you have to wear or can it identify you via pictures?
Some drones you can set a point on so that if something happens (battery runs out, lost contact with the driver) the drone automatically returns to this point.
Avoids obstacle avoidance
There are several types of OA. The better drones have OA so that if you fly straight ahead at a certain height and there is, for example, a house in the road, the drone itself will avoid the house and return to the same height / direction as before. Some drones have such protective mechanisms that it is impossible to fly into houses, trees or mountains.
Another type of OA that is significantly more difficult is if you have connected in the follow-me function and are entering a forest, for example on a forest road. Few drones can handle this complex navigation, but instead, they will try to rise above the treetops.
Can withstand strong winds
It is often difficult to find out the flight capability in the wind from the manufacturer. What this means is that a drone is “wind resistance” against winds of 10 m / s is difficult to understand. Is it if it hovers when it can withstand the wind force? Or that it can’t fly in stronger winds? If you need to have your drone under surveillance, then it is definitely an important point as you want to be able to fly when it blows.
Covers snow, copes with rain
Precipitation, ie snow, and rain is really difficult for most drones as it builds weight (mainly snow) and makes the propellers slower. In normal cases, few pilots take out their drones in the snowfall but for monitoring and reconnaissance missions it may be necessary. A good home hack is to put the roof over the propellers just high up. It prevents rainfall from entering the propellers and engines.
Most drones are made to lift their own weight and not much more. However, some models can handle a load (payload) but then draws extremely much battery instead.
Being able to decide in advance how the drone will fly is a function that was previously costly but which now comes with the cheaper drones. In some cases, it’s as simple as setting up “lighthouses” on a map in an app and then flying the drone the shortest way between them. The more competent drones can often be programmed with an exact flight path and also altitude. For surveillance assignments, it is nice not to have to focus on the flight but to be able to check the pictures instead.
Film / shoot
If you take a Phantom 4, you get great visuals. It is possible to use in TV productions without any problems. With a racing drone like those from Parrot, it is the operation that is totally dependent on what you see.