The Ultimate Drone Buyers Guide


Discover The Best Drones For Sale In 2017


If you’re buying your first drone or maybe just looking at add another quadcopter to your hanger, it’s important to research your next purchase before you buy it. More and more drone manufacturers are entering the market every year, giving you more choices on the types of drones for sale. Unfortunately, not every drone is made equal in quality and function. To try to help, we’ve built the ultimate buyers guide to run you through the best drones for sale for whatever your need may be. Check out our recommendations below.


Best Drones For Beginners

Affordable drones with simple controls that make it easy to learn how to fly.

See the drones!

Best Acrobatic Drones

Drones built to flip and twist in the air, but not leave a hole in your wallet.

See the drones!

Best Entry-Level Camera Drones

Drones priced under $500 that offer high quality HD video and photo capabilities.

See the drones!

Best Mid-Level Camera Drones

Drones priced under $1000 that offer HD video/photo and other camera features.

See the drones!

Best Semi-Pro Camera Drones

High-end drones that offer the best camera features while still not breaking the bank.

See the drones!

The Best Drones For Beginners

If you’re new to drones and quadcopters, you may be cautious of spending a lot of money on something that can easily be damaged or lost if you don’t know what you’re doing. We recommend the following beginner drones for sale to help introduce you to the world of aerial drone flying

Hubsan X4

Hubsan X4 drone

When considering cost and ease of learning, the Hubsan X4 quadcopter drone is the best drone for any beginner. With a growing collection of different models at various price points, the Hubsan X4 will allow you to pick what features you want for your first drone purchase.

Starting at the lowest price point, the Hubsan X4 H107L is a barebones quadcopter drone that’ll offer you a basic introduction to aerial acrobatics. Next up is the Hubsan X4 H107P, which is the next generation version of the H107L and includes added functionality like built-in altitude control.

Moving up to the mid-tier model, the Hubsan X4 H107C features a fixed camera that can record 480P or 720P video. Like the lower tier model, the H107C also has a new generation version titled the Hubsan X4 H107C+. This new generation quadcopter drone also includes the added altitude control functionality for more stable video capture.

The H107L, H107P, H107C, and H107C+ models all sell for well under $100 dollars and come with easy instructions on how to setup and fly your new drone. If you’re looking to spend a little more, the higher-end Hubsan X4 H107D and latest H107D+ takes your drone to the next level by offering First Person View via live video streaming to the drone’s controller.

One great benefit of the Hubsan X4 is the ease at which you can replace parts for the drone. They come with an extra set of rotors in the original box and “crash packs” are available online for a reasonable price. To change out the rotors, all you need is their special tool (included in box) to pop them off and on. Very easy to do even for someone with zero experience.

Check out our hands on review of the Hubsan X4.

Syma X5C-1

Syma X5C-1 drone

If you’re looking for an affordable starter quadcopter drone that offers stable flight and basic camera features, then the Syma X5C-1 is the drone for you. Priced at around $50, the Syma X5C-1 features a fixed 2MP camera that can record in 720P video. Unlike the first generation Hubsan X4, the camera can be remotely triggered by the controller, so you can decide exactly when to record video or take pictures thus saving on battery lift during flight.

The drone comes mostly assembled right out of the box, so setup is as simple as charging the battery. With a 6-axis gyroscope and a 4-Channel transmitter, the controls on the X5C-1 are responsive and smooth, offering an extremely pleasant flying experience even for the most novice of pilots.

The controller itself comes with a built-in LED screen for displaying flight details in real-time. The Syma X5C-1 also offers two flight modes and a colorful LED light, to allow pilots to adapt to different operational environments like flying with slight wind or in low light environments.

With its predecessor, the Syma X5C, a best seller on Amazon, the Syma X5C-1 is destined to be a top pick for beginner drone pilots. Because of its size and weight, the Syma X5C-1 offers only around 8 minutes of flight time. Batteries are replaceable though, so be sure to pick up extra LiPO packs to allow for continuous flying with little delay.

For just about $10 more, you can grab the Syma X5SW; one of the first FPV drones priced at under $100 USD. The Syma X5SW offers a 2MP HD WiFi camera with headless/IOC flight functionality that makes flying about as easy as ever for beginners. Best part is the included FPV which will give you the added bonus of seeing exactly what your drone sees in real time.

Check out our hands on review of the Syma X5C-1.

Cost
~ $50
Skill Level
Beginner
Flight Time
~ 10 min
Total Rating
9 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • Simple Controls
  • Built-in Camera (optional)
  • Colored Orientation LEDS
  • Easy Acrobatic Tricks
  • Affordable Replacement Parts
  • 2.4 GHz Controller
Cost
~ $60
Skill Level
Beginner
Flight Time
~ 8 min
Total Rating
8 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • Simple Controls
  • Built-in Camera
  • Remote Camera Trigger
  • Easy Acrobatic Tricks
  • Adjustable trim settings
  • 2.4 GHz Controller

The Best Acrobatic Drones


One of the best things about buying a drone is the freedom you get in taking to the skies. With the ability to maneuver both vertically and horizontally, some people want to buy a drone that will let them do awesome tricks easily. While many drone manufacturers focus on features like video support, there are some drones for sale that will give you the ability to do aerial flips and tricks easily (sometimes with the just push of a button). Below are two drones that are great buys for those looking to hit the sky at a fast and furious pace.


UDI U818A

UDI U818A Drone

The UDI U818A drone quadcopter is a lightweight and agile drone built for beginner and intermediate skill-level flyers. While its overall weight limits its use to indoors or outdoors with light winds only, it’s the drone’s flexible, plastic exterior frame and easy-to-use controls that makes it a great stunt drone buy for the price.

With the U818A’s plastic bumpers, you are free to attempt daredevil tricks without the fear of destroying your drone in a crash. Another great feature is the drone’s built-in LED lights, which offer excellent flight orientation tracking at a distance or even at night.

The U818A offers two flight modes (easy & extreme), which allows for even the most beginner pilots to conduct aerial acrobatics with ease. When switched into “extreme” mode, you have the option of manually conducting flips with the joystick or, if you’re not ready to trust yourself just yet, you can simply press the special 360 eversion button and let the drone do all the hard work.

Coupled with a fixed SD camera and remote video/photo trigger buttons on the controller, the UDI U818A is an ideal quadcopter for anyone looking to buy a drone that offers both acrobatic ability and onboard camera capabilities.

UDI has released an updated model of this drone. While it does include new features like auto return home, it costs about double the old model. Be sure to check it out here and weigh the costs vs. benefits of old and new.

Blade Nano QX 3D

Blade Nano QX 3D

If you’re looking for a fast and nimble drone to do tricks and flips with, the Blade Nano QX 3D is the drone to go with. Designed specifically with aerobatics in mind, the Blade Nano QX 3D is one of the few ready-to-fly quadcopter drones on the market that can be flown upside down!

Most drones will crash and burn if they go topsy turvy, but the QX 3D has special sensors and reversible motors that provide upward or downward thrust depending on its orientation. With three different flight modes, this nimble drone can perform hairpin turns, 180-degree flips, or full 360-degree rolls with the flick of a joystick or the press of a button. The Blade Nano QX 3D’s smart control scheme makes is simple to fly, no matter what orientation the drone is in.

Built specifically to be lightweight and agile, the Blade Nano QX 3D offers unparalleled speed and maneuverability compared to most drones its size. The ability to fly right-side up or upside down also makes recovery from crashes extremely easy. No more worrying about flipping your drone or resetting its calibrations. Just take off and fly.

While the Blade Nano QX 3D doesn’t include any camera functionality, it offers a unique level of aerobatic ability that will keep you entertained for hours on end.

 

Cost
~ $50
Skill Level
Beginner
Flight Time
~ 10 min
Total Rating
8 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • Built-in Camera
  • Colored Orientation LEDS
  • Easy Acrobatic Tricks
  • 360 Eversion Button
  • Remote Camera Trigger
  • 2.4 GHz Controller
Cost
~ $70
Skill Level
Intermediate
Flight Time
~ 6 min
Total Rating
8.5 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • Can Fly Upside Down
  • Easy Acrobatic Tricks
  • 180 or 360 Flip Button
  • Colored Orientation LEDs
  • Adjustable trim settings
  • 2.4 GHz Controller

The Best Entry-Level Camera Drones


Whether you’re a drone aficionado or just a photography buff, there is nothing more fun than hooking a camera up to a drone and flying it around. Unfortunately, not all camera drones are created equal, so it is important to pick the best camera drone that will meet your needs. Below are two entry-level camera drones that will offer you the functionality you need at the price you want.


Hubsan H501S

Hubsan H501S

 

Hubsan has shown itself to be a leader in the consumer drone industry with the release of their first brushless camera drone, the Hubsan X4 H501S. Featuring light-weight brushless motors for added power, automated flight controls, and headless flight mode, the H501S is the ideal camera drone for novice pilots with just a little bit of flight time.

Containing a 1080P HD camera to help you capture high quality aerial shots, Hubsan’s quadcopter drone permits you to take both video and photos with just the press of a button. GPS and altitude control mode also allows the camera drone to maintain a set flying height and location when hovering in place.

Packed with all the normal features you might expect to find in a camera drone, the H501S also contains added functionality usually reserved for much more expensive quadcopters. A 6-axis control system permits detailed control while an auto return home and battery monitoring function makes sure your camera drone will make it back safely every flight. The built in LCD screen on the transmitter also offers live FPV streaming during flight, so you can see exactly what you’re capturing up high.

The Hubsan X4 H501S is an extremely reasonable price of just ~$270 USD. With that, you get the camera drone, high quality 5.8GHz transmitter with screen, one rechargeable 2700 mAh battery, and tools for replacing propeller blades. A 20 minute flight time allows for plenty of exploration while in the air too.

If looking to get into camera drones for the first time or just wanting to add another low-cost, but high quality quadcopter to your hangar, the Hubsan X4 H501S is the perfect drone to buy.

Parrot Bebop

Parrot Bebop Drone

The Parrot BeBop Drone is unique for two reasons. Unlike most drones which come only with a 2.4 GHz transmitter, Parrot offers users the ability to use their smartphones and tablets to control the drone in ways not typically possible with a standard controller. Some features of the app include: automatic altitude control, auto-orientation, 360 eversion, a return home feature, as well as built-in first person view directly on your screen.

The camera drone itself is built with a full HD camera which offers 14MP photos and 1080P video. The camera is the second unique feature about the Bebop drone. While it is mounted in a fixed position at the front of the unit, it boasts a fisheye lens with full 180 degree field of view and digital gyroscopic stabilization. This makes the camera extremely useful for navigation and video capture.

The second great feature of this drone is its design. Built with a customizable hull, the Parrot Bebop can be flown smoothly both indoors and outdoors with little issue. The aerodynamic design offers quick and stable maneuverability (it even does flips!), allowing for breathtaking aerial shots and sweeps at a variety of speeds up to 35 miles per hour.

The main limitation of this drone is the flying range, which is limited purely by the strength of the Wi-Fi signal (traditionally around a few hundred feet or so). This is easily overcome by buying the Parrot Bebop Drone Bundle with optional Skytroller and Wi-Fi extender, which boasts a 1.25 mile flight distance.

While Parrot has released a newer model of the Bebop (see below), this first generation camera drone can still stand up to the competition with its low price point and advanced features.

Cost
~ $300
Skill Level
Beginner
Flight Time
~ 20 min
Total Rating
8.5 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • First Person Viewing
  • GPS / Auto Return
  • Follow Me Functionality
  • Remote Camera Control
  • Expert Flight Mode
  • 5.8 GHz Controller
  • FAA Registration Required
Cost
~ $300
Skill Level
Beginner
Flight Time
~ 11 min
Total Rating
7.5 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • Intuitive Flight Control App
  • Fisheye Full HD Camera
  • First Person Viewing (add-on)
  • 360 Eversion
  • Auto Return Home
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi Controlled

The Best Mid-Level Camera Drones


Whether you’re a drone aficionado or just a photography buff, there is nothing more fun than hooking a camera up to a drone and flying it around. Unfortunately, not all camera drones are created equal, so it is important to pick the best camera drone that will meet your needs. Below are two mid-level camera drones that will offer you the functionality you need at the price you want.


DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro

Designed for minimal weight with maximum strength, the DJI Mavic Pro combines portability with quality to produce a stellar mid-level camera drone for beginner and intermediate pilots looking to take their aerial photography on the go.

At just under 2 lbs and with fold-able propeller arms that tuck safely into the body of the drone, the lightweight Mavic Pro can be carried in a bag or backpack with little risk of damage. This makes it an ideal drone for long camping trips or hikes.

As is the case with all DJI drones, quality is not sacrificed for portability. With a 4k ultra HD camera and 3-axis gimbal stabilization, this camera drone takes crystal clear video and photos on par with its more expensive cousin, the DJI Phantom 4.

Priced at ~$1000, the Mavic Pro comes packed with all the features you’d expect from a DJI brand camera drone too. From obstacle avoidance, and autonomous flight modes to live 1080P video streaming and nearly 30 minutes of flight time, the Mavic Pro makes flying easy and fun no matter the pilot’s level of expertise.

What makes this quadcopter stand out above all other mid-level camera drones is its unique set of features for shooting video and photos. DJI’s proprietary ActiveTrack feature permits the Mavic to visually track a subject with just a click of a button. While gesture control allows the drone to snap photos with just a wave of your hand.

Taking into account its portability, durability, and ease of use, the DJI Mavic Pro is a recommended buy for anyone looking to purchase a mid-level camera drone that can be taken on the go.

Parrot Bebop 2

Parrot Bebop 2

The Parrot Bebop 2 drone takes a lot from its predecessor, both good and bad. Unlike most drones on the market, Parrot still allows pilots of the Bebop 2 to use their smartphones and tablets to control the drone. Make the quadcopter fly with the swipe of a finger or use Parrot’s proprietary app to pre-plan your flight routes and watch the drone take to the sky.

The benefit of having controller choices helps ensure each pilot can buy a Bebop 2 at a price they are comfortable with. Base Bebop 2 camera drone units sell for just over $500 USD while a full drone package with skycontroller 2.0 and FPV goggles runs at around $650 USD. The ability to use a phone, a game pad, or a formal transmitter puts the Parrot Bebop 2 camera drone up there for usability and ease of flying.

Carrying forward the built-in camera design from the original Bebop, Parrot’s camera drone offers a digitally stabilized 14 MP camera with a 180 degree field of view. This allows you to capture full 1080P HD video and stills.

The unique fisheye lens remains relatively unchanged from the original Bebop model, but does now offer a more robust lens cover to prevent dust build up during flight. This is extremely useful for navigation and video capture.

Mixed with in-app features like auto-return home, follow-me functionality, and 360 emersion flips, the Parrot Bebop 2 drone is an extremely popular and affordable option for mid-level amateur drone pilots looking to mix aerobatic performance with high quality aerial video and photography.

Cost
~ $1000
Skill Level
Intermediate
Flight Time
~ 30 min
Total Rating
8 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • 4k UHD Camera
  • First Person Viewing
  • GPS / Radar / Compass
  • Fold-away Rotor Arms
  • Autonomous Visual Tracking
  • Remote Camera Control
  • FAA Registration Required
Cost
~ $500 to $900
Skill Level
Intermediate
Flight Time
~ 25 min
Total Rating
8 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • Intuitive Flight Control App
  • Fisheye Full HD Camera
  • First Person Viewing
  • 360 Eversion
  • Auto Return Home
  • GPS / Sonar
  • FAA Registration Required

The Best Semi-Pro Camera Drones


It goes almost without saying that the next two drones on this list will cost you a pretty penny. When you reach the stage of semi-professional drone flying, the drones for sale don’t come cheap. Fortunately, there is good reason for it as both these choices are some of the highest quality consumer drones available for sale to the general public. Without surprise, they are also both manufactured by DJI, the company that has become synonymous with high quality video drones.


DJI Phantom 4 Pro


DJI Phantom 4 Pro+

A proven leader in the camera drone market, DJI has released the latest version of its flagship Phantom quadcopter drone series, the DJI Phantom 4. With three models, the Phantom 4 is the pinnacle of drone technology and blurs the lines between mid-level and semi-professional camera drones.

With a starting price tag of just over $1000, the Phantom 4 standard model is one of the best and cheapest semi-pro level camera drones you can find on the market today. Packed with a plethora of performance features like a 4k ultra HD camera, adaptive flight controls, and semi-autonomous flight, the DJI Phantom 4 offers everything an amateur drone pilot might want.

In order to produce the stunning visual shots its known for, the Phantom 4 camera shoots true 4k UHD video at 30fps or slow motion 1080p HD video at a ridiculously high 120fps. Every shot comes out crystal clear and smooth no matter with the help of a 3-axis stabilization gimbal.

The Phantom 4 Pro and Pro+ bridge the gap from mid-level to semi-professional by offering an enhanced camera and sensor system to give the very best in aerial video and photography. At a price range of $1400-$1800, real camera drone aficionados and semi-professional aerial photographers alike can experience 4k ultra HD video at full 60fps from the built-in 20MP camera sensor. The Phantom 4 Pro and Pro+ also boast an additional 2 sensors for a full five directions of obstacle sensing to permit even easy-to-engage automated flight.

Both models of the Phantom 4 provide many other great features, including auto return home, one-tap flight controls, visual tracking, and obstacle awareness, making it one of the easiest camera drones ever to fly.

Combined with a nearly 30 minute flight time and long-range control distances of ~3 miles for the Phantom 4 standard and ~4 for the Pro, the DJI Phantom 4 series is the perfect choice for pilots of any experience looking to shoot stunning aerial photos and video on a semi-professional level.

DJI Inspire 2

DJI Inspire 2

If money is no problem and you’re looking for the most top of the line camera drone for sale, then the DJI Inspire 2 is the drone to buy. Modeled like an alien drone from a Sci-Fi movie, the Inspire 2 bridges the gap between casual consumer drones and the true professionals.

The important thing to note for this new drone is while it is built for use with cameras, unlike it’s predecessor, the Inspire 1 camera drone, the DJI Inspire 2 does not include a gimbal or camera by default. This choice by DJI has been considered somewhat controversial for a drone model known for its high quality, but also allows for more freedom in your choice of camera and gimbal. Don’t be mistaken, this drone is camera ready from the moment you take it out of the box.

The DJI Inspire 2 features a refined chassis design with state of the art motors and propellers. Zooming in at a 0 to 50mph of just 5 seconds and with a maximum speed of nearly 60 mph, the Inspire 2 is one of the fastest camera drones available. Matched with a descent speed of 9 meters per second, this quadcopter offers unheard of speed and agility for a craft its size. A dual battery system helps ensure lengthy flight time of nearly 30 minutes while self-heating tech lets the Inspire 2 fly at peak performance even in near freezing temperatures.

When bought in a bundle or paired separately with a DJI Zenmuse X4S Camera, the DJI Inspire 2 offers the most premium package available for semi-professional aerial cinematography. A robust image processor allows up to 5.2k video @ 4.2Gbps or 4k video at 100Mbps for ultra crisp, stunning footage. While built-in sensor technology allows for full terrain detection, obstacle avoidance, and accurate hover positioning and control.

With a starting price tag of nearly $3000 USD, the DJI Inspire 2 is not a cheap drone to buy, but its features are beyond compare of other drones available for sale at that price level. This drone is for people with money to burn or for those who are truly inspired to jump into aerial photography.

Cost
~ $1000 to $1800
Skill Level
Intermediate
Flight Time
~ 28 min
Total Rating
9.5 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • 4k UHD Camera
  • First Person Viewing
  • GPS / Radar / Compass
  • Object Awareness
  • Autonomous Visual Tracking
  • Remote Camera Control
  • 2.4 / 5.8 GHz Controller
  • FAA registration Required
Cost
~ $3000 - $5000
Skill Level
Advanced
Flight Time
~ 27 min
Total Rating
9 out of 10

Key Features

  • Ready to Fly
  • 5.2k UHD Camera (optional)
  • DJI Lightbridge FPV
  • GPS / Radar / Compass
  • Vision Positioning System
  • Dynamic Home Point
  • Dual Controller Support
  • 2.4 / 5.8 GHz Controller
  • FAA registration Required

While the above list is our best recommendations for what drones to buy, it isn’t a comprehensive list of all the drones available for sale. From helicopters to octocopters, the market for drones is increasing rapidly. If you’re interested in discovering other models of drones that may fit your need please be sure to check out our Articles & Reviews Section for other drones that didn’t quite make our recommended list.

Best Drone Depot is dedicated to helping you find the best drone for your need at the best price out there, so we gladly welcome any feedback, ideas, or suggestions. Feel free to drop us a line anytime at our Contact Page.

Happy Drone Shopping!