Monday, March 27, 2017
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Drones for Beginners

Best list of drones for beginners

If you’ve seen our picks for the best drones under $100, it looks quite similar to the choices we made in the best drones for beginners.

You’ve got to start somewhere, right? The greatest part about flying drones as a hobby is that the prices are coming down while the technology available in affordable drones is getting better.

As a beginner, your choices have NEVER been better, that’s for sure!

DroneWhat We LikeLowest Price
UDI 818A HD+

Stability
Price
Durability
Camera
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MJX X400W FPV
Realtime View
FPV VR headset option
Headless Mode
Price
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HOLY STONE F181
Altitude Hold
One Touch Return
Extra Battery
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SYMA X5C
Compact Size
Easy Tricks
Responsiveness
Price
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UDI U45 Blue Jay FPV
4GB micro SD card
Portable Power Bank
Live Video Feed
Smart Phone Compatible
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This is the quick table guide to top choices in drones for beginners. If you are ready to purchase your first drone, or a gift for a novice flyer, we've narrowed your choices so you can be sure the one you get is exactly what you want!
Next we go into a bit more detail about why we like these particular drones if you are just learning. We picked those feature the right options for beginners, and ones that are reasonably priced for a first-time buyer.

UDI 818A HD+

UDI 818A HD+

Drone is Stable
Great Low Price
Durability
Good Camera
View Details and
Customer Reviews

We’ve said it before and it is worth repeating – we really like this drone. And now it is even better with an upgraded camera and larger SD card included.

For one of us on the team, this was THE actual first drone – and we have all given this quadcopter as gifts to beginning drone hobbyists. So why do we love it?

This drone is stable. It’s not designed for advanced controls, big tricks or speed. It’s is meant to be a perfect entry level drone, and the camera with with ample storage disk makes it even better.

It usually runs about $100 or so depending on the package you get. It comes with everything you need to charge it up and start flying. We suggest you take a look at learning to fly videos.

A couple of the newer features we like on the UDI 818A is the available headless mode as well as one-touch return. This REALLY helps a beginner when learning to fly – especially if you fly in an area that is prone to winds.

Speaking of wind, this drone will not perform very well in breezy conditions so practice before you try it out in those conditions. It has built-in protective rings around the propellors which makes it slightly more bulky than some models.

Let’s face it, your drone is going to crash once in a while especially when you are learning. So these rings also really help to protect the drone during loss of control or unstable conditions. Once you are feeling confident in your flying skills, you can increase to high speed and fly against the wind.

Video Review

For the price, this drone is a perfect pick for learning. In fact, I would recommend a drone under $100 for your first drone. Click here to see amazon customer reviews, there are well over 1200 to chose from with an overall 4 out of 5 rating. I’d say we are right on track with this top choice!


MJX X400W FPV Drone

MJX X400W FPV Drone

Good Price
Realtime Video Feed
FPV VR Headset
View Details and
Customer Reviews

This is a great RC quadcopter for any skill level, and it is perfect for a beginner in so many ways.

Want to know the coolest part about this drone? You can view a realtime view of your drone camera with a 3D VR Headset. The package doesn’t include the headset but you can pick one up for $20.

Then all you have to do is download the MJX FPV app and you are all set! This is an awesome benefit to owning this drone, and one of the best ways to enjoy it! Even without the Virtual Reality headset, you can still see a live feed from your drone camera right on your mobile phone or tablet.

Want to know the second best thing about the MJX drone? It sells ready to fly at less than $100! Do a price comparison so you can get the lowest price on Amazon.

When you want to do some tricks, try out the 360 flip with just one button. You can roll in any direction and mastering that will make you feel like a pro in no time!

So after the coolness factors, we also like the drone because is has an optional headless mode which is really good when you are learning. This means your drone goes forward in the same direction as you are standing. Once you have adapted to controlling your drone, you can turn off headless mode.

The transmitter controller requires 3 AA batteries that are not included with the kit, so be sure to have some on hand keep extras with you when you fly your drone.

You’ll get about 7-8 minutes of flying time, and it takes a while to charge up the battery. We suggest getting extra batteries and a multi-charger, it extend your flying time and your fun. The camera is not high quality, but it is good enough.


Holy Stone F181

Holy Stone F181

Altitude Hold
One Touch Return
Extra Battery
Headless Mode
View Details and
Customer Reviews

The F181 drone comes with a 2MP camera with a range of almost 100 meters in our testing. It usually runs just over $100 bucks and for that it is a very reasonable choice when learning to fly. The weight of quadcopter is less than 0.5lb so it does not require FAA registration.

We loved the altitude hold button, which basically holds the throttle in place without using the transmitter. This lets the beginner (or user at any level) focus on other parts of the drone and not worry about maintaining height. This also makes it much easier to take better quality video that doesn’t bounce around when you view playback.

If you want to eventually take high quality video with a drone perhaps in professional field, this is the perfect RC drone on which to learn. Learn how to fly, optimize your video and photo skills, then go for the better quality high-dollar drones.

Another great benefit of this quadcopter is the one key return where the drone will come back to you at the touch of a button. Note: make sure you don’t ever lose sight of your drone when you are learning to fly. But do take advantage of the one touch return.

When you want to have some fun, spend some time on the 4 way roll function where you can make the drone flip continuously in any direction. Just fly in that direction, press and hold the roll key for an awesome flight trick!

You get an extra battery in this package and you may want to add even more so you can enjoy it longer. We recommended a multi-charger also as it takes about an hour and half to charge one battery. You can several at once with the multicharger.

The range is about 60 meters and the battery lasts for about 7 or 8 minutes. We love flying this drone, we hovered over a ball game for a few minutes and captured video of a home run coming right toward the camera.

Flying the Holy Stone F181 is a lot of fun, and super easy for learning. Best of all you can ‘t beat the price for the features it brings. Check current price here and see more raving reviews.

Video: See the F181 in action!


Syma X5C

Syma X5C

Compact Size
Easy Tricks With Controller
Very Responsive
Good Price
View Details and
Customer Reviews
We really like this drone because of the size and stability of flying, along with one-button features for trick rolls, pictures, and videos.

Because it isn’t TOO big, we had a lot of fun flying this around indoors at the gym. It’s super easy to make it flip with just the push of one button. You can make adjustments to the transmitter and switch left/right controllers. This is handy if you are left-handed and the controls seem backward to you.

The Syma X5C is a great model for learning on because of responsiveness and reach of the controller and because overall it is made to be sturdy and stable. That is good to know when you are just beginning and a few rough landings are inevitable.

The box comes with the drone and everything you need to fly it, plus some extra blades. It does not come with AA batteries for the transmitter so you will need to provide those.

As always we recommended getting some extra batteries so you can prolong your flight time. You’ll get about 6-7 minutes of flight time per battery and it takes up to 2 hours to fully charge one battery – this is about average for drones of this size.

The Syma X5C is easy to fly, the controls are very easy to learn. You might be challenged in windy conditions, we found it best if the wind is less than 5mph. It is also very lightweight so we didn’t fly it too high where the wind can be different than ground level.

You may want to consider upgrading the battery for extra flight time, or get extras and charge them all at once for longer flights. With one battery, you will get 7-10 minutes of fight time depending on the environmental conditions and flight maneuvers.

For the price (somewhere around $60-$70, this is a solid and able drone. A great low-end version to learn with and takes decent videos and pictures too.


UDI U45 Blue Jay FPV

UDI U45 Blue Jay FPV Drone

* Top Pick
4GB micro SD card
Portable Power Bank
Live Video Feed
Smart Phone Compatible
View Details and
Customer Reviews
If we getting a drone today, for the first time ever, this is the drone we would buy. It is slightly more expensive than the others we looked at, but the biggest advantage is that it comes shipped with a portable power bank to charge up your batteries. Plus, it comes with an extra battery right out of box.

We almost always suggest getting extra batteries and multi-chargers with every drone we test and write about. This one comes with that already so that makes up for a difference in price. The U45 Blue Jay package just saves you the time and effort!

You are going to need 4 AA batteries to go into your transmitter, and they don’t come shipped with the drone. The 2MP camera takes 720p photos and decent amateur video. Again, for the money you can’t go wrong.

You find included a 4GB micro SD card which is a step up from previous 2GB cards that many drones are still shipping. You can put that into any micro SD reader to view, save, and edit your pictures and video. You can even upload your video to your favorite sites like Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo.

A couple of other features and you can tell someone spent some time thinking about what is missing on earlier quadcopters. First, you can use your phone with the transmitter/controller to see live feed of your video camera. That’s cool! But, what makes it even better is the sun shield which really helps you see your phone in bright sunlight. (When are phone makers going to fix that problem?)

The camera connects to your phone via a built-in WiFi device, you connect to it via your smart phone. No need to be near a wifi router or cell connection. The signal is from your phone to the drone and that’s all!

You can also make it a FPV VR view with a compatible VR headset. It connects directly with the controller to really make it feel like a real flight! We tried this out and can say it is pretty amazing. The technology keeps getting better and better.

Also this FPV drone can do 360 flips so you can easily impress your friends. There is an auto altitude hold that helps beginners focus on learning one part at a time. If controls the throttle (height) so you focus on direction, yaw, speed, and tricks1

But honestly what really stands out about the Blue Jay is two things that make it super easy for beginners.

One-touch takeoff/landing. Need we say more. Who hasn’t wrecked a drone on a bad landing coming in too fast or in the wrong place. This drone hovers just before landing and takeoff so it is easier for a beginner to learn to land and take off. Just one button does both. That’s awesome.

Also, if you want to capture video and you are still learning to control your RC quadcopter you can take avantage of the custom route mode. This is really awesome where you just trace a path on your mobile screen and then your drone will fly along the path without your control. Cool, huh?


Why Beginners Chose These Drones

There are a few reasons why these drones are so popular with beginners. Two of the most important points in our book were price and how easy it is to use and learn to fly using these chosen brands and models of drones. We wanted to make sure of the following points.

  • Easy to Handle
  • Headless Mode Option
  • Low Learning Curve
  • Altitude control
  • Lower Cost
  • Ease of repair

While cost is relative, we measure that a beginner likely would not want to more than $100-$150 for a first time drone. In fact you can see our list of top drones under $100, but we chosen the best of the best on this page.

Regarding the lower cost factor – we are assuming it will be a learning drone, and you can upgrade to higher end drones later after you’ve mastered flying in different conditions and you are more confident you won’t crash your drone!

No Camera vs Camera Drones
One thing we really didn’t consider for beginners is the camera. This is a fun feature, and cool to practice with, but spend some time focusing on the principles of flying. All of these drones feature cameras, but you can pick up a small practice drone for about the same cost as a pizza and a movie. Start there and learn the fundamentals of flying, if you don’t have them already.

Until you learn the fundamentals, your drone videos are going to be pretty low quality anyway – you’ll find the camera bouncing and tilting as you get used to the controls.

Save your money and get a cheaper drone while you are learning, get a high quality camera once flying your drone feels like second nature to you.

With that in mind, look to one of these models for the best of both worlds.