Best Drones 2014

If you want to buy a drone but don’t know which one to start with or what the top drones for sale are, then you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will hopefully take you through all of the best ready-to-fly multirotor options. It should also give you a reason to pick one over the other.

There are four key factors that make a good ready-to-fly drone.  Each model was picked based on features, quality, ease of use and value. Although this is a numbered list based on which models seemed to be the most popular , that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider all of them when buying your first drone. Everyone has different needs and reasons for wanting one over the other, so just keep that in mind when looking at drone reviews online.

Before we get started, you should know that all of these drones for sale are called multirotors, but most people still call them drones because it’s easier to say. A quadcopter is a type of multirotor aircraft with four rotors.

If this is your first time buying a drone, then you probably don’t understand all of these crazy drone terms. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, then you should read “5 Things You Should Know Before You Buy“. After that, you can come back to this page with a lot more drone buying knowledge.

When you’re done reading, I would be so excited if you would leave a comment at the end of this article. Let me know what “you” think the best quadcopter out there is.

Our Top Picks

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Look For

Battery Life

Most modern drones have an average battery life of between 10 to 12 minutes That’s plenty of time for short-flight missions, but operators may soon find themselves longing for more in-flight time. One way to circumvent this limit is to purchase a drone with a removable battery, then stock up on fully charged batteries.

Higher-end drones boast up to 25 minutes of flight time, which should be more than enough for the average flier. Many of these drones also have a special feature that overrides your controller and flies the drone back to you once the battery reaches critical levels. With multiple fully charged batteries, these drones can easily run for hours with only a few stops home for new batteries.

Camera

Getting a drone in the air is only the first step for most fliers — it’s the view from those great heights that really puts the world in perspective. A large number of today’s drones feature either built-in or attachable cameras, beaming down images of all the in-flight action.

Some drones work directly with a separately purchased GoPro camera, which captures some of the highest-quality footage currently available. High-end drones also include image stabilization, eliminating choppy segments that can sometimes overpower peaceful flight footage.

Other drones have built-in cameras, which often record directly to an SD Card. While this footage isn’t nearly as nice as any captured by a GoPro, it’s a great way to dip your toes into aerial photography.

If you want to view the flight footage in real time, some drones offer first-person-view transmitting, sending live video directly to the aircraft’s controller or to a linked iPhone or Android device. This works great when you want to quickly turn on the live feed, but it will quickly drain your battery if you use it for the entire flight.

Advertisements

Want to Buy a Drone? 5 Things You Should Know First.

1) Set a budget: Like any consumer market, the drone industry offers a wide variety of unmanned aircrafts –from toys to industrial-grade aircraft. As with any new purchase, it’s important to establish a budget and stick with it – bells and whistles may look cool but they sure can add up quickly.

2) Recognize your purpose: Determining which drone is best for you will depend on many factors. What do you hope to accomplish? Will your drone be used for an occasional backyard spin or drone selfie? Tracking tornados? Farming? Live streaming video from inside a burning building? The possibilities are endless, however you really need to have a purpose.

3) Educate yourself: Like any new hobby or vocation, learning to fly drones requires skill which in turn requires education. Whether it’s deep conversation with an experienced hobbyist, a cram session of online manuals or (for serious future pilots) enrollment in a formal drone-flight “school” like the Unmanned Vehicle University in Arizona (where students can earn a Drone Pilot Training Certificate), some form of training is a MUST.   Fortunately, the rise in popularity of drones has spawned tons of meetup groups and informal learning sessions so it isn’t that difficult to connect with someone who can help you.

4) Know the regulations: There’s no greater buzzkill for a fresh UAV pilot then the long arm of the Law nipping the excitement bud of a new drone love affair before it can blossom. Whether it’s the FAA, National Park Service or state legislatures (Michigan, North CarolinaMassachusetts and California to name a few), government agencies at all levels are clamoring for new ways to regulate a technology that’s outpacing their ability to define it. And, while some commentators point out that federal drone regulations are largely unenforceable, it’s at least a good idea to know the legal landscape in your particular neck of the woods. 

5) Have a maintenance plan:  Let’s be clear – drones are aircraft, flying in all kinds of weather and through all kinds of wind shears. Eventually, an accident will happen – a “mayday!” moment when your drone is going to kiss the ground hard. It will be at that moment when you will learn how skilled (or unskilled) you may be at drone repair.  So, before that happens, have a plan in place – will you send your drone off for repair or take it upon yourself to learn some DIY techniques? How many spare parts will you need in your inventory and do you know how to find them? My informal recommendation: buy a propeller guard and extra propellers before you start flying. At least you will have the basics covered.