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What Features To Look For When Buying a Quadcopter Drone

Updated on May 18, 2016

A Typical Quadcopter Drone

A Quadcopter Drone In Flight
A Quadcopter Drone In Flight | Source

What was once an obscure hobby for those who like to delve into the latest flying technologies has evolved into a growing industry of quadcopter drones that appeal to a wide array of people. There are drones available that range from starter drones with few features to sophisticated drones that can perform amazing feats and can be used in commercial applications. In between, there are many solid models that flying enthusiasts and everyone can use for fun and entertainment.

With so many quadcopter drone choices, consumers need to cut through the noise and figure out what features to look for when buying a quadcopter drone, or more importantly, the most suitable drone for their needs. Understanding what features are available is a good place to start when trying to determine which drone makes sense for you. How you intend on using your drone is also an important consideration.

What Features Should You Look For In a Quadcopter Drone?

The features needed in a quadcopter drone will ultimately depend upon what you plan on using it for. If you just want to fly it around in your backyard or in a local park, then you can go with a very basic model that costs around $200 or less. There are even starter models that sell for less than $100. However, keep in mind that if you find drone flying to be fascinating, you will likely demand more than a basic model to entertain yourself. If you are in the market for a mid-priced drone in the range of $200 to $500, the following are the most common features that serious recreational drone flyers demand.

  • A high definition (HD) 1080 camera
  • A good flying range to reach heights that provide spectacular aerial footage and to reach distant features
  • Sufficient battery life to fly high and far
  • Programmable GPS features, so you can program your drone to return to you and watch it perform fun stunts
  • Sturdy design that can withstand light winds and will survive landing

Drone Picture Looking at Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy

This is what the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy looks like from a drone.
This is what the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy looks like from a drone. | Source

What To Keep In Mind When Buying a Quadcopter Drone

Keep in mind that when you buy a quadcopter drone, you get what you pay for. The inexpensive starter drones are cheap for a reason. They tend to be light, which makes them harder to control in light winds. They also have batteries with short lifespans. Furthermore, many are not as well made as more expensive models. Their lack of durability may cause them to stop working; which is a common complaint of those who have purchased low priced drones.

Also keep in mind that lower priced models will have limited video capture and movement capabilities with video quality that is inferior to more expensive models. Starter drones should be purchased as a way to test the waters. They likely will not have the features or durability that you will require should you decide drone flying is a hobby you want to pursue. But, they do provide an inexpensive way to get a taste of what it is like to fly a drone, before you spend a lot of money on a full-featured and better built model.

Read the online reviews before you buy a quadcopter drone, no matter what price point you are considering. Perusing online reviews is a great way to get a feel for which drones work well and have the features you require. It is also a great way to avoid buying a lemon. Buy extra batteries that work with the drone you are purchasing, so that if you want to fly your drone for an extended period of time, you can quickly change out the batteries. You do not want to be out flying on a perfect day and have to miss capturing video imagery because your drone runs out of juice.

What Kinds of Quadcopter Drones That Are Available

Quadcopter drones come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They also come with a wide variety of accessories and capabilities. Like any electronic gizmo, the more you pay, the more you get.

For anyone interested in just trying out a quadcopter drones, there are plenty of basic models under $200 to choose from, and some very basic ones for under $100. These models have limited battery life, functionality and range. But, if you don’t want to blow a lot of money to find out if you enjoy operating a drone, these low-priced models offer a good way to get your feet wet.

If you are seeking a more sophisticated drone to fly, the mid-range models between $200 and $500 offer the features that a serious drone operator would want. This includes the ability to video record your drone flight, to fly decent distances and to program your drone to perform specific operations.

There are also high-end quadcopter drone models for those who are avid drone enthusiasts that want a full range of features and more durable parts. These models cost from $500 all the way up to thousands of dollars. They tend to be built better than less expensive models and fly with more stability in light winds.

The high-end models also provide high-quality video and programming features that make them suitable for commercial applications. In fact, there is a growing industry of firms that offer remote inspection services using high-end drones, from inspecting the exterior of buildings to checking on crops. The appeal is that drone inspections can be done more quickly and less expensively than getting a human in place to perform an inspection.

Of course, drone enthusiasts can utilize features designed for commercial drone uses to capture high quality video and to maintain a high degree of control over their flights. This is appealing to anyone who wants to take drone flying to the max and capture awesome videos. However, since high-end quadcopter drones are rather expensive, it is a good idea to get a feel for flying drones before jumping in and spending a lot of money on a high-end model.

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Quadcopter Drone - Flying in Clouds and Crashing

Anyone Can Fly a Drone

Anyone can fly a drone.  A little learning and practice and you'll be commanding a quadcopter drone in no time.
Anyone can fly a drone. A little learning and practice and you'll be commanding a quadcopter drone in no time. | Source


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    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 23 months ago from New Jersey

      tirelesstraveler - Drones definitely have a downside, as they can cause problems when used incorrectly. I think it's the freedom to fly them just about anywhere that has so many intrigued with drones, but people need to use common sense and avoid flight paths and other critical areas.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 23 months ago from California

      Yesterday one of our neighbors found a drone.

      Since, we live in the flight pattern for three international airports and a mile south of a municipal airport landing pattern we have to be careful flying them. The are creepy and cool at the same time. The pictures are really awesome. Thanks for the information. I had no idea they could be relatively cheap.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I don't think I'll be getting one any time soon, but these drones are awfully cool.

      Great overview.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Informative about drones. I would like to try.