What to consider when buying a drone

If you’re considering buying a drone, you’re not alone. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that more than one million drones have been sold in the US.

Drones for home use have become popular tools because they are fun to use and extremely useful for professional tasks such as taking aerial photos or video or surveying a piece of land or a farm.

Since there are several models on the market, it can be difficult to distinguish which one is right for you in terms of usability. This guide will help you make a decision and let you know the usage recommendations.

Some of the features you should consider when choosing a drone include the complexity of its mechanism, price, size, flight range, remote control type, and whether it is for indoor or outdoor use.

Drone Types

The first thing you need to know is that there are three types of drones, the abbreviation of which you can find on the box next to the model: RTF, BNF and ARF.

RTF drones come with all parts in the box. All you have to do is charge them, turn them on and fly. All entry-level models and most available on the market are of this type. If it’s your first drone, choose one of these.

BNFs are devices where everything is ready except the transmitter. The transmitter is the remote control operated by the user through which they instruct the drone to move. This class of drones is aimed at a more specialized market.

Finally, ARFs often require additional parts such as batteries or rotors to fly. These drones are aimed at experts.

Weight and Price

Another factor you should consider is the weight of the drone. The FAA considers drones weighing less than 4.4 pounds to be ultralight and commercial drones heavier than 55 pounds to be subject to special regulations. Anything in between is considered recreational.

As weight increases, cost generally increases. An ultralight might cost you between $50 and $100, while a midsize drone that weighs around 5 pounds could cost between $400 and $600.

Keep in mind that the smaller or lighter the drone, the less it will be able to cope with headwinds. So if you buy an ultralight drone, the kind that fits in one hand, use it only in windless weather or indoors.

The rest, for the most part, can fly well in normal outdoor conditions, plus they are made of durable materials that will withstand a drop or an accident well.

Batteries and Remote Control

Drones are battery operated, so I recommend purchasing an extra battery as some drones have short flight range. You can also purchase a separate charger, as charging the battery via the drone’s cable can take several hours.

All drones need a remote control through which these small planes are controlled. If you buy a RTF drone, the controller is already included. But some drones can be controlled with a phone or tablet.


This is an important point since drones are generally purchased for the purpose of taking aerial photos and videos. If your motivation is audiovisual, the quality of the camera is essential when choosing a drone.

As a general rule, the cheapest drones on the market with built-in cameras offer terrible image quality. You can also choose one of the drone models with a built-in camera that shoots in 4K or at the resolution most suitable for your use.

Or get a drone to mount your own camera. Of course, you’ll need to take things like stability, zoom, and resolution into account.