If you’re looking for one of the best beginner drones, you’re in the right place! More and more people are looking to get into the drone hobby, but few know where to start. Where do you even begin to look!? (Click to Jump to the List)
Since 2012, Dronethusiast has been the premier side for drone news, reviews, and buyer’s guide. Our team of drone experts are knowledgeable of the drone industry inside and out! We remember what it was like to get into the hobby and what questions would have been helpful to us when we got started.
We’ve put together this list of beginner drones after careful consideration of what is available on the market in 2020. Whether you’re looking for a beginner camera drone for yourself to get started in the hobby, or if you’re looking for the perfect gift this sprint we’ve got a drone on this list for you!
With so many drones on the market today it can be hard to separate the good from the bad just based on features. I encourage everyone in the drone hobby to research not only drone features, but the company that is selling you the drone in the first place! There is a lot of (for lack of a better word) junk out on the market and the customer service from most of these companies is poor, at best! The drones on this list have been vetted to include only companies that provide high-quality products and more importantly excellent customer service!
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the best starter drones on the market.
- Camera:720p HD
- Range:150 Meters
- Time:15 Minutes
- Camera:720P Realtime FPV
- Range:100 Meters
- Time:10 Minutes
- Camera:720p HD
- Range:100 Meters
- Time:10 Minutes
- Camera:1080P Realtime FPV
- Range:150 Meters
- Time:12 Minutes
Table of Contents
- 818 Hornet Plus Beginner Quadcopter
- Altair Falcon Drone with AHP
- AA108 Beginner Drone
- AA300 GPS Drone
- Holy Stone HS170 Drone
- Syma X5C-1 Drone
- Outlaw SE Drone
- DJI Spark
- Parrot Bebop 2
- Parrot Anafi
- DJI Mavic Pro
- Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
- Pros & Cons of Beginner Drones
- Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Easiest Drone to Fly
If you’re a first-time flier, you’ll no doubt have many questions. What’s the easiest drone to fly? What do drones do? What are the benefits of drones? You may wonder how you can start flying a drone if you don’t have any experience doing so before. We cover all of this in a handy FAQ, located at the bottom of this article just below the reviews.
What makes a drone easy to fly varies across the spectrum but there are some consistencies to it.
1. The drone should have altitude hold, gps or optical positioning and AHP. This helps keep the drone in place even when you take your fingers off the controls.
2. The drone should have clear support from the company behind it with education instructions and videos that make it super easy to fly.
3. It should be startup friendly, meaning you can startup and get flying quickly.
We recommend that you look at the Falcon and 818 Hornet as the easiest drones to fly. They have easy and simple instructions, lots of youtube videos to help you along the way and come backed by a USA based company.
Beginner Drone Reviews
The following drones have been selected for their durability, feature set, and other factors described in each individual review. Take a look around and see if you can find the best drone for beginners that suits your needs!
#1. 818 Hornet Plus – Editor’s Choice
The Hornet is one of the easiest entry level drones to fly, a quadcopter specifically aimed at beginner drone pilots who have an interest in aerial photography. Check out this video from Altair to see the drone in flight!
And on that note, this beginner drone is a complete success! The long battery life (15 minutes off of a single charge) and more stable design give you plenty of room to line up the perfect shot, and the longer range of 150 feet allows you to get up to those hard-to-reach places other cameras can’t cover.
#2. Altair Falcon with AHP – Easiest Drone to Fly for Beginners
At Dronethusiast, we have reviewed many products from Altair Aerial in the past (in fact, they just release a new RC Truck you can read about here). The reason we keep coming back is their exceptional customer service and high-quality products, it’s what makes them stand out amongst their competitors. Located in the United States, Altair is always available to answer our questions via email or phone. We love that you are able to talk to a real person on the other end.
That’s why we were excited when Altair released a new drone for sale, the Falcon. This is a standout beginner drone for many reasons that you won’t want to miss out on. Straight away, we love that the Falcon comes with two batteries. As a beginner pilot, this is especially beneficial as it gives you double the flying time to learn and enjoy the drone. Take a look at this video Altair Aerial created for the Altair Falcon:
Another amazing feature that we were impressed with is the Autonomous Hover and Positioning System. The AHP system is unique to Altair and keeps the drone in place while hovering. Beginner drone pilots will appreciate this feature because even if you remove your fingers from the controls, the drone will still remain in place. Speaking of controls, the controller on the Falcon is small and compact. We liked this aspect because as a beginner, a larger controller can be intimidating, but the Falcon’s smaller size can really help someone who’s just learning.
This is a main reason why we recommend the Falcon as a our favorite beginner drone This video walks through what Autonomous Hover & Positioning system called AHP does:
This drone is one of our top picks for beginners who are just learning the skill of flying.
#3. AA108 Beginner Drone
The AA108 is one of the better indoor flying drones out there for beginners. With included features like headless mode and one-touch take off and landing, beginner pilots will have very few problems with their first flight.
Once you get up to speed with the AA108 you can also adjust the difficulty settings with the three included flight modes. Beginners to seasoned pilots will all enjoy flying the AA108.
While I wish that the camera were a little better on this small drone, I think it’s still kinda cool that the manufacturer was able to include one. With it you are able to unlock a few of the FPV features that you see in more high end drones including custom flight routing!
With the two included batteries you are able to fly the AA108 for up to 20 minutes per flying session, which is pretty great for a drone at this price point.
#4. AA300 Drone – Best Beginner GPS Drone
If you’re a beginner and are looking for a drone with some great GPS features, you are sure to love the AA300. Another new drone for sale from Altair, it’s GPS flight mode keeps the drone stable at all times, which is great for beginners who are still learning the functions of flying a drone.
Other great features for beginners that are included with the AA300 are altitude hold and one-touch takeoff and landing. Altitude hold will make sure that any new pilot can remain in control of their drone while one-touch takeoff and landing makes one of the more difficult aspects of flying a lot easier. It can be stressful launching and landing your drone, but on the AA300 one button will do that for you.
One of my favorite things about Altair over the years is the how-to vidoes they create for their products. Take a look at the AA300 videos (click here) if you run into any problems or I’ve found that they are very responsive at email@example.com.
Want to read more Dronethusiast reveiws? Check out our best drones with cameras page and learn about all the newest options!
#5. Holy Stone HS170 Predator
At less than $40 USD you’re getting a good range and performance as well as three flight modes that are specifically designed to help train new pilots. Plus, it has a very unique and stylish design that kids and adults will love!
#6. Syma X5C-1 Explorers
You read that right – this drone is called the “Explorers”, not the “Explorer.” If your number 1 concern with buying a new drone is durability, this is the choice for you. Don’t be fooled by the smaller prop guards – every piece of this drone is made with a tough, anti-collision design that can really take a beating under most conditions. It’s a shame the other features aren’t quite as impressive as the design itself, but for only $70 this is still a good drone.
#7. Altair Outlaw SE – Best Mid-Range Beginner Drone
The Outlaw SE is one of Altair Aerial’s most technologically advanced beginner drones. This GPS-enabled drone practically flies itself, taking gorgeous pictures as it does so. Check out this video from Altair Aerial or you can read our full review here!
In GPS Flight Mode, the drone will hold itself stable in a point in space, requiring only that you steer it to whatever position you want it to stay in. Advanced stabilization features also make the Outlaw SE extremely easy for anyone to fly.
Throw in one of the best cameras in its price range and a good flight time and range, and you’ve got a solid mid-range beginner drone that most people can afford and anyone can fly.
Also, there’s no need to be intimidated if you’re bumping up to this mid-range GPS drone. Altair has step-by-step videos on their website (click here) that help you with any troubleshooting you may need.
#8. DJI Spark
So, here’s the thing about the DJI Spark. This is a good rc drone for beginners if two things are true about you: 1) you have a lot of money to spare and 2) you don’t actually want to learn to fly. With advanced Gesture Mode features and other automated flight modes, this drone truly flies itself and takes great photos and video while it does so. But it may not be the best choice for pilots who actually want to learn to fly for themselves.
#9. Parrot Bebop 2
The Parrot Bebop 2 is an advanced consumer quadcopter designed for FPV photography and videography, but it’s easy enough for any beginner pilot to pick up and fly without much difficulty. Its intelligent flight assistance means that, to a certain extent, the drone flies itself and doesn’t require much input from the user. If you want to start your drone journey with one of the best mid-range rc drones for beginners on the market, look no further!
#10. Parrot Anafi – Best High-End Beginner Drone
If you’re looking to get into the world of professional drone photography, or simply have the money to spend on the highest end of the prosumer market, this quadcopter is for you. Though the Parrot Anafi is a somewhat easy drone to fly, we do not recommend it for all beginners, particularly those who feel they might regret the hefty price tag after the fact.
Still, this is a great beginner drones for adults, as opposed to the less costly options which (other than the Altair models) are generally designed to work as beginner drones for kids.
When looking for high-end drones, there really is no better choice than the 2018 Parrot Anafi. This great drone comes with everything you could want from a professional camera drone at a relatively inexpensive price of $700 USD, and it’s extremely easy to fly (especially since they patched the software bugs that were present at launch.) Plus, for our money, the Anafi still has the best HDR features on the market.
Read our full review of the Parrot Anafi here!
#11. DJI Mavic Pro
You may have already heard of the DJI Mavic 2, widely considered the best flying camera on the consumer market. But if the Mavic 2 is such a remarkable piece of hardware (and it is), why are we recommending the older DJI Mavic Pro 1?
Well, the Mavic 2 is designed for truly advanced fliers, overwhelming users with dozens of settings and features to choose from. The Mavic Pro is a simpler, more elegant design that was actually created (in part) to appeal to beginners, and is overall much easier to fly.
This is the best choice for beginner drone pilots who are looking for the best high-end model available!
#12. Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Most high-end new pilot drones tend to be of the portable, foldable variety we’ve shown you above. But if you’re looking for something bigger, consider the Yuneec Typhoon H, a Phantom competitor (and in many ways, superior) that’s carried through the air by 8 powerful propellers. Yuneec’s emphasis on usability and 8 autonomous flight modes make the Typhoon H extremely easy for anyone to fly, including those looking for a good beginner drone.
Finding a starter or entry level drone can be a big project because there’s so many drones out there. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of beginner drones.
Beginner Drone Pros & Cons
Beginner drones have a lot to offer, but they aren’t the best choice for everyone. Obviously if you have some experience flying you may want to upgrade to a higher quality or longer flying product.
These are the benefits to starting with a beginner drone:
1. Enjoyment without worrying about a crash. When you spend less money on an entry level drone rather than paying up for a high quality drone right away, you have less stress when flying and can enjoy it a little more. Most of these drones are built to survive a crash because they are “beginner” level. This makes for an all around better learning esperience. You don’t want to start flying with a $1000 drone, it’s going to be crazy stressful!
2. Give yourself an edge when it comes to control. Expensive drones make it seem like it’s super easy to fly a quadcopter. It’s better to start out with a low cost drone that is a bit harder to fly properly due to the low cost nature of it’s development. This means you HAVE to learn how to FLY BETTER. Later on, when you upgrade, you’ll be grateful you started out with a low cost drone that’s a little bit harder to fly.
3. You do get to practice your photography skills, although the photos are lower quality. For the price, these beginner drones at least give you a chance to get up in the air and take some photos and video. I wouldn’t suggest dropping big money on a drone because you “think” you like taking pics in the air, you should test it out first.
4. These drones are the perfect STEM introduction for kids. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM is all the rage in education these days. Sometimes it can be hard though to get your kids up off the couch and outdoors. With drones, you almost HAVE to fly outside so it’s a super simple way to get your kids 1. interested in STEM and 2. outside!
5. Low Cost – This is a no brainer. Most beginner drones are going to be low cost. Although cost is relative, you’re still going to spend between $75 and $200 on a beginner drone, which may not be your idea of “low cost”.
6. Flying Indoors – Most expensive professional level drones are meant to be flown outdoors. This can be a problem in the winter when you don’t want to go fly outside in the cold. There are a couple drones on our beginner list that are meant to be flown indoors and fly better indoors. This gives you the option to fly your drone no matter what the weather is doing outside
Here are some of the drawbacks of beginner drones, because they aren’t always all smiles. Sometimes you’re going to have a problem with the manufacturing or the quality of the product. In these cases you better hope you purchased from a reputable american based seller so you can get some customer service.
1. You are going to get what you pay for. If you spend 30$ on a drone, don’t expect it to last long or fly well. Even the lowest cost beginner drones start around $75 for anything with any sort of solid quality.
2. Find an AMERICAN brand, I can’t get behind this point enough. When shopping for a beginner drone make sure you look at the amazon listing and see if you can tell if the product is being sold by a Chinese company. If you can, avoid these companies because they provide virtually no after sale service. I have had Chinese companies call me at home using the phone number they got from my amazon purchase in order to demand that I leave a positive review on their product. I’ve never had that problem when purchasing from an American seller on Amazon.
3. Repairs are another problem. Most beginner drones don’t have a lot of support for repairing or replacing broken parts. The injection molded plastic parts don’t typically come apart very easily and if you crash and break something you may not be able to fix it.
4. Wind & Weather are a problem for most beginner style quadcopters. You’re going to struggle to get these drones to respond well in any type of weather. Beginner drones and wind or rain do NOT get along. These drones are built to be low cost, introductory models so they can get as many people into flying as possible. They’re not built to withstand much wind though, so be careful when flying that your drone doesn’t get caught in the wind and carried away.
5. Low quality photography is another issue with these types of quads. If you’re seeking a drone that’s going to take high quality, non blurry video, then beginner drones might not be your best bet. You can take “good” video and photography with beginner drones, but it’s not going to look like a photo you take with your smartphone. It’s going to have a bit of a grainy quality too it and the video FPS is limited as well. This is a trade off you’re going to have to make if you don’t want to spend upwards of $1000 on a drone.
6. Starter drones also have long battery charging time. You’ll have to leave your drone batteries charging much longer than you would on an expensive drone. Some charging times are up to 5 hours. However this is the trade off you make in order to save money on your drone purchase.
Altogether we believe entry level drones cover a good segment of the market. Some people want to get a chance to fly a drone but they don’t want to break the bank when making a drone purchase. Let’s take a look at some questions that we have found that might interest people who are looking for their first drone.
How do you fly a drone? Frequently Asked Questions for Beginner Drone Pilots
The number one question beginners ask us is how to fly drones. The good news is that many of the drones on this list will practically fly themselves thanks to a number of automatic stabilization modes like heading and altitude hold. All you have to worry about is the analog sticks.
If you’ve ever played a videogame using a controller, you’ll feel right at home with a drone. In a similar fashion, the left stick generally lets you turn in the air and move up and down, while the right stick is what you actually use to move horizontally. Any drone will come with a manual telling you how to use it, and if you have an open field to practice in you’ll be able to figure out the basics fairly quickly without having to worry about crashes.
The best beginner drones also come with ease-of-use features that let you only have to worry about a few aspects of flying at a time, such as Headless mode.
How high can a drone fly?
The maximum legal height to fly a drone in the United States (and most other countries that have regulations in place) is 400 feet. Most drones fly somewhere between 100 to 400 feet in the air in compliance with this rule.
How long can a drone fly?
Because of the weight requirements for the battery, most drones can only fly for 8 to 25 minutes. Many beginner drone pilots are surprised at the fact that most drones don’t fly very long. This is why most of us seasoned drone enthusiasts buy extra batteries whenever we pick up a new drone!
How far can a drone go?
Most drones have an effective flight range of 100 to 4000 meters. High-end drones can have a much farther range – the Yuneec Typhoon H Pro, for example, boasts a 10 kilometer flight range!
Do drones have cameras?
The best starter drones – now come with cameras as a standard feature. This camera is usually controlled with a seperate app on a mobile device, but some drones (like the Altair Aerial Outlaw) let you take pictures and video with a button on the controller itself.
What is an FPV camera?
“FPV” stands for “first person view” or “first-person video.” This means that a camera on a drone is mounted in such a way that it can stream live video footage that makes it look like you’re seeing from the drone’s perspective. This stream is usually viewed on a seperate mobile device and makes it much easier to line up photography and videography shots.
What is a good drone for beginners?
When buying an intro drone, you want to look for the following specifications:
High durability. As a beginner, YOU ARE GOING TO CRASH. This is a natural and normal part of the learning process – we’d be lying if we said there was a single member of our team that didn’t crash their first drone dozens of times. With that in mind, you need a drone that can withstand those first few crashes and last long enough for you to figure out how to fly properly.
User-friendly controls. Features like altitude hold mode, heading hold, and slower flight speeds will make the drone easier to control and therefore better for learning. The best drones for beginners let you turn these features off, one by one, so that you can work your way up to more advanced piloting techniques.
Safety features. A good beginner drone will land itself when the battery’s running out, for example.
Price. This one is obvious. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on a drone you might not be able to fly properly!
Battery life and range. These are good things to look for with any drone. Remember that the battery life is probably going to be shorter than you’d expect – 15 minutes is considered very good for a beginner drone, while 20+ minutes is all but unheard-of.
Where can I find entry level drones for sale?
Most people either buy drones on Amazon or directly from the manufacturer. Sometimes entry level drone manufacturers’ websites will offer special benefits for buying through them – Altair Aerial, for example, offers free shipping. Some of the best beginner drones can also be found at physical storefronts that sell consumer electronics.
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How much does a decent drone cost? How much is a drone with a camera?
In the modern age, you can find good drones at reasonable prices – sometimes as low as $40 to $60. But these drones may have limited functionality and are often made of cheaper parts. A good, long-lasting beginner drone typically costs between $100-$300. Mid-range drones can go up to $600, while high-end consumer drones will often cost $1000 or more.
Cameras are now standard on almost all beginner drones, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra for that feature.
Do you need a license to fly a drone?
Typically, you will not need a license to fly a beginner drone. In America, you usually only need to register a drone if you’re using it for a commercial purpose or if it weighs over 55 pounds. However, laws vary by state and even more by country, so we strongly recommend you look up the laws in your area to see if you need a license to fly a drone.
What are the best starter drones for photography?
The AA818 Hornet is probably the best entry level drone for photography on the market, but you can’t go wrong with basically anything that has a 720p HD camera or better.
Can I find beginner drones with an HD camera?
As a matter of fact, most rc drones now come with HD cameras – even those designed to be beginner drones for kids! Every vehicle we’ve mentioned on this list has an HD camera of at least 720p resolution, and the high-end models now come with 4K video and 12 Megapixel still image capability as standard.
Are there good beginner drones with GPS?
Actually, yes! It didn’t quite make our final top 5, but the Outlaw is a great new drone that’s really easy for beginners to fly and which has advanced GPS features. It lacks the durability of some of the other drones on this list and has to be calibrated each time you fly, but if what you really want in your first drone is some innovative GPS-based functionality it’s an excellent choice.
What’s the best drone for children who haven’t flown before?
Kids will probably get the most out of one of the inexpensive models listed in the first section of the article – an Altair Falcon or AA818 Hornet would be best, or possibly the Holy Stone Predator. Note that even the easiest to fly drones for kids are generally not recommended for those under the age of 14.
What’s the best entry level drone for adults?
If you’re looking for a budget option, the best introductory drone for adults is most likely the Altair Aerial Tomahawk, which is easy to fly but still comes with many high-quality features, especially if you choose to upgrade the HD camera.
For the VERY best beginner drones for adults, of course, you’ll have to look to the high-end models like the Parrot Anafi or the Yuneec Typhoon. These come with many high-tech features, but are often too expensive for even adult beginners to justify buying.
Finding The Best Drones For Beginners – Which Drone Is Best?
We hope this article has helped you find some of the best drones for beginners 2019. If you have a question about one of our reviews, or think you know of a best beginner drone that we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments! Your feedback helps us to keep our articles regularly updated with the best and most accurate information we can.