The Full Guide to Beginner Drones

BEGINNER DRONE PILOT

Drones were once for pilots with experience, but, thankfully, beginners are getting a piece of the pie now, too! Fortunately for all of us, beginners can get their hands on drones that maximize the full effect where technical features and specs are concerned without having to worry about being an expert.

If you’re like me, then you know just how intimidating drones can be. I waited quite a long time to get into them because I was worried I’d never have the skills to fly them, but, as I said, there are so many drones for beginners out there that it’s impossible not to be able to fly one.

Whether you’re looking for the best beginner drone with camera or something that’s fun to fly on a Sunday afternoon, I’ve found all of the best beginner drones for every single category out there.

Choosing the Best Beginner Drone

Now that we’ve got some of the more important questions out of the way, it’s time to go over choosing the best beginner drone!

There are a lot of things to consider when buying your first beginner drone, so I’ll go through each aspect to give you an idea of what they are.

Knowing what you’re looking at, whether it’s a technical term or one that is straightforward, is important to understand, so let’s go through some of the most commonly used terms that are used in drone specifications before we move on.

Choosing the Best Beginner Drone

Flight time is very important where all drones are concerned, not just beginner drones. Flight time determines how long your drone will stay in the air based on a battery’s single charge.

Some beginner drones come with more than one battery, but most only come with one. The longer the flight time, the better!

The controller type is also important, as well. Some of them come with a physical controller, also known as a transmitter, or use a controller that is from a smartphone application. Either is fine, but you can choose whichever one you prefer based on personal preference. If you don’t have a smartphone, however, you’ll need to get a beginner drone that uses a physical controller.

The speed gives you a maximum flight speed, typically miles per hour (mph), that explains itself. Even if you already knew this, I still have to mention it.

Lastly, your range gives you an idea of how far your drone can fly in feet without losing the connection it has with the controller. Remember, never lose track with how far your drone is going from the controller!

The Best Beginner Drones

Now we can get onto the fun part of this guide! Beginner drones are super important for all drone users. They’re the initial stepping stone to all the other awesome ones. They help you gain some ground and learn to fly without worrying about using extensive features or having to deal with high-tech, intimidating specs.

Here are some of my favorite beginner drones, in no particular order, that I consider the best on the market so far!

best beginner drones full review 1

 

Altair AA108

The AA108 by Altair is one of my favorite beginner drones for many reasons. It costs around $130, has everything a beginner drone pilot needs, and even has a good quality camera! It’s an awesome choice for not only beginners, but for kids who are interested in how drones work and looking to fly one that’s simple enough for them to handle.

Here are the features and the specs:

  1. – Has a premium 720p HD camera that supports real-time video feeds in FPV and a 120-degree, wide-angle lens for photos and videos
  2. – Features Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, 1-Button Takeoff, 1-Button Landing, Custom Route Modes, Out of Range Alarm, Low Battery Alarm, Emergency Landing, and more
  3. – Uses 3 different flight skill levels – Beginner, Mid Level, and Advanced
  4. – Has a flight range of up to 100 meters or 300 feet
  5. – Total flight time of up to 10 minutes that is doubled with the second included LiPo battery for free
  6. – Uses advanced remote control technology with a physical controller, no smartphone required for flight control
  7. – Able to use with VR goggles, thanks to Virtual Reality Mode that is perfect for the more adventurous flier
  8. – Has a maximum video transmission range of up between 40 to 50 meters, or 120 to 150 feet, when using FPV
  9. – Has LED lights on the bottom that help with flight direction if you’re out of Headless Mode
  10. – Able to fly indoors and can withstand a crash without breaking or spiraling out

The AA108 by Altair gives true meaning to a beginner drone. It has everything a beginner needs, plus some, to successfully learn how to fly a drone, how to work a camera, and a whole lot more.

best beginner drone altair aerial aa108

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HORNET 818

The HORNET 818 by ALTAIR AERIAL is another great example of a cheap beginner drone. It’ll run you approximately $160, was designed to be a beginner drone, and has a lot of more advanced technical features and specs that gives you the best of both worlds.

Here are the features and the specs:

  1. – Has a 720p camera with real-time WiFi transmission in wide-angled HD resolution at 120 degrees
  2. – Features Altitude Hold, One-Key Takeoff, One-Key Landing, Low Power Alarm, Out of Range Alarm, Custom Flight Route Mode, Emergency Stop, and Headless Mode
  3. – Made with a functional, durable design better suited for beginner drone users and longer landing gears with an upgraded cover shape for better stability
  4. – Total flight time of up to 15 minutes with a coreless motor conversion technology that uses less battery power than more conventional motors
  5. – Uses an ergonomically designed controller for ease of use
  6. – Boasts the 3D Virtual Reality Mode that allows for VR capability using VR goggles for a 3D real-time video transmission
  7. – Has a maximum WiFi transmission range of up to 60 meters when outdoors with a clear flight line
  8. – Comes with a 4GB TF card and a card reader

The HORNET 818 by ALTAIR AERIAL the perfect beginner drone, I have to say, I’m very impressed!
drone 818 hornet best cheap drone

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Holy Stone F181W

The F181W by Holy Stone is one of the cheapest beginner drones you can hope to get. It costs $120, but despite its super low price, it’s got an entire arsenal of features and specs that any beginner drone user can sink their teeth into.

Here are the features and the specs:

  1. – Has a 120-degree FOV HD WiFi camera with 720p HD resolution with FPV real-time transmission
  2. – Features Automatic Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, Gravity Sensors, 3D Flip, and One-Key Return to Home
  3. – Uses a 6-axis flight stability system for full control and strong resistance to the wind
  4. – Has a controllable LED light that makes flying in low visibility settings or during the night as easy as possible
  5. – Total flight time of between 7 to 10 minutes, which can be doubled by the extra battery included for free
  6. – Has a transmission range of between 50 to 100 meters
  7. – Offers different speed modes that ensure beginners can interchange between them while their skills improve
  8. – Includes a 4GB TF memkry card and a card reader

The F181W by Holy Stone is a great beginner drone for anyone to try. It’s simple, has relatively technical features that you can play around with but don’t have to use, and is a great buy for the budget price you’re paying.
Holy Stone best beginner drone

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Honor-Y Beginner Drone

The Beginner Drone by Honor-Y has a shocking price of $86, but as I said before, don’t let super low prices fool you. I’ve seen handfuls of great beginner drones with such low prices that people often overlook them entirely.

Here are the features and the specs:

  1. – Features Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, One-Key Return to Home, 3 Speed Modes, and Multiple Direction Rolling
  2. – Uses a WiFi FPV camera with 720p HD and a live video transmission feed to your smartphone
  3. – Uses a 6-axis gyro stabilization system for better control and resistance against the wind
  4. – Total flight time of between 6 to 8 minutes, which can be doubled with the extra battery included for free
  5. – Has a transmission range of up to 1nsure beginners can interchange between them while their skills improve
  6. – Includes a 4GB TF memory card and a card reader

The F181W by Holy Stone is a great beginner drone for anyone to try. It’s simple, has relatively technical features that you can play around with but don’t have to use, and is a great buy for the budget price you’re paying.
Honor best beginner drone

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Holy Stone HS170 Predator

The HS170 Predator by Holy Stone is one of the cheapest beginner drones under $100 that will ever cross your path. Seriously, if you thought the last one had a low price tag, this one is going to blow you away. It’s only $40!

Here are the features and the specs:

  1. – Uses a Headless Security System that allows skill levels of any range to fly it with ease
  2. – Takes 2.4GHz transmission to an entirely different level with an anti-interference technology for various channels and other nearby drones in flight
  3. – Uses a 6-axis gyro flight stabilization system for better resistance against the wind
  4. – Has a transmission range of between 30 to 50 meters
  5. – Total flight time of between 6 to 8 minutes
  6. – Features Headless Mode and 3 different speed modes for various levels of flying skill and expertise
  7. – Has colorful LED lights for low visibility flying or when flying during the night
  8. – Able to be flown both indoors and outside

The HS170 Predator by Holy Stone is probably one of the most surprising beginner drones I’ve ever come by. For such a low price, you’d think you’d be getting a piece of garbage that can’t even take off.
Holy Stone HS170 best beginner drone

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Force1 U45W

The U45W by Force1 is a fantastic beginner drone if you’re looking for some high-quality technical specs and some awesome features to take advantage of once you’ve gained some footing with learning how to fly.

Here are the features and the specs:

  1. – Features Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, 1-Button Takeoff, 1-Button Landing, Custom Route Mode, VR Mode
  2. – Uses a 720p HD camera capable of FPV with 2MP still photos that are saved on the included 4GB SanDisk Micro SD card
  3. – Total flight time of up to 7 minutes, which can be doubled with the second included battery for free
  4. – Has a transmission range of up to 100 meters when outdoors with a clear flight path
  5. – You can use either the physical transmitter or choose to use your smartphone to control the drone
  6. – The physical transmitter shows you a number of pieces of information important to your flight, such as your altitude, for example

The U45W by Force1 holds a lot of awesome potential for both beginners and experts alike. It has simple and extensive features, a transmitter that’s pretty cool to look at and offers important flight aspects, and has a price that’s worth paying for.
U45W best beginner drone with camera

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SYMA X5C-1

The X5C-1 can be yours for as little as $47 and comes from the incredibly popular SYMA manufacturer. This little guy is the most basic drone you could possibly hope to invest in with a cheap beginner drone price that make it a must-have for every beginner drone pilot.

Here are the features and the specs:

  1. – Has a number of LED lights on the bottom for low visibility flying and flying during the night
  2. -Has a flight time of up to 7 minutes
  3. -Uses a 2.4GHz transmission frequency with up to 4 flight channels
  4. -Equipped with a 6-axis flight stabilization control system
  5. -Uses an elastic protective circle that’s highly elastic to ensure that wearing down isn’t possible and a crash or collision will not be a problem should something happen
  6. -Has an HD camera with videos and photos saved on an SD card that you must provide yourself
  7. As I said earlier, the X5C-1 by SYMA is, from what I’ve seen, one of the simplest, if not the simplest, beginner drones currently out on the market right now. It doesn’t focus on any flashy features and specs, other than the bottom LED lights, and maximizes the pure impact of drone flight. If you’re looking for the best starter drone with camera, then you’ve definitely found it.

    syma x5c best beginner drone with camera

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    The Beginner Drones Buying Guide

    Now that we’ve touched on the basics and looked at some of my favorite beginner drones, I’d like to take us in an entirely different direction. I think it’s important to know and understand different categories of drones, what they are, etc.

    This is important for knowing exactly what you want and also what you can expect from each different category. For example, knowing the difference between a beginner drone with a camera and beginner drones with FPV.

     

    Beginner Drones With Camera

    Who said professional aerial photography requires a professional, expensive drone? Definitely not I! There are so many drones out there that are solely designed for beginners that include a camera.

    Remember, just because it’s a beginner drone with a camera, it doesn’t mean the camera has to be garbage. In fact, a lot of beginner drone cameras do better than some of the pricier professional drones with a camera, so never let the price or the simplicity of a drone sway you if you’re looking for a camera.

    Here are some of my favorite beginner drones with a camera:

    Altair AA108

    818 HORNET

    Holy Stone F181W

    Honor-Y Beginner Drone
    beginner drone with camera
    Holy Stone HS170

    Force1 U45W

    SYMA X5C-1

    Force1 UDI 818A HD+

    Hubsan X4

    SYMA X5SW-V3

    Force1 U49W Blue Heron

    SYMA X5C

    MJX X400W FPV

    Some of the best beginner drone with camera listed in this list you will no doubt reckgnize from above. I wanted to keep that section short and sweet, but this list above is a more extensive list on some of the drones I think are perfect choices for the best affordable drones with camera

    If you own a GoPro action camera that’s a Hero 3 or a Hero 4, then I highly recommend going with the F100 Ghost GoPro drone. It may look like a very intimidating drone, but it’s actually the perfect choice for beginners, intermediates, and experts alike!

     

    Beginner Drones With FPV

    We covered what FPV is earlier on, but if you’ve forgotten or need a gentle reminder, it stands for First-Person flying, giving you the perspective of flying a drone from its direct point of view.

    Flying in FPV isn’t restricted for professional drones. In fact, we’ve already gone over a small handful of drones with FPV capabilities, so I figured I’d bring us back to that once more and get some more perspective on them. Looking for the best beginner drone with FPV doesn’t take a lot of time.

    Here are some of my favorite beginner drones with FPV:

    Altair AA108

    818 HORNET
    begginer drones with fpv
    Holy Stone F181W

    Honor-Y Beginner Drone

    Force1 U45W

    Force1 U49W Blue Heron

    Force1 U45 Blue Jay

    MJX X400W FPV

    Force1 U45 Raven

    Force1 U818A Discovery

    Once again, you’ll obviously have recognized some of the drones that I mentioned earlier on. Beginner FPV drones are awesome for many reasons. For one, you’re not as limited as you are range-wise when flying in FPV. Depending on the model you have, you caj double your distance without worrying about losing your drone.

    Remember, once your feed starts to drop, glitches occur, or something else strange starts to happen, it’s time to bring it back in or retract it until isn’t restricted for professional drones. In fact, we’ve already gone over a small handful of drones with FPV capabilities, so I figured I’d bring us back to that once more and get some more perspective on them. Looking for the best beginner drone with FPV doesn’t take a lot of time.

     

    Beginner Indoor Drones

    In my honest opinion, I think it’s important for anxious beginner pilots to start small and start indoors. Starting your piloting hobby indoors is the best way to learn the ropes, see what your drone can handle, etc.

    Not to mention it can be hard to fly outdoors depending on the weather and/or the current season, which is why beginner indoor drones are very important. After all, flying your drone through a blizzard or a thunderstorm will more than likely ruin the drone, so have at least one indoor drone is always beneficial.

    Here are my favorite beginner indoor drones:

    Altair AA108
    beginner indoor drones
    818 HORNET

    Force1 UFO 3000

    Blade Nano QX

    Parrot Mambo

    Cheerson CX-10

    Air Hogs Ultimate Millennium Falcon

    Beginner indoor drones don’t have to be super simple or boring, either! If you’re stuck inside on a rainy day and have a nonstop itch to fly an indoor drone for beginners, you’ll want to have one or two of the ones I just listed.

    What’s more, beginner indoor drones tend to be a lot cheaper than their brothers and sisters, so you can be sure that you’re paying half price, if not more, for something to do when you’re stuck inside and bored.

    Now you can take a look to this full review about the best indoor drones.

    Beginner Drones on a Budget

    Want to know what is one of the best things about beginner drones? They can usually come pretty cheap! In my review of my favorite beginner drones above, I highlighted the price of each one, so you personally saw how cheap some of these babies get.

    More often than not, I see a ton of budget beginner drones that have awesome specs and features, giving even the most professional drones a run for their money. If the best cameras money can buy and flashy features aren’t what you’re interested in more than anything, cheap beginner drones are where it’s at.

    Here are my favorite beginner drones on a budget:

    Altair AA108

    Hubsan X4 H107L

    DROCON U818PLUS
    beginner drones on a budget
    Force1 UFO 3000

    Holy Stone HS170

    Yizhan Golden X4

    SYMA X5C

    818 HORNET

    Hubsan H111 Q4

    H6 Quad

    Cheap beginner drones do not equal garbage automatically. A lot of these drones are actually fantastic and offer qualities that make them a lot of fun to fly. Just because it’s a drone designed for those on a budget, does not mean they’re designed to be flawed and won’t work.

    Check our complete review about the best cheap drones on the market in our review category.
     

    Beginner Drones for Kids

    Beginner drones for kids and toy drones for kids have a lot of phenomenal aspects to them. Don’t just think about crappy helicopter toys or something from Hot Wheels designed to last a week, these are real, in your face drones that work and last!

    A lot of people don’t take beginner drones for kids seriously because they believe they’re “dumbed down”, but I’m here to prove that theory wrong.

    Here are my favorite beginner drones for kids:

    beginner drones for kids full review guide

    SYMA X5C

    Sky Viper HD V950

    818 HORNET

    Traxxas 6608 LaTrax Alias

    Hubsan X4 H107C

    Heli-Max 1SQ

    UDI U845 UFO

    SYMA X9 Fly Car

    Inguity MJX X500

    QCopter QC1

    In all honesty, some of the beginner drones for kids have designs that are much cooler than the ones for older ages and adults. Take a look at SYMA’s X9 Fly Car and tell me I’m wrong.

    FAQ About Beginner Drones

    beginner drones full guide frequently asked questions

    Feel free to shoot me a message if you can’t find your question, think of a question after you’ve read one that I don’t have here, etc.

    What’s a beginner drone?

    A beginner drone is exactly as it sounds – a drone for beginner pilots! They usually have minimal features, low-tech specs, and can come with aspects that help beginner pilots get their footing. For example, offering Low, Medium, and High speed modes to help a beginner pilot advance in flying through speeds they can set at their own pace.

    What should I look for in a beginner drone?

    For the major beginners in drone piloting, you should look for build quality and ease of use. These are two great areas to start with, features and technical specs aside. Start with these and build your way up from there.

    Build quality is important for learning how to fly. Having a durable build will ensure that bumps and scrapes won’t be an issue. Ease of use is exactly how it sounds – easy to fly. Look for one that isn’t super technical and difficult to learn.

    Which features should I look for?

    As a super new beginner, I recommend looking for Altitude Hold or Hover. This feature is a very simple one. It holds your drone in place while in flight, which is great for getting your bearings if you’re a little anxious or just want it to hold it’s place while you take a picture, for example.

    Should I get a beginner drone with camera?

    If you’re interested in beginner aerial photography, sure! I’ve actually found a ton of beginner drones with a camera that are perfect for starter photographers who want to bring a drone to the table.

    Keep in mind, however, a lot of these beginner camera drones aren’t exactly high-tech, but some of them have surprisingly awesome cameras that do the trick quite well.

    You don’t need a camera with your first drone, but it’s something you may want to look into. For those who are more interested in learning how to fly and how drones as a whole work, I recommend sticking to one without a camera for now.

    What happens if my battery dies midair?

    To start, always keep an eye on your battery level, whether it be setting a timer on your phone or watch, or manually keeping track of time in your head.

    Unfortunately, a battery dying in midair does happen quite a bit. You lose yourself in the fun of flying, so it can definitely happen.

    If this does happen, your drone will run dry and drop out of the sky. Although, a lot of drones, both beginner and advanced, will have some form of a low battery alarm. Whether it be a blinking or solid light on the drone or a beeping alarm from the controller or the drone, you’ll know when the battery is about to die.

    What happens if my drone goes out of range?

    I don’t want to scare you, but if your drone goes out of range, it may fly away or drop straight to the ground. It also depends on whether or not your drone uses GPS.

    For drones that don’t use GPS, flying can be a little sketchy at times. Beginner drones without GPS will usually remember their last input command until the battery runs dry or they’ve crashed, so who knows where they’ll end up if they’ve lost the transmission signal.

    For drones that use GPS, however, they will return to their startling location more often than not if they go out of range. Although, this is not always the case, so don’t quote me on that. Some cheap GPS drones you will have to manually set up that feature for it to kick back, so if you haven’t done so, don’t expect it to come back.

    Either way, always stay within range at all times. If you feel like you’re about to go out of your drone’s range, move back within the limits. Nothing is worse than feeling your heart sink after watching your drone fly off into the distance.

    What is FPV?

    FPV, or First-Person View, is used for video piloting and is a method that is used for controlling a drone from a pilot’s point of view. Surprisingly, a lot of awesome beginner drones has FPV, so that’s something to look forward to! I actually have a lot of cheap FPV drones listed below in my mass review.

     

    All Things Beginner Drones

    I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my full review. Now that you know just how awesome beginner drones can truly be without all the flashy features and specs, you’ll no doubt have a new appreciation for them like I do.