Buying your first quadcopter drone may be a little overwhelming, especially if you are a beginner pilot and given the various models that your have to select from the decision of choosing a the right drone can leave you totally lost.
Quadcopter drones are used for various activities including delivery, photography and videography, drone racing and aerial acrobatics and as a consequence they offer different features and specifications. Delivery drones , photography and videography drones are often larger and have more lifting power, therefore the payload demands more from their motors and batteries . Racing and acrobatic drones are more lightweight so they tend to be more durable. Naturally, there are always exceptions, so this is why it is important to select the drone that is best suited for your needs or purpose.
Whether you choose to buy a low-budget or high-budget drone such buying decisions is more than simply budgeting or aesthetics . You would want to ensure that the drone you choose does not fall apart on its first voyage so durability is obviously paramount.
Below are several factors you ned to take into consideration to ensure that your drone meets your need.
Material Quality and Design
Material quality and design is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a quadcopter because they impact your quad’s flight performance: weight distribution, rigidity, aerodynamics, crash resilience and durability. Your choice in material quality and drone design will ultimately determine whether you get value for your money.
The frames of low cost drones are generally made of made of ABS plastic, PVC and or Aluminium. Quadcopter drones frames made of ABS plastics or PVC material are considered to be superior and durable given their crash resilience, hardness, gloss, toughness, and electrical insulation properties of the material. On the other hand, Aluminium drones tend to be lightweight, attractive and durable because the material is malleable so the drones tend to flex instead breaking
High end drones frames are made of fibre glass and or carbon fibre or an amalgamation of both products. Quadcopter drones made of carbon frames are lighter, stronger and more flexible and resilient to breakage. Carbon fibre frames are so designed because they often have to support bigger gimbals, rotors, motors, batteries cameras and propellers. Less weight equals longer flight time and better control response (especially yaw). Carbon frames are more suited for drone racing, acrobatics and long flights and are better able to withstand crashes.
Fibre glass frames are better suited for aerial photography, everything being equal. While generally carbon frames appear to be superior when compared to fibre glass frames one should not assume that because a frame is made of carbon fibre it is more durable than a fibreglass frame. Consideration must also be given to the design and shape of the quadcopter frame and the placement of propellers. particularly if you are seeking to purchase a toy drone. Look for placement of landing gear and propellers and ensure that they are mounted at a reliable safe angle to avoid breakage or bend after a few flights.
If you wish to purchase a high end drone then you should consider the fibre glass or carbon fibre (and avoid aluminium).
For the typical hobbyist who may be on a budget a drone made of PVC, ABS and or Aluminium may be a adequate drone.
If you are a beginner pilot then you should give consideration to a drone with a headless mode. Headless mode removes the need to remember the direction or orientation of the drone. Headless mode makes for a smoother flying experience , gives greater control and reduces the possibility of crashing your drone.
Another factor you may consider are GPS sensor. GPS sensors are usually found in high-end drones. Their primary purpose is to set specific coordinates for your drone. Once programmed, the drone will automatically fly to those coordinates.
GPS sensors allow for a neat function called the “return home” feature. At the push of a button, this feature will bring your drone to its original starting location. This is particularly useful when you’ve lost sight of your drone.
The resolution of videos and images may be significant if you are engage in aerial photography and videography, FPV racing or delivery. The higher the resolution of the camera the greater the quality of images and video. That said you should expect to pay more for a camera with a higher resolution
For low priced drones the resolution of the camera may not be exceptional but you can still capture some awesome aerial or selfie images and videos.
For the average hobbyist who simply wants to use the drone to glide over the neighbourhood the resolution of drone camera may not be of particular significance.
FPV or first person view feature is another important factor you may wish to consider when selecting your drone. The first person view allows for real-time image broadcast for transmission from the camera to your handheld device. FPV is supported by Wifi which allows you to publish the images and videos transmitted to you device to your favourite social network
Keep in mind that the ultimate quality of the image displayed on your device is determined by the resolution supported by your camera and not you device.
Remote Control Transmitters
The remote controller [RC], or “transmitter”, is the system that controls the directional movement of your aircraft and allows you to control ,maneuver and navigate your drone. It is important that your RC transmitter always keeps you connected to your drone to reduce the possibility of a crash. Most quadcopter transmitters come with two analog sticks, and operate at a frequency of 2.4GHz
Like anything else drones were not made to laster forever and you should expect to encounter a crash now and then. Naturally, if you take care of your drone the parts will have a longer shelf life but if you don’t then you will need to replace the parts more frequently. Either way you will want to ensure that the parts for your drone are easily available.
Keep in mind that not parts are universal and as a result you may need to find that part that is specific to your drone. Therefore it would be wise to choose a drone for which replacement parts are easily available.
Battery Life and Extra Batteries
The average flight time of a drone varies from 4-9 minutes for a low-priced drone and up to 25 minutes for a high-end drone. Batteries power up you drone so the newer the batteries the more flight time you will squeeze out of your drone. You should always ensure that your batteries are fully charged and discharged to extend the life of your battery.
Keep in mind that the batteries may not outlast you activity so it is recommended that you always keep an extra set of batteries.
You have now earned you pilot wings and have enough information to aid you buying decision. We have put together a great selection of drones to make your decision easier. the ball is now in your court. Go and buy your drone . You know you really want to.