The Best Buy Ever: How to Buy a Drone in 5 Simple Steps

Drones—something once reserved for the likes of science fiction novels or futuristic aliens—are now a part of our everyday lives.

Chances are you know several people who’ve already jumped on the bandwagon (and you’re next). After all, there is an astounding number of registered drones—866,102, to be exact. While 343,126 are registered for commercial use, the majority are registered for recreational use. Over five hundred thousand individuals use drones for fun.

If you’ve landed here, you’re ready to buy a drone, too, but you need some insight first.

For anyone wondering about types of personal drones, where to buy a drone, how to choose a drone, and so much more, keep reading for the simple steps.

1. Learn About the Personal Drone Types

Drones come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Drones are made to be used in various ways—for example, photography, surveillance, mapping, etc.

For personal use, you’ll most likely look at multi-rotor drones, which are favored by professionals and enthusiasts alike.

These are the flyers that do aerial photography or videography, but can also be used for leisure flying, racing with other drones, and activities in that realm. Rotors come in three, four, six, or eight. Multi-rotor drones are easy to maneuver, making them a popular option for beginner and advanced drone users. 

Another type of personal drone includes the mini version, like this one: This option is particularly beneficial for its convenience and ease of travel. 

2. Consider How Much You’re Willing to Pay

How much are drones?

That depends.

You can spend $100 and have yourself a new drone, or you could spend one thousand dollars and have one. You could also buy one at all the stages in between—$300, $500, $800, etc. There’s a drone in everybody’s price range!

The type you get largely depends on your budget and the bells and whistles you’re looking at. For example, buying a drone with a high-quality camera attached will cost you more than a nice drone sans camera. If you’re planning to just play around, you can easily find yourself an affordable model—and the opposite is true, too. 

That brings us to our next point.

What are you looking for in a drone? What are your needs, wants, and can’t-live-without’s? 

3. Focus on Features, Too

The scale of a drone’s price tag is so large because you can get so many versions with a wide variety of settings. You can go from standard to souped-up, from traditional to trendy, in a heartbeat.

The more fun features you’re looking for, the more money you can expect to pay, and vise versa. Some of the top considerations include:

  • Battery life
  • Size and maneuverability 
  • Speed 
  • The quality of the camera, if there is one
  • Flight time
  • Weight

Different features affect more than just the price tag, too.

For example, you might splurge on battery life because it allows you to have longer flight times. Smaller drones might be faster and more agile, but that also comes with a steeper learning curve, so might not be suited for beginners. If you’re only planning to race your drone, you don’t need something like 4K video capabilities, so you’ll be able to invest in a fast, cameraless drone instead.

Think about why you want a drone before you go shopping, as the several options may quickly overwhelm you! Make your list of must-haves and shop within those boundaries.

4. Know Where to Buy a Drone

With popularity comes accessibility, and that’s as true for drones as it is for anything else.

Drones are available in several locations, granting consumers the option to buy in person or online.

You might consider buying a drone in person, allowing you to check it out first. In that case, visit any electronics store or electronics section of your favorite department store—Walmart, Best Buy, Target.

If you’ve already got the drone you want in your mind, you can get away with buying it online—from Amazon, your favorite drone manufacturer, a refurbisher website.

5. Don’t Forget to Register It

Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs—it’s all the same, and it all requires registration. 

There’s a good reason for that, too. When you consider what a drone can do, where it can go, its access, it makes sense that registration would be involved for accountability purposes. It protects the drone user as well as others.

Any drone weighing 0.55 pounds or more must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA’s, DroneZone. By this time two years from now, all drones must operate within the guidelines of the remote ID rule for pilots. 

Registration is simple. You’ll need your information, your drone’s information (make and model, ID serial number), and $5, which lasts three years. You can register any drone weighing less than 50 pounds with the FAA either online or by mail.

Once you receive your FAA registration certificate, you’ll need to have it with you any time you fly, regardless of who’s controlling the device. Failure to do so could cost you heavily in fines, civil penalties, or even imprisonment. 

Buy a Drone, They Said

It’ll be fun, they said.

And guess what? They were right.

Drones are an awesome way to play, kill some time, or even do something creative, like shoot bird’s-eye-view videos. Whether you fly it on your own or with your fellow drone-having buddies, it’s sure to be a fun experience. If you’ve wanted to buy a drone for a while now, this guide might just be your sign to do it.

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