Drones are growing increasingly popular in the consumer, commercial, and military spaces. BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects mass adoption to occur around 2021 with $12 billion in total spending in the drone market.
One of the biggest appeals of drones is their versatility. Consumers can use them for recreational purposes. Farmers can use them for monitoring crops. Amazon wants to use them to deliver packages. The military uses them for surveillance.
But for those looking to take the first step into the world of drones, the prospect can be a bit daunting. What are the best drones for beginners? What’s the most expensive drone? What are the best drones with cameras? What are the legal restrictions surrounding drones?
Personal Drones Under $100
- UDI U818 HD+: This model is arguably the best drone under $100 on the market today. The UDI U818 HD+ features a two megapixel camera and has a 100 meter range. Perhaps the biggest selling point is Headless Mode, which locks the drone’s direction to be the same as your transmitter. This makes it excellent for beginners. Price: $89.99
- HUBSAN H107D X4: This drone contains a 480p camera and a 4.3-inch LCD remote control screen. Price: $79.99
- Yizhan Gift Tarantula X6 H16: This model contains no camera, though it does have a mount to attach one. Owners have remarked on the intense speed of this drone. Price: $55.99
- JXD 6-Axis Gyro Drone: The JXD features a one-touch command that automatically returns it to the takeoff point and lands it, which makes it perfect for beginners. Price: $57.95
- Syma XSUW: This model features a 720p HD camera and real-time WiFi transmission. Price: $73.99
Personal Drones Under $200
- Holy Stone F181: The key to this drone is the Altitude Hold Function, which uses powerful air pressure that allows you to let go of the throttle stick to let the drone hover at its current height. This makes it easy for beginners to shoot high-quality images or videos with the two-megapixel camera. Price :$109.99
- MJX Bugs 3: The two-way transmitter in this drone allows for an operating range of up to 500 meters. Price: $129.99
- Hubsan X4 H502S: This drone features Headless Mode, Altitude Hold Mode, and a 720p HD camera. Price: $150
- Kidcia Quad: This quadcopter comes loaded with Headless Mode, a one-touch return home feature, altitude hold, and a gravity sensor mode that lets the user control flight by handling a smartphone. Furthermore, a nifty track-controlled mode allows users to draw a flight path on their smartphone, and the drone will fly as drawn. Price: $99.99
- Parrot AR 2.0: This model features 720p HD live video streaming and recording to a tablet or smartphone while flying. Users can also record and share these pictures and video right from the drone. Price: $128.99
Best Agriculture Drones
- senseFly eBee SQ: The eBee series has been a popular choice for farmers, and the biggest selling point is the company’s proprietary eMotion software, which makes designing a flight plan incredibly simple. The drone boasts the ability to capture 500 acres of footage in a single flight. Price: $12,000
- PrecisionHawk Lancaster 5: PrecisionHawk is another popular drone choice for farmers, and this latest model features a body more capable of enduring hard landings, a redesigned tail, longer wingspan for greater stability in flight, and an improved flight control. Price: $12,000
- Honeycomb AgDrone: This drone features a 55-minute flying time, with an additional 11 minutes of reserve time that activates as long as there is not too much wind. The wings are made of a durable Kevlar fiber composite. The drone also comes with dual cameras. Price: $10,000
- DJI Matrice 100: Dual batteries in this drone allow for a 40-minute flight time. It also packs the standard suite of DJI systems, such as GPS and flight controller. Price: $3,299
Best Camera Drones
- DJI Phantom 4: The DJI Phantom is one of the most popular drone models on the market, and this model allows users to record video in up to 4K at 30fps and full HD 1080p at 120fps for slow motion. Price: $1,489.99 (Note: This is for the Bundle Kit that includes a hardshell backpack, three DJI Batteries a 64GB SD Card, an SD Reader and more)
- Yuneec Typhoon H: Yuneec designed this model for aerial photo and video, and the drone can capture up to 4K video and 12 megapixel still photos. The three-axis gimbal on the UAV pans a full 360-degrees. Price: $999
- UDI 818A: This drone comes equipped with a custom route mode that allows the user to draw a flight path on the mobile app screen. The UDI 818A takes videos and photos in 720p with a built-in two megapixel camera. Price: $149.95
- MQ-9 Reaper: Arguably the deadliest military drone on the market, Predator B has a turboprop engine that can deploy laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles at ground targets.
- IAI Eitan: This drone can fly at more than 45,000 feet for more than 70 hours uninterrupted.
- X-45 UCAV and X-47B Pegasus: The X-45 is designed to fly in groups, and it is equipped with a smart computer that can determine if a target should be attacked or not. The X-47, meanwhile, is designed to operate on aircraft carriers. It can take off and land autonomously and can refuel itself above the ocean.