BEST DRONES FOR BEGINNERS
If you are looking for your first drone or still class yourself as a beginner then take a look at our top ten starter UAV’s.
Drones For Beginners – Top 10 For 2018
If you thought 2017 was the year that drones took off (excuse the obvious pun), 2018 looks set to be the year they explode in to outer-space (not literally) – and with drones now being more affordable then ever and with the technology improving all the time, it seems that it is a hobby that everyone wants to try their hat at – and why not we say!
- 10. Sky Viper s1750 – Best For Stunts
- 9. DROCON Cyclone X708W – With or Without FPV
- 8. Holy Stone Predator – Best Budget Indoor and Outdoor UAV
- 7. DROCON Scouter – Best Foldable Mini-Drone
- 6. Parrot Bebop 2 – Best All Round (mid-high budget)
- 5. GoolRC T100 – Most Innovative Training Drone
- 4. DROCON Monster Blue Bugs 3 – Best For GoPro
- 3. Syma X5SC-1 – Good all-rounder
- 2. Hubsan X4 H107 L – Best Value
- 1. UDI 818A FPV Drone – Best Overall Drone For Beginners
If you are a beginner when it comes to buying a drone it doesn’t mean you have to buy low end tat – luckily if you are only just buying a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) for the first time then you are probably joining the party at the right time.
In 2018 your money will go a long way and even for as low as £30-£50 you can get hold of something that will keep you entertained for hours.
In this guide we take a look at the top 10 beginner drones for a range of budgets. That being said, most of the drones featured on this page will be the more budget ones as they are generally the best sort of drones to get started with.
If you go for a budget drone to start with it also gives you a good excuse to muscle up with a second drone to add to grow your fleet when you feel ready.
10. Sky Viper s1750 – Best For Stunts
The first drone on our list is the Sky Viper S1750 Stunt model. It might look quite light weight and flimsy in the picture shown here but it is actually very well built and a lot more sturdy than it looks. That means the Sky Viper is more than capable of taking a few hits and crashes.
With features such as auto hover, auto take off and auto landing there is nothing to get anxious about when taking your first ever flight.
If you like the idea of performing some stunts such as flips and rolls then you will be in your element with the Sky Viper S1750 as it allows you to perform 8 preset stunts at the touch of a button and will make you look like a pro right from your maiden flight.
The reason why we simply had to include this amongst our best drones for beginners list is that it has an assisted flight mode – switch this on and suddenly your drone becomes so much easier to fly as some of the flight controls are automated for you. This still provides enough enjoyment as if you were flying without assistance and as soon as you feel confident you can turn this mode off.
You can use the Sky Viper indoors or outdoors and you can expect a flight time of 8-10 minutes from each battery. You can purchase extra batteries and higher capacity batteries for even more flight time if you wish.
9. DROCON Cyclone X708W – With or Without FPV
DROCON has made a name for itself over the last couple of years when it comes to creating excellent drones that are cheap yet reliable. The Cyclone X708W comes with two variants, one has full FPV capabilities thanks to the onboard 720p HD camera whilst the other version omits this functionality in favour of saving some money on the cost of the unit. Both versions can be viewed here.
Which version you opt for will of course depend on what you want from your drone. At the time of writing the FPV version is only £10 more than the non-FPV variant so if your budget stretches that far there then it will provide more fun to be had in the longer term.
The drone is very well built, has detachable batteries that last for around 8 minutes per flight and each charge takes around an hour (the main downside of this drone). Weighing in at 105g the DROCON Cyclone feels very sturdy and is strong enough to withstand some abuse should you have any issues mid flight. That being said, this drone is very easy to use.
With two speed settings you can use the lower speed to train and build up your piloting skill level and if you get really stuck there is a one button return to home key that will bring the drone back to you. Take off and landing is very easy thanks to the aerodynamics of the design and it also has a headless flying mode which makes it super simple to manoeuvre.
8. Holy Stone Predator – Best Budget Indoor and Outdoor UAV
Holy Stone have produced some of the best budget drones we have seen this year and whilst they might lack some of the advanced functions of more expensive UAV’s, what they do really well is cater to the beginner market with drones that are easy to fly.
The Holy Stone Predator is the pick of the range for beginners thanks to a super smooth 6 axis stabilisation system that performs as admirably in moderate winds as it does indoors. Featuring headless flying modes it is super easy to navigate and 3 different flying speeds means that you can build up your proficiency over time.
Battery life per flight for the Predator is around 8 minutes but the charging time is only around 30-40 minutes which means with just a few spare batteries you could be enjoying plenty of flying per charge.
Another real plus of the Holy Stone Predator is the fact that accessories and spare parts are very easy to come by and they don’t cost the earth. You could be set up with spare blades and 4 spare batteries for under £75.
If you are looking for a good drone for beginners that flies well indoors and outdoors then this is an excellent choice.
7. DROCON Scouter – Best Foldable Mini-Drone
One of three DROCON drones on our list, the DROCON Scouter is not only very affordable, but it is one of the most sturdy and stable drones on our list. It is very much marketed as being a beginner drone and often is aimed at the ‘drones for kids‘ market – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect for an adult taking their first flight!
The first thing you will notice about the Scouter is that it folds down, very much like a Mavic Pro. Of course, it has no where near the features of a Mavic but it looks and feels the part – and for the money it is a brilliant starter drone.
Features that are perfect for novices include altitude hold and one press take off and landing. It also has a headless flying mode like many of the drones featured here – this is important for new pilots as it makes flying so much easier.
The DROCON Scouter has a unique stunt that very few other drones have the ability to do – it spins. Press one button and it will hold its altitude and spin. This looks pretty awesome when the LED lights are on in low light conditions!
Three speed modes are available and can be changed at the flick of a switch allowing you to slowly build up your competence levels and confidence.
Flight time for the Scouter is around 6-7 minutes with a charge time of around 45-60 minutes.
The model we are featuring here does not come with a camera which brings the cost of this drone right down. There is a version with a camera but we recommend this one if you are just trying to learn the ropes. If you need something easy to fly with plenty of spares then the Scouter is a really top choice.
6. Parrot Bebop 2 – Best All Round (mid-high budget)
The Parrot Bebop 2 is by far the best drone on this list, but it is also the most expensive by far with it retailing at around £400. The reason we have added the Bebop 2 to the list is because it is actually very easy to fly and it is also very easy to capture incredible footage with the built in 14MP HD camera – even for a complete novice!
With 25 minutes of flight time from a single battery and up to 2KM range (if you purchase the SkyController), the Parrot Bebop 2 holds its own in much higher classes of drones than we see here. If you are in it for the long haul and think that video and photography are going to be important to you in the longer term then this might be a better investment – of course it will come down to budget too.
The version we are featuring here is controlled by your smartphone with the Parrot App but you can purchase a full FPV package that gives you the SkyController and FPV goggles to add even more functionality.
The Bebop 2 has full GPS and tracking features which means you can set it to track an object or yourself and it will fly along following (and recording) the target. It has top speeds of around 37MPH and performs excellently in winds up to around 35MPH – which none of these other drones can do – not to the same standard.
You can film in full 1080p HD and thanks to the 180 degree fish eye lens you can capture incredible footage and images that other drones just cannot match. You can even export your shots in RAW or DNG file formats for truly professional results if that is important to you.
Another brilliant flying feature is the Flight Plan mode which allows you to set waypoints using the app – you do have to pay extra for this feature in the app but it adds a new dimension to piloting that is super simple.
5. GoolRC T100 – Most Innovative Training Drone
The GoolRC T100 is one of the best selling drones on Amazon and there are good reasons for this. One is that it is very well priced and if you are looking for a drone under £30 then you can’t go far wrong with the T100.
Apart from the fact that the T100 sounds super cool and like it should be in the Terminator films it also has one of the most innovative controllers we have ever seen. It can be controlled using one hand as the controller uses a mix of motion sensing technology and buttons on the side and it is surprisingly easy to use. In fact, beginners will actually find this drone easier to fly than experienced pilots.
You have 3 flight speeds to choose from so again we suggest that novices start on the slower speed and then build up towards the faster speed as you feel more comfortable with flying. If the worst does happen and you crash the drone you should be fine as the propellers (which are always the most fragile part of any quadcopter) are well protected by a plastic shield. If you do need spares these can easily be obtained very cheaply.
As your skill level increases you might want to try some flips and stunts – this drone is so fun to perform these with thanks to the motion sensing controller and it really does have to be seen to be believed.
Flying time of the T100 is around 6-8 minutes which is pretty standard at this price point. The battery is removable so you can purchase spares if you wish and the charging time is only 30 minutes which means you can be back up in the sky in no time at all. The standard package comes with everything you need and includes 2 pairs of spare propellers also.
If you are on a super tight budget or just fancy something a little different then you will hone your drone skills quickly with this and even experienced pilots will find some new and exciting here.
4. DROCON Monster Blue Bugs 3 – Best For GoPro
This is our favourite DROCON drone by far and what makes it even more appealing is that at the time of writing we were able to secure it at 45% off the recommended retail price making it a very affordable drone for beginners – but also being a drone that can grow as your skill level and your needs grow. That is because it has an action camera slot to the underside of the chassis allowing for a camera such as a GoPro to be added!
This is also the best priced drone we feature that has increased flight times that rival the Bebop 2 – but for a fraction of the cost. The flight time of the Monster Blue Bugs 3 is 15-20 minutes depending on how aggressively you use the throttle – this is because the motors are brushless metal, not brushed motors like some of the ones featured here.
The controller for the Bugs 3 is very well made and feels solid in your hands. It works at a range of up to 500 metres and should you fly out of range it will safely land waiting to be retrieved. We have to say that this was one of the most responsive flights we took in these tests and this made flying the drone much easier – again, perfect for the novice pilot.
It is important to note that the Bugs 3 does not come with a camera and you will need your own GoPro 2,3 or 4 if you want to attach it directly. The GoPro 5 and 6 are not currently compatible with the camera slot but you can attach your own gimbal if you wish to use these. Again, this is something that is probably not going to be a concern for a true beginner, but it is good to know that you can add to the drone over time.
Spares are readily available for this drone and you can pick up a couple of extra batteries and a spare charger for around £40. This would give you almost an hour’s worth of flight time from 3 batteries which is incredible for the price!
If you own a GoPro already and think you might want to use it later down the line or you just want a drone that has much better flight time to hone your skills then this could well be the drone for you.
3. Syma X5SC-1 – Good all-rounder
The Syma X5SC-1 is an upgraded version of the X5SC and it is no stranger to us. We have included this drone in so many of our top 10 lists and with good reason – it is affordable, quality, easy to fly and has some good functionality and features.
The Syma does have its flaws and is certainly not a drone that will keep you coming back for years and years but as a beginners drone it could hardly be better. This quadcopter is one of the easiest to fly on this list thanks to a very good controller, excellent 6-axis stability and super smooth flight – even in testing wind conditions.
You will get around 8 minutes of flying time with the Syma X5SC-1 – but here comes one of its flaws – almost 2 hours for each charge. If you can handle that then this is an excellent drone, if not then you might want to skip ahead to our number one.
This UAV has a 2MP camera that can take video and photographs and also ships with a 4GB memory card and memory card reader. The footage and stills you take here are not going to be award winning, but it gives you a good sense of what drone photography and videography is like and will allow you to train your eye for what to look for when up in the sky.
The X5SC-1 is well protected from crashes and bumps and for the price it is hard to complain about it. Will it set the world alight in 2018 – no, but it will provide an excellent resource to train and build your flying skills at a snip of a price.
2. Hubsan X4 H107 L – Best Value
When it comes to budget drones they don’t come much cheaper than this. Not if you want something with a little bit of quality that is – luckily the Hubsan X4 H107 L has quality in abundance and costs less than a couple of rounds down the pub.
If you are truly looking for a drone to train or hone your skills on without the need for any bells, whistles or cameras then this is probably the best pick out of the lot. The X4 H107 L has no camera (although there are X4 variants that do include the camera) and for us, this drone is all about flying.
Each battery will provide you with around 8 minutes of flying time and with just 30 minutes per charge if you grab a few spares you can be up in the sky for ages. It has a 6 axis stabilisation system for perfectly stable flying and you can adjust the sensitivity of the gyro if you feel you need to.
You can perform flips and stunts with this quadcopter to test your skills even more and it looks awesome flying through the air at speed. We had the black and white variant and we loved it.
The other benefit of the Hubsan is that there are plenty of spares and accessories available – we would suggest getting the crash pack which gives you the body shell, 16 spare blades, spare battery, 2 motor pieces and 2 spare LED lights – all for under £7!
The prices are just astounding and for the money you won’t find a better starter drone than this.
1. UDI 818A FPV Drone – Best Overall Drone For Beginners
Without a doubt, the UDI 818A is one of our favourite quadcopters and this is not the only list of ours that it tops. It is ridiculously easy to fly and will have first time pilots taking their maiden flight within minutes of opening the box.
What we love about this drone is that it has full FPV functionality when you connect your smartphone to the supplied controller so there is no need to buy anything else on top of the package itself which comes in at well under £100.
The 720p HD camera performs admirably in well lit environments and the Wi-Fi FPV means you can get some excellent video and stills as you can easily see what you are pointing at.
If you don’t want to take the controller out with you then you can even control the drone directly from your smartphone – a feature that is often reserved for much more expensive UAV’s.
You get headless flying mode, one touch 3d flips, rolls and stunts and the package even comes with a spare battery, microSD card and extra blades. Flying time is around 7-9 minutes per battery meaning you can get almost 20 minutes out of the two supplied in this package.
The UDI 818A also looks the part, it weighs less than 160g and is so small it is easily portable. It features LED lights which just adds to the look and helps you to see your drone in low light and it also has excellent protection should you have a crash.
All in all, we can’t recommend the U818A highly enough.
If you are looking for a good drone to begin with then this top ten list has something to suit all tastes and all budgets. From £25 quadcopters to £400 UAV's, we have it all.
The UDI U818A is our favourite drone on this list thanks to its excellent functionality and budget price.
It is super easy to fly which makes it the perfect choice for the novice drone pilot.
No matter which one of these drones you purchase we are sure you will have a good experience with them. Just be warned, once you start down the route of drone ownership you will most likely very quickly acquire a desire for more. If you do move on to the next level then be sure to come back to Drone Deliver as we have all manner of reviews for all your needs on this site.