Beginner drones

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Beginner Drone Recommendations

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There’s nothing quite like seeing a drone in action and knowing that, you too, could own one! When you are first looking to buy a drone it is tempting to get the best on the market. Don’t get me wrong – for some people, it is certainly the best choice for them. However, for most people spending over $1,000 on a new toy is not something they need to do. 

If this is you – start cheaper and, if you need to, upgrade when you find that the drone is not able to do the things that you want it to do. 

Here are a few things that I think you should consider when choosing the best drone for beginners.


Three drones worthy of being your first:

  • Best small beginner droneDJI Mavic Mini (click here for the current price on Amazon) – This drone is affordable, very beginner-friendly, and is the perfect first drone. It is under 250g and packs in HD video at 60 frames per second (you can do awesome slow-mo shots). It has auto return to home but lacks collision sensors in the more expensive drone. Fly it clear of obstacles however and you’ll never need them!
  • Best for the cameraParrot Anafi ( click here for the current price on Amazon) – This drone is inexpensive and is packed full of beginner-friendly features. It has an impressive 4K camera and zoom capability making it the perfect option for those looking for full camera features on a budget. 
  • The little bit better option  DJI Mavic Air (Click to check the current price on Amazon) – this was my first ever drone! It was the first level up from the “toy” drones but powerful enough to take with me on some serious photography missions. This is perfect for people who want more than a toy and are first dipping a toe into drones. I didn’t regret my first drone purchase at all!


Why I’d choose the Mavic mini as my first drone


If you are new to the drone world the Mavic mini is the perfect place to start for these reasons:

  • It’s so small and light that you can take it anywhere with you! – Having to double guess taking your drone with you can make you not fly a drone at all. Making it a quick grab and go item will improve the odds that you’ll actually get around to flying it regularly!
  • It’s really inexpensive – you don’t need to spend thousands on a drone to get the drone experience. This has a great app and flying experience that you can get everything you want from a drone experience without breaking the bank.
  • 30 minutes of flight time – this is as long as you’d get from much more expensive drones. This is long enough to have a play around and grab the shots you want to get!
  • GPS auto home landing – I love that these DJI drones auto land. They all have a “return to home” function that gives the drone pilot such incredible peace of mind. Phone dies? No problem, the drone will return to its take-off spot safely!
  • Introduction to DJI drones – pretty much every drone that I recommend is a DJI drone. This is because they listen to their audience and make drones that are a pleasure to fly. I very rarely like to spruik one company but until a better drone company arrives on the market DJI has my vote – nearly every time.

Beginner drone buying guide

If you are first getting into drones here are the features you should pay close attention to. Trust me when I say more expensive isn’t always better…


Drone flying is an expensive habit – and wanting the newest drone can blow out that cost. Your drone choice must be the right balance between what you’d be willing to spend on your hobby and the number of times that you will use your drone.

Choose a drone that won’t hurt your bank account and upgrade if you need to. There’s a very active market for second-hand drones. Look after yours and you’ll be able to sell and upgrade with no issue!


I love the fact that I can take my drone anywhere and not notice it in my backpack…really!

With more flight time and features comes a bigger and heavier drone. I know that I need very little excuse to not do something – and I’d hate “it being heavy” to stop me from taking a drone on walks in my backpack.

Make sure that the drone you buy matches HOW you want to use it and make sure you can get it to the take-off spot!

Camera features

Camera drones are becoming more and more complex with added features.

Do you want to zoom, 4K built-in autofocus and exposure? All of these answers will ultimately determine what drone you will buy.

The propellers and rotors take the camera up in the air but it is the camera that will be the most valuable part of the drone.

Take the time to pick a CAMERA that has the right balance of features for the photos and videos your want to capture! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.


The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a Drone pilot, Writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV (ABC Documentary) and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones.