How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Drone (Quadcopter) 2019?
From Toy Drones to High-End Drones for Aerial Photography, we’ve researched a range of pricing for a selection of excellent quality Drones, for the beginner or the Experienced Hobbyist. We’ll look at how much it costs for the Drone itself, plus the extras.
How much does it cost to buy a drone? Drone prices range from $20 for a good quality toy drone, to a few thousand dollars for prosumer models, equipped with flight instrumentation and 4K Cameras. It can get silly expensive. But it’s fun. Let’s look at the costs.
What’s a New Drone Cost? What’s The Initial Price?
Remember when buying a drone, Price is a onetime thing. Cost is a lifetime thing. What I mean by that is, when you decide on the drone you like it will have a set package price. This may include extras. Aside from the drone, the package may have extra batteries, extra propellers, prop guards and the most critical piece, the transmitter. Bundled Packages are the way to go. The package price is a one-time payment.
Cost of a Drone is a lifetime thing.
The cost of buying a Drone continues after you purchase it. Depending on the Drone or Quadcopter, you may need extra batteries, new Propellers, maybe Prop Guards. More expensive drones require a carrying case. If you travel, you may wish to purchase a travel case.
If you plan to travel, you will need a travel case that is well made. It’s important to store your batteries correctly when travelling. I have another post focused on travel. Staying on point, there is an endless list of goodies you can purchase to upgrade your Drone. At the end of the day, this is your total cost of ownership. It’s the lifetime cost of the Hobby.
Should I buy the Drone or in a Bundle?
The focus here is on new hobbyists. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend, for your first drone purchase, a package bundled with extras. Make sure the box says Ready To Fly. (RTF) This signifies your drone comes with a transmitter or controller.
Most, not all Quads, come with a transmitter or controller. I’ll give you an example; If you purchase a beginner drone to learn how to fly, like the Blade Nano QX RTF (check out the latest price on Amazon), it comes with a primary transmitter. You can also buy this drone without the transmitter. Some hobbyists have their own Transmitter because they own multiple drones or quadcopters and use a single transmitter for all of them.
Another example, you may want to upgrade to a small beginner FPV Blade Nano or similar. You can purchase the Bind N Fly version BNF. (package comes without transmitter). This package is typically cheaper, and you can use the same transmitter from your first drone purchase. In most cases, this works but check with the manufacturer website to be sure. It’s a way to save some money, to buy extra batteries!!.
How much should I spend on my first Drone?
Short answer depends on your budget. I started with a beginner quadcopter. Something to consider is what do you want to do with your Quadcopter eventually. Is it fun with your kids? Racing? Perhaps you have a small Real Estate Business or a Farm.
Ultimately if you want to enjoy Aerial Photography or travel Videography, you can start with a beginner Camera Quad to get started. From my experience, I was glad I started off with an inexpensive but good quality Quadcopter. Your entry point will vary. I chose the under $100 mark for my first couple of Quads.
Am I required to register my Drone?
Your first Drone purchase will typically be a small one. Most are under 0.55lbs (USA) or 250g in Canada. If you stay under this weight you do not need to register your Drone with the FAA in the USA or Transport Canada. If you purchase anything over that weight you are required to register it. For more detailed information please check out the following website for your region.
- In the United States: FAA (USA)
- In Canada: Transport Canada
- In India: India
Should My Child Learn To Fly a Beginner Drone First?
That depends on age and any experience. They may already be an RC enthusiast. When I started, I had no idea how to fly one. I watched a couple of YouTube videos of guys with expensive camera drone ending up hitting their house or dropping in the pond at the end of the street. All a result of not learning the basics of flying a quad. It doesn’t take long, but it’s an essential step. Learn to operate safely. It will pay off down the road.
If you’re interested, I have a quick review page of my three favorite starter Quads. The three I selected are excellent quality and priced for any budget. You can also check out the reviews of my first quad, the Blade Nano Qx here on Amazon. It’s tough as nails, straightforward to fly. It’s also straightforward to change out the props and batteries.
Why the vast range in Prices?
Short answer, you get what you pay for. When I was just starting out. I was looking online for a website with all the necessary costs and beginner information so I could get going. There were and still are websites that review every quadcopter out there. Most are old products and are no longer available. Plus, If you’re into it, all the techie info you could ever want. I just wanted to know what I should buy, how much does it cost, and where can I buy it. Give me two or three choices of the best quality Drones. Please don’t give me 25 different models to choose from!
In simple terms the considerable price range is a result of many things, manly there are a lot of quadcopter manufacturers out there. As well as the more expensive the quadcopter, the more features, sensors, cameras, 4K video capabilities. The sky is the limit. But be careful. There are a ton of cheap junky quads as well. I’m trying to help you steer clear of the poor quality.
Small Budget – Good to begin with Drones
$80- $400 Depends on your Experience
Some really inexpensive quads cost around $20- $400US, just for kids and teens. Ok Adult newbies too. Here is a great one that is affordable and good quality Nano QX BNF Quadcopter (check out the latest price on Amazon). It’s also great to teach yourself or your kids how to fly safely. You can even fly them indoors.
They are cheap so to speak because they lack some of the bells and whistles of the more expensive Quads. They come with extras like batteries and props. If you decide to look at other beginner quads, make sure they have spare parts. Its a pain in the butt to purchase after you get your quad home. The two I mention are durable, great to learn how to fly and they don’t break the bank. You may end up abandoning the hobby so no big deal
If you have a little more experience and you have a bigger budget, the DJI Spark is an excellent choice to start with. The big reason is the value for money. It is easy to fly, has a great little camera and the quality is excellent. Not a cheaply made product. If you are planning to take up aerial videography on your vacation, for example, this is the quad to buy. (See below)
Medium Budget – Beginner or Some RC Experience
$400 – $999
This area has a considerable price range plus a vast selection to choose from. It boils down to what you want to do with your quadcopter. Are you planning to use it for Family Fun with your kids? Maybe you’re a teenager that loves getting together with your friends and taking group shots and selfies. You will find something appropriate at around $400-$500. You can check out the DJI Spark on Amazon.
If you are planning to take up aerial photography or travel and vacation videography, you’ll be taking a jump in price. For example, the current leader in this price range for a good quality quadcopter is DJI. Both the Spark (Under $500 on Amazon) and the entry-level Mavic 2 (under $800 on Amazon) are in my opinion two of the best quads to get started in aerial photography.
I’ve traveled with my Quad and captured fantastic videos on our vacations. The Mavic would be a good choice for travel. You can view more info on the Mavic series, check out product videos, and downloadable material for the Mavic on the resource page. You can also consider the great reviews on Amazon
How much does a high-end drone cost?
$1000 and up
When you arrive in this price range, you start to see some really cool features. Special flight modes. Intelligent Flight Modes is another term. Here are few the more expensive Drones features that ratchet up the cost;
- Dual Battery Systems
- High-End Image Processing
- 120FPS 5K Video
- Self Heating for Cold Weather Flight
- 360 Dual Directions Obstacle Avoidance
- Dual Channel Streaming Video
- Separate Onboard FPV Camera
There are just a few of the bells and whistles that come with the top-end Drones or Quadcopters. Here’s a link to a related article that explains each flight mode. It starts to be really fun flying a drone or quadcopter at this point. The best part is, you can record your flight in 4k video or high res photographs.
The DJI Mavic Mini 2 (link to Amazon) is still one of my favorite entry-level high-end drones and it’s well under the $1000 mark.
So now what?
I remember when I was just about to get into this wonderful hobby. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my family, whining about the fact I wanted to buy a drone, but I was afraid I’d either crash it, or it would fly away. Someone told me to “Suck It Up Buttercup.” Buy a drone, learn to fly first and you’ll be fine. I’m soooo glad I did.
I wish you much success. Stay out of the tree.