Here is an easy guide to owning a Drone weighing less than 250g. No Registration or License Needed
Over the last couple of years, the Drone Laws in both Canada and the USA have changed considerably. While there has been a bit of blowback, for the most part, the new rules and regulations are, in fact, pretty good and serve a purpose.
The new regulations have helped make owning and operating a consumer Drone safer for everyone involved. But it’s a pain in the butt!
Although this has led to some complaints, it has also discouraged some, if not a lot of people, from getting involved in this fantastic family hobby. I sometimes will hear…the rules are too strict, it’s too hard to get a license, I don’t want to bother because there’s too much $#@% paperwork! Forget about it.
Drones Under 250g Have Rules Too
This whole article is directly and ONLY related to Buying, Owning, and Operation of a Drone under 250g or 0.55 pounds. All registration rules and information in this article are from the FAA and Transport Canada websites. It’s valid as of early 2020. Double-check the websites to be sure.
Also please note. Just because you can now own and operate a good quality Drone with no License or Registration required it doesn’t mean there are no rules to follow. This is not the case. You must follow all the standard rules laid out on both the FAA and Transport Canada websites.
Here are the common basic rules to consider when flying any Drone;
- Fly below 400 feet
- Know your Drones limits like Range
- Keep your Drone within line of sight
- Read up on Airspace regulations
- Respect Privacy
- Never fly near other aircraft
- Never fly over groups of people, at public events or stadiums
- Never fly over groups of people, at public events or stadiums
- Never fly near emergencies such as a fire or recovery efforts
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol
This information applies to the USA and Canada Only. Similar rules apply in the UK as well. Check your county’s local laws and regulations. Most countries are similar, with some very lenient and others stricter, compared to North America. It is up to you to know before you fly.
Before we get into it if you already know the rules and want to skip this guide, we have reviews and details on a few of our favorite Drones under 250g here if you would like to skip the details
You can also check out my favorite and recommended Drone here on Amazon for the Mavic Mini
What are the license and registration requirements?
Do I have to Register my Drone under 250g? NO!
If you hop on the Transport Canada website, there is one line of text regarding registering a drone under 250g. Quote -You don’t have to register it or require a license.
On the FAA website, they provide This PDF. although the Drone examples are a little outdated, it clearly shows examples of drones that do not need to be registered. This would apply in Canada and may be a good guide to follow in other countries like the UK for that matter. As long as your drone’s take-off weight is under 250g or 1/2 a pound, there is no registration required.
But What about…?
This brings up a ton of questions. I know when I was considering buying a Drone that weighs less than 250g my first thoughts were, you get what you pay for, is this thing a toy? Will I lose out on flight features, what about a good quality camera and will there be shorter flight times? Is it going to break the first time it crashes?
There are also questions surrounding a license, will I need insurance and of course how much will all this cost? There are a lot of questions. I have most of the answers covered in this guide and other resources for you.
So, we know already you don’t need to register your Drone if it is sub 250g but…
Can I fly my Drone Under 250g without a license? YES!
Yes, but only for recreational purposes. You can’t earn any money or work as “A favor”. Do you know that YouTube video you’d like to make? As long as there is no monetization on the channel, you’re good to fly. It’s only if your Drone is over 250g and or you start making an income with it, are you required to obtain a license and register it. We have a complete article on Do I Need a License to Fly a Drone Here. Here is a quote from the Transport Canada Website
“If you are flying a drone that is less than 250 grams, you do not need to register the drone or get a drone pilot certificate”
Do I need a Remote Pilot’s Certificate to fly my Sub 250g Drone in the USA? NO
The FAA indicates in their website (FAA Start Here) if you own a Drone the weighs less than 250g and you fly it for recreational purposes you do not need a remote pilot’s certificate.
Do I need Drone Insurance?
This is a tough question to answer. It depends on a few things. Where you live, your insurance policy, what you do with your Drone, etc. In my case, my insurance has a rider that provides liability coverage when I’m recreationally flying my Drone. You will need to consult your homeowner’s insurance policy to find out. Make a quick call to your broker. A rider is not that expensive.
Having said that I have another article on the website you can check out. The article Top 10 Drone Insurance Providers In Canada and the USA will help you figure it out and you can even request pricing if you like.
What features and flight modes will my Drone have?
Today’s Consumer Drones under 250g or 0.55 pounds vary quite a bit when it comes to features. You should be careful when you purchase your Drone and avoid the real cheap low-end products that have flooded the market. Seriously, you’ll get burned. There are plenty of good quality Drones that meet every budget
You want to make sure the package you buy comes with everything you need to fly your Drone. For example, you will require the following:
- The Drone
- Extra propellers
- Extra Batteries
- Prop guards
- Controller Transmitter**
If I can give you a pro tip, make sure you can remove the batteries to recharge them. If you buy a drone and it has one battery, you can only fly it for a few minutes. You will need to recharge it and that can take an hour or more. It puts a damper on having fun. Trust me. More batteries, more fun
**Some Drones don’t come with a controller. They rely strictly on using your phone. This is ok but can be awkward at times. If your phone app crashes, well now you’re in trouble.
Check to see if your Drone choice has the option to connect to a game controller like the Xbox. The DJI Tello has this feature. There is more info here
How much Does A sub-250g Drone Cost?
Most sub 250g Quads are under $500 US. The good ones, like the new DJI Mavic Mini, are high quality, have excellent features and a great camera. Check out my review of the DJI Mavic Mini here. You can also read customer reviews on Amazon here
The functions and flight modes on these tiny quads will range from nothing at all right up to some equipped with a 4K Camera, GPS, Return To Home, Specialty modes like Orbit and Waypoints and a few more. Most of the lower-priced Drones will be very basic.
When you start spending a bit more the features, like flight modes, Gimbals and equipment get better. Here is an example of a great quality Drone, I own, under 250g. The DJI Mavic Mini comes 2 bundles/ packages.
- Mavic Mini
- Remote Controller
- Extra Propellers
- One Battery
- Special tool and connectors
- Typically goes for around $400 USD
Check Price on Amazon
Options 2 Fly More Combo
- All the above plus
- 360 Degree Propeller Cage
- 2 way charging Hub
- Total of 3 Batteries
- 3 Sets of Extra Propellers
- Typically goes for around $500 USD
Check Price on Amazon
As I have pointed out most Drones below 250g will be below $500 with the average price around $150. There are plenty to choose from. You can research three of our favorites here on our site.
I have a few related articles to help answer more questions that may eventually come up. You can bookmark this page and refer back to it at some point as a reference. Some future questions you may have might be…
- How to locate a lost Drone?
- Can I travel with my Drone?
- Can I fly my drone in Hot Weather?
- Can I fly my Drone in Cold Weather?
- How do I store my batteries?
- Where can I fly my Drone?
- Can I take my Drone on a Cruise?
We have many more helpful articles on our website. Check out our Blog Page for a complete list.
Take Flight Here
I hope you found this article helpful. There will be more and more Drones built under the weight restrictions in the coming months. There is a huge market for them. There are a lot of people like you and me who would like to skip the paperwork and start flying responsibly. It’s a wonderful family hobby. I wish you a safe flight. Stay out of the Trees. If your flying indoors watch the curtains. Nasty
#Best Drone under 250g