Which mini drone is best?
Camera technology constantly improves, providing many ways to record videos and take high-quality pictures. In some instances, minimal editing of footage is needed because the quality of newer cameras is so high.
We’ve seen cameras in phones, laptops and other devices, but what about cameras in the sky? Mini drones are a great way to capture footage of the landscape in our surrounding area. Whether in the mountains, by the ocean or at the park, mini drones can take aerial footage or simply be a device used to play and race with friends.
What to know before you buy a mini drone
The weight of the mini drone is essential because the Federal Aviation Administration says that any drone weighing .55 pounds or more while being less than .55 pounds has to be registered with the FAA to have an identification number. This reason is that the FAA finds that mini drones that weigh .55 pounds or more can be a hazard if it crashes. A mini drone’s weight also helps determine how well it can fly in windy conditions. Mini drones that don’t have cameras, or are more of a toy, weigh under .5 pounds. A standard mini drone can weigh between .5 to 3 pounds, while heavier drones with more equipment can weigh 10 pounds and above.
Similar to cars, if you’re buying a more expensive mini drone, try to make sure it’s a popular model so that if certain parts break down, you can find spare parts easily instead of having to buy an entirely new drone. Even if you never crash a mini drone, which is rare, minor bumps and wear and tear may cause specific parts of the mini drone to be ineffective. Some mini drones come with spare parts so that you have backup pieces.
Propeller blades help determine the speed, stability and sound of a mini drone. Plastic propellers are more cost-friendly and are easier to replace. However, plastic propellers can be loud depending on the model, and they’re prone to damage. Carbon fiber propellers are of better quality but cost more than plastic. Carbon fiber propellers often slice through the air more silently, making less noise, are much more durable and give the mini drone more power when lifting into the air. Also, consider the number of blades a mini drone has, as models with more than two blades have more lift than the regular two-blade model but will be heavier.
What to look for in a quality mini drone
Range of device
The range capability of a mini drone tends to correlate with the price, as the better quality the drone, the farther it will fly. Toy mini drones can have a range that goes from 20 to 100 yards and common mini drones go from .25 to 1.5 miles. For longer distances, high-end drones can go as far as 2.5 to 4.5 miles.
The average flying time for a midrange mini drone is 15 to 20 minutes, while beginner drones have a flying time of around 5 to 10 minutes. High-end models can last longer, having flying times of 20 minutes and more. If you plan to let your mini drone hover rather than fly it, you can slightly extend the battery life.
Mini drones usually have a camera with 720 pixels, 1080 pixels or 4k HD video capture resolution. Cheaper drones will have 720p, mid-range will have 1080p and high-end models will have 4k, 6k or even 8k resolution.
How much you can expect to spend on a mini drone
For a budget-friendly mini drone, prices tend to range from $20-$250, where mini drones with a capable camera can cost $300-$500. If you’re looking for a high-end mini drone, those cost $500-$1,000.
Mini drone FAQ
How high can you fly a drone?
A. The FAA states that the maximum altitude you can fly a mini drone at is 400 feet above the ground and higher as long as it remains within 400 feet of a structure. For more considerable heights, you would need to get special permission.
Can you fly a drone at night?
A. Flying a mini drone at night is allowed only if it has the proper lighting. The FAA states that the drone has to be visible within a 3-mile radius, and it has a flash feature with a flash rate that’s sufficient to avoid a collision. Unless it’s for a job, it’s best just to fly a mini drone when there’s daylight.
What’s the best mini drone to buy?
Top mini drone
What you need to know: With VR headset compatibility and usability through your smartphone, this drone can be customizable with various types of devices.
What you’ll love: Two antennas ensure that video transmission is stable. The mini drone can start flying by simply tossing the drone into the air, great for kids.
What you should consider: The photo and video quality could be better.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top mini drone for the money
What you need to know: With multiple safety features such as a low power alarm, emergency stop and four propeller guards, this mini drone is safe and affordable.
What you’ll love: It comes with two rechargeable batteries, with each battery providing 20 minutes of operation time. Voice commands and gestures allow you to control the drone in certain ways by simply using your voice or drawing gestures through the app.
What you should consider: Certain parts of the drone have been prone to not having a long shelf life.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This mini drone has a wind resistance that can stand up to 23 mph winds while still being lightweight.
What you’ll love: The 12 MP photo camera and 2.7K HD video can provide excellent quality footage for its price tag. There’s also a 3-axis gimbal built into the drone to offer stable recordings.
What you should consider: The usability can be overwhelming for beginners.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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