Drones – what to buy and when to buy one

This month’s newsletter covers two topics. What to buy and when to buy it when considering getting a drone, whether for the first time, or to upgrade to a more versatile model. The reason why we have chosen now to discuss about buying a drone rather than in the Spring or Summer, is because now is a good time to find that elusive bargain.

However, temptation can get the better of us all at times, so we are always keen to suggest exercising a bit of caution and to establish exactly what it is you want from a drone before you make that decision to buy one.

If you are a novice and new to drone flying, we strongly recommend you buy a small and inexpensive drone to begin with. The idea behind this is that like every new drone pilot, you will have a crash, or three, and despite what may seem like such a light weight, small drones are less likely to break up on impact and at worst you should only have to replace the rotors, which are inexpensive.

Additionally, you never quite know if you will get bitten ‘by the drone bug’ after you have flown one for the first time. Most do, but a number don’t, so you have not shelled out too much money on something that will then do nothing other than take up space in a cupboard somewhere. Finally, one of the greatest advantages of ‘mini drones’ is that if they weigh under 250g, then you don’t have to register them, or yourself as the pilot, with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

If you jump in and spend $200 – $500 on your first drone, these are far heavier and, as a consequence, high-impact accidents can prove very costly. If you have twenty or so flying hours behind you on a mini drone, you will have been able to master the basic skills that means progression to a larger model will be more successful.

If you are upgrading, then ask yourself what you want from your drone. Is it the thrill of flying that gives you that special ‘buzz’? If so, then perhaps a racing drone might be your best option, as opposed to a slower camera drone. If aerial photography is your ‘thing’ or you simply enjoy the fact that you can take great aerial photos and videos, then clearly the video drone is the route you want to go down.

Now that the FAA have relaxed the rules with regard to commercial drones, if you have a business that would benefit from video footage and photographs taken by a drone – security firm, realtor, roofing contractor, etc. – you now only need to register your drone and take a short online course as opposed to previously having to obtain a private pilot’s license. If you are moving into these realms, then you’ll be talking about drones costing anything between $1,000 and $10,000, the price depending mainly on the quality of images you need to capture.

Flying drones has become and continues to be immensely popular as a hobby and as the market continues to expand, manufacturers and sellers seem reluctant to reduce prices in any way. After all, if there is strong demand, why should they? Well there can be a couple of reasons why you may see a drone at a good price.

First off, the seller or manufacturer may have pitched their price wrong to begin with. When this happens, the lack of interest and sales can give a false indication that the drone is no good. There is a difference between ‘no good’ and ‘too pricey’ for what it offers compared to other drones. However, to generate more interest and better sales, to play catch-up, these drones can be offered at a seriously attractive price, and represent a great bargain.

Second, and this is particularly where more expensive drones are concerned, technology advances on a daily basis and new models with added features are introduced from time to time. Just before a new release, manufacturers will often heavily discount the previous model as they know that once released, the new model will hog the limelight.

Unless you have to have the ‘latest and best’ model, then you should seriously consider opting for the better bargain. After all, improvements to drones tend not to be dramatic, and therefore the previous model will still usually have all the features you need.

Last of all, there is timing. Like so many things we buy, there are seasonal fluctuations to drone sales figures. Spring and summer are peak times as the weather encourages people to get outdoors. Once fall arrives thoughts revert back to indoor hobbies, and sales of drones become sluggish. Only once December arrives do sales of drones pick up for the Christmas season – drones are one of the top Christmas presents at the moment – so a great idea if you want to get someone a present with the wow! factor, but not a great time if you are a bargain hunter.

We’ve had a scout round for you and explored over 1,000 drones which are for sale, and we managed to spot a few great deals which we letting you know about over the next few weeks, so remember to keep coming back for updates here at Quadcopters.com


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