The Best Beginner Drones For Learning How To Fly
Drones are no longer toys that are used by the few to mess around with. Instead, they are now being used in different types of industries. From recording videos and aerial photography to 3D mapping landscapes. And the drone industry is still growing. So being able to fly them can be a valuable skill. Even at the moment there are plenty of jobs available for drone pilots!
But being able to fly a drone professionally takes much more experience than just flying your DJI quadcopter. And even then you should be able to fly manually and not rely on a computer keeping your aircraft steady. That’s why we have listed the best beginner drones for learning how to fly.
Most of these are inexpensive drones that don’t come with a lot of extra features. That’s because you should be able to fly your drones without any assistance. Which is why the most recommended beginner drones rarely come with any stability systems. This will help you master controlling the aircraft much faster. After you have done that, you can start using GPS and other systems that can help you at keeping it stable. But until that, all manual!
1. Hubsan X4 H107L
Hubsan is a company that is known for their budget toy drones. They have everything from the most basic drones to bigger ones with cameras. The Hubsan X4 H107L is in fact their most basic one. And we have picked that for a reason. It’s the most recommended beginner drones for learning how to fly. The main reasons for that are the price and simplicity.
The X4 H107L doesn’t come with any fancy features. It’s just a simple small quadcopter with a dimension of 83×83×30 mm / 3.3×3.3×1.2″. Thanks to it’s size, you can also fly it indoors. Which is especially great for learning. The drone itself is made out of pretty cheap plastic and there’s really nothing fancy about it. The arms do have a rubber bottoms which make the landing a bit softer. There are also LED lights as an indication for which side is the front. This will be pretty important when you learn flying.
It also comes with a simple controller that kind of resembles more of a video console controller. The plus side is that it’s easy to hold and use. There is also a small LCD screen where you can set different sensitivity levels. You can also use it to calibrate the drone. That’s a must if you want to fly it as stable as possible. Perhaps the only downside is the battery, which is pretty small. You get around 8 minutes of flight time from it. Which is why I always recommend getting at least two extra batteries.
And that’s also one of the main reasons why we recommend the Hubsan X4 H107L as the very first drone. Even if you crash and break it, you can always find pieces online to repair it. For example the propellers, which you should also get an extra of. You can even buy new arms. Which doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely break it. It’s surprisingly tough and after countless of crashes, we have only broken two propellers. So that’s really good. We also recommend getting the propeller guard if you plan on flying indoors!
More information: Hubsan X4 H107L review
2. Hubsan X4 H107D
The Hubsan X4 H107D is their cheapest camera drone that comes with FPV support. This is especially good for beginners who want to learn FPV flying. It’s different compared to normal flying as you actually view the screen to see what’s in front of you. So it does add an extra perspective. Which also makes it one of the best beginner drones if you plan on either racing or flying with an on board camera later on. Such as the new DJI Mavic series of example.
Just like most of the other Hubsan models, the X4 H107D is also pretty small. It has a dimension of 102×102×51 mm / 4×4×2″, which makes it perfect for flying indoors as well. The body is made out of average quality white plastic that is actually surprisingly durable. You actually need to crash it pretty badly to damage the body. At least I haven’t managed to do it so far. The bottoms of the arms also have rubber pads to make landing softer. Plus LED lights so you can tell which way the drone is facing.
The main difference between this and the H107L is the camera on the front of the drone. It’s built into the body which means that it’s pretty hard to damage it. Almost impossible unless you fly it straight into a post. You can view the video feed straight from the controller. There’s an alright size LCD screen built into it which is definitely good enough for beginners. Overall the controller is very comfortable to hold and fly with.
I do recommend getting extra batteries here as well. They are pretty small so you won’t get much of flight time from them. And charging can take a while. So it’s always good to have at least 3 batteries ready to practice properly. Also make sure that the drone comes with propeller guards if you plan on fly indoors. Otherwise you’ll end up flying into objects and breaking the propellers. In which case you should have an extra set of those as well. But that’s fine as they are easily replaceable and inexpensive.
3. Ryze / DJI Tello
Ryze Tech is a new company that has recently surfaced in the drone market. They have partnered up with DJI to produce the latest budget friendly smart drones for beginners! The Tello is their latest drone that comes with an impressive battery life, different flying modes and even a small camera that sends live feed straight to your phone!
Unlike other drones on the DJI lineup, the Tello isn’t designed for aerial photography. This drone has been created for beginners to learn how to fly safely and get them used to flying from video. Which is why it’s in our opinion the best FPV drone for beginners! You can safely fly it indoors as it’s pretty small (95×90×35 mm / 3.7×3.5×1.4″). It also comes with propeller guards so you don’t need to worry about crashing into anything.
Despite being small, the Tello is still incredibly fun to fly with. It’s surprisingly stable even when flying outdoors. Ryze has added two vision positioning sensors underneath it as well. But the reason why it’s so good for beginners is that it’s really easy to get started with. The drone doesn’t have a controller. Instead if pairs up with your iOS or Android device via a Tello app and you fly the drone with your phone or tablet. The live feed gets sent straight to that device as well. It also takes off and lands with a push of a button. There are also a number of different flight modes that are also activated from the phone. You just tap your screen and the drone can do flips, record while flying in a circle and much more.
The best part, it also has an impressive 13 minute battery life. So if you are looking for an affordable high quality drone that’s easy for beginners, then I can definitely recommend the Ryze / DJI Tello. I do want to add that this is more of a hobby drone. If you want to get into drone racing then I recommend getting something more basic for practicing. Such as the Hubsan series above. The DJI Tello has just too many extras to experience raw flying, and unfortunately you can’t turn them off either. But if you plan on upgrading to a better DJI drone in the future, then the Tello is perfect for learning how to operate a quadcopter!
More information: Ryze / DJI Tello review
4. Syma X5C
Another toy drone company that is great for beginners is Syma. They are more known for their bigger drones. One of such is the Syma X5C which is larger and more powerful than the previous Hubsan models. Plus the drone comes with a camera underneath it that’s used for recording videos. This is one of the best beginner drones for learning how to record videos while flying.
The Syma X5C is a bigger toy drone with a dimension of 230×230×80 mm / 9×9×3.1″. It’s also made out of higher quality plastic than most of the cheaper drones. The reason for that is because it needs to stronger while flying outdoors. You can’t have it’s arms bending when there’s a tiny bit of wind blowing. So that’s why these larger drones are usually designed to be more solid. The drone itself comes in a white color and it does have LED lights underneath it as well so you can tell which way the drone is facing. This is especially necessary when flying outdoors as the drone can fly pretty far.
There is also a small camera underneath the drone. This does not come with an out of the box FPV support. You can use it to record your flight and later watch what you recorded. It’s basically for learning how to capture your surroundings with a drone. The camera is located between the two legs so you don’t have to worry about damaging it while landing. There is also a possibility of adding FPV to if but that requires some DIY work. The video quality is pretty poor. So the main reason to get this drone is if you want to learn flying outdoors without spending too much. Plus it can give you an idea on how you need to position the drone to get certain angles etc.
The drone does also come with a really simple controller. It looks kind of cheap but it works really well. The flying distance is around 50 m / 164 ft and the flight time is between 6 to 8 minutes. The drone also includes propeller guards which again is great for beginners. You can later on remove them when you are more comfortable. And yes removing them does increase the flight time by a little.
5. Syma X8W
The Syma X8W is a more advanced drone for beginners. I recommend getting this if you have a lot of outdoor space where you can fly it. And if you are certain about getting into aerial photography or videography. After this, you can move straight onto the DJI or even more serious DIY drones.
What makes it still one of the best beginner drones is the price and quality ratio. You can tell that it’s a tough device just from the design. And which it also is. It has bigger arms and the plastic used is thicker as well. It’s also a larger drone with a dimension of 350×350×190 mm / 13.8×13.8×7.5″. Which means that you can forget about flying it indoors. This is strictly for flying outdoors. And because of that it also weighs quite a bit as it also needs to handle winds.
Underneath the drone you will find a larger sized 2MP HD camera that can be used to record videos. The Syma X8W also comes with a built in FPV support! For that, you need either an iOS or Android phone. The live camera feed gets sent straight to your phone and it works as a screen. The controller even comes with a holder for your phone so you can watch it while flying. I do wan’t to add that the video quality is definitely nothing impressive. At least don’t expect to get any high quality videos from it. But you can still use it to learn how to fly a bigger drone via FPV.
Overall the Syma X8W is definitely one of the best bang for buck drones you can get. It comes with plenty of accessories such as an extra set of propellers and prop guards. Again I recommend using the guards until you are more confident in your flying. The maximum flight time should be between 9 to 12 minutes and the max flying distance is 100 m / 328 ft. PS! After 50 m / 164 ft, the FPV feed gets quite bad.