The interest in drones is at an all-time high because of the applications of these aerial devices — not to mention that they’re just plain cool. Additionally, their overall costs have dropped, and there are opportunities to get them at even more affordable prices through discounts that retailers have been rolling out. These offers don’t last long though, as more shoppers are looking out for these bargains. To help you get a drone for cheaper than usual, we’ve gathered the best drone deals that you can buy right now, but you’ll want to proceed with your purchase as soon as you can because we’re not sure how long stocks will last.
X-IMVNLEI X-IDRONE 17 — $33, was $80
Image used with permission by copyright holder
For a cheap but dependable drone, you can’t go wrong with the X-IMVNLEI X-IDRONE 17. The foldable drone, which features a 1080p HD camera, is the perfect choice for beginners because it offers three speed modes to help rookie pilots learn the ropes and a one-key start and landing button for easy deployment and retrieval. The drone’s remote control is relatively simple, and you can use your smartphone for a first-person view through its camera. For its safety, the X-IMVNLEI X-IDRONE 17 features 360-degree automatic obstacle avoidance, so it won’t crash even in the hands of a novice.
Holy Stone HS430 — $50, was $78
The Holy Stone HS430 is a compact mini drone that fits in the palm of your hand when it’s folded, but that doesn’t mean that it’s small on features. The drone features a 1080p camera with smooth first-person view transmission to your phone, and you have the option between several flight functions like high-speed rotation, circle fly, gesture control, 360-degree flip, and more. The Holy Stone HS430 can stay in the air for nearly 30 minutes with its two modular batteries that are easy to charge and replace, and taking off and landing is easy because you just need to press a button.
Radclo Mini Drone — $50, was $90
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The Radclo Mini Drone is equipped with a 1080p manually adjustable lens that you can operate through its accompanying app. You can enjoy a real-time panoramic view through the drone’s camera, in addition to taking pictures and videos. The drone takes off and lands with the push of a button, and its Altitude Hold function will keep it at a certain height for easier control and for shooting higher-quality footage. It offers three speed modes, a 360-degree flip command, and Headless Mode that makes it even simpler to fly with its controller as you won’t have to think about the direction that the drone is facing. Inside the Radclo Mini Drone are a pair of 800 mAh batteries, which can keep it up in the air for up to 22 minutes, and once you’re done with it, the drone can conveniently fold into its carrying case.
Vantop Snaptain P30 — $260, was $300
The Vantop Snaptain P30 is equipped with a 4K Ultra HD camera for stunning aerial footage that you can view in real time on your smartphone and built-in GPS for precise and effortless positioning. The range of the easy-to-use remote control is up to 2,600 feet, but you don’t have to worry if its battery runs low while it’s far away because it will automatically fly back to its starting point with its Return to Home feature. Flying is made even easier through the drone’s Point of Interest and Waypoints features, in addition to real-time flight data that will let you stay on top of the Vantop Snaptain P30’s journey.
Bwine F7 — $424, was $700
For the ultimate drone photography experience, go for the Bwine F7 and its detachable 4K camera, 5x digital zoom, and three-axis gimbal, which combine to help you take the shots that you imagine. The drone offers a flight time of up to 75 minutes, while its brushless motor and level 6 wind resistance is capable of bringing it up to heights of 2,000 meters. With GPS, you’ll never lose the Bwine F7 as it will automatically return to you when its battery is low. The drone’s app lets you share a first-person view from its camera to any of the popular social media platforms, while also offering editing capabilities with your choice of filters and background music.
DJI Mini 3 Pro — $819, was $910
Andy Zahn / Digital Trends / Digital Trends
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the brand’s smallest and lightest drone, but it packs high-end features that make it a worthwhile investment for both beginners and veterans of the hobby. Its foldable and compact design makes it very easy to take with you during your travels, which will be preserved with its capability to record 4K HDR video and take 48MP photos. The DJI Remote Controller that comes with the drone has a built-in screen, so there’s no need to also use your smartphone while flying it. Other things that you can expect from the DJI Mini 3 Pro include tri-directional obstacle sensing, an extended flight time of up to 34 minutes, and a flagship-level video transmission system in DJI O3.
How to choose a drone
The right drone for you depends on what you are looking to do. A drone — especially those that are under $250 or so — will offer the fewest features and may lack some functionality that might not make it the best solution for you.
Generally (and this is not a hard and fast rule), a drone typically features 720p video and a relatively low frame rate, usually 30 frames per second. While for most of us this will be fine, the video will lack that cinematic smoothness. Stepping up to a midrange drone (typically in the $250 to $750 range) gets you 1080p video and often at 60fps, which results in higher-quality video.
Most modern higher-end drones offer 4K video, but you’ll likely need to spend north of $1,000 to get 4K 60fps video. If video quality is a primary concern, expect to pay more.
A drone will also lack other useful features, including tracking capabilities, and video and drone stabilization. In ideal flying conditions, this won’t be an issue. But you’ll want these features if you plan to fly in a variety of conditions or allow it to operate without a great deal of user input.
We’ve also noticed many cheaper drones either lack obstacle avoidance or aren’t as good as more expensive drones. If you’re flying in wide-open spaces, you won’t have much of an issue here. But if you plan to fly in areas with obstacles nearby, you’ll want to ensure the drone you select has sufficient obstacle avoidance capabilities.
Do drones make noise?
All drones will make some noise. Most describe it as a buzzing sound, kind of like a bee. The propellers are spinning at an extremely high speed, and this is what causes that noise. It’s most noticeable when you’re closest to the drone, but you’ll barely hear it if at all once it is higher in the air.
Can you fly a drone at night?
Most drones can be flown at night, although we wouldn’t recommend doing so until you’ve had a good deal of experience. We recommend keeping your drone within eyesight when flying at night — and drones that can operate at night include lights so that they can be seen during night flying.
Do remember that most drones do not have night vision capabilities, so the video that you take during night flying will only be illuminated by any ambient lighting available, such as moonlight, street lighting, and so forth.
Can you fly a drone in the rain?
Most drone manufacturers recommend against flying your drone in the rain. Most drones are neither waterproof nor water-resistant, so even small amounts of water could do damage to your drone, especially to the motor and battery. The moisture causes a short circuit, which will cause your drone to stop functioning with little or no warning. Thus as a general rule, do not fly your drone in the rain, fog, or excessively humid conditions.
If you’re caught in these conditions, land as soon as possible and get your drone somewhere dry, disconnect the battery, and allow it to dry. You may also want to shake the drone itself gently to get water out of the interior housing and let that dry as well. Use similar techniques to drying out a wet phone to dry out your drone, and the first time you fly it afterward, take some time to test out the drone at a low altitude before flying it normally again.
Do drones have to be registered?
The Federal Aviation Administration requires that you register your drone based on how you plan to fly it and mark your drone with your given registration number. Any drone weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds must be registered, which covers just about every drone currently sold on the market. This registration must be renewed every three years.
You must also carry proof of registration at all times when flying, and are prohibited from flying for commercial purposes under the terms of the license. Drone flight is only permitted below 400 feet in altitude and Class “G” or uncontrolled airspace. It is your responsibility to follow these rules.
Some states require drone pilots to follow additional regulations, so be sure to check the laws of the state you are flying in before you take off.
Do you need a license to fly a drone?
At this time, there is no license required for recreational or hobbyist drone pilots. However, flying for commercial purposes may require additional certifications.