In this extensive guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best ready-to-fly drones for sale in 2018. The guide separates drones (or UAVs) by price point and feature set to help you find the best drone for your needs.
The interest level in drones has recently skyrocketed and there was even anticipation that approximately one million drones would be sold during the past Holiday Season alone. That’s a lot of drones hitting the skies. If you weren’t one of those people to dive into the drone-frenzy, but are wishing you were, you now have a big decision to make…
And, that decision is determining what drone is right for you and your budget.
Fortunately, in addition to the steep increase in drone owners there has also come the steep increase in the number of drone manufacturers and models of drones available. There are literally hundreds of different types of drones for sale currently on the market.
The goal with his post is to help you sort through the best options at different price ranges so you can make the most informed decision on your future drone-purchase as possible.
The Best Drones Over $1,000
If you have a fairly large budget and you are looking for a high-end drone for aerial photography or videography, then you are in luck, as you have plenty of stellar options to choose from.
In my opinion, the best option in this price range when you consider price-to-performance is DJI’s Phantom 3 Professional. It’s incredibly easy to fly, it comes ready to fly out of the box with a pre-installed 4K/12MP camera, and it won’t cost you over $1,500.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the absolute best consumer-level quadcopter on the market, then the DJI Inspire is the choice for you. It’s basically like the DJI Phantom 3 Professional on steroids as it has a bigger and better built frame and it the camera gimbal can rotate 360-degrees.
Ultimately, if you have a budget of over $1,000, any of these drones will suit you well.
The Best Drones Under $1,000
While there are some amazing drones in the over $1,000 category, the drones for sale between $500-$1,000 are equally as intriguing thanks to a nice balance between price and performance.
My favorite drone in this category is the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced. It’s essentially the same exact drone as the Phantom 3 Professional in terms of flight capabilities. The only difference between the Professional and the Advanced is that the Professional has the 4K camera, whereas the Advanced comes with the 2.7K camera.
Ultimately, though, you need the right hardware to be able to edit 4K video and most people aren’t able to view such high-definition video anyways, so why not save some money by going with the more practical camera? (Unless, of course, you’re a professional videographer, or someone who has the means necessary to take advantage of 4K video.)
The Best Drones Under $500
While there is a noticeable drop-off in quality between this price range of drones and the more expensive drones listed in the previous two price ranges, there are still a few options between $100-$500 that are definitely viable.
The Parrot Bebop offers a fully ready-to-fly drone with a decent camera system on it. In my opinion, of the drones listed in this price range, the Bebop is the most complete right out of the box.
However, the CX-20 Professional (also known as the Quanum Nova from HobbyKings) is probably the better all-around drone in terms of flying capabilities. The only downside of the CX-20, though, is that you have to add your own camera (GoPro) and gimbal system, which will inevitably drive up the price and put it out of this price range.
Still, though, the fact that the CX-20 is open source and upgradeable gives it a little more upside than the other drones listed in this price range.
The Best Drones Under $100
You wouldn’t expect to find a quality drone or quadcopter in the under $100 range, but the fact is that there are some solid entry-level fliers in this price category. Now, don’t get me wrong… there’s nothing in this category that will give you the performance and capabilities of a Phantom 3 or a 3DR Solo.
However, there are some great beginner quadcopters in this range that will allow you to learn the basics of flying a drone. Starting with one of these drones will give you an inexpensive way to polish your flying skills before you decide to step up to a fancier quadcopter.
Of the best drones for sale under $100, my personal favorites are either the Hubsan X4 or the Syma X5C. Despite the fact that they come in at under $100, they both have a built-on camera that will allow you to take stills and record video (though don’t expect great quality) and they are both relatively good fliers.
HAVE QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Choosing the right drone can be a daunting task for beginners and I advise that you get as much information as possible before you make your decision.
In my opinion, the best way to gather the information you need to choose the best drone for you is to ask a lot of questions. And, because of that, I welcome you to post any questions, comments, or concerns you have below so that either I, or another experienced flier, can help you make your decision. We also have a Drone FAQ that can help answer the most common questions that beginners have.
Also, if you see any errors in this post with the technical specs, or if you have a difference of opinion on any of the drones listed here, or you feel a specific drone should be listed but isn’t, please let me know! I will continue to update this list on a regular basis so that the information is always relevant and up to date.