Updated: July 16, 2015

Drone Reviews:

Looking to buy a drone? Perhaps you run a real estate company and want to offer 'fly overs' to your properties or get video from those hard to reach areas in the house. Golf courses use drones to show how beautiful their course is from the air. Drones are fairly easy to maneuver and video/images they are able to get are excellent quality. The vantage point of being 20 feet in the air hovering over a golf course, house, resort, etc. is what owners of drones appreciate. Even recreational drone use has increased. We've all heard that someday Amazon.com wants to deliver packages using drones. Drones function much like a remote controlled airplane or helicopter. You hold the remote control unit in your hands while the drone flys around above you. Using the throttle and left/right/up/down controls, your drone will do almost anything you want. Some are even controllable via a smartphone or tablet. Unmanned aerial vehicles are surely a thing of the future - the military has been using them for some time now with great results. You can watch a drone in action below with the Syma X5C-1 Drone video we have provided. Really cool stuff!




Choosing a Drone - The first thing you need to decide is - Will you be using the drone for recreational purposes or for photography/video purposes? Recreational drones start at under $100 and go up from there. Features like portability, battery life, ability to fly long distances, or being able to mount your own camera system are all things to consider. Many are easy to fly, so it's much different than trying to learn how to fly an authentic remote control helicopter. Drones with high-definition video and still cameras are much more expensive and some go beyond $1500. Drones with built-in camera systems are really nice, but you will pay for that convenience. Taking aerial photos requires some skill. Units with a stabilized gimbal help quite a bit. Taking a variety of photos or videos from various angles and distances is key. That way you can choose and pick only the best results. It takes some time to get good at using the drone and being able to get good video as well. What are the rules for flying drones? The FAA has a list of safety guidelines for model aircraft. The good news is that you don't need a license to run a recreational drone. Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport as well as stay away from no-fly zones. The remote control itself is often just a box unit with 2 joysticks - one for altitude adjustments and the other for throttle. Many reviews we found are very positive on the control features on most drones. Keep in mind that many drones still CRASH! They are not perfect and some are more suspectible to crashing. Therefore, having replacement parts on hand is essential. Shields on the drone that protect key components is important. Rotors and struts are the most common parts that need replacing. How is battery life? Most drones provide 10 to 20 minutes of flying time on one charge. Whether you are looking to do a fly over at a resort or your favorite mountain lake, battery life shouldn't be a huge problem. The drones with built in cameras aren't always the best quality and video or photos are often saved to an internal memory card. We like the high end models that let you connect an HD camera like a GoPro for great action shots. One word of caution that we've heard from many owners - watch out for drones that allow your smartphone or tablet to fly them. Often interference is an issue and flying can be unstable versus using the remote control unit that the drone came with. Browse the best selling drones here.

Best Drone with Video Camera:

RECOMMENDED - The top seller on almost all drone sites we visited was the DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Drone with 4K UHD Video Camera. At over $1000 you are getting a top quality drone with a fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal. The DJI's Phantom series are world class products and owner reviews are near perfect. You can get 720p HD digital streaming of live video directly from the drone. There are built in optical and ultrasonic sensors called Vision Positioning on the Phantom 3 which allow for easy indoor flying. We like the GPS navigation and auto takeoffs and landings. There is even a built in database of no-fly zones (you can't fly this unit within 15 miles of the White House - motor won't even start per the manufacturer). You can get the extra battery included with purchase for an additional $150. Another cheaper unit to consider is the DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GoPro. The GoPro camera mount works flawlessly. Video quality is excellent and transmitter range on this unit is over 900 feet. The DJI Phantom drones are the industry standard. The only other brand that comes close is the Parrot - but owner reviews are not that great on their models.


Best Recreational Drone:

RECOMMENDED - For beginners, the UDI U818A 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter with Camera RTF Mode 2 is one to consider. Experts agree that learning to fly a drone can be a bit tricky if you have zero experience. Buying a drone that can take a little punishment or has cheap replacement parts is perfect for beginners. The UDI U818A is priced under $60 and worth the investment to learn the basics of flying a drone. The 4 loop style protects your rotors if you crash and if they do get damaged, replacement blades are $3 for a set. The video camera on the unit captures 640 x 480-pixel video - not great, but ok. The Blade Nano QX RTF is another drone to consider when first getting started. Fly it around your house or office. Features blade guards. Consumers call this a great 'entry level drone' to learn how to fly.