There are several types of drones used for different purposes.
For example, you can go for the small, lightweight toy models designed for backyard fun or for heavy-duty speeders made for racing out in the open.
Figure out what do you plan to do with your drone and choose the best one for you accordingly. For instance, go for the model with a high-resolution camera if your plan is to take photos of the countryside.
Of course, many models today have very good customization capabilities so you can prepare your drone for a specific purpose any time you desire.
You know how you can buy a car for 500$ and 200.000$. Well, it is a bit like that in the drone industry.
You have toy drones which you can pick up for 40$ and hi-tech models for tens of thousands of dollars.
Assuming you are a novice user, it might be best to work your way up from simple and cheap models and upgrade to more expensive designs in time.
Also, be aware that the purchase of a drone is not the only cost involved: the more you fly, the more money you will be forced to spend on batteries, spare parts (your drone will inevitably be damaged from time to time) and many other accessories offered on the market.
A few issues exist when it comes to freedom of flight.
Some drone enthusiasts complain that it is starting to get annoyingly difficult to find a safe and legal place to fly your mechanical pet.
For example, all US national parks are not accessible for drone flights and the regulations from county to county can vary a lot.
And, of course, there are the no-fly zones, like many large cities due to hazards to people, vehicles and buildings.
There are websites which offer information on the safe locations for drones. Make sure you have the right information before you make flight.
To put it simply, yes. Just like when you buy a smartphone or a car, the more you are willing to pay, the more you will get for your money.
Although, you have to understand that a cheaper drone might not be the right choice for you if you are a beginner. This is because cheaper drones usually do not come with sensors found on the higher-end models, making them more difficult to fly.
For instance, a GPS device might be invaluable for a beginner drone operator and this is a feature you will just not find on the lower-end, toy drones.
You will need a certain level of skill acquired by learning and practice to be able to safely fly your drone.
Some drones are significantly more difficult to operate than others and you should take care choosing the right model for you, depending on the purpose you are going to use it for and the complexity of operation.
Some models, for example, are called RTF or Ready-to-fly, meaning all you have to do is take them out of the package, charge up the battery and you are ready to go.
ARF models or Almost-ready-to-fly are, in most cases, quadcopter models and they usually demand a certain amount of assembly. However, this definition is extremely broad, and it encompasses many models in different stages of assembly.
Bind-and-fly (BNF) models are basically RTF designs, but missing a radio controller which you have to buy separately.
Purchasing a drone is just the beginning, there are other costs included.
For example, you will need replacement batteries because battery life is a major problem in the drone flying sport. Toy models will reach 5 to 7 minutes of flight time; camera drones typically reach a maximum of 20 minutes, and high-end models promise up to 30 minutes of flight time.
Of course, you have to count in the way you fly the drone will impact battery life dramatically, as well as outside weather conditions, primarily the wind.
Furthermore, when you are a novice flyer, prepare yourself for impacts and collisions with trees, buildings, cars, etc. This is bound to cause damage to your drone, meaning you will need replacement parts, especially propellers, hull components and accessories.
Even though drones are, in most cases, small and lightweight, if handled improperly, they can cause significant damage or injury.
People who find themselves in the vicinity of drones have a good reason to be at least a little bit worried about their or their children’s health because a propeller blade spinning at high speeds can certainly cause injuries.
One way to help calm people and to build some trust toward the drone community is to acquire a membership in the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) which will provide general liability insurance, as well as other types of insurance claims.
Also, make sure you understand that the US Federal Aviation Administration or the FAA demands that operators of unmanned aerial systems weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds need to register with the agency.
So, if you want to avoid a serious penalty, do register. Registration is simple and cheap; you can do it online, and it only costs 5$. If your drone is under the 0.55-pound mark, and most toy models are, you can fly your drone without registration.