Best Drones for Beginners in 2022 – Reach for The Sky!

Updated: April 07,2022

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You may think of the latest drones as expensive, complicated machines used only for spying and targeted assassinations. You know, James Bond stuff. And they certainly were that way - but the world has changed, and drones have gone mainstream.

In fact, there is a wide variety of remote-controlled aerial vehicles out there, and some cost as little as $100. Our buyer’s guide on the best drones for beginners outlines a list of quality devices that are both cheap and easy to use.

Whether you are looking to immortalize a bird’s-eye view of breathtaking landscapes or a great snap for Instagram, buying a drone is the cheapest way to take to the skies. The only challenge is figuring out which one to get.

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5

Excelent

DJI Mavic Air 2
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4

Good

Parrot Anafi
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4.5

Good

DJI Air 2S
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4.5

Good

DJI Mini 2
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4

Good

Ryze Tello
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3.5

Average

Hubsan H122D X4 Storm
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4.5

Good

DJI Spark
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4

Good

Altair AA108 Camera Drone
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4.5

Good

Eachine E511S

DJI Mavic Air 2

5
Excelent
dji mavic air 2 front dji mavic air 2 up dji mavic air 2 controller
Dimensions
183 mm x 253 mm x 77 mm
Camera
4K/48 MP
Weight
570 g
Flight Time
34 min
Flight Range
18.5 km
Battery Charge Time
95 minutes
What we liked
  • Best camera on our list
  • Long flight time
  • Comes with controller and goggles
What we disliked
  • Expensive
Where to Buy
At DJI
Price $799
VISIT SITE

Another DJI product on our list of the best affordable video and picture drones for beginners is the Mavic Air 2. This model comes with an impressive camera, small size, long flight time, and the option of giving hand-gesture commands.

Like its cheaper sibling, the Spark, and unlike many photography drones, this device is also rather small. This makes it easier to carry around and helps with maneuverability.

Although it may not be a champion of affordable drones, Mavic Air 2 has one of the best cameras in this price range, capable of shooting ultra HD videos and 48-megapixel stills. The drone comes with a few preset video and photo modes, like Sphere, making it extremely easy to create visually attractive material. Its ability to recognize hand-gesture commands ensures easy drone movement and quality selfies.

Mavic Air 2 comes with a collapsible joystick controller that uses your smartphone as a screen, streamlining flying and allowing video transmission at a greater range. The best mini drone with a camera must excel in obstacle avoidance, and in this department, the Mavic Air 2 stands above the rest. It has back sensors, and this drone doesn’t just detect obstacles - it dodges them on its own.

Apart from some minor problems with camera controls, there aren’t any real drawbacks to this drone. However, you should be prepared to dish out nearly a thousand dollars for this piece of machinery. But that’s the price if you want to have possibly the best drone for beginners.

Parrot Anafi

4
Good
Parrot Anafi front Parrot Anafi closed Parrot Anafi controller
Dimensions
224 x 67 x 65 mm
Camera
4K, 69° FOV, 30-60 FPS
Weight
320 g
Flight Time
25 minutes
Flight Range
4 km with controller
Battery Charge Time
1.5 hours
What we liked
  • Top-class camera
  • Strong battery
  • Great controller
What we disliked
  • Plenty of software bugs
Where to Buy
At Amazon
Price $679.99
VISIT SITE

The name Parrot is certain to come up when researching good quality drones. This globally known drone manufacturer is based in France, and it’s been in the game since 1994. Parrot products are well-known for quality and reliability, and we chose a beginner-friendly product for our list: Parrot Anafi.

Anafi is counted among the company’s flagship drones, rocking a truly impressive 4K camera. This results in remarkable aerial photography capabilities, shoulder-to-shoulder (or even outperforming) the Mavic Air in this regard. However, there’s one significant obstacle to Parrot Anafi being recognized as one of the best racing drones for beginners - its $679.99 price tag.

In addition to the 4K camera, Anafi also comes with HDR video capabilities. You’d be hard-pressed to find HDR video features with other drones in this range, and the difference in video quality compared to non-HDR is extremely evident. The ability to move the camera at an upwards angle, coupled with a powerful zoom that goes up to 2.8x without impacting image quality, cement Anafi’s place among the best drones for beginners.

The drone’s 224 x 67 x 65 mm dimensions and 320-gram mass place it smack-dab in the middle of the size and weight range, meaning you won’t have too much trouble carrying it around. The fact that Parrot Anafi is foldable also adds to its portability, and the materials used in its manufacture (light carbon) make it moderately resistant to crash damage. This set of characteristics allows it to go toe-to-toe with the best outdoor drones for beginners out there, but there are more suitable drones for prolonged outside use to be found.

Anafi isn’t without its problems, however. The software it uses can often be very buggy, resulting in settings not being applied or mode-switching getting stuck. Additionally, the ability to use the Follow Me mode comes as a paid addon - when the base drone price is already so high, this is no reason for joy either.

Nonetheless, Parrot Anafi is still a great photography drone. Its 4K camera, HDR video, and strong battery make it possibly the best beginner drone with a camera for people of all ages.

DJI Air 2S

4.5
Good
DJI Air 2S front DJI Air 2S closed DJI Air 2S controller
Dimensions
183 mm × 253 mm × 77 mm
Camera
5.4K
Weight
595 g
Flight Time
31 minutes
Flight Range
18.5km
Battery Charge Time
95 minutes
What we liked
  • Best-in-class camera
  • Automated flight features
  • 1-inch sensor camera
What we disliked
  • Expensive
Where to Buy
At DJI
Price $999.99
VISIT SITE

Lastly, we have the DJI Air 2S. This premium-tier drone is practically an all-out upgrade of DJI’s Mavic Air 2. Compared to the Mavic Air 2, the Air 2S received improvements on practically all levels - from safety features to camera quality, movements, and automation. The trade-off is that you have to part with $999.99 if you want to get your hands on this drone.

The DJI Air 2S has all the features you need in the best drones for beginners. First, new flyers will appreciate the plethora of security features available, including robust obstacle avoidance. The use of GPS, visual sensors, and GLONASS satellites allows the drone to perfectly determine its position and hover in place. In case you get lost flying, the Return to Home option is a life-saver.

Camera drones for beginners cannot hold a candle to the Air 2S’ quality. This drone features a 5.4K video camera, blowing most competitors out of the water, but this level of quality is usually coveted only by professional photographers and video-makers.

With up to 31 minutes of flight time and a maximum range of 18.5 km, the Air 2S is definitely one of the best drones for beginners with long battery life. The drone is pretty lightweight as well as foldable, but it does cross the FAA registration threshold, so you’ll have to pay the $5 registration fee.

Another DJI Air 2S standout feature is Master Shots - the combination of automated flight paths and camera movements. Through it, you can create automated videos or pictures easily, especially if you want to record yourself doing something.

All in all, the Air 2S is probably the best drone for taking video you can get your hands on, while its safety features make it ideal for beginners. Its only significant downside is the $999.99 price tag.

DJI Mini 2

4.5
Good
DJI Mini 2 front DJI Mini 2 closed DJI Mini 2 set
Dimensions
159 × 203 × 56 mm
Camera
4K, 83° FOV, 30-60 FPS
Weight
<249g
Flight Time
31 minutes
Flight Range
10km
Battery Charge Time
2-4 hours
What we liked
  • Small and lightweight
  • Powerful 4K camera
  • OcuSync
What we disliked
  • No obstacle avoidance
Where to Buy
At DJI
Price $449
VISIT SITE

We commence our reviews of the best affordable drones with the smallest of the bunch. The Mini 2 drone comes from DJI, arguably the most popular manufacturer of consumer drones. The first Mini drone was almost exclusively targeted at beginners, while the Mini 2 comes with features appealing to experienced flyers too.

The Mini 2 weighs just under 250 grams. This is important because it means you don’t have to hassle with FAA registration and makes it incredibly easy to carry around. As such, it’s considered to be one of the best entry-level drones, as you’ll be able to use it straight from the box. The dimensions of the drone are 159 × 203 × 56 mm - noticeably smaller than most of its competitors. Don’t worry - this small drone packs quite a punch in terms of battery strength and flight range. The beginner drone battery takes two hours to charge and can give you up to 31 minutes of uninterrupted flight time, far more than some of its weightier siblings. Its flight range goes up to 10 kilometers. Do note that this figure relates to flying in ideal conditions and one-way.

DJI Mini 2’s camera is a significant upgrade compared to its predecessor, which is why it deserves a spot on every “best video drones for beginners” list. This drone boasts a 4K camera that produces genuinely jaw-dropping videos, while still shots are captured in 12 MP. Another new addition is the OcuSync connection, representing a considerable improvement over the Wi-Fi connection used with the previous model. Ocusync relies on radio frequencies instead, resulting in a much more extensive control range and low-latency video previews on your phone.

Due to its strong motors and sturdy controller, the Mini 2 is possibly the easiest drone to fly. However, one major downside is that it lacks obstacle-avoidance capabilities, which absolute beginners might feel the need for.

Ryze Tello

4
Good
Ryze Tello front Ryze Tello up Ryze Tello back
Dimensions
98 mm x 92.5 mm x 41 mm
Camera
HD 720p/5 MP
Weight
80 g
Flight Time
13 minutes
Flight Range
100 m
Battery Charge Time
90 minutes
What we liked
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Great for kids
What we disliked
  • Low-quality video
Where to Buy
At Amazon
Price $99
VISIT SITE

One of the best drones for beginners under 100 dollars was developed by Ryze Tech in partnership with DJI - one of the biggest drone brands in the industry. The drone is sold on DJI’s website. Ryze Tech is a less-known Chinese startup in charge of the development and production of the Tello drone, relying on DJI technology. The final product surpassed all expectations.

Ryze Tello falls in the category of toy drones. It weighs approximately 80 grams and is tiny in size. As such, it is categorized as one of the best starter-drone options around. For a drone this size, it has an impressive flight time of 13 minutes. Furthermore, Tello takes only 90 minutes to charge fully and has a flight range of 100 meters. The drone is controlled with your smartphone via a Wi-Fi connection.

Ryze Tello features several fail-safes and helpful flying features, making it the perfect choice when looking for easy-to-fly drones for children. The drone has an Auto Takeoff/Landing function, and the low maximum flight height allows for comfortable indoor use. Tello also comes with automated flight modes that allow users to perform tricks like flips and take 360° videos with just a push of a button. Lastly, Tello is programmable through Scratch. This coding system is designed for kids and introduces them to the basics of block-based visual programming.

Ryze Tello has two key downsides - low flight range and low-quality camera. Although this is common among inexpensive drones, having a mere 100 meters of flight range is still pretty limited. The camera is a 720p/5MP model, which can result in blurry pictures and videos.

However, with its price tag of only $99, functionalities for learning the basics of drone flying, small size and weight, and fail-safe features, Tello is ideal for children. On the other hand, it can’t match real photography drones in terms of video and photo quality.

Hubsan H122D Storm Racing

3.5
Average
Hubsan H122D front Hubsan H122D side Hubsan H122D back
Dimensions
9.4cm x 9.4 cm
Camera
FPV, 720p HD
Weight
113.4 g
Flight Time
8 minutes
Flight Range
100 meters
Battery Charge Time
150 minutes
What we liked
  • Clear photos and videos
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Automatically returns home when the battery is low
What we disliked
  • Short flight time
Where to Buy
At Amazon
Price $79.99
VISIT SITE

Hubsan is another Chinese manufacturer on our list. It produces top-quality racing and toy drones, and the Hubsan H122D Storm is no exception. While it’s designated primarily as a racing drone, it also has other capabilities and is considered a step up from many cheap drones with camera products.

Its small frame, designed with racing in mind, is only 9.4cm x 9.4 cm. The frame of this toy drone is pretty compact, which reduces the risk of damage in case of crashes or collisions.

The Hubsan Storm can also do flight tricks like flips and rolls at the press of a button. What’s more, the Return Home feature activates automatically once the battery is low, meaning you can never lose your drone. This truly puts this UAV among the best and cheapest drones out there. With the drone, you’ll get an Xbox-like controller and FPV goggles, which is a big plus.

While you wouldn’t expect a good camera on a racing drone, the Hubsan Storm is full of surprises. The HD 720p camera can capture videos of breath-taking quality; the camera has a pretty extensive view angle and is rotatable, too.

Although the battery only allows for eight minutes of flight time and the flight range is a mere 100 meters, the Storm is still a good cheap drone. Its combined features make it more than just a racing drone, so those looking for a multi-role UAV might have found the one.

DJI Spark

4.5
Good
DJI Spark front DJI Spark up DJI Spark back
Dimensions
143 mm x 143 mm x 55 mm
Camera
1080p, FOV 81.9°, 12 MP
Weight
300 g
Flight Time
16 minutes
Flight Range
100 m via Wi-Fi/2,000 m through the controller
Battery Charge Time
80 minutes
What we liked
  • Amazing camera
  • Automation options include hand-gesture commands
  • Obstacle avoidance
What we disliked
  • Expensive for a beginner drone
Where to Buy
At Amazon
Price $449.96
VISIT SITE

Every cheap camera drone list includes DJI products. This Chinese manufacturer is a trend-setter in the drone market. The company’s products stand out in terms of design, programming, and capabilities. We chose to review the DJI Spark. While the Spark boasts excellent capabilities across the board, it’s usually categorized as a selfie drone or a dronie.

The most noticeable thing about the DJI Spark is its tiny size. This drone’s dimensions are only 143mm x 143mm x 55mm. This makes it easy to carry and one of the best drones for adult beginners. Spark’s takeoff weight is 300 grams, and although this is slightly higher than the average weight of other drones on our list, it isn’t all that significant when considering all the available features.

DJI Spark’s camera is impressive. The video resolution is 1080p, and the sensor resolution is 12 MP, guaranteeing crystal-clear photos and videos. Furthermore, this is a drone that follows you. Like many of the best entry-level drone products, it’s programmed to recognize various hand gesture commands. It can be ordered to follow, track your movements, move side-to-side and take selfies.

Its battery life is nothing impressive, unfortunately, and it only runs for up to 16 minutes. Moreover, its size makes it vulnerable to wind, which can further drain the battery. If you’re using the smartphone app to control the drone, the flight range is up to 100 meters, but some users claim the connection tends to be choppy. In case you decide to buy the controller, which costs an additional $100, the flight range extends to 2,000 m.

Overall, this selfie drone is one of the best consumer drones. Its impressive camera, small size, and option to give hand-gesture commands leave little room for complaints. The only handicap might be the price, as it will set you back at least $450.

Altair AA108 Camera Drone

4
Good
Altair AA108 front Altair AA108 set Altair AA108 grounded
Dimensions
183 mm x 198 mm x 43 mm
Camera
720p
Weight
85 g
Flight Time
7-10 minutes
Flight Range
100 m
Battery Charge Time
60 min
What we liked
  • Additional battery
  • Low battery warnings and automatic safe landing
  • Headless mode
What we disliked
  • Short battery life
Where to Buy
At Amazon
Price $129.80
VISIT SITE

Altair Aerial is a Nebraska-based drone manufacturer that focuses mainly on producing cheaper models for beginners. The model we are reviewing is the Altair AA108, which falls into the category of the best budget drones, and it’s also another mini drone on our list. It weighs only 85 grams, meaning you won’t have to bother with registration.

The Altair AA108 comes with two batteries, each granting you up to 10 minutes of flight time. Additionally, you receive spare propellers. This saves you a headache because propellers on drones inevitably break.

Like any best affordable drone for newbies, AA108 has three separate flight modes for flyers of varying skill. The different modes allow beginners to master drone flying quickly and safely. AA108 also has other safety systems in place, like low-battery and out-of-range alarms, which prevent you from over-extending your drone. Headless Mode is also present, making flying and navigation even easier.

It has a 720p HD camera, which is nothing to get too excited about, but it still manages to produce decent videos. The camera can’t rotate, but it has a fairly broad FOV of 120 degrees. The AA108 also has an FPV option either through your smartphone or goggles, which aren’t included in the initial price. Its FPV range of 50 meters places it among the best indoor drones for beginners.

We wholeheartedly recommend the Altair AA108 as a starter drone for any buyers on a tight budget. The multitude of safety features makes it ideal for children and beginners, but advanced users will also find something to enjoy.

Eachine E511S

4.5
Good
Eachine E511S front Eachine E511S set Eachine E511S closed
Dimensions
354 mm x 366 mm x 73 mm
Camera
1080p HD
Weight
280 g
Flight Time
16 minutes
Flight Range
300 m
Battery Charge Time
150 - 180 minutes
What we liked
  • HD camera
  • Follow Me and Orbit modes
  • Safety features
What we disliked
  • Reported setup issues
Where to Buy
At Eachine
Price $125.99
VISIT SITE

As you’ve probably noticed by now, the budget drones market is dominated by Chinese companies, and Eachine is one of them. This company made its name by manufacturing toy drones, but is now focusing on more advanced models. Their most famous model, the E58, is designed similarly to Mavic Air. However, we’ve chosen to review the more affordable and beginner-friendly Eachine E511S. 

A number of features make Eachine E511S a great drone for beginners, including options like one-button landing/take-off and low-battery warnings. E511S is also one of the cheap FPV drones, allowing you to enjoy the perks of first-person views through your smartphone or VR glasses. Additionally, there’s an emergency stop button, but it should be used with caution, because the drone will automatically drop to the ground.

The E511S also stands out when it comes to the camera. It boasts a 1080p, 120° FOV, adjustable camera. The field of view is broad, and the video quality is excellent. Furthermore, E511S has Follow Me and Orbit Modes that help enhance the experience. This makes it possibly the best entry-level drone with a camera.

The battery is perfectly satisfactory for a model in this price range. It guarantees around 15 minutes of flight time, and it doesn’t take too long to charge. The drone itself is pretty light, which is always a plus in our book.

Nonetheless, this drone is not perfect. It has all the features we expected, but some reviewed mention setup problems and issues with video formatting. We experienced none of those, but such things are always something to look out for, even with the best beginners’ drone.

Evaluation Criteria

When deciding which drone to buy, it’s important to figure out what you intend to use it for. First, if you want to focus on shooting photographs and videos, the drone needs to have a good quality HD camera. There’s no need for anything fancy like dedicated streaming webcams or a camera with additional features such as filming in slow-motion, but it needs to have enough fidelity for aerial photography. Second, if the drone is intended for children, then a durable battery and obstacle avoidance are essential. Let’s dive into our review methodology for top-rated drones for beginners.

Camera Quality

A camera is one of the core components of any drone, and its quality level is integral for determining the worth of a particular drone model.

The quality of the images a camera produces is determined by its resolution. The resolutions that we examined include 720p, 1080p, and 4k. We included several 4K drone cameras on our list, despite the fact that these products are usually found on more advanced and pricier drone models, because there are some affordable options out there too. So, what are the best drones for photography? To be fair, 4K is probably the best option performance-wise, but the real choice usually boils down to 720p and 1080p. Throughout our reviews, we examined the quality of the cameras as it corresponds to the other features each drone possesses, as well as their prices.

Apart from resolution quality, we examined whether the drones for photography have camera stabilization and offer the option of first-person-view piloting, as well as the degree of control you have over the camera itself.

Battery Life

If the drone has a weak battery, all other features become practically irrelevant. Our reviews on the best small drones for beginners examined two key components of drone batteries: Flight and recharge time. We dedicated special attention to the amount of flight time you can squeeze out of a battery and how that compares to the amount of time needed to charge it.

Price

No review is complete without discussing the price. During our research, we looked at the cost of each model and what precisely the manufacturers are offering for that amount of money. While prices of remote-controlled drones can vary, we mainly focused on cheaper models, and reviewed only a few more expensive ones. This list includes the best RC drones for beginners, as we don’t think you should be dishing out more money on a drone you’ll use to master flying - and therefore probably make a few mistakes with.

Ease of Use

To compile a list of beginner-friendly drones, we focused on products that weren’t too difficult to master. We took into account the simplicity of the controls, the time needed to master them as well as helpful starter options and accessories, such as additional protection and navigation aids.

Extras

We also examined a slew of other characteristics for the reviewed drone models. In our guide for finding the best drones to buy for beginners, these characteristics included flying range, available storage, additional accessories, GPS, obstacle avoidance, and return-home options.

Why Should You Consider Drones?

Aerial Photography: Shots captured by an eye-in-the-sky are some of the most spectacular images available. Whether you’re a professional or new to photography, the best camera drones for beginners on our list are sure to meet your needs.

Kids: If you want to get your kid out of that gaming chair and into the wild outdoor adventures, drones are one of the most engaging and fun activities for a new generation of pilots. Aside from being entertaining, camera drones also teach children about programming, photography, and electronics.

Racing: There is nothing more fun than drone racing with friends and family - this activity truly unites all generations. Our guide includes both the best drones for beginners with a camera and some of the fastest UAVs around.

A stepping stone for using more complex drones: In case you are thinking about using more sophisticated models, the cheap beginner drones are a great starting point. They mostly have all the basic functionalities of the more complex drones, allowing users to master the technology before switching to more expensive models. Check out our list of the best cheap drones for beginners.

Drone Regulation in the United States

Before you decide to purchase a drone, it’s crucial that you acquaint yourself with drone regulations in the US.

As of December 2015, any UAV, including beginner drones, weighing over 250 grams has to be registered with the US Federal Aviation Administration. The person registering their drone needs to be at least 13 years old. If the registrant is younger than that, a parent or a legal guardian needs to submit the registration request. This is especially important if you plan on buying one of the best toy drones for beginners reviewed here. The registration only costs $5 for a three-year period. It can be renewed for another three years at the same rate.

After registering, you receive a certificate and are expected to label your drone with your registration number. A single registration is sufficient for owning multiple UAVs for recreational use. However, failure to register may result in significant penalties and even jail time.

Most of the drones we reviewed here weigh less than 250 grams, but it’s essential to keep the aforementioned regulations in mind if you decide to upgrade to a heavier model.

FAQ

How much does the cheapest drone cost?

The cheapest beginner drones are usually toy drones like the Ryze Tello, which cost upwards of $50.

What should I know before buying a drone?

The most important things to have in mind before purchasing a drone are the US drone regulations, your available budget, and the reason you’re buying a drone in the first place.

What is the best cheap drone with a camera?

Although the final purchase decision should be based on the specific needs of the individual buyer, the most affordable quality drones on our list are the Eachine E511S and the Altair AA108.

What is the best drone for aerial photography?

The best aerial photography drone is the DJI Mavic Air 2. Its high-quality camera, controller, and ability to respond to hand gesture commands make photography with it a delightful experience.

What is a good drone to buy?

The best drones for beginners on our list are some of the leading UAVs on the market. We recommend one of our top picks - DJI Mavic Air 2, Eachine E511S, or the Parrot Anafi.

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