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What to Consider When Buying a Drone

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics

Man piloting a drone

Man piloting a drone

Owning or at least operating a drone has become the new craze thanks to the advent of robotic technologies, some of which were developed for military purposes. These flying machines allow you to survey an expansive location from the comfort of your home or office by merely pressing a few buttons.

More so, you can document an event by taking amazing aerial photographs and video footage that is unparalleled. Seeing the myriad of benefits, you need to ensure that you buy the right kind of machine with all the bells and whistles.

Here are five guidelines that will help you discern what kind of drone to buy:

1. Consider the Purpose

Many people are buying drones to facilitate hobbies such as photography or for work purposes like shooting movie scenes or even tracking wildlife. A racing drone is the most ideal for speed chasers who just want to enjoy the enthralling experience of operating a gadget in the sky.

Professionals like news curators would go for more high-tech machines that can capture still images and video in the best manner possible. Granted, such drones come at a hefty price but the results are worth every penny.

2. Pick Reputable Vendors/Stores

When contemplating “what drone should I buy," factors like the manufacturer and retail outlet are of utmost importance. Whether shopping online or at physical outlets, you must only consider reputable shops.

The best online sites usually have a list of what is available in stock like Mavic Air and Spark, and will most definitely inform you of upcoming sales. If this is your first foray into drone shopping, there are a handful of trustworthy sites that you can visit like Amazon.com and Dji.com.

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If your budget is constrained, you may opt for used drones but be wary of unscrupulous dealers out there.

3. Prioritize Battery Life

Similar to everyday electronic gadgets like smartphones, laptops, and tablets, you want to purchase a drone that has an elongated battery life. Imagine documenting a live event only for the battery to die at the most crucial time, such as the exchanging of vows or the first dance? This can be frustrating, to say the least.

To negate such mishaps on special occasions, find a model that has the most generous battery life and stock up a few spare batteries as a precautionary measure.

4. Buyer Beware: Not All Drones Can Fly

This may surprise novice buyers but oddly enough, not all drones come ready to fly. Drones that bear a mark RTF are ready to fly while those which bear BNF (bind-and-fly) need controllers to fly.

Buyers beware that having a transmitter and receiver on the same frequency doesn't necessarily make them compatible. In such a case, you must employ the same manufacture protocol for the drone to fly.

Almost-ready-to-fly (ARF) drones are usually lacking in essential components like a flight controller and battery. If you opt for this type of drone, have the assembly done onsite.

5. Join a Drone Club

As the popularity of drones continues to soar, more and more people are staying connected to keep up with the latest news in this field. Join an online community via your preferred social media platform and get talking with fellow drone fans. You will have unfettered access to useful information about these aerial machines—from the mundane to the very intricate details on how to assemble them.

Know the Rules and Good Luck!

Additionally, make sure you're aware of any local, state, or national FAA guidelines for drone piloting before you begin operating.

For those of us who are smitten with all things technology, the thought of buying a drone may have crossed through our minds more than once. Take your time shopping around and don't shy away from asking even seemingly easy questions as long as it helps you make an informed choice.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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