Top 5 Drones

Whether you’re getting into the world of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) just because you want to make a great video about your community, map out your surroundings, or just fly something cool looking up into the sky, you have tons of great options. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the best based on your nominations.

Last week we asked you which drones you think are the best – and by “drone” we use a popular term for any remote pilot, from simple plastic RC helicopters to more advanced quadcopters and geckopters powerful enough to fly for miles. with HD cameras attached to their bodies. You have proposed many nominations, the most serious and somewhat stupid ones, but there are still many great options. Here are your top five in no particular order:

Lumenier QAV250

The Lumenier QAV250 may not be a drone for beginners, but if you are a hobbyist, DIY enthusiast, love FPV (first person view) flying, or just want to practice, you will love it. It is an unmanned aerial vehicle that encourages you to make your own changes to the equipment you purchase to customize it exactly the way you want it. The QAV250 is a one-piece quadcopter frame that you can buy separately or as part of a kit with everything else you need to fly. Depending on the type of flight you want to do, you can buy various components and parts to make your customized model fly the way you want, whether you are interested in acrobatics, stunt flying, pure speed, long range or beautiful video. … The frame can also fully support an HD camera – in fact, the QAV250 has multiple camera mounts so you can choose. It’s also a lightweight glider, weighing less than half a pound before you load it with gear, and about a pound or so thereafter. It has its own chassis, LED strips to help you navigate, and more. The base kit will set you back $ 130 from Amazon, or $ 150 for the carbon fiber version . The near-flight-ready version will cost you $ 310 outright (more expensive on Amazon), and the fully-flyable version (you just need to put the receiver in) will cost you $ 520 outright (also more expensive on Amazon, so buy direct.)

Those of you who nominated the QAV250 supported it because it’s the perfect frame for DIY enthusiasts, but people who don’t necessarily want to start from scratch (although you can if you want.) You mentioned that you’d like to spend a little time customizing your build to fly the way you want, but once you do, you have a UAV that flies great and if you don’t know what to do, the community behind it is big enough that you can learn from someone else’s example … This model also makes it easy to swap rotors for larger ones or use a different power system. You also praised the QAV250 for its exceptional reliability and ability to fly, even after a few tough landings. Then, as you learn to navigate, some tweaks in the included software can give you a whole new flying experience. You can read more on his nominations thread here, or watch this awesome flight video to find out more.

DJI Phantom 2 Vision +

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision and Vision + are also probably not the most beginner-friendly drones, but they are the ones you are likely to see in photos and videos when people start talking about this category. Vision + was honored with The Wirecutter’s Best Drone award , mainly for its range and battery life, stability and learning curve, mobile app support (so you can mount your phone directly onto the receiver and see what the Phantom sees , FPV style). fly for both customization and durability. All those trendy HD videos you see on blogs about cityscapes and the like? Probably shot one of them. But they are not cheap. The Vision +, the most recent model, will set you back $ 1,169 on Amazon ( or directly ) for a kit with an extra battery you’ll probably need just to extend your flight time. The older Vision starts at $ 769 on Amazon and can be purchased with additional accessories like a second battery and spare rotors, as well as a carrying case for the entire device. Both models provide up to half an hour of flight on the first battery, long range and speed, built-in camera stabilization, the ability to plot a “flight path” using your smartphone and receiver, precise camera control as you fly, and the ability to receive photos and videos from your Phantom. as soon as it lands, via Wi-Fi.

Those of you who nominated the Phantom 2 Vision + praised him for his great quadcopter, praised his battery life, but also praised his ability to shoot incredible videos and photos. Our very own Shep McAllister owns one of them, and he noted that it is quite difficult not to make a great video with it, and shared his own , which we really love. Shep wasn’t the only one to share his video, Jordan posted this which looks amazing too. On top of all this, many of you have pointed out that even if you really need to learn how to handle it, the money you spend on this model will make you take off right out of the box with little or no additional tweaking. required. Read more in the nomination thread here .


BLADE’s Nano QX is a simple and affordable quadcopter that many consider to be a great beginner drone if you are interested in hobbling with a solid, durable, durable and easy-to-learn model. Wirecutter suggested this to newbies in his article on the best drones , and Tom’s Guide says it’s the best option for the money . One of the reasons it is so beginner-friendly is that the BLADE has built-in automatic stability controls (in the form of their Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope or SAFE technology) as well as a lightweight, durable airframe and protective shrouds. which help to maintain its strength. and in good flying condition no matter what you do with it. The Nano QX is also a tiny palm-sized drone, so you can fly it indoors or outdoors, whichever you prefer. It will set you back $ 90 directly or on Amazon .

Those of you who have nominated him have also noted that he is a great coach to work with. It doesn’t have replaceable batteries or fancy camera rigs or whatever, but after you’ve spent some time with it, you’ll be ready to fly and fly larger, heavier, more complex models without crashing into them. your first flight. The other of you have pointed out that it’s easy to upgrade with an FPV kit, LEDs, and other mods, although you have to be careful not to weigh down its frame too much. Read more in the nomination thread here .

Parrot Bebop Drone

Parrot maker of some of the most recognizable drones (like the Parrot AR Drone ) recently released the Parrot Bebop, a mid-sized drone with a built-in camera that’s easy to fly and versatile, but also offers FPV piloting and support for Parrot. have your own SkyController or use your smartphone or tablet to pilot the Bebop during flight. It’s small enough to fly indoors, and the built-in 14MP HD camera on the front captures the smallest details of everything you pass (or pass). It’s a lightweight drone built for stability, not necessarily maneuverability, and discrete controls allow you to pan the camera while keeping the drone level and stable. The drone even builds its own Wi-Fi hotspot, which is a pretty impressive feat. If you need one, it will set you back $ 500 on Amazon for a ready-to-fly device, but if you want a custom SkyController receiver, you’ll need to grab the $ 900 kit instead. Despite its price tag, the Bebop is designed to be a middle ground between the more expensive high-end models that require flying skills and the lower-end plastic models for beginners. If you’ve got the money, this can be a solid beginner model, albeit an expensive entry point.

Those of you who nominated it praised Bebop’s focus on durability and safety (the drone can land in an emergency and in any collision it will automatically stop its rotors), as well as its ease of use and stability. It’s relatively new and you also praised it for providing a range of up to 2km when you use the SkyController box with it. At the same time, its size and all of the onboard equipment means battery life is dramatically reduced, with some people reporting a charge in as little as ten minutes, depending on what you do. You can read everything about both issues in the nominations thread here .

Do it yourself

If you don’t like ready-to-fly options, or are worried about things like battery life or electronics, or the type of camera you will install in your UAV, or if you look at some of these expensive options and wonder if you can do it yourself, you really can – the Lumenier shown above is a good example of a glider that you can buy as a DIY kit or as an RTF model, but that’s just the tip of the DIY drone build world. With some elbow grease, the right tools, and the help of a huge community of enthusiasts, you can create your own to do whatever you want – whether you’re interested in racing and agility, long range and range, payload or beautiful HD video. Once you start exploring homemade drones and models you can build yourself, you will quickly dive into a world of custom motors and rotors, electrical systems, lightweight batteries and rugged gliders, and cameras and gimbals to help you shoot video in flight.

DIY Drones is a good place to start, which we’ve mentioned a few times in the past , as is the DIYDrones subreddit . Those of you who put forward the DIY option noted that doing it yourself gives you complete control and can connect you with people who have built different types of UAVs that you might not find on the market, such as airplanes, hexcopters, octocopters capable of carrying excellent cameras and other multicopters besides quadcopters. In this nomination thread, you can read an excellent case study for independent work.

Now that you’ve seen the top 5, it’s time to put them to a general vote to pick the community favorite:

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No honorable mentions this week as the nominees dropped out pretty quickly – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many other options! Be sure to check out the Challenger Challenge thread to see more options.

Do you have anything to say about one of the applicants? Want to substantiate your personal favorite even if it wasn’t on the list? Remember, the Top 5 is based on your most popular nominations from the Call for Applicants thread earlier this week . Don’t just complain about the top 5, let us know which option you prefer and justify it in the discussions below.


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