Drone Buying Guide
BUYING THE RIGHT DRONE: YOUR CLEAR & COMPLETE (START TO FINISH) PATH THROUGH THE DRONE BUYING MAZE
Buying a drone when you're completely unfamiliar or unaccustomed with this evolving modern form of technology, or the terminology used to discuss any matters relating it, can be much like trying to make your way through a maze; a multitude of factors are at play when looking to buy the perfect drone: brand, type, price, size, flight features and design, camera characteristics, photography and filming modes, and more. In addition, you may also be looking for a drone for a certain age group or level of experience. Cognizant of the challenges posed by this "drone buying maze", the "Skynex Drone Buying Guide" seeks to provide you with a bird's eye view of the drone buying maze, along with a clear, bright line that guides you in your decision process from start to finish. Having a clear path from start-to-finish will help ensure you find the perfect drone, for the perfect purposes.
STEP 1 - COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL, OR HOBBY
- Categorizing Between Commercial, Industrial, and Hobby Drones
Skynex categorizes commercial drones as drones that are exploited for profit through a commercial activity. Such would be the case, for instance, if you were buying a drone to start a professional aerial drone photography or drone delivery business, or if you were using drones for commercial activities like television advertising. Industrial drones, on the other hand, are used as a tool or accessory within an industry sector. Such would be the case of a construction, mining, or oil rig inspection drone. Consumer hobby drones are used for personal pleasure, leisure, and entertainment. Such would be the case, for instance, of racing drones, or even drones equipped with professional aerial photography and filming equipment.
- Knowing Your Purpose: Why Are You Looking to Buy a Drone
Are you looking to buy a drone for commercial, industrial, or personal entertainment (i.e. as a hobby) purposes? What reason prompted you to want to buy a drone? Are you looking to buy a drone to inspect an oil rig? Are you looking to buy a drone as an enhancement to your professional photography business? Or are you looking to buy a drone just for the simple pleasure of flying a drone, perhaps even at the next Multi GP local chapter drone race. Regardless of the reason(s) that prompted you to want to buy a drone, you should fit this buying reason for in one of three main drone buying categories: (1) commercial drones; (2) industrial drones; and (3) consumer hobby drones. These same categories are reflected in the Skynex Global Drones side-navigation menu.
- Why Categorizing Matters to Your Drone Buying Decision
Being aware of the reason why you are looking to buy a drone, and categorizing that same reason in one of the three aforementioned drone categories (commercial, industrial, hobby), will immediately orient your drone buying decision in the right direction. Your choice of drone manufacturer, drone size, drone flight characteristics and photography modes will be narrowed down to the most relevant choices. If you're looking to buy an industrial or commercial drone, you may want to give preference to buying a drone from a drone manufacturer that focuses on making high grade commercial or industrial drones. DJI, for instance, produces drones which it markets as hobby and commercial drones. Conversely, Swiss drone manufacturer Flyability produces a drone, Elios, which is "designed for the inspection and exploration of the most inaccessible places". Naturally, if you are looking to buy a commercial drone for professional aerial photography purposes, your attention should be on a drone's aerial photography and filming modes, as well as on its camera characteristics, rather than on, say, a drone's collision tolerance and ability to fly in "complex, cluttered indoor spaces", as might be the case if you're looking to buy an industrial drone for mining purposes. Immediately below you will find a list of top drone manufacturers, as well as the market they (hobby, commercial, or industrial) they focus on.
LEADING DRONE MANUFACTURERS
|Brand Name||National Origin||Solutions||Rating|
|3D Robotics||United States||Commercial, Hobby, Industrial||n/a|
|Aeryon Labs||Canada||Commercial, Industrial||3.0|
|Ambarella||United States||Commercial, Hobby, Industrial||n/a|
|Autel Robotics||Unites States||Commercial, Hobby, Industrial||4.2|
|Cyphy||United States||Commercial, Industrial||3.3|
|Diatonne USA||United States||Hobby||n/a|
|DJI||China||Commercial, Hobby, Industrial||n/a|
|Insitu||United States||Commercial, Industrial||n/a|
|Intel||United States||Commercial, Industrial||n/a|
|JJRC Toy Co. Ltd.||United States||Hobby||n/a|
|Kespry||United States||Commercial, Industrial||4.5|
|Lockheed Martin||United States||Commercial, Industrial||n/a|
|Northrop Grumman||United tates||Commercial, Industrial||n/a|
|Pulse Aero||United States||Commercial Industrial||n/a|
|Sky Viper||United States||Hobby||n/a|
|Yuneec||China||Commercial, Industrial, Hobby||n/a|
STEP 2 - CHOOSING A MORE SPECIFIC PURPOSE
2.1 - Hobby Drones: Pleasure Flying, Racing, and Aerial Photography Drones for Sale
If you've determined that the reason you are looking to buy a drone is for your own personal enjoyment, the factors you need to turn your attention next will depend on the more specific purpose for which you are looking to buy a drone. Your next step is then to ask yourself, for what purpose are you looking to buy a hobby drone? In this regard, there exists three main sub-categories of consumer hobby drones: (1) General hobby drones; (2) FPV Racing drones; and (3) Aerial photography and filming drones.
2.1.1 - General Hobby Drones for Sale
If you're looking to buy a general hobby drone, you will have more control over the choice of price range, drone size, age group, camera feature, and experience level. As a third step, you will need to determine which of these factors are most important to you. If you determine that a low price range is the most important factor in your drone buying decision, then your range of drone brands, sizes, flight features, and flight and photography modes will further be narrowed down. Conversely, if your priority is on buying a professional hobby drone, you will have less control over your bottom line price point.
2.1.2 - FPV Racing Drones for Sale
18.104.22.168 - Price Range
If you're looking to buy a racing drone, your general price range will be constrained to $150(USD) to $500(USD). While some racing drones come Ready-to-Fly ("RTF") out of the box, some racing drones come Almost-Ready-to-Fly ("ARF") out of the box, meaning that certain pieces (e.g. receiver, transmitter, battery, etc.) must be installed on the drone before it is ready to fly. Other racing drones come with all the required pieces, but require that the drone's transmitter be bound to a receiver ("Bind-and-Fly", or "BNF" drones). In addition to price range, you will also want to turn your attention to a racing drone's "Flight Readiness".
22.214.171.124 - Motors, Flight Controller, and Electronic Speed Controllers
When choosing a drone, you will want to pay attention to a variety of drone characteristics and features. Perhaps the most important characteristic will be the type and power drone motors. Generally, brushless motors with a lower KV (RPM) number (e.g. 2204) are considered more desirable than higher KV motors (e.g. 2305). You'll also want to make sure your racing drone is equipped with a high performance (and up-to-date) Flight Controller ("FC"), as well as Electronic Speed Controllers ("ESCs").
126.96.36.199 - Experience Level
Because FPV racing drones require a certain degree of technical knowledge, and sometime require installation of additional pieces before getting them up and flying in the air, FPV racing drones are usually recommended for intermediate and professional experience levels. Another important factor to consider when buy an FPV racing drone is the fact that in order to experience "First-Person-View" drone racing, you will need to purchase "First-Person-View" FPV Goggles that allow you to see from the ground images being transmitted from your drone camera in the air. In general, hobby racing drones will have a higher bottom line in terms of price point.
2.1.3 - Aerial Photography & Filming Drones for Sale
188.8.131.52 - Professional Photography & Filming Hobby Drones for Sale
If you are looking to buy a hobby drone for aerial photography and filming, your first consideration and most important factor will be to determine what quality of aerial photography and filming you are looking to obtain from your hobby drone. If you're looking to buy a drone with professional grade aerial photography (e.g. 4K Ultra-High definition), for instance, your price point will likely be in the average range of $1,000 USD. Your primary concern will be the drone's camera features, gimbal (if any), as well as intelligent flight and aerial photography modes that facilitate and enhance your ability to focus on the drone's aerial photography capabilities, leaving the drone to fly itself autonomously. If you're looking for a hobby drone with professional aerial photography purposes, you will want to buy a drone with 4K ultra-high definition camera. Generally speaking, DJI, Yuneek, Hubsan, and Walkera are brands of drone manufacturers that offer excellent solutions if you're looking to buy a hobby drone with professional aerial photography capabilities.
184.108.40.206 - Photography & Filming Hobby Drones for Traveling
If you're looking to buy a drone for travel photography, you may want to shift your focus to a hobby drone's size, portability and design. Specifically, you will want to consider, among your choice of drones, smaller drones with a foldable design. Because of the smaller size of portable drones, your price range will have a lower limit of around $500 USD, and an upper limit of $1,500 USD. DJI, Yuneek, Hubsan, Walkera, and Wingsland offer a variety of popular makes in the travel photography drone department. As a second important consideration, you'll want to consider which drones offer 4K ultra-high definition camera capabilities, versus those that offer 1080P HD camera, or even 720P camera capabilities. You'll also want to consider intelligent flight and photography modes (e.g. altitude hold, follow-me, etc.), and how the enhance your ability to take superior aerial footage.
2.2 - Commercial Drones for Sale
If you're looking to buy a drone for commercial purposes, your next step is to determine for what specific commercial purpose you're looking to buy a drone. For instance, you may be a security company, professional wedding photographer, or residential real estate agent looking to expand and enhance the range of professional services you offer your clients. The purpose for which you are looking to buy a commercial drone will determine, among other things, what specific drone (and potentially camera) characteristics you should consider in your drone buying decision. Common commercial drone applications currently on the market, include: (1) commercial drones for fishing and hunting; (2) commercial drones for the media; (3) commercial drones for professional aerial photography and filming; (4) commercial drones for real-estate; (5) commercial drones for security; (6) commercial drones for search and rescue; and (7) commercial drones for sports. What most of these subcategories have in common is their reliance on a drone's superior aerial photography and filming capabilities. Drones with 4K ultra-high definition camera capabilities, as well as with autonomous flight and advanced photography and filming modes will tend to be suitable for most commercial activities involving drones.
2.3 - Industrial Drones
As discussed above, Skynex differentiates industrial drones from commercial drones by the fact that, where as commercial drones are often the object of a commercial activity, industrial drones are often a tool or instrument used in a specific industry sector. If you're looking to buy an industrial drone, chances are you're far removed from any personal reason or financial motive for buying a drone (the word "drone" will be used invariably for singular and plural forms), and are making a buying decision within a professional context. Likely, you are surveying the wide range of companies, their geographic location and nationality (perhaps even the sourcing origin of the various parts and components that compose them), their reputation in the drone marketplace, the quality of their drones, their price range, and more importantly, the various solutions and industrial applications they bring to a buyer. Needless to say, the drone buying decision within an industrial context is very different from the decision making process involved in buying a commercial or personal hobby drone. Perhaps the final drone buying decision must go through various layers of inspection and approval. Or, if the needs of your organization are unique, the end solution may even reside in designing a drone in-house that is carefully designed and tailored for the unique needs of your organization. Indeed, the needs for industrial drones are specific, and varied. They range from: inspecting nuclear power plants, to scavenging through under ground mines, to examining jet engine test facilities, to oil and gas mapping and data collecting, to construction project monitoring, and the list goes on, and on. What is unique about industrial drones are the highly specific purpose for which they are sought. In most cases, the critical question will not turn on which drone to buy, but rather, which company to deal with.
As with commercial and hobby drones, the first obvious step in reaching a decision will be to determine the specific purpose for which you and your company are looking to buy a drone. In this regard, the most common purposes or industrial sectors for which industrial drones are currently sought include: (1) agriculture; (2) construction; (3) defence, security, and military; (4) oil & gas; (5) hydro-electric, telecom, and power line inspections; (6) search & rescue; (7) land surveying; and (8) windmill inspections. This is a general, non-exhaustive list of industrial applications for which drones are most commonly used for. As an organization looking to buy a drone for industrial purposes, your first step is to determine whether the reason for which you and your organization are looking to buy a drone falls within any of these broad categories. In the affirmative, it is likely that a drone manufacturer already caters to the needs of your organization. In the negative, you and your organization will need to do more in-depth research to determine whether any existing drone manufacturer can cater to the needs of your organization. In the negative, depending on the nature of your organization and industry, designing a drone in-house may be the best solution.