Drone Buying Guide: How Much Does a Drone Cost?

Drones have exploded in popularity as the technology has advanced over the last few years, resulting in many people looking to get into the hobby. With such a wide variety of drones on offer, it can leave a lot of people new to the drone market wondering ‘how much should a drone cost?’

That’s exactly why we’ve put together this helpful and quick guide to help walk you through it.

How Much Does a Drone Cost?

A drone can set you back anywhere from less than a hundred dollars to $300,000. Yep, you read that right.

This huge variance in price comes down to the different types of drones, the equipment included, and the various capabilities. People buy drones for all sorts of reasons; for fun, for racing, for photography, and more. 

So while the answer above is correct, don’t fret too much, unless you’re after the world’s most expensive drone you won’t be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars. The right price is all dependent on what you want your drone for. 

We’ll take a closer look at the different price tiers for drones.

Low-Cost Drones

We’ll start at the bottom. There are plenty of drones available for $100 and under, as low as $20 to $30 in some instances. Of course, these aren’t going to have all the bells and whistles of a mid-tier or high-end drone.

However, for those new to owning a drone, they’re a great investment. Even if your long-term goal is to end up with a high-end racing drone, start here. You’ll thank us after you have your first crash.

A low-cost, starter drone lets you make beginner mistakes without financial loss. It’s a lot better to lose your $20 drone to a lake than your $3000 drone. This drone will give you a chance to get used to the controls and learn how to fly a drone with minimal risk.

You can buy low-cost drones from most children’s toy stores, both in physical stores and online. 

Drones Under $250

For less than $250, you can get a decent piece of kit. These drones will be closer in function and style to the mid-tier and high-end drones. They’re a great way to improve your drone flying skills and get into drone racing.

Again, for the price, these are a great option if you’re likely to crash a lot (which if you’re getting into racing, you are!). 

They won’t be as fast as other racing drones nor as jam-packed with features, but they’re an excellent choice for those new to the fun. 

Mid-Tier Drones

For between $500 to $800, you can get a great drone with plenty of features. Whether you’re looking for speed or cameras (or both!), you’ll easily find something within this price range.

There are a huge amount of mid-tier drones available, but not all drones are made equal. Focus on the features you want and the reviews to find a good buy. For example, if you’re looking for a drone for photography, focus on the quality of the camera over any of the over features, as well as the camera gimbal to stabilize it. 

Some of our favorites in this price tier are Mavic drones, including the Mini 2. This bit of kit will cost you less than $600 and features 4K video, 57.6 kph speeds, and a half an hour flight time. It’s one of the best value drones going.

High-End Drones

High-end drones aren’t for the average buyer. Professional drone photographers and racers are the ones buying in this price bracket which starts from around $1,800 and up. 

These drones will come with better avoidance sensors, up to 21MP cameras, bigger batteries, and better internal equipment to aid faster processing. They’ll also have higher weight limits for those wanting to use them for delivery, as well as other unique features.

By unique features, we mean some drones are custom-built for certain jobs. For example, search and rescue teams invest in drones that are capable of flying underwater, as well as having features like thermal imaging and infrared cameras. 

The World’s Most Expensive Drone

You’re probably thinking to yourself that we mentioned a $300,000 drone earlier on. This drone is so expensive and new tech that it doesn’t fit into the category of high-end drones. It deserves its own category altogether.

This is what’s known as a passenger drone and it comes from a Chinese startup Ehang. It’s still in the early stages. They only flew the prototype earlier this year, but it went well so we could see it as a reality sooner rather than later.

The Ehang 184 prototype seats one person and can fly for around 20 minutes, taking around 2 hours to charge. Though this drone isn’t for the average joe at $300,000 a pop, it’s a sign of what the future might hold for the technology. 

Which Is the Best Drone to Buy?

The best drone is the one that’s right for you. Like we said above, if you’re brand new to the hobby, start cheap and build your way up. Whereas if you’re looking for specific features, focus on finding the best quality features available in your price range. 

There are several different categories of drones where you can begin your research instead of focusing on price alone. These include:

  • Camera or video drones
  • Racing drones 
  • Marine drones
  • Nano, micro, and mini drones
  • Toy drones

Toy drones will cost the least, while high-end video drones will cost the most. A good bet for the vast majority of people who enjoy drones as a hobby is to aim for a mid-tier drone. You’ll get a good selection of the best features, without investing too much at once. 

Another important distinction is between Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Ready-To-Fly (RTF) drones. Not all drones come out of the box, ready to go. This is because some hobbyists prefer to assemble the drones themselves and add additional features to them.

For newbies, an RTF drone is the best option. This way you know everything you need will already be included in the box. Other options include:

  • BNF (Bind-N-Fly)
  • PNF (Plug-N-Fly)
  • ARF (Almost-Ready-To-Fly)

More Tech News

Drone cost varies, by a lot! However, for the majority of people, you’ll be able to get a drone with all the features you could need for around $500. For professional drones, the cost will be closer to a few thousand dollars.

You can find more tech news and advice on our site, so be sure to take a look.

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