Drones may very well be one of the hottest trends in consumer tech right now. Also known as a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), this gadget had previously only been available to government and commercial entities. While drones are here for everyone to enjoy, can you afford to buy one? Probably, as there are drones for every price point. Camera equipped drones start from the $80 Protocol Video Drone and can cost as much as $1,400 with the Phantom 4 Quadcopter.
Camera-Equipped Drone Price
There are many popular options for those looking to have their drone already equipped with a fully-functioning video camera. Here they are listed from most expensive to cheapest.
DJI – Phantom 4 Quadcopter ($1100)
Quadcopters are very popular, as the use of four propellers make them easier to control and
maneuver. The DJI Phantom 4 is new to the market and a great option for under $1500. The
camera offers 4K ultra HD at 30 fps, or you can choose to shoot 12MP quality photos. This comes with a 16MP SD card for storage and some additional editing software for creating movies from your video footage. Control it with your iPad or iPhone up to 3.1 miles away. It will fly for 28 minutes at up to 44 miles an hour, and the SmartReturn function will bring it back to you when you’re done flying!
YUNEEC – Typhoon 4K Quadcopter ($800)
This mid-range YUNEEC is has all the features of a 4K HD camera output and a pretty nifty touchscreen controller. This same controller (known as the “ground station”) also allows for in-flight adjustments of the lighting and white balance, ensuring your videos are perfect! It’s a very light 3.5 pounds and has a 25 minute flight time.
Parrot BeBop Drone 2 ($457)
For a mid-priced drone with a decent video that lets you shoot in wide-angle HD, this drone is very popular. The included software lets you take a “bird’s eye view” streaming first-hand video footage to your Android and iOs devices. It also allow for easy sharing to social media after a maximum 25 minute flight duration.
Parrot – Airborne Cargo Mars Drone ($84)
Another great find for under $100, this drone has high marks for stability, and it is rated for indoor use, as well! The built-in camera does not take video – only photos. This drone is unique in that it has a brick pad for customizing with Legos and minifigs!
Protocol – VideoDrone AP Drone ($80)
For a very cheap drone price, you might want to invest in this Protocol drone featuring a basic wireless remote control. The video quality will be basic – no HD here! This drone runs for a mere 7 minutes between charges, but may be a good entry-level drone.
Drone Price Quick Look:
Drones without Camera Price
Drones that aren’t already equipped with a video camera aren’t as common as they used to be. If you have your own video camera, or just want to fly for fun, you can get a more reasonable drone price by buying one separately. These drones top the list for stand-alone flights.
xCraft – X PlusOne: Platinum Quadcopter ($1500)
Made from Black Carbon Fiber, this is one of the most prestigious of camera-less drones. It is crafted to work alongside your choice of GoPro or other action camera, even flying itself using the Google Maps GPS integration. Want it to follow you? It can do that, too! Set it up to track your smartphone or table and go where you go. This drone also has 20 minutes flight time (without payload), as it will return to the base when the battery gets low.
YUNEEC – Typhoon G Quadcopter RTF Drone ($500)
This is basically the same as the Typhoon 4K (mentioned above) without the camera, as it’s designed to specifically support the GoPro Hero3 and Hero4 cameras. The nifty sunshield prevents overexposure of your video footage! It’s a great way to get a premium drone experience for less by supplying your own camera.
3DR Solo Drone ($400)
Choose your own pre-programmed flight path with the integrated GPS system. This drone can fly a full 20 minutes with a GoPro or other camera attached. You can also fly it without camera and get an additional 5 minutes of fly time! (This drone comes with a remote, but to see the video as it flies, you’ll need your own smart device attached to your own camera.)
Protocol – Neo-Drone Mini RC Drone ($40)
With perhaps the most modest drone price, the small Neo-Drone is a good beginner gadget designed to develop skills in guiding aircraft. This mini-drone weighs a .03 pounds and flies a mere 6 minutes. Consider this toy for the kids. If it breaks (which it surely will at some point), you can feel OK about replacing it.
Remember, no matter what drone you end up buying, changes to FAA regulation may require you to register your hobby drone for legal flight! Regardless of how good of a drone price you are able to get, make sure you follow the rules to avoid expensive fees that can cost you even more!