The most common question that is asked when it comes to drones is How Much Do They Cost? If you haven’t owned a drone before or if you are looking to buy one you will wonder how much is the maintenance costs of drones and for starter how much they will set you back the first time. In this publication we are going to discuss just that, not the military drones even they are much more technologically interesting than civilian drones but we are going to be helpful to the majority of the consumer base of drones which is in the civil sector.
You have witnessed over the time that the technology in it’s infancy is very expensive and as the time passes by and new developments come into play that same technology becomes cheaper to own and start to cater to the masses. Same is the case with drones, you can now own a drone for as little as $30 and if you want to spend a lot of cash on a drone you can buy for well over $50K as well.
Let’s Start with Basics of Civilian Drones
Before you go on to buy a drone for yourself there are few things which need to be addressed. The price tag is of course the number one thing to discuss along with few others which we will discuss in this publication. To give you a little idea of what is to come, here are some outlines.
- What are Consumer Drones?
- What are Quadcopters?
- Can Drones be Easily Bought? (Types)
- Civilian Drones Manufacturers
- Drones Equipped with Cameras
- Are Drones Reliable?
Much like remotely controlled airplanes and race cars, drones are also capturing attention of many people, enthusiast or not. They are just fascinating to look at and even more addictive when you fly them via the remote control. A man never grows up really, the toys just get more complex and drones are a primary example of that.
Now let’s get into the drone discussion.
What are Consumer Drones?
Consumer Drones are known by many names among the drone communities the technical terms used for them are UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) but the essence of these machines is that they fly and they are flown via remote control. Whether you look at the military drones or the civilian drones the core essence remains the same. The functionality and features do change and that is what differs civilian drones from military ones.
The main features that you will be able to use in consumer drones are:
- Make Flight Plans using GPS and fly the drone via remote control or an app provided by the manufacturer.
- Capture amazing photos and record high quality videos from amazing angles.
- Use drones to deliver stuff to your loved one.
- Use drones for recreational activity such as races and stunts.
Commercially, the civilian drones have established themselves as the next step in automation and are showing potential for limitless possibilities of their use. This we have left for another publication which will discuss the commercial applications of drones.
What are Quadcopters?
Quadcopters are one of the most popular drones of all and has the most user friendly design as well. Now you will be thinking these quadcopters will be the most expensive of the lot as well. That depends on what kind of quadcopter you want for yourself, but generally they are not very expensive to own. Quadcopters have the widest range of drones as well and every drone manufacturer has at least one quadcopter model in their inventory.
So what kind of quadcopters will you find in the market? And how much will they cost you? Let’s get into that.
Toy Quadcopters are the cheapest quadcopters and their price ranges from $30 to $100. They are mostly used by kids as they have very little power and no national or state level regulations can apply on them. These quadcopters are used inside the homes and outside conditions are not very suitable for them. You can fly them outside but in stable weather conditions and they won’t get very far as they have low range.
FPV Racing Quadcopters are second in line when it comes to price tags and they will cost you from $170 to $900. FPV Racing Quadcopters are used for outside recreational activities and they are pretty self explanatory as they are used for racing against other quadcopters.
Home Built Quadcopters are DIY projects and are built mostly at home the cost of building a Quadcopter is from $350 to $1000 and if you include the price for upgrades the cost can go much higher. These kind of quadcopters are built by drone enthusiasts and hobbyists who are interested in extreme level of customization of their drones. You need to have a certain skill set to be able to build a drone yourself.
Professional Video Quadcopters are the most sold quadcopters of all and they can cost as little as $200 and as high as $60,000, it all depends on the quality and the features. These drones are used by all sorts of people from photographers to travellers to record stunning footages and capture their moments in amazing shots.
Consumer Drones’ Manufacturers
If you survey the market when buying a drone you will get confused by the quantity of drone manufacturers as there are so many of them let alone the quantity of models. There are so many options when selecting a drone. If you are a new buyer you will surely have to go for a quadcopter and most of the consumer drones manufacturers are Chinese Brands. They dominate the market with very well made and quality products. Even though Chinese brands are known to produce substandard goods but when it comes to drones no other brand is close to their level of quality and performance.
As with all the products we recommend you should do a market survey online on Amazon or you can see our recommended drones with cameras, toy drones, waterproof drones, follow me drones, fishing drones and drones with GPS capabilities.
We can’t list all the brands that are manufacturing drones in this publication but we will list the best of the lot for you.
Can Civilian Drones with Cameras be easily bought?
You can certainly buy a drone with camera easily. There are drones that are purpose built for quality photography and videography. You can get an option of installing your own preferred camera from GoPro series or you can buy a drone which will have a fixed camera on board and sometimes that will be upgradable but most of the time that’s not the case so you can do your research on that too.
These purpose built camera drones deliver amazing photography and video making experience and they provide a lot of features such as stabilization software that come along the drone to create amazing Hollywood like footages.
Some notable features that will be available to you in camera drones are:
- 4K Quality Footages
- Auto Focus
- Follow Mode
- Burst Mode
- Image Stabilization
- Altitude Hold
You won’t find the combination of all the features in one drone but you will find few of them on board a single model. But knowing what you can expect out of camera drones in the market is a good thing.
Are Consumer Drones Reliable?
Drones like any other electronic gadgets are getting improved quality in design and functionality as the time is passing by. The newer models are getting more reliable comparing them to older models. Even though drones are in their infancy considering their development progress, manufacturers have started to produce quality drones but still if you don’t use them as they are meant to be used you will run into maintenance issues with the drones.
Due to the wide range of drones available in the market from variety of manufacturers, finding a reliable drone can be somewhat of a task. We’ll be honest with you there are a lot of useless substandard drones out there as well. So before making any decisions check out user reviews of drones and as well as reviews of drones from reputable websites.
You can checkout established brand names such as DJI even though most of them are Chinese but there is nothing to worry about these brands when it comes to quality. Chinese brands have known to be notorious for producing substandard goods but when it comes to drones their drones outperform any consumer drone in the world in terms of design, durability, price and performance.