How To Choose Your First Drone

Drones are the exciting new toy that everybody wants - but there are a few things you should know before your first big purchase...

Types Of Drones

The four main types of drones are multi-rotor drones, fixed-wing drones, single-rotor drones, and fixed wing hybrid VTOL. All of these different types can be used for various things, but the main functions of drones so far have been photography, GPS and tracking, and just plain fun! Depending on what you plan to use your drone for, we suggest doing a deep dive and researching what the best models for you are - you don't want to drop money for a drone that won't work the way you want it to!


Many drones are equipped with similar features, some of which can come in real handy for beginners and masters alike. One of the coolest features a drone should preferably have is a set of sensors, such as ultrasonic sensors that can help them avoid collisions in the air. No matter how good you are at flying your drone, this feature is a great fail-safe to have just in case! Some drones can be equipped with GPS, making them excellent delivery or tracking drones. Others have the best cameras on the market hidden within their body, which can then be used to carry out searches where humans can't quite reach, to take breath-taking aerial videos of the ocean and mountains, or even to help track down a lost pet in your town.

Battery Life

Whilst professional drones will have average flight times of around 20 to 30 minutes, lower quality drones meant for simple personal use will have a particularly shorter battery life. For these slightly cheaper drones, the battery can last anywhere from five to 10 minutes, and 15 to 20 minutes for mid-range models. This may not sound like much flight time, but as long as you know what you're doing whilst you're in the air you have ample time to get great shots and have plenty of fun before it's time for another quick charge.


Just like battery life, the range (the distance your drone can travel away from the controller and still function) will differ depending on the model and quality of drone you have. A toy drone will typically have a range of around 20 to 100 yards, and this again increases with the quality of the model - mid-level versions having ranges of around 0.25 miles to 1.5 miles, and high end drones increasing this even further to a 2.5-4.5 mile range. Always make sure to keep an eye on your drone and track how far away it is from the controller at all times - this ensures you stay in control and your drone doesn't fall or hit something it shouldn't.

Flying Guidelines

When using your drone out and about it is important to remember the flying guidelines that are in place, not just to keep you and your drone safe, but also to not infringe on the privacy of people nearby. According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), these are the main rules to follow:

  • Fly below 120m to avoid getting in the way of other (and much larger) flying aircrafts. This includes taking into account the area where you are flying - if you are near hills or even mountains, you may need to rethink your flying to ensure you are never higher than 120m from the surface of the earth beneath the drone.
  • Do not fly closer than 50m to people that are not involved with what you are doing. This involves all the airspace above these people. This rule can change depending on the type of drone you own.
  • Never fly over a crowd of people - this is because the people below your drone may not have enough time or space to move out of the way if any complications occur in the air.
  • Keep a minimum of 150m between your drone and residential and commercial areas and buildings.
  • Do not fly near airports.
  • Get the correct authorisation and permission from the proper authorities before flying!