The Best Hobby Drones in 2020: Fun & Easy to Use Drones

Last updated: 29th April 2020
DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini

Tello Quadcopter

Tello Quadcopter

Holy Stone HS270

Holy Stone HS270

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There are lots of reasons why drones are so popular nowadays, from changing the way photography is done to executing risky operations in the field.

But, really, the biggest reason is that drones are just plain fun to fly! And that’s what hobby drones are all about.

For many, hobby drones is their first entry into the world of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle). It’s a broad category that covers easy to fly and fun drones available to consumers.

It’s a vast market, admittedly, which can make choosing pretty overwhelming. That’s why we wanted to cover this topic in today’s article. It’s to arm you with information to better pick the right hobby drone for you.

We’ll also recommend the top hobby drones out in the market that you can buy. First, let’s define what a hobby drone actually is and how to buy one.

What Is A Hobby Drone?

Strictly speaking, any drone that isn’t used for commercial applications is considered a hobby drone. Also called consumer drones, they represent the most significant chunk of the drone market.

Hobby drones can cost anywhere from $30 or less to as much as $1,000 or more. Naturally, you’ll find a lot of variation within this range in terms of size, features, and specs.

Most hobby drones you find in the market can be divided into two major categories: toy drones and adult drones.

Toy drones are made to be used by children, so they’re generally simpler in terms of features. Their cameras, if any, are usually low resolution. They have a brushed motor that’s capable of flight, but not powerful enough to cause any serious injury when struck. They’re cheaper as well, with $100 models already considered expensive.

The irony with toy drones is that they’re usually much harder to control than an adult drone. This is because they lack any advanced features that make piloting easier, such as GPS. That’s why it’s best used by small kids who simply want to be entertained with a flying toy.

If you’re even mildly serious about getting into the drone hobby, better go for an adult drone. Even if you end up spending more, you get a drone that you’ll use for far longer.

These mid to high-end level drones offer better camera quality, longer flight times, and more powerful motors. They’re also not that expensive as you might think; $200 or so will get you a decent hobby drone.

The Best Hobby Drones

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DJI Mavic Mini

It is undeniable that the DJI Mavic Mini is one of the best hobby drones you can get this year.

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DJI Mavic Mini
  • Flight Time: ~28 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~90 minutes
  • Range: 3000m / 9842ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5.4GHz & 2.4Ghz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 3-axis gimbal 2K Camera with 12MP
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 2500m / 8200ft
  • Weight: 249g / 8.78oz
  • Working Temperature: 0°C ~ 40°C
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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The Mavic Mini is DJI’s entry into the world of budget drones. It’s a compact-sized, foldable flyer that comfortably fits in the palm of your hand.

The Mavic Mini takes all the good things that make the Mavic series great – foldable design, durability, and flight performance – and shrinks it down into a relatively affordable hobby drone.

At the same time, it takes some of the more advanced features of its older brothers, like the Mavic Pro. It has a fantastic flight time of up to 30 minutes, which is ridiculously long as far as mid-level drones are concerned.

The range is long as well, allowing you to control the Mavic Mini at up to 4 km. At standard distances, the signal strength makes it virtually impossible for lags to occur.

Its lightweight frame also makes the Mavic Mini very nimble and agile in the air. Control is done via the DJI Flight App on your smartphone, which is both responsive and intuitive to use. The lightness also makes it unnecessary for the drone to be registered in the US and Canada.

The camera of the Mavic Mini offers up to 2.7K HD resolution, with 12-megapixels for still photos. But what’s excellent with this drone is the built-in 3-axis gimbal, which makes video footage smooth and jitter-free.

Mavic Mini also inherited some of the autonomous flight features of other DJI drones, plus some that are unique to the Mini. Quickshots are pre-determined flight paths that allow the drone to execute complicated routes to achieve great looking cinematic shots autonomously.

The DJI Mavic Mini represents the best of what a hobby drone could be. It’s easy to fly and durable, which makes it such a joy to operate.

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+ Pros

+ Amazing portability
+ Excellent autonomous options
+ Long battery
+ Excellent camera
+ Long range

- Cons

- Narrow field of view
- Low wind resistance

Tello Quadcopter

We picked the Tello Quadcopter as an excellent value pick in the hobby space.

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Tello Quadcopter
  • Flight Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Charge Time: 75 minutes
  • Range: 100 meters
  • Remote Controller: none included; uses a smartphone app for control
  • Camera: 5 megapixels at 720p HD resolution
  • Weight: 82g
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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The Tello Quadcopter is an excellent choice for when you want a fantastic hobby drone for less than $100. It’s built in partnership with DJI, so get its durable components and flight stability at a budget. It’s tough as well, capable of surviving impacts without so much as a scratch.

The drone is indeed a joy to fly and is great for beginners to try out. It has tight handling paired with intuitive and responsive controls via the Tello flight app. It’s definitely agile and nimble.

It’s also capable of hovering in place thanks to the built-in sensors that can detect altitude. However, these sensors depend on contrast to work, so they won’t work as well in low light conditions.

The Tello has basic flight features that are nevertheless welcome. The Auto Takeoff/Landing feature allows you to launch this drone at the push of a button, or you can even throw it in the air, and it will automatically fly.

You also get to control the speed of the Tello thanks to its adjustable settings. You can start with the “slow” mode to get the hang of it, then jump up to “fast” to really practice your racing skills.

The camera is also decent for the price, with a photo resolution of 5 megapixels and a video resolution of 720p HD. For aspiring photographers, or if you simply want a drone to take your vacation photos, the Tello works.

An overlooked feature of the Tello is that it’s fully programmable. Using Scratch, you can make it follow flight patterns and other interesting behaviors. For budding developers or those with a technical background, this is a cool feature that you can play with.

The Tello is a flexible hobby drone that ticks all the boxes in terms of flight performance. It’s the perfect launch pad regardless of whether you’ll use it as a photo, racer, or hobby drone.

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+ Pros

+ Remarkably lightweight
+ Great for training drone flying skills
+ Completely programmable meaning you can extend the drone's functionality
+ Affordable price
+ HD video recording

- Cons

- Scratch programming language isn't very robust
- Unusable in low-light conditions

Holy Stone HS270

Packed full of flight features and available at a really fair price, the HS270 is certainly worth your consideration.

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Holy Stone HS270
  • Flight Time: ~16 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~330 minutes
  • Range: 600m / 2000ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 2.4GHz & 5.4GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 2.7K QHD  with 12MP fixed FPV
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 400m / 1300ft
  • Weight: 595g / 21oz
  • Working Temperature: ~0°C  to ~40°C
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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Holy Stone is a manufacturer that’s known for coming out with durable and feature-rich drones for a lot less. A perfect example would be their mid-priced drone, the HS270. It’s a great hobby drone thanks to its combination of flight features and camera quality.

The HS270 is a tight and agile flyer, thanks to its solid 5 GHz signal strength. At moderate distances of less than 500 meters, it establishes a secure link with the remote controller, making controls very responsive.

The built-in GPS/GLONASS on the HS270 is the key to this drone’s flight stability. With it, it’s able to maintain altitude at a rock-steady pace. Plus, it’s wind resistant, so it should be able to achieve this even with slight to moderate winds.

The GPS on the HS270 also unlocks a few more capabilities. Chief of them is the Auto Return safety feature, which allows the drone to return to its origin point autonomously. It keeps your drone safe and less prone to crashing due to low battery.

You might also want to play around with its other autonomous GPS features like Follow Me and Custom Flight. Both are great for when you want to focus on taking photos vs. flying your drone around.

Speaking of the camera, it’s pretty decent, as well. 2.7K HD camera is more than enough to capture great-looking shots. Plus, you can get exceptional FPV thanks to its 5 GHz Wifi transmission.

All of this in a foldable frame that makes the Holy Stone HS270 extremely portable. It’s definitely an exceptional hobby drone that photographers will appreciate, but flies well and comfortable enough to be used by anyone.

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+ Pros

+ Very easy to fly
+ Extreme range
+ Excellent camera
+ Good flight time

- Cons

- Boxy design
- Long charging time

EMAX Tinyhawk

This fully moddable drone is perfect for those that love to tinker with gadgets as a hobby.

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EMAX Tinyhawk
  • Flight Time: 8 minutes
  • Camera: 600TVL CMOS camera
  • Motor: 1103 7,000kv
  • Weight: 46g

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Within the small frame of this EMAX Tinyhawk is a feisty little racing drone that’s an excellent intro for amateur racers while being fast and robust enough for the pros.

The Tinyhawk Freestyle is a beefier upgrade over the original Tinyhawk racing drone. It sports a more powerful 7,000 kV motor and a leaner and lighter carbon fiber body. It also has 2.5″ AVAN Rush propellers that give it lifting power while being quiet at the same time.

The result is a drone that has a powerful thrust that allows it to achieve top speeds. It’s light and agile, and it feels effortless flying it, even at higher speeds. For an inexpensive drone, it flies and feels like a genuine racer.

This is a racing drone through and through, and you won’t find any flight features newbies can crutch on. We recommend getting it if you really want to get into racing, or if you’re really into messing with electronics.

This drone is entirely moddable, and you can pretty much upgrade the video and VTX if you know what you’re doing.

The flight time on the Freestyle is set at 8 minutes max, but that’s only if you hover in place. At full flying speed, it’s more at around 5 – 7 minutes. The drone, however, allows up to two batteries to be hooked to it, if you need more flight time or power. It’s not uncommon for racing drones to have short flight times due to the power they produce.

For a hobbyist drone racer, you can’t get a better start than the EMAX Tinyhawk Freestyle. It flies really fast and has superb flight capabilities. If you’re looking for a base to build your own flyer, this is also an excellent place to start.

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+ Pros

+ Powerful 7,000kv flight power with 2.5” propellers
+ Allows up to 2 battery packs for extra power
+ Completely upgradeable and moddable
+ Very affordable

- Cons

- Default FPV is poor
- Tricky to handle

Hubsan Zino Pro

For those that are leaning slightly more towards ‘serious’ than ‘just fun’, the Hubsan Zino Pro is an ideal hobby drone.

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Hubsan Zino Pro
  • Flight Time: 26 minutes
  • Range: 4 km
  • Camera: 4K UHD camera with 3-axis gimbal
  • Weight: 710g

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If you’re looking for an advanced drone with powerful features, then the Hubsan Zino Pro will come as a pleasant surprise. Looking at the specs, it looks very much like a pro drone. But what firmly places it in hobby drone territory is the price. This is a drone that costs way less than $500.

Before we look at the features, let’s check first how the Zino Pro flies in the first place. Fortunately, it’s an able flyer. The quiet brushless motors give it great lift and make tight turns nimbly. The exceptional transmission power makes controlling fluid and responsive up to a long 4 km.

The Zino Pro also has amazing hovering ability and can withstand winds up to Class 5. The high capacity batteries also give an extended flight time of 23 minutes, giving you maximum enjoyment with your drone.

Camera quality wise, you get a crisp and clear 4K UHD resolution with a 3-axis gimbal, so image stabilization is well taken care of. It also gives you the option to change the lens, an excellent feature indeed for aspiring or pro photographers.

For flight features, there’s plenty to choose from. You can use mainstays like Waypoint and Headless Mode to make flying effortless even for total beginners. Then you also have Orbit and Line Fly Mode to make the Zino Pro fly in a preset straight line or orbital paths. All of these help you focus more on taking the perfect photo or video.

The Zino Pro is also equipped with a smart failsafe, which determines how it behaves in case of low signal or low battery situations. If any are encountered, it will return to the origin point by default. But if the Zino Pro determines it can’t do that safely, then it will just slowly land in place.

Overall, the Hubsan Zino Pro is a mighty drone that’s available at a surprisingly accessible price. If you’re serious about the hobby, this is the drone to get.

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+ Pros

+ Accessible price tag
+ High-resolution 4K camera with 3-axis gimbal
+ Smart failsafe feature
+ Plenty of autonomous flight modes to choose from
+ Long-range and flight time

- Cons

- Slightly heavier than other compact drones
- Lacks the premium feel

Holy Stone HS150 Bolt Bee

Under $50, but still capable of reaching a 50km/h top speed. Crazy!

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Holy Stone HS150 Bolt Bee
  • Flight Time: 5-7 minutes
  • Range: 100 meters
  • Top Speed: 50 km/hour
  • Camera: None
  • Weight: 68g

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The Holy Stone HS150 is a simple yet fun to fly hobby drone that zips around like an angry little bee, hence the “Bolt Bee” nickname.

Due to its fast speeds, its also a great intro racing drone for complete beginners. But the great thing is that the HS150 is easy and straightforward to fly right out of the box. This is unlike some racing drones that need some setup and even upgrades to be usable.

Handling wise, the Bolt Bee is a dream. The included controller has responsive joysticks that precisely and instantly steer the drone to the desired direction. It’s perfect for fast and zippy flying.

The Bolt Bee is capable of achieving speeds of up to 50 km/h, which is fast for hobby drones. While it can’t overtake a dedicated racing drone, the speed is enough for you to practice racing with and get the “feel for it.”

But in case you just want to fly the HS150 casually just for fun, you do so as well. Just throttle it down via the five speed modes included.

The Bolt Bee would’ve been the perfect racing drone, if not for the lack of an FPV feature. Sadly, you can’t practice first-person racing with this drone, which severely limits its long term value.

Nevertheless, the Bolt Bee is an awesome intro racing drone for kids. At less than $50, it can give you a taste of drone racing and see if it’s for you. If not, at least you get a fun-to-fly recreational drone.

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+ Pros

+ Different flight speeds and modes make it suitable for beginners
+ Max speed of 50 km/h makes for a fun, high-speed flying
+ Super low price

- Cons

- 10-minute cooldown required between flight runs
- No camera — no FPV support

SNAPTAIN S5C

An FPV drone for beginner pilots that features voice and gesture control at a rock-bottom price. 

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SNAPTAIN S5C
  • Flight Time: 9 minutes (per battery)
  • Charge Time: ~90 minutes
  • Range: 80 meters
  • Remote Controller: controller with smartphone mount included
  • Camera: 720p HD / 0.3MP
  • Weight: 680g
  • Indoor and outdoor use

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The Snaptain S5C drone blurs the line between a toy and an adult hobby drone. For one, it has a cool, dark grey aesthetic with some great features that make it an adult toy.

Yet it’s inexpensive and easy to fly, making it perfect for kids as well. The best feature of the S5C is that it offers plenty of options to operate it. Some are crucial, while others are just for the fun of it.

One of the most important of which is one-touch takeoff and landing. Combined with Headless Mode, it makes using the drone straightforward for amateurs.

The S5C is also equipped with Altitude Hold that allows it to hover in place, making taking photos very straightforward. You can also use its semi-autonomous flight feature Trajectory Flight, which will enable you to draw a path in your smartphone app that the 5C drone will then follow. That leaves you free to frame shots as the drone moves.

Another innovative way to control the S5C – using voice and gestures! You can give the drone simple commands like “Takeoff” and “Forward” to direct it, and hand gestures to make it take a photo or stop recording. It’s a fun feature and really useful when taking selfies.

Finally, you can utilize Gravity Control mode, which allows you to control the S5C by tilting your smartphone. It’s definitely a unique way of piloting a drone that may appeal to some, but I personally don’t use it as much.

The rest of the features of this drone is basic at best, with a 720p HD camera. It has a decent flight time, though, at 16 minutes.

Overall, the Snaptain S5C is a fun-to-fly drone for the whole family. You’ll definitely spend a pleasant afternoon or two just trying out its many different flight modes.

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+ Pros

+ VR compatibility
+ Voice & gesture control
+ Includes spare battery
+ Variety of flight features
+ LED lighting

- Cons

- Some reports of flying malfunctions, though believed to be fixed by firmware updates
- Cheap build quality

Force1 F200SE

If you’re looking for a drone that ticks most of the boxes at an affordable price, this might be the one for you.

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Force1 F200SE

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The Force1 F200SE is a compact drone that looks like a toy drone but has all the features that adult users will appreciate. The drone is capable of up to 18 minutes of flight time, with a long range that makes it controllable up to 600 meters.

The F200SE is a GPS drone, which immediately gives it access to some crucial and nifty flight features. The most important, of course, is the Return to Home safety feature, which triggers when the drone is out of range or has critical battery levels.

The camera itself is of decent quality, capable of shooting in 1080p HD resolution. Thanks to the 600-meter range, the FPV (First Person View) mode on the F200SE is smooth and lag-free, and can even be used with a separate VR headset if you have one.

Other great auto flight features include Waypoint, which allows you to create custom paths for the F200SE to follow. Follow Me mode also makes the drone follow you around, while Sentry Mode makes the drone capture a 360 view of a set area.

Overall, the Force1 F200SE is an excellent hobby drone that ticks all the boxes at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

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Buyer’s Guide: Hobby Drones

Hobby drones is a broad topic, and the features that you’ll look for will depend on why you want to get one in the first place.

However, specific considerations are crucial regardless of your purpose. We’ll cover those first, then get into some more specific factors.

Things to Look For

Ease of Flight

The number one criteria for a hobby drone is that it should be easy to fly. Otherwise, it won’t be fun to operate at all, and what’s the whole point of doing it then?

First, you want a drone that’s agile and handles really well. You want it to hover and turn around effortlessly, and not struggle in any way. The controls must also be responsive; tilting your joystick left should immediately make the drone go left, with zero delays.

Second, the controller itself should be intuitive and comfortable to use. If it’s a physical joystick, make sure it’s fluid and ergonomic enough to handle for extended periods. For smartphone app controllers, the on-screen controls should be easy to use and direct.

Flight Stability

At the most basic, the drone should be able to hover by itself even when the pilot is hands-off from the controller. If this isn’t the case, then flying will be much more difficult and tedious.

Thankfully, most mid-level or even budget drones can do this, thanks to a combination of GPS and optical sensors. You can thus focus on actual flying maneuvers.

Also, make sure that the drone can withstand a reasonable amount of wind. If not, even the slightest breeze will knock it off the air, which doesn’t make it really suitable for outdoor use.  

Flight Time

Flight time is one of the most critical specs would be pilots always check first. It just goes to show that all of us really can’t get enough flying our drones!

How long your drone can fly is a consequence of its battery capacity. The bigger the capacity, the longer it can fly. But it can also make the drone heavier, which can negate some of the flying time gained.

Getting a drone with very short flying times can involve swapping batteries more often, which can ruin the momentum and become frustrating. Longer flight times are better, but also tend to be more expensive.

To start off, go for flight times of at least 15 minutes if you can. It’s also prudent to carry around a spare battery or two. Doing so can double or triple your total flight time without waiting for the current batteries to charge fully.

Safety Features

Sooner or later, you’ll inevitably pilot your drone and crash it. Sometimes, you’ll lose track of your battery capacity and have it die mid-air. Other times, it will go beyond the signal range and just fly off forever or crash down to the ground.

To protect your drone and yourself, it’s best to have safety features installed on your flyer. The basic one to have is Return to Home (RTH). This feature makes the drone return to its takeoff point whenever its batteries get critically low, or when it loses signal strength. Some drones will also alert you of its location in the event of a crash landing.

More advanced drones will have more robust features like obstacle avoidance, but these tend to be more expensive.

Durability

As we said, a hobby drone will crash sooner or later. We also mentioned that having safety features installed is a good insurance policy against your drone’s total destruction. But you can’t rely on these working all the time.

That’s why it’s essential also to consider the overall durability of your drone. A single crash shouldn’t be enough to take your drone out of commission just yet. 

Take note of your drones construction, and make sure it’s built with lightweight yet durable material like carbon fiber. A drone with a little resistance to light rains is also a plus to protect against sudden downpour of rain. 

Additional Things to Consider

Speed

If you’re interested in getting into drone racing someday, this is the most important spec you could get. Speed is a delicate balance that involves the drone’s motors, body weight, and propellers.

True racing drones run at speeds over 100 km/h, but most hobby drones won’t be that fast. However, you can get close just to get a feel of how it is to control a speedy drone. Speeds of around 50 – 70 km/h are good enough for practice.

FPV

Racing drones require that you use FPV (First Person Mode) while piloting your drone. It’s the only way to have a real-time view of your drone that allows you to react quickly and decisively to evade obstacles and turn around sharp corners.

To get the hang of it, be sure to get a hobby drone that supports FPV, as it takes some getting used to. When it comes to FPV, you’re less concerned about the video quality and more on the smooth, lag-free streaming of the live feed. This is dependent on the FPV transmission power of your drone, which should ideally be at 5G.

Wide Angle Lens

To give you a better FPV racing experience, it’s recommended that you go for a wide-angle lens for your camera. Doing so will provide you with a much broader view of your drone’s surroundings. This, in turn, makes you see better and maneuver obstacles much quicker.

Camera Quality

The majority of hobby drones would have built-in cameras installed, and luckily these are all of decent quality (at least 720p HD). However, if you’re interested in using your drone for some photography or videography sessions, then it might be worthwhile to get a better camera.

We recommend upgrading to at least a 2K HD camera, with 4K being the gold standard. A 1 / 2.3” CMOS sensor should also be the minimum that you go for, with a 1” sensor being the ideal. For photos, anything above 10 megapixels should give you beautiful results.

Gimbal or Image Stabilization

If you’re aiming for smooth video footage, then you need image stabilization. Without it, dramatic movement and sudden starts/stops of your drone will translate to excessive shake in the final footage.

This can be avoided with image stabilization, most often achieved with a gimbal. This is a device that can move the camera independently from the drone body, allowing it to cancel any movement made by moving the drone. This stabilizes the camera, and therefore the footage produced.

As a bonus, most gimbals will allow you to tilt the camera from 90 – 180 degrees. This makes framing shots easier without having to move the drone itself.

What Is A Hobby Drone?

Strictly speaking, any drone that isn’t used for commercial applications is considered a hobby drone. Also called consumer drones, they represent the most significant chunk of the drone market.

Hobby drones can cost anywhere from $30 or less to as much as $1,000 or more. Naturally, you’ll find a lot of variation within this range in terms of size, features, and specs.

Most hobby drones you find in the market can be divided into two major categories: toy drones and adult drones.

Toy drones are made to be used by children, so they’re generally simpler in terms of features. Their cameras, if any, are usually low resolution. They have a brushed motor that’s capable of flight, but not powerful enough to cause any serious injury when struck. They’re cheaper as well, with $100 models already considered expensive.

The irony with toy drones is that they’re usually much harder to control than an adult drone. This is because they lack any advanced features that make piloting easier, such as GPS. That’s why it’s best used by small kids who simply want to be entertained with a flying toy.

If you’re even mildly serious about getting into the drone hobby, better go for an adult drone. Even if you end up spending more, you get a drone that you’ll use for far longer.

These mid to high-end level drones offer better camera quality, longer flight times, and more powerful motors. They’re also not that expensive as you might think; $200 or so will get you a decent hobby drone.

What Makes Drones A Great Hobby?

Ask any drone user why they’re into the hobby, and they’ll usually say it’s very addicting! But ask them further why, and you’ll probably get a ton of answers. If you’re still deciding whether getting into the drone hobby is right for you, here are the many, many reasons why it’ a GREAT idea:

It’s fun and thrilling

The most straightforward yet best motivation to get into drones is that it’s entertaining! If you get a kick out of RC cars, then it’s a lot more exciting because you get the freedom of moving in three-dimensional space. Simply zooming around in an open field is a heck of a lot of fun. You wouldn’t understand it until you’ve tried it.

Then there’s the thrill of piloting the drone, especially the first time you pick up the remote controller. It’s similar to when you first start driving your car. There’s excitement, yet also the anxiousness that you might crash. But once you get the hang of it, the freedom drone flying gives you is addicting and exhilarating.

It’s not hard to learn

Flying a drone used to take a lot of concentration and skill to pull off. You had to carefully balance the drone rotors to make it hover in place, which is not much different on how you would pilot a real helicopter. We all know how hard that is. This inevitably discouraged and frustrated a lot of people from trying drones out.

However, with today’s technology, the learning curve for flying a drone has been significantly reduced. Even those with zero experience can pick up and successfully operate a drone thanks to features such as one-touch takeoff/landing and altitude hold.

For newbies, this means they can have fun flying a drone that much faster.

It takes photos and videos from new perspectives

One of the most common reasons people buy drones is for taking pictures. Indeed, photography and videography are one of the first industries drones changed forever.

This is because drones offer a brand new way to snap those photos. They give a different perspective that’s otherwise impossible for a human to do. Overhead shots, impossible angles, or even tilt-up shots from under a bridge are some of the fantastic perspective drones can achieve.

With drones, people have become budding photographers and cinematographers. Armed with a whole lot of imagination, we can now achieve $500,000 Hollywood-style cinematic shots with just a drone that costs less than $100.

For professional photographers and cinematographers who want to add drones in their arsenal, a hobby drone is a great place to start.

It’s a different way to race

One of the more exciting things to come out of this hobby is drone racing. It’s exactly what it sounds, and it’s as fun as you’re imagining it to be. 

You get to pilot a flying machine through obstacles and courses in excess of 100 km/h. What’s more amazing than that? Granted, it’s also much more challenging, but that’s where the fun and thrill of drone racing is. Drone racing also requires FPV (First Person View), making the whole thing even more immersive.

Drone racing is a serious business, and there’s a vibrant community of racers and modders waiting for you. If you got the need for speed, drone racing might be your next big thing.

It’s deep and immersive

The subject of drones is deep and technical but in a good way. It’s a topic that you can definitely geek on about. 

You can talk about drone parts, performance, and flying techniques all day. You’ll get lost reading Reddit threads and YouTube videos. Then there’s the community popping up around the world where you can join and bond with others over the love of drones.

For a lot of owners, this rich enthusiast culture is an excellent draw for the hobby.

And if you really want to geek out and get serious about drones, why not build your own? Now, this is a topic that gets fun and immersive. There are endless configurations and combinations you can try, and so many enhancements you can experiment on. DIY drones and racing go exceptionally well together since the best racers are those that build their own drones.

It’s a great way to escape

Much like gardening or biking, flying a drone is an excellent mental escape. It’s a relaxing activity meant to make you forget about your life’s worries. At the moment, it’s only you and the drone. Time passes by so quickly.

You can do it anywhere

The great thing about drones is that you can fly it anywhere (assuming it’s legal to do so). Most hobbies require large equipment (like cycling) or lots of different tools.

Drones, on the other hand, are portable. A lot of them are compact or fold down into a more manageable size. You can stow them in your bag or keep them in your pocket and fly them whenever you feel like it.

Of course, do make sure that flying a drone is allowed in your area before doing so. Some cities and states have restrictions on where you’re allowed to operate drones. Check with local authorities to be sure.

Suitable for all ages

Drones are what you might have called “toys for the big boys.” But not anymore. Drones are available machines that can be played by anyone of all ages. No longer are they only the domain of professionals – even young kids can get in on the drone craze with the availability of toy versions in the market.

It’s relatively safe

Compared to other outdoor recreational activities like biking or hiking, flying a drone is relatively safe. After all, your drone is doing all the moving, and you’re just rooted in one spot. Even if you’re inexperienced, a crash will result in no serious injury even if you do get hit.

Of course, this isn’t an excuse for NOT exercising safety procedures when flying a drone. You must still be mindful of your surroundings when operating one if only to protect your investment.

It doesn’t have to be expensive

Drones used to cost an arm and a leg, and hence why only professionals or those with bottomless pockets can afford them. 

However, thanks to the explosion of consumer drones, the market responded by making them more accessible. At the same time, technology has also matured to the point that drones can be manufactured at a much lower cost.

Now, you can experience the joys of flying a drone for as little as $50. Granted, this will be a basic flyer with no extras whatsoever. Still, even a decent feature-packed model should cost you less than $300 on average.

Of course, if you want to splurge on a drone, you can still do so. If you have the money to spend, then you’ll be spoiled with even more powerful options that’ll rival what Hollywood uses in its blockbuster films.

This flexibility in the budget range makes drones so much more accessible to just about anyone willing to give them a try. The hobby is expensive only when you want it to be.

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DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini

The Mavic Mini has replaced the hugely popular Spark model and will become one of the most popular drones of all time.

Tello Quadcopter

Tello Quadcopter

The Tello Quadcopter is our value pick due to great features and a budget-friendly pricepoint.

Holy Stone HS270

Holy Stone HS270

A little more pricey, but the 2K video, Follow Me, GPS & extras certainly make it a worthwhile investment.