We all have to start somewhere, and when it comes to drones, there are many machines to choose from. The last thing we want to do with our drones is crash, but it’s going to happen. Beginner pilots have a lot to learn; flying a quadcopter or similar drone is fairly easy, but mastering it can take some time.

DJI Mini 2 front 2

We’ve previously discussed cheap drones, the ones that you can afford to crash, but we’re taking a different perspective here today, these are the drones, regardless price, that are the best drones for beginners.

Jonathan Feist, Drone PilotJonathan Feist

Why trust Drone Rush?

I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.

 

Best drones for beginners

Hubsan H111: Nano drone to fly in the house

Hubsan H111 nano drone in hand

The Hubsan H111 is a fun little toy drone, very suitable as your first drone, but only if you only fly indoors or on very calm days. This tiny craft has a few minutes of flight time, is easy to operate, but tough to master, for that reason, we value it as a tool to learn how to fly. There are not flight assist features, just a pure piloting experience from a resilient and affordable toy drone.

Why we fly the Hubsan H111

I’ve flown many aircraft over the years, and the H111 remains within arm’s reach at my desk. It’s the perfect little machine to continue to hone my piloting skills without having to leave my office. 

What we like


  • Very affordable
  • Tiny and easy to transport
  • Fun to fly
  • Helps to develop piloting skills

What we don’t like


  • Just a tiny toy for indoor flight
  • Only a few minutes of flight time

Hubsan H111
Hubsan H111
  • Fun to fly
  • Safe for indoors
  • Good trainer
Safe indoor drone

The Hubsan H111 is one of the best nano drones for flying around the house. It is a tiny machine that fits in the palm of the hand, flies slowly and is small enough that it is unlikely to cause harm to you or your house when it crashes. Enjoy a low-risk simple flight experience.


Syma X5C: Affordable trainer drone

Syma X5C

The Syma X5C is a popular airframe, available in many models, and even from a few different brands. The benefit to this tiny machine is its resilience when you crash. Look, we crashed ours almost every time we flew, seriously. We were still new to the hobby, learning how to fly, and the X5C would forgivingly float to the ground and gently bounce in the grass.

Why we fly the Syma X5C

We think the Syma X5C is a superb drone for first time outdoor pilots. We started on it, and we let children fly it successfully. It was our go-to starter drone until the connectivity issues led to a flyaway situation. Flyaways are serious, don’t let them happen! We totally got our money’s worth though. 

What we like


  • Fun and educational
  • Easy to modify

What we don’t like


  • Poor connectivity
  • Limited flight time
  • Terrible camera

Syma X5C
Syma X5C
  • Great beginner's drone
  • Easy to fly
  • Resilient
Beginner's drone

An excellent starter drone, the Syma X5C is resilient, reliable and easy to operate. Nothing fancy here, just a simple toy-class drone to practice flying a drone.


Hubsan H107 H107L toy drone

The Hubsan H107 is another series of superb starter drones. The various models start at around $30, offering things like propeller guards, cameras and more as options. The base package is a good starting place, do not invest too much into this craft, you’ll only fly it for a while until you get the feel for drones and move on to something more substantial.

Why we fly the Hubsan H107

The H107 is a fantastic starting place for any drone pilot. It’s comparable to the Syma X5C in terms of capabilities and configurations, but is a dedicated product from a passionate toy-maker.

What we like


  • Great starter drone
  • Easy to fly
  • Few flight assist features

What we don’t like


  • Limited flight time

Hubsan H107
Hubsan H107
  • Great beginner's drone
  • Simple to fly
Beginner's drone

If you are looking for a solid starter drone, an inexpensive quadcopter for beginners, the Hubsan H107 series of drones is a great start.


DJI Mavic Mini: Best 2.7K video camera under $500

DJI Mavic Mini review remote front over drone

The DJI Mavic Mini is pretty much the most affordable and accessible GPS-enabled camera drone on the market. We know of no other machine in this price range that offers a 2.7K this good, and there are certainly no others that are equipped with DJI’s powerful flight features.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic Mini

After you’ve had the chance to fly a very inexpensive toy drone, the Mavic Mini is a great starting place for a GPS camera drone. Make no mistake, it flies just as well as almost all of DJI’s consumer drones, and it is not equipped with a 4K camera like most of the other DJI drones, but if you want the least expensive option for a DJI product, this is it! Don’t downplay the significance of it, our Mavic Mini is still one of our favorite machines to fly.

What we like


  • Most affordable DJI drone
  • Good 2.7K camera
  • Solid GPS-enabled flight

What we don’t like


  • Average flight time
  • Better than the toys, but not a full camera drone

DJI Mavic Mini
DJI Mavic Mini
  • 249 grams
  • Great 2.7K camera
  • Very portable
The smallest Mavic drone

The DJI Mavic Mini is the best drone to hit the market in 2019. It's no Mavic 2 series drone, but we've seen nothing this good under $500 before.

$ 298 at Amazon
Save $101.00

DJI Mini 2: Best 4K video camera under $500

DJI Mini 2 flying angle bushes

Were you reading about the DJI Mavic Mini and hoping for something a little more? The DJI Mini 2 is the drone you’re looking for. It enjoys the same compact and very portable size as the previous model, but bumps up the flight time, moves to a 4K camera, and improves the connectivity by a long shot.

Why we fly the DJI Mini 2

Once again, if you are shopping for a GPS-enabled camera drone, and your budget is under $500, yes, you should absolutely buy the Mini 2.

What we like


  • Good 4K camera
  • Best drone under $500
  • Weighs under 250g

What we don’t like


  • Not the best 4K camera around

DJI Mini 2
DJI Mini 2
  • 4K camera
  • Very portable
  • Easy to fly
  • 249 grams
Best drone under $500

The DJI Mini 2 is a superb update from the Mavic Mini, now offering a 4K camera, Ocusync 2.0 and more power.


DJI Air 2S: 5.4K video camera under $1,000

DJI Air 2S

The DJI Sir 2S is a treat. Not only is it one of the best camera drones around, particularly at its price point, but it’s also one of the best connected machines in the sky today. With a rated range of 7.5 miles, you are practically guaranteed a solid connection at closer range. As you bop around, be sure to hit record so you’re always capturing 5.4K video from the sky.

Why we fly the DJI Air 2S

If your drone budget is up to $1,000, or a little more, the Air 2S is pretty much the best camera in the sky for you. Beginner pilots can still enjoy this drone, it’s super easy to fly, but more mature pilots can also enjoy it.

What we like


  • Great 5.4K camera
  • Zooming camera
  • Best drone under $1000
  • Class-leading connectivity

What we don’t like


  • A little pricey for a beginner pilot

DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S
  • Great camera
  • 5.4K video
  • 8X zoom
  • Compact and easy to use
  • Fantastic range
Affordable 5.4K camera

The DJI Air 2S is easily the best camera drone for most uses. The 1-inch sensor produces fantastic images from the sky, and the compact, folding design of the quadcopter is familiar and reliable – it may not be in the name, but this is still a Mavic drone.

$ 1279 at Amazon
Save $20.00

Ryze Tello: Fun indoor drone

Ryze Tello Iron Man Edition banner

The Ryze Tello is a fantastic place to begin your drone piloting career. Tello goes beyond just being a fun little drone to fly around the house, it allows aspiring computer programmers to slap together some code to navigate the drone.

Why we fly the Ryze Tello

Tello is a lot of fun to fly around the house, but it’s true value is in education. If learning to code is not your desire, Tello is still a fun beginner’s drone, but you might get as much experience out of the smaller toys.

What we like


  • Educational
  • Fun and easy to fly

What we don’t like


  • A little pricey if you don’t care about coding

Ryze Tello
Ryze Tello
  • Educational drone
  • Safe for indoor flight
  • Fun to fly
Educational drone

The Ryze Tello is one of the most capable and versatile mini drones around, enjoy different designs, code your own flight features, or just fly in your living room for fun.


Walkera Rodeo 110: Beginner racing drone

The Walkera Rodeo 110 is an older racing drone, but it’s fairly small and affordable, making it an ideal first drone for aspiring racing pilots. The Rodeo 110 is resilient enough to stand up to some basic bumps and bruises, and modular enough to recover from the big bumps. You’ll eventually want to upgrade to a faster racing drone, but the Rodeo 110 is a solid place to get some experience on the sticks.

Why we fly the Walkera Rodeo 110

When you get deep into the world and community of racing drones, you may leave the Rodeo 110 at home, but in terms of getting your first flight in, getting a feel for the sticks, and learning how to repair a drone, this is a solid starting place. 

What we like


  • Small racing drone
  • Good speeds
  • Fun to fly
  • Challenging as you learn

What we don’t like


  • Not competitive for higher-tier races
  • Bind-and-fly drone, requires third-party controller

Walkera Rodeo 110
Walkera Rodeo 110
  • Retired
  • Small and fast racing drone
  • For beginners
Small starter racing drone

The Walkera Rodeo 110 is the smallest in the Rodeo line of racing drones. A great beginners drone for the racing world.


DJI Robomaster TT: Tello for education

DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent

The DJI Robomaster TT (Tello Talent) is an advanced iteration of the Tello platform. DJI picked it up and added it to their robotics programs for education. The result is a proven little airframe, but now with a bunch of accessories, optional configurations, and more emphasis on the coding experience.

Why we fly the DJI Robomaster TT

This could be a hard sell to a brand new pilot at home. There are many benefits to the platform if you desire to learn how it all works, but a pilot that just wants a ready-to-fly drone out of the box should look elsewhere.

What we like


  • Very educational
  • Lots of modules and parts
  • Lots of fun

What we don’t like


  • Steep learning curve

DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent
DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent
Educational drone

Built for the classroom, the DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent is an accessible platform to learn how to code drone navigational techniques and more. A welcome educational drone.


Air Hogs drones

Airhogs drones

Please do not mistake any of these drones for high-quality fliers, however, if you have a small budget and just want to have some fun, there are some really cool ideas in the Air Hogs lineup


Fat Shark 101 race trainer

Fat Shark 101 drone racing

If all you are looking for is a solid kit with a fun entry level racing drone, one of the biggest players in the racing leagues has got you covered, this is the Fat Shark 101 race trainer. Included is everything you’ll need to experience the sport of drone racing.

This drone will never keep up with high sped racers on an advanced circuit, but for booting around the living room or backyard, nothing is missing.

Learn how to fly a racing drone with the Fat Shark 100 trainer for $241 today. Regularly $249.


PowerUp FPV

PowerUp FPV paper airplane drone

Have you ever thought about putting these drone motors on your own creation? PowerUp certainly has. They’ve come a long way since we first heard of them – a few iterations later we get the PowerUp FPV. Take your paper airplane and attach this dual propeller motor assemble with FPV camera. They teamed with parrot to create the 720p module, and the kit comes with a Google Cardboard type viewer, so grab your phone, fold some paper and get ready to fly.

Check out the PowerUp FPV for $80 on Amazon today.

The PowerUp 4.0 is much smaller and lighter, offers better flight time and more controls, check it out for $80


Pre-flight checklist

Before we dive into our list of drones, let’s talk about your pre-flight procedures, a well planned flight is often a safe and error free flight.

First up, know your local laws. In the United States all drones over 0.55lbs will need to be registered with the FAA before you fly. You will also have to follow a strict set of guidelines that ensure the safety of others.

Know the drone laws and rules in your area before you fly 


Next up, basic safety and flight procedures. We preach time and again flying safely and legally in your area. Safety is easy with a few smart decisions. From there, ensuring your drone comes back in one piece is another topic. We have decent first flight procedures and a things not to do in the following links:

More than anything else, have some fun out there. Quadcopters and other small drones are so much fun to fly, offer an amazing camera experience and are easy to operate safely if you take your time.

There are so many styles of drones out there, we primarily stuck with the quadcopter setup, it is the easiest to fly and by far the most common. Although we do suggest starting with an inexpensive drone to learn the basics, we can understand how wanting to step up to your full time drone immediately can be appealing. If you take it slow, be very careful and give yourself lots of room to operate, we suspect you can get by. Just try to avoid some of the more common mistakes pilots make.

The real thing to keep in mind for any beginner out there, know your local laws, take precautions so that you don’t make any of the common mistakes most first time pilots do and give yourself lots of room to operate.

Have some fun, but always fly safe!


Frequently Asked Questions

How old do I have to be to fly a drone?

The FAA does not place an age limit for pilots of small drones, however, you must be at least 13 years old to register your drone. For hobby flights, the FAA does not explicitly say that the registered owner of a drone has to be present for any flights, but the owner is still responsible for any issues that arise from the flight.

For commercial operations, you must be 16 years old to acquire your Part 107 certification, and there must be a certified pilot in command for all flights, but again, the age of the actual pilot is not specified.

For hobby drones under 0.55lbs, 250 grams, there is no age limit, nor a need to register before flight, but all of the rules of the sky still apply.

Should I buy the cheapest drone possible?

As we always say around here, there is a quality drone in most price brackets, and your needs of the drone will dictate the price bracket you’ll be wanting to consider. We encourage you to look at the fun $20 nano drones, and/or $30 toy-class drones as your very first flight.

It just makes sense to learn how things work and make your mistakes on a low-cost machine. From there, racing enthusiasts are going to want to spend upwards of $300 on a solid machine, camera drone fans will be looking at $400 and up before they get a camera of any significant quality.

How many drones can fly in the same place at the same time?

If you are looking to throw a little drone party, you might be considering having multiple drones flying at the same time. Almost every drone on the market operates in the 2.4 or 5 GHz frequency ranges. That said, they usually differ very slightly within a few channels. On the racing scene, you’ll mostly find up to 40 different available video channels, but there may only be about 8 clean control channels.

If your chosen drone uses a basic analog connection, then you may see cross-talk with just a few drones connected, more advanced drones can dynamically scan frequencies to find an open channel, higher-end drones will use a digital connection, which is sometimes encrypted, making it very hard to hijack the drone with unauthenticated signals.

Bottom line, the exact number of drones you can connect simultaneously differs based on the manufacturer and drones in use, but we expect you can get at least four at the same time without much trouble.

Note: You are legally only allowed to fly one drone per pilot. If you were looking to throw a drone light show, you’ll need to work closely with the FAA to get all of the requisite waivers for the operation.

Do I need a drone license?

Yes. There are two classifications for drone licensing, for recreation and commercial operations.

If you are flying for fun, and will not be compensated for your flight, or for the media you capture from the sky, you will require your TRUST Certification.

If you receive any compensation for your flight, including getting ad money from a YouTube video, you need your Part 107 certification.

Aside from licensing, please remember that you need to register your drone before you fly, this goes for hobby and commercial aircraft.

Drone Remote ID, does it matter?

The FAA is rolling out Remote ID requirements starting April 21, 2021. Unless you are flying at a registered hobby field, practically every drone that weighs 0.55 lbs (250 grams) or more will need a Remote ID broadcast. There’s a good chance your drone needs an upgrade, a new attachment, or even to be replaced in the near future. So, yes, Remote ID matters. You have until October 2023 to upgrade or replace your drone.


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