After you decide which drone is the best drone for you, you’ll need to find a place to buy it. There are local shops around the globe that you can walk in and grab a drone off the shelf, but today we will look at some of the best online retailers for the task.
The choices may be obvious, but let’s see if we can introduce you to something new anyway.
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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.
What to look for
The right place to buy a drone may not be the manufacturer or the place that just happens to have the unit in stock at the time. Your purchasing decision should be thought out, as there is more at stake here than just a toy.
Please keep in mind, here in the United States if your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs it is a federally regulated aircraft. It is your job as the pilot to ensure the safe flight and landing of the craft. Buying an unreliable drone, or one that is somehow unfit to fly due to seller neglect is still your responsibility in the air.
See also: All drones on sale today.
I hope it goes without saying that the basics of a purchase are important here. Be sure to choose a retailer that has been in service a while, or at least is proving a reliable reputation. Be sure there is good support services for the purchase, if not for the drone itself, and that a return/replacement policy is in place for your needs.
Where do we shop?
It should be no surprise to you, Amazon is our go-to retailer for most drone purchases. They are a long way from being a helpful source of drone knowledge, but they certainly have one of the largest selections of drones and accessories you’ll find out there.
It feels silly trying to explain Amazon to you. They are the multi-billion dollar company that has all but redefined the shopping experience for the world. They likely have the drone you are looking for, at a good price and their return policy is top notch.
B&H Photo is an online retailer that focuses on camera equipment. As we all know, a good drone is just a camera with wings, so B&H have filled their shelves. Whenever we attend a drone convention, B&H always has a booth. They are a great place to visit if you want to see a bunch of options, instead of just what a manufacturer has on display.
B&H does mostly focus on consumer products, but they dabble in some of the more consumer friendly professional machines as well. At InterDrone 2017 B&H let us put hands on the FreeFly Alta 8, a powerful $17,000 drone.
As we just discussed, if a drone is a flying camera for most people, then B&H is not the only retailer around, Adorama is a solid source for camera equipment and drones. You’ll mostly find the standard consumer products on their store, but they have a good selection of accessories as well.
Best Buy is a fairly major consumer electronics retailer, and as it turns out, many of the best drones are consumer electronics. Last time I was in a Best Buy store they were all but sold out of DJI products, but they had a good amount of Autel Robotics, Parrot and UDI drones in house.
Hopping over to Best Buy online offers up a vast selection of drones, not as much as Amazon, but pretty close if you include the Marketplace. Once again, this is not a drone specialists retailer, but as one of the largest electronics retailers around, they back their products well. We bought our original GoPro Karma from Best Buy, they were very friendly and fast about the return after the recall.
The folks at Flite Test are a passionate group of hobby pilots. They have more of a focus on fixed-wing airplanes, but they also have plenty of racing drones in their arsenal. Let me be blunt, their YouTube content covering the education of RC airplanes has been fascinating and very inspiring for me. They show you how to build, repair and tweak all sorts of airplanes, and their store is packed with free plans, inexpensive materials and build kits, more complete speed build kits that they do some of the work for you, and more. Basically, everyone can find something here, from the DIY builder that just needs parts, all the way up to the casual pilot that wants to fly out of the box.
The Flite Test store recently updated and expanded, they now carry some DJI drones and more.
As mentioned above, you can hit nearly any of the drone manufacturers‘ websites for buying options. We haven’t created links to those sites, but you can at least get a feel for their drones from our guides.
Make no mistake, we have serious reservations about buying used drones from unknown sources. You just never know what they’ve been through. It’s a good thing that eBay has matured well beyond simply selling used products.
We urge you to shop wisely, consider the vendor, their location and their return policies, then make sure that your purchase is still eligible for factory warranty, but then the sky is the limit. You can find almost any drone on eBay, just start your search and get ready to fly.
Where do you shop?
This is not an exhaustive list of drone retailers, not by a long shot, we just wanted to get the ball rolling. Please hit us up in the comments if you’d like to make recommendations for your favorite drone retailer, otherwise, stay tuned for future updates with new stores.
Frequently Asked Questions
While this varies by manufacturer, we’ve yet to see a manufacturer that does not at least honor their standard 1-year coverage for new drone purchases.
Your ability to purchase the optional additional coverage, such as DJI’s Care Refresh program, may be limited to drones purchased only from authorized dealers. That does include the DJI Store on Amazon, Best Buy, Adorama, B&H Photo, and many more. Just make sure before you buy.
Please do some research before you purchase a used drone. Make sure the machine operates properly, look for signs of any major crashes and repairs, ask about warranty, and make sure that the machine is still a supported device by the manufacturer.
Most drones on the market now can be software locked from flying, it is not common practice to lock an older drone on a software level, but it will eventually stop receiving further software updates, including security patches and geo information for flight areas.
Your needs in the sky will dictate the type of drone you need. Generally speaking, toy-class drones will run under $100, adding GPS functionality usually starts at around $250. Racing drones will also run about $250-$300.
An entry-level camera drone starts at about $300. A $500 drone will have a camera about as good as a smartphone, and some obstacle avoidance sensors. Going up to about $1000 will gradually improve the camera, add more obstacle avoidance sensors, and some auto-pilot flight features.
A drone with a camera better than the best smartphones out there will run you $1,000 and up. You’ll find a few great options under $1,500. A drone with a DSLR-level camera will start at at least $2,000. That said, you can snag a sub-$2,000 drone that is made to haul your DSLR into the sky.
Drones with infrared cameras generally cost at least $2,000 as well, with most commercial-class drones – the kind that are ready for multiple payloads, lots of interchangeable sensors, and safety features like parachutes – will start around $5,000.