Which drone should you buy in 2018?

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Drones come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from pocket flyers to commercial hexacopters. This drone buying guide should help you find your perfect match — whether you want to race or capture crisp aerial footage.

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Which drone is right for you?

Sometimes, people ask us for advice on what to buy. They will often say something like: “What is the best drone I can buy?” This is not an unreasonable query — we are the experts, after all. But drones are not all made for the same purpose. Some are designed for racing speed, while others carry cameras on rock-steady gimbals. Consequently, a better question would be: “Which drone best suits my needs?”

To help you answer this qualified question, we have put together our very own drone buying guide.

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The complete package

What drone should I buy?

The first step in buying a drone is to think about how you plan to use your RC aircraft. Drones largely fall into three categories: racers, tricksters, and filmmakers.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want a drone that can put on a stunt show?
  • Will I ever want to try drone racing?
  • Am I likely to use my drone for taking photos and videos?

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Takeoff time

Specific features

Once you have identified the purpose of your drone, it’s time to dig into the technical details. No, don’t walk away! Actually, there are only a few specs you need to look out for.

  • Range: this number tells you how far away from the controller your drone can fly.
  • Flying time: tells you how long your drone can spend in the air without a battery change.
  • Top speed: obviously worth checking out if you plan to race.
  • GPS: this feature allows your drone to fly back to base if it loses signal.
  • Stabilization: helps you keep your drone steady in tight spaces.

The other main factor is price. Drones range from $50 to thousands of dollars. To some degree you get what you pay for, although not always. However, beginner pilots would be well advised to learn on an affordable drone, just in case of any mishaps.

With these considerations in mind, let’s have a look at some of the options.

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Skeye Nano drone

What is the best stunt drone?

If you just want to impress your friends with aerial trickery, it’s not necessary to break the bank. Mini drones, such as the Skeye Nano ($74), are both fun and challenging to fly. This tiny flyer can pull 360º flips and figure-eights around the office.

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The gesture-controlled KD Aura

The KD Aura ($59.99) offers an interesting alternative. You control this drone with hand gestures — it feels more like training a dog than flying a quadcopter.

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The speedy Teal drone

Which drone should I buy for racing?

In terms of flat-out speed, the Teal drone ($1319) is pretty hard to beat. This remarkable quadcopter can fly at up to 70 mph, with acceleration of 0–60 mph in just 1.1 seconds. It also has a 4K camera on board and a flying time of around 20 minutes.

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The Nimbus 195 is made from carbon fiber

However, racing usually involves turns. Thanks to a carbon fiber body, the Nimbus 195 ($160) offers better maneuverability and durability. It’s also 1/10th of the price!

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DJI’s Mavic Pro

Which is the best camera drone?

Among professional photographers, the DJI Mavic Pro ($999) is by far the most popular camera drone. This drone offers 30 minutes of flying time and 4K video. But the best feature is the folding design; once you have finished flying, the Mavic Pro fits in your backpack.

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The DJI Inspire 2

Unlimited budget? Then you might want to consider the DJI Inspire 2 ($2999.99). It’s big and heavy, but this flying camera rig takes shots that Steven Spielberg would be proud of.

Flying high

Hopefully, our guide has cleared up some of the mystery surrounding RC flyers. If you already have a drone, we would love to hear your feedback. How does it fly? Was it worth the money? And if you’re yet to buy, what drone has caught your eye? Tell us in the comments!

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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