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Quadcopters have become very, very popular in recent years. Whether you just enjoy playing around with remote control aircraft or you want a small drone to observe the local area with, quadcopters are extremely fun and very useful to have. They differ slightly from R/C helicopters. Helicopters have just two rotors whereas quadcopters use four different rotors for enhanced maneuverability. Some are equipped with cameras for snapping pictures of the environment and some even come with HD video cameras to record the entire flying experience in brilliant clarity.
Finding the right quadcopter can be very difficult, though. There are thousands of these little aircraft available on the market today. Some are designed for very casual use by kids while others are meant for more serious hobbyists with more experience. Some models are even designed specifically for professional use. These remote control copters vary in price, features, durability, and more. Picking one out can be super hard. Consumer Essentials is here to help. We’ve flown several dozens of these nifty little gadgets and tested them extensively. Below is a list of our top 5 favorites.
Finding the right quadcopter can be a bit of a struggle. There are many different models available, a lot of them have similar features, and picking the perfect one can be tough, especially if you’re just getting started with the hobby. We’ve tested loads of these gadgets and created a list of what we believe to be the five best quadcopters available. Take a look at them and pick the one that fits your needs.
The Quadcopter Lover’s Buying Guide
Thinking about getting started with drones or looking to get a new one? Drones have come a very long way in the past few years. They used to be made of cheap materials, have horrible flying capabilities, and cost a small fortune to own. As the years have gone by the technology in these machines has greatly improved. Now, they’re able to maintain stable flight, withstand taking nasty falls, and even come with cameras for capturing stunning photos and videos of the landscape.
Finding the right one for your personal needs and goals can be tough, though. While some people may be looking to use a quadcopter for capturing professional-grade video or stills at great distances, others simply want to enjoy flying a remote-controlled drone in a small, confined area.
There are hundreds of these little devices on the market these days. A lot of them have the same features, but some are made of lesser-quality materials, some are equipped with outdated cameras, and some are just awful for flying.
Don’t let that deter you from picking one up, though! As long as you do proper research you can get your hands on a great copter. Consumer Essentials has gone through all the troubles of trial and error with more than 50 different copters to determine which ones are the best. The five we listed above are the ones we believe are the best to own.
To help you narrow down your selection even further, though, let’s talk about what you should look for in a quality drone. Below we’ve outlined some of the features and aspects of quadcopters you should check out before actually buying one.
The biggest thing is to find a copter that actually flies well. The best ones will have what is known as a 6-axis gyro. This is an internal system that helps automatically align the device while it’s in flight. While experienced R/C enthusiasts may be able to control a unit without much assistance, most drone fliers need great stability regardless in order to capture high-quality images and videos. Beginners will most definitely want a device that has superb auto-stabilization features as it will make learning how to fly the drone much easier.
Most of the mid to high-end quadcopters come equipped with a 6-axis gyro for this purpose. Really, most copters have it in general. Only the super cheap models or Chinese-made varieties don’t have it.
Again, most drone enthusiasts purchase a copter for the sole purpose of flying around and snapping cool pictures and videos from the environment. For that reason, you’ll definitely want to find a copter that has a decent on-board camera. Most come equipped with HD cameras that can take great stills and decent videos.
Higher-end models, such as the DJI Phantom 3, even have 4k resolution cameras attached. These devices are primarily designed for professionals or dedicated drone enthusiasts, though. The price on these models is often quite high, but the quality of videos and pictures they can take is unmatched.
Mid-grade options are often more than enough for beginner or casual fliers. They come with 4 to 8 megapixel cameras that take fantastic photos and decent-quality videos from the sky. They also, like the more expensive models, support the use of SD cards for expanded storage.
Low-quality, cheaper quadcopters often don’t feature a camera at all or have a sub-par camera attached to them. These models often only have a 2 or 3 megapixel camera which, in this day and age, is quite outdated. These can take okay photos and videos, but don’t expect them to be cinema-quality by any means.
Finally, it’s always important to consider your personal budget when buying a drone, or anything for that matter. Luckily, there are decent options available in nearly any price range. For higher-end models you’ll need to expect to pay $800 to $1,000 or more. Mid-grade options are available for $100 to $200. Entry-level options that are mostly just for having fun flying around in a small space are typically $30 to $60 each.