Drone Vs UAV – Choosing the best drone or UAV for your needs can prove challenging—especially if you don’t know much about them. You may want to buy one as a gift. Instead, you might want a drone to have fun on the weekend.
You may even want a drone to start a professional photography business. There are so many options when it comes to drones.
How do you know what’s right for you?
Well, the answer, in part, depends on your skillset. It may also depend on how much you’re willing to spend. With these points in mind, a bit more information might make your decision easier.
To learn more about choosing the best drone for your needs, keep reading.
Drone Versus UAV: Clearing up the Confusion
- A drone is an unmanned aircraft. It may receive guidance remotely or fly autonomously.
- The same applies to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Both UAVs and drones can fly without a pilot on board.
- Often, you’ll hear the media in the military refer to these craft as drones. However, the FAA refers to them as UAVs.
- In reality, however, they’re one and the same. You can even use the two terms interchangeably.
Whatever you want to call it, these two words simply need an aerial device that can fly without a human on board. In the most advanced cases, drones—or UAVs—can fly with zero human input.
Take the fixed-wing drone, for instance. It’s the perfect example of a drone. The craft’s name comes from the fact that it has straight side wings that don’t move during flight. It could cost thousands to hire a professional drone pilot for commercial use. Some businesses buy self-piloting drones for this reason.
Here, however, we won’t take away your fun. In just a moment, we’re going to take a closer look at the kind of drone where you get to get in the pilot’s seat.
1. Drones in Action
You might see a drone in outer space, such as the Mars Helicopter. You could also see a drone used for disaster relief.
You could also see a drone exploring the far reaches of Antarctica. You may even have a drone deliver a package right to your door if you’re lucky.
Originally, researchers created drones for aerospace and military use. Now, however, drones have hit the mainstream. Today’s drones are safe and efficient. What’s more, they operate with various levels of autonomy—even in the consumer space.
The type of drone that you’re interested in requires you to control its movement. However, the most advanced drones use LIDAR detectors to figure out where to go.
Today, people use drones to perform a range of tasks that range from ho-hum to extremely dangerous. For instance, rescuers might use a drone to deliver supplies to avalanche victims in the Swiss Alps. Conversely, you could see the Prime Air delivery drone dropping off your latest Amazon order.
2. Drone Capabilities
Drones can travel different heights and distances. A “very close range” drone usually travels about three miles from the operator. This is the type of drone used by most hobbyists.
Meanwhile, a “close range” drone might travel up to about 30 miles. Next, a short-range drone can travel even farther, remaining operable for up to 90 miles. Agencies may use this kind of drone for exciting tasks, such as espionage and intelligence gathering.
However, there’s more. A midrange drone can travel as far as 400 miles from its operator. Agencies may use this kind of drone for intelligence gathering or scientific studies.
Finally, a long-range drone can go much further than the 400-mile mark. What’s more, it can fly at up to 3,000 feet in the air. It’s these capabilities that make drones perfect for their respective uses.
The Best Drone for Beginning Pilots
If you’re looking for the best drones for beginners, there are a lot to choose from. They come in all shapes and sizes.
What’s more, today’s beginner drones are stable and easy to fly. More importantly, they’re sturdy enough to survive a few crash landings as you learn your way around the controller.
If you’re looking for a starter drone, a couple of models stand out—the DJI Mavic Mini and Mini 2.
1. DJI Mavic
The DJI Mavic is a great choice if you don’t need a high-resolution, 4K video camera. You can even fly the DJI Mavic with the DJI Fly app using your iPhone or Android device. It’s even a good option for young pilots.
This drone has a 4 km range. Also, its battery lasts for 30 minutes.
However, this entry-level drone does not have anti-collision features. Still, its footage is beautiful and punchy, even though it’s not high resolution. If you want a drone but don’t need HD imaging, it’s a better value than our next entry, the DJI Mini 2.
2. DJI Mini 2
The DJI Mini 2 is a step up from the DJI Mini. Still, it’s ultra-compact and easy to use. It’s another great drone if you’re just getting started.
It even comes with a 12 megapixel, 4K resolution camera. Furthermore, like its cousin, the DJI Mini, it has a pretty good battery life, providing operators with about 30 minutes of flight time. With the DJI Mini 2, however, you also have access to a fantastic camera.
The included upgrades with both models make them an excellent choice for beginning pilots. They’re also both small enough to slip into your jacket pocket.
Furthermore, they feature a streamlined handset that’s advanced yet intuitive. They allow you to enter subtle inputs without feeling overwhelmed.
Best Affordable Drone
If you’re looking for the most affordable drone, take a look at the DJI Mavic Mini. This drone is the best affordable choice for most beginners.
- It retails for $399.99. This price is great for a top-quality beginner’s drone.
- Also, it’s small. You can hide it under an iPhone.
- The DJI Mavic Mini weighs just a hair over half a pound. As a result, you won’t need to register it with the FAA.
Best Photography Drone
- If it’s top-notch photography you’re after, the DJI Mavic 2 is your drone. It comes with a 12-megapixel sensor.
- However, it also features 4x zoom.
- DJI designed the Mavic 2 specifically for dynamic and creative photography. Its related features open up a new world of aerial photography for drone operators. It enables them to capture amazing, epic cinematic shots.
- The Mavic 2 features a 48 mm telephoto lens. Other models ship with a 24 mm wide-angle lens.
- The Mavic 2’s 48 mm telephoto lens can also compress the captured perspective of images. This capability enhances the parallax effect of shots. As a result, it delivers a high-quality, cinematic look for your footage.
- Even in full HD mode, you can capture close-ups of faraway subjects with the DJI Mavic 2 drone. As a result, rare scenes are more accessible. As a bonus, you could also use this drone to shoot footage a safe distance away from obstructions, people, or animals.
- For an even more Hollywood-like effect, the DJI Mavic 2 comes with the Dolly Zoom Quickshot mode. It automatically adjusts focus while flying. Using this feature, you can create an intense, warping visual effect.
This drone also has the ability to shoot super-resolution photos. You can use super-resolution, for instance, to capture vivid details of landscape photography.
Drone Buying Tips
Indeed, today’s drones are not like the toy helicopters and airplanes of the past. Drones are comparatively easier to fly. Furthermore, they’re inherently more stable.
Also, drones provide operators with the benefits of advanced cinematography. These benefits make drones an excellent tool for capturing truly remarkable aerial images and video footage.
Although a good drone is affordable, they’re still not cheap. Accordingly, there are a few things that you should know so that you’ll make the right buying decision.
Learn Your Drones
Before you invest in a drone, learn your way around the space. Every hobby has its own vocabulary. The same concept applies to drone operation.
Also, all drones are not equal. Different drones have different uses. They also have different prices.
For example, you might want a drone that can perform aerial acrobatics. Alternatively, you may have more interest in producing stunning aerial photography or filmography.
You could even want to compete in a drone racing event. Whatever your preferences, you’ll need to consider them as you search for the perfect drone.
It’s also important that you assess your drone skills. Some drones require extensive assembly.
However, other drones ship ready to fly out of the box. You may want to think about whether you can assemble a drone kit as you review your various choices.
Consider the Features
One of the most important points to think about when choosing a drone is its features. For example, you may need a drone for a specific purpose. If so, you’ll need to find one that’s suited for that use.
However, you should still consider the features of a potential drone that go beyond your primary use. In some instances, the features that you thought would mean the most may mean nothing in practice. However, the point that you didn’t think about when you chose a drone could end up being your favorite feature of all.
1. Don’t Forget the Extra Costs
You’ll also want to consider the extra items that will make your drone operating experience more enjoyable. For instance, it’s a good idea to consider extra batteries.
This kind of added perk can make your flight experience more enjoyable. It could eliminate the need for you to head home for a charge every 30 minutes.
You should also consider the extras involved with a drone for its intended purpose. For example, if you invest in a drone for photography or filmography, you’ll most likely also need filters for the camera.
You’ll also need a computer capable of handling image or video editing. It’s important to add up these costs as you consider your options.
2. Buy From a Trusted Supplier
When choosing a supplier for your drone, The best place to buy drones is from a trusted vendor. You’ll also want to find a vendor that can provide added value. For example, if you purchase one of the drones that we’ve mentioned, you might want to look for an official DJI partner, such as Dr Drone.
This kind of retailer can provide premium customer service. What’s more, they’ll give you access to expert knowledge.
If you ever have a problem with your drone, you can count on this kind of retailer for expert repair. What’s more, they can provide you with training and technical support as needed.
3. Follow the Rules
Finally, make sure that you follow the rules of the air, or—more precisely—the FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees aircraft in the United States. In some cases, you may need to register your drone with the FAA.
Different areas have different rules regarding drones. Furthermore, those rules could change quickly, seeing as though drones are a relatively new phenomenon.
In general, you must register any drone that weighs more than 0.55 pounds in the United States. You must also display your FAA registration number on the body of your drone.
Happy Flying With Your New Drone!
Now you know more about choosing the best drone for your needs. We hope that you have the right information to get started in the fun, exciting world of drone operation. By understanding what makes a good drone and which features are most important based on your needs, you should have what you need to make a great choice.
There’s always something cool and exciting going on in the world of technology. Check out our technology section for great news about the latest innovations.