Tis thee season for all gifts, but drone Christmas gifts are the best ones. Even if it seems like the drone nerd in your life already has everything, they don’t — trust us.
There are some actual drones on this list, but there are plenty of other drone-adjacent ideas that won’t break your bank. So whether your responsible for being a Secret Santa for a drone nerd, or you are Santa, there’s a drone gift for every budget on this list.
Here are our 15 best drone Christmas gift ideas to add to your Christmas 2019 wishlist (we’re putting them under The Drone Girl Christmas tree ourselves!):
15. DJI Mavic Mini: For the drone pilot who needs the latest, and needs everything, then adding on the latest drone to the DJI family is a no-brainer. The Mavic Mini launched just last month. Weighing in at just 249 grams, it’s DJI’s smallest drone yet, but still capable of photography (there’s a 2.7K camera with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with up to 12 million effective pixels) and includes a remote controller and integration with DJI’s app.
14. Tello drone: If you’re looking for a drone for kids or just beginners and the Mavic Mini is out of your budget, then the Tello drone is far and wide my favorite. It’s a DJI drone (sort of). It’s actually made by a Chinese startup called Ryze Tech, using parts from both DJI and Intel (it’s got an Intel vision processing chip and flight stabilization from DJI) — and it has their endorsement. I like it not only because it’s easy and safe to fly, but because it’s a great drone to have in classrooms as a STEM tool for teaching kids how to code.
If you can spring a few extra bucks, there’s also an Iron Man edition. It’s the same thing, but with a sweet design (imho totally worth it for Marvel fans!)
Even better, the Tello is on sale between now and Dec. 4 for just $69 (it’s usually $99). The Iron Man version is $89 (usually $129).
13. Drone Pilot Mug: Here’s a gift you can guarantee will be used: a mug! It says “I don’t always play with drones…oh wait, yes I do!” Fill it with coffee to get ready to go for those early morning flights. That dawn lighting is the best.
12. LEGO police drone chase kit: Okay, okay, this one is a bit controversial in the drone community. The LEGO police drone play set that was released this year includes a police helicopter firing a net shooter intended to catch a tiny LEGO drone. The kit’s story goes like this: A crook is trying to steal the gold statue with his drone.
Not everyone in the drone community loved the kit’s message encouraging drone use for stealing items, but depending on your sense of humor, this LEGO kit is kind of great.
And, it’s currently on sale for $24, down from $30.
11. Set of drone filters: These are a perfect gift for dronies who want to step up their photography game. Neutral density (ND) filters are coin-sized pieces of semi-transparent glass that have long been used by videographers. If you don’t use them already, they can seriously upgrade your image quality, as ND filters fix common problems you see in any photo like glare, overexposure, harsh shadows and other issues that are possible in all photos, but often magnified in drone photos.
10. “Best Drone Master In The Galaxy” shirt: It’s a big year for Star Wars, between the Mandalorian (my new favorite TV show) on Disney Plus, and the new “Rise of Skywalker” movie coming out in December. Capitalize on the craze with a shirt that combines the best of both worlds: drones and Star Wars.
9. Propel Star Wars drone: I have been a huge fan of Propel’s highly-detailed, hand-painted drones designed to look like Star Wars vehicles. The one drawback: they were initially launched years ago at more than $100 which was just too expensive. The great news: they now cost less than $40! Propel’s line of that come in three different designs: the 74-Z Speeder Bike, the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter and the Tie Advanced X1. Read my complete review of these drones here.
8: Illustrated children’s book “The Adventures of Leonardo the Drone”: If you’re trying to find a gift for a kid (okay, adults can totally have this for themselves too, this picture book about a little girl who gets a drone is beautifully written and illustrated too.
The book is the first in a series that is in the works right now, so expect more books to come for future gifting if you get a kid hooked on Leonardo’s story!
7. Lume Cube drone lighting kit: Lume Cube’s drone light kits aren’t just a cool party trick: they unlock your drone’s creative potential and take it to a whole new level. The Lume Cube essentially turns your drone into a flying spotlight, so you can create long-exposure, aerial light painting. The lights are controlled via bluetooth or app, allowing you to adjust brightness or strobe levels. Read more about them here.
6. FlyBrix Electronic Quadcopter Drone Starter Kit: Here’s a fun gift that becomes a whole afternoon activity: building your own drone. This kit makes it easy by including a preprogrammed board, propellers and motors Plus, you can install software on your computer that allows you to program it to fly. You can make your programming as simple or intricate as you want, making it great for young kids to get them into the basics of drones, as well as computer science students who want to use it in college classrooms.
This should go without saying, but remember that the drone itself doesn’t fly very well (after all, it’s made of Legos!). This gift is more about building and coding a cool drone, rather than having a great flying experience.
Price: $129 from Amazon
5. Memory cards: For the person who appreciates practical gifts, how about a memory card? I go through (aka lose) these like crazy, and can never have too many. This isn’t the most exciting gift, but it may turn out to be the most useful. And hey, it’s one of the cheapest gifts on this guide.
Price: usually less than $10
4. DJI Osmo Pocket: For drone pilots who want to augment their aerial work but maintain that cinematic, smooth look you get from drones to footage on the ground, the Osmo can do that. The Osmo is a lineup of 3-axis gimbal stabilized handheld cameras, but the Osmo Pocket is my favorite. Why? It comes in a package so tiny that it literally fits in your pocket.
Plus, it’s currently about 25% off (yes, you’ll save $90) as part of the DJI Black Friday 2019 sale.
Price: $309 (usually $399) due to the DJI Black Friday sale
3. Drone Cookie Cutters: Cookies? Yes! Drone cookies? Even better! This one is for the dronie who also loves baking.
2. Paper Airplane Necklace: I absolutely love how simple and classy this is. It says, “I’m an aviation nerd!” without looking like a nerd.
1. Drone Ornament: Okay, I am a sucker for Christmas ornaments, so of course, I need a drone ornament! This 2-inch ornament that vaguely resembles a DJI Mavic is sold on Etsy, and is made from polymer clay and painted with a clear gloss glaze.
If you’re buying drone gear on Amazon…
One more pro-tip: If you’re buying a drone gift (or any gift!) from Amazon and are not a Prime member already, consider it! You’ll get free two-day shipping with no minimum order size, plus more benefits like free movie/TV streaming, book downloads for your Kindle, photo storage and more. You can try a 30-day free trial here.
Second pro-tip: If you’re a Prime member, use your Amazon Prime credit card. It’ll earn you an automatic 5% back on your Amazon spending.