drone christmas gift guide

Your drone Christmas gift guide for 2016

Looking to give a drone Christmas gift? Not sure what to get? Here’s your guide to what drone to get for Christmas, broken down by cost, use case, type of drone and more.

Drone Christmas gifts for photographers:

$: DJI Phantom 3 Standard

Cost: $399

What it is: The Phantom 3 Standard is DJI’s most low-cost drone on the market right now. But just because it’s cheap in price doesn’t mean it’s cheap in quality.

Take 2.7K HD videos and 12 Megapixel photos with the drone’s integrated aerial camera. You get all the incredible features of DJI drones, including the ability to live stream what the drone’s camera sees through your smartphone app for up to half a mile away, and features such as return to home, and 25 minutes of flight time.

Where to buy:

Why Drone Girl loves it: While the video quality won’t be as good as the more expensive photography drones listed below (to be expected), it still shoots excellent quality video with its 2.7K camera. Beyond that, it’s incredibly easy and safe to fly.  Side note, my sister owns this drone, so it has her endorsement too!autel x-star review

$$: Autel X-Star Premium

Cost: $599

What it is: The X-Star Premium shoots 4K Ultra HD video (note that’s better quality than the prior DJI Phantom 3 Standard). It also allows the ability to live stream what the drone’s camera sees from up to 0.62 miles away via an app you can download to your smartphone.

A remote controller makes it easy to fly with buttons such as take-off and return to home.

Where to buy: 

Why Drone Girl loves it: Most people will tell you that Autel dominates the drone industry when it comes to excellent customer service. While ideally you’ll never need to contact Autel customer service, this does bring some peace of mind.

One of my other favorite reasons to consider an Autel. The company will refund the $150 testing fee to any of its customers who take the FAA’s Remote Pilot Certification. If you ever intend to get FAA certified (which you totally should) this absolutely makes the price tag worth it.

See my complete review of the Autel X-Star here.

$$$: DJI Mavic Pro

Cost: $999

What it is: The DJI Mavic Pro shoots 4K video and also folds down to the size of a water bottle. One of the neatest features on here is obstacle avoidance on the front of it, so if the drone senses and object, it will stop and hover to not crash into it.

There is one caveat. This drone is backordered, so it looks like you won’t receive it until January if you order now. I think it’s worth the wait, but if it’s imperative to have a drone under the Christmas tree, you’ll probably have to pass on this one.

Where to buy:

Why Drone Girl loves it: I called the Mavic “everything a flawless drone should be.” My big issue with drones is that they are often too cumbersome to conveniently carry and be ready to take an aerial photo on a moment’s notice. This drone can stay in my purse, and I’ve already gotten more use out of mine in the two weeks I’ve had it than many of my other drones combined. See my complete (and glowing) review of the Mavic here.

Drone Christmas gifts for kids (or kids at heart):

$: TDR Spider Stunt Quadcopter

Cost: $39.99

What it is: This drone is the only one on this list without a camera, so if that’s a must-have for you, keep on scrolling.

That being said, this drone is really easy to use — pretty much just plug it in once it’s charged and you’re good to go.

It flies like a traditional drone, but also can do stunts with the click of a button. The drone is programmed to do a  3D 360 degree roll, 180 degree flip/inverted flying, book flip, triple flip and tornado stunt.

Where to buy:

Why Drone Girl loves it:

This drone isn’t too expensive, so it’s a great gift for kids, and a great tool for someone interested in buying a more expensive drone to purchase so they can practice flying on it. If it ends up in a tree or pool, it’s a lot easier to cut your losses on a $40 drone than a $400 drone. Plus, the stunts make this drone a fun party trick!

See my complete review of the TDR Spider Stunt Quadcopter here.

drones cost under $200

$$: U45 Blue Jay WiFi FPV Quadcopter drone

Cost: $159.95

What it is: The Blue Jay drone is incredibly light and easy to fly.  There’s also a takeoff and landing button, so the drone will automatically hover at a preset altitude after you press the takeoff button.

As far as video quality, the Blue Jay captures 720p high definition photos and videos with a 2MP camera. While it IS “high definition” (this is a criteria many people have when asking me for drone recommendations), keep in mind it is often the megapixels that matter. I’ll let you be the judge — check out my YouTube video and complete review! — on whether that is sufficient quality.

Where to buy:

Amazon.com ($159.95)

Why Drone Girl loves it:

This drone has an altitude hold function, which makes it very easy to fly at first try (and gather some decent footage). It’s a fun way to take some aerial footage of decent quality and easily learn how to fly a drone. See my complete review of the drone here.

blade nano qx2 fpv drone racingChristmas gifts for FPV drone racing

$$: Blade Nano QX2 plus FatShark Goggles

Cost: $419

What it is: This isn’t just one item  recommendation — it’s actually three different gifts you’ll need to get to have your loved one drone racing. The Blade Nano QX2 drone,  Teleporter V4 goggles by Fatshark (these are the VR-type goggles that enable you to see what the drone’s camera sees) and Spektrum 1000 DXe Transmitter System are the three items you’ll need to drone race — and together they cost just over $400. See my complete review here.

Where to buy:

Drone: Blade Nano QX2 FPV BNF

Headset: Teleporter V4, which was developed by Fat Shark exclusively for Horizon Hobby.

Transmitter: Spektrum 1000 DXe Transmitter System

Why Drone Girl loves it: Drone racing is the future! Maybe you’ve seen it on ESPN, or maybe you have gotten the honor of watching it in person! Get your loved one into drone racing with a super unique drone racing gift.

I like that each of these three items are sold separately to lessen the blow of the cost. Ask for one of them from mom, another from grandpa, and the third from Santa. Success!



  • Natalie says:

    Thanks for the great article. I love drones with photo capability are great for the festive season, as you can make load of pictures and videos to remember it in future and/or share with your friends. Plus love the drones which are having gopro cameras, so you can make 4k hd videos.

  • Beth Bishop says:

    The Syma X5C is very stable and a lot of fun to fly, both indoors and outdoors. We like it’s agility and bright LEDs. You won’t be getting the premium features of a DJI Phantom, but this is still an excellent drone. If you’re just looking to have fun with an all-around great quadcopter which is both high quality and cheap, you can’t go wrong with this one. Tip: You can add a few extra minutes of flight time by removing the propeller guards and camera.

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