If you’re looking for a beginner drone in 2023, you might check out my written, drone buying guides. But for something a little more human (that won’t entail you to read), here’s a fun conversation to tune into: I joined the crew at Drone Launch Academy to take part in their latest of their podcast “Your Drone Questions. Answered.”
“Your Drone Questions. Answered.” is a relatively new podcast that launched in March 2023. And yours truly, The Drone Girl, joined in for Episode 7, which has the very straight and to-the-point title: “What is the best beginner drone to get started?”
The podcast can be download from Apple Podcasts (or pretty much any other podcast player) and is also available in video form on YouTube, which you can watch here:
In this episode of “Your Drone Questions. Answered.”, I join host John Dickow to detail what beginners should look for in a beginner drone in 2023. For this podcast, I basically break beginner drones into two categories:
- Cheap “trash” drones.
- High-quality yet beginner-friendly drones.
Especially in the early days of drones, when it was relatively easy to crash a multi-hundred drone, I highly recommend this category of cheap “trash” drones. In short, if you crash it (which you very likely will, given how unwieldy these drones are), you didn’t spend a lot of money so it’s not a big loss. Generally speaking, the cheaper the drone, the harder it is to fly. That’s actually good news, as it helps in developing better piloting skills. You can check out my full list of the best, cheap practice drones here.
But for folks seeking a beginner drone in 2023, increasingly more today I advise jumping simply to one of the higher-quality drones. That’s because most camera drones these days have so many beginner-friendly features, including automated takeoff and landing, return to home, smart flight paths and more. These days, it’s surprisingly tough to crash a drone. You’d almost have to try (or otherwise be flying in a complicated or “noisy” environment. DJI’s entire lineup of camera drones is suitable for beginners, as long as you’re comfortable with flying multi-hundreds of dollars through the year. Beginners would be best suited for any of these DJI drones under $500.
And then there’s one drone in particular that sort of straddles both of those categories, the Tello drone. It costs about $100 so it might just barely be considered on the cheap end of the spectrum, but it’s made with DJI parts (by a company called Ryze) thus it has the DJI endorsement. It weighs just 80 grams (so you won’t have to register it), and it can fly for 13 minutes and shoot 5 megapixel photos.
About the “Your Drone Questions. Answered.” podcast
This new podcast goes from the team at Drone Launch Academy, a drone information site that first made a name for itself with its Part 107 online test prep course. While there are tons of study materials out there, the company’s differentiator is that — if you fail your in-person exam — Drone Launch Academy will pay for you to retake the Part 107 test, which is an $150 value in itself, on top of a course refund (an additional $199 value).
Since then, Drone Launch Academy has grown to have a larger community and more forms of communication and information (many of which don’t even require a course fee to take part in). That includes Drone Launch Academy’s other long-running podcast focused on small businesses using drones called the Drones to $100k podcast.
In this new podcast serious, the focus is on answering all sorts of the most common questions asked in drones. Many are beginner-focused, such as this episode where I list the best beginner drones, or the prior episode about registering recreation drones. But the podcast is also set to dive into regulations and industry news. And given its intentionally-short run-time (most episodes are less than 20 minutes), it’s a must-have on your podcast feed for a quick filler on your commute.
Download it wherever you get your podcasts, or give it a “thumbs up,” if you watch this episode on YouTube.
Oh, and if you do happen to enroll in a Part 107 online test prep program from Drone Launch Academy, enter coupon code DRONEGIRL50 to save $50 and bring the usual $199 price down to just $149.)