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2021 Drone Buying Guide

More than 10 years ago, the drone market exploded with the launch in 2010 of the first consumer drone, the Parrot AR.drone. But not longer after, DJI quickly overtook the Parrot in popularity after it launched its DJI Phantom drone, a sleek drone that was ready tto fly out of the box and — at the time — had a mount to carry a GoPro (DJI now equips most of its drones with its own, in-house made cameras.

And ever since then, the drone market has been mostly all DJI. According to an analysis of FAA drone registration numbers as of June 3, 2019 (done by drone market research and data group Drone Industry Insights) DJI had a 76.8% market share in the U.S. Coming in at number two was Yuneec, which had just a 3.1% share based on that analysis. 

But it’s not all DJI. There are hundreds of drones and camera systems to choose from, and while DJI tends to appear often in many of these guides, they’re not the only ones out there.

Whether you’re into photography, drone racing, starting a business, or something else, use this page to find the right drone for you.

Here you’ll find:

The best drones for photographers of 2021

Most people intend to use a drone for photography or videography. Whether your budget is $300 or $3,000, there are tons of options for photography drones. Most of these drones come with a camera built-in, and the drones are ready to fly out of the box so you can focus on making art and making memories, not on setting up complicated electronics.

Find out my recommendations for the best drones for photographers of 2021 right here.

The best commercial use drones of 2021

If you’re using a drone for business purposes, you may need more than your average camera drone that you can buy at Amazon or Best Buy.

If you’re a commercial drone user, then you might want a standard camera, sure, but it might also behoove you to have other features. Some commercial drones are modular, so you can swap out a standard camera with something like a thermal camera or a payload (how about a device to carry tacos, anyone)?

I also have more specific guides for some commercial industries. Check out my guide to:

The best drones for kids in 2021

Whether you’re getting a child a drone for learning or for entertainment (or ahem, both!), drones are a fantastic tool to enrich a kid’s life and get them interested in high-paying, vital STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) at a young age.

Find out my recommendations for the best drones for kids in 2021 right here.

I also dial down on some specific drones (and drone-related content for kids). I’ve developed additional guides…

The best cheap practice drones for beginners of 2021, for under $100

Your first drone should not cost a lot of money. While advanced drones are easier than ever to fly, you still want to get comfortable on a drone that — quite honestly — you’d feel comfortable losing.

You’d rather crash $40 into a pool than $400. With that said here are the best drones for learning how to fly — and they all cost less than $100.

Find out my recommendations for the best cheap practice drones for beginners under $100 right here.

Other drone industry products that aren’t actually drones

Odds are, you’re looking to buy more than just drones. You might need Part 107 training courses, lesson plans for students, gifts that won’t break the bank, and more.

Here are some other products for drone enthusiasts that I recommend, that aren’t actually drones: