Best drones for beginners 2016-2017
Drone flying is a growing hobby creating thousands of enthusiasts every year. And as all these people are trying to get into it, they will need a machine with a great learning curve that will provide them with tons of fun and teach them a thing or two about flying these things. Luckily, drones are in no short supply today on the market, and there are hundreds of models suited to be entry-level drones. Check out our guide on the Best Drones for Beginners.
So, if you’re looking to get into the hobby yourself and treat yourself with a drone this Christmas, or if you plan on doing so after you get your Christmas bonus, here are the best drones for beginners that marked the year 2016 and some that will be coming the next year.
Eachine H8 Mini Quadcopter Drone
As for the teaching you to fly, there are few drones more suited for this than mini drones. These little buzzards are great for experimentation if you’re picking up a controller for a drone for the first time. Their small size allows you to fly them indoors, and not risk smashing them into a tree or oncoming traffic. In addition, because they are so lightweight, they don’t have very powerful motors and don’t have enough weight to create enough force that would shatter them on impact. They are usually very responsive and easy to fly, making them perfect machines to start learning to fly.
One of these copters is the Eachine H8 Mini Quadcopter drone. This little thing is one of the best drones for newbies because of its hanging characteristics, small size, durability and price. The drone has been made in order to facilitate as easy flying as possible, thanks to its 6-gyro stabilization system. This system allows you to do 360-degree flips, and keep the drone stable in the air. The headless mode also makes the drone very easy to fly, as you don’t need to worry about which direction you’re facing the drone’s face is the same direction the controller is facing.
Besides these features, the drone has one defining feature that means a lot to novice flyers. We’re talking about the Return Home function. This function allows you to recall the drone automatically wherever it is back to the starting position. This is very helpful if you think you’ve lost your way – at the press of a button, you’ll get your drone back.
- Very stable thanks to the 6-gyros stabilization system.
- Can do 360-degree flips.
- Very affordable price.
- Headless mode.
- Return home function.
- Comes with rotor protectors.
- Doesn’t have a camera.
UDI RC U845
It is not often that a hexacopter model finds itself on an entry level copter list, yet here is the UDI U845. UDI is actually a very well-known company, and they make some of the best entry levels drones, including this great hexacopter. Being a hexa, this little craft is even more stable than quads and can be exposed to stronger gusts of wind before being knocked down. Furthermore, this drone also comes with a fair camera, so you can experiment filming and shooting photos.
The drone has a distinctive, flying saucer kind of design. This gives the manufacturers that opportunity to install the headless mode on the drone, which greatly softens the learning curve for novice pilots. Having this mode means that you don’t need to preposition the drone – just set it on the ground, fire it up, push the throttle and fly forward – nothing easier than that.
To ensure stability and diminish the chances a novice pilot crashes the drone, the U845 has been outfitted with the 6-gyros stabilization system. This makes the copter very responsive and increases its handling as a result. Not only that, but it gives you the opportunity to back, front and side flips with the front.
Like we said, the drone features a camera. This camera can shoot video or photos, but it can be also bound to your smartphone, which will give you a live feed from the camera, so you can see where are you going and what are are you doing in the air.
- 6-axis gyro stabilization system.
- Six propellers make the drone extra stable.
- Can do front, back and side flips.
- Has headless mode.
- Live feed stream from the camera to your phone.
- Comes from a well-known company
- Limited flight time and range.
UFO 3000 LED Drone
Up next is the UFO 3000 LED drone. This little thing has all the things you need in a beginner’s/children’s drone. It is easy to fly, has good handling and responds well to commands. It even has a controller shaped like a joystick, so if your child, or you, has ever used a console, they should feel comfortable with it. The drone also features good, bright LED lights that allow for a nighttime flight.
Like all entry-level drone, the UFO 3000 has a 6-gyro stabilization system that keeps it stable in the air and makes it respond well to your commands. Having such a system also allows the drone to do cool flips and tricks. In addition, the unique design of the drone, and its powerful motors allow it to develop some pretty good speeds. In fact, this is one of the fastest beginner drones on the market.
To improve the learning curve further, the drone has two-speed modes. The low-speed mode enables you to fly at lower terminal speed, so you can get a good feeling of how the drone handles, and the high-speed mode that unlocks the craft’s real potential. Like we said before, the drone features very bright and colorful light so you can light up the night’s sky and fly it safely even in pitch black darkness.
- Stable and responsive drone.
- Has 6 gyro stabilizer.
- Can do neat flips and tricks.
- Powerful motors and aerodynamic design let it fly at impressive speeds.
- Has two-speed modes for improving the learning curve.
- Has bright LED lights for night flights.
- Doesn’t have a camera.
Cheerwing CHEER X1 Mini Drone
At spot number four, we have yet another mini drone, the Cheerwing Cheer X1. This is not surprising, considering that mini drones are held in high regard by customers looking to get into the hobby. As with all other mini drones, so with Cheer X1, mini drones are praised for their ease of use, great maneuverability and ability to be flown indoors. On top of that, they’re typically priced very affordably, and their spare parts are rather cheap, which removes the worries about the drone breaking.
Like all the entry-level drones, the Cheerwing has the 6-gyro stabilizer that enables it to be very stable, responsive and maneuverable. The drone is so well balanced that it is just a joy to fly it. Aside from that, it sports the headless mode that makes setting up easy, or, rather, non-existent. Just set the drone on a flat surface, push the throttle stick and fly away – the front part of the drone is whichever side the controller is facing. The stabilizer also enables the drone to do 360-degree flips in whichever direction you would like to.
The drone also sports a neat controller that much resembles a joystick. This makes flying even easier, as persons familiar with console controllers will have no trouble getting around on the drone’s controller. It also sports a little screen that shows the basic telemetry, such as speed, altitude, and other necessary information.
- Small, maneuverable and responsive.
- Features a six-gyro stabilizer.
- Can do 360 degree flips in whichever direction.
- Headless mode.
- Easy to learn controller with a screen that displays basic telemetry.
- Very low price.
- Doesn’t come with a camera.
BYROBOT DF-GX-101 Drone Fighter GX 100
And with this beauty, we’re just about halfway through our list. Of all the drones presented on this list, the ByRobot Drone Fighter might just be the most interesting one. While there is nothing special about its design and features that would set it apart from other drones on the market, the games you can play with this drone are very fun. And we’re not talking about invented, fictitious games you invented yourself, but real games that are predesigned just for this model.
Like all other models on this list, the drone is very stable in the air and has very good handling. But this drone offers you the expert and beginner modes. The beginner mode uses the headless mode to help teach you the basics of flying and let you get the feeling for how the drone handles. In the expert mode, the headless mode is turned off, and the speed limit removed, so the drone actually travels at its terminal speed, and you will have already learned to fly it like an ordinary aircraft.
But what about that game? Thanks to the drone’s controller’s simplicity and compatibility with Windows, you have the option of taking part in an actual dogfight. The drone emits infrared light and has infrared light sensors. The craft shoots the infrared light at the “opposing” drone and it picks it up via its sensors and registers as being “hit” if you get hit 6 times, you lose the game. Also thanks to the controller’s 2.4 GHz frequency, you can bind more drones to it and set up teams and squadrons.
- Easy to fly with superb handling and stability.
- Two modes – beginner and expert.
- An easy-to-use controller.
- A flight simulation game.
- Does not come with a camera.
Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini RC Helicopter Drone
Up next, it’s the Holy Stone HS170 Predator. Holy Stone is one of the best-known drone manufacturers in the world. That is why their HS170 Predator is held in high regard with many customers and hobbyist. The drone is very easy to fly and is highly maneuverable and responsive to commands. This is all thanks to its 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization system. It makes the drone very stable in flight and allows it to go faster and have tighter turning arcs, which appeals to both professionals and beginners alike. It also features the famed Headless mode that makes flying all too easy. You just need to set the drone on the ground and push the control sticks and the drone will fly in the direction relative to the position of the controller. The craft features 3-speed settings that improve the learning curve and enable the drone to be flow with reduced speed for beginner pilots, or at terminal speed for experienced pilots.
The drone is also very wind resistant and remains stable even in 10 mph gusts. Its flight range is around 30-50 meters. The flight time for this drone is 6-9 minutes and it takes 60-80 minutes to charge the battery.
- Superb mini drone, able to fly indoors and outdoors.
- The features the much appraised Headless mode making it very easy to fly.
- Wind resistant, able to withstand 10 mph gusts.
- Has three-speed settings that improve the learning curve and make the drone relevant for a beginner, intermediate and expert pilots.
- 6-9 minutes flight time, 60-80 minutes flight time.
- Does not come with a stock camera.
Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter Drone
Yet another product from Holy Stone, the F181 is a copter with a fine pedigree, and as such, it is one of the best drones on the market today. Very few copters are made with the attention to detail Holy Stone copters have been made with, so very few can rival their quality and performances. This done boast features to make it appealing to both novices, and even expert fliers. This gives the drone a great level of utility, diversity, and adaptability, which is a great trait and not possessed by many. The drone features the, now already well-known, headless mode which makes it greatly beneficial for those just starting out and getting the hang of drone flying. The drone also has the Return Home button that is greatly beneficial to novices, as they can simply recall the drone back to its original station.
But, this drone holds even more great features. It boasts the Altitude hold function. This feature allows you to release the throttle safely, as the copter hovers calmly in the air awaiting for your further commands and eliminating the need for constant manual adjustment of its course. This makes the drone also largely beneficial to photographers, as they can settle in, plant the shot out, and then execute.
The drone uses the 2.4 GHz one controller, which is very easy to use and gives the copter the range of 100 meters. It can fly for about 9 minutes.
- Superb quality, entry level copter.
- Comes from a very well-known brand.
- Excellent handling.
- Headless mode.
- Return home mode.
- Altitude hold mode
- Up to 9 minutes flight of time.
As we are nearing the end of our list, we have another UDI drone, the UDI U842. This copter is actually different from the U845. However, the difference is not as great as initially thought. The U842 is a quadcopter and the U845 is a hexacopter, but the differences end right there. Just like the U845, the U842 features the Headless mode that greatly simplifies flying, as the copter assumes the direction of the controller as its virtual “nose”. This also greatly simplifies setup, and all you have to do is to turn the thing on and press on that throttle stick, and you’re already up in the air. They both feature the 6-axis stabilization system making them both very stable in the air and enabling the novice pilots to make more complex maneuvers. It features an excellent camera that supports 720p quality footage and films at 30 fps.
One last thing that makes this craft very interesting is that the controller can be set to suit both right handed and left handed persons.
- A great quadcopter coming from a trusted manufacturer.
- The copter features the Headless Mode.
- It features the 6 gyro stabilizer and can do 360-degree flips.
- Films at 720 p, 30 fps.
- The controller can be made to suit left- and right-handed users.
- Comes with blade guards.
HVR Mini Drone
Our penultimate product is yet another mini-drone. As we have said many times before, mini drones are very popular among beginners for their simplicity and good handling. HRV mini drone is no exception to this rule. It has the 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization system that we keep mentioning over and over again. But the truth is that we cannot emphasize enough the importance for this simple, yet effective feature, as it is literally a life-saver for those who have never flown a drone.
But HVR is also special. It is, in fact, the smallest drone on the market. Even so, it has enough features to present a good learning device and provide hours of fun. Its batteries deplete quickly, but are rechargeable, and are recharged very quickly, which gives the copter a good charge to flight time ratio, which is a trait not many copters have. Ultimately, this is the ultimate beginner’s device, as it gives the opportunity for a novice to experience drone flying on a very convenient, responsive, maneuverable and inexpensive craft.
- Small, simple and cheap.
- Has 6-gyro stabilizer.
- Very maneuverable due to its small size.
- Ideal for first-time flyers.
And for our final product, we’ve saved the best for last. One of the greatest, and certainly one of the most famous manufacturers in Syma. They are well-known for making marvelous entry level products, and the X5C is one of those a superb copter with outstanding performances. The quadcopter has been stocked with features that assist the beginner pilot every step of the way and prepare them for flying some of the bigger gunships on the market. It features the Headless mode that enables you to fly the copter in any direction you so desire, as the drone reflects the direction of the controller as its front. But the copters headless mode is so balanced that you feel you can easily fly the drone with your eyes closed. It also features the 6-axis stabilization system which is found on all of the products on this list, but Syma goes a step further in making the drone respond to your commands swiftly and with pinpoint accuracy. That makes the copter relevant both for beginners as a way of learning what a copter can do, but also for experts who want a good and cheap alternative, as well as a sturdy one, that can take on the job of other higher-grade drones should they suffer damage. To further facilitate the relevance for experts and beginners alike it has two-speed settings. This allows the beginners to get to know the drone and for experts to push it to its limits. The X5C features a fairly good 2 MP camera that can capture some good footage. It can fly for approximately minutes and but takes 100 minutes to be charged, which is the only downside to this great machine. It also features two control modes that allow you to set the controller to either right or left handed controls.
- Comes from one of the most trusted manufacturers in the world.
- Features the headless mode.
- Features the 6-gyro stabilization system.
- Has two-speed settings, accommodating the needs of both expert pilots and novices.
- The controller can be set to accommodate left- and right-handed users.
- Has a 2 MP camera.
- Bad flight time to charging time ratio.
Well, there you have it, our best beginner drones of 2016-2017. As you can see, we put emphasis on small, cheap and easy to fly models. The drones presented all have the headless mode and the 6 gyro stabilization system, which makes them very good learning devices with great learning curves. For a person looking to engage in this hobby, these are the primary qualities of a drone. All we have left to say is that we hope you choose one of these products as your first drone and that you have a lot of fun with it. Happy flying!