7 Best Drones in the UK for 2020

Our Pick For March

Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with Camera Live Video 1080P HD and GPS Return Home Quadcopter...
377 Reviews
Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with Camera Live Video 1080P HD and GPS Return Home Quadcopter...
  • GPS assisted flight: Provides you with accurate positioning details of your drone. Built in...
  • Optimized 1080P 120 FOV FPV Wi-Fi Camera: 90 Adjustable angle, captures high-quality video and...
  • Follow Me Mode: The drone will automatically follow you wherever you move. Keeping you in the frame...
  • Flight time up to 15 minutes / Longer control distance: Capacity of 2500mAh high performance battery...

Table of Contents

Best Sellers Right now on Amazon UK

SaleBestseller No. 1
SIMREX X300C Mini Drone with Camera WIFI HD FPV Foldable RC Quadcopter RTF 4CH 2.4Ghz Remote Control...
130 Reviews
SIMREX X300C Mini Drone with Camera WIFI HD FPV Foldable RC Quadcopter RTF 4CH 2.4Ghz Remote Control...
  • Phone direct control with transmission OR transmitter contorl with Smart phone. Apple IOS / Android...
  • 360 Degree Flips & Rolls. One key 3D rolling special effects. Flip in 4-Ways...
  • Headless Security Mode. When eyes can't identify the orientation of the drone, the Headless Mode can...
  • Equipped with the latest 6-axis Gyro flight control systems, provide better and safer using...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Q9 Drones for Kids,RC Drone with Altitude Hold and Headless Mode,Quadcopter with Blue & Green...
59 Reviews
Q9 Drones for Kids,RC Drone with Altitude Hold and Headless Mode,Quadcopter with Blue & Green...
  • LIGHT UP THE SKYBright BLUE & GREEN LED lights are installed in its four protective frames,...
  • SAFE & DURABLEThe Structured style and FOUR complete-cover Propeller guards ensures a safe flight...
  • User Friendly1:You can simply take-off / land / return the drone with one button. 2:Three speeds for...
  • 20 Minutes flight TimeComes with TWO rechargeable batteries,Your flight time is prolonged up to 20...
Bestseller No. 3
Potensic GPS FPV Drone with 1080P Live Video Camera, RC Quadcopter for Adults and Beginners, Auto...
28 Reviews
Potensic GPS FPV Drone with 1080P Live Video Camera, RC Quadcopter for Adults and Beginners, Auto...
  • [SMART & SMOOTH AUTONOMOUS FLIGHT] -Follow Me Mode and Fly-by-Trajectory technology that is now...
  • [1080P CAMERA & WiFi TRANMMISSION] - Built-in advanced 9-Axis mechanical gimbal and 1080P...
  • [DUAL GPS NEVER LOST] - Integrates the latest technology with dual GPS to keep accurate positioning...
  • [APP ONE-KEY SHARE] -With the Potensic-G App, it allows you seamlessly connect to your smartphone,...

1.  U31W Navigator RC Drone – The ‘Entry-Level’ Choice 


U31W Navigator RC Drone
View on Amazon

U31W is considered the best choice for children and families that just need a decent drone to have a bit of flying fun and take some aerial selfies. For its price, it is one of the best, if not the best, entry-level drone available in the market today.

At a Glance

  • Weight: 85g
  • Dimensions: 18.3 x 19.8 x 4.3 cm
  • Batteries: LiPo – 350 mAh
  • Recommended User Age: at least 14 years’ old
  • Assembly Required
  • Flight time: 7 minutes
  • Charging Time: 75 minutes (maximum)
  • Wi-Fi Distance: 30 metres, outdoor and without obstructions
  • Camera:
    120 Degree Wide-Angle 720P HD Camera
    Lens: FOV 120 Degree f/2.0
  • Features:
    Altitude Hold
    Headless Mode
    One Button Take Off / Landing
    Emergency Stop

Design & Features

Flight & Controls

Designed for youngsters and novice pilots, U31W has the perfect size and weight to meet their needs. Combined with its user-friendly remote control, a hand app and a solid flight experience, its navigation and control is a breeze, both indoors and outdoors, providing there are no winds and the day is clear.

Having an array of handy features, including FPV capability, altitude hold, headless mode, and one-key auto-landing, as well as a controller that resembles that of a video game, U31W design will surely help even the least experienced user to fly it and get it down safely and in one piece.

Also note that U31W can be fully controlled through your mobile device, using its dedicated app, though it won’t be as responsive as with the remote control.

Camera & Features

Equipped with an HD camera, which is not to be taken for granted in drones of this price level, U31W promises decent captures without reducing flight time. You can use an SD card for storage.

  • User-friendly, even for inexperienced users
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to fly
  • Value for money
  • App control not as responsive
  • Small flight time

Our Opinion

Light and very easy to handle, the U31W is indeed an excellent entry-level drone, ideal for children or elderlies, as well as the whole family.  For its price, you get decent quality photos and fun-packed flying experience.

2. Rabing Rc Drone SG900 – The Beginner’s Choice (under £100)


Rabing Rc Drone SG900
View on Amazon

Our next choice is much more economical, with an outstanding value-for-money ratio and elegant looks.

At a Glance

  • Brand: Rabing
  • Model: SG900
  • Weight: 558 g
  • Dimensions: 29x29x4cm (Folded: 18x14x4cm)
  • Material Type: ABS
  • Foldable
  • Assembly Required
  • Batteries: 2 AA Batteries Required (included)
  • Recommended User Age: 12 years and up
  • Flight Time: 22 minutes
  • Charging Time: Around 4 hours
  • Control Distance: around 100m
  • Wi-Fi Distance: 50–80m
  • Features:
    Controller: 2.4GHz mode 2
    Gyroscope: 6-Axis, 360°Roll
    Headless mode
    Altitude Hold
    Headless Mode
    One-key Taking Off/Landing
  • Camera: 2MP,720PHD Gesture Photo/Video/ Dual Cameras/ Image Following/ Self Power Off Protection

Design & Features

Flight & Control

Foldable, with a battery that will keep it flying for more than 20 minutes, Rabing SG900 is a mighty drone that uses a light stream algorithm to calculate the positioning of the drone and help you locate it when it flies out of sight. Note that the remote controller is also rechargeable, with a charging time of no more than 40 minutes.

Equipped with Power-off protection that allows the drone to land safely when its battery reaches a critical low, SG900 has a headless mode, helping the user during navigation and minimising the risk of control mistakes and crashes due to loss of orientation. The one-key return feature is just perfect for inexperienced users, enabling them to get back the drone to its home point without the push of a button.

The altitude hold feature makes it possible to accurate lock a specific height and location and keep the drone there without the need of corrective manoeuvring. These features, along with the high/low-speed mode and the 3D flip make the flying experience as enjoying and relaxing as it gets. Unfortunately, but rather expectedly at this price, it is not supported by GPS technology.

Photos & Other Features

With double 2MP HD cameras mounted aboard, along with a Wi-Fi FPV transmission, rest assured you will get decent footage of landscapes or objects that caught your eye. You can also use the V-sign Mode for easier selfies. Note that the camera is tiltable, which means that you can optimise your view angle for the best possible caption. last, the 6-axis gyroscope allows 360° rolls and great panoramic captures of the landscape.

  • Value for many
  • Easy to handle
  • Headless mode
  • One-Key return feature
  • 6-axis gyroscope
  • It lacks GPS technology

Our Opinion

For people that wish to upgrade from toy drones but not spend much money, SG900 is an excellent choice. Decent flying and captures and plenty of features to help you take your navigation skills to the next level.

3. DEERC DE25 Drone – The Intermediate’s Choice (under £200)


DEERC DE25 Drone
View on Amazon

DEERC is considered one of the best mid-sized and relatively low priced drones, offering beginners or lightly experienced users a great flight experience and great aerial footage.

At a Glance

  • Brand: DEERC
  • Weight: 04Kg
  • Material Type:
  • Dimensions: 29.8×20.2×12.4cm
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required (included)
  • No Assembly Required
  • Flight time: 18 minutes
  • Control range: 600M
  • Max Charging Time: 150 Minutes
  • Camera:
    1920 x 1080p 120° FOV
    FPV Live Video
  • Features:
    Follow Me & Tap Fly
    GPS Mode Switch
    Hand Gesture & Sound Recording
    Return to Home Function
    Low-interference 2.4GHz technology
    Headless Mode & Altitude Hold Function

Design & Features

Flight & Control

Designed to make navigation and flying as smooth and uneventful as possible, DEERC DE25 is packed with all sorts of nice features. “Follow Me” mode, for instance, makes sure that the drone stays right above you, wherever you go. It is not as precise as in more expensive models, but that is more than acceptable.

Headless Mode negates any worries about disorientated navigation on your part, the Altitude Hold will keep your drone at a specific height at all times, even if your hands do not touch the controls, while the One-Key Start & Landing means you will get it up in the area or get it back in your hands safely and quickly, even if you lose it from your sight.

Another exciting feature allows you to make drone can fly around a specific point of interest.

All these nice features work so great thanks to its GPS compatible technology, assisting your flight and manoeuvring at all times and ensuring a safe return whenever its battery is low, it loses signal or gets out of your control range.

Bear also in mind that DE25 is foldable and, thus, highly portable. Well balanced and constructed, the arms are strengthened with thicker, sturdier plastic than the rest of the body, to sustain a few bumps and wrong twists.

Camera & Features

Photo captures and video are more than decent for a drone of this price. Equipped with a 1080p HD camera and a 90° vertical tilt Gimbal, you get clear snapshots and a surprisingly stable vide. The Hand Gesture feature makes selfies a breeze.

  • Value for money
  • An array of flying features for easy and fun-packed navigation
  • Foldable
  • Follow me mode and tracking not 100% accurate

Our Opinion

Do you know what the best thing about a purchase is? When it keeps its promises. DEERC DE25 does exactly that. It provides the flying experience and video and photo quality you should expect for its price.

4. Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 – The Intermediate’s Choice


Holy Stone RC Drone HS100
View on Amazon

Featuring an elegant design and an array of smart features, Holy Stone HS100 is an advanced RC quadcopter, designed for experienced drone users.

Equipped with a GPS system, an HD camera, HS100 also has a brand new “Follow Me” feature, enabling it to remain right above you automatically, with its camera focused on you at all times.

At a Glance

  • Brand: Holy Stone
  • Weight (with Battery): 700g
  • Material Type: ABS
  • Dimensions: 50x50x17.5cm
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer battery required
  • Recommended User Age: at least 16 years’ old
  • Flight time: 12-15 minutes
  • Charging Time: 3-6 hours
  • Wi-Fi Distance: 150M
  • Maximum Transmission Distance: 500 metres
  • Camera:
    Lens: FOV 120°/2.0
    Recording Modes: HD1280*1080 P
  • Features:
    GPS ‘Return Home’ feature
    Adjustable Wide-Angle
    WIFI Camera
    ‘Follow Me’ feature
    Altitude Hold
    Intelligent Battery

Design & Features

Flight & Control

With a pretty decent flight time of up to 15 minutes, considering its weight and array of features, HS100 boasts an impressive 2500mAh high-performance battery, affording control over a 500-metre distance. The battery will take some time to charge though, so, if you plan to use it more than once on the same day, you will need a second one.

Operation and control are rather straightforward. HS100 goes up in the air in a flash with its One-Key Take-off and Landing technology, and there is a handy Emergency Stop button too that will return the drone back to its home point safely in case you panic and feel you lose control. Another useful feature is the altitude hold function, which enables the drone to fly steadily at a pre-determined height.

One of its stronger points is its built-in GPS technology, providing accurate positioning data and enabling several other handy features, like the ‘Return Home’ function, that allows the drone to return automatically to its “home point” when its battery or signal is weak. The “Follow Me Mode” is great if you want the drone to hover over you at all times, recording your moves and taking selfies without you having to worry about its flying and navigation.

The Headless Mode is also very important: if your drone is turned towards you with its back, pushing the joystick to the left will move it to the right, and vice versa. This can cause serious navigational mistakes and crushes. Headless mode resolves that problem: whether facing you with its back or front, the drone will move in the same direction with your joystick.

Camera & Other Features

The camera features a 90° adjustable angle, capable of capturing high-quality videos and aerial photos. Using the Wi-Fi connection to your mobile device, you can also enjoy the real-time viewing from your remote control, optimising your navigation and capturing the sites that interest you from the best possible angle.

The first-person view (FPV), combining real-time video and image transmission capabilities with a smartphone, is just perfect, allowing the user to see exactly what the drone sees while being compatible with GoPro cameras.

  • GPS assisted ‘Return Home’ feature
  • Adjustable wide-angle
  • WIFI connection to your mobile device for real-time viewing
  • Altitude Hold feature
  • It takes time to charge

Our Opinion

Complete with all sorts of features and mode for an easy and safe flight, as well as great aerial photos, Holy Stone HS100 is cleverly designed, robustly constructed and easy to control.

5. Holy Stone HS700 FPV – The ‘Take it to the Next Level’ Choice


Holy Stone HS700 Drone
View on Amazon

We’ve already seen and included one of Holy Stone’s latest models in our list, namely the Holy Stone 100 FPV. For a slightly higher price, HS700 promises even greater flight conditions and time, wider control range and transmission distance, as well as better photos and video footage.

At a Glance

  • Brand: Holy Stone
  • Weight: 608g
  • Material Type:
  • Dimensions: 22 x 22 x 16cm (without protection guards)
  • Motor: 2204 1500KV Brushless Moor
  • Batteries: 2800 mAh
  • Recommended User Age:
  • Flight time: 16-20 Minutes
  • Charging Time: 5 – 7 Hours
  • Maximum Transmission Distance: 430 metres
  • Max Control Range: 1 km
  • Camera: 1920 x 1080p
  • Features:
    Follow Me
    Auto Return
    5G Live Video Transmission
    Quick-Release Propellers

Design & Features

Flight & Control

Lightweight and sturdily constructed, HS700 is highly portable and durable. It lacks protection guards, which is a bit of an issue, but only if you use it indoors. With a 2800mAh battery, HS700 will stay in the air for 20 minutes, which is much more than its similarly-priced competitors. The only problem with it is its long charging time (5 – 7 hours). If you plan to use it for more than make sure to buy an extra battery.

Featuring a 1500KV brushless motor, HS700 is noted for its quiet and responsive flight performance, capable of reaching upwind flight speeds of 25km/h and 60km/h downwind. The flight is assisted by advanced GPS technology, enabling all sorts of handy features and modes, including the well-known ‘Follow Me’ mode, the Auto Return feature, as well as the ‘Headless’ mode, which is always handy even for the most experienced users, minimising disorientation issues.

Holy Stone is famed for its ergonomic and user-friendly controllers. In HS700, the controller remains connected even when the drone loses signal and stops video streaming. On its dedicated LCD screen, you will be able to check the battery level, flight duration and distance, the drone’s position, as well as how many satellites are connected.

Camera & Features

Still, despite its great flight and safety features, the greatest thing about HS700 is its camera. Boasting a 5G 1080p FHD camera with an advanced lens with a 110-degree panoramic view field, it delivers photos and video of truly superb quality for its price.

The first-person view (FPV), combining real-time video and image transmission capabilities with a smartphone, is just perfect, allowing the user to see exactly what the drone sees while being compatible with GoPro cameras that can be installed on HS700.

Last, a few things about HS700’s excellent image storage. Featuring a 5G transmission, it allows you to view clean and crisp images and video and store it in an 8GB memory card – more than enough for a single flight and easily replaced with another one.

  • Long flight time
  • Superior camera quality
  • GPS-assisted flight
  • Panoramic field of view
  • Excellent image storage
  • Long battery-charge time
  • No protection guards

Our Opinion

Surpassing all its competitors, Holy Stone HS700 delivers long flights, excellent stability, sharp and responsive control, fantastic transmission and crisp images and video footage. True, charging time is a bit long and it could use some protection guards for indoor flying, but what more can you ask for such a price?

6. DJI Mavic Air Drone Fly More Combo – The Veteran’s Choice


DJI Mavic Air Drone
View on Amazon

Taking it up a bit in the price notch, DJI’s Mavic Air boasts a truly wonderful design and high-end engineering. Making the most of the previous models of a highly successful series, it makes portability, flight performance and functionality its most distinguishing traits.

At a Glance

  • Brand: DJI
  • Weight: 2Kg
  • Material type: (among others) Magnesium alloy camera brackets
  • Dimensions: 28x18x19.5cm
  • Batteries: 3 Lithium Polymer batteries required (included)
  • Recommended user age: 8 – 18 years
  • No Assembly Required
  • Flight Time: 21 minutes
  • Camera:
    4K Camera
    1/2.3” 12-megapixel CMOS sensor
    F/2.8 Lens Plus a 35-Mm Equivalent Focal Length of 24 mm
    32 MP Sphere Panoramas
    Smart- Capture
    3-Axis Gimbal
    3-Directional Environment Sensing
  • Features:
    FOC Sinusoidal Drive Architecture
    GPS assisted flight

Design & Features

Flight & Control

Let’s cut right to the chaste, starting with the design, whose priority has been portability and functionality. Featuring an innovative 3D foldable design, it can fold into the shape and dimensions of a standard-sized smartphone, allowing you to take it literally anywhere.

The same applies to the remote controller, that features a low-profile, ergonomic design that will steadily hold your mobile device and provide real-time viewing of your photos and video. The control sticks can be detached and stored inside the controller for extra portability.

Setup is very easy. You will have to download and launch the DJI Go 4 app to connect your mobile device to the controller.

Mavic Air excels at flight stability, even in adverse weather conditions. Due to its small size, it is a bit noisy during the takeoff, but that will hardly be an issue as soon as it gets 10 or twenty feet above the ground.

Flying is incredibly easy, assisted by GPS technology as well as obstacle avoidance sensors. There is no headless mode though, but you can check your phone screen to make sure which side (the front or the rear) of the drone you are facing.

Photos & Other Features

Designed to make your video and photo capture as crystal clear and well-angled as possible, Mavic Air has on board no less than seven different cameras, attached and reinforced by magnesium alloy brackets.

One of them, the central one, is niched within a recess for better protection. Equipped with a 3-Axis gimbal with a cleverly conceived triangular formation, it ensures steadier shots, since the angular vibration range drops lower than 0.005°!

Integrating a 1/2.3” 12-megapixel CMOS sensor and an f/2.8 lens with a 35-mm equivalent focal length of 24 mm, Mavic Air’s onboard camera has HDR algorithms and intelligent DSP acceleration that allow the user to get the perfect exposure settings, based on lighting conditions. Note also that, aside from horizontal and vertical, and 180° panoramas, you will also be able to stitch together several photos (as many as 25) in merely eight seconds, creating 32 MP Sphere panoramas!

Another great addition is the Active Track feature. It enables the camera to sense up to sixteen selectable subjects at once, even if they are moving at considerable speeds, allowing you to pick the one that interests you the most and affording higher precision and broader scenario applications. Active Track is ideal if you want to get footage of sports events, such as a cycling or sailing contest or.

The Smart Capture feature further upgrades your snapshots. Simple and interactive, it allows you to launch and control the flight with hand gestures and easily take photos and videos just at the right moment.

You won’t be disappointed video-wise either. With 4K 100 Mbps and 30 fps video capability, you will be able to record an event with UHD quality, while the slow-motion feature enables a 1080p 120 fps recording – ideal for high-speed adventures.

  • Unsurpassed portability
  • Very stable flight
  • Obstacle avoidance technology
  • Great photo & video features
  • Easy to control & handle
  • No headless mode

Our Opinion

A truly fantastic drone, foldable and ultraportable that will cater to your needs for exceptionally good photos and videos and very stable flights even in less friendly weather.

7. Walkera 15004650 Runner 250 Pro – The Professional’s Choice


Walkera 15004650 Runner 250 Pro
View on Amazon

Walkera has strived and succeeded to rank among the leading drone manufacturers worldwide, and 15004650 is a prime example.

High-end design, top-notch engineering and excellent efficiency make this model a truly great option for drone enthusiasts and professionals.

At a Glance

  • Brand: Walkera
  • Type: Pro Racing Quadcopter RTF
  • Weight: 599 gr
  • Dimensions: 22,1 x 20,5 x 11,7 cm
  • No Assembly Required
  • Battery: 11.1V 2200mAh 25C 3S Li-Po
  • Recommended User Age: 14 years and up
  • Flight Time: 10 – 12 minutes
  • Maximum Transmission Distance:
  • Camera: HD camera, 5.8 GHz FPV Image Transmission
    Horizontal Resolution: 800TVL
    System Committee: PAL/NTSC
    Video Out: 0Vp-p/75
    Power Input: DC 12V
    DEVO 7 Channel 2.4 GHz remote control
  • Features:
    Video Goggles V4 Included GPS Position Hold,
    Circle Flight and One Key Coming Home
    Devo 7 Transmitter
    Slim, Extrastabiler Carbon Fiber Frame,
    Innovative LED Direction Indicators for Easy Flight Parameters Positions Control
    On-screen Display

Design & Features

Flight & Control

Just a gander and you see that Runner 250 Pro is not your ordinary drone. First of all, it’s a quadcopter, bearing 4 propellers attached to 2 front rotors and 2 in the back. The speed controllers, flight controller, FPV Transmitter, receiver, OSD and LED Lights are easily plugged straight into the integrated distribution board, saving you time and energy.

In fact, no assembly is required, since it comes to you fully assembled and complete with everything you need, including Devo 7 radio transmitter with a range of 1km.

Featuring a pretty simple quadcopter design, one of its most amazing traits is its extremely small weight! Barely 600 gr, its sturdy yet light chassis and frame reach speeds and flying distances that are truly hard to match, as well as exceptional on-air stability, even in adverse weather conditions.

With its surprisingly sturdy and tough carbon fibre frame, the Runner is also designed to cope with serious mishandling: in case of a serious crash and damage, its modular design allows the effortless and fast replacement of the damaged components.

The Runner 250 PRO incorporates GPS, which basically means that you have a co-pilot on board.  Runner 250 Pro is packed with smart features – probably more “packed” than any other drone available today. An array of failsafe features makes sure that it will return safely at its base when something goes wrong, in case, for instance, it gets out of range, its battery gets too low or visibility gets too low (which happens often during night flights and landing gets difficult).

Next, Runner 250 Pro is equipped with an extremely agile yet durable camera bracket. Its innovative design allows it to absorb vibration, cope with turbulences and adjust to abrupt shifts while getting difficult angles and keeping its position. It also enables it to move smoothly from angled to upright, without compromising the video quality.

Camera & Features

The Runner 250 Pro comes with a built-in camera and video transmitter, which means it is FPV ready. Highly reliable and sturdy, with high definition footage and amazing resolution, the only thing it asks you to do is to add a monitor or some video goggles.

A great addition is its onboard OSD module, overlaying your flight footage with telemetry, including battery voltage and artificial horizon. On top of that, it affords you full control of the camera’s features and stream real-time footage to the radio controller. Needless to say, you can fly it either FPV or within sight. Besides, thanks to its bright headlights and indicator LEDs, orientating the Runner is a breeze.

The camera and its mounting are designed to cope with severe turbulence and adjust, thus ensuring smooth and uninterrupted camera motion almost in any given flight conditions.

Last, a few words about the battery and flight time are necessary. Unfortunately, despite its small weight, Runner 250 Pro is equipped with a battery that will hold it up to the air for no more than 12 minutes. It seems that its exceptional array of features and excellent flight performance could not be coupled with prolonged flight time at this price.

  • Lightweight
  • Amazing on-air stability
  • Numerous failsafe systems
  • One of the best brushless gimbal systems in the market
  • Definitely not for an inexperienced user
  • Short flight time

Our Opinion

Walkera’s Runner 250 is by far the best pick of our list, for so many reasons – but flight length isn’t one of them. Still, there should be at least one disadvantage to justify such an impressive flight performance and image quality at this price.

Drone Buying Guide – Things you Need to Know Before Taking your Pick

If you are new to the world of drones, then a small introduction could help in your market research.

What Does a Drone Do?

Drones, or more correctly, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are aircrafts flying without a human pilot onboard and are instead navigated by a ground-based controller. In simpler terms, a drone is a flying robot flying either autonomously or remotely controlled. Drone control systems use software-controlled flight plans, as well as onboard sensors and GPS.

Most common uses of drones include aerial photography and videography. Other commercial uses include aerial inspection, mapping, or project site monitoring.

How Long Can a Drone Fly for?
Again, that depends on the model you will choose. Cheap toy drones won’t last more than 10 minutes, while high-end camera drones may last for as much as 30 minutes up in the air.

How Far Can a Drone Go?

That depends on the drone you chose. Most drones can easily reach a few hundred metres away from the user, but the most sophisticated ones have a radius of several kilometres, as much as 6 or seven kilometres. The same applies to flight altitude. Depending on the model, drones reach altitudes of a few hundred to several thousand feet. Note though that there are laws prohibiting drone flights over a specific altitude, mainly for safety reasons.

When Was the First Drone Invented?

Drone technology was first developed for military purposes, it is not easy to say when this type of aircraft was first launched successfully. Besides, the technology upon which it’s based developed throughout the 20th century.  Still, most experts trace the first flights of what would a non-expert call a “drone” at the end of the ’60s, during the so-called War of Attrition (1967–1970), when the Israelis used UAVs equipped with cameras.

Who Invented Drones?

Drone technology is far too complex to be credited to just one person. An array of scientists,  aviator designers and engineers worked over several decades and on different projects, developing mechanisms and technologies that are now used for drones. The world’s first quadcopter, however, which is the most usual type of drone, was invented by the Bréguet brothers. Still, their quadcopter has a lot of flaws and was able to rise no more than two feet from the ground.

Where Can I Legally Fly my Drone?
There are certain limitations on drone flight radius, different to each country. In fact, several states do not even have a legal framework regarding drone use. In the UK, drone regulations are subject to regular changes, due to the rapid development of drone technology and their capabilities. First of all, all commercial drone users must register with the CAA. For the time being, the user is forbidden to fly the drone above 400 feet, or within 1km from airport boundaries and other “no-fly” zones – around prisons for example.

Note also that in some areas, drone users need to fill out an application form before flying their drones in this area, including certain areas of London and some national parks. If you plan to fly your drone in areas you have never been before, better ask first the local authorities.

The user is also obliged to keep the drone always within sight and at a maximum horizontal distance of 1,500 feet. You will also have to stay at least 450 feet away from congested areas or organised open-air assemblies of more than 1,000 people, and at least 150 feet away from strangers and private property. Note though that because of the frequent changes on drone use regulations, you should regularly check whether something has changed.

Do You Need Permission to Fly a Drone in the UK?
If it is for commercial use and your drone is under 20kg, then no, you don’t need a license, provided you are registered with the CAA and obey all the pertaining legislation. If your drone is heavier than 20kg, you need to consult the aviation authorities and see whether you need special permit.
What are the Best Drones to Buy?

With so many options available, it is more than easy to get lost or simply give up and pick the first drone it catches your attention. On the other hand, if you get to know a few things about drones, their types, features and characteristics, your research can be much easier and your choice much more suitable for your needs and wishes.

The first question you need to answer is, of course, what type of drone better meets your needs.

Types of Drones

There are several types of drones available today: sport drones, racing drones, cheap toy drones, photo drones etc. Each type comes with its own features, pros and cons, as well as size range and capabilities.

Quadcopters are the most popular drones today. Featuring an X- or H-shaped frame, they are equipped with four rotors and two pairs of propellers, one for clockwise and another for counter-clockwise rotation, along with other mechanisms that measure the drone’s position up in the air and automatically adjust the rotors, ensuring a smooth flight. Highly manoeuvrable and safe, quadcopters usually come with one of the following abbreviations in their boxes:

  • RTF – Ready to fly, meaning your drone can fly immediately after getting it out of the box, provided its batteries are charged.
  • ARF – Almost Ready to Fly, which means you will have to do a bit of assembling before getting it up to the air.
  • BNF – Bind-N-Fly, come complete save the transmitter, thus allowing you to attach one of your own choice.

Before making your pick, ask yourself:

  • Is it a personal drone, just for me, or for the whole family? How old is the younger person that will operate it?
  • What do I need it for?
  • How much experience do I have with drones?
  • How much money am I willing to spend?

As soon as you have a clearer picture of your needs and wishes, start familiarising a bit more with the drones’ categories and features.

Which Drone to Buy for Beginners?

A broad category of drones is the beginner’s/casual drones. They are designed for people with zero prior experience with drones that wish to learn how to fly and control them safely. Generally, they are characterised by

  • reliability,
  • simple controls,
  • low price, which also applies to their maintenance and spare parts, such as batteries, propellers and motors,
  • durability (that is, they can take a few hits without disintegrating).

The best thing about this type of drones is that they allow you to build confidence and master the basics without fear of destroying a very expensive or sophisticated drone.

What Drone Should I Buy for Photography?

The next category is the photo & video drones, which are by far the most popular ones, for the time being, offering the joy not just of controlling a flying object, but also of taking photos and recording the scenery from above.

True, their operation is a bit more complicated, but photo/video drones are by now easier to handle than ever and boast an array of super-smart features, helping the user to operate and land them safely even in critical situations, like when the battery is low, or follow a pre-determined path, or avoid obstacles ahead of them without losing sight of the scenery or point that interests you on the ground.

The third and last general category of drones is the FPV (first-person view) racing drones, specially designed to compete in events. They are obviously meant for very experienced users, featuring intricate and much more complex controls and great speeds, reaching as much as 70 – 100mph. They are highly manoeuvrable, but their flight time is usually much smaller.

How Much is a Drone? Are Drones Expensive?
Well, that depends on the features, flight autonomy and construction quality you wish your drone to have, as well as image and video quality. Most toy drones usually cost from £15 to £200, with camera drones following and reaching as much £800 or more. Needless to say that drones designed for professional use cost thousands of pounds.

Drone Features

  • Range

The range varies from around 50-100 metres for beginner drones to more than 3,5 miles for more advanced models.

  • Flight Time & Spare Parts

Drone flight time ranges from a few minutes to half an hour. Most beginner drones barely reach 10 minutes, but use cheap batteries that are easily swapped.

Remember that, the more expensive the drone, the costlier its batteries, accessories and spare parts, including propellers, motors, and landing gear.

  • Camera

The camera is not standard gear. In cheap beginner drones, it’s up to you to install one. Note that the addition of a camera in these drones will increase the weight and reduce the overall flight time. More sophisticated drones have a dedicated camera or allow for a GoPro attachment.

If you opt for a drone with an attached camera, make sure to check its features too, including ISO, shutter speed, photo/video size etc.

  • Headless Mode

Headless mode is a great feature that makes direction control easy and straightforward, regardless of the positioning of the drone towards you. Whether facing you with its back or front, the drone will move in the same direction you move your finger at the controls.

  • Return Home Function – GPS

This crucial function enables your drone to return to its ‘home’ point just with the push of a button, which is great if you lose sight or control of it, or you lack the experience to bring it back in one piece.

Note though that a simple “Return Home” feature is much inferior to a GPS-powered drone. Without GPS, the Return Home feature will work properly only when the Headless mode is activated. Otherwise, it will travel the correct distance but in the opposite direction!

  • 3-Axis Gimbal

This is a mechanism designed to keep the camera levelled at all times, ensuring stable footage throughout the flight, regardless of the drone’s manoeuvres. If you want high-quality footage, this is a ‘must-have’ feature.