Best Drones for Beginners

I spent over two weeks researching and shortlisting 50+ drones for beginners. After researching how they perform in different locations, environments, and weather conditions (including rain), the DJI Mini 4 Pro is the overwhelming winner after passing all my criteria. 

Its battery life, camera capabilities, flight time, obstacle avoidance, and speed truly impressed me. Not to miss its compact size and versatility.

But if you’ve got the cash to spend, go for DJI Mavic 3 Pro. You won’t need to upgrade for at least the next few years!

Continue reading as I share my detailed (and UNBIASED) DJI Mini 4 Pro review, along with four other options you can try out.

Best Overall Drone

DJI Mini 4 Pro

Best Budget-Friendly Drone

Ryze Tech Tello

Best DJI Alternative

Ryze Tech Tello Holy Stone HS440D

Best Premium Drone

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

Best FPV Drone

DJI Avata

A Quick Overview of The Best Beginner Drones

Below is a quick overview of my five best beginner drones from popular brands like DJI and Holy Stone (you got to try their drones once).  

I’ve rated every drone on a total of seven major parameters, and that should help you decide which one is the most suitable for you. 

Feature
Best Overall Drone
Best Budget-Friendly Drone
Best DJI Alternative
Best Premium Drone
Best FPV Drone
Product ➡️
Criteria ⬇️
DJI Mini 4 Pro
Ryze Tech Tello
Holy Stone HS440D
DJI Mavic 3 Pro
DJI Avata
Battery
4/5
3.5/5
3/5
4.5/5
4/5
Camera
4.5/5
3.7/5
4/5
5/5
4/5
Flight Time
4/5
3/5
3.5/5
4.5/5
3.5/5
Flight Range
5/5
3/5
4/5
5/5
4/5
Speed
4.7/5
4.5/5
4/5
4/5
4/5
Obstacle Avoidance
5/5
3.5/5
3/5
5/5
3/5
Ease of Use
4.5/5
4.5/5
4.5/5
4/5
4.5/5
Overall Rating
4.5/5
3.6/5
3.7/5
4.5/5
3.8/5

5 Best Drones for Beginners – My Detailed Analysis

Here’s my experience with each drone after extensive research for a couple of weeks. I’ve tried to keep the analysis to the point as possible to make your buying decision easier. 

Let’s start with my all-time favorite: DJI Mini 4 Pro. 

Best Overall Drone: DJI Mini 4 Pro

Specifications 

  • Best For: Flyers with a premium budget 
  • Camera Resolution: 48 MP
  • Flight Time: 34 minutes (45 minutes (with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus)
  • Flight Range: 20km
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing
  • Weight: < 249g

Photo Credit: www.dji.com

Camera

I’ve used Mini 3 Pro in the past and this Mini 4 Pro is a robust upgrade, especially if I talk in terms of image and video quality.

Let me tell you why.

Its camera comes with a 12/48MP 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor with large 2.4μm pixels, capturing amazing 12MP shots in low light, and up to 48MP high-resolution photos when the light is good. DJI has kept the FOV at 82.1° in Mini 4 Pro as well, although it could have been better!

Nevertheless, Mini 4 Pro completely outshines its predecessor with a higher resolution camera, exactly what I expected for its premium price tag! It can handle up to 4K HDR video at 60fps, which the Mini 3 Pro could at just 30fps.

If you prioritize the camera over other aspects of the drone, Mini 4 Pro is one of the top beginner drones with a camera that won’t disappoint you. I can bet on it!

Flight Time

I would rate the flight time of Mini 4 Pro around four (or maybe 3.5) on five. DJI hasn’t done much in improving the flight time of Mini 3 Pro’s successor and it’s still 34 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery of 2590 mAh capacity.

Although you can upgrade to Intelligent Flight Battery Plus (not available in Europe) for an enhanced flight of 45 minutes, this will take your drone’s weight over 250g.

Personally speaking, I don’t see much sense in doing it, as the actual flight time is never the same as advertised.

Flight Range

Apart from the camera quality, the flight range is another big positive of the DJI Mini 4 Pro in my opinion.

It’s a whopping 20 km, thanks to DJI’s O4 video transmission technology. This allows you to enjoy ultra-responsive control and smooth 1080p/60fps FHD live feeds from distances of up to 20km. This is 8km more compared to the Mini 3 Pro.

Speed

Drones made by DJI are considered one of fastest on the market, and the Mini 4 Pro didn’t disappoint me at all when I was doing my research. Its maximum ascent speed in Sports, Normal, and Cine mode is 5 m/s, 5 m/s, and 3 m/s, respectively.

But if you’re primarily using your drone for taking pictures or shooting videos, the Cine mode is a much, much better choice than the Sports mode. You’ll get more stability with the former!

Obstacle Avoidance

Coming to obstacle avoidance, Mini 4 Pro has both omnidirectional obstacle sensing and avoidance systems in place. There are a total of 4 wide-angle vision sensors and two downward vision sensors, to proficiently detect obstacles in every direction. 

And guess what? Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) will be of great help to you, enabling automatic braking and bypassing during flight for a worry-free flight experience.

Ease of Use

Mini 4 Pro’s intuitive controls and pre-programmed flight modes mean easy navigation and smooth aerial photography, irrespective of the prevailing light conditions.

With features like automatic takeoff (my favorite) and landing, as well as obstacle detection, even first-time flyers can record stunning aerial footage effortlessly. 

Additionally, its compact size and lightweight build further enhance its ease of use, allowing for convenient transportation and quick setup in any location. This Mini 3 Pro’s successor is so compact that I usually pack it in my backpack! 

You guys can refer to this tutorial to learn how to set up and fly the Mini 4 Pro like an actual pro

What Other Customers Have to Say About DJI Mini 4 Pro?

“I don’t know what else there is to say. This thing (DJI Mini 4 Pro) is fabulous. It’s the best thing out there for the size/money, at least until DJI releases next year’s Mini Pro!”

-Jeff Buck

Best Budget-Friendly Drone: Ryze Tech Tello

Specifications 

  • Best For: Absolute beginners, especially kids
  • Camera Resolution: 5MP
  • Flight Time: 13 minutes 
  • Flight Range: 100m
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Basic sensors
  • Weight: 80g

Photo Credit: store.dji.com

Camera

Tello’s camera quality is not something I would rate extraordinary, but it’s not bad either. I’ll be very honest with you. Its tiny nose-mounted camera is capable of clicking 5MP photos and streaming 720p videos directly from your smartphone. Interestingly, you get a wider FOV here @ 82.6°! DJI’s Mini 4 Pro’s FOV is 82.1°. 

If you’re searching for the best drone for your kids to practice their piloting skills, then Ryze Tech Tello makes a good investment. 

Flight Time

Tello features a low-capacity battery of 1.1 Ah due to its palm-size and lightweight design, restricting its flight time to approx. 13 minutes per complete charge.

Remarkably, during my in-depth research, I found out that the Tello achieved the full 13 minutes of flight, which is a rare sight with other drones. 

So, a great job by DJI and Ryze Tech. 

Flight Range

Tello is controllable from a distance of 100m, provided the weather plays nice. From my research, one user said once they tried flying it under rough conditions, they lost control after 30-40m.

The permissible altitude is not good either. It’s just 30m (10-15m practically), meaning you can’t take it very high in the sky. 

Speed

Ryze Tech Tello is a cool mini quadcopter to fly, whether indoor or outdoor. Thanks to its small size, it zips along rapidly @ 8m/s.

Although many owners had a pleasant experience while twisting or turning it in the air, I found controlling this 80g drone a little challenging. Even the slightest wind could knock it over! 

Obstacle Avoidance

Obstacle avoidance is modest in Tello with the presence of just a couple of downward-facing sensors to keep it nice and steady.

If you plan to take it outside, give yourself plenty of space to avoid crashing it into nearby walls, shrubberies, trees or your neighbors’ gardens. 

Ease of Use

Ryze Tech Tello is highly user-friendly, making it ideal for kids rather than adults. Its intuitive controls, combined with the smartphone app, ensure smooth piloting through swiping. 

Lightweight and durable, the Tello is also programmable via scratch, allowing your kids to easily learn and experiment with basic coding while having fun.

What Other Customers Have to Say About DJI Ryze Tech Tello?

“Perfect for beginners! It’s a small drone and really basic but it’s so practical.”

-RecardoG

Best DJI Alternative: Holy Stone HS440D

Specifications 

  • Best For: Newbie to seasoned flyers
  • Camera Resolution: 8MP
  • Flight Time: 19 minutes 
  • Flight Range: 100m
  • Obstacle Avoidance: No
  • Weight: < 250g

Photo Credit: store.holystone.com

Camera

If you want the camera capabilities of DJI drones at half the price, Holy Stone HS440D has got you covered. It comes at a freaking competitive price of $240 ($169.99 at the time of writing this review) and still gives a close flight to those sub-$1000 DJI drones! Unbelievable!!

One feature that caught my attention was HS440D’s 90° adjustable 4K high-definition camera, which worked nicely to restore my shooting details.

My cousin is a professional videographer and I asked him what his experience was when he used this drone for some real-time shooting. 

This is what he said:

“HS440D, despite being a budget-friendly camera drone, surprised me with its electronic stabilization. The wide field of view of 120° is not even present in my ultra-costly drones. 5GHz FPV transmission doesn’t lag at all, delivering stable videos even in high-speed or windy conditions. I’ll buy it soon!”

Flight Time

My main concern with HS440D is its flight time. Its battery capacity seems quite disappointing to me, and the company needs to work on it to compete with the competitors. I won’t say it’s the worst, but it isn’t satisfactory either.

One complete charge yields just 19 minutes of flight, that too under calm weather. 

Flight Range

HS440D’s flight range is around 100m (or 300-feet). From my research, I didn’t expect it to be this much in real-time (the reason you know), but I was proven wrong! 

In fact, this particular drone begins to lose connection from the transmitter at around 105-110m, thus exceeding the company’s claims.

Speed

You won’t find the exact speed of Holy Stone HS440D anywhere on the internet, not even on the official website, and I don’t why it’s so! 

But one thing is confirmed: the drone’s powerful brushless motors provide ample power for agile maneuvers and smooth, controlled flights. Thanks to the wind resistance level of 3 to this, you’ll experience little to no impact on the drone’s overall speed if there’s any wind around.

You can refer to this article to know more about wind resistance levels.

Obstacle Avoidance

There’s no definitive obstacle avoidance in HS440D, but that’s taken care of to some extent by the drone’s visual positioning system on the bottom, which is coupled with optical flow positioning, GPS, and GLONASS. 

A lot of users personally fell in love with the GPS intelligent flight mode, this is because the drone manages to stay mindful of its surrounding buildings, trees, mobile network congestion, etc.

You can also read my article to learn how to find a lost drone. 

Ease of Use

Holy Stone HS440D is the perfect drone for newbies and seasoned flyers alike. 

It offers an intuitive flying experience that’s easy to learn by users of any age group. Features like GPS-powered return to home (RTH) and advanced flight modes, like Follow Me, Point of Interest, and Waypoint, make it extremely easy to navigate the outdoor world without hassles. 

Not to miss the built-in flight stabilization technology that results in a stable flight even in unpredictable weather. 

What Other Customers Have to Say About Holy Stone HS440D?

“The camera quality of the drone is very good at an affordable price. Many settings are available to fit certain needs, not to mention the ability to auto return the drone if lost. Helpfully for recording videos as well. I would recommend this product to anybody looking for a good drone.”

-Brooke Hansen

Best Premium Drone: DJI Mavic 3 Pro

Specifications 

  • Best For: Flyers into professional photography 
  • Camera Resolution: 48MP
  • Flight Time: 43 minutes 
  • Flight Range: 15km
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing + APAS 5.0
  • Weight: 958g

Photo Credit: store.dji.com

Camera

When I first heard about DJI pushing telephoto cameras, or the whole triple-camera approach in the Mavic 3 Pro, I could recall my bad experiences with it in Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Classic. Due to this very reason, I had little hopes from DJI Mavic 3 Pro initially. 

But…

The drone’s main 20MP 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera, 48MP 1/1.3” CMOS medium tele camera (as the Mini 3 Pro), and 12MP 1/2” tele camera proved me wrong! I must say, DJI has strategically used each of these cameras on the Mavic 3 Pro to take your images and videos to a whole new level.

Still, I feel the main 20MP 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera is more than enough for high-quality photo/videography. Its adjustable f/2.8-f/11 aperture further makes it possible to adjust exposure in your video footage without changing the ND filters. This is a great time saver, isn’t it?

Each of the three cameras of DJI Mavic 3 Pro has digital zooms as well. While the main Hasselblad camera offers a 1-3x zoom, the dual tele cameras have 3-7x and 7-28x optical and hybrid zooming capabilities, respectively. 

Flight Time

The sub-1000g DJI Mavic 3 Pro comes with a whopping 5000 mAh Li-ion 4S battery that gives you a 43 minutes flight time. This means more time to fly further and  less time to worry about the battery level! 

Nevertheless, during my research, I found from users that the actual flight time fell shy of the company’s claim by 6-8 minutes. 

Flight Range

DJI Mavic 3 Pro features a transmission range of up to 15km with stable signals, for a more coherent camera view. Even with such a short range (from its standards), it can transmit a 1080p/60fps HD live feed. 

This makes your Mavic 3 Pro more responsive to your commands and gives you a more vibrant video feed on your display. Still, I expect DJI to upgrade the transmission range to up to 25km.

Speed

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro impresses with its speed, reaching up to 8 m/s in Sports mode with collision avoidance switched off. Normal mode feels somewhat slower but is the commonly used one. 

For those into aerial photography or videography, there’s another Cine mode that further reduces the speed, but enhances flight stability and camera sensitivity for dynamic real-time shooting.

Obstacle Avoidance

Obstacle avoidance is at its best in Mavic 3 Pro. It offers the full value for your money, leading to a safe and peaceful flight. Its eight wide-angle vision sensors work seamlessly to sense obstacles in all directions and plan a safe flight route to avoid them. 

I also liked the Vision Assist feature, which anticipates obstacles in every direction during the flight. This is a great life saver during low-light conditions, empowering you to chart a safer, more efficient course.

Ease of Use

The intuitive controls and responsive app make flying Mavic 3 Pro straightforward, even for beginners. Its omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system and APAS 5.0 add a layer of safety, reducing the stress of piloting it through crowded places, around tall buildings, or in your backyard. 

Setting up the drone is also quick, and the GPS lock is reliable, ensuring smooth flights. 

Overall, DJI Mavic 3 Pro is user-friendly and perfect for those looking to capture stunning aerial shots without a steep learning curve.

What Other Customers Have to Say About DJI Mavic 3 Pro?

“Mavic 3 Pro puts three widely used focal lengths into a compact aircraft to make my work more efficient and creative. The new 70mm lets me shoot unique scenes and delivers stunning image quality and spatial compression along with the 166mm, which supports my visual expression.” 

-SkyPixel Creator

Best FPV Drone: DJI Avata

Specifications 

  • Best For: FPV enthusiasts
  • Camera Resolution: 12MP
  • Flight Time: 18 minutes 
  • Flight Range: 11.6km
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Downward Binocular Vision + ToF Infrared Sensing
  • Weight: 410g

Photo Credit: store.dji.com

Camera

DJI Avata excels on the camera front. I’m not only impressed with its large 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor but the fact that it supports 4K ultra-wide-angle recording with an f/2.8 aperture amazed me a lot. 

The Field of View, or FOV, is also pretty super-wide at 155°. This is closer to what we see with our eyes, thus creating more impactful, hyper-immersive visuals.

Flight Time

The 2420 mAh capacity Li-ion battery of Avata delivers a flight time of around 18 minutes, which is at par for the FPV standards. The flight time of other FPVs I’ve tried in the past struggles to cross double digits, so I won’t complain here at all.

Flight Range

Despite using the most advanced v3.0+ transmission system, which the Mavic 3 also uses, the flight range stands at just under 12km. But thankfully, reduced latency, increased bitrate, and higher transmission power compensates for it.

Speed

Being an agile drone, the Avata excels in speed and maneuverability. It offers a top speed of around 27 m/s in Manual mode, making it ideal for dynamic filming and stable fast-paced action shots. Its responsive controls and durable design further ensure stability even at high speeds. 

However, the drone’s speed in the Sports mode is surprisingly lower at 14 m/s than the Manual mode! 

Whether for professional videography or recreational use, the DJI Avata provides an exhilarating and reliable flying experience.

Obstacle Avoidance

Coming to obstacle avoidance, there isn’t much to talk about in the DJI Avata. It has just got standard sensors for Downward Binocular Vision and ToF Infrared Sensing to detect downward obstacles, allowing it to perform low-altitude or indoor flight. 

But this also means your beloved drone may crash with objects coming in its way from the sides or above! 

Ease of Use

The DJI Avata is highly praised for its ease of use, especially among beginners and FPV enthusiasts. Its intuitive controls, robust safety features, and stabilized FPV (First-Person View) make it accessible for even someone from a non-flying background. 

The motion controller simplifies flying, and the built-in obstacle sensing sensors enhance confidence.

What Other Customers Have to Say About DJI Avata?

“Basically everything is better than the first version. GPS is built into the headset so you don’t have to connect your phone to be remote ID compliant. Camera is better, and I no longer feel the need to connect a GoPro to get usable quality. Easily the most fun to fly DJI drone they make.”

-JamesV

How Do I Choose a Drone for Beginners?

Many of you often ask me how to choose a drone for beginners or what key features to look for in it. So, keep these five things on your radar when you’re going to purchase a drone for beginners:

Price

While price is a personal preference, and not something I usually discuss much, it matters a lot in the case of drones. Advancements in drone technology have made high-end features accessible in entry-level drones. 

So you don’t need to spend a fortune to get your hands on the best drone for beginners. 

Take the example of the Mini 3 Pro. It has nearly all the capabilities of the expensive Mavic 3 Pro but costs much, much less compared to it.  

Size & Weight

A drone’s size and weight also play a big role in its portability, flying abilities, and battery life. 

  • Small & lightweight drones: These are best suited for beginners due to their portability and palm-size design. Flight stability, battery life, and camera capabilities of these drones, however, aren’t very attractive.
     
  • Big & heavy drones: If you’re an intermediate or advance-level pilot, big and heavy drones are your best bet. They are equipped with high-capacity batteries, great camera qualities, and features like auto stabilization, obstacle avoidance, etc. 

Battery Life

The battery life is another significant facet of any drone and thus, another crucial parameter to focus on. After all, you won’t like to put your machine in charge now and then! Isn’t it?

Having said this, a longer battery life allows for extended flights on a single charge, essential for capturing more footage or covering larger areas. 

Pro Tip: When buying a drone, always check the average flight time and consider extra batteries to ensure continuous use without frequent recharging. 

Flight Performance

When it comes to flight performance, you must focus on parameters like speed, range, altitude, flight time, and modes. 

Greater speed and range allow for quicker and farther flights, while flying at higher altitudes provides better views. Moreover, extended flight time means more enjoyment with fewer recharges, and various modes provide diverse functions and experiences. 

But all this comes at a cost, remember that! 

Camera

Let’s be honest. No one buys or invests in a drone for just the sake of flying it. Its primary use case is aerial photography and video recording. 

For this reason, its resolution, frame rate, stabilization, field of view (FOV), zoom, and camera gimbal become paramount. Choose a drone with a higher resolution and frame rate, better stabilization, wider FOV, and enhanced zoom.

Conclusion

Each of these drones is designed with user-friendly controls, robust build quality, and all essential features for your first flight. With these choices, you can confidently start your drone-flying journey, enjoying a seamless and enjoyable experience right from the get-go.

So, which drone are you considering buying? Do let me know your decision in the comments below. 

Until then, happy flying!

Best Drones for Beginners - FAQs

If your budget is somewhat premium, I highly recommend the DJI Mini 4 Pro. Its low-light performance, omnidirectional vision sensing, and automated flight modes will greatly assist in your flying. The best part? It weighs under 250g! 

I've been a DJI user for many years, and my first-ever drone was from this particular brand only. While yes, the majority of its drones are priced a little bit high, even for beginners, they are all worth the money. So, in my opinion, DJI is a sure-shot good brand for first-time flyers. 

 If good GPS and camera are your priority in the drone, look no further than Holy Stone HS440D and DJI Mini 2 SE. Both these drones are easy to fly, come with multiple flight modes, and let you shoot even in low-light conditions.