Best beginner drones 2023 - Our top entry-level picks for starters

best beginner drones

best beginner drones

When it comes to finding the best beginner drones, there are a few things you'll want to look out for when you're searching for what to buy.

Ideally, you'll want something that's affordable to use, and, thankfully, some of the best beginner drones are markedly less expensive than their professional counterparts and generally fall under the category of being the best drones under 200.

In some cases, they don't necessarily skimp out on too many features, either. For instance, the DJI Mini 3 Pro still retains the ability to shoot in 4K so, even if you are a beginner, you can still get some great film.

You'll want to make sure there's a good companion app to go with it, too, which should allow the drone to stay still whilst you work out how sensitive it is to your inputs as you learn the ropes.

There are many different options available from different manufacturers, from the well-known DJI to the likes of Autel.

In addition, if you are a beginner, then getting a drone that's well made that possibly features prop guards for outdoor use is going to be key. Or, you can stick to indoor flights with the likes of the Ryze Tello before setting foot outdoors with something a little bit bigger.

We’ve selected what we think are the best beginner drones on the market today, based on specs, reviews, and the features they offer that we think make them stand out from the crowd. In addition, we've also taken the time out to answer any burning questions you might have below our selection.

So, let's get to it - here are some of the best beginner drones out there today.

Best Beginner Drones

Best Beginner Drone DJI - DJI Mini 3 Pro

best beginner drone DJI
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Image Credit: DJI
Controller: Yes | Battery Capacity: 2453mAh | Flight Time: 34/48 minutes | Camera Resolution: 48MP | Weight: 249g

For those wanting a brilliant all-round choice from one of the best drone manufacturers out there, the new DJI Mini 3 Pro looks like a great choice.

DJI makes some of the best drones out there, and this more compact offering is fantastic for beginners due to its ease of use and smaller size.

Perhaps the most important thing for beginners here though is that this drone has tri-directional obstacle sensing to enhance safety, as well as its APAS 4.0 system that can detect and avoid obstacles in real-time

The drone also comes with a few smart features that can be set up with just the press of a button, like FocusTrack, MasterShots and Timelapse, allowing newer drone pilots to get quality results.

Once you do get the hang of things, you'll be able to enjoy the DJI Mini 3 Pro for up to 48 minutes with the uprated battery installed, or 34 minutes with the standard one.

Regardless of which you choose though, it will still be one of the best drones for battery life.

You'll also be able to reap the benefits of its 48MP camera that allows for 4K video at 60fps, which should look incredible, and is a notable upgrade on the old Mini 2.

In addition, its 249g weight makes it one of the lightest drones out there and should also make it pretty nimble, and this particular DJI offering also looks fantastic, it must be said, especially with the fact it can be folded up, much like its predecessor, making it especially portable, too.

Best Mini Beginner Drone - Autel Evo Nano

best mini beginner drone autel
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Image Credit: Autel
Controller: Yes | Flight Time: 28 minutes | Camera Resolution: 48MP | Weight: 249g

Speaking of compact drones, the Autel Evo Nano looks like quite a powerful mini drone that should be amazing for beginners.

For starters, you're getting a beefy 1/2 inch 48MP sensor that should allow for some sharp and clear photos and video with its 4K shooting capabilities.

Larger sensors can allow more light in, which is better for low-light videography and for highly detailed photography because more light is equivalent to more 'information'. For more information on why having a larger sensor is sometimes better for drone photography, DJI has a useful guide.

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Moreover, its sub 250g weight makes it positively dinky and easy enough to place into a pocket or small rucksack, and take on your travels wherever you go. Not to mention, its bright orange top and black frame also look great, and the Autel Evo Nano should be pretty well made, too.

This drone features three-way obstacle avoidance sensors, which are handy for beginners, so they can fly with a lesser risk of damage.

The avoidance sensors are designed to aid pilots, but they're not a complete failsafe and come with a few caveats, such as struggling to detect flat surfaces of single colours, like a building painted completely white, Autel has a list of dangers and techniques to remedy them.

Its quoted 28 minutes of flight time also gives you plenty of time to get to grips with this particular drone and also offers up some good battery life in a more general sense, too.

Best Beginner Drone With GPS - Potensic T25

best beginner drone with gps potensic
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Image Credit: Potensic
Controller: Yes | Battery Capacity: 1000mAh | Flight Time: 8 minutes | Camera Resolution: 12MP | Weight: 185g

If having GPS on a drone is of paramount importance, and you want a quadcopter you can keep an eye on, then the Potensic T25 looks to be a handy option.

Of course, the above drones from DJI and Autel feature GPS themselves, but the Potensic T25 offers you a much lower cost option with the feature. It's a convenient creature comfort to have, so you can keep an eye on where your drone is, and make sure it doesn't leave your sight.

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As for flight time, it's good for around ten minutes courtesy of the 1000mAh battery, which gives you enough time to use it in quick bursts and get up to speed with drone flying in an easy way.

A 12MP camera will also allow you to take some decent shots in the air.

The Potensic T25 also weighs under 200g which makes it one of the lightest drones out there, and its white colouring helps it look slick, and the quadcopter-style design also makes it look fantastic.

Best Budget Beginner Drone - Ryze Tello

best budget beginner drone ryze
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Image Credit: Ryze
Controller: Yes |  Flight Time: 13 minutes | Camera Resolution: 5MP | Weight: 80g

If you're wanting something for indoor use that's compact and affordable, then you won't go far wrong with the Ryze Tello.

Its flight time of 13 minutes means you can set it up and fly around for a quick burst of fun, and an 80g weight means when you do get it in the air it should be nimble enough to perform some pretty cool tricks.

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When it comes to in-flight control, it's all achieved with the bundled Tello app that keeps things simple with a twin-stick setup for responsive, easy flying.

If you do want to shoot some video, then the Ryze Tello is good for 720p with its 5MP camera which should be absolutely fine for casual viewing and offer up decent images.

Best Beginner Drone Parrot - Parrot ANAFI

best beginner drone parrot
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Image Credit: Parrot

Controller: Yes | Battery Capacity: 2700mAh | Flight Time: 25 minutes | Camera Resolution: 21MP | Weight: 320g

The Parrot ANAFI is quite the clever camera drone and offers quite an immense set of features for a beginner's flyer.

You'll find it features a brilliant 21MP camera which should be able to take some crisp photos and video, as well as, thanks to the camera mounted on the front of the drone, offering some unique shooting opportunities which are cool.

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Moreover, there's a load of convenient autonomous flying modes that can. do all kinds of things including making the ANAFI follow you around, or with its Dolly Zoom effect, recreate the infamous Vertigo shot from Alfred Hitchcock's classic film, or the diner scene from Goodfellas.

25 minutes of flight time thanks to a 2700mAh battery is also decent, and gives you loads of time to pilot the drone, whether you're just flying it around for fun, or using it to take some cool video.

Best Beginner FPV Drone - BetaFPV Cetus

best FPV drone for beginners
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Credit: BetaFPV
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Controller: Yes | Flight Time: 5 minutes | Camera Resolution: Live-view only | Weight: 35g

If you're looking for an introduction to the world of FPV drones, the BetaFPV Cetus should be a great choice for beginners.

FPV stands for 'first person view' and flying this drone via the bundled goggles will provide you with an immensely immersive experience.

The BetaFPV Cetus also features some handy creature comforts such as altitude hold and auto-land, which is especially handy for a beginner drone if you haven't quite mastered landing just yet.

A max speed of 80kph makes this rather quick, alongside a total weight of 35g, which not only makes this the lightest drone on our list but should also mean it's immensely nimble in the air.

Do note though, that as this is an FPV drone, you are required to have a 'spotter' with you. In other words, someone next to you when you fly it to keep everything in check.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are always a few questions that pop up time and time again when it comes to beginner drones, so here are our two cents to help you make an informed decision.

Is it hard to learn to fly a drone?

In short, it can be. It really depends on what kind of drone you're flying and the power it has as to how difficult it's going to be to fly, but if you've got any experience with remote-controlled vehicles, then learning how to fly a drone is going to be a bit easier.

It is a bit of a learning curve as you acclimatise, but once you're there, you should be up, up, and away in no time at all.

Are bigger drones easier to fly?

Larger drones can be seen as being easier to fly in part due to them offering a more stable flying experience, due to the extra weight. Also, the strength of its rotors will be proportionally higher compared to the wind, so will be less affected.

How much should I spend on a beginner drone?

This all depends on what you're going to be using the drone for.

For simple indoor use, then going for something up to £100/$100 or so will serve you well, whilst for proper outdoor use with a powerful camera, then around £500/$500 seems about right.

For beginners, going for a slightly more premium option wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, as you'll be futureproofing for when you do eventually become more experienced with flying, and you'll have a drone you're comfortable with already for when that moment comes.

Is owning a drone worth it?

We'd say owning a drone is definitely worth it, given the fun of flying them, be it for just pure recreational use, or for something more professional.

For instance, if you're a budding photographer, then learning the art of flying a drone well can also add another string to your bow, and many of our picks above feature some amazing cameras, too.

Some drones can even allow you to add an action camera to take photos with if it doesn't have one itself. For those, you'll want to check our list of the best action cameras to find one that'll suit.

How do I get started with a drone?

We'd say the best way to get started with a drone is to only fly it for short periods at a time so you can get used to the controls. Also, it may be worth bringing a friend along who's a little more experienced so they can give you tips on how to fly it properly.

Calibrating your drone correctly will make it much easier to gain the finesse of drone flying.

Once you're up to speed, then you can build up the duration until you feel comfortable flying your drone for as long as the battery will last and take some great shots.

How long does a drone battery last?

This all depends on which drone you have.

Some more budget-oriented drones will have a flight time of around fifteen minutes, whilst the bigger, more professional ones will feature flight times over half an hour.

Can you fly a drone without Wi-Fi?

In short, yes. Drones don't need Wi-Fi to be able to fly outdoors. Wi-Fi is only needed when you're updating any apps for instance, and there's no requirement for a drone to connect to a network in order to fly.

Some drones can be flown over Wi-Fi, but it isn't the norm for this to be the case.

Is a drone quiet?

On average, drones output noise of around 75-80 decibels. For reference, that's about the same noise level as a vacuum cleaner or a radio.

They aren't the quietest things in the world, but they definitely aren't too loud, either.

Can drones hover?

In short, yes. Drones can hover, and many of the best ones out there will feature preset programs in them so they can hover on the spot or follow the user around, which is clever as well as some automatic tricks.

If you're looking for more information on those clever automatic tricks that some drones can do, then taking a look at an example such as DJI's QuickShots will be especially beneficial.

Do you need a license to fly a drone?

It depends on the drone and the purpose you're using the drone for. If you were planning to use a drone in UK airspace for business and commercial reasons, you'd need a PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations), however for the drones on this list, it's very unlikely that you'll ever need to worry about getting a license.

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