Best Quadcopter for Beginners (Updated April 2020)

Apart from being great fun to fly, remote control quadcopters are particularly suitable for beginners. This is because quadcopters for beginners need to be a lot easier to control and maintain their balance than regular remote control helicopters.

For this reason they make ideal gifts for those who have always wanted to fly remote control helicopters but have either never tried it, or have tried it and found it too difficult. An RC quadcopter means they will be able to enjoy the experience with ease, and without the frustration that comes with learning to fly a regular RC helicopter.

Multi-rotor helicopters have become increasingly popular in the field of aerial photography since they allow for some incredible pictures if you mount an HD camera on them.

This is a great additional tool for photographers; enabling them to achieve shots that nobody else may get. The possibilities are endless for the passionate photographer. And since RC quadcopters are much easier to learn to fly than regular RC helicopters, photographers can get on with the photography without first having to spend a lot of time learning to fly the aircraft.

The Best Quadcopters For Beginners - Quads You Just Can't Ignore

Model

Features

SNAPTAIN SP300 Mini Drone for beginners

SNAPTAIN SP300 Mini Drone

Camera: No

Prop Guard:  Yes

Flight Time: 6 minutes

Range: 50 meters


More features:

Headless mode
360 degree flips

Obstacle avoidance
Hand gesture control

SNAPTAIN H823H Mini Drone for Kids

SNAPTAIN H823H Mini Drone for Kids

Camera: No

Prop Guard:  Yes

Flight Time: 6 minutes

Range: 30 meters


More features:


One key 3D flips

Altitude hold

Headless mode

One key return

One key start/land

Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 Wifi FPV Drone

Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 Wifi FPV Drone

Camera: Yes

Prop Guard:  Yes

Flight Time: 7 minutes

Range: 50 meters


More features:

WiFi FPV Camera

Headless mode

360 degree flips


Syma X5C

Camera: Yes

Prop Guard:  Yes

Flight Time: 7 minutes

Range: 50 meters


More features:
Camera

Holy Stone HS170 Predator Beginner Quadcopter

Holy Stone HS170 Predator

Camera: No

Prop Guard:  Yes

Flight Time: 8 minutes

Range: 50 meters


More features:

Headless mode
One Key flip and roll

3 speeds

best beginner quadcopter

LaTrax Alias

Camera: No


Prop Guard:  No

Flight Time: 7 minutes

Range: 50 meters




Starter Quadcopter Buying Guide

What is a quadcopter?

A quadcopter is basically a helicopter with propellers. You can also get hexacopters, octocopters, and tricopters. Here, we will share with you, quadcopters that are easy to fly, and are perfect for complete beginners.

quadcopter

But before that, you would want to know what to look for in a starter quadcopter …

Tips For Choosing Your First Quadcopter

Those expensive quads with Go Pro cameras sure look very appealing, but you would not want to buy one of those if you have never ever flown a quadcopter before.

  • Crashes are inevitable

They do happen - a lot - when you are just starting out, and you most certainly would not want to crash a $500+ quad if you cannot afford to do so.

Even a single crash might mean expensive repairs and replacement parts … so you really need to master flying before you try your hand at those expensive craft.

  • Study all you can

Take the time to understand how quads work and the components that go into building them. That should help you a great deal if you are really serious about taking this as up a hobby.

You will certainly not go wrong even if you were to spend a few weeks researching quadcopters. You will want to study guides, watch scores of reviews on Youtube and other sites, sign up for forums and ask lotsof questions. Get to know all you can. This is the best way to get started with this hobby.

This can be a very addictive hobby, and if you are not adequately prepared, it can turn very expensive as well. Parts and accessories are not cheap and you will need to get a working understanding of howeverything works together in a drone. If you have at best a hazy idea of how a quad really works, you will make mistakes while buying parts – and consequently you will not enjoy the hobby to the fullest.

  • Buy a micro or mini – inexpensive models to start with

Buying a model that’s expensive might not be the best thing to do for reasons already stated.

Don’t spend more than $50 to $100 on your first quad. Master it and then move to a higher model.

Everyone seems to want a camera quad right away. But that may not be the best thing to do. You really do not need gimbals and camera mounts or cameras when you are just starting out.

Believe it or not, quadcopters are not easy to fly.

More so for someone who is just getting started. These are very complex machines, and unless you have a working knowledge of aeronautics, meteorology and have spent at least a hundred hours honing your flying skills, you should not attempt to fly bigger, 8 channel drones.

Your goal with a starter quadcopter should be to use it to learn flying.

Get a few hours of flying experience under your belt and you will be ready for the more sophisticated models.

Cameras can be heavy as well. Lesser payload means a lighter craft and more flight time – which is exactly what you want as a beginner.

  • Don’t buy a model that’s super stabilized


Expensive quadcopters are designed such that they are automatically stabilized using at least 3 PID controllers, These get data continuously from the sensors and make tiny adjustments to each of the four rotors to keep the craft stable. While this is a good thing, it’s not very good when you are learning to fly. They make flying too easy for you and you get a false sense of confidence in your abilities.

It's essential you look at the flight modes available on a model. You might want to start with a model that comes with a manual flilght mode. This is assuming you have already practiced for several hours on a simulator. Else you will want to buy models with other flight modes that make it easier for rank newbies to fly.

Learning to fly a quadcopter in the manual flight mode will enable you to become a skilled pilot. 

Don’t buy a model that’s too easy to fly. You want to train your body to fly a quad much like you trained your body to ride a bike. If you buy a model that’s too easy to handle, you might have a hard time flying when something unexpected happens – and you will not have the skills to act right and take control of the situation.

  • Start small


Some folks want to buy expensive quads and try stunts right away, but this definitely isn’t a good idea. Learn the controls first. Learn to hover, land, control pitch, roll and yaw. And do this with an inexpensive quad.

  • Don’t care about cameras and gimbals


Your primary objective with a starter quad is to lean flying, not aerial photography. So don’t worry if a otherwise good starter model has no cameras – or the picturequality is very low. You couldn’t care less about these things – they do not matter now.

Use a Simulator

It’s very surprising more people do not learn the more complex skills required to handle a larger craft on a simulator.

A quadcopter may seem like a toy, but it’s still a flying machine. The large, 8 channel quads are really complex flying machines.

Realflight mutirotor / quadcopter simulator

There’s a reason pilots training to fly commercial and military aircraft spend hundreds of hours training on simulators before they actually sit in the cockpit of the aircraft.

Training with a simulator helps shorten the learning curve, prepares you for a very wide variety of possible scenarios – and helps avoid expensive and messy mistakes.

For these very reasons, you will want to use a simulator as well. Once you can fly a micro quad very comfortably, you will want to train on a simulator for several hours.

Realflight Simulator - Basic

Some of these simulators are very realistic. You can use a simulator to familiarize yourself with the controls, navigation, basic and even advanced maneuvers, practice flying in bad weather with poor ambient light and more. You can even getyourself a basic working knowledge of aeronautics and meteorology with simulators.

Realflight Simulator - Basic 2

A simulator can really help you here. Use one before you graduate to a $1000+ quad and you will be glad you did.Whatever you do, do not start off with a very large quad unless you have mastered flying micros and minis. Crashing a large quad can be expensive to fix – but that’s not all. If you lose control and impact someone, the consequences will not likely be pretty. Quadcopters – unless they are stabilized – are inherently unstable and hard to fly. Which is why you will want to learn with the less expensive models first.

Realflight Simulator Basic -3

You would want to buy a model that’s a match for your skill level. If you buy something that’s far too hard for a beginner to handle, crashes and expensive, time consuming repairs are inevitable. There’s no wayyou can get around that. Which is why you would want to buy a model that costs less than $100 when you are just starting out. Hone your flying skills and then buy a more sophisticated quad. That may not sound very exciting for some people, but that’s the best course of action.

Master Basic Flying Skills

​You want to use your micro quad to master basic flying skills that will stand you in good stead when you have to fly a much bigger drone.

quadcopter transmitter
  • Master basic controls

You want to master the basic controls –left, right, up and down. You certainly would not want to try rolls and other aerobatic tricks until you have practiced for a few months at least.

And you always want to fly in broad daylight under very calm weather – not in windy conditions. At least, not until you have months of experience.

  • Windy Conditions

If there are 10 to 20 miles of winds you certainly would not want to fly. Winds can make your craft highly unstable and very, very hard to control. Even seasoned professionals sometimes have a very tough timecontrolling a quadcopter in strong winds. Some advanced quads can autonomously make adjustments and fly even in strong winds by controlling the pitch – but it’s not what beginner quadcopters are equipped to do.

But in case you are caught unawares by a string wind while you are flying outdoors, your best bet would be to try fly into the wind and counteract it. If the wind is pushing your craft from the right, your bestoption will be to fly into it. But try to land the quad as soon as possible.

Strong winds can pull your quad out of your controller’s range and before you know it, it will have crashed. Which is why you will always want to keep an eye on the wind when you are flying.

  • Hovering

This is perhaps the most critical skill that you will want to master while still using a micro quad, once you have mastered the basic controls. Mastering hovering is not easily done. And to make matters more complicated, with some quads you cannot control the pitch.

  • Learn exactly how you should crash

This might seem a tad too ridiculous, but it’s not. You should learn how to crash so as to minimize the damage to your quad. Crashes can and do happen – perhaps more frequently than you would want to believe.There may be times when, despite of your best efforts, you know a crash is inevitable. Then, your only sane course of action is …

Cut the throttle in an instant. Doing this cuts power to the propellers and might save them from breaking. This also minimizes chances of the motors getting damaged.

But when you will be flying more sophisticated, bigger quads you will want to use propeller guards. Propeller guards are one of the best safeguards you can use. They give you more time to react when a crash is imminent and keep the props from hitting any objects, thus saving them and the motors as well.

You can afford to practice this important skill of cutting the throttle at the right moment with a mini quad that’s well built and does not break easily. This vital skill might save the day when you are flyinga expensive quad and things get out of control. For more tips, you may want to check these 5 quadcopter tips for beginners.

Best All-Around Quadcopter For Beginners

Syma X5C Explorer RC Quadcopter

Syma X5C starter quadcopter

It is a pretty good rtf quadcopter suitable for beginners. It features a 2.4Ghz transmitter which does enable it to be flown at distances of 50 meters. While 50 meters may not seem very impressive, everycountry has legal limits on how far quadcopters can be flown. Usually, it has to be within line of sight. Which does mean the flying distance cannot exceed 50 meters by a lot.

The in built 2 MP camera on the Syma X5S Explorer RC quadcopter is able to take approximately 800 photos, saving them in the on-board chip. It has a 500mAh battery and a 4 channel control, and users havereported that although it has a relatively short flight time and the quality of captured images isn't as good as it could be, it is one of the very best starter quadcopter.

Hubsan FPV X4

Hubsan X4

One of the smallest first person view RC quadcopters on the market, this tiny quad can fit in your palm. In spite of its small size, it is equipped with LED lights for flying at night in case you really want to.

The Hubsan FPV X4 does have a relatively large range for its size - more than one hundred meters. Of course, this does depend on the conditions. In addition to this, since it is small it can easily betransported to safe flight locations.

Great features are the 4.3 inch display for streaming live video and the 4 channel control.

The relatively small size of the Hubsan FPV X4 does mean it is not really quite as stable as some of the larger models when it comes to outdoor flying, and it has a short flight time. However, again, it is a good starter model at a good price – around $145.

Walkera QR Y100

Walkera beginner quadcopter

The Walkera QR Y100 has six rotors and not the usual 4, and this does make it a bit more stable in flight, making it easier for beginners to fly. So technically speaking, this is a hexacopter and not a quadcopter.

This is the only RC quadcopter listed on this page that has a flight time of more than 10 minutes; in fair weather, this six axis model can fly for nearly 20 minutes. The combination of a bigger battery and the Devo 4 transmitter means this model can be controlled from upto 300 metres away.

This Walkera also has a camera which allows you to watch live video feed as well as record flight and take photos. The 'return home' feature makes it all the more excellent for someone who's just learning to fly a quadcopter. If the quad should lose connection with the transmitter for whatever reason, it will turn right back and return to where it was launched from. So you will never have to worry about losing the toy because you accidentally flew it beyond the controlling range.

This model can also be controlled using an iOS app on an Android powered device. With a price around $100+ it is more expensive than the others, but also provides a lot more value for the beginner. This model may well be the best rc quadcopter with a camera that's excellent for beginners.

FAQ

How should beginners learn to fly quadcopter drones?

The best way for beginners to get started with this hobby would be to use a simulator.

Using a simulator can help you learn a lot faster because you are not taking any risks whatsoever.

You can easily improve your flying skills without having to risk any money.

A decent quadcopter can cost a few hundred dollars. And if you do not know how to fly one, you are almost certain to crash several times before the Drone will stay up in the air for even a few short minutes.

By using a simulator, you can avoid all of these expensive mistakes and significantly improve your Drone piloting skills.

Regardless of whether you want to fly drones just for fun or for Drone racing, you will be able to set up those specific scenarios and practice using a simulator. Which is why this would be the best way to learn how to fly a quadcopter if you are a beginner. 

How long does it take to learn to fly a drone?

You would want to spend at least a few hours practising on a simulator first.

If you do that, you'll see that you'll be able to fly most drones within 5 to 15 minutes.

But that does not mean you will become an expert within that time. It takes a lot more time to become a proficient drone pilot.

You would want to start learning the ropes with a $100 drone and not with a $2000 high end model.

Expensive drones like the DJI Phantom come with a lot of advanced features. If you just let go of the stick, they will maintain altitude and position. Features like these can lull you into thinking these are very easy to fly and no practice is required.

You would not want to let that happen.

With a $100 quadcopter, you will attempt manoeuvres you will never dare to with a top end drone. And what you will learn with a low-cost drone will stand you in good stead if you were to experience any challenges while flying a DJI drone.

You would want to stay clear of trees. And you would want to be check the weather report before you take your expensive drone out to fly. Strong winds and trees are not a good combination.

And you wouldn't want to fly anywhere near people or homes. 

Do all drones require a smartphone?

Many quadcopters use smartphones as the FPV screen. But you do not need to use a smartphone for this.

Instead, you could use a fpv monitor or a pair of fpv goggles instead. You do not need a smartphone to fly your drone. Most professional pilots do not use smartphones to fly their drones. 

How far can a quadcopter fly?

This depends on the model. Toy quads can only fly for about 20 meters, while the more expensive drones like the DJI Phantom 4 can fly for more than 4 miles.

The law in most countries require drones to be flown only within line of sight. 

How high can a drone fly?

The law in the United States stipulates that pilots should not fly drones at an altitude of more than 400 feet. And in Europe, the limit is 500 feet.

To fly any higher, you would need an exemption from the federal Aviation Administration - and its equivalent in Europe.

High end drones like the ones by DJI have software locks in them that limit the maximum possible altitude to 1500 feet. To fly any higher, you will need to modify the firmware. But then, flying even at 1500 feet is illegal in most countries. 

How much do drone pilots get paid?

First things first. If you are planning to live solely based on your earnings as a drone pilot, you would want to think again. There are possibly only a handful of jobs at any point of time for drone pilots. And it's very, very competitive because there are so few positions and so many highly skilled drone pilots.

Industries are just starting to use drones for photography and videography. And not many companies have full time drone pilots yet on their payrolls.

Construction companies, transportation companies, public safety organizations, farmers and others are just waking up to the potential of drones. So it will take a while for this industry to mature.

There are now more than 100,000 certified drone pilots in the United States. So you can expect competition for any jobs o be pretty stiff.

Right now, this field seems to be dominated by independent contractors who charge anywhere from $300 to $800 per mission. 

How hard is the FAA drone test?

If you plan to earn money by selling photos or videos filmed using your quadcopter, you will need to pass the FAA part 107 drone pilot's test.

Whether you are a Youtuber, real estate agent, photographer - or whoever else - if you plan to earn money from your drone footage then you will need a license.

All your commercial footage needs to include proper documents. Else you may be fined.

The test is hard. But if you are willing to put in the effort and study for it, you will be able to pass it on your very first attempt.

There are several FAA study guides online. Just run a Google search for something like 'FAA study guide', you will be able to find several resources.

The Federal Aviation Administration also has resources on their website you would want to look at:

https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/training/

The test covers topics like sectional charts, safety procedures, weather patterns, airspace operations, FAA rules and regulations and more.

There are also several video courses on platforms like Udemy for FAA Part 107.

Just go to Udemy and run a search for 'FAA Part 107' and you will see several inexpensive video courses that cover all of the test topics.

Drone pilots need to retake the test every 2 years to renew their certification.

Can drones use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth?

Yes. Some drones can use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

It also depends on the desired range of communication. Most Bluetooth devices are Class 2 devices and have a range of about 10 meters.

And the range of most Wi-Fi routers is around 300 feet.

And top end quadcopters can have a range of more than 4 miles - which essentially means these models do not use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Most of the top end models do not rely on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. They use DSSS or FHSS standards for communication between the drone and the radio. 

What happens if you fly a drone over 400 feet?

It is not legal in the United States to fly drones at altitudes exceeding 400 feet above ground level. 

Do all drones require a license?

If you are going to be flying indoors all the time you will not need to have a pilot's license.

If you are going to be flying outdoors, you will need to register your drone.

If you are flying solely for recreation - and have a licensed pilot monitoring you - then you might not need a license.




You would also want to take a look at the Inductrix FPV + BNF from Blade. 

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