Best Beginner Drone: Starter & Entry Level Drones for Beginners

This post was last updated on: March 1, 2020

Looking to buy your first ever drone?

Or you are looking to upgrade to something with a bit longer range and better camera? Turns out not every drone takes a pilot's licence to fly, and in this review we're taking a look at the best drones for beginners money can buy in 2020.

In a hurry, our best beginner drone is...

Our winner after 36hrs of research is the DJI Tello!

The entry level drone allows you 13 minutes of playtime at a range of 100m. It is portable and has great features such as One Key Takeoff/Landing and Throw and Go that make flying a piece of cake for an amateur. 

The 720p camera is decent enough to produce home videos and photos for your social media. Furthermore, it comes with additional intelligent flight functions, all this for a price of less than $100.

Product
Details
Rating
Our #1 Rated
Tello Quadcopter Drone
DJI
Tello
.
5 out of 5
  • The Tello Features a 5MP 720p Camera that can shoot videos at 30 fps.

  • The Tello Offers a maximum flight time of around 13 minutes.

  • The Maximum control distance for the DJI Tello is around 100m.
Our #1 Rated
.
5 out of 5
Our #2 Rated
DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter with 2.7K...
DJI
Mavic Mini
.
5 out of 5
  • The Mavic Mini has a 2.7K UHD Camera that can shoot videos at 30fps

  • It offers a very good flight time of around 30 minutes. That should be more than enough to satisfy any customer!

  • The Maximum control distance caps at a whopping range of 4 kilometers!
Our #2 Rated
.
5 out of 5
Our #3 Rated
Altair Aerial AA300 GPS Beginner Drone with...
Altair Aerial
AA300
.
4 out of 5
  • The Altair Aerial has a 1080p HD Camera that can shoot decent stills or videos.

  • The Altair Aerial offers an alright flight time at around 12 minutes.

  • The maximum range for the Altair Aerial is around 150 meters.
Our #3 Rated
.
4 out of 5

Our Top 6 Beginner Drones for 2020


If you’re searching for a high-performance beginner drone that will cost you next to nothing , then the DJI Tello is just the drone for you. Created in partnership with a leading brand that has been tested and proven to be reliable in the drone industry , you can expect a lot of character from this pocket quadcopter.

Although the Tello was targeted at kids, it has many advanced features that make it suitable for beginners in drone flying. The drone comes with almost similar flight characteristics to that of its larger DJI siblings, which is another plus in terms of overall quality.

As far as features are concerned, there are enough to keep everyone happy; from decent flight time, a quality built-in camera to a 100m flight range and compatibility with VR headsets. 

The Tello doesn’t come with a dedicated controller, you’ll need a smartphone to control it, and if you wish, you can get a Bluetooth PlayStation-style control pad to connect to your smartphone for a more traditional kind of flying. 


Key Specs

Camera Resolution:  

720p HD 

Flight Time: 

13 Minutes

Max Range: 

100m

Rating:

90/100

Camera:

Many feel like the camera was a secondary consideration on the Tello; it doesn’t promise you the world but it won’t take away from the overall experience, especially for a rookie user. 

With that said, the drone comes a with 5MP camera that shoots videos at 720p at 30fps. The camera lens has an 82.6-degree field of view, which enhances the details you can capture in a single shot. 

It further features an Electronic Image Stabilizer (EIS) that eliminates blurriness while improving the overall quality of your aerial photography. This is reinforced by the advanced 14-core intel processor integrated into the drone. 

But that’s not all you get from this pocket Hercules, the Tello offers EZ Shots; a special feature that makes shooting not only easier but fun as well. Modes like Circle, Up & Away, and 360 will interest both beginner and more experienced users.

Finally, the drone can stream live videos to your smartphone and its VR headset compatibility makes for a high-octane flying experience. 

Performance 

There’s plenty of interesting features to go around on this compact drone. First off, the Tello boasts a pressure sensor Altitude hold, which not only makes flying easy for beginners but also improves the focus when shooting videos and taking photos. 

It offers 13 minutes of flight time should be more than ideal for any learner to make the most of their piloting class and the control range is modest at 100m horizontally with a ceiling of 10m. 

One-touch Takeoff/Landing ensures that beginners will have no worries launching the Tello into the air. The same can be said for the Throw and Go feature, which literally does what it says; toss the drone into the air and it starts flying!

A failsafe protection feature alerts you when the battery is low and will automatically land the drone safely when the connection to your smartphone is lost. The DJI Tello is also pretty nimble in the air. It can pull off audacious 8D flips to make for an amazing aerial show. 

The bounce mode lets the drone bounce up and down repeatedly on your hand and the drone’s Vision Positioning System allows for a more precise and accurate hover over your chosen target. 

Features:

  • Vision Positioning System
  • In-flight functions like barometer and rangefinder
  • Throw and Go
  • Bounce mode and 8D flips
  • FPV and VR headset compatibility
  • One-key Takeoff/Landing
  • EZ shots
  • Bluetooth remote control compatibility
  • PROS

    • Extremely easy to fly
    • Pretty affordable and perfect for beginners
    • Automated flight modes
    • Performs mid-air tricks

    CONS

    • No return to home feature
    • Low-quality video
    • Short control range

    2. DJI Mavic Mini- Best 4K Beginner Drone

    This remarkable drone from DJI is small in size that will fit comfortably in your pocket but the bells and whistles it packs on its diminutive frame will blow your mind! If you’re a learning drone enthusiast looking to boost your aerial photography skills, you’ll find great use in the DJI Mavic Mini.

    This drone comes with a range of impressive specs; from a long flight time and useful in-flight functions to solid camera capabilities, the manufacturer has done a wonderful job of balancing portability, price, image quality and convenience. 

    Although it will cost you almost four times more than the DJI Tello above, you get so much more value and better flying performance that will overwhelm any beginner’s expectations. 


    Key Specs

    Camera Resolution:  

    2.7K HD 

    Flight Time: 

    30 Minutes

    Max Range: 

    4Km

    Rating:

    88/100

    Camera:

    If you consider the camera to be the most important feature on a drone, then the Mavic Mini won’t let you down. The drones camera uses a solid camera that can shoot 2.7K videos at 30 frames per second. You do however have the option to slow things down to 1080p at 60 frames per second.

    Together with 12MP stills that the camera takes, the overall resolution is ideal for capturing social media content. There is a 1 /2.3-inch CMOS sensor that adds to the resolution of the footage.

    A 3-axis gimbal stabilizer ensures that your videos remain rock solid and photos sharp even when the drone is battling against a stiff breeze, providing you with all the tools you need to take the “perfect shot”!

    You also get a 32GB micro SD card for convenient storage of all of your photo and video files.

    Performance

    The DJI Mavic Mini carries a range of exciting features , it is compact and foldable so that you can carry it anywhere you want. Its lightweight design also means that you are exempted from registering with the FAA. 

    Despite its small size and light weight, the Mavic Mini flies just as impressively as its larger brothers in the DJI family, thanks to a GPS module and downward vision sensors that allow a precise hover both indoors and outdoors.

    The battery life is one of the best in the industry; you'll have 30 minutes of flight time to get all the footage you need. The controller has a range of 4Km and can transmit high-quality HD videos. 

    Depending on your skills level, the Mavic Mini offers Sport, Position, and CineSmooth flight modes, which allow you to fly the drone at different speeds. These can be accessed via the DJI Fly App, which guarantees a simpler flying experience for beginners.

    The drone is delivered with propeller guards to improve flight safety and even though it doesn’t have the obstacle avoidance feature, there are a couple of sensors at the base that enable a safe landing. 

    Quickshots, used on the more expensive Mavic Air, have also been incorporated into the Mini to make for an excellent performance. These are pre-programmed flight paths that can be engaged with the simple click of a button. 

    The controller fits snugly into your palms and features simple controls that make the experience even simpler for learners. It also has phone mounts where you can attach your smartphone for a glorious FPV experience. 

    Features:

  • Quickshots
  • GPS module
  • Downward vision sensors
  • DJI Fly App
  • 360-degree propeller guards
  • Two-way charging hub
  • PROS

    • Long flight time and easy to operate
    • Amazing control range, great beginner drone
    • Small size and foldable design
    • Great value for money and availability of Quickshots

    CONS

    • No obstacle avoidance

    3. Altair Aerial AA300- Very Agile and Easy to Fly

    The Altair AA300 is pretty nimble in the air and will impress both young and older users. It is a great choice for learners who are trying to improve their drone flying skills.

    The drone is a good option if you on a tight budget without compromising on the level of performance you can expect. It comes with a number of advanced features, including a GPS/GLONASS dual-mode that will offer you a performance to rival more expensive models.

    If you’ve been searching for an entry-level camera quadcopter that can deliver a range of cutting-edge features, the Altair AA300 is a reliable model that will not disappoint.


    Key Specs

    Camera Resolution:  

    1080p HD  

    Flight Time: 

    12 Minutes

    Max Range: 

    150 meters

    Rating:

    87/100

    Camera:

    The AA300 employs a quality camera to shoot 1080p videos and stills. It uses its GPS module to offer you the ideal stability to take clear and amazing shots from its Altitude Hold position. 

    The camera is also 5G Wi-Fi-enabled and this lets you connect to your phone via a Wi-Fi signal to share real-time footage of the drone on your phone, making for a great FPV experience. The drone does not come with an SD card, but there is a micro SD card slot that can accommodate a maximum memory card size of 32GB to store all your recordings. 

    While this is not the best camera quality you can get out there, it is something that a beginner can work with. 

    Performance

    The AA300 employs a range of advanced features to provide you with a high-level performance for a mini drone at this price range. It can connect to GPS/GLONASS satellites to offer a stable hover that not only makes it much easier for rookies flying it but also allows you to capture just the right shot.

    This starter drone has a flight time of 12 minutes, which you get from the lithium-polymer battery it uses. It also uses powerful brushless motors that allow a stable performance in less than ideal conditions while consuming less power for longer battery life.

    The battery is removable and will require between 2 and 3 hours to fully charge. This means you can replace it with extra batteries for more playtime as it charges.

    The controller range of the drone is modest at 150m, but this is no deal-breaker for a beginner user. Additional flight features also enhance this drone’s performance in the air. For instance, the One Key Takeoff/Landing allows users to launch the drone up in the air with a simple touch.

    It also boasts three different Return to Home functions that make it impossible to lose the drone, even when you fly it out of range. The drone can also perform aerial manoeuvres such as 3D flips at different speed levels offered to make for a remarkable aerial show.

    Other flight functions like Altitude Hold, Follow Me Mode, and Point of Interest work to provide beginners with an intuitive quadcopter that will shorten their learning curve.

    Finally, the drone is lightweight and its transmitter has straight forward controls to make for a simple flying experience. Its overall affordability makes it one of the best drones for kids and beginners. 

    Features:

  • GPS/GLONASS dual-mode
  • Point of Interest
  • Headless Mode and brushless motors
  • Orbit Mode
  • Low power alarm
  • Visual positioning system
  • One key landing/takeoff
  • PROS

    • Multiple flight functions and affordable
    • Safety features,
      durable construction
    • User-friendly controls and 1080p camera
    • Ergonomic transmitter

    CONS

    • Short flight range
    •  No internal memory

    4. Holy Stone HS120D- Amazon Bestseller

    You don’t get to be the highest selling drone on Amazon by offering users a mediocre performance! The Holy Stone HS120D is a solid consumer drone and reading through its stellar reviews will give you a taste of the sweet deal you’re about to get. 

    Holy Stone took the challenge to design a sub-$200 drone with an impressive set of features and passed the test spectacularly. This drone offers you decent flight time and range, as well as advanced features that you can only imagine at a higher price range.

    Its multiple intelligent flight functions make it very user-friendly, and that’s why it's among the best mini drones out there.


    Key Specs

    Camera Resolution:  

    1080p 

    Flight Time: 

    18 Minutes

    Max Range: 

    300m

    Rating:

    84/100

    Camera:

    The camera on the HS120D offers great quality and allows you to experience the world around you in a unique and exciting way. The drone comes with a 1080p HD camera that allows a 120-degree field of view. 

    It shoots 12MP stills and the GPS module will assist you to get a stable and clear shot in windy environments. The camera can also connect to your smartphone to share real-time videos, although the videos can only be streamed at 720p resolution. 

    A micro SD card slot has been included on the back of the camera and this can support a memory card with 32GB of memory. In the actual package, you get an 8GB memory card which you can replace with the 32GB card for more storage space.

    On the downside, the camera doesn’t feature a gimbal or image stabilization software and there have been complaints from users that the resolution is not always up to standard.

    Other than that, the quality will suffice for an entry-level drone even though you may not be able to use your footage professionally.

    Performance

    You will get up to 18 minutes of flight on this drone, which is more than enough for beginners to have fun. The range is also quite impressive for an entry-level quadcopter at 300m. 

    The HS120D is pretty easy to fly! GPS has in recent times become a standard feature in every drone you come across, and this drone uses it to make flying a walk in the park as a result of multiple GPS-assisted functions. 

    The GPS ensures that you won’t lose your drone. An Automatic Return Home function allows the drone to come back to its takeoff position whenever there is a loss of signal or when the battery charge gets too low. There is also a Return Home button on the controller that you can manually turn on. 

    The headless mode simplifies flying for beginners; it enables the drone to fly in the direction of the controller, regardless of where the head is facing. Another interesting feature is the Follow Me mode, but this will only work when you download the app.

    Furthermore, there is a Tap and Fly function that couldn’t be any easier for any person learning the ropes of drone flying to understand. However, this tends to be a “hit or miss” sometimes and you need a strong GPS signal to have it working the way you want. 

    Features:

  • GPS module 
  • Automatic return to home
  • Tap and Fly, follow Me
  • Headless mode
  • FPV live video feed
  • Low battery protection
  • One key landing/takeoff
  • PROS

    • Beginner-friendly operation, low price
    • Decent camera and stable performance
    • Long flight time and LED lights for night flying
    • Comes with SD card

    CONS

    • Difficult to get extra batteries
    • Some flight modes may fail

    5. SNAPTAIN SP510- Great Value for Money 

    If you are an avid drone pilot with plans of becoming an aerial photography specialist someday, the SP510 is a remarkable entry-level camera drone that will not only sharpen your flying skills but also allow you to create great aerial photography. 

    This drone has a nice compact body that is conveniently foldable when you want to store and carry it during your travels. An aluminium body ensures it will survive any smashes and crashes resulting from the mistakes of a beginner pilot.

    It is also fitted with LED lights to support flying in low visibility conditions and comes with a host of other crucial features that make the experience thrilling for beginners and solid for intermediate users.


    Key Specs

    Camera Resolution:  

    2.7K HD  

    Flight Time: 

    16 Minutes

    Max Range: 

    500m

    Rating:

    83/100

    Camera:

    The Snaptain SP510 uses a front-facing 2.7K HD camera that shoots videos at high resolution. It has a 110-degree field of view to maximize the amount of details in your shots and a ninety-degree adjustable angle provides you with the luxury of customizing your viewing angles.

    Since it a GPS-based camera, you don’t have to bring the drone back home to adjust the angle; you can do it remotely on your controller. You will also enjoy the FPV experience offered by the SP510, which has a transmission range of 300m and can only be recorded on the SD card. 

    A 6-axis gyroscope stabilizer keeps the camera steady as you take your shots and eliminates any blurry and messed up footage when flying the drone in windy conditions. The camera is also Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to connect to your smartphone and share live footage of the drone. 

    Overall, the drone’s camera allows you to capture some impressive aerial videos and images. 

    Performance

    The flight time of the Holy Stone HP510 drone is approximately 16 minutes on a full charge. It is powered by a modular battery which requires around 3 hours to fully charge when it runs out of power. 

    The drone can be flown to a maximum flight range of 500m, which is quite decent if you are still learning how to fly. A GPS module on the drone allows for a ton of GPS supported in-flight features that simplify the whole flying experience for rookie flyers.

    One useful feature for beginners in the One Touch Takeoff/Landing. This enables users to launch the quad into the air, as well as land it safely, with a simple touch of a button. A GPS Automatic Return Home feature ensures that the drone finds it's way back to you when you fly it out of range or when the battery is nearly running on empty. 

    Beginners will also enjoy the Follow Me mode, which gets the drone to follow behind wherever you go. You can take nice selfies to post on your social media.

    You still get more flight functions on the SP510 that enhance the thrill and ease of flying this drone. Features like Point of Interest, Waypoints, and Headless mode ensure that you'll always be looking forward to the next opportunity to fly. 

    Features:

    • Modular battery, headless mode
    • Three-point landing gear 
    • FPV live video streaming
    • Micro SD card slot 
    • Rechargeable remote controller
    • 6-axis gyroscope stabilizer, GPS mode
    • Waypoints and Point of Interes

    PROS

    • Portable design and durable build
    • Multiple intelligent flight functions, good flight time
    • FPV video transmission
    • Easy to operate and cost-friendly
    • Customizable flight

    CONS

    • Long charging time

    6. Snaptain A15- Foldable and Cheap 

    The Snaptain A15 is a compact drone with a design that you can comfortably carry around wherever you go. It was specifically built for amateur pilots and offers a range of novice-friendly features that help to cut down the learning curve.

    Despite its tiny frame, the manufacturer has managed to squeeze several useful features that you wouldn’t expect on a quadcopter this affordable. The drone offers decent flight time for its price while the flight range is good for a beginner flyer.

    If you’re an aspiring drone enthusiast looking for a soft landing in the drone flying world, you can expect the A15 to offer you just that. 


    Key Specs

    Camera Resolution:  

    720p HD  

    Flight Time: 

    7 to 10 minutes

    Max Range: 

    90m

    Rating:

    80/100

    https://amzn.to/2yeZLvS​​​​Camera:

    The Snaptain A15 carries a 720p HD camera that will not overwhelm you with its quality. It is a modest device that offers just enough for a beginner to work with. The 120-degree field of view provided by the camera is, however, quite impressive and will enhance the details in your shots. 

    The camera can be adjusted 45 degrees if you want to change the viewing angle. You can also share live video footage on your phone for an impressive FPV experience. This is a standard feature on higher-priced drone categories which takes the experience to a whole new level. 

    The drone doesn’t come with an SD card, so you’ll need to save your photos and videos on your smartphone. 

    Performance

    The A15 comes with impressive mid-air agility to make for an amazing aerial performance, which makes it one of the best drones for beginners. You can get it to execute 360 flips and rolls if you want to impress your friends. 

    You’ll be able to fly this drone for about 10 minutes before it runs out of battery life. Any experienced pilot will feel this is not sufficient, but at this price range, you can’t complain much. On the bright side, there is a spare battery that will double your playtime.

    The range is relatively short at 90m, although you get an ergonomic controller with basic controls that you can easily wrap your head around. One of the drones best features has to be Voice Control. It allows you to guide the flight of the drone using verbal commands. 

    Gravity Sensor Mode will move the quad in whichever direction the smartphone is moving while Trajectory Flight lets you predetermine the route of the drone before launching it into the air. 

    As if that’s not enough, you’ll still be able to use the Headless Mode and Altitude Mode, which make flying easier for beginners. Finally, the drone can be flown in three different speed modes; you simply choose the pace that’s most convenient for your remote piloting skills. 

    Features:

    • One-touch takeoff/landing
    • Headless mode and altitude hold 
    • Flight trajectory and voice control
    • Gravity sensor mode
    • VR headset compatibility
    • 3 speed modes
    • 3D aerial rolls and flips, 3D view mode

    PROS

    • Easy to operate, great for beginners
    • Small size for portability
    • Great performance for the price, extra battery included
    • Live FPV video transmission
    • 120-degree wide-angle view

    CONS

    • Short control range
    • Not steady in windy conditions
    • The voice command feature sometimes fails

    FAQ

    What weight should my drone be under to avoid FAA registration?

    Drone operators have to comply with a set of rules that have been determined by the Federal Aircraft Administration (FAA) for unmanned aircrafts.

    According to the FAA, any owner with a drone that weighs more than 250 grams (0.55 pounds) is required to register it with the authority. The online registration system became was activated as early as December 2015.

    The registration will cost you $3 for every aircraft and this is valid for three years. During registration, you’ll be asked to provide some personal details, including the make and model of your drone, your physical and mailing addresses, your debit/credit card, as well as the email address. 

    Fortunately, the beginner drones in our review are all under 250g and will not require you to register with the FAA. 

    What is the easiest drone to fly?

    With the increasing hype and application of drones recently, everyone is lining up in stores, physical and online, to get a taste of the drone experience. As a result, manufacturers have increased the production of low price consumer drones that are targeted at the beginners.

    These drones generally have basic features and straightforward controls. Although with the cut-throat competition, players are doing everything to improve the features while keeping the rates affordable. 

    One of the most user-friendly drones currently in the market is DJI’s Mavic Mini! Alternatively, you can try the following best drones for beginners:

    What is the best budget drone?

    There are enough options to go around as far as cheap consumer drones are concerned. However, not every drone you come across with a low shelf price will offer the level of performance you are looking for. 

    Fortunately, some manufacturers have managed to design price-friendly drones without compromising on the level of performance you’re getting. Some of the cheap drones you can count on for quality include:

    After it’s all said and done, we recommend the DJI Tello as the best choice for any eager learner looking to sharpen their drone flying skills. The following features are the reason why we recommend to buy this remarkable drone:

    • Costs less than $100
    • Vision Positioning System
    • In-built functions like barometer and rangefinder
    • Throw and Go Mode
    • Just under 15 minutes of playtime
    • Bounce mod
    • 8D flips
    • FPV and VR headset compatibility
    • One-key Takeoff/Landing
    • EZ shots
    • Bluetooth remote control compatibility

    Conclusion

    The market for cheap drones with cameras has grown significantly and the options for beginners are endless. But before you rush to the nearest store or go online to order the most affordable drone on offer, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best drone for beginners at the right price.

    The drones we’ve reviewed above have undergone rigorous testing and proven that they can indeed offer the best performance to passionate Beginners.  


    About the Author: Ruan Nelio

    When I'm not geeking out over the newest drones, I'm busy flying my DJI Mavic 2 Pro all over Oslo. The coolest part about this job is I get to keep some of the drones I review, which happens to be how I got my Mavic 2!

    Author Avatar

    Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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