It is never an easy proposition to select the right tool for your job if you are trying out both the tool and the job for the very first time or are new to them. When it comes to drones, size matter more than one would imagine. Will a small sized compact drone be alright for you or should you be on the lookout for a large sized, monster drone for yourself? Let’s take a look at drones of different sizes and then determine which one suits your needs and preferences the most.
Just to keep things simple, I would suggest you to consider two important factors while choosing a drone in relation to size.
- The first question that you’ve got to be able to answer is what you want to carry with yourself and whether you will be able to carry it along with yourself as go from one place to another?
- Secondly, what place is available to you for flying a drone?
To be honest, there are numerous reasons that can be considered while purchasing a drone based on size. Perhaps you want your drone to fit in your backpack, may be you want to get your hands on a drone that has extended flight duration; I presume you are the best judge to answer these questions. The long and short of it all is that you are the one who can tell whether you will be able accommodate your drone in your car or not.
Moreover, you should also be aware of the FAA rules and regulations related to the maximum drone weight that you are allowed as a drone enthusiast. You are not allowed to fly a device that has a total takeoff weight of about 55 pounds in addition to the payload. That’s not too good, isn’t it? We all would love to have some drone snowboarding, wouldn’t we?
The payload has a lot of say in deciding the size of the drone you are looking for. The larger sized drones are more stable and can carry integrated as well as detachable cameras comfortably. Having said that, small sized drones can be easily accommodated in small backpacks and are a great portability solution. In addition, you can also enjoy some indoor drone flying with compact sized drones.
The location where you are flying a drone is of great importance. After all, you would not want to get your drone smashed into your room walls while flying indoors. Similarly, you would also not want your drone to be lost at the edge of a cliff due to gusty winds and violent weather conditions.
When it comes to newbies and kids, small drones are exactly what these folks are looking out for. More often than not, all kinds of toy drones are very light in weight and are easily portable. Having said that, small size does not correlate to toy drones necessarily. There are a number of state of the art quadcopters out there that are very compact in size and are easily portable as well. They are so powerful that if you try to get in their way, their fearsome propellers can cause you serious harm.
Small drones let you transport your beloved devices from one place to another without going through any hassle. They also provide you an opportunity to enjoy indoor flights as well. We did a piece on nano drones which are probably the smallest developed so far. They are so small that they wouldn’t even hurt a small bug coming in their way. The devices that are larger in size than nano drones will have the potential to cause serious injury or even create holes in walls. So, be careful when you fly drones of sizes larger than nano drones.
This is not a final list or the most ideal of ones. But we have tried our best to share with you the best recommendations and suggestions with regard to each category under discussion.
Hubsan X4 H111
Are you someone who loves to enjoy some indoor flights? We agree that almost all kinds of drones can be flown indoors but we believe that it is always safer and prudent to fly your nano drones indoors. The Hubsan X4 H111 is a compact sized drone that generally resides on my desk. It can be flown indoors with great ease and causes no serious injury or damage to your walls and precious decoration pieces in your living room in case it suffers a crash. It also is not dangerous even if you get in its way and its propellers get in contact with you.
We suggest you not to barge these small devices into your surroundings. They are not indestructible by any stretch of imagination. They, however, provide a safe flying experience indoors. Here is something that you should make a note of: this is one of the most difficult drones that I have ever flown. I believe that if you can master its flight, you can fly virtually anything.
I would suggest you to begin your drone adventures by flying quadcopters that are realistically priced and are also included in our list. The Syma X5C is the device that I learnt my drone flying on. I was able to master my flying skills on this reliable machine that is easily portable. Having said that, you will be needing intricate tools to disassemble this machine and place it in your backpack for easy portability. But all in all, toying with this fabulous device is a whole lot fun.
I have flown this machine indoors but this is certainly not what I would recommend to my readers. It is loaded with a cheap camera that will let you capture some poor quality aerial photographs and video footages but on the whole, this is a toy drone that is dedicated to providing some fun to the drone enthusiasts. Nevertheless, I have detached the camera to get more flight duration out of this machine.
Walkera F210 Pro
This drone has been designed primarily for drone racing. Most of the professional drone racers have, however, made a move onto machines tailored in accordance with their interests and preferences. However, if you are someone who is looking for fast moving drone that is ready to fly out of the box, the Walkera F210 3D is a tremendous option. Racing drones are very compact in size, can be easily transported from one place to another but are not easy to operate. They come with incredible capabilities but as is the case with sports cars, you need to be able to master their control, speed, acceleration and all the other intricacies; else anything can go awry.
Walkera have produced a number of racing drones over the years and also manufacture their very own FPV goggles. This makes them an ideal choice for dronies who are new to drone racing or those who don’t really enjoy to customize their machines a lot.
The notion of a compact sized drone, equipped with autonomous flight features, that can be transported from one place to another with great ease and can hover over you as a bumblebee in an attempt to capture images sounds quite alluring. The products available on the market are pretty darn good but I am afraid that the manufacturers have not been able to attain the quality of cameras what are required. Nevertheless, they are as good as many of the smartphone cameras out there, so if you are satisfied with them, then there are a number of pocket sized quadcopters out there, that you can try out as and when required.
DJI Mavic Pro – The Drone to Go For!
We believe that the DJI Mavic Pro is a splendid blend of usability and features that has sent shockwaves in the drone industry all over the world. This is a drone can be easily retracted and folded into a small package for comfortable portability and yet it boasts features such as flight steadiness and others that are well beyond your imagination.
To be honest, the DJI Mavic Pro gets ahead of its competitors when it comes to its aerial videography and photography prowess. There is no better flying camera drone out there that can match its size and quality. As a matter of fact, if you are someone who is not perturbed by the supreme quality of cameras, then we would go as far as recommend the DJI Mavic Pro over DJI Phantom 4 Pro or other machines that let users integrate GoPro action cameras. It does not imply that the DJI Mavic Pro is far ahead of these high-end drones but when it comes to portability, it certainly takes a cutting edge.
We could write and write about the tremendous flight features, autonomous flight capabilities, small sized radio controller, the ease with which one can set this drone up and the comfort with which the whole setup can be folded and packed in your backpack.
Please consider that we believe the Mavic Pro to be a great combination of usability and portability. But there are numerous drones that lie between the Mavic Pro and the DJI Phantom 4 Pro that should be given a thought to. You can go through our various lists but let me share with you a few of my favorites such as the Yuneec Typhoon H, Autel Robotics X-Star Pro, Ehang Ghostdrone 2.0, GDU Byrd Premium 2.0 and the DJI Phantom 3.
The problems with large sized drones are more in terms of logistical hurdles that can constrain your movement from one place to another. But they certainly provide you a more stable flight experience and are definitely the go-to drones if you are looking to capture flawless aerial videos and images.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
If you are not too much concerned about the size of the drone and its role in portability, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is one of the smallest devices in the large sized drones domain. As a matter of fact, the Phantom 4 Pro following the legendary Phantom design and pattern notwithstanding, the Phantom 4 Pro puts a lot of emphasis on the overall flight experience rendered to the pilot. For devices lying in the price bracket of less than $2000, this machine boasts one of the best integrated cameras.
Just below the unit, a full 1-inch CMOS sensor is fitted which makes it possible for any drone enthusiast to capture stunning aerial shots. Does this drone include any other features? It surely does! It boasts some exclusive features such as collision avoidance and autonomous flight capabilities. This machine is a great one to have in your armory and with some effort you can also get it stuffed into your backpack as well.
Yuneec Tornado H920 Plus
To be honest with our readers, we still have the Yuneec Tornado H920 lined up for you in our camera drones list. It has not been long when the Yuneec Tornado H920 Plus was announced. This is a large size drones that comes loaded with a top quality Panasonic Ultra High Definition 4K camera. The users can also mount their own DSLR camera onto the device and enjoy the flight experience for no less than 25 minutes.
This machine has been designed keeping in mind the needs and preferences of professional cinematographers and commercial businesses and is large enough in size to ensure superb flight steadiness. On the other hand, this device is large in size and has its issues when it comes to storage and portability. Typical dronies might get frustrated in the enormous amount of time required to set this large machine up. Having said that, flying this device with a dedicated controller is a great flight experience even for the newbies.
Commercial businesses can go for the Typhoon H520 which is a bit smaller in size and offers plenty of camera attachment configurations. Other features include infrared, zoom etc.
Yuneec is simultaneously collaborating with Microsoft to integrate RealSense technology into their drones. This technology basically ensures top quality spacial mapping that leads to seamless collision avoidance capabilities.
DJI Inspire 2
For those of you who do not intend to mount their DSLR cameras or other professional video cameras on their drones, the DJI Inspire 2 with ZenMuse X5s camera is the most intriguing deal out there. This is a large sized drone which tends to be a bit smaller in size in contrast to other drones in this category. When the camera is mounted at the outset, the altitude to be achieved by the device generally gets reduced. Moreover, the distinctive folding landing gear is also a great addition to the machine. To be honest, the landing paraphernalia does not fold as much since the fuselage of the device tends to get lowered mid-flight. This leads to wide angle camera view that is free of any unnecessary obstructions.
The DJI Inspire 2 is a tremendous pick for the professional cinematographers since it provides a flight duration of no less than 27 minutes alongside the option to replace batteries swiftly. The optimum speed for this device is a whopping 58 mph even when the camera is doing its magic. Hey, and when the exquisite 5.2K video recording takes charge, forget everything else.
A team of two players can manoeuvre this drone as one of them manages the flight while the other one takes the responsibility of the camera. Do you get it what DJI are intending to achieve through all this? It is no wonder that the launching ceremony for this device was held in the Hollywood area.
Fortunately for all of us, the DJI Inspire 2 comes in a neat little case. It is a great value addition and you surely won’t be needing any addition backpacks. Since it is a professional device so it lies at the high end of the price spectrum.
I apologize that I had to include this drone in our list but this is a passenger drone that boasts a cabin with person seating capacity. The propellers are big enough to hurt your knee caps and you cannot possibly carry it along in your vehicle. We were anticipating that a time would come when we would be writing about passenger drones. We appreciate Ehang’s efforts for getting the nod to start passenger carrying flights in Dubai.
The right size of drone for individuals depends upon the payload size and the portability factors. I presume that a majority of the drone pilots are always looking for a drone equipped with a decent camera.
To wrap it all up, we suggest you to get your hands on a drone equivalent to the size of at least a DJI Phantom which is a moderately sized machine. It will help you carry out some good quality camera work. Mavic Pro and other small sized drones have been able to gain plenty of traction among the masses owing to the easy transportation but people have to accept their low camera quality as well.
If you are intending to mount top quality camera equipment with your machine, you need a drone of large size. The larger the motor power, the more easier it will be possible for you to trudge your DSLR along but the market only has larger drones to offer in this regard.
What size drone are you using? I am using the phenomenal Mavic Pro that lets me carry it along with me and also enjoy its prolific features. Should I continue with it or is it time to move forward? Waiting for your feedback in comments area below.