"Should I buy a drone or build one?" This question gets asked a lot by people looking to get into using drones. Find out the pros and cons here and what is best for you.
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Are you planning on buying your first drone?
Or are you an experienced drone user who's thinking about building one?
Drones are exciting because they can take high-res photos from impressive heights.
Model airplanes have been around for years, but they don't offer the kind of flying experience that a drone does.
If you're wondering, "should I buy a drone or build one?" take a look at this article.
We'll do some comparison shopping on drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, and help you figure out what your next step should be.
Types of Drones
There are three major types of drones: toy drones, camera drones, and racing drones.
The DJI Inspire and DJI Phantom 4 are both popular camera drones, but they only come ready to fly (RTF).
Two toy drones that are popular are the Syma X5c and the Hubsan X4. They typically come RTF but are sometimes available in a kit. They're pretty breakable, so let's look at some other options.
Racing drones are available as RTF and as ATF (almost ready to fly) but are often available as a kit.
The good thing about learning to operate racing drones is that they're highly customizable and you can work on them for improved speed and maneuverability.
Drones also get categorized according to their number of propellers, number of rotors, and their size.
Mini Drones and Micro Drones
If you're going to build your own drone, you might want to start with a tiny drone and work your way up.
These mini and micro drones are about the size of a dragonfly and they can carry a small camera.
They are pretty maneuverable but often have fixed wings instead of rotary ones.
Their flight time tends to max out at about five to 10 minutes.
Mini drones don't have too much power but should be pretty easy to put together.
If you want to make your own mini drone, make sure that you have the right equipment.
In addition to all of the propellers, motors, batteries, and connectors, you will need to have:
- a battery charger
- lead wire cables
- thread locking compounds
- silicone wires
Medium and Large Drones
If you want more power and flight time then you should consider building a medium or large drone.
You can mount a larger camera and even a GPS. There should be an electronic speed controller for every motor and you should try to get your parts from a single supplier, if possible.
It might be a better idea to start building drones on a smaller scale, but if you're up to the challenge this could be a great project.
You'll also include a flight controller, which includes a accelerometer and a gyroscope.
Practice flying your drone indoors first before you take it outside.
Pros of Building Your Own Drone
In general, it's going to be cheaper to build a drone than to buy one.
What's great about taking the time to build a drone is that it's a great project to get into. You're able to make a maneuverable drone with camera, for example, that flies faster than a pre-made drone.
You can also customize your drone and choose the flight time that you'll need to have. Smaller models can fly up to three miles at a time with a flight time of about 45 minutes.
Larger, more complex drones can go for more than 300 miles.
Just figure out what you need before you start building. Take your time in the design phase and determine what kind of drone will suit your needs.
It's also a challenge: building your own drone means that you have to find the parts online or in stores and that can be an adventure.
On the down side, It could take several months to assemble all the parts and get used to the flight controllers. However, you'll be left with a sense of achievement once you're all done.
Cons of Building Your Own Drone
So you decide to build your own drone, spend months assembling it, and then you crash it because you're not used to the controller.
If you're new to the drone game, you may want to spend a little bit more money on a drone that's RTF. That way, you have some time to get used to the mechanics of flying it, taking pictures, or racing.
Another reason to invest in an RTF drone is that a high performance drone will look a little nicer than a kit drone.
It's not all about the outside appearance, but lots of DIY-ers who make their own drones have trouble flying them because the parts are all from different places.
You might also want to invest in a pre-made drone because it can be difficult to balance out the weight and motors.
RTF drones will have undergone a testing process that enables them to fly right out of the box.
If you're building your own drone, you're going to have to work to learn how to fly it. On top of that, your drone may not even be air-worthy at first.
How much patience do you have to devote to this kind of project?
Should I Buy a Drone or Build One?
At the end of the day, you're the only one who can make that decision.
If you know that you're a DIY-er who loves to tinker, you may want to put in the time it takes to make your own drone.
If you just can't wait to get started racing, buy a kit or a RTF drone.
Take the time to figure out what sort of drone you would like to have. Do you want to make sure it has a camera? Are you going to be flying it outside in high wind or harsh weather conditions?
There is a wide range of drones available that are RTF, but the world of drones becomes so much more complex when you're building your own.
If you're going to build a drone, you should check out our website. We offer a wide range of drone parts and run a rewards program for loyal customers!