Choosing the Best Remote Control Drone

Choosing the Best Remote Control Drone

The vast majority of consumer drones are remotely controlled. Even drones with autonomous or semi-autonomous flight modes typically require a controller for manual flight. Remote control drone pilots rely on a transmitter in a controller to communicate with a drone carrying a receiver. Transmitters send input from controllers featuring joysticks, knobs, and other controls to achieve a range of actions and motions.

All of this means that choosing the right remote controller and drone is vital to your flying experience. Before getting further into specifics, here is a broad overview of what to keep in mind as you look for the best remote control drone.

What Kinds of Remote Controls Do Drones Need?

Some ready to fly or RTF drone models come with a remote controller designed and programmed for a specific drone, although these controllers may still need to be bound or paired with the receiver prior to liftoff. This makes RTF drones and controllers easier to fly right out of the box. If you are new to flying, you may find that an RTF model is the best remote control drone to get you started.

Other models referred to as bind to fly or BTF require that you purchase a receiver and transmitter separately. Almost ready to fly or ARF models vary in what they include. Some drones are packaged with controllers and make it easy to bind the controller and fly without the necessity of connecting receiver channels to the onboard flight controller or installing software.

If you select a BTF or ARF model, you will need to shop for a transmitter and receiver. You should carefully review the list of parts to determine what you will need to buy and install to make these drones functional. If you want an easier process, look for a controller made by your drone manufacturer.

However, you may have more options if you shop for a transmitter and receiver that are not associated with a specific drone manufacturer. Then, you can consider the comfort and design of the remote controller and choose this important component based primarily on your preferences and needs rather than ease of use. This can make it more possible for you to customize the best remote control drone rather than trying to find a model that comes with all the right options.

GoPro Karma Drone with HERO6 Black
$1,199.00
Agras MG-1 Octocopter Agriculture Drone Ready To Fly Bundle
$14,999.00
Agras MG-1S Octocopter Agriculture Drone Ready To Fly Bundle
$14,999.00
Rodeo 110 Racing Drone RTF, W/ HD Camera, Radio and Battery
$189.99

Connections and Controllers

It is important to make sure that the remote control transmitter you buy is able to communicate with the receiver in your drone. Even though many remote control devices operate on the 2.4GHz frequency, and Wi-Fi can also be transmitted on this spectrum, it is often the case that a transmitter and receiver need to be made by the same manufacturer in order to communicate. These components must be successfully paired and the channels and modes on the transmitter set to correspond with the receiver and flight controller in the remote control drone for you to fly it.

When it comes to connecting a remote control transmitter and drone receiver, you will need correctly connect the receiver channels to the flight controller channels and install suitable flight controller software. Once this software is installed, it is time to go through the process of assigning switches and inputs to channels. This makes it possible for you to use a remote controller to manage all of the actions and features of the drone. If you are interested in being able to pilot more than one type of drone, look for a remote controller with a range of channels and modes. Be aware that you will need to customize these modes and channels to be able to control any specific device.

A pre-programmed remote controller designed to work with a specific drone takes most of these opportunities for customization out of your hands unless you modify the default settings. If you decide on a separate transmitter and receiver, you will need a minimum of four channels to control throttle, yaw, pitch, and roll. Most experts report that quadcopter pilots need up to five or six channels. Remotes with more auxiliary channels are often large in size to make room for all of these controls.

Remote Control Connectivity

Some of the best remote control drone features include modes and channels that correspond with flight controller settings in ways that make it easy for you to fly your drone. Some remote controllers feature a USB connection that allows you to plug them into a computer and train using a flight simulator without running the risk of crashing your drone. Some recent models incorporate smartphones and tablets, whether these wireless devices function as first-person viewfinders or transmit live streams of footage that can be uploaded to the internet.

Certain remote control drone models are piloted using an application on a smartphone or tablet. While this can be an affordable and convenient feature, most expert pilots agree that it is difficult to fly a drone using a standard remote control transmitter after learning to fly onscreen. The skills needed to achieve performance using a proprietary application and the mechanical finesse that comes from practicing with a physical controller are different, even though both these methods are based on the same general principles.

Characteristics of the Best Remote Controls

The best drone controller is one that you feel comfortable using. Factor in the size of your hands and finger length when comparing designs. You should also look for a remote that corresponds to your skill set and style of flying. For instance, if you are interested in using a drone for image capture, you might look for a remote that makes it possible for you to easily control different cameras. All of these features are managed through separate channels on a remote control corresponding to a receiver and onboard flight controller processor.

If you are purchasing a remote separately, keep in mind that the price of a controller generally depends on its features and channel capacity. Remotes with more channels — sometimes as many as 14 — tend to be physically larger, have more input methods, and cost more than remotes with fewer channels. More advanced transmitters and receivers may also offer features like telemetry, or the transmission of flight data, which may be displayed on a screen located on the remote itself.

There are also options available when to comes to range, which can reach up to 1500 feet on the 2.4GHz frequency. These remotes may also offer a number of modes, allowing them to be used with different vehicles. Remotes with all of these features tend to be used for many purposes and are often designed for durability and longevity.

Shopping for a Remote Control Drone

You may find it helpful to visit a physical store that sells drones to try out controllers. Another option can be attending a hobbyist meeting or flight gathering and test out controllers to see which brands or types are most comfortable for you to handle, as well as which are favored for different types of aerial vehicles. You may also be able to determine which, if any, brands or types of controllers you would prefer to avoid. Trying equipment before you buy increases the likelihood that you can select the best remote control drone and controller to suit your preferences and needs.

Although information is not equivalent to firsthand experience, you can also read reviews of various drones, transmitters, and receivers online. Manufacturers, retailers, and user communities can all be helpful resources for narrowing down your options or even deciding on which drone or controller to buy. There is an extensive amount of information available online that can help you make more informed decisions. You also want to pay close attention to return policies, insurance options, and warranties to help make sure you don’t end up stuck with a remote or drone that is malfunctioning or not what you expected based on descriptions.

Where To Learn More About Remote Control Drones

The resources you can find helpful vary depending on whether you are interested in an RTF drone packaged with a receiver and remote controller all made or authorized by the same manufacturer or if you are choosing a transmitter and receiver. Regardless, it is a good idea to look for ways to observe or experience flying remote control drones firsthand to determine which products or equipment you want to learn more about or order for yourself.

If you are interested in buying a set with all of the parts that you need to fly, you may find reviews on shopping sites or forums dedicated to specific brands and models to be the most useful sources of information. On the other hand, if you are buying a BTF or ARF model or building your own drone, you will likely want to rely on more technical advice on sites for users dedicated to customizing the drone flying experience. While you may find reviews of some components to be helpful, you will likely have to rely on a wider range of resources to learn how to build the best remote control drone. Do your research and ask questions to increase the chances that you will be satisfied with the remote control drone you choose.

The Best Drone Accessories

The Best Drone Accessories

…The next movie I do I’m definitely going to use a lot of drones in it, because they’re very light and flexible and fast, and there are things that you can do with them that you can’t possibly do with a helicopter for safety reasons.

—Paul W.S. Anderson

Drones are becoming a must-have assistive device in every industry. They are ideal for filming from every angle for a feature film. They allow real estate agents to show a property at its best. They enable search and rescue teams to get a better look at the situation that they are dealing with. But to fully utilize a drone’s potential, not only does the professional using it need to be well-trained in flying the drone, they should also have the best tools or accessories. The following lists some of the top drone accessories that can help you take your piloting abilities to the next level:

1. Some Fun Stuff

We will get to all of the necessities soon, but first, to increase the cool factor of your drone, it can be a great idea to pick up a few random extras. Some of these can be on the more expensive end of the spectrum, such as a flight recorder. This recording software enables drone owners to review their flight after the fact and it includes settings that turn the recording into a 3D version. On the other end of the price spectrum, drone owners can get decal sets that will give their drone some more character. This includes everything from camouflage and racing stripes to personalized name decals and glow-in-the-dark decals.

2. Signage

When you are flying a drone, it requires all of your attention. Being distracted can cause harm to the drone, to something, or to someone. But when you are flying a drone, you are likely in a public place and, with the growing excitement and interest in drones, people will often approach you. Sometimes they will just want to watch and sometimes they will have a question. Whatever the situation, it is a good idea to wear a shirt with information on it or have a standing sign that provides people with instructions. It is a polite and less distracting way to let people know that you are flying a certain type of drone for a specific reason. You might also include some extra information, such as the fact that due to FAA regulations, only you are licensed to fly the drone.

3. Carrying Case

Whatever drone you get, it will come in a package. But generally speaking, the package that it comes in is really not meant for long-term storage. It is probably cardboard, styrofoam, and plastic. But this does not mean that you do not need a long-term storage option for your drone. A quality carrying case will not only allow you to safely store your device, protected from the elements like water and dust, but it will also allow you to more easily and more safely travel with the drone. Some drone makers will offer specially made cases for the various specific drones that they offer. Some outside manufacturers will offer cases that will have compartments that will suit just about any drone. They all offer different advantages, so think about what you need the most, whether that is travel convenience or additional protection, and decide what works best for your situation.

4. Micro SD Cards

For those that have a drone with a camera, this tip is a must. Most drones have an average flight time of between 20 and 40 minutes. A lot of images and videos can be gathered over that time period. However, if you do not have enough memory or storage space, you could miss out on some of the best photography and videography that your drone can capture. So if you are going out with your drone for the day, make sure to take a few extra micro SD cards with you. For those who are just taking images, all you need is a few gigabytes. Those who are recording video, however, should opt for the higher gigabyte cards.

5. GPS Tracker

You probably think that you will never lose your drone. But what if you are traveling with it and the airlines loses it? Or what if your car gets broken into and it gets stolen? Things happen, whether it is your fault, an accident, or malicious intent by someone else. You need to be prepared. And yes, some drones do come with accurate mapping so that if they go out of range, they can be easily found. But this only works until the battery dies. To supplement this, it is a good idea to get a tracker. This can be a fancier one with GPS or it could just be a basic Bluetooth tracker. With a tracker attached to your drone, you can rest a little easier while you are sitting in your airplane seat or when your drone crashes and it is out of sight.

6. Propeller Guards

Whether you are a new drone pilot or an experienced one, crashes happen. And these crashes can cause a lot of harm. First, there is a strong chance of the propellers breaking if the drone crashes into the ground and they continue to spin or if the drone crashes into a tree or bush. Second, and potentially much more serious, is the damage and injury that can come from larger drones that are more powerful. They can harm animals and people. One excellent prevention method for both damaged propellers and potential injuries is propeller guards. They are not very expensive and they can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. Additionally, they are really easy to attach to the drone, so not much technical skill or knowledge of the drone is needed to use them.

7. Extra Batteries

Pretty much any drone you buy will come with batteries. But the problem is that usually they only come with one set of batteries and this one set only works for a single flight. After the first flight, they must be recharged and this can take around an hour. A great way to avoid standing around, if you need or want to make multiple drone flights, is to buy a few extra battery packs. You can even find some batteries that are a little more powerful, allowing your drone to fly just a little bit further or for just a little bit longer.

8. Helipad

Some individuals launch and land their drone in the same place every single time they take it for a flight. However, most do not. Most drone pilots are on the move, capturing images and videos in different regions and types of terrain. And while this creates amazing footage and photographs, it can be taxing on a drone to take off and land on dirty and unstable surfaces. A great solution is a drone helipad. Many of the ones that are on the market are made of plastic, but just about any material will work just fine. The only type of landing surface you should avoid is metal because it can interfere with your drone’s GPS calibration.

PowerEgg Propeller Set Counter Clockwise
$24.95
Spark Propeller Guards
$19.00
Breeze Propeller (2pcs clockwise and 2pcs counter-clockwise)
$12.99
Phantom 3 9450 Self-tightening Propeller Set
$6.00

Flying a drone can be beneficial to many types of businesses and it can just be fun. These accessories are an excellent way of making the whole experience a little safer, a little cleaner, and a lot more fun.

Top Professional Drones With Cameras

Top Professional Drones With Cameras

Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society.

—Bill Gates

It is rare that a single piece of technology can heavily effect countless industries. The internet did it. The tablet did it. And currently, the drone is doing it. Farming, real estate, photography, surveying, and so many more fields are feeling the influence of the drone. It has become many professionals irreplaceable assistant, helping them to do their job better or faster. And it is for this reason that the drone industry is flourishing. Drone makers are finding ways to constantly improve the devices, making them perfect in every capacity from weight to flight range to battery life. But because of the number of drones on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is the right one to get. The following explores the top professional drones currently available:

Zenmuse X4S - 4K Camera - 20MP Stills
$599.00
FLIR Duo Thermal Camera
$999.00
FLIR Vue Pro 640 Thermal Camera - 9mm Lens - 30Hz Video
$3,699.00

1. 3D Robotics Solo

The 3D Robotics Solo is really a camera that is meant for professionals who are involved in sports videography and photography. It is a quadcopter that allows you to capture high quality footage without being highly trained in drone piloting. Additionally, it provides photographers and videographers with more control than they have ever had before. Unlike other drones that require the camera to be set, started, and stopped while it is on the ground, the 3D Robotics Solo allows the pilot to have in-flight access to the GoPro. But not only do pilots have basic access, the entire HD video is streamed wirelessly from the GoPro to any Android or iOS device during the drone flight—a feature that is not available on any other drone at the moment. The only downside of this drone is its short, 25 minute battery life. But even this can be remedied with the purchase of an extra 3DR Solo Smart Battery.

2. DJI Mavic Pro

The DJI Mavic Pro is one of the better professional drones for the real estate industry. This tiny, 1.6-pound drone has an incredible flying range of over 4 miles. It can also view and prepare for obstacles that are nearly 50 feet away. The drone has an impressive top speed of 22 miles per hour, but because of its Absolute Precision Flight Autonomy technology, it can gracefully hover in a variety of environments. The combination of this hovering, along with its 4K recording and the mechanical stabilization the camera gets from its 3-axis high precision system, the real estate professional can always depend on the drone to deliver beautiful photographs and videos of property. The main downside to this drone is that controlling it can involve a higher degree of knowledge due to its complex systems. However, it is mainly the setup of the flight that is the difficult part. Once the drone is up in the air, it has an automatic feature that enables it to land in the same spot that it took off from.

Mavic Pro Fly More Combo
$1,299.00
Mavic Pro Platinum Fly More Combo
$1,399.00
Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian - 20MP Camera, 4K Video
$1,499.00
Matrice 600 Pro Flying Platform
$4,999.00

3. Parrot BeBop 2.0

The Parrot BeBop 2.0 drone is an excellent piece of equipment for professionals who need a camera-equipped drone in more extreme situations. Not only is the camera on the drone 14 megapixel, but it is also able to capture images and video in HD 1080p with a 186-degree field of view. In addition to this, the drone guarantees great images from every flight with its full-digital image stabilization technology and its camera lens, which is both dust and splash proof. The drone is also able to push just a little bit further when it comes to getting more extreme images. It can fly at nearly 40 miles per hour and, because of more powerful motors, it can go to higher altitudes than most other drones, creating truly magnificent aerial photographs.

4. Yuneec Drone Tornado H920

When it comes to aerial photography, it is hard to compete with the Yuneec Drone Tornado H920. While the drone can fly with quite a few cameras, it was really meant for a Panasonic GH4 camera and was optimized as such. It is for this reason that it has both a six-rotor aerial platform and a GB603 gimbal. The combination of these two features allows the camera to move independently from the drone with complete stability. And the truly great aspect of this drone is that it treats equipment with the highest regard. It has a feature that ensures that if one rotor fails during a flight, it will immediately land safely so repairs can take place and the camera can be returned in-tact. But besides these safety features and excellent camera stability, it is also sold ready-to-fly, which is great for those who are not drone experts, and its landing gear is retractable, allowing for a true 360-degree view as the drone flies.

5. Blade Chroma (With 4K Camera)

The Blade Chroma’s most unique feature is that it has a longer flight time than many other drones on the market. It can stay in the air for 30 minutes and be controlled from up to 600 meters away. The option that comes with the camera also ensures crystal-clear photographs and video with its 4K 1080p and 12 megapixel capabilities. And, due to its smart mode, autonomous follow and tracking modes, and its return to home function, it is ideal for professionals who are still getting used to piloting drones. As their skills grow, they can switch to the more advanced AP flight mode, allowing them to change settings and create more complex flight plans. Finally, there is the controller that distinguishes this drone from most other drones. It has a built-in touchscreen display so that no other device is needed, such as a smartphone or tablet, in order to adjust the settings or view the telemetry data.

6. Walkera GPS QR X800

This Walkera drone really takes it to the next level. The quadcopter does not come equipped with a camera but it is the perfect, heavy-duty drone that will carry just about any action camera or DSLR. This drone is also ideal for professionals who are on the move and need to have access to their drone at inconvenient times and places. Due to the fact that it is made from carbon and glass fiber, it is both light for its size and durable. Additionally, it folds into a very compact position, making it the perfect drone to travel with. There is also the fact that the QR X800 model is compatible with the infamous Mission Planner. This means that the pilot, once knowledgable on the basics of Mission Planner, can adjust the most advanced flight options, access GPS waypoints, and set different flight modes. But the specification that this Walkera is most well-known for is its flight time. It surpasses pretty much every other drone on the market with an incredible 40 plus minutes of flight. This impressive flight time and its packing compactness truly make up for the hefty 8.6 pound weight of the drone.

There are some incredible drones that professionals currently have access to. They can travel further than ever before at speeds that are faster than ever before. Pilots can control them from greater distances and they can capture better images. All of these capabilities are enabling the professionals that use them to do their job better and better. The possibilities of drone-potential are beginning to look limitless.

Breeze Propeller

Breeze Propeller

Replace or repair your Breeze quadcopter’s propellers with this YUNEEC Propeller Set. This set comes with two clockwise and two counter-clockwise propellers as well as an accessory kit for attaching them. Designed for YUNEEC Breeze Includes 2 Clockwise Propellers Includes 2 Counter-Clockwise Propellers Includes Accessory Kit.

Phantom Battery

Phantom Battery

The new generation Phantom 3 Battery 4480mAh is designed to provide up to 25 minutes of flight time on a full charge. This high-powered battery features four cells in serial with a higher voltage than other DJI Phantom batteries at 15.2 V. This allows for more energy to your aircraft and an improved flight experience. Four LEDs on the battery indicate the charge status and your remaining power level. A slot-in design facilitates installation, removal, and charging. The 4480mAh Phantom 3 Battery is designed especially for use in Phantom 3 Professional and Advanced models, but can also boost performance in other aircraft models including the Phantom 3 Standard and 4K.