BEST PICK

Best Quadcopter for Beginners: A Newbie’s Guide to Quadcopting

Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Development of new technology has come to a whole new level with different tools introduced to induce work productivity and leisure. One notable achievement is the introduction of drones to the public market. Drones may sound a bit too technical and others may think that they are only available for individuals who have connections to the tech world.

Worry not, for drones are offered over the counter and accessible to common individuals. Even more, each comes with different types and specifications that may suit your needs.

However, some features installed in specific drones may be overwhelming for some, and if you are still confused to what type of drone you want, a best way to start is to take interest on easy to control ones.

Best beginner drone for 2015

The quadcopter, for instance, is a kind of drone which is built with four rotors of vertically oriented propellers, perfect for beginners due to its high stability and easy control. One other consideration on finding the right drone is the space.

You might think that a small amount of space is a hindrance to drone piloting, but worry not, some quadcopters can fly indoors, and some are specifically designed just for it.

Also, don’t forget that piloting the quadcopter will just come to you. There is a big chance that your first quadcopter might last for only one flight; however, different models have features that can help you learn how to fly.

Some have built-it propeller guards and some are equipped with new technology to suit beginner’s needs. With that in mind, below are the 5 best quadcopter models for beginners.

5 Best quadcopters for beginners

Blade Nano QX

Blade Nano QX is perfect for those first timers who want to enjoy the leisure of quadcopting. This model is equipped with SAFE technology. This means that even a beginner like you can rest assure that this model will last long enough for you to develop quadcopting skills.

SAFE is an abbreviation for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope, engineered to help new pilots feel the rush. With SAFE, there are two modes of flight: stability mode and agility mode. Stability mode is designed to welcome new comers, which uses sensors to enable auto-hovering when not in control.

If you have hesitations in your turns, just let go of the control and let the quad hover. Agility mode, on the other hand, is a mode designed for those who have mastered the stability mode and want more speed and maneuverability.

Blade Nano QX

The model itself is intended for indoor use only, for heavy winds may disrupt its flight given the fact that it only weighs 0.6 ounces. For that purpose, it comes with propeller guards that protect the propellers when the quad accidentally bumps into walls or ceilings. This is the perfect equipment for beginners, since they will most likely crash it in the allotted 7 minutes flight time.

The E-flite® 1-Cell 3.7V Li-Po battery is included and you can charge it using a USB charger. Charging takes somewhere around 30 to 40 minutes and you can order extra batteries so you don’t have to wait.

Other specs:

  • Dimensions: 14.1 x 8.4 x 4.5 inches
  • Assembly: Ready to Fly

Like this amazing product? Then you can check its price here.

Hubsan X4

With a size that can fit inside your palm, this quadcopter can be a cheap way to develop your quadcopting skills. It comes with 6-axis flight control system with adjustable gyro sensitivity, making it perfect for either indoor or outdoor flights due of its stable flight pattern.

The quad has a structure of 60mm x 60mm (2.3 x 2.3 x 1 inches) in size which may seem rather small. However, this small quadcopter might be what you need. Once you have mastered the basics of piloting, you can set it to stunt mode to see how far your skills have gone.

But beware, due to its size, this does not come with a propeller guard to protect your propellers in crashes. One wrong move can cost you a propeller replacement.

Hubsan X4 on the table

The Hubsan X4 is packaged as RTF (ready to fly), meaning that once you open the package, the parts are already assembled together and ready to fly. It has an estimated flight of 7 minutes with a charging time of 45 minutes. It may be a little slow for beginners but 45 minutes is a short time to wait to compensate for 7 minutes of fun and excitement.

Some users recommend this model because of its agility and ease of control. With its small size and weight of 1.3 pounds, it greatly helps in stabilizing the flight and providing more user control respectively. Remote control transmission is fast with no lag and delay, thanks to the 4 channel 2.4GHz control.

It is also equipped with LED lights so you can enjoy night flying – perfect for those who are busy during the day. If you are thinking about the cost, the quad can be easily integrated in the cheap quadcopters category as it only costs about $35.

Other product specs:

  • Included Batteries:– 1S 240mAh 3.7V Li-Po with USB charger
  • Assembly: Ready to Fly
  • Notable features: Small design, adjustable gyro, LED lights

If you like this product you can find and check its price on Amazon.

Syma X5C Explorers 2 with HD Camera

For practice purposes, beginners might not want to have additional features (such as a camera) in their first quad, but make sure to check this Syma X5C, for it comes with an HD camera at a low price! If you want to get the best out of quadcopting, you can check this vehicle that is also suited for beginners.

As you can see, this model is a second one originating from the original Syma X5C Explorers. The reason why beginners should go for Syma X5C Explorers 2 is that it is more stable than the first one. Some users also commend its faster spin and turn rate, making it more stable during aerial acrobatics.

With a difference of only $5, why hesitate for a better spin? It is also capable of doing 3D flips once you have mastered the basics of control which can simplify flipping, rolling and more stunts.

Syma X5C Explorers 2 with HD Camera

Depending on your purpose, its flight time may vary from 6 minutes to 9 minutes. The camera, prop guards and other accessories connected can be unloaded to create a lighter model which can maximize its flight time to a maximum of 9 minutes.

New users may want to remove the camera but leave the prop guards on for practice purposes. Also because of the camera, the charging time may take up to 120 minute which is quite long for someone who is so eager to fly.

It also has a 6-axis gyro flight control system with adjustable gyro sensitivity that users can set to get stable flight. The included camera has a 2 megapixels resolution, good for recording practices and situational videos, but it is not something for professional work. Nevertheless, it is only designed as an entry-level aerial photography device that can take HD videos and still images.

Other product specs:

  • Dimensions: 16.3 x 13.3 x 3.7 inches
  • Included Batteries: 500mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery with USB charger
  • Assembly: Detachable camera
  • Item Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Notable features: HD camera, adjustable gyro, LED lights

Like this amazing product? Then you can buy it from Amazon.

JJRC H16 Tarantula X6

Living up to its name, this model’s design gives a competitive punch to other high quality drones. First is the design promoting fierce eyes and vicious fangs – it sure does look like a flying tarantula with four propellers protected by claw-like prop guards assisting its havoc. For someone who loves a badass start, this can be a good choice for you.

However, aesthetics is not the only impressive feature. The drone is also equipped with two functions called Hyper IOC and Outstanding Orientation Mode. These two will allow you to fly in any direction, taking off your worry for losing orientation. It also has a long flight range of up to 100 meters, encouraging you to go all-out in the flight scene.

JJRC H16 Tarantula X6

You can enjoy this flying arachnid for as long as 8 minutes with its prop guards on. Because of its high voltage and current flow of 7.4V 1200MAH, it is expected to have a flight longer than normal quads without its prop guards. Charging time takes for up to 90 minutes, a reasonable waiting time for its 8 minute flight with a large structure of 18.1 x 13.5 inches.

However, if you think that its design compromise its maneuverability and durability, you are mistaken. The design itself is a proof of stronger stability with different flight movements and greater wind resistance that result in easier control. It was tested in different conditions and can lift heavy loads like a mounted camera.

Other product specs:

  • Included Batteries: 7.4V 1200MAH Li-Po battery with USB charger
  • Assembly: Ready to Fly
  • Item Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Notable features: Top notch design, Orientation Mode, LED lights

If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can buy it from Amazon.

Hubsan Q4 Nano

If you think that Hubsan X4 is a good way to start up your piloting experience due to its small and reliable structure, wait until you’ve seen this baby! The Hubsan Q4 Nano is another product of Hubsan which retails itself as the world’s smallest quadcopter.

We can take their word for this as the drone only measures 45mm x 45mm. It is also capable of 360° Eversion, doing 4 way flipping and continuous roll function, a fun reward for those who have mastered the basics of controlling this little fly.

Hubsan Q4 Nano

Compared to its brother Hubsan X4, this model has a shorter flight time of 5 minutes but is compensated by a shorter charging time of only 30 minutes. This charging time is short comparing to other quadcopters available. Users also don’t face any shortcomings regarding its size. In fact, they are drawn by the cuteness of this quad.

Because of its lightweight structure, it is easy to fly and control. With as support of 6-axis gyro, you can learn the basics of quad piloting in no time. However, its small size can be a hindrance for those who want to fly outdoor, since any small wind can affect its stability.

Because of that, this model is best to fly indoors, to harness your skill and to get ready for future piloting opportunities.

Other product specs:

  • Included Batteries– 1S 3.7V 100mAh rechargeable Li-Po battery with USB charger
  • Assembly: Ready to Fly
  • Item Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Notable features: Small body, 360° Eversion, adjustable gyro

Like this amazing product? Then you can buy it on Amazon.

Still confused?

As a beginner, you should consider many things before purchasing your first quadcopter. Without a proper market research, you might get bored easily because the product doesn’t meet your expectations, or you might waste a large amount of money just to fly it for 10 seconds!

Here are a few factors that can affect your leisure time in learning how to pilot your quadcopter.

#1: Personal preference

Aesthetic appearance is the first one you have to consider for yourself. Who wants a dull, monochromatic vehicle that has wires still sticking out of the body? The market competition is heavy, and the hype on drones is peaking, so developers tend to design their quadcopter as appealing as possible.

You don’t have to worry about having a dull moment, but it really depends on your personal preference.

Drone-crash

As your first, you must pick the model that you will not regret afterward. Whether it crashes for the first 30 seconds or stays with you until you’ve mastered the art of quadpiloting, it should be something that you want to take pride in and eagerly display in a cabinet in your home.

#2:Cost

Some may disregard this, but having a cheap model for the first quad, can be beneficial on the long run. Buying expensive drones that have multi-functional features is great, but can you fly them? As a beginner, the chance of crashing it on some pole or wall is pretty high and this will make those multi-functional features, worthless.

If you know you still have a lot to learn in the art of flying, settle for a cheap quadcopter. It may not have those functions that you want, but some have built-in cameras and can do stunts that you may want to try for yourself. Learning to pilot is easy, but it is not something you want to invest in unless you really know how to do it.

#3: Training grounds

Another important factor to consider is where you would fly your first quadcopter. It is recommended to have an ample space for you to train, where there are no walls to bump into and no obstacles in place. Outdoor may be the best that you can think, but some quadcopters are sensitive to wind depending on their structure and size, so indoor space can also be a good choice for you.

Drone training

Many quadcopters have stabilization features that make them easier to fly and even allow the possibility to fly (and practice) indoors. Some others are specifically made to be flown indoors, making your room a perfect flight and landing spot for your first quadcopter.

#4: Flight time/charging time

As an aspiring quadcopter pilot, you should be expecting that most quadcopters will only fly an average of 5 to 10 minutes. This short flight time might be as disappointing as it gets, but you can’t do something about it.

Don’t expect to have an hour of fun and flight on your first quad, since you will only get minutes of it. You can, however, extend this by removing additional loads like prop guards and camera.

Charging time is also a big distress for beginners since they have to wait for a long time just to fly for a very short time. This matter, again, is just how quadcopter goes. You can have a shorter charging time by purchasing quads with no external electricity load like camera. Just settle with a simple quad and you should be fine.

Drone flight time

If you can extend your budget, you can always but additional batteries so you won’t have to wait until the current one is charging. Even better, some quads support more powerful batteries that boost the flight time with a few minutes. Just make sure to check with the provider.

Where to get quadcopters?

You might be thinking: “I really want this, I want this cheap quad right now!”, but where should you get it? You’ve visited your favorite toy store but there is no quad to be found? If you are not from U.S., then local quad development may not have influenced your country yet, but the quads included on this list are all available in Amazon. Today, quads are quite popular and still rising, so stores won’t miss a chance to sell them.

If you still haven’t found some quads in malls or toy stores around your area, you can try online shopping. Amazon extends its services to other countries and is available for shipment. You can also try one of your local online shopping websites. You don’t need to worry about the process as buying quads is just like buying one of your hyped toys.

You can also check our article “Where to Buy a Drone: Common Places for Anyone“.

Laws and regulations

Due to an increasing number of drone owners in the U.S., there is a law effective December 2015 which states that drone owners should register their drone before flying. This law only affects drones which weigh more than 0.55 lbs. This means that almost all quads fall under this category.

Learn drone laws

As a law-abiding citizen, you must register your drone before trying to fly it. Even if this is your first quad and you have no idea how to fly it, you must register it. Besides, registering your drone is easy with its online platform.

You only need to pay $5 registration fee per drone via credit card. Just visit the Federal Aviation Administration webpage and from there navigate to the UAS tab to register your drone. This registration is valid for up to 3 years.

You’ve got one!

Assuming you have successfully purchased and registered your quad, what now? You don’t want to muster up your courage and fly it like a pro just for it to crash. You want to take things slowly to ensure you will get an awesome first time experience. Below are some of the things you should mind when you got your first drone.

#1: User’s manual

Every package has an included user’s manual. It contains basic instructions in what should you do upon opening the package. Check if the details part in the manual is the same as the contents of the package. It is also indicated in the manual on how to assemble the quadcopter or if it is ready to fly. It also has instructions on basic troubleshooting and model specifications.

#2: Controls

After reading the manual and confirming the contents, you don’t just start piloting. You need to, at least, know some basic terminologies and controls.

Drone controlls

Stated here are the basics of the basics, a technical definition of controls to be used (assuming the left stick controls the yaw and throttle; right stick controls roll and pitch):

  • Roll – push the right stick of the controller to the left or to the right. It moves the quadcopter to the left or to the right as a whole.
  • Pitch – push the right stick of the controller forward or backward. It moves the quadcopter forward or backward as a whole.
  • Yaw – push the left stick of the controller to the left or to the right. It rotates the quadcopter to the left or to the right, changing the direction where the quadcopter faces.
  • Throttle – push the left stick of the controller forward or backward. It is responsible for lifting and landing of the quadcopter.

#3: Batteries

Your quad will not work without a battery, and the same applies for your controller. Normally, the quadcopter itself has a built-in battery that you’ll just have to charge. However, only some provide batteries for the controller.

Batteries

If you happen to buy one with battery, be sure to check if it is rechargeable or not. Most of the time the batteries will not have power the first time you open it, both in the quad and the controller. It is efficient if you have a separate rechargeable battery at home so that you can enjoy flying it full-time.

#3: Special features

Know the special features available in your quad. Some have built-in camera or also comes with prop guards. If yours happen to have one of those features, be sure to always have the prop guards on. This will not only protect your blades but will also help you gain peace of mind.

Drone prop guards

There are also different systems incorporated in each quad. Such systems can help you with the basic learning of the controls. Remember to check those and read in the manual how to activate the quad’s special features.

Tips and tricks

Now you are ready on your first flight. Here are some points to remember when flying:

  • For first time flyers, try to fly the quadcopter with its rear facing you. Continue until you get the hang of controlling it. Using this technique, you will not get lost easily of the orientation of the quad.
  • Do not push the throttle too hard. Lift it slowly and smoothly, and lift it at least 1 meter from the ground.
  • Do not attempt to do tricks from the first time.
  • Set the mode to auto mode. This will provide more stability and easier control.

Not sure what model to buy?

Deciding your first quad can be really hard. However, this is just one step away from choosing what really matters to you. Remember that this first quad is just your practice drone. It is meant to teach you how to control the drone for a greater flight. You do not need expensive and complicated ones.

A quad with a cool design and which can fly smoothly is more than enough. When you really have what it takes to be a quad pilot, this first one is where you can say your thanks.

Different properties should be considered in buying a quadcopter. That includes your budget, personal preference, how and why you will use it, your environment and many others. Upon reading the 5 best quadcopter for beginners, your interest on owning one might be increasing, so here are some of the pros and cons of having a quad:

Pros:

  • Provide and awesome and fun time not only for you but for your family
  • Available with cheap models
  • You can use to take aerial shots and videos
  • More stability compared to helicopter and other drones

Cons:

  • Short flight time and long charging time
  • Hard to fly at first
  • With many models, it is hard to decide what will be your first
  • Expensive replacement for broken parts

And now, you are ready. Go get your first quad and start quadcopting! If you have more questions, just leave us a comment.

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • John Miller

    By my opinion, Hubsan Q4 Nano is the best quadcopter for beginners as it is so light, small and easy for handling. Even if you crash it somewhere, Q4 Nano is so small that the hit will be as light as it can be. Other bigger drones can crush in massive disasters.

  • Justin Banks

    If the camera is the main thing for you, don’t buy the Syma X5C Explorers 2 with HD Camera. The video is not as good as you’d expect, considering it is advertised as being HD. But if you want a light stylish drone with an easy controlling system – then this is your choice.

  • Thanks for sharing your opinion with us Justin.

  • Mike Darrell

    The Hubsan X4 it’s not perfect, but I really enjoy flying it. The body likes to come apart at the seams but is easy to re-align the body seams. The video is not the greatest, but it’s good enough for what it is. So far seems pretty durable.

    • Jack Brown

      Well, it is a little drone meant for those who want to go down the FPV racing path, and for that price, it everything you need to get started 🙂

  • Harper Williams

    JJRC H16 flies like a pro. Its power and agility is notable. And its speedy. Control, however, takes some getting used to. Durability is average. It’s made of hard plastic, which will probably crack easily in a bad crash. But the rotors are sturdy.

  • Harper Williams

    JJRC H16 flies like a pro. Its power and agility is notable. And its speedy. Control, however, takes some getting used to. Durability is average. It’s made of hard plastic, which will probably crack easily in a bad crash. But the rotors are sturdy.

  • Jack Brown

    Oh, this one is known as the “On-Budget Man’s Phantom” 🙂 as it is powerful enough to carry a gimbal and a GoPro camera. But as far as the durability goes, I have to agree that the plastic used is rather cheap and that it can’t survive stronger hits. But, plenty of power and plenty of hours of fun with this one and the price is a bargain! Thanks for the comment, Harper!

  • Jack Brown

    Oh, this one is known as the “On-Budget Man’s Phantom” 🙂 as it is powerful enough to carry a gimbal and a GoPro camera. But as far as the durability goes, I have to agree that the plastic used is rather cheap and that it can’t survive stronger hits. But, plenty of power and plenty of hours of fun with this one and the price is a bargain! Thanks for the comment, Harper!

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