BUYER'S GUIDE

Where to Buy a Drone: Common Places for Anyone

Drone in a shop
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Rapid drone development now far exceeds human expectations. Together with enhanced features and worldwide accessibility, drones are now taking part in the circulation of the tech market. They can provide recreational satisfaction, but can also be used for commercial purposes. With such versatile functions, these devices fascinate all kinds of people and knowing where to buy a drone from may be very helpful.

Fortunately, there are more than one ways to purchase a drone. Most cheap drones are considered toys, so purchasing one of these is just like purchasing other toys. However, military-grade drones are still classified for the public, but don’t worry, we have access to high-quality devices that are definitely more than a toy.

Common places to buy a drone

#1: Local department stores

Before anything else, be sure to first check the local stores near you. With the globalization of drones, common types of drones are available in almost all department and toy stores globally. However, department stores may only cater limited models of drones.

Local store

Even so, it is best to check local stores and big malls and establishments.

#2: Online shops

One popular way to buy stuff today is through an online store. Aside from easy access, an online store can also provide you with different choices of the same product. It can also offer important discounts and freebies, and even more important, you get to see reviews from owners.

Drone online shop

However, buying a drone online also poses a certain risk as not all shops in the web are reliable. If you are not wary of these risks, you are vulnerable to online phishing scams and, in the worst case, an identity theft. Be sure to check if the site is legit and trusted by other users. To help you, here are some of the most famous and reliable online shops available where you can buy a drone:

Amazon

Famous all around the world, this site can offer a wide variety of drone selections and reliable delivery. The delivery services are top-notch ensuring that the product you ordered will be safely delivered to your mailing address.

The delivery time may vary from days to weeks depending on what country you are in, but in the U.S., where Amazon is based, it can take only take an hour or so.

Amazon

Amazon offers different types of drones from different brands. Famous brands such as DJI, Parrot and Syma are its best sellers, but you can also find low-end drones for beginners. If you’re not a drone expert, and you don’t know where to buy your first drone from, Amazon can offer more than what you wish for.

Target

This is another famous online site that can offer a wide variety of products in just a click of a button, rivaling Walmart. Even though some of you may not have heard of it yet, it is one of the best online shops available today, shipping almost globally to 200 different countries.

Delivery time can also take for weeks depending on your location, but if you are in the U.S., expect to receive it in a day or two since it is a U.S. based organization.

Target order pickup

However, the selection of drones is not as wide as the one available on Amazon. The store features famous brands such as Parrot and DJI. They sell low tier to medium tier drones that are perfect for beginners. If you are browsing now, be sure to check out Target.

Walmart

The Walmart Company is originally an American retail corporation that controls many hypermarkets, supermarkets and department stores. However, they also created an online shopping site for net shoppers that can offer a wide variety of selections from their original Walmart store.

Walmart’s shipping locations are only limited to U.S. and nearby countries at the moment. If you are not a resident of U.S., then Walmart online shipping is not available for you.

Walmart online shop

Nevertheless, Walmart offers a wide selection of drones, mostly quadcopters, of different brands such as DJI and Yuneec. They also cater Swift Stream and Sky Viper, drones that can be perfect for beginners with no quadpiloting background.

They may not ship in other countries, but the U.S. shipment is as top notch as their real department stores. But if you have a nearby Walmart store, you can arrange it so that you can personally pick your item up from the store.

Alibaba

Alibaba is a China-based manufacturer, developer and wholesaler online shop that can offer consumer to consumer, business to consumer, and business to business sales. With its wide selection of manufacturers and products, you can buy almost anything here in wholesale and create a long term relationship.

However, in some cases, to obtain a discounted amount, you have to buy a specific number of items. This is good for retailers who will buy drones and sell them to other people.

Alibaba

Since this is a place for manufacturers, many unknown brands of drones are available for you to choose from. There are also famous brands like DJI, but they mostly offer replacement parts for the drone. If your purpose in buying drones is for selling them again, then Alibaba is the right site for you.

Local online shops

There are plenty available local online stores in your country. Each one has its own respective online dealer based on the country, and is selling different kinds of stuff. Almost all local sites have access to bigger international sites, so when you buy something from them that is not locally manufactured in your country they will get the product from international dealers.

This may take a few weeks to arrive and be sure to check if they will be responsible for shipping damages or delays.

Shopping on a budget

Even so, it is worth to check your local online shops. They may be selling the drone that you are looking for.

Buying considerations

When you have determined where you can buy, there are also some considerations you have to include in the decision-making process before buying your drone, such as:

#1: Cost

Different drones have different costs depending on their size and features. Normally, bigger drones are more expensive than smaller ones. Before buying, you should consider first what drone to buy and how much it costs.

Cost of Drones

With so many drone manufacturers, there will be a time when two different drones have the same features but a different price. In that case, it might be obvious to go for the cheaper one, but before doing that, inspect the durability and credibility of the product. Some companies that offer durable and cheap drones are UDI, Hubsan, Blade, and Syma. On the other hand, the price you pay for the drone isn’t the final one, as this hobby includes spare parts, upgrades when you become better, new gear, and so on. To get a better understanding of how much you are going to spend on this hobby, take a look at our article talking about the real cost of drones and what to expect once you go down that road.

#2: The type of drone

There are many types of drones out there for sale. Drones are collectively known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), so according to that definition, an unmanned aerial vehicle that is flying is considered as a drone.

Drone types in US military

Common types of drones are quadcopters, helicopters, and planes. However, there are still a bunch of drones that differ according to type and shape, and for a better insight on this topic, we suggest checking out our article about types of drones. For instance, producers like Parrot, Aeryon Scout, Heron, Wasp, Raven, Killer Bee, Harpy, Predator, Avenger, Hummingbird, Mantis, Soaring Dragon, Sentinel, and others, produce weird-looking drones that do more than just fly.

Larger and more advanced drones are only available for the military so the best that you could get as a buyer is the quadcopter. It is easy to use and is recommended for beginners who are still learning to fly because it is more stable in flying.

#3: The model of drone

Now that you have considered what type of drone you want, you should choose the model of the drone. With a wide range of drone manufacturers, there are many models to choose from. First, you should consider the brand/manufacturer as each comes with strong and weak points. That’s why it is better to do a thorough research on them.

New Drone ready for flight

Each drone model has different features and usually, the latest model is more advanced. If you are still a beginner, it is best to know that more advanced drones are harder to fly and have more features to control, so you should choose a model that is perfect for your experience level.

#4: Purpose

You must also consider your purpose for buying the drone. Is it for leisure and entertainment, for photography, or for surveillance?

Hobby drones

There are still many other uses for drones and each one has strong points for each purpose. If you want to use the drone that you will buy, it is best to consider the purpose it is fulfilling, and the features that come along with it.

#5: Registrations

Today, it is mandated that every drone bought must be owned by a person with at least 13 years of age and must be registered with the FAA. Due to the increasing number of drone owners, the Federal Aviation Administration required drone registration in order to fly it in U.S.

Other countries, however, haven’t adopted this law yet, or they have a different law for drones. This is why it is good to know if there are legal matters in buying drones.

Drone Registrations

In the U.S., drone registration only costs $5, and it is valid for 3 years. Registration is easy and can be done on the Federal Aviation Administration website. You will need a credit card in order to pay the registration fee.

Next, you should know that there is a 15-mile radius no-fly zone around important points of interest. For instance, the Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington D.C. has a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) which is being enforced for safety purposes.

Tips before buying a drone

Now that you have your eyes set on a particular drone, there are a few more things you should know before making the purchase.

#1: Follow your budget

Good things come when you plan accordingly, so make sure to set your budget first. This way you’ll be able to avoid the temptation of buying an expensive drone that you don’t know how to fly.

Budgeting

Follow your budget and don’t go for over expensive ones without knowing what they really are. Just because their appearance or functions appeal to you does not mean that they are meant for you. Take your time and find something that can suit your budget. To help you plan your budget properly, we suggest checking out our article about drone prices.

#2: Do a thorough research

If you think that you know it all, you might be wrong. In the vast world of drones, there will come a time when you will miss a thing or two. For example, an upcoming new model launch that is cheaper and more durable, or a sudden upgrade of version. This might not be what you expect so be sure to double check the specs of the drone you want.

Do a research

There are many outdated blogs or websites that offer information on drones, so check the latest one. Drones now are experiencing fast developments, so your ideal drone might still be there in the future, waiting to be manufactured.

#3: Check the drone specs/functions

Not just the overall appearance or the type of drone is important, but also its specifications. Many users get confused by similar types of drones that have different specifications. The specs must be as good as its appearance, or maybe even better. Here are some of the specs that you should look at:

  • Flight time
  • Charging time
  • Weight and size
  • Range of control
  • Controller functions

Some drones also have added features such as a camera or a flight assistant. You can also consider these things and if you are a beginner, it is good to have a drone with some flight assistant functions such as a system control assistant or an added external protection.

Unmanned copter flight

Some drones have prop guards packaged together upon purchase, and some have not. But mostly all drones are designed so that you can add a prop guard on it so you can fly it safely. Normally, drones with camera cost a bit more than drones without it, but if you want to enjoy things like aerial photography then these are the ones for you.

#4: Check if maintenance is included in the price

Drone maintenance is a must if you want to enjoy your drone for a long time. One day, you will experience a crash and this could be it for your little toy.

Is maintenance included in the price

Before buying, make sure that there are available parts for sale on that kind of drone such as propellers. Some drones have extra propellers that are packaged together when you buy it, and for some, you will need to buy it separately.

You also need to look out for extra batteries. After a while, you might encounter some battery failures such as decreased flight time, and because of that you can’t use your drone efficiently. You can also use an extra battery to increase your flight time by changing it after the one is fully discharged.

Not sure where to buy from?

Drones are for sale everywhere. If you really want it, you can find ways to have it. The above-mentioned places are just the most popular places/methods where you can buy a drone.

The most common problem most buyers face is that they don’t have access to stores that sells drones, so they use online sites. These are more advantageous as they offer a wide selection of products and manufacturers but they are also riskier. However, many users buy online, and because of that, online shopping of drones is now common.

If you know other methods or places where to buy a drone, be sure to 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.

  • Andrew Miller

    I think, online shop is not the best place to buy a drone. It needs to be checked, touched, compared with other models in the air. The best way is to buy at local store.

  • Yes. However, with a closer look on specs and online reviews, one can also find great deals over online stores.

  • John Whitehouse

    I personally buy drones at the local department store. You can get a better view of your future drone, especially if it is an expensive one. On the other hand, buying drones on the Internet can be a lot easier, but you get to wait for several weeks to get it and it can ruin your expectations because of the lack of information about the product.

    • Both local department store and online buying have its own pluses and minuses. It depends on your requirements.

  • Elliot Giles

    I think that you can get better deals online and if you are attentive to the specs. You can check it in a local store if you find a better deal online.

    • Jack Brown

      I agree with you that you might find better deals online, and just make sure to check the specs and reviews of the model you plan on buying.

  • Marvin St. James

    I find it easier to buy drones online because everything is there and you could easily compare products. But you really have to read the specs carefully. For first-time buyers, I suggest that you also invest in a spare battery because most drones in the market have limited flight times.

  • Jack Brown

    As I always say, a spare battery is something that is a MUST, as the flight time is never enough! Especially when you get the hang of flying without crashing 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts with our readers, Marvin!

  • Faith Williams

    All the places, online or local stores, have some disadvantages. In a local store you may not have a wide range of products to compare, unless of course you did research online first. But it’s a good place to make sure that you’re not buying counterfeit products. With online stores one has to be extra vigilant because counterfeit drones are abundant. I have always trusted the Amazon. I bought my DJI Phantom 3 Pro from Amazon and the transactions was effortless and safe.

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