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12 Types of Drones: What You Need to Know

You want to buy a drone, but you don’t know what type to buy. That was the dilemma I had when I first wanted to buy my drone. I walked into my local hobby store, stared at the huge selections of drones on the wall, and scratched my head.

Thankfully, the store manager was knowledgeable and helped me find the right one for my needs. But you may not be so lucky. I want you to be prepared when you buy your drone. That’s why I’m going to explain your options and the types of drones on the market. I’ve also grouped the types into different categories to make your life easier.

By Number of Propellers

Drones may be categorized by the number of propellers it has. There are five main types of drones in this category, but you’ll find different variations of each one based on the positioning of the propellers and their directions. Don’t let this confuse you though. You should really only be concerned about the number of propellers.

1. Single Rotor

As you may have guessed, single rotor drones have a single propeller. They may have an additional propeller on the tail of the drone, but this is typically a smaller one that assists in the control of the drone.

2. Tricopter

A tricopter has three blades, three controllers, four gyros and one servo. These drones are equipped with several sensors and other advanced electronics that help keep the aircraft stabilized.

3. Quadcopter

Quadcopters are equipped with four rotor blades and are normally designed with brushless DC motors. Two motors run in clockwise direction, while the other two run in counter-clockwise direction.

Quadcopters are the most popular type of drone on the market. You’ll find that many of our reviews, including our Drone X Pro review, are for quadcopter models. Many come with attached cameras and other electronic accessories.

4. Hexacopter

Hexacopters are equipped with six blades. Three of them move clockwise, while the other three move counter-clockwise. These drones are a great option if you want higher lifting power. They can travel faster, too.

Hexacopters tend to be more expensive, larger and more difficult to assemble than their quadcopter counterparts.

5. Octocopter

Octocopters have eight blades, which makes them incredibly stable and powerful. They can fly higher, they can move faster, and they can handle heavier payloads.

Their advanced stability makes them a great option for photos and video. These drones are even more expensive and bigger than hexacopters.

By Size

6. Pocket Drones

As you might have guessed, a pocket drone is small enough to fit in your pocket or the palm of your hand. Some people call them nano drones or micro drones. Most models are no bigger than 50 cm.

These toy drones are inexpensive and lightweight – but they can crash very easily. And they aren’t quite as durable as their larger drone cousins.

7. Mini Drones

Mini drones are slightly bigger than pocket drones – but no larger than 2m. These drones don’t have as much power as other, bigger drones, but they’re fun to fly.

If you’re only looking for a toy, a mini drone may be a good option for you.

8. Medium Drones

Medium drones are what most people wind up buying. They’re a bit heavier, and they can typically carry weight of up to 200 kgs. Most have a flight time of 5-10 minutes.
Most models in this category either come equipped with a camera or give you the option of attaching one. Because their flight times can be short, I recommend having extra batteries on hand to keep your flight going.

9. Large Drones

Large drones are comparable to aircrafts and are mostly used for military purposes. Some are used for surveillance, but they can serve many different purposes.

Most people don’t have the budget or the credentials to purchase and fly a large drone.

By Purpose

10. Professional Drones

Some drones are designed for professional use. They normally come equipped with the best drone and image/video technology. Many offer longer flight times of up to 25 minutes, which makes them a great option for taking aerial photos and videos.

I’ve noticed that many of the newer professional models also have obstacle avoidance technology, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally flying into trees or other objects.

Professional drones can be pricey ($700 or more), but if you’re using it as part of your job, it’s a small price to pay.

11. Selfie Drones

Yes, selfie drones are a thing. They’re small and compact, and they follow you around to take selfies. Because of their smaller size, they can be flown indoors or outdoors. Just don’t bring it out on a windy day or you might lose your drone.

Prices are affordable, but a high-end model can cost hundreds of dollars.

12. Racing Drones

If you fancy a little friendly competition, a racing drone may be a good option for you. These drones are small, agile and quick.

You can buy racing drones in the store, or you can build one yourself.

Racing drones aren’t usually the best option for beginners because they’re so quick. There’s a learning curve with these drones, but it can be fun and thrilling to fly at such high speeds. Still, if you’re just getting started, I recommend starting with something simpler, like a quadcopter or mini drone.

Drones may also be categorized by features. Some come with cameras, which allow you to capture photos or videos of your flight. Some have GPS, which allow you to actually plan your flight route and even track your drone’s location in real-time. Other drones have a tracking feature that will follow you as you move. These are great for athletes and filmmakers. And of course, you’ll find models with advanced stabilizers that make it easier to take clear photos and videos. These models can also take smoother turns and are less likely to crash.
No matter which type of drone you choose, you’re sure to have fun flying it. Take your time when deciding which type you want. If you just buy the first drone you come across, you may wind up being sorely disappointed.

January 16, 2019


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