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Where to Buy a Drone

Drones are amazing, and there always seems to be new, exciting things you can do with them. You can take aerial videos with a drone, fly near a volcano or take action pictures of yourself skiing down a mountain.

And as drones become even more advanced and widely used, people are selling them everywhere.
If you want to know where to buy a drone, it’s important to know about the risks of buying a drone from anyone but the official website or reseller. We have written a lot of drone reviews, and we always mention where you can buy your drone at the bottom of the review.

But if you’re doing your own research or come across a site we haven’t recommended, it’s important to know if you’re making a smart choice with your purchase.

Let’s face it: there are a lot of scams out there.

People steal other people’s money all the time online.

I don’t want you to fall a victim to this same practice – ever.

Why You Should Avoid Used Drones

Drones are like any other electronic device: they break. Over time, a drone may crash, not be maintained and start to have problems. Some of these problems don’t present on a short test flight either.

If you plan on buying a used drone, you’ll need to know what to check before handing over your money:

  • Battery. Drones run on batteries, and these batteries will start to diminish over time. You’ll eventually lose a good chunk of your battery life, and some drones will have a “battery” section on their apps. The DJI, for example, will tell you how many cycles that the battery has went through. Around the 150 – 200 cycle mark, the battery’s capacity will have been diminished.
  • Cracks and damages. The frame of the drone will tell a story of the drone’s life. Cracks and damage can be visually seen on the body, and if this is the case, you’ll know that the drone has crashed in the past. Even if the frame has been glued, the frame will be weaker, leading to a less stable and less durable drone.
  • Warranty. Drones come with warranties in many cases, so you’ll want to ask for proof of purchase from the seller. The warranty will cover any defects with the drone, which may include replacing the main board or camera – both expensive repairs to make.
  • Water contact. A lot of drones will have a sticker that turns pink when or if the drone comes in contact with water. Water damage can occur even if the drone has never been submerged, so be on the lookout for any water contact damages.
  • Maintenance. Your drone needs to be properly maintained, and the owner is fully responsible for these repairs. Maintenance history is very important when purchasing a drone, and it can also help you determine what issues you can expect with your new drone.

You may also want to ask if the person chose to legally fly a drone, i.e. registered the drone with the FAA or property authorities. A person that takes their drone hobby seriously will make sure that they register their drone.

Places that you’ll want to avoid buying a drone from include:

  • Facebook marketplace. Facebook’s Marketplace is a great place to buy used items, but I have found that sellers don’t offer discounts for a lot of items. You need to be very careful when using the marketplace because you never know if the item is new or if it’s stolen. An item in its original packaging may be fine.
  • eBay. I am a big fan of eBay, but I also know that a lot of scams happen on this marketplace. If you’re buying a used drone on the site, I would advise against it. If you simply must use eBay, at least do your due diligence on the seller to ensure that they’re a reputable seller and not a fraud.
  • Craigslist. Another site that is similar to Marketplace and eBay. Unless the item is in a sealed package, you never know what kind of damage it may have endured.

Where to Buy a Drone Without Worry

If you want peace of mind (I know that I do), there are two main places that I recommend buying your drone from:

  1. Official websites. An official website is a great option because you’ll have purchased directly from the manufacturer. This means that you have a point of contact if something goes wrong with the drone in the future. Official websites also offer warranties and potential bonuses or special offers that you may not find on other portals.
  2. Official resellers. An official reseller is someone that has been granted the right to resell new drones from a company. Amazon may be an official reseller, or the company many have the manufacturer be the official seller. In either case, you can trust Amazon.

Amazon is one of the world’s most trusted retail companies because the company is so dominant. Not only does Amazon offer some of the best products in the world, but you can also be sure that you’re getting a great deal on the site.

The company also makes sure that if an item arrives damaged, you’ll be able to return it or request a replacement.

Try telling someone on Craigslist that the item didn’t work from the moment it got home; they will simply not respond, keeping your money in their pocket.

Drones are an expensive hobby, and if you want to enjoy warranties and peace of mind, you’ll buy your drone from the official website or an official reseller. Otherwise, you can never be sure of the drone’s state. The drone may be a bargain, or the drone may be damaged upon arrival.

In either case, you’re going to have a much easier time returning a product or using a warranty when purchasing directly rather than through a person that is selling their drone.
Compare prices, find the best deal and use a legitimate seller to be able to make the most out of your purchase.

January 19, 2019


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