The Ultimate Drone Holiday Gift Guide 2016

The Ultimate Drone Holiday Gift Buying Guide

Are you last minute gift shopping? You are, aren’t you! (Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.)

Whether you’re shopping for a top of the line drone for somebody who is extremely dedicated to the hobby, a beginner looking for their very first quadcopter, or even a gift for the enthusiast who already has every drone you could possibly think of, I’m here to help.

I’ve picked out a great gift for each type of drone along with what makes that drone so awesome. Let’s get to it!

Best Overall Pick

dji phantom 3 standard edition

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The Best Drone Gifts

ImageModelSkill LevelPrice
CX-10Beginner$
Blade InductrixBeginner$$
Syma X5C-1Beginner$
Eachine E50 Beginner$
Zerotech DobbyBeginner$$$
F2 RCF2 RCBeginner$
JJRC H31Beginner$
DJI Phantom 3 StandardIntermediate$$$
DJI Phantom 4Intermediate$$$$
DJI Phantom 4 ProIntermediate$$$$
DJI Inspire 2DJI Inspire 2 Intermediate$$$$$
XK X251Intermediate$$
Eachine Wizard X220Eachine Wizard X220Expert$$
Air Hogs X-Wing vs. Death StarBeginner$$

The Best Drone Gifts for the Holidays in 2016 Are…

The Cheapest Drone:

Cheerson CX-10

CX-10 Nano drone

CX-10 Nano Drone

The Cheerson CX-10 is not only one of the cheapest drone gifts you can buy but also one of the cheapest drones in general. It’s also one of the smallest.

Despite its tiny size and even tinier price tag, this thing still flies well. This is a nifty little gadget for your geeky friends or beginner quadcopter pilots. A must-have in any quadcopter collection.


The Best Beginner Drones:

Looking for the perfect gift for a beginner, a child, or maybe even yourself? These quadcopters are beginner friendly, and won’t destroy your pockets!

Blade Inductrix

Blade Inductrix

Blade Inductrix

The Blade Inductrix is a more expensive beginner option, but that’s because of all of the extra features and awesomeness it brings to the table!

It has propeller guards that wrap around each of the four propellers, meaning you can crash into walls without breaking any parts. So helpful for beginners.It’s slightly bigger than the CX-10, and often regarded as one of the best micro-sized quadcopters currently on the market.

It’s slightly bigger than the CX-10, and often regarded as one of the best micro-sized quadcopters currently on the market. You can even upgrade its motors if you’re technically savvy!


Syma X5C-1

Syma X5C-1

Syma X5C-1

The previous two quadcopters are small and great for flying indoors, but they lack the power to fly outdoors in the wind. Want something a bit larger and more powerful?

The Syma X5C-1 is exactly that. It is still just as beginner-friendly as the previous two, and a bit lighter on your wallet. It’s great for flying outdoors and even comes with a 2.0 MP camera which adds to the fun!


The Best Selfie Drones:

Eachine E50

The Eachine E50 is one of the newer selfie drones on the market, but that doesn’t make it bad by any means. At about 1/10th the cost of the Zerotech Dobby, it functions very similarly and gets the job done.

The camera quality is not perfect, by any means, but it is perfect for throwing it in your bag, taking some quick selfies and posting them on social media. A selfie lover’s best friend.


Zerotech Dobby

Zerotech Dobby Selfie Drone

Zerotech Dobby Selfie Drone

A much more expensive and previous option than the Eachine E50. Personally, I think it’s quite pricey for what it does. I’d rather have a DJI Phantom 3 standard, which is even cheaper and has a better camera.

With that said, if ultra-portability and ease of use are what you’re looking for, while still containing a high-quality camera, the Zerotech Dobby is definitely one of the best choices out there.


The Best Waterproof Drones:

Looking for a drone that will really makes a splash? These waterproof drones can be completely submerged in water or rain. After draining them out, they can fly again without any damage to the electronics inside. It’s almost as if they never got wet in the first place.

Note: Keep in mind that in this case “waterproof” doesn’t mean that water can’t get inside of these drones. Water can, and will, get inside of the frame, but the electronics are specially treated so it doesn’t affect them.If water touched the circuit board of a regular drone, it would likely fry instantly, but not these.

F2 RC

The F2 RC is the cheaper of the two waterproof drones and is one of the cheapest drones in general. It’s really hard to beat the price, and you get a quadcopter that actually flies pretty well. Plus, it’s waterproof, so you can fly it in the rain no problem!

Its controller resembles that of an Xbox 360 controller – possibly making this a better choice if the recipient in mind is an avid gamer. They’ll probably be used to this style of controller already!


JJRC H31 Waterproof Drone

JJRC H31 Waterproof quadcopter

JJRC H31 Waterproof Drone

Aside from its appearance and overall shape, the JJRC H31 quadcopter itself doesn’t differ much from the F2 RC. The main difference is in the transmitter. The JJRC H31 features a more traditional, boxy, “RC” style transmitter as opposed to the F2 RC’s video game style controller.

Either way, these are both awesome choices for flying in the rain or around a pond. Just be careful not to let them sink too deep, or they’ll still sink!


The Best Camera Drones:

Looking for something capable of a little more than just zooming around your house or local park? If you’re looking for something with a high-quality camera, it’s going to cost you a bit more. Here are my picks for the best camera drones this holiday season. (You must really love the person you buying this gift for… These are getting expensive!)

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

dji phantom 3 standard edition

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

Not only is the DJI Phantom 3 one of the best camera drones on the market, it’s also currently one of the best values in my book. A bit pricier compared to the other models we’ve reviewed earlier so I wouldn’t recommend it to young children or first-time pilots. With that said, it has an amazing camera and most of the features of the high cost, $1,000+_drones we’ll also be discussing.

A great gift for someone who is planning to take this hobby seriously.


DJI Phantom 4

DJI Phantom 4

DJI Phantom 4

A much pricier option compared to the previously mentioned Phantom 3 Standard, this is definitely not light on the pockets.

With that said, it does everything the Phantom 3 standard does, just better. It has a better camera, flies faster, longer flight range and even longer flight time. Overall, the Phantom series are some of the best drones currently on the market, and you really can’t go wrong. As long as you’re willing to shell out the extra, extra, EXTRA large price tag, that is!


The Best Racing Drones:

Have a little speed demon in your family? These entry-level racing drones are a great way for anybody to get their feet wet in the hobby of drone racing. One even has the option to add an FPV camera and goggles and still remains relatively affordable. Let’s take a look!

XK X251 Brushless Quadcopter

XK X251 Whirlwind

XK X251 Whirlwind

The XK X251 is as entry-level as it gets when it comes to racing quadcopters. I wouldn’t recommend it for new pilots, but for those who have a little bit of experience with drones already will likely love the XK X251. It’s around $100 and is one of the fastest cheap racing drones right out of the box. Plus, it already comes pre-built and with everything you need, so you won’t need to order the other pieces you need such as a transmitter and a drone battery separately. (Unlike our next choice.)


Eachine Wizard X220 Complete FPV Setup

If you’re looking for something a little more serious in the world of FPV drone racing, the Eachine Wizard X220 may be for you. A little bit pricier than the XK X251, but that’s because it’s much more of a hobby-grade drone.

You’ll need to purchase some extra gear with this, as this is the only drone we’ve mentioned thus far that doesn’t come with everything you need right out of the box. You’ll need to buy a separate transmitter & receiver combo, FPV goggles , a battery (or multiple) and a battery charger. These parts all work together cohesively so as long as you follow this list precisely, these will be everything you need to get going.


The Best Professional Photography Drones:

These drones are definitely not for the person who just wants some fun flying around the yard, rather the professionals who are willing to spend the $$$ for the highest quality possible. If drones are your livelihood, after all, you’re going to want the best equipment. These are two of the absolute highest-quality camera drones on the market, suitable for professionals or anybody who take the hobby very seriously. (Or anyone who just has a lot of money.) Let’s get to it!

DJI Phantom 4 Professional+ Quadcopter

DJI Phantom 4 Professional+ Quadcopter

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Ahh, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. So marvelous, words aren’t even enough to describe. The Phantom 4 Pro takes the original Phantom 4 and makes it even faster, has a much better camera (20MP) and has a longer flight time. Basically, it’s an expensive but awesome piece of machinery that is easily the most capable on this list…. Only next to the holy grail of drones, which is up next. 🙂


DJI Inspire 2

The DJI Inspire 2. DJI… Inspire…. 2… Just writing out the name surges a wave of sheer awesomeness through my fingertips. This is by far the most expensive drone on our list, but also arguably the “best”. Of course, there are different drones for different purposes. I wouldn’t pick this up if I was simply looking for a racing drone… But for a professional-grade camera drone, it’s truly one of the best on the market. Anyone who you buy a DJI Inspire 2 for will be forever grateful for your extremely generous and one of the most awesome gifts on the face of the planet. I just might be a biased drone nerd… But you get the point.


The Best Star Wars Drone Gift:

Air Hogs X-Wing vs. Death Star

Star Wars Death Star vs. X-Wing

Star Wars Death Star vs. X-Wing

With Star Wars gaining a resurgence thanks to its recent movie, it’s become as much of a hot toy as it was in the 90’s. This time… We have drones!

There are tons of awesome star wars drones on the market, but my personal favorite is the Air Hogs X-Wing vs. Death Star package.

Instead of a typical drone where you just fly around for fun, this one is more like a game where the Death Star and X-Wing battle it out. The Death Star flies autonomously so you don’t need to control it, only the X-Wing, and you’ll have to battle it out with the Death Star and shoot it out of the sky! Pretty awesome and unique, if you ask me.

Note: Just because this is a “toy” doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to fly than any other quadcopter on this list. It will still take time and patience to learn, but makes a fun gift nonetheless.


The Best Action Cameras for Drones:

If you know someone who flies powerful camera drones, or racing drones capable of carrying an action camera, one might make a welcome addition to their setup. Do some snooping beforehand and inquire if they have a GoPro capable drone, as not all drones are powerful enough to lift and fly with one. If it can lift a GoPro, then it can lift just about any other action camera too. Here are a few of my favorite action cameras for drones.

GoPro HERO5 Black

GoPro Hero5 Black

GoPro Hero5 Black

The most popular (and probably the most obvious) action camera is the GoPro. It’s a commonly recommended action camera, and for good reason. It’s truly just about the best action camera out there, period. It’s also the most expensive. So if cost is an issue, take a look at the next two options which are much more affordable. But if you have an endless supply of cash from that money tree that has been growing in your yard, then, by all means, GoPro it up!

Note: GoPros are generally pretty durable and thus have a long shelf life. Try seeing if you can find a refurbished GoPro that’s in good condition for cheap, as a lot of them usually are.


Xiaomi Yi

Xiaomi Yi

Xiaomi Yi

You can think of the Xiaomi Yi as a budget GoPro. It’s about the same size, just lower-quality, and thus a much lower price tag. Still, for the price, it’s pretty amazing quality, and generally the next recommendation for those who want a GoPro, but can’t afford one! (And don’t want to buy a pre-owned device.)

I use it often when testing out new quadcopters especially. I’d much rather smash my Xiaomi YI than a GoPro in the case that anything was to go terribly wrong with my drone in it’s first few test flights.


Runcam HD 2

Runcam

Runcam

An even cheaper and smaller alternative to the previously mentioned Xiaomi Yi is the Runcam HD 2.

Due to it’s small and light frame, it can be carried by a wider range of drones while still offering comparable quality.


Some Gift Ideas for the Hobbyist Who Already Has It All:

Chances are, if you’re looking for a drone gift to buy, you might be looking for a gift for a drone enthusiast who probably already has a ton of drones. What are some other nifty and useful things to get someone who seemingly has every drone imaginable? Try these suggestions.

Fire Retardant LiPo bag

Fireproof LiPo Battery Bag

Fireproof LiPo Battery Bag

Every single drone uses LiPo batteries which have can risk exploding if not stored properly.

This is where a LiPo battery bag comes in. While not as “fun” of a gift as many others on this list, It’s certainly a necessity for any drone pilot.


Batteries

One of the slight downside of most drones these days are their short flight times. Most only fly between 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the battery. Some pilots may opt for longer flight sessions, and that requires more batteries.

This is tricky since you’ll need to find out the exact battery for their quadcopter. You can find this under the specifications of most drone amazon listings, as shown below. Just make sure you get one that is the correct dimensions as well as voltage.

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