Best beginner drones 2024: Get started with some of the best options available

If you've been inspired by the stunning aerial photos and videos online, getting started with one of the best beginner drones is a great way to get in on the action. While drones might seem a little complicated at first glance, modern beginner models are actually very easy to fly.

Different beginner drones offer varying levels of quality and features, with some even rivaling the very best drones on the market. The good news is that there's a beginner drone to suit every preference — whether you want the best lightweight model or a more budget-friendly option to hone your flying skills before upgrading, there's something out there for everyone in the beginner category.

If you’d like to try this approach to drones yourself, be sure to take a look at our guide which discusses whether you should buy a cheap drone to hone your flying skills. We also highlight one of the most cost-effective options for this in this guide, so look out for the Potensic A20. This is an extremely basic indoor model with no camera, but there are plenty of more powerful outdoor drones that we recommend in this guide.

There are also many other options available, and if you’d like to enter the exciting world of FPV drones where immersive flight and equally exhilarating video capture are possible, check out our best FPV drones guide where some of the best ready-to-fly FPV kits are outlined. And if capturing the best quality aerial photos and video is more your thing, one of the best camera drones could be exactly what you’re looking for.

The Quick List

Best beginner drones we recommend in 2024

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Best beginner drone overall

Best overall: One of the best beginner drones available in a tiny package

Specifications

Camera: 1/1.3-inch 12MP sensor
Battery: 2453 mAh Li-ion / up to 38 minutes
Video resolution: 4K, 2.7K, 1080p (FHD)
Frame rates: 4K up to 30 fps / 2.7K at up to 60fps / FHD at up to 60 fps
Foldable design: Yes
Weight: 248g
Dimensions: Folded 148×90×62 mm / Unfolded 251×362×72 mm

Reasons to buy

+
Sub 250 g drone
+
Excellent image quality
+
Less expensive than the Mini 3 Pro

Reasons to avoid

-
No collision avoidance
-
Reduced video functionality
-
No subject tracking 
Buy it if

✅ You're a social media content creator: It has excellent image and video quality, plus it can shoot vertically, which is ideal for social media content.

✅ You don't want to register it: It's in the sub-250g category, so no registration needed!

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a tight budget: While it's certainly very affordable for a drone of its caliber, anyone working with a tight budget might need to consider something slightly cheaper.

The bottom line

🔎 With identical image quality to the Mini 3 Pro, the DJI Mini 3 comes with a more beginner-friendly price at the cost of a handful of missing features. ★★★★

DJI drones are famous for their ease of use and superb image quality. If you want a drone with these advantages without breaking the bank, consider the DJI Mini 3. It's built with beginners in mind, has great durability and comes at a reasonable price. Plus, weighing just 248g and sporting a foldable design, it's super portable and faces fewer flight restrictions than bigger drones.

The Mini 3 uses the same camera as the more advanced Mini 3 Pro, albeit with some reduced functionality. But the key point here is that image quality and the main features the camera has to offer are identical, as we found in our DJI Mini 3 review. The camera offers a 24mm equivalent focal length, a fixed f/1.7 aperture, a 1/1.3-inch 12MP sensor and the ability to rotate the camera 90° to shoot photos and videos in both landscape and portrait orientations.

Photos can be captured in RAW and JPEG formats, while video can be captured at up to 4K at 30fps in the Normal color profile, although not in the flat D-Cinelike profile. There’s no collision avoidance in this model like the Mini 3 Pro, so you have to take care when flying close to obstacles such as trees. But there are Quickshots, which are automated flight patterns that allow you to capture professional-looking videos with just the touch of a button — these are great for inexperienced fliers.

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DJI Mini 3
AttributesNotes
DesignSmall and lightweight folding design.
PerformanceEasy to set up and fly.
FunctionalityUp to 4K 30fps video.

Best premium beginner drone

Best premium beginner drone: Dual cameras provide flexibility alongside excellent overall performance

Specifications

Camera: Dual 48MP 1/1.3-inch sensors / 24mm and 70mm cameras
Battery: 4241 mAh Li-ion / up to 46 minutes
Video resolution: 4K, 1080p (FHD), 2.7K Vertical Shooting, FHD Vertical Shooting
Frame rates: 4K up to 100 fps, 1080p up to 200fps, 2.7K Vertical Shooting up to 60fps, FHD Vertical Shooting up to 60fps
Foldable design: Yes
Weight: 25.4oz / 720g
Dimensions: 8.1x3.9x3.6in / 207x100.5x91.1mm folded / 10.2x12.8x4.2in / 258.8x326x105.8mm unfolded

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent dual cameras
+
Pro-spec features
+
Powerful mid-size model

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than ‘mini’ drones
-
You only require a single wide-angle camera
-
More restricted than sub 250g drones
Buy it if

✅ You need multiple focal lengths: With dual cameras offering 24mm and 70mm equivalent focal lengths, this is a versatile drone for photography and video.

You need more power: Sub-250g drones are great for beginners, but they can’t handle winds as strong as more powerful drones such as this.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need a small and lightweight drone: At 25.4oz / 720g, it's not the lightest option out there.

You'd like the best image quality: Image quality produced by the Air 3 is excellent, but it’s not as good as  Mavic 3 series drones.

The bottom line

🔎 With dual cameras, a mid-size folding design and enough power to handle windier conditions than smaller and lighter mini drones, the DJI Air 3 is an excellent and, indeed, versatile drone for beginners and more experienced drone pilots alike. ★★★★½

DJI’s Air series of drones has undergone huge developments since the original model, which was more akin to the Mini series of DJI drones. The Air 3 evolves further to offer not one but two high-quality cameras that use the same excellent 1/1.3-inch sensor as the Mini 3 and Mini 4 Pro. Each camera has its own sensor and between them offer 24mm and 70mm equivalent focal lengths alongside vertical shooting, 4K slow motion video and 48MP photo capture.

The Air 3 sits within the medium size and weight band with a weight of 25.4oz / 720g and a foldable design that makes it much more compact for transportation and storage. Size and weight will be a negative for some people, but the advantages these bring are more power than smaller drones and a maximum wind resistance of 27mph. Plus, larger batteries provide flight times of around 35 minutes before return to home is automatically initiated when the battery reaches 20%, which we found in our DJI Air 3 review.

You might think all these features are too much for a beginner, but with GPS positioning, collision detection from all sides and advanced return-to-home capability, this drone is incredibly safe and simple to fly. Of course, you still need to be cautious, but it's packed with top-notch safety features. 

On top of that, it captures great photos and videos, tracks subjects well and you won't outgrow it as your skills grow.

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DJI Air 3
AttributesNotes
DesignClassic DJI folding desgin.
PerformanceUp to 46 min flight time.
FunctionalityQuick shots, Hyperlapse, slow motion video, omnidirectional obstacle avoidance sensors.

Best cheap beginner drone

Best cheap option: A simple camera and low cost make this a great budget beginner option.

Specifications

Camera: 12MP Sony CMOS sensor
Battery: 2500mAh Li-ion 2S / up to 31 minutes
Video resolution: 4K, 2.7K, 1080p (FHD)
Frame rates: 4K at 30 fps / 2.7K at 30 fps / FHD at up to 60 fps
Foldable design: Yes
Weight: 8.64 oz / 245 g
Dimensions: Folded 88x143x58 mm / Unfolded 210x152x58 mm

Reasons to buy

+
Great value for money
+
Easy to use sub 250 g drone
+
Good build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic camera control
-
No collision avoidance
-
Sensitive controls
Buy it if

✅ You're on a budget: This is one of the more affordable beginner drones on this list.

You don't want to register it: It's in the sub-250g category, so it doesn't need registering.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want lots of camera controls: The only camera setting you can control is exposure compensation, everything else is automatic, plus it's FPV style.

You want collision avoidance: This drone doesn't have it, so you'll need to be careful when flying.

The bottom line

🔎 The Potensic Atom SE redefines what inexpensive beginner drone models are capable of alongside great build quality, but camera control is limited despite producing reasonably sharp images. ★★★★

The Potensic Atom SE is a neat, sub-250g drone with a folding design and good, strong build quality. We think it's fantastic value for money for those just starting out, and the fact it only weighs 245g means that it can be flown closer to built-up areas and is subject to fewer regulations than larger drones. Measuring only 88 x 143 x 58mm folded up, it's also super-compact to transport anywhere you like.

The controller attaches to your smartphone and is comfortable and straightforward to use. Despite its affordability, you still get some helpful additional features like GPS positioning, Return to Home, and some basic automated flight modes to get you going. During our Potensic Atom SE review, we found the flight controls tended to be a little oversensitive, and this drone doesn't come with any obstacle avoidance technology, so you'll have to be careful when learning how to fly it.

The camera on this drone is quite decent considering its price. It uses a 1/3-inch 12MP Sony CMOS sensor with a wide 118-degree field of view. This setup allows you to capture 4K video at up to 30FPS and still photos in both JPEG and RAW formats. However, for those with more photography experience, the camera's options may feel somewhat limited, since most of the settings are automatic. Despite this, the images generally turn out well, with only slight vignetting in photos and none in videos. Overall, we think most beginners would be happy with the camera's performance on this drone.

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Potensic Atom SE
AttributesNotes
DesignSmall folding design (similar to DJI).
PerformanceImage quality ok but not amazing.
FunctionalityLimited controls and flight patterns.

Best cheap 3-axis gimbal drone