When we think of drones, we think of flying death machines delivering bombs to unsuspecting victims below. Actually, drone technology is moving away from the warzones and is rapidly commercializing. Drones are now popular as fun gadgets to take aerial photographs. Also, companies like Amazon are looking for ways to get drones to make deliveries even. There are consumer versions of drones that anyone with the money can buy. If you want to get your hands on a cool drone, here are several tips:

Buy a Small Drone

The U.S. government, and possibly your local government, may require you to register drones. However, you don’t really need to register small drones with the FAA. So, if you are buying a drone for the first time, go for a tiny one you can hold in your hand. These are also suitable for kids and will save you the trouble of having to apply for a license.

You Don’t Have to Spend a Fortune Buying a Drone

There’s really no need to spend thousands of dollars on a drone. You can actually buy a drone for a few hundred dollars. Smaller drones with limited battery capacity do not cost much. You also don’t need to spend a fortune on a drone that can only stay airborne for less than an hour. Search online and read articles about affordable drone options for fun or for photography.

Buy a Drone with a “Ready to Fly” Tag

Flying a drone is not like driving a remote controlled car. They can be quite difficult to fly for first timers. Your best option is to buy one of the ready-to-fly (RTF) drones. They are good to go as soon as you get one assembled and the battery charged. RTF drones can be like toys that even kids can play with. There are other types of drones, mainly bind-and-fly (BNF) and almost-ready-to-fly (ARF).

BNF models come without a controller so they are not suitable for casual users. ARFs are quadcopters (drones with four propellers) that sometimes come without some components like motors. When you are buying a drone online, always read the product description very carefully to see if you are buying an RTF drone that comes with all the parts.

Photography Drones will Cost More

You can buy a drone for cheap equipped with a camera for still photography and video. However, these drones have low-end cameras with 2MP or less. The cameras also don’t have features that enable top-quality photography. If you want to buy a drone specially made for photography, you will have to pay more, possibly around $500 or more. The higher the quality of the camera, the higher the price tag will be. Don’t try to strap on a camera at home to a drone. It will not be able to carry the weight. Also, drones should be delicately balanced to fly, or the camera may cause it to crash.

You should read professional reviews for drones and get expert recommendations before making a purchase. If you haven’t flown drones before, it can be difficult to distinguish between the good ones and the bad ones. Aim to buy an RTF drone, and be willing to spend more money for a good camera if you want it for aerial photography.