Drone technology has advanced alarmingly in the past couple of years. In fact, in 2023, DJI released several drones, two of which are next-generation drones.
That makes us think: is it a good time to invest in drones? Is it worth buying a drone in 2024?
Let’s have a look over everything we need to know why it may or may not be suitable to invest in a drone during this new year, whether we’re talking about a standard GPS or FPV drone.
Investing into a drone: What you need to know
If you’re looking to buy your first drone ever, there are a few things you may need to know. If you already have a drone, these may not be news for you.
So, here’s what we have to share:
Register your drone or yourself as an operator.
Depending on what country you are planning to fly the drone, you may have to register it with the aviation authorities in your country. For instance, in the USA, register with the FAA, in the UK with CAA, or in European countries with specific countries under EASA drone laws.
However, registering a drone may or may not be mandatory. For instance, in most places around the world, drones under 250 grams do not have to be registered.
However, a more critical part would be registering yourself as a drone operator. You will get such an ID or ID number to prove you’re up-to-date and respecting the drone laws.
It’s exactly like getting a driver’s license to drive a car. Only it’s much more manageable.
So, unless you plan to fly only indoors, you have to register yourself as a drone operator and your drone if required by law, all depending on your country or territory’s drone laws.
Have a look into that, and do not assume you don’t need anything; fines are hefty.
Be on top of the drone laws.
Maybe you have heard about Gatwick drone incidents or people getting huge penalties for not respecting drone laws.
I don’t mean to scare you off, but drone laws from a respective country are there for a reason – to keep you and others safe.
It’s essential to have an application from your home country to see where you’re allowed to fly a drone and the restricted areas where you can’t fly.
Be on top of that. Most countries have developed such apps or programs.
As a new drone pilot, this could be confusing at first. But I promise you, it’s as simple as it can get once you get the hang out of it.
Practice in an open field far from people
So if you’re just about to buy your first drone, you need to get skills to learn the mechanics of the drone and how it flies.
The best approach would be to plan your first flights in an open field, hill, or area far away from the general population, houses, and other commercial locations.
This could be beneficial in case something goes wrong with your flight.
Flying an FPV drone as a beginner is highly dangerous. This should be your number one priority if you plan to get into FPV.
Your money matters: Can you justify your purchase?
So, a drone is a costly undertaking. They’re an expensive piece of equipment that goes from a couple of hundred dollars (Euros, Pounds) to thousands, whether you’re thinking standard GPS drones or FPV.
Depending on what your plan is as a new drone pilot, you have to orbit your expenses around this point.
Are you planning to become a commercial drone pilot (to earn with your drone)? Look for a more professional type of drone that can do the job easily.
Do you want to try an immersive experience flying FPV? Watch out for what you buy, as you may catch your ears in buying/building or setting up that will delay your purchase.
What about you simply want to take some family pictures with a drone or to take on a holiday with you?
That means investing in a less-expensive but decent enough drone to use only occasionally and have no issues with transportation, even if we talk about taking it internationally.
Drone maintenance: what you need to know
A drone is not a definitive purchase. Sometimes, you may have to consider investing in accessories, from landing pads to ND filters and even for maintenance.
Drone batteries can fail. Drone propellers can also get damaged in time, especially if landing in the grass, for instance. Or maybe you’re looking for a better or new SD card?
You need to take all of these extra expenses into consideration.
But things do not stop here. Do you plan to get into FPV in 2024?
Consider that crashes will happen often, and you will have to allocate a monthly budget to this hobby, from buying new or changing batteries, propellers, maybe drone frames, ESC, and motors, and the list can go on.
So, to freestyle with an FPV drone comes at a monetary cost; you’ll need to be aware.
Karens. Karens Everywhere
Don’t get discouraged if you’re the next person to be encountered by a “chatty” “Karen” threatening to call the police because her dog got scared 200 meters away by your drone or she doesn’t like you.
Also, expect the police to take an interest in your drone activities. Just out of curiosity or if someone makes a complaint. That’s why it is essential to always follow drone laws and have all the paperwork in order.
Drones in 2023 – What a great year
The year 2023 was majestic, with so many drones being released, especially by DJI.
So, we had one of the best consumer drones, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, one of the cheapest DJI drones, the DJI Mini 2 SE, and also, they had released two of the next-generation drones by DJI, the DJI Air 3 and Mini 4 Pro.
DJI did not release any new FPV drone during this year.
Are all these new drone releases a sign that the drone industry is growing continuously? Of course, it is. And there would come the main question: now, in 2024, is it worth buying a drone?
I would say it is worth getting into this hobby, especially since drone prices decrease while technology advances, and you can benefit now more than ever from all types of drone features and characteristics at lower prices.
Would DJI release any drones in 2024?
There hasn’t been a year since DJI didn’t release any drones, so 2024 will definitely be no exception.
We have no insight into what drones are going to be released, but we do know that it’s more than a year and a half since DJI Avata was released and three years since DJI FPV.
And knowing that those FPV drones were an utter success with their unique features in FPV, there would be a slim chance of getting through this year and seeing no new FPV drone being released.
Maybe we should expect a new DJI Mini 4 as a standard drones, as we already have the 4 Pro, following the pattern from the Mini 3 line.
Or maybe a new Mavic series, starting with the Mavic 4? We did not get any new technologies with the Mavic 3 Pro, especially not long after the DJI Air 3 was released with the new O4 transmission system.
So, I’m personally looking forward to what DJI will have to offer us this year.
But why not look further than DJI? Or maybe looking into FPV drones?
Standard vs FPV drones – what to pick in 2024
This would be a brilliant question.
To keep this short and on the subject, I’m going to ask one question:
Have you flown standard drones before? Do you have any experience?
If you have experience already flying drones, have flown before, and know the basics of it, then by all means, getting into FPV would be the next challenge.
But if you’re looking for your first drone to buy and wonder if it’s worth doing it in 2024, I would recommend you start with standard drones.
Flying FPV is more difficult than flying a standard GPS drone.
With FPV, you will have to spend from a few to a dozen hours in an FPV simulator to learn the skill of flying in acro or manual mode.
Without this, you will not be able to fly the drone. Nobody is, and every FPV drone pilot went through this process.
Moreover, FPV is high maintenance, which we’ll talk about later, and requires you to learn a great deal about radio protocols, VTX, motors, charging Lipo batteries, and even solder if you have to change any parts.
What would you do with a new drone?
Now, there would be the reason in question: why would you want to buy a drone in 2024?
Are you looking to learn to fly one, enjoy the hobby and take some family photos, take it on vacation, or are you looking to make money with it?
This question relates to what type of drone you should aim for.
For instance, a drone good for traveling would be one under 250 grams that benefit from relaxed drone laws around the world; it’s also easier to travel and carry around.
Learning to fly a drone does not require you to spend thousands of dollars or euros on high-end gear unless you have a clear goal in mind.
So, it’s better to justify your purchase with a cheap but reliable drone to start learning. It is decent for traveling and a great approach to learning drone photography and videography.
I would recommend the simple but amazing DJI Mini 2 SE. If you are considering purchasing it, you can check it on Amazon via our affiliate link below.
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But if you’re looking for a more professional level drone (still talking about standard GPS drones now), then you need to know what you want to focus on: image quality, safety, flight time or range, or simply one good for all.
If you are stepping into the workforce with a drone, then consider that in most countries around the world, you will need to have additional documentation, courses, exams taken, and insurance.
For instance, to fly a drone commercially in the United States, you must get Part 107.
So, be ready for additional expenses and time consumption to ensure you meet all the requirements before advertising yourself you’re available for hire with a drone.
And consider a top-notch drone for the type of aerial job you want to do.
The most common approach to using a drone, even commercially – is for photography and filmmaking.
Even if you want to run a YouTube channel, the flying will be classified as a commercial once this is monetized.
You also need to take some photography and filmmaking courses and see what types of jobs are available in the domain.
However, consider that this specific niche has started to become oversaturated. Still, with a good talent and approach, I’m sure you can make it. It just takes time.
Drones can be used more than photography and filmmaking; real estate photography would be another great commercial approach, but some drones can be used for inspection and data collection.
Photogrammetry and land surveying with a drone are in high demand, and they’re not only a great way you can earn a few bucks but also make a full-time career out of them.
Of course, you will have to research your niche if you want to use a drone commercially and learn everything about that.
Grow your YouTube Channel or social media account.
If you run a YouTube channel or you have a fast-growing social media account, the use of a drone has become more popular than ever.
From capturing a few b-rolls for your YouTube videos with the drone to making entire cinematic videos, a drone can be used as such with no restrictions.
Just be aware, as we mentioned before, that once you get monetized or you earn money from your drone footage, you’ll be considered a commercial drone pilot.
So, are you ready to start your long-awaited YouTube channel? Are you fancy traveling from country to country and exploring beautiful places you put on a YouTube video?
Then definitely, buying a drone now in 2024 is a justified expense that can bring you great benefits.
Challenge yourself to learn FPV.
So, again. Do you have some basic experience flying standard drones? Then, getting into FPV would be the best challenge you can have as a drone pilot.
Our entire website is classified around FPV topics, so I’ve also been an FPV drone pilot for quite some time.
Flying an FPV drone with the goggles on your head is an immersive experience that cannot be ever compared to anything. It’s a hobby, and once you get into it, there’s a risk you’ll develop an obsession for it. Believe me, I know.
But taking the first step is the hardest, both in terms of learning and monetary investment.
So, indeed, even as a hobby, getting into FPV in 2024 can be a justifiable expense.
Drawbacks of owning a drone (at any time)
Once you own a drone, you’ll quickly realize that some drawbacks are making you scratch your eyes. As much as I love drones, I have to share a few with you.
A drone can be spotted in the sky from more than half a mile distance, not visually, but because it’s noisy.
The BZZZZ sound you’ll continuously hear when flying a drone can disturb some people and bring unwanted attention to you.
Even flying far from the town area, the humming sound can easily disturb some wildlife, especially if you’re flying it in nature, to capture the best images you can get.
There are methods you can use to reduce the decibels coming out of your drone, but it won’t make any major difference.
So be aware a drone is very noisy, and all the eyes will be on you.
Imagine driving a car for the first time. You think you may know the mechanics of how to accelerate it, brake, change gear, and take corners, even before you step in as a driver for the first time.
The same is with a drone.
And no, I’m not talking here about the very high learning curves behind an FPV drone. I’m talking even about a standard drone.
As simple as it may seem, there’s still a learning curve behind flying a standard drone.
Anyone can grab a drone and fly it. The self-stabilizing and automated systems are a great deal now in 2024. And that’s super great.
But still, you will need to know how to adjust the throttle (height), take corners, pitch forward to specific speeds, and even combine a few movements to capture cinematic videos.
This does require a bit of practice.
So, all things said, the best approach is to take off for the first time (if you are a beginner) in an open field, a place far from the population, to minimize the risk of crashing the drone or doing some real damage.
» Related: 27 FPV Tips to Know Before Flying FPV Drones
Drone laws. Restrictions in place. Political impacts.
With each year passing, drone pilots are getting more drone laws and harsh restrictions in place, and more and more restricted areas appear on the map.
So, drones will be harder to fly in the future due to the political implications of this hobby. And yes, while most of it relates to safety concerns, some other parts are simple non-senses.
Wherever you are now, have a look over your country’s drone laws and restricted places to see how you can make this hobby work.
This is a big shot towards us. Even if we don’t intentionally break the drone laws and other people’s privacy, many people who will approach you do with privacy concerns.
Some of them would be Karens, as we already mentioned earlier.
That’s why, unless necessary, I rarely fly a drone anymore inside a city or town and try to enjoy this hobby, both FPV and non-FPV, afar from others.
It’s simpler to have to deal with nobody than have everyone on your head that you photograph their dog with a drone to put it for sale (yes, that happened to me once).
Price & Maintenance (Especially in FPV)
The price is a downside. You will probably spend a few hundred dollars on your first drone. And afterward, sure thing – you will love it, but you want to buy another one or some accessories.
Or what happens if you crash it by mistake?
You will probably have to repair or buy a new drone. There’s the maintenance we mentioned above.
Propellers are getting used in time, especially if you land in grass. They cost money.
Not to mention, if you went with an FPV drone (custom FPV quad) in 2024, there is so much maintenance behind it you’ll simply have to allocate a monthly allowance for the hobby.
FPV drones often crash when freestyle or racing. Although their carbon fiber frame is very resistant to impacts, sometimes they crack or break. Changing it requires investing.
What would happen if you damaged an FPV motor? Or, in the worst-case scenario, the camera.
Those things could cost you a lot of money (not quite a lot, but it adds up) depending on the type of FPV quad you have or want to buy.
Many times, ESC can burn out for no reason. You’ll have to replace that. And Lipo batteries? They are very delicate and become unusable even on the slightest damage (for safety concerns).
So here’s another $15 for the battery, put $80 for a new ESC if that goes bad, a few dollars for propellers, which you’ll change (in FPV) more often than day becomes night, and so on.
Therefore, consider all the extra expenses before jumping into the hobby with either standard GPS drones or FPVs.
Conclusion: Should you get into the drone hobby in 2024?
Whether we’re talking about flying a drone for the first time (to get into the hobby), hobbyist flying, getting a drone for holidays, or commercial applications, the answer to this is yes. It is definitely worth buying a drone nowadays.
But don’t buy any other drones. It’s best to do the research and, if you can, to go with the latest drone technology.
Buying the “$150 drone” you saw would be a financial mistake as the drone will fall significantly below any kind of expectations.
Decent drones usually cost $320 and up, and DJI makes the best on the market.
If you want to get into FPV, you must acquire the controller, goggles, Lipo charger, batteries, and other accessories as a one-time purchase for most of those. But such drones are not very expensive. Just the one-time expense is.
» Related: DJI Avata vs. DJI FPV (In-Depth Comparison)