Buying your first drone is a fairly big decision. Many people think about these devices as toys for kids. For them, it might be the same as a cheap remote-controlled car. This is a big reason why they might think these are a waste of money.
In a lot of cases, they can be right. If you are not using it as you are supposed to, maybe it does not worth buying one.
In this article I would like to gather every information to find out the following:
- Are drones a waste of money?
- Are drones worth owning?
- Buying drones for the experience (does it worth it?)
- Do drones get boring?
- Is waste of money buying drones for earning money?
- Conclusion: Is it a waste of money to buy a drone?
Are drones a waste of money?
Buying a drone that is not in the toy category will cost you at least $300. So, asking yourself if that purchase was a waste of money or not is normal. If you can take advantage of the possibilities offered by drones, like flying them enough times and enjoying their features then it’s not a waste of money.
On the other hand, in a lot of situations, you might think about it if this hobby is suitable for your personality, needs, and even financial situation.
This article was created to analyze every possible situation.
Are drones worth owning?
Owning a drone and being a drone pilot is a fairly new hobby. This industry started to explode after 2010 and the prices were quite high.
Fortunately, these days you have a lot of brands and price ranges to choose from.
But even now, if you are planning to take this hobby seriously you have to invest at least $200 – $300 for reliable and acceptable quality.
Many drone experts say that any drone under $300 – $400 is just a toy. They might be right because an aircraft with fair features likes sensors, reliable software, and a good camera will always cost more.
I think there are two kinds of drone owners who don’t have to think about this question.
Buying drones for the experience (does it worth it?)
My main motivation in buying my first drone is the freedom it can offer. Even the experience you can get by flying a drone is worth its price for a lot of people.
You won’t get that feeling and view with another hobby or watching/making YouTube videos with drones.
Until the moment you try these aircraft you might think they are a waste of money only for playing with them.
For those who are thinking this way, I have the following question:
Is it really a waste of money if it is making you happy and you are enjoying an activity?
It might sound a little bit philosophical, but I think if we put away every other possible reason to buy a drone, even this one is enough.
Of course, I’m not recommending you being an impulsive buyer and purchasing a $500 drone without making sure you will enjoy it.
If you want to buy and fly a drone only for recreational purposes, I think you need to consider:
· Can you afford to buy a drone without feeling the guilt of spending $200 – $800 on it?
Starting a new hobby can mean unforeseen expenses down the road. The purchasing price is not the only thing you will pay for. You will crash them a lot of times. Here you can read about why are drones so hard to fly.
You can break their propellers, camera gimbals, or even bigger parts.
Similar articles: why are drones so expensive?
If you can’t afford paying at least $100 – $200 for taking them to service, I think you might consider this hobby a waste of money.
Sometimes even the best drone pilots are making mistakes, and these can cost them a lot.
Besides these expenses, it’s common that you will need to purchase additional parts for these drones.
· Do you have the time and the possibility to use them quite often?
I think the last thing you might want is to buy a drone and enjoying it only for 1-2 weeks. Impulsive buying is the main reason why a lot of storage places are full of unused stuff.
By watching YouTube videos about amazing drone flights in the sunset or around trees, tourist attractions you can easily get motivated to purchase one for yourself.
But a lot of people are not taking into consideration the amount of free time they need to use these devices.
Of course, in the first weeks, it will be fun to fly them indoors, around your house and your city.
These areas will be enough for your need in the first period, but after that, you will get bored of it.
If you are buying a drone only for recreational purposes only, I think you need to have the time and possibility for traveling.
Discovering new places and sights with your drone will make it worth buying one.
If you are traveling enough (I mean at least 3 – 4 times a year – at least short trips) bringing your drone with you will offer an additional unforgettable experience.
Seeing even the smallest hill or river from above will make it worth buying a drone. These moments are the reasons why your drone is not a waste of money.
You can create and record memories about these moments.
Do drones get boring?
· Can you enjoy a hobby for a long time?
I think this is another big influencing factor when you have to decide about buying a drone is a waste of money or not.
Many people can get bored fairly easily of enjoying hobbies. Flying drones is not for everyone and it can sure be boring if you are not using them in the right way.
It needs a good amount of self-knowledge to realize if you will get bored of drones or not.
But I think drones can easily get boring if you are using them in the same spot. Flying your quadcopter in different places and situations will keep the excitement.
- Use it for night photography (check my article about the possibilities and rules of using your drone at night)
- Try taking riskier maneuvers in smaller places (but with enough precaution: protective frames etc.)
- Share your videos and tips with people on YouTube – check out my article about the rules of using drone videos on YouTube
Taking me as an example:
I bought a DSLR camera back when I was 21 or 22. It was a too fast decision and after like half a year of learning photography, photo editing, and taking pictures of cats, dogs, cars, and people I got bored of it.
Do I think it was a waste of money buying this camera plus lenses for like $800? Well, I still have it stored properly, but I’m taking photos only once a year.
But in general, I think it was a waste of money because I didn’t give enough time to think about this purchase.
Is waste of money buying drones for earning money?
Getting a drone for making money by starting a business or supporting your existing one is a whole another situation.
I think the only thing you need to think about is the possible return on investment. If you are not purchasing a drone only for recreational purposes, thinking about the things I mentioned above is worthless.
Buying a drone for photography or taking videos
Hiring a photographer who has a drone is getting more and more popular. The aerial photographs and even videos can capture an important moment from a new and more interesting angle.
This additional way of making these memories saved for the future is making it possible to use these quadcopters to earn money.
But does it worth buying a drone only for this? Or it would be a waste of money?
I have 3 active photographer friends and only one of them is owning a drone.
To understand why not all of them are planning to acquire one we have to check to following facts:
- You need an expensive drone
If you want to build a business around drone photography or recording videos you need to invest a lot of money. The people who are hiring someone for a serious event will have fairly high expectations. No one wants to pay hundreds of dollars for photos or videos with weak quality.
The clients want sharp images with good colors from a good angle. The same is true for videos takes by drones.
Unfortunately, quadcopters with a price below $300 – $400 won’t satisfy the needs of the majority of possible clients.
- Learning to fly drones is not enough
You can learn how to fly a drone in a fairly short time. I think after some days of experience you can fly the majority of good drones on an acceptable level.
But taking photos and videos with them requires a completely different skill set. Knowing how to take photos with a DSLR camera is different.
You need to learn how to position and move your device to take perfect shots.
- Finding clients is not easy
I’m going to be honest with you. I never tried drone photography as a business. But I’m 100% sure that finding clients for this is way harder than for a simple photography session.
Not everyone is feeling the need to pay an additional fee for an aerial video.
Another negative point is that you can’t practice both at the same time. If you are invited to an event, you either take the spot for photography or a drone pilot.
I don’t have too much knowledge about this part of the business, so at this point, I will stop giving advice about drones as business opportunities.
Conclusion: Is it a waste of money to buy a drone?
Here I would like to summarize the situations when buying a drone is not a waste of money.
It is not a waste of money if:
- You will fly and enjoy it more than once a year
- Taking care of it is not a burden for you
- You can easily afford the purchase price + additional repairing fees
- Getting bored of it too fast is not a possibility
- You can earn money with it