Drones come in different sizes and varieties. They can be used for different purposes. Some drones are small and are used as toys, others are photography drones that are larger and have various functions, and so on.
So, how much does a drone cost? Well, there is no single answer to this question because there are many factors that affect the price, such as the utility of the drone, its features, and the region where it is sold.
The average price of a drone can range from $50 to $10,000. Beginner toy drones range from $30 to $90, while entry-level camera drones range from $299 to $499. Mid-level consumer drones are expected to range between $600 and $1,000. High-end professional drones are priced at $3,000 and above.
Read on to learn exactly what you can expect in each category and choose the product that fits your needs.
How much are the different categories of drones？
You want to buy a drone. Great! So, what is the purpose of buying a drone for you?
This question is important because it determines the type of drone you choose. There are different kinds of drones on the market designed for specific needs, but a high-priced drone does not necessarily mean high quality at all times.
Some people want a drone that can capture jaw-dropping images outdoors in the sky, so they need a high-quality camera otherwise it's not worth buying. But those who are happy to race their drones indoors can sacrifice some camera image quality for better flexibility.
Below, we have listed several common types of drones, plus their price ranges.
First-time pilots and practice drone：$30-$150
These drones look small and are often referred to as toy drones, and their prices usually range from $30-$150. Designed as simple models for basic flight, toy drones are uncomplicated, and safe, providing entertainment and outdoor fun for people of all ages.
We always recommend inexpensive drones for beginners, no matter your long-term goals. First, the cheap price gives you the freedom to fly without the fear of crashing. Second, these drones are very easy to use, giving new hands a sense of control operation and a general understanding of how drones work.
But toy drones typically have a short battery life, averaging 10 min. Most of them are not equipped with onboard altitude stabilization sensors or GPS positioning, so you must constantly adjust the joystick and be patient enough to keep them in the air. They are usually equipped with very low-resolution onboard cameras, making them almost useless for cinematography.
Some good examples of toy drones to start with include:
- Hubsan H107
- Syma X5c
- Ryze Tello
Intermediate or beginner racing drones: $150-$300
If you already spend some time flying toy drones and are eager to learn more, intermediate drones priced at $150-$300 are ideal. These drones are also great for beginner racers who want to improve their piloting skills, as they have all the features of a professional racing drone, just at a slower speed.
Intermediate drones are more expensive than beginner models but have some enhanced features. They often include GPS sensors that make flying easier. You can expect up to 30 min of flight time. You can also expect higher-resolution cameras and longer control distances.
However, the cameras on drones in this price range are usually not of high quality and you will inevitably face the problem of underground video quality. Moreover, while these drones are easier to fly, you must read the manual carefully before taking off, familiarize yourself with all the controls, and practice at low altitude and low speed before taking to the air.
Examples of good racing drones include:
- Hubsan H502S Desire
- Walkera Rodeo 110
- Hubsan H501S
Entry-level drone for photography: $300-$500
If taking some great-looking pictures and videos with a drone is more exciting to you than the thrill of flight control, this type of drone will suit you just fine. An entry-level camera drone costs $300-$500 that offers an excellent camera experience.
Drones in this category usually have 1080p to 2.7k video resolution, a 12-megapixel sensor, and a 1/2.3-inch fixed lens. Besides the camera capabilities, the real value of these drones is unstable in flight, without a gimbal, it will bring blurring and shaking that affects video quality.
Good examples of drones in this range:
- DJI Mavic Pro
- Potensic Dreamer 4K
- DJI Mavic Mini
Mid-range consumer drones: $500-$2,500
If you're seriously considering shooting drone footage as a career, or if you're willing to spend more money on a hobby, a mid-level or prosumer drone is your best bet. These drones are usually in the $500-$1,000 range that is designed specifically for professional-level photography and filming.
These expensive drones have a 3-axis stabilized camera gimbal and older versions use a 1/2.3-inch camera sensor, but the newest models offer a 48-megapixel 1/2-inch sensor. Beyond the advanced camera, these drones are equipped with an auto-flight feature and obstacle avoidance sensors to improve flight safety. Furthermore, you'll find high-quality computing power and perhaps higher-end software for better image processing.
Some examples are:
- DJI Inspire 2
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- DJI Air 2S
Professional or high-end drones: $3,000 and above
Professional drones have truly revolutionized aerial photography. These drones are now being used more and more by film studios, both for professional-level filming and cinematography. They are quite expensive, ranging from $3000 and up.
These heavy lift drones are usually large enough to carry large cameras used for filming movies and even to hold up all the remote controls. In addition, they all have built-in cameras that offer a variety of innovative views and unique perspectives.
This category has drones like:
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro
- Yuneec Typhoon H Plus
- DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise
Commercial or industrial drones: $10,000 and up
The difference between professional drones and commercial drones is not only in price but also in application. Industrial or commercial drones are built for inspection, mapping, surveillance, search and rescue missions, package delivery, and even passenger flight.
It is common for industrial drones to carry infrared cameras, and they are critical in field inspection and search and rescue operations. In rescue operations, industrial drones can also carry food, water, and medicine. Commercial drones are also widely used in agriculture. They can carry hyperspectral cameras to help farmers monitor soil quality and crop damage and for spraying pesticides.
Great examples of commercial drones:
How much does a camera drone cost?
You can expect to pay $400-$1000 for camera drones that are good enough to take clear photos and smooth videos. These drones with cameras have higher than 720p quality, a good gimbal, and at least 20 minutes of flight time, but don't have the other features of high-end cameras, such as waypoints and ultra-lapse time.
How much is a toy drone?
Toy drones range in price from $30 to $90, depending on the size of the drone (smaller drones tend to be cheaper than larger ones), features, and brand. If you just want the feeling of flying in the air, the price is well worth it. But remember, toy drones have a short flight time and are not made to last a long time.
How much is a military drone?
Most military drones range from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars, which are incredibly advanced in terms of power and technology.
Compared to commercial drones, military drones have a long endurance, more than 60 minutes. Military drones use sophisticated ground controls that not only provide real-time video streaming, but also the ability to guide ground troops to their targets, and many other special operational functions. Above that, they need the ability to withstand GPS and communications jamming.
How much does a delivery drone cost?
Delivery drones can cost between a few thousand dollars and $60,000, depending on size and cargo capacity, as well as other features. These types of drones can operate autonomously using artificial intelligence technology, avoid collisions with other drones in flight, and also land autonomously.
How much is a mapping drone?
Mid-level drones for simple mapping jobs on small sites cost less than $2,000, while serious mapping equipment will range from $10,000 to $100,000.
In addition to the survey drone, you have to consider the payload and added accessories. Drone surveying with thermal imagers, LiDAR, high-quality cameras, RTK, handheld GPS, and ground control stations are more expensive.
How much does an agricultural drone cost?
As advanced data collection tools go, agricultural drones aren't cheap, ranging from $10,000 to well over $20,000. But for most farmers, these drones are worth every penny, helping farmers reduce the time and costs associated with crop scouting, crop spraying, field mapping, and aerial photography.
How much does a large drone cost?
Large drones can cost anywhere between $48,000 to $80,000, depending on many factors like size, format, the material used, and more. The bigger the drone the more likely it is to have an accident, so it needs better flight control systems and obstacle avoidance technology. In addition, large drones are inherently heavy and require a lot of power to lift, so the batteries alone to run the drones are expensive. Large drones are often used by the military for reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting.
How much is a small mini drone?
A small or mini drone costs $30-$90. They are small enough to fit in your hand, but not to be confused with a toy drone. Although they are small and compact, they still retain the camera quality and functionality associated with larger drones. These drones are the longest associated with military applications, including intelligence gathering and others.
How much does a drone cost by country?
It is well known that the price of the same commodity will vary from country to country, and the same goes for drones because the cost of suppliers, storage, transportation, marketing, promotion, etc. are all different. Here are the prices of drones in some countries that are often asked for:
Drone price range
Beginner toy drones
Entry-level camera drones
Mid-range consumer drones
PKR 6,738 - PKR 1,796,954
PKR 6,738 - PKR 19,537
PKR 19,537 - PKR 561,548
PKR 673,858 - PKR 1,796,954
Ksh 5,000 - Ksh 1,230,000
Ksh 5,000 - Ksh 200,000
Ksh 36,900 - Ksh 61,500
Ksh 61,500 - Ksh 307,500
Ksh 300,000 - Ksh 1,230,000
Rs. 2,000 - Rs. 9,00,000
Rs. 2,000 - Rs. 5,000
Rs. 6,934. Rs. 10,000
Rs. 10,645 - Rs. 30,014
Rs. 49,000 to as high as Rs. 9,00,000
ATS 73 – ATS 31,542
ATS 150 – ATS 440
ATS 440 – ATS 4,107
ATS 4,401 - ATS 7,335
ATS 7,335 – ATS 31,542
NPR 3,560 - NPR 1,080,000
NPR 3,560 - NPR 6,000
NPR 6,000 - NPR 14,000
NPR 14,000 - NPR 27,000
NPR 27,000 - NPR 1,080,000
R81 to R162,361
R811 - R162,361
R4,870 - R8,118
R8,118 - R16,236
R16,236 - 162,361
UGX 120,000 - UGX 79,347,505
UGX 553,587 - UGX 1107174
UGX 1,107,174 - UGX 10,333,628
UGX 11,071,744 - UGX 18,452,908
UGX 18,452,908 - UGX 79,347,505
P800 - P557,125
P8,356 - P16,713
P16,713 - P27856
P59,750 - P183,315
SGD 200 to SGD 13,506
SGD 200-SGD 400
SGD 675-SGD 3,376
SGD 4,052- SGD 10,805
LKR 54,760 - LKR 350,000
LKR 54,760 - LKR 109,521
LKR 109,521 - LKR 182,535
LKR 182,535 - LKR 912,678
ZWD 2,628 - ZWD 175,258
ZWD 2,628 - ZWD 5,257
ZWD 5,257 - ZWD 8,762
ZWD 8,762 - ZWD 43814
N25,000 – N10,000,000
N30,000 - N100,000
N100,000 - N 250,000
N 250,000 - N125,000
The hidden cost of a drone
When buying a drone, depending on what type of drone you want to buy, you need to take into account other additional costs, including insurance fees, registration fees, and license fees.
How much is it to register a drone?
No matter what country you are in, you must register before flying most drones or model aircraft outdoors. The cost of registration varies from country to country. In the United States, you'll have to go to the official FAA website to register. This only costs you $5 for each drone and is valid for three years. After registration, you will be given a number plate that you need to attach to your drone.
How much is a drone license?
Whether you are flying recreationally or commercially, you must get a license to fly a drone. In the United States, if you want to get a Remote Pilot Certification from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), you need to study with a drone pilot ground school and then pass the FAA exam. It will cost $175 to participate in the Part 107 test at an FAA-authorized testing center. Moreover, you should add the learning fees as well If you chose to take a prep course for the test.
How much does drone insurance cost?
There is inevitably a certain level of risk associated with the operation of drones that can cause damage to your property and personnel. Fortunately, a good drone insurance policy is a great way to protect yourself from these contingencies.
Drone insurance can be purchased by the day or by the month. If you buy drone insurance by the day, you can expect to spend about $30-$40 per day. If you buy insurance on a monthly basis, you need to pay $60-$100 for your 30-day policy, and an annual premium of about $500-$750.
The amount of premium depends on a variety of factors, including experience and background, coverage options and limits, and the nature of the business. For example, a novice pilot operating a drone is at greater risk and will have a higher rate than an experienced pilot.
How much does it cost to repair a drone?
Your drone is not invulnerable, it can be hit or damaged by wind, bad conditions, or your own clumsiness. There's no way around that. You can typically expect to pay between $200 and $600 for drone repair work. Exactly how much it will cost depends on the type and brand of your drone, how long the repair work will take, and what parts need to be replaced.
Below is a price list of the parts you may need to replace:
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Is it cheaper to build a drone or buy one?
Whether it's because drones are so expensive or you love building them, you're considering building your own drone. So, which is cheaper, building a drone or buying one? Is building your own drone worth it? These are pretty big questions in the drone community.
Generally speaking, it may be cheaper to build a drone yourself than to buy one. However, it depends a lot on the individual components you want to include in your drone. It also has the potential to end up being more expensive than a branded drone. Building a typical DIY drone costs between $350-$500, but a more advanced drone will cost $1000 to build.
To get a better idea of how much it costs to build a drone, we'll break down the cost of building the elements of your own drone.
A drone frame costs about $20 to $250. The exact price depends on weight, design, and materials. Frames range from three-rotor to eight-rotor configurations. The more propellers there are, the more stable the drone will be and the more load it can carry, and the more expensive it will be accordingly. In terms of material, we recommend choosing carbon fiber, which is lightweight and durable, but more expensive. On the other hand. An aluminum frame can help you save more money, but it is easy to be destroyed.
The price of a drone motor is about $10 to $100. The number of motors depends on the number of propellers in the drone, and you need at least more than 3, as each motor powers the work of each propeller. If it's a quadrotor drone, then you need 4 motors, while a six-axis vehicle needs 6 motors, and so on.
Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC)
Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) for drones cost about $20 to $40 each. Typically, your drone will need the same number of motors for as many ESCs as it has to ensure stability of the drone.
Each propeller can cost anywhere from $2 to $50, depending on the mass and blade diameter. The number of propellers you need to buy depends on the frame you buy. A tri-rotor drone frame requires three propellers, a quad-rotor plane requires, and so forth.
You should also pay attention to the length of each propeller blade. Short propeller blades allow the drone to change speed suddenly, but longer propeller blades are more stable and more energy efficient.
Each propeller blade should be equally long to ensure the stable flight of the drone. Also, you should avoid large and heavy propellers because they will wear out the motor over time.
A flight controller costs about $100 to $250, depending on the features you need and the type of drone you want to build. The most common flight controller is the quadrotor flight controller, which is designed for drones for racing and aerial photography.
If you need more drone features, you can also configure GPS in the flight controller or install a separate compass and gyroscope to track directions.
Transmitter & Receiver
The price of a transmitter and receiver for a drone can range from $50 to $500, depending on the quality and range of the transmitter and receiver. The transmitter and receiver of a drone is an important part of the drone that determines how far the drone can go from the radio and at what altitude it can fly.
If you just like to take pictures and shoot videos, there is no need to buy premium models of transmitters and receivers. But if you want to use a drone to monitor a large area, you need to spend more money on the transmitter and receiver.
A typical battery for a drone costs $2 to $20. The exact price depends on the type of drone you're building. An average drone may have battery life from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, but an advanced, high-performing drone needs a larger capacity battery to do its job.
Is building a drone worth it?
Drone building is worthwhile for some people and not for others. You might consider building a drone when you enjoy the process of building and tinkering with electronics. But if you just want to build a drone to save money, then you are going to be disappointed. As we mentioned earlier, the cost of building a drone is not cheaper than buying a drone. Besides, as a novice, you may damage parts while building a drone, which means you will need to spend extra money on another component.
How to select the right drone for your needs?
If you are considering buying a drone, there are many points to consider including your experience, your basic needs, and the types of drones.
Buy a fairly simple drone
If you are buying a drone for the first time, we recommend that it is a fairly simple one and that it offers the basic features that you can enter this world.
It's normal that when you want to buy a drone, you always think about choosing the most advanced one. But the reality is that if you do not have experience with it, we do not recommend buying the most expensive. Although these drones will fly at great speed and altitude, they may explode because of carelessness or improper handling on your part.
The purpose of the drone
Another important point to consider is what you want to do with the drone: if you have just a recreational mind, a mini drone will be enough to provide you with hours of fun.
However, if what you want is to become a drone pilot, you will have to have more of a budget.
Range and flight time
The factors that really matter before buying a drone are the range and flight time. The most common toy drones we can find in the market today usually have a flight time of about 15 minutes and a range of 100 meters. These drones are only suitable for beginners who are interested in drones. If your aim is to take pictures and shoot videos, you are advised to choose a drone with longest flight time of 25 minutes and a range of 3km. In addition, there are drones that are capable of flying for 6 or 7 hours without stopping and they are used in a variety of different industrial applications.
Many drones are purchased for the purpose of taking aerial photos or videos. In these cases, the quality of the camera is key to the choice.
Cheap drones with built-in cameras offer some basic image quality. You can also choose a drone model with an integrated camera in 4K or the most appropriate resolution, depending on your use. Otherwise, you can even choose a drone to mount your own camera.
Drones have an increasing number of smart features, which will depend on the use you want to give them.
Probably the most interesting of these is automatic altitude control, and there are also features that can automate key maneuvers such as takeoff and landing. The auto-return option is also very useful for tracking drones.
Logically, a drone should offer you a high level of flight safety, so if you are a beginner, look for one that is easy to fly and has good stability.
If you want to carry your drone around, it must be large enough to even have a transport case so you can take it where you want to go.
How far can drones fly?
Toy drones have a range of only 20 to 100 yards, mid-level consumer drones have a range from 400 meters to 3 kilometers, yet high-end consumer drones have a range of about 2.5 to 4.5 miles (4 to 8 kilometers).
Why a drone is so expensive?
Drones are expensive due to the technology, hardware, and software required to operate them safely. The human resources required to develop drones are similar to those of some airlines: electrical and mechanical engineers, fluid dynamics engineers, software developers, industrial designers, manufacturing, and R&D teams, and video and photo specialists are often necessary.
What is the difference between cheap and expensive drones?
Cheaper drones will be harder to control because they lack things like sensors, GPS and hover stability, and obstacle avoidance, which all contribute to a smoother experience. Expensive drones will be made of better quality materials, providing additional durability and resistance to falling, among other things