When it comes to electronics and gadgets that have taken over the market it’s hard to beat the popularity of drones. All you have to do is take a look at the predictions from the Consumer Technology Association who expected a nearly 40% increase in the number purchased in 2017 over 2016 in the United States. And if the numbers show us anything, it’s the fact that drones are only continuing to grow in popularity as they become more user-friendly, compact, and affordable.

If you’ve been toying with the idea about purchasing a drone but you don’t know where to begin, consider yourself in good company. There are plenty of consumers just like you who are first-time drone purchasers that are looking for all the information they can get. This will help to ensure you make an informed purchased.

This guide is meant to act as your buying guide and provide you with knowledge about drones in general. You can use these tips as you shop around and get to know the products better.

What Are Drones?

If you’re new to the whole drone craze, then it’s always a good idea to start at the beginning with defining what drones are. These are unmanned aircraft systems that can range from a small little device to a large highly sophisticated one used for commercial purposes.

You’ll find they start well below $100 for the tiny models and will go into the tens of thousands of dollars, possibly more, for the sophisticated commercial-use models. What this means is that you’ve got a pretty big area to explore in just about every price point. It’s also for this reason they are no longer just being bought by adults, but as gifts for tweens and teenagers as well.

Because you are essentially flying an aircraft, albeit usually a small one, there are some rules and regulations. As it stands in the U.S. any drone that is more than 250 grams must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. Now chances are extremely high that you won’t be looking at models that are heavier than that, but this is a good threshold to be aware of while browsing.

The drones are controlled by a remote-controller that may be a separate unit or you may be able to download an app on your mobile phone or tablet, which transforms it into a remote control. The idea is that you can fly the drone around so that you can enjoy first-person viewing. You will also be able to snap pictures and even take video depending on the drone. Once your drone is safely back on the ground, you can download the images that you got.

Picking the Right Drone for You

As Best Buy’s drone buying guide discusses, picking the right drone is all about knowing how and where you plan on using it. Another part of the equation is your experience level. If you’re looking to upgrade your current drone, then you’re probably ready to take on something more high-tech. If, on the other hand, you are purchasing your first ever drone, then you will want to look for something a bit more basic and more budget-friendly.

The Main Types of Drones

To keep things easy, drones are divided into a few main categories. These are photography drones, toy drones, and racing drones.

Photography drones are ideal for those with a passion for photography. They tend to be heavy and big so they are also a bit trickier to fly. The key to finding the best photography drone is to look at the video resolution and the megapixels. These will determine how good the results are.

Toy drones tend to be the best option for those looking into a starter-drone and for kids. They tend to be very light-weight, are the cheapest option, and are a bit easier to fly. They don’t usually offer much in terms of features, and they can be hard to control on windy days. As well, the cameras that are found on these models tend to be much lower quality. Still, they can act as a wonderful introduction to drones.

Then there are the racing drones that tend to offer first-person view (FPV) and are meant for forward-flight. They feature durability, agility, and speed, all of which are important if you plan on competing in racing events. Some of these models are so high tech that they feature FPV goggles for the ultimate experience.

How to Store Your Drone

The more expensive your drone is, the more careful you are probably going to want to be with it. That means investing in a high-quality storage case with hard sides so it protects the drone from damage. A padded or foam interior can help to keep the drone secure.

Remember the Rules

One final tip is to familiarize yourself with the rules of flying a drone, and keep in mind that even though they are easy to fly – they are also easy to crash, causing damage to the drone and other property/people.