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Tips on choosing the right drone

If you’re considering purchasing a drone, here are some tips on selecting the drone that’s right for you.

Categories - Hobby - Light Commercial - Industrial Grade - Agriculture

  • Hobby - These are designed for the recreational flyer and have very small payload capacity or limited accessories.  Price can range from $20 - $1,000+ 

  • Light Commercial - Are generally constructed of plastic, have a payload capacity of 1kg or less and flight times ranging from 8-20 minutes depending on payload.   Price Range $3,000 - $5,000+.

  • Industrial Grade - Are made of high strength carbon fiber and aircraft grade aluminum, have payload capacities of 3.5kg-20kg and flight times from 30-60 minutes. Price Range: $10,000+. 

  • Agriculture - Are made from plastic or high strength carbon fiber and aircraft grade aluminum. They are available in helicopters, 4, 6, and 8 rotors and typically have 5-20 liter tank capacities.  Flight time is also a key factor in determining the efficiency of the drone sprayer, the longer the flight time means no need to change the battery as frequently. flight times can range from 6-20 minutes with the average flight time for a 10 liter plastic to be about 8-12 minutes depending on the model.  The payload determines the working area of a single flight of the drone sprayer. the larger the payload, the higher the work efficiency and the lower the cost. Price Range: $3,000 - $15,000 depending on payload capacity and mission planning software.

Type - Helicopter - Multi Rotor - Fixed Wing VTOL

  • Helicopters -  Light duty and industrial grade Helicopters are generally constructed of high strength carbon fiber and aircraft grade aluminum. Are available in gas and electric. And, they are much harder to fly than a 4, 6 or 8 prop multi-rotor. Helicopters typically tend to cost 4-5 x more with a similar payload.

  • Multi Rotor -  Multi Rotor's come in a wide variety from 4-24 rotors and are made from plastic or high strength carbon fiber and aircraft grade aluminum. They are much easier to fly than a helicopter or fixed wing and have a great advantage over fixed wing with the ability to stop and hover.

  • Fixed Wing - Fixed Wing drones are designed for maximum flight time. Some require a run way form take off and landing, others are hand launched or catapulted into the air by a device. 

  • VTOL -  Vertical Take Off and Landing Fixed Wing requires very little room for taking off and landing.  They take off like a helicopter or Multi Rotor and then transform into a fixed wing. 

Payload - Payload and payload options are very important in deciding which drone to buy to meet your needs now and in the future.  Payload options can include a wide variety of cameras and sensors as well as package/supply delivery systems, search lights, loud speakers and a host of other accessories including a parachute.  Agriculture payload include sprayers, foggers and granular spreaders as well as cameras and sensors for plant health analysis.  

Flight Time - Flight time is also a very important when it comes to choosing the right drone.  Helicopters and multi rotors will have flight time from 8-60 minutes depending on payload. Drones with high payload capacity and only equipped with small cameras and sensors will provide the maximum flight time. Our industrial grade drones will achieve have flight times 50-55 minutes when only carrying a HD camera.  Fixed wing offer the best flight times of 1-5 hours but are not designed to carry heavy payloads. 

Material Composition - Drones are typically made from plastic, Styrofoam (Fixed Wing only) or high strength carbon fiber and aircraft grade aluminum. Choosing one made from high strength carbon and aircraft grade aluminum costs more, but, you get what you pay for.  

 

Price - This should be the main factor for most customers in choosing a drone. But, don't trust drones that are very cheap. The cheap price means the quality and electronics are discounted. The performance of the drone, quality of the parts, electronics and mission planning software determines the price of the drone.

Service & Support - This is extremely important in choosing the right company. TTA-America offers USA Based Warranty Service and Support around the World in English & Spanish.

 

Caveat Emptor (Buyer Be Ware) - Be sure you are dealing with a reputable company that will stand behind their product.  We have heard horror stories about customers receiving the product damaged and unable to get the company to fix it or provide technical support.  But the worse horror story was the customer who received a box of rice.  Winning a law suit against a company in a foreign company is unlikely. Be sure the company your are buying from has excellent references, service and support.  Shipping products back and forth to China for repair can be very expensive.

Hope these suggestions can help you when choosing a drone to meet your needs.