Flying was a prohibitively expensive experience until very recently. Over time, commercial flights have become more affordable, making it possible for people of all economic backgrounds to get on an airplane. Most recently, flying a plane – be it a small one – is even accessible to almost anyone.

Nowadays, all you need to do to become a pilot is buy a drone and go fly it – even if you can’t actually be inside. In this article, we’ll discuss about the different types of drones available on the Canadian market. If you don’t have the possibility to get your hands on a full-size airplane, these devices will allow you to fulfill your dream of flying.

Key Facts

  • Most people need a camera on their drone, which is why its quality is extremely important. Nowadays, the most advanced models can offer up video image quality up to 4K and very high photo resolution.
  • The autonomy – or flight time – is naturally another key aspect. When we’re talking about drones that are friendly to most budgets, as we will discuss next, this range falls between 5 and 30 minutes.
  • The flying distance goes hand in hand with the autonomy. The most basic models cannot fly more than 50 metres from the control point.

Ranking: The best drones on the Canadian market

We’ve researched and analysed the drone market, and have come up with a selection of the very best models available out there right now. We have tried to include products for all budgets, while taking into account the value for money of each.

No. 1: Holy Stone – HS100 FPV RC Drone

Holy Stone’s HS100 FPV RC Drone provides you the best in GPS-assisted flight, combined with visual and photographic brilliance. Designed with return-home technology that has the drone automatically return to you when running low on batteries, and armed with stunning 1080p camera capabilities, this is a drone made for creating high quality media. When you activate follow-me mode, the drone tracks your movement, keeping you in frame and in focus at all times.

Best of all, this drone is made for people who are looking for great automatic features. Altitude hold makes sure you are flying at a constant height, and one key take off and landing makes the most treacherous parts of flight that much easier. With the HS100 you get 15 minutes of uninterrupted, high quality flight time. A great mid-market drone that does it all.

No. 2: SNAPTAIN – FPV WiFi Drone

SNAPTAIN’s FPV WiFi Drone is a great entry-level user-friendly drone for new pilots of all ages. One-button take off and landing makes the most difficult parts of flying a snap, and voice control gives you a hands-free option for when you need it. The gravity control function links your drone with your phone, allowing you to control your drone with simple phone movements.

SNAPTAIN’s FPV WiFi Drone is made from durable and high quality ABS material to ensure that your product is protected in the event of sudden impact. FPV real time capturing puts you right in the cockpit of the drone, providing you with a unreal flying experience that feels like you are really up there. Put the drone in headless mode when out of sight to ensure that it is capable of flying in whatever direction you are currently located in.

No. 3: DJI – Spark

The Spark is a small, hand-launch drone that has packed all of DJI’s acclaimed features and technologies into a more compact package. It meant for those who need to have their drone with them at all times, and packs up small and light to take on the go. Intelligent flight control features, a mechanical gimble that keeps you level, and high-quality photo imaging – this drone, especially for its size, packs a little in a lot.

Additionally, intelligent flight mode and easy-to-learn and manipulate controls makes taking aerial photos and videos incredibly straightforward. What’s more, with the DJI GO 4 app, you get automatic editing templates and a range of filters to create incredible, one-of-a-kind images and videos anywhere you are. A great drone for those who want to be able to quickly create and share videos to their social media.

No. 4: DROCON – Cyclone X708 Quadcopter

DROCON’s Cyclone X708 Quadcopter is one of the most popular entry-level drones on the market right now. Real-time WiFi capabilities and a 720p camera provide ample opportunities for exploration, photography, and filming for those just getting into the hobby. The twin speed modes let you set your difficulty, and is a great option for first-time pilots who want to be able to start off slow. Headless mode also enables 360 degree flight, so if your drone is out of sight, returning it is no issue.

DROCON has also outfitted the Cyclone X708 with one-key return, so getting your drone back is as easy as the push of a button. Live video in HD makes drone flying up close and personal, putting you right in the pilot’s seat and letting you capture whatever stills and video you wish. The Cyclone’s aerodynamic design is made to facilitate simple landings and effortless flight. A great, reasonably-priced way to get to know the world of drones.

No. 5: Holy Stone – HS170 Mini Quadcopter

Holy Stone makes a range of different drones, and at different price points, and their entry-level HS170 Mini Quadcopter is a fantastic entry-level drone that is easy to take on the go. Six-axis gyroscopic stabilisation allows for effortless flight and control, and the full 3D mode allows you to perform instant flips in any direction. Headless mode and the return key features allow you to call your drone home when its out of sight without having to see what direction it’s facing.

45 to 60 minutes of charging gets you 6-8 minutes of flight time with this drone, which is not a bad ratio for an entry-level product. 30-50 metre control range gives you enough leeway to explore and get a feel for your surroundings, and is generally a good amount for first time drone owners. This is a great drone from a well-respected company to help get you acquainted with flying and drone mechanics.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about drones

Now that you have read through our ranking of some of the best and most popular products on the market, for both amateur and professional drone pilots, you are going to need some additional information to make an even more informed decision. In the following section, we’ll discuss some of the most important questions asked by users, and we’re positive this will come in handy for you.

Drones have become a key tool for landscape photography and video.
(Source: Inga Linder Kopiecka: 76976058/ 123rf.com)

What is a drone exactly?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, are remotely operated, unmanned aircraft. They were originally designed by and for the military industry, but drones have quickly expanded their spectrum of uses. They are now frequently found in the entertainment, photography and video industries.

We’d like to focus on the latter two in our article, but that doesn’t mean drones aren’t used in many other sectors. These include pipeline or livestock surveillance, firefighting or civil security, and many others.

Amelia EarhartAmerican Aviator

“Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”

What maintenance does my drone need?

The most important care for your drone is to be extra careful when you start flying it. The first few times you take it out and start learning how to handle it, we strongly encourage you to do so in an open space, where there is no obstacle into which it could crash or cause damage to material or humans.

Once you’ve got the piloting under control, remember to be particularly careful with the exterior and interior cleanliness. Air pressure is definitely one of the most recommended ways of cleaning your device, especially if you fly over land where it can accumulate a lot of dirt.

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One of the biggest issues we face with drones is that they can often get lost. This is why a very useful function has been designed: the automatic return to the point of control using GPS technology.

What types of drone are available out there?

As was made clear in our ranking section, drones vary quite a bit when it comes to price. The most affordable models are almost exclusively designed for simply recreational use, and are beloved by aviation fans. Even if your drone doesn’t come with a camera, you can outfit whichever one you like, giving you more control over the price.

The drone market also offers higher performance models – even professional ones – that naturally increase the cost. You should find anything you need: from unmanned aircraft created for the surveillance of large natural spaces, to models designed to support audiovisual productions.

Drones have quickly gained a real place in the sector of tech products.
(Source: Golubovy: 61529164/ 123rf.com)

What are drones used for?

A drone is basically a way of flying an aircraft without needing a whole crew. As we briefly discussed earlier in the article, drones have now expanded their range of action beyond their military origins. They are now frequently seen carrying out other civil tasks, such as the surveillance of mountains, traffic or structures.

That being said, the recent boom in drone use from the general public is naturally linked with leisure activities, as well as for photography and video.

Characteristic DJI Spark Hubsan x4 Haoxin F21G DJI Mavic Pro GoPro Karma
Flight time 16 minutes 20 minutes 10 minutes 27 minutes 20 minutes
Size and weight 14.3 x 14.3 x 5.5 cm – 300 g 22 x 22 x 7 cm – 440 g 11.2 x 12.6 x 3 cm – 200 g 36.2 x 29.1 x 21 cm – 743 g 30.3 x 41.1 x 11.7 cm – 1 kg
Camera CMOS sensor with 1080p at 12MP 1080p HD camera 720p HD, optical flow sensor 4H Ultra HD video, 12MP photos
GPS Return-to-Home function GPS with auto-return N/A Return-to-Home and autopilot functions GPS with auto-return

Are drone images of professional quality?

The quality of the images you get with your drone will obviously depend entirely on the capabilities of the built-in camera. 4K or Ultra HD cameras will provide excellent image quality, while models with fewer functions will lead to a poorer quality for your videos and photos.

Conversely, using drones for professional photography and videography has become incredibly popular over the last several years. Many contemporary TV series, movies, and documentaries – including Jurassic World, Free Solo, and True Detective – heavily feature drone photos and videos, as do a number of highly successful photography campaigns. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of these devices:

Advantages
  • Offer new perspectives for photography
  • Perfect complement for audiovisual productions
  • 4K
Disadvantages
  • Not all drones come with high quality cameras

Shopping Criteria

In the following section, we will talk about the most important criteria that you should consider before making your purchase. Please keep in mind that the first thing you should consider is the use you’ll make of your drone: this will determine which characteristics are more important for you. Here are the aspects to take into account:

  • Size and weight
  • Camera
  • Flight duration
  • Flight distance
  • Piloting and GPS

Size and weight

Drone weight and size might be two of the most important factors for you. If you take your drone with you everywhere, a smaller model is likely something you are on the lookout for. With that in mind, always remember that smaller drones with similar functionalities to the larger ones are typically going to cost you more.

If you’ll use your drone for outdoor photography, it is recommended to opt for a model weighing less than 2 kg, but the ideal would be less than 1 kg. The DJI Spark, for instance, weighs only 300 grams.

Remotes come in all shapes and sizes.
(Source: Itle Watthana: 80283431/ 123rf.com)

Camera

All the drones we have analysed for this article feature a built-in camera, like the majority of models on the Canadian market. Their quality generally goes hand in hand with the price of the drone: you can find anything from high quality cameras with 4K video, to simpler ones, with HD image of no more than 2.0 GB. Your choice will naturally be determined by your use.

Flight duration

As we mentioned before, the flight duration will vary from one model to another. The most professional drones can offer a flying time of up to 20 or 30 minutes, some of which also feature the automatic return option. Simpler, more affordable devices won’t offer more than 5 to 6 minutes, with a useful flight time not exceeding more than half of that.

Model Flight time
DJI Spark 16 minutes
Hubsan x4 20 minutes
Haoxin F21G 10 minutes
DJI Mavic Pro 27 minutes
GoPro Karma 20 minutes

Flight distance

In the same vein, the maximum distance between the drone and its control point depends primarily on how much you’re willing to invest in this product. These distances can generally reach up to 500 metres, with more affordable drones offering 50-60 metres of autonomy.

Martin Luther King, Jr.American Human Rights Activist

“We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.”

Piloting and GPS

The way you operate and control your drone is another aspect you can’t overlook. Certain remote controls even include LED screens. You should also think about whether you’ll need a GPS or other such functions. Your GPS, for instance, may include other features such as Return-to-Home (RTH) or the possibility of redoing the initial route without changes.

Summary

Also called unmanned aerial vehicles, drones have very quickly gained a key place in the tech sector. They have had the capacity to evolve out of their original military sphere, reaching civil spaces and the entertainment industry. Aviation lovers, photographers or videographers are all reaping the benefits of these devices.

We’ve done our best to provide you with a broad yet comprehensive overview of what the drone market has to offer, whether you want to use for leisure activities or professional purposes. Remember to evaluate key criteria such as flight time and distance, camera quality or drone size.

If you liked our article, feel free to share it on your social media. Leave us a comment with any suggestion or question in the section below!

(Source of featured image: Goce-Risteski: 27709575/ 123rf.com)

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