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What’s the Best Drone on The Market?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked directly or in the comments on my blog is which drone is the best to buy? This is a question that potentially has many answers and it really comes down to what you intent to use the drone for. It is also a question likely to solicit the wrong answer on forums, social media and the like, as people will often recommend the drone that they use and are familiar with.

Of course, what they’re familiar with isn’t necessarily the best drone on the market. In fact, all you typically garner by asking what the best drone on the market is the same answer as if you had asked what drone do you use?

We can do one better than that though, and in this article, I will help you find the best drone for your circumstances by giving you a thorough overview of everything you should look for. By the end, you will be able to source the best drone on the market for you and buy with confidence!

Primary Checks Before Deciding if A Drone is the Right Purchase for Your Precision Farm.

There are three key areas you need to be aware of before committing to buying a drone for your precision farming enterprise. These are:

What Will You Use the Drone For?

On a basic level, you may wish to survey your land or track livestock. Before deciding that a drone purchase is best for your farm, consider the other tech available and try and work out which is most viable. If a drone is the best tech solution for your farm, then find out about the support and apps available for your farming.

You will find that some aspects of agriculture have some innovative and useful free apps to install on your drone hardware. You may also find that the apps you want to install are costly and this might make another bit of tech more suited to the role.

Can You Legally Fly A Drone?

Sounds silly right? Well the internet forums are littered with bemused farmers who have bought drones, flown them and then been prohibited from flying them again. These farmers may as well have just flushed thousands of dollars down the pan.

First, check with the aviation authority that governs airspace in your area and see if you’re in a zone that permits the flying of drones.

Second, and just as important as the first step, find out any other local authority rules and regulations regarding drone usage. While an aviation authority might be primarily concerned with safety, there could well be other authorities that prohibit drone use for other reasons in your local area.

Can You Afford the Drone?

This ties into the first point a little, in that most drone tech used for farming is undertaken by third party apps that are either pre-loaded onto the drone or loaded afterwards. These apps might cost as much as the drone itself and some even have ongoing monthly subscription costs.

Calculate what apps you will need and the cost of the drone itself and consider if it is an expense you can readily afford. Try and factor in a return on investment, making sure the drone isn’t an impulse buy and will actually pay for itself as time goes by.

Once you have considered and researched all the above and satisfied yourself that a drone purchase is the correct one for your farming business you can move to the next step.

Step Two: Narrowing Down Your Drone Selection

Now we are going to whittle down your selection so you can focus on a specific set of drones.

Here are the four main things to consider before getting into an extreme level of detail in step three.

Portability vs Visibility

This is a tricky one as portability (being able to move your drone around easily) is important to many farming businesses. It does however need to be offset against visibility as most aviation authorities will only permit you fly a drone within your range of vision (although autonomous drones have different regulations).

You will have to weigh up the size and weight of the drone and how easy it is to transport to a location on your farm where it is needed against being able to see it in flight, especially if you’re using the drone to survey large areas of land.

Take time to consider the practicality of transporting the drone around as well as the need to be seen whilst in flight.

Camera Quality

Some farmers don’t bother at all with camera quality, instead relying on the sensor maps and data that is beamed back to them on the ground. For these precision farmers, camera quality is all but redundant.

But; many precision agriculturalists will benefit from having a clear visual overview of their farm and that means they will need to have a drone that is equipped with good quality cameras.


Whenever you’re making a business purchase you should factor in the price of the tech you’re buying. Remember that cheap is most likely not better when it comes to drone tech unless you are looking for the drone to carry out a very simple function. Before looking at drones, work out a budget and stick to it. This will ensure your purchase is affordable. Then carefully look through the drones and look at the features and functions of each drone alongside their specifications. You will find that there might be cheaper drones with more advanced tech available by simply shopping around a bit more.

Weather Resistance (Specifically Wind)

The final part of step two is looking at how robust drones are when flying in the wind. When using drones for precision agriculture purposes there will often be times where you have a scheduled drone flight that needs to take place in order to get accurate results. This means there will be times when you’re sending your drone up in adverse weather conditions.

Consider your location when deciding how much of an emphasis you need to place on weather resistance. Are you in a valley and sheltered from the elements a bit better? Are you close to the coast and subjected to coastal winds and rainfall? Once you have thought about the kind of weather that is typical to your farm you will have a better understanding of how durable you need your drone to be.

Features and Functions – Choosing Your Drone

After completing step two you should have a very good idea of your target range for the drone you are going to buy. You will know the budget you have for purchasing the drone alongside how big the drone should be and how robust and powerful it is. You will also have in mind the kind of camera equipment you will need for undertaking precision agriculture tasks.

In a market with thousands of drones this should have whittled your selection down to no more than fifty. With your selected range now in sight here are the finer details to consider to ultimately select the drone that you will use on your precision farm.

Camera Quality

Yep, this was mentioned in step two but now we get a bit more serious with what you need to look out for. Many drones have decent cameras that are fit for purpose when it comes to precision agriculture.

High spec cameras on drones require a level of expertise to take aerial shots well so don’t hastily rush to buy the best camera drone. Also, many larger and more expensive drones have the same cameras equipped as their smaller and cheaper counterparts. For most farmers needing photo tech a middle of the range camera will suffice. If you have the expertise and knowledge to utilise a higher spec camera then by all means purchase one. Don’t expect the camera to do the work for you though and if you don’t have the know-how, stick to an average (cheaper) camera component.

Additional Camera/Sensor Functionality

This is a really big factor to consider when choosing your drone for precision farming. Being able to customise, add sensors, apps and cameras is crucial if your want your investment to have scalability. In other words, being able to add stuff on when you can afford to buy more stuff.

Precision farming already uses plenty of sensor tech and camera tech with a multitude of functions. It also is growing day by day with new functionality being developed for drones all the time.

Being able to bolt on sensors or additional cameras will mean that you have limited the likelihood of your drone becoming obsolete or needing to purchase another drone in the future.

If you’re looking to use your drone for mapping (very common in precision agriculture) then the ability to add sensors is a must.

Can the Drone Carry Additional Weight/Payloads?

Precision farming using drones sometimes allows or requires the use of dropping aerial payloads like fertiliser or spray. If your drone can carry addition weight it could be a very handy feature indeed.

Spraying from above gives more coverage and using a drone can provide a precise blanket spray. Check to see what kind of weight your drone can carry as well as how that weight is attached to the drone. Some drones don’t carry weight correctly to be used as spray drones. A drone used for spraying should always be able to carry the bulk of the weight underneath it as it flies.

You will need to have additional approval to use your drone in this way as most aviation authorities require you to have special licenses or local permissions.

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