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As someone who runs a major drone survey company in the UK and has experienced flying thousands of hours on many different drones, I’ve learned a lot on what makes a good drone.
If I were to start again as a beginner in 2023, these are the specific drones I would recommend.
I’m excited to share my thoughts on the best beginner drones in the UK for 2023, and why they are a great starting point for those new to the hobby.
If you haven’t much time and are just look for the best drone for beginners in the uk in 2023, this is the one for you.
(If you have more time, keep reading!)
Best Beginner Drone
- No license required in the UK
- Relaxed rules on where you can fly in the UK
- Beginner-friendly, easy-to-operate and learn
- Captures high-quality 4K HDR videos, 12MP photos
- Ultra-lightweight, portable, ideal for travel adventures
The Best Beginner Drone In 2023
Stepping into the world of drones can be overwhelming, but the DJI Mini 3 simplifies that journey, perfectly tailoring to the needs of beginners like you. The DJI Mini 3, weighing under 250 grams, is exempt from many regulations and red tape in the UK, including the need for a drone license or a practical test before flying.
This is the ultimate starter drone and my top recommendation for all aspiring UK drone pilots looking to start on their drone journey in 2023.
Things To Keep In Mind Choosing A Beginner Drone
The UK drone market in 2023 offers a great selection for beginners, including the DJI Mini 3, DJI Mini 3 Pro and DJI Mini 2. These models are popular for their user-friendly controls, advanced features like return home and hover, and affordability, making them great for those starting out in the world of drones.
DJI Mini 3
DJI Mini 3 Pro
DJI Mini 2
4K video, 12MP photos
48MP camera, 4K/60fps
4K video, 12MP photos
When choosing a starter drone there are a few critical things to consider:
- Ease of Use: Choose a drone with user-friendly controls and automatic safety features to simplify your learning process
- Price: Start with an affordable drone to practice flying without worrying about expensive mishaps
- Durability: A durable drone can withstand potential crashes and rough landings as you learn to fly
- Flight Time: Longer flight times provide more practice per charge, enhancing your flying experience
- Weight and Size: Lightweight and compact drones are typically easier to control and often face fewer regulations
- Camera Quality: For aerial photography or videography, a drone with a high-quality 4k camera is essential
- Legal Requirements: In the UK drones weighing less than 250 grams don’t require a license or practical test before flying
I’ve curated a list of what I believe to be the best beginner drones in the UK for 2023.
Why Sub-250g Drones are Perfect for UK Beginners In 2023
As a beginner, a sub-250g drone, such as the DJI Mini 3, offers user-friendly controls and features tailored for easy learning, which are ideal for honing your piloting skills.
Drones under 250g, being exempt from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licence requirements, reduce the initial barriers to entry, allowing you to start flying more quickly and easily.
Their lightweight design ensures portability and reduced noise levels, enabling more flexibility in flight locations and minimizing potential disruptions, thus making these drones a perfect fit for beginners.
- Enables closer flights
- Beginner-oriented controls
- High portability
- Designed with beginners in mind
- No CAA registration required
- Avoids restrictive drone rules
- Reduces noise interference
- Avoids hefty initial starting costs
These carefully selected drones not only meet these critical considerations, but also provide a fantastic starting point for those looking to delve into drone flying or aerial photography.
Best Drones For Beginners In 2023 UK
As a beginner, starting your journey with drones is an exhilarating adventure into technology, photography, and piloting. The feeling of controlling your own drone, capturing stunning aerial footage, and mastering the skies is genuinely un-rivaled. After thorough research here is my favourite drones for starting out in the hobby.
DJI Mini 2: Best Budget Beginner Drone 2023
- Under 250g Weight – Exempt From Drone Licence
- Compact and lightweight
- Shoots 4K video, 12MP photos
- 31-minute flight time
- Affordable price
- Limited camera features
- Lacks obstacle avoidance
- Mediocre wind resistance
The DJI Mini 2 held the position of the gold standard in entry-level drones for many years, revered for its balanced blend of affordability, capability, and compactness. It wasn’t until December 2022 that the DJI Mini 3 emerged, introducing more advanced features and slightly eclipsing the Mini 2. Despite this, the Mini 2 continues to be a worthwhile choice, maintaining its value in the UK market as a fantastic budget friendly beginner drone.
DJI Mini 3 Pro: 2023’s High-End Starter Drone
- Under 250g Weight – Exempt From Drone Licence
- Three-way obstacle avoidance system
- Upgraded 48MP camera, 4K/60fps
- Supports vertical video shooting
- Higher price point
I wholeheartedly endorse the DJI Mini 3 Pro as 2023’s premium beginner drone. It excels with a high-resolution camera, upgraded transmission system, and a vital three-way obstacle avoidance system. While it’s pricier than the Mini 3, the enhanced features significantly outweigh the cost difference. If you’re a beginner seeking a feature-rich, high-end drone, the Mini 3 Pro is your top pick.
DJI Air 2S: Top-Rated Beginner’s Drone Camera
- Captures 5.4K/30fps and 4K/60fps video
- Four-way obstacle detection for safe flight
- Automated HDR shots simplify photography
- Requires A2 CofC license for legal UK flights
- Weight (595g) exceeds some regulatory limits
- Lower flight time (31 minutes) than competitors
The DJI Air 2S stands as a top choice for photography enthusiasts due to its 20MP resolution, enabling striking aerial imagery. It also excels in safety with four-way obstacle avoidance, making flights more secure. However, due to its weight (595g), flying this drone in the UK legally requires you to complete an A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC) drone license course, which comes with an additional cost. For those dedicated to drone photography and ready for this investment, the Air 2S offers an unmatched blend of picture quality and safety.
DJI FPV: Drone To Avoid As Beginner
- Immersive FPV flying experience.
- Impressive top speed (87 mph).
- 4K/60fps video recording capability.
- High frame rate (120 fps) at 1080p.
- Steep learning curve for beginners.
- High cost compared to beginner drones.
- Limited obstacle avoidance features.
- Short battery life (20 minutes).
In my opinion, as a beginner, the DJI FPV drone can be daunting due to its high-speed capabilities and first-person view (FPV) flying, which requires a steep learning curve. Its cost is also a deterrent, as investing in an expensive drone while still prone to crashes can be financially unwise. Moreover, it lacks some beginner-friendly features such as comprehensive obstacle avoidance, potentially leading to accidents. Simpler, more affordable drones like the DJI Avata offer a more forgiving introduction to drone piloting, making them better suited for beginners.
Best Beginner Drones UK 2023: A Comprehensive Analysis
DJI MINI 3 Pro
DJI Mini 3
DJI Air 2s
DJI Mini 2
Less than 249 g
Less than 249 g
Less than 249 g
Max Transmission Distance
DJI O3, up to 12 km
up to 10 km
up to 12 km
up to 10 km
True Vertical Shooting
True Vertical Shooting
True Vertical Shooting
DJI Mini 3 – Our Favourite Starter Drone 2023 UK
Many UK-based drone beginners often ask me which drone they should start with.
My consistent answer is always the DJI Mini 3, due to its perfect blend of cost-effectiveness, portability, and sophisticated features.
The DJI Mini 3 is a remarkable camera drone particularly suited for those who love the great outdoors.
Its extraordinarily light and compact design ensures you can easily carry it with you wherever your adventures take you. The Mini 3 comes equipped with a 4K HDR camera, capable of filming videos at a maximum of 30 frames per second, providing highly detailed footage.
It boasts a battery lifespan of around 38 minutes, offering you ample time to seize stunning aerial views.
For those new to the realm of drone piloting and aerial photography, the DJI Mini 3 stands as an excellent choice, offering a diverse set of features that makes it a reliable and versatile pick.
No License Needed: The Perfect Lightweight Starter Drone
The DJI Mini 3, weighing less than 249 grams, allows beginners to enhance their drone flying skills without the necessity of a license, marking it as a superior choice for newcomers.
Plus, the Mini 3 has intelligent features and flight modes that make it simple to use, even if you’re new to flying drones.
Its folding design makes it highly portable, making it a great option for anyone who wants a high-quality drone that’s easy to use and offers stunning image quality.
The DJI Mini 3 is truly the ultimate starter drone into the thrilling world of drone piloting for beginner drone enthusiasts.
- DJI Mini 3 Pro is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around for creators on the move
- No need for UK drone GVC or aCofC drone licence
- DJI Mini 3 Pro offers intelligent features such as QuickShots, Digital Zoom, and Panorama
- It has a 4K/60FPS shooting mode
- Up to 46 minutes of battery life
- The drone is capable of obstacle detection and avoidance, making it safer to fly
- Limited internal storage
- Smart flight modes don’t support vertical video
- Obstacle avoidance is not as good on the back and sides
- Built-in screen remote doesn’t provide access to live maps
Design and Portability
I can say that the DJI Mini 3 is one of the most impressive mini drones I’ve ever used. Its compact size and weight make it incredibly portable and easy to carry with me wherever I go.
I’ve taken the Mini 3 with me on several trips, and it’s never failed to impress me. Its small size means that I can easily fit it into my backpack or even my pocket, making it a great option for capturing footage on the go.
And despite its size, the Mini 3 is incredibly powerful, with advanced stabilisation technology that keeps footage smooth and steady even in windy conditions. Perfect for beginners looking to capture aerial photography without worrying about stability.
In fact, I’ve flown the Mini 3 in some seriously challenging weather conditions. Living in Scotland the wind is never ideal and it’s always performed flawlessly. Its stability and control make it easy to fly, even in gusty winds.
I’ve never had any issues with it drifting or losing control, which is essential when you’re trying to capture high-quality footage.
Overall, if you’re in need of a highly portable and powerful drone that can handle a variety of weather conditions, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is an excellent choice. Its advanced stabilisation technology and overall performance make it a standout option for capturing high-quality footage in a variety of conditions.
The DJI Mini 3’s camera has some cool features that make taking photos and videos fun and easy. The 4K camera lets you capture high-quality videos, while the 12-megapixel sensor helps you take clear and detailed photos. The 3-axis gimbal keeps your shots steady and smooth, even if the drone is moving around a bit.
The DJI Mini 3’s user-friendly QuickShot camera modes perform complex drone manoeuvres automatically, making it easy to capture stunning footage.
Panorama mode helps you capture a wide view, like when you’re taking a photo of a beautiful landscape. HDR photos make your pictures look better by balancing the bright and dark parts of the image. The DJI Mini 3 Pro can also record slow-motion videos, which is great for capturing fast-moving objects or showing off cool tricks.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist looking to start in drone photography, the DJI Mini 3 Pro’s camera is sure to impress. Overall, the DJI Mini 3 Pro’s camera sets it apart from other beginner drones.
The DJI Mini 3 boasts impressive flight performance that suits beginners drone pilots. Its ability to handle windy conditions makes it a reliable option for outdoor adventures, though it’s essential to be cautious and adhere to safety guidelines.
The DJI Mini 3’s flight time is dependent on the battery type used. With the DJI Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Battery, users can enjoy up to 34 minutes of flight time, while the standard battery offers approximately 32 minutes.
For extended flying sessions, the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus provides up to 47 minutes of flight time.
Investing in the DJI Mini 3 Fly More Kit is a wise decision for beginners, as it includes three DJI Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Batteries, significantly extending your total flight duration. These batteries can be fully replenished within three hours using the DJI 30W USB-C Charger, which is sold separately.
Legal Advantages of its 250g Design
The DJI Mini 3 is a superb choice for novices seeking to make the most of UK drone laws thanks to its light build. With a weight under 250g, it falls into the A1 category, providing meaningful advantages over bulkier drones under more stringent rules.
Respecting Flight Restriction Zones
For first-time drone pilots, it’s important to follow flight restriction zones near airports, even with a lightweight drone like the DJI Mini 3, to evade fines and legal implications.
One of the key perks of the DJI Mini 3’s featherweight design is its legal clearance to fly over people, provided it doesn’t rise above 400ft from the ground.
This leniency offers newcomers the freedom to fly the drone in populated zones without breaching regulations, making it ideal for taking dynamic overhead shots in cityscapes.
In addition, the DJI Mini 3’s light frame exempts it from certain UK regulatory demands such as acquiring an A2 CofC or GVC drone license. This relief serves as an added advantage for beginners eager to get started with drone flying without dealing with complicated licensing procedures.
In a nutshell, the legal perks offered by the DJI Mini 3 make it an attractive option for beginner drone enthusiasts in the UK, offering more flight freedom and less regulatory hassle compared to heftier drones.
Suggested Kits For Beginner Drone Pilots
I always suggest for beginners to invest in a complete drone pilot kit that suits both your requirements and financial plan. We’ve curated three diverse kit variations, each tailored to different budget levels, ensuring that your initial drone flying experience is as enriching as possible.
Our suggested kits not only equip you with the basics for flying the DJI Mini 3 but also incorporate extra features and accessories to further elevate your drone piloting journey.
RC Pro controller
- Built-in 5.5″ 1080p 10-point touchscreen
- Removes need to download phone apps
- Reduced time setting up phone bluetooth connect
DJI Mini 3 Pro + Fly More Kit Combo
- Includes two Intelligent Flight Batteries for extended flight time
- Two-Way Charging Hub for convenient charging of both batteries
- Shoulder Bag provides enough space for one drone and accessories
- Spare Propellers and Screws for easy replacement
- USB Type-C Data Cable for data transfer and charging
DJI Mini 3 Pro + Fly More Combo + NC Controller Bundle
- Everything in Fly More Combo
- New RC Pro Controller
DJI Mini 3
Best Beginner Drone UK 2023
The DJI Mini 3 stands out as the best beginner drone in the UK for 2023, offering an ideal combination of affordability, portability, and advanced features. Its lightweight design, 4K HDR camera, and ease of use make it a top choice for drone enthusiasts, particularly beginners. Additionally, its sub-250g weight offers legal advantages, exempting beginner drone pilots from obtaining a drone license.
DJI Air 2S
- 1-inch camera sensor captures up to 5.4K UHD video.
- Intelligent shooting modes like MasterShots.
- Fast and agile flight performance.
- Easy to use with a compact design.
- Long battery life.
- Suitable for both hobbyists and zero experience beginners.
DJI Air 2S
I recently had the opportunity to experiment with the DJI Air 2S, and I must express, it’s truly impressive, even for beginners. Its stability, even in windy circumstances, allows even novices to secure astonishing footage that may be challenging with a smaller drone like the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
Its 1-inch CMOS sensor and 2.4μm pixels deliver crisp, detailed visuals in 5.4K/30fps and 4K/60fps video, making every shot stunning. With sophisticated features such as MasterShots and FocusTrack, tracking subjects and crafting professional-level cinematic sequences are simpler than ever, even for new pilots.
The DJI Air 2S is perfect for beginners keen on photography and videography, desiring top-quality in their aerial imagery. With its 31-minute flight time, robust features, and superior camera capabilities, the Air 2S is a comprehensive solution for capturing awe-inspiring visuals from the sky.
Whether you’re a beginner looking to boost your skills or a hobbyist eager to capture beautiful shots, the Air 2S is definitely worth a look.
However, it’s essential to know that the DJI Air 2S weighs 595g, which means UK beginner drone pilots need to get an A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC) to fly this drone legally. The A2 CofC certification makes sure that pilots have the right knowledge and skills to operate the drone safely and responsibly.
While this might seem like an extra step for some, the fantastic performance and features of the DJI Air 2S make it well worth the effort to get the certification and experience everything the drone has to offer.
- Drone has a high-quality camera that can capture lots of details.
- It can record videos in very high resolution.
- There’s a feature that helps you take great pictures with just one tap.
- It has good wireless connectivity and can fly well even in windy conditions.
- You can fly it for up to 31 minutes on a single charge.
- This drone is heavier than some other ones you might find.
- It can only save videos in a certain format. Media type is limited to MP4/MOV
- It might cost more than some other drones that are available.
- Needs a A2 CofC drone licence in the UK
DJI Mini 2
Still Worth It In 2023
- Lightweight and compact design for easy transport.
- 2.7K camera captures high-quality aerial footage.
- 31-minute flight time for extended flights.
- No UK drone licence required
- Beginner-friendly features for easy operation.
DJI Mini 2 – Budget Beginner Drone In 2023
The DJI Mini 2 continues to be a remarkable beginner-friendly drone in 2023, offering users a lightweight, compact option that’s ideal for capturing breathtaking overhead shots. Equipped with a 2.7K camera, 31-minute flight duration, and a 10km video transmission range, it’s a suitable option for beginners venturing into drone piloting.
Its foldable structure and user-friendly design make it a favoured option for spontaneous adventures.
Although the DJI Mini 2 remains a viable option in 2023, if your budget permits, the DJI Mini 3 provides more sophisticated features and enhanced camera capabilities, tailored for beginners.
The choice ultimately hinges on your personal preferences and needs. Regardless of the selection, both drones are highly beginner friendly and will deliver extraordinary aerial footage, ensuring you immortalize your most cherished moments from an extraordinary viewpoint.
Its foldable design and ease of use make it a popular choice for on-the-go adventures.
- Easy to use for beginners
- Foldable design makes it highly portable
- Reliable video transmission up to 10km away
- Extended battery life of up to 31 minutes
- Stable flight in winds up to 38kph (level 5)
- Lacks advanced features found in DJI Mini 3
- Lower camera resolution compared to newer models
- Only underside obstacle detection system
- Upgrades may become limited as newer models emerge
Why Are All The Starter Level Drones DJI?
DJI is a leading manufacturer of drones, known for its consistent quality, advanced technology, and excellent user-friendly features. These characteristics make DJI drones an ideal choice for beginners. Some of the beginner-friendly DJI drones include the DJI Mini 2 and the DJI Mavic Air 2, among others.
They provide a balanced combination of control, stability, and features that beginners can grow into as they become more experienced, such as obstacle avoidance and high-quality camera capabilities.
DJI drones also come with comprehensive support in the form of DJI Care Refresh. This is a service plan offered by DJI that provides accidental damage coverage.
For beginners, this can be particularly valuable as they learn to navigate and operate their drones, a process that can occasionally lead to mishaps or accidents.
DJI Care Refresh covers a wide range of accidental damage, including water damage, collisions, and drop damage, providing two replacement units for a small additional charge in one year.
This gives beginners the peace of mind to practice and enhance their flying skills without the constant worry of damaging their new drone.
Additionally, DJI Care Refresh also offers the “Flyaway Coverage” in the UK.
This means that if your drone flies away and can’t be recovered, DJI will replace it for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
In essence, investing in DJI drones as a beginner allows you to not only get a high-quality, user-friendly product but also ensures that you are covered in the event of accidental damage, which is quite common when you’re still learning the ropes.
Registering Your UK Drone For Beginners 2023
If you’re considering entering the world of drone flying in the UK, there are some crucial steps you’ll need to follow to fly your new drone legally and safely.
Understanding UK Drone Laws
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the UK drone laws. These laws stipulate, for instance, that you must always keep your drone in sight, not exceed an altitude of 120 meters (400 feet), and steer clear of airports and restricted airspace. This is to ensure public safety and to avoid disturbances in critical areas.
Registering your drone in the UK is a straightforward process that requires you to obtain two IDs:
- A Flyer ID
- A Operator ID
The Flyer ID is obtained by passing a theory test, while the Operator ID is obtained by registering as a drone operator. As of April 3, 2023, the annual fee for drone registration has increased from £10 to £10.33.
To register your new beginner drone, follow these steps:
- Visit the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) drone registration website
- If you are the person who will fly the drone, take the theory test to obtain your Flyer ID
- If you are responsible for a drone or model aircraft, register for an Operator ID
- Pay the annual registration fee of £10.33
Please note that you must be at least 18 years old to obtain an Operator ID and at least 13 years old to obtain a Flyer ID by yourself. If you are under 13, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the registration process.
2023’s UK Beginner Drone Guide FAQ
In conclusion, if you’re a beginner looking to venture into the world of drones in the UK in 2023, there are several excellent options available.
The DJI Mini 3 stands out as a top recommendation, as it is lightweight, easy to operate, and exempt from many regulations and licensing requirements. It provides a perfect starting point for those new to the hobby, offering safety features, high-quality video and photo capabilities, and a user-friendly experience.
Additionally, it’s crucial to consider factors such as ease of use, price, durability, flight time, weight and size, camera quality, and legal requirements when choosing a beginner drone. By carefully considering these aspects, you can find the best drone that suits your needs and helps you embark on an exhilarating journey into the world of drone flying. So, get ready to explore the skies, capture stunning footage, and master the art of piloting with the perfect beginner drone for you!