2023 Ultimate Guide: How Much Does a Drone Cost?

Find out everything you need to know how much does a drone costs in our 2023 ultimate guide. From beginner to professional best drone, we cover all types.

As drones become increasingly popular, the market for these versatile aerial machines continues to grow. When it comes to selecting the right drone, cost is a significant factor. How much does a drone cost? This can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as drone type, camera qualityflight time, and additional features like obstacle avoidance and the number of motors.

Whether you are a beginner looking for an entry-level camera drone, a drone pilot interested in advanced aerial photography, or a military or commercial user in need of a specialized drone, this guide will help you navigate the drone market. We will explore the various factors that contribute to drone cost, the different types of drones available, and the pros and cons of building your drone vs. buying one.

Key Takeaways

  • Drone cost varies significantly based on several factors, including drone type, camera quality, and flight time.
  • Entry-level drones are a popular choice for beginners and are generally easy to fly and come with basic camera capabilities.
  • Advanced camera drones offer high-end aerial photography and videography capabilities and are usually more expensive.
  • Military drones are specialized machines with advanced technologies and come with a high price tag.
  • Factors like drone insurance, the cost of batteries, and advancements in drone technology can add to the overall cost of owning a drone.

Factors Influencing Drone Cost

The cost of a drone can vary greatly based on several factors, such as the type of droneflight timecamera qualityvideo qualityobstacle avoidance capabilities, drone insurancedrone batteries, and cutting-edge drone technologies. Let’s explore each factor in detail.

Type of Drone

The type of drone you choose plays a significant role in its cost. Camera drones, military drones, agricultural drones, and other specialized drones may have different price ranges based on their specific features and intended use. For instance, a military drone may have advanced capabilities that are not present in commercial drones, making it significantly more expensive.

Flight Time

The longer the flight time of a drone, the more expensive it typically is. Drones with longer flight times have larger battery capacities, which add to the overall cost of the drone.

Camera and Video Quality

The camera and video quality of a drone can also significantly affect its price. Entry-level drones typically come with basic cameras with lower resolutions and limited capabilities. High-end camera drones, on the other hand, offer advanced camera sensors, higher resolutions, and other features that can enhance the quality of aerial footage.

Obstacle Avoidance Capabilities

Drones with obstacle avoidance technology tend to be more expensive than those without. This feature uses sensors to detect obstacles and prevent the drone from colliding with them. While not a requirement, obstacle avoidance is a desirable feature for drones used for aerial photography and videography.

Drone Insurance and Batteries

Drone insurance and the cost of batteries can also impact the overall cost of a drone. Drone insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case of accidents or damages. Additionally, drone batteries need to be replaced periodically, adding to the maintenance cost of a drone.

Cutting-Edge Drone Technologies

High-end drone technologies like advanced camera sensors, 360-degree obstacle avoidance, and high-speed transmission systems can add significantly to the cost of a drone. However, these technologies also promise improved performance, enhanced capabilities, and better aerial footage quality.

When choosing a drone, it’s essential to strike a balance between affordability and features that align with your requirements. Take some time to research the available options to find the drone that best fits your needs.

Entry-Level Drone

Entry-level camera drones are an excellent choice for beginners and hobbyists looking to explore the world of aerial photography and videography. These drones are designed to be easy to fly and come with an entry-level camera that provides basic yet satisfactory results.

One of the leading brands for entry-level camera drones is DJI. The DJI Mavic Mini is an excellent example of an entry-level camera drone that packs tons of features suitable for beginners. The drone is lightweight, making it easy to carry, and has a flight time of up to 30 minutes. It also comes with a 2.7K camera that can capture stunning aerial photos and videos.

If you are looking for a larger entry-level camera drone, the DJI Phantom is an excellent option. The drone has a flight time of up to 28 minutes and is equipped with a high-quality camera that can shoot 4K video and capture 12-megapixel photos.

When choosing an entry-level camera drone, consider factors like flight time, camera quality, obstacle avoidance capabilities, and ease of use. DJI offers a broad range of entry-level camera drones to fit different needs and budgets.

Advanced Camera Drones

If you are a professional photographer or videographer, investing in a high-quality camera drone is crucial for capturing stunning aerial photography and videography. There are various models to choose from, and finding the best fit for your needs requires careful consideration of several factors.

Camera Capabilities and Quality of the Camera

The primary consideration when selecting an advanced camera drone is the quality of the camera and its capabilities. The camera sensor size, resolution, and stabilization technologies affect the image and video quality significantly and can impact the final output. Look for drones that offer advanced camera features such as adjustable aperture, manual controls, and different shutter speeds.

Drone Capabilities and Technology

Drone technology has evolved over the years, providing advanced capabilities like obstacle avoidance, extended flight times, and long-range control that can enhance your aerial photography and videography projects’ output. Taking these capabilities into account when selecting a drone can help you find the best fit for your needs.

Finding the Best Fit for Your Needs

When selecting an advanced camera drone, it’s essential to consider your specific requirements and needs. Some drones are better suited for commercial purposes, while others are better for individual projects. Consider the drone’s size, weight, camera capabilities, and battery life when selecting the best fit for your needs.

ModelCamera CapabilitiesMax Flight TimePrice Range
DJI Mavic 2 Pro20 MP 1-inch sensor, adjustable aperture, 4k video resolution31 minutes$1,449
DJI Inspire 25.2k Apple ProRes, 20 MP 1-inch sensor, Zenmuse X5S camera27 minutes$3,299
Autel Robotics Evo II Pro6k Camera, 20 MP 1-inch sensor, adjustable Aperture40 minutes$1,895

Table: Comparison of advanced camera drones according to their camera capabilities, max flight time, and price range.

Weight the features, capabilities, and price of each drone to find the best fit for your aerial photography and videography needs. With careful consideration, you can select the perfect drone for your projects and take your photography and videography to new heights.

Military Drones

Military drones are an exclusive category of drones immensely vital for surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat operations. They provide advanced technologies and high-performance capabilities that meet the demands of military missions. Military drones are designed for specialized tasks, and due to this, their costs are significantly higher than those of commercial drones.

Military Drone Cost

The cost of military drones mirrors their capabilities and functionalities. Military grade drones are very costly and range from thousands to millions of dollars depending on the equipment, technology, and sophistication of the drone. Although the prices are high, they are justified since military drones perform highly sensitive operations that require sophisticated features and capabilities.

Military Drones Range and Technology

Military drones have advanced technologies that set them apart from commercial drones. They have a wide range of capabilities ranging from high-resolution still and video cameras to infrared sensors and eavesdropping systems. Military drones are designed with remarkable endurance and have the capacity to fly at high altitudes, at very low altitudes in terrain-following modes, and can evade radar. They travel ultra-fast allowing them to carry out missions in remote locations and eliminate high-value targets in real-time.

Professional and Commercial Drones

Professional and commercial drones differ from military drones in design, functionality, and cost. Professional drones are expensive, but their prices are generally lower than those of military drones. They are designed for specialized commercial applications that include aerial photography, surveying, mapping, and inspection. Commercial drones, on the other hand, are the least expensive of the three categories and are ideal for beginners. They are manufactured with basic features and moderate capabilities, and they are greatly beneficial for learning purposes.

Military Drones Table

NameCost RangeRange (Flying Distance)Camera QualityMax SpeedTechnology
DJI Matrice 600$5,500 – $7,7005 km4K – 6K60 mphIntelligent batteries, dual operator mode, and build quality
MQ-9 Reaper$16.9 million(FY2020)1,850 miles1080p300 mph max cruise speedSensor technology, laser targeting, and cooperative air-to-surface targeting
Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack$250,00016.8 miles1080p90 mph max speedLaser rangefinder, surveillance camera

“Military drones are designed to be the ultimate force-multiplier. They have the ability to provide persistency surveillance and a variety of other mission sets that would typically be too dangerous or too difficult for manned aircraft to perform efficiently.”

DIY Build a Drone

For those interested in having full control over their drone’s specifications and functionalities, building a drone may be the best option. This process enables you to customize the drone based on your specific needs and preferences.

Costs and Benefits

However, before embarking on a venture to build a drone, it’s important to consider the costs and benefits. Compared to purchasing a drone from the market, building a drone can potentially save you money. But certain factors can impact the overall cost, such as the type of drone you want to build and the number of motors you need to power your drone. Additional costs like camera and sensor components should also be factored in when budgeting.

Drone Technology

The drone technology landscape is changing rapidly. Companies and researchers are constantly developing new and innovative solutions that can make photography and videography more accessible than ever before. As a DIY drone builder, you have the opportunity to experiment and incorporate the latest drone technology into your design.

Type of Drone

The type of drone you choose to build should align with your interests and intended usage. Racing drones have different requirements than aerial photography drones or agricultural drones. The type of drone you build will depend on what you plan to use it for.

Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Drone

You have complete control over the specifications and functionalities of your drone.Building a drone can be time-consuming and requires technical expertise.
You can create a unique and customized drone tailored to your specific needs and intended usage.The cost of building a drone can be potentially higher than purchasing a drone from the market.
You can experiment with new and innovative drone technology that may not yet be available on the market.Building a drone requires research and knowledge of drone components and technologies.

Building your own drone can be a rewarding and exciting venture for those interested in the world of drone technology. However, it requires careful consideration of costs, benefits, and technical knowledge. Ultimately, the decision to build your own drone should be based on your specific needs and preferences.

Drone Insurance and Additional Costs

While the initial cost of purchasing a drone might seem like the most significant expense, there are other costs you need to consider when budgeting for a drone. One of these costs is drone insurance. Drone insurance is designed to protect your investment in case of loss, damage, or theft of your drone. The cost of drone insurance varies from provider to provider, and it can add to the overall cost of owning a drone.

Another expense to consider is drone batteries. While some drones come with a battery included, others require you to purchase them separately. The cost of drone batteries can vary significantly based on the drone’s model and battery type, so it’s important to research these costs before buying a drone.

Advancements in drone technology have also led to additional costs. New sensors, cameras, and software can improve a drone’s capabilities, but they can also add to the overall cost of owning a drone. It’s essential to weigh the benefits of these advancements against their costs and determine which ones are worth the investment.

Additional Costs to Consider When Buying a Drone

Drone insuranceProtects your investment in case of loss, damage, or theft of your drone
Drone batteriesThe cost of drone batteries can vary significantly based on the drone’s model and battery type. Some drones come with a battery included, while others require you to purchase them separately.
Upgraded sensors and camerasNew sensors and cameras can improve a drone’s capabilities, but they can also add to the overall cost of owning a drone.

By factoring in these additional costs, you can get a better understanding of the true cost of owning a drone. It’s important to budget for these expenses upfront so that you can make an informed purchasing decision and fully enjoy your drone without any surprise costs.

A drone hovering above a stack of money

Selecting the Right Drone for Your Needs

When it comes to selecting the right drone, it’s important to consider a variety of factors to ensure you find the perfect fit for your needs. Here are the key considerations:

Camera DroneIf you require a drone for aerial photography and videography, a camera drone is the way to go. Look for one that offers high-quality camera capabilities and advanced sensor technologies.
Flight TimeThe longer the flight time, the better. Look for drones that offer long flight times to ensure you have enough time to capture the footage you need.
Camera QualityWhen selecting a camera drone, prioritize camera quality. Look for drones that offer high-resolution cameras and the ability to capture video at high frame rates.
Drone FrameThe frame and design of a drone can impact its stability and performance. Look for drones with frames that are sturdy and durable.
Video QualityAside from camera quality, consider the video quality as well. Look for drones that can capture video at high resolutions and have image stabilization features.
Camera SensorThe camera sensor is a crucial component of any camera drone. Look for drones with larger sensor sizes for better image quality, particularly in low-light conditions.
Price RangeSet a budget and look for drones that fall within your price range. Keep in mind that higher-end drones with advanced features will be more expensive.
PropellersThe quality and design of the propellers can impact the performance of the drone. Look for drones with high-quality, well-designed propellers.
Obstacle AvoidanceFor safety purposes, consider drones with obstacle avoidance features. These features can help prevent collisions and protect your investment.
Drone ControllersThe type and quality of drone controller can impact your experience operating the drone. Look for controllers that are easy to use and offer intuitive controls.

By assessing your specific needs and requirements and considering these key factors, you can find the drone that best meets your expectations.

Selecting the Right Drone for Your Needs

Choosing the perfect drone for your purposes requires some attention to detail. Some factors to consider include camera drone cost, flight time, camera quality, video quality, drone framecamera sensor capabilities, and obstacle avoidance features. Additionally, you need to consider the price range, propellers, drone controllers, and any additional features that you may need.

For beginners, an entry-level camera drone may be the way to go, with its easy-to-use controls and entry-level camera. If you are interested in agricultural uses, agricultural drones are a great option, with their advanced sensors and navigation capabilities.

For professionals, high-end camera drones with advanced camera technologies like obstacle avoidance and high-quality sensors are a must for more precise photography and videography. Military drones, with their specialized range and features, can also be a suitable option for professionals.

When selecting a drone, it is also important to consider drone insurance, the cost of drone batteries, and advancements in drone technology. By evaluating your specific needs and comparing different drone models, you can find the drone that offers the best value for your investment.


What factors influence the cost of a drone?

The cost of a drone can vary based on factors such as the type of drone (e.g., camera drone, military drone), flight time, camera quality, obstacle avoidance capabilities, video quality, ease of use, and advanced technologies like high-end camera sensors. Other factors, including drone insurance, the cost of drone batteries, and advancements in drone technology, can also contribute to the overall cost.

What are entry-level camera drones?

Entry-level camera drones are drones designed for beginners and hobbyists. They typically come with an entry-level camera and are easy to fly. Popular options in this category include DJI drones.

What are advanced camera drones?

Advanced camera drones are designed for professionals and enthusiasts interested in high-quality aerial photography and videography. These drones offer advanced camera capabilities and features, allowing for more creative and professional-grade results. There are various models available, each with unique camera capabilities that can be tailored to specific shooting requirements.

How much do military drones cost?

The cost of military drones can vary significantly depending on the range of functionalities and the level of sophistication in their design. Military drones are specialized and equipped with advanced technologies, making them significantly more expensive compared to commercial drones.

Is it possible to build my own drone?

Yes, it is possible to build your own drone. Building your own drone gives you control over the specifications and functionalities of the drone, allowing for customization based on your specific needs and preferences. However, it is important to consider the costs and benefits of building a drone compared to buying one from the drone market, including factors like the type of drone, the number of motors, and additional costs for components such as cameras and sensors.

Are there additional costs associated with owning a drone?

Yes, there can be additional costs associated with owning a drone. These include drone insurance to protect your investment, the cost of drone batteries, and any additional technologies or accessories you may want to add to enhance your drone’s capabilities.

How do I select the right drone for my needs?

Selecting the right drone involves considering factors such as flight time, camera quality, drone frame and design, video quality, camera sensor capabilities, price range, propellers, obstacle avoidance features, and drone controllers. By assessing your specific needs and requirements, you can find the drone that best meets your expectations.

What should I consider when budgeting for a drone?

When budgeting for a drone, consider the cost of the drone itself, additional accessories or technologies you may want to purchase, and any ongoing costs such as drone insurance and batteries. It’s also important to factor in advancements in drone technology and how they may affect your long-term investment.


I'm Martijn, your dedicated drone enthusiast and writer here at Drone Operator. With a passion for all things UAV drone related, I'm committed to providing you with insightful and unbiased content.

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