The popularity of drones has soared in recent years, and thousands of people are taking flying as a new hobby.
There are also a growing number of people becoming CAA approved drone pilots ready to join the rapidly expanding new drone industry. Prices have fallen as drones have advanced and become more widely available, but the costs are still out of the reach of many people. Buying second hand drones can be the answer.
You can pick up cheap drones to get a taste of flying for under a hundred pounds, but these have limited use. Battery life is often only a few minutes, and cheap drones struggle to fly outdoors in anything other than a light breeze. If aerial photography appeals to you, drones for under a hundred pounds can’t produce anything other than basic snapshots. Buying second hand drones gives you greater options, and you can pick up aircraft like the DJI Mavic or DJI Phantom Pro at bargain prices if you shop around.
There are some pitfalls to look out for when buying second hand drones, and the following tips will help you to avoid them.
- Check the general condition. It a drone has scratches and damage to the paintwork, it’s an indication it’s seen heavy use. It may also mean it’s been in some collisions and rough landings.
- Check the propellers. Look for small cracks and dents, and make sure the props turn smoothly when you turn them by hand. If they are loose or don’t turn evenly it’s a warning sign.
- Check the battery. Ideally you want to see the battery charge fully when buying second hand drones. Look for physical damage or tarnishing around the contacts where the battery connects to the drone.
- Ask to see the drone fly. This is the ultimate test when buying second hand drones. The motors should run smoothly and rev when the thrust is applied. If a seller resists demonstrating the drone in flight it might be worth looking elsewhere.
- Ask how the drone has been used. If the owner is a CAA approved drone pilot it may have been used on a daily basis commercially. A commercial drone pilot will have maintained and looked after the aircraft, but it could be near the end of its life.
Buying second hand drones can save you hundreds of pounds, but you must check the aircraft and be prepared to walk away if there are signs of damage or heavy use.