With drone technology becoming more accessible every year, manufacturers are releasing more and more cool accessories to enhance and streamline the user experience. In fact, there are so many accessories available that you may feel pressure to buy them all!
The truth is that you probably don’t need every accessory on the market. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to decide which accessories you actually want—and which ones you can skip. We wrote up this guide to the most common drone accessories, from extra batteries and propellers to carrying cases and specialty filters, so you spend your money wisely based on how you actually use your drone.
Here is our guide to six popular drone accessories, starting with the remote control:
The drone’s remote control.
You definitely need a remote control. Otherwise, you can’t fly your drone. But there are a few different types of remote control to choose from.
A remote control with a built-in screen
Some remote controls come with their own integrated screen. The screen shows you a live POV from the drone, along with up-to-the-second data on the drone’s altitude, GPS location, direction of travel, and more, so you can make real-time decisions about how to direct and control the drone.
A remote control with a built-in screen is convenient to use. There’s no need to sync other electronics, such as a smartphone, or run the risk of losing a signal between different devices. You just turn on the device and go. And the screen quality is comparable with what your phone has to offer.
A remote control that uses your phone’s screen.
These remote controls show the exact same live POV and other data, but they use your phone instead of a built-in screen. There’s usually a specialized mount for your phone that makes it very easy to operate.
There are two primary advantages to these remote controls: They’re cheaper, and the battery lasts longer. The remote control doesn’t have to support full graphics while in use, so you can use it for quite a while without needing to stop and recharge. Plus, you can save about $150.
That being said, there are a few drawbacks to this option. When you’re flying, the remote control is using your phone screen, and you can’t access any other apps on your phone. (Technically you can, but that requires closing the remote-control app temporarily, which is very risky.) And running that live video feed can drain the battery on your phone very fast.
One final note on remote controls that use your phone screen during flight: You need to download an app for this. The apps created by the drone companies aren’t always available in the Apple App Store or Google Play, since compliance with privacy regulations is a bit of a moving target. As a result, you may have to settle for a third-party app or download an app directly from the drone manufacturer’s website. Granted, some of these apps, such as Litchi, may offer some cool features that aren’t available from the drone manufacturer. But there’s always risk associated with third-party apps.
Extra drone batteries.
The number of drone batteries you need depends entirely on how often you fly and what you use your drone for. If you only ever use your drone for an hour at a time, perhaps to film a soccer game or take a picture at a family reunion, one battery is probably sufficient. However, if you are an avid traveler who takes drone photos all day, extra batteries will let you capture more images.
It’s worth noting that drone batteries are small and thus pretty easy to travel with. You could easily fit ten of them in a carry-on bag with more than enough room to spare for your other belongings. Of course, they’re not safe for checked baggage, but there’s no limit on how many you can bring in your carry-on.
A multi-battery charging hub.
Some charging hubs can charge up to three drone batteries at once. They’re cool gadgets, but they’re only necessary if you actually need them. If you’re not using multiple batteries per day, you can probably skip this one.
Extra drone propellers.
Drone propellers are small and inexpensive, so it’s not a bad idea to have a backup set in case something happens. But you probably don’t need more than one extra set. Most drones have an anti-obstacle feature, so it’s unlikely that you’ll crash and break your propellers.
That being said, if you do have a history of bad luck and broken propellers, it may be worth investing in a bigger stash of backups. You also might want more than one extra set if you’re planning a long trip and don’t want to run the risk of having to miss a photo op because your only backup pair was damaged.
A carrying case for your drone.
Many drone manufacturers offer bags or carrying cases that are custom designed for each drone and its accessories. These bags are usually made of durable materials and a foam interior to protect delicate accessories, such as propellers and batteries.
Of course, there’s always the option to buy a different carrying case from Amazon, Etsy, or another retailer. But there’s also risk associated with the fact that those cases aren’t designed specifically for your drone, and your drone and accessories may not be as well protected. Some people are happy to accept this risk in order to save money or get a bag in a specific color or design that they like. Others would rather stick with the custom bag.
A neutral density (ND) filter set.
ND filters are a fairly advanced drone accessory. Here’s a great video explaining how they work in detail. In simple terms, using an ND filter when the light is especially bright and strong can result in better photos. They’re inexpensive, and they can improve the quality of your photos if used correctly.
In our opinion, however, ND filters are only worth buying if you really understand when and how to use them. If you’re generally planning to use the automatic exposure settings on your drone’s camera, then an ND filter probably isn’t worth it. It’s also worth noting that you can’t turn ND filters on and off midflight. If you use a filter, you’re committing to using it for the entire flight. Plus, the drone won’t notify you when you do need a filter and which filter to use; it’s up to you to make the judgment call. So, again, if you’re not sure when you should or shouldn’t be using an ND filter, there’s probably no reason to buy an ND filter set.
For the record, that’s okay! An ND filter set is a luxury, not a necessity. You don’t need to be an expert on the technical side of photography to take great pictures with your drone, even in bright light.
Whether you’re a pro photographer who really does need an ND filter set or a travel enthusiast looking to capture special memories, Droneyard has the right accessories for you. We offer accessory bundles in multiple configurations so you can save a few bucks and get the accessories you’ll actually use.