So, you’ve finally purchased your first drone, or you’re shopping for one, and you’re wondering which accessories you’ll need. There’s a sea of accessories out there, and you’re not sure which are essential and those that are miscellaneous.
The drone accessories you will need are determined by what you’ll be using the drone for. The most basic includes a backpack, a case, batteries, SD cards, and insurance. As you specialize in a specific activity, you’ll find more accessories related to that activity.
We have compiled some essential accessories, those that we believe you’ll use regularly.
How To Choose Your Accessories?
The drone accessories you choose to depend on your budget and what you’re using the drone for. If you’re purchasing a drone just for fun, a cheaper one with basic features will be enough.
Photography drones require more accessories, including high-quality cameras, gimbals, batteries, and other useful items in a photography session.
If you’d love to start drone racing, there are customizations that you’ll need to make to the drone for you to compete in the major leagues.
If You Are A new drone buyer or user:
Seeing what the drone sees is one of the most important and fun parts of flying a drone. That’s why most experts agree that every drone pilot, whether they’re new or experienced, should have FPV goggles and an on-screen display.
The other essential features they recommended include the propeller guards and extra batteries. Other advanced accessories will depend on the activities the drone user is into and their level of expertise.
What Are The Drone Accessories Every Pilot Should have?
Below are some of the accessories every drone pilot should have.
In situations where you need to travel with your drone, a backpack is necessary. This is where you place the drones and all other accessories.
A bag protects the drone from damage when you drop it. And having spent hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on the drone, you shouldn’t worry about paying more for a high-quality backpack.
The ideal backpack should be spacious enough to carry the drone and other accessories. It’s even better if it is waterproof in case it starts raining. The pack should also be comfortable to carry on your shoulders for a long time.
The Smatree Hard Shell Backpack is a good example. It’s designed for the DJI Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro. Below are some of its key features.
- A large compartment for placing the drone case.
- A backside pocket can carry a 9.7-inch iPad or any other device that you’ll connect to your drone.
- An upper compartment that holds at least four batteries or any other accessories.
- External pockets to store propellers.
You can also select a wide range of other smaller and universal backpacks based on your drone’s size.
Even though backpacks are essential when carrying your drone in public places, you may still need a case to secure the drone and the accessories.
A case is a large box with foam and compartments for the accessories. Each case is designed for a specific drone model so make sure you select the appropriate one.
Pelican drone carry-cases are some of the best since they are of higher quality, and they even allow you to customize them based on the drone size and accessories available, but they are also quite expensive.
Less than $40, you can get a variety of drone cases for DJI drones.
Batteries are essential parts of a drone – they power the cameras, motors, and other drone functionalities. Unfortunately, these batteries will only last less than 30 minutes.
No one wants to wait for at least one hour for the batteries to charge, or just bring their drone to fly for just 20 minutes and go home.
The only solution is to purchase extra batteries for your drones. It’s possible to buy extra Li-Po batteries from the manufacturer or on Amazon.
If getting extra batteries isn’t an option, you can opt for power banks. Some power banks can charge up to 10 batteries before recharging them, allowing you to use your drone for up to a whole day.
When carrying several batteries, make sure you store them appropriately.
Note– Li-Po battery bags are fire-proof and an excellent way to secure the batteries as you travel. Replace damaged batteries and never let the batteries drain completely before replacing them.
High-quality HD and 4K videos will quickly fill your SD cards. And, nothing hurts more than having to delete some videos and photos for you to keep recording. To prevent this, make sure you have 4 to 5 extra SD cards.
They should have a larger capacity, at least 32 GB or 64 GB. 4K videos require Ultra High Speed (UHS-1) SD cards.
These cards are also labeled as “Class 10”. The good news is that SD cards aren’t that expensive. If you managed to purchase a drone, the SD cards’ cost would just be a fraction of that.
PNY and SanDisk are some of the best SD cards in the market, and they are often compatible with other devices.
If you need more storage, you can purchase a hard drive. Besides having larger storage, it’s not easy to lose a hard drive compared to the smaller SD cards.
Propellers are some of the most fragile parts of a drone. During a crash, they’re often the first to break even when other components remain intact. And trust me, you will crush often. Whether it’s an unanticipated gush of wind, connection interruption, hacking, or pilot’s error, drones are prone to crashing.
Besides breaking, propellers are very sharp, and they can easily cause injuries. That’s why it’s crucial to install propeller guards.
Propeller guards are designed to be light, so they won’t alter with the drone’s weight. They also come in different colors allowing you to decorate the drone in the process.
The DJI Mavic Pro propeller guards are a good example. They are light, easy to install and remove, and very sturdy.
Besides propeller guards, you should also consider purchasing propeller straps to secure the drone’s propellers when traveling.
Joysticks are also often overlooked while they can be easily damaged. You can install joystick guards to protect them as well as the screen.
Propeller guards, joystick guards, and propeller straps are always sold as accessory packs. So if you have the chance to purchase a whole pack for your drone, you should go for it.
Some drone crashes may be too fatal to a point where the guards will break, and the propellers end up breaking. In such a case, an extra set of propellers can be really helpful.
There are several cheap third-party propellers you can purchase. However, we recommend you buy the official propellers from the manufacturer.
If you own a DJI Phantom 2 or 3, you can purchase their self-tightening propellers. They are stylish, featuring some gold stripes, and you get two sets in each package.
They’re also powerful and an excellent addition to your accessories.
Drones land too close to the ground due to their small size. As a result, they pick up the dirt, mud, and gravel, damaging the internal parts.
A landing pad is a piece of high-quality fabric that provides a more secure place for landing your drone, and it keeps the drone clean regardless of where you’re flying it from.
Landing pads are also a suitable replacement for items like wood or metal. Wood isn’t flexible, so it would be hard to fit it in your drone backpack. Metal, on the other hand, affects the drone’s GPS calibration.
Luminous drones landing pad is one of the best landing pads for a wide variety of drone sizes. It is 30 inches wide, waterproof, fade-proof, and double-sided. Besides landing pads, you can also consider purchasing landing gears.
These are the accessories you add to your drone to make sure it doesn’t sit too close to the ground. These may include leg extenders or water float landing gear.
This is a must-have accessory for those planning to take high-quality photos and videos. Drones are not always stable. They vibrate a lot, and these vibrations will be transferred to the cameras onboard.
Gimbals help cancel these vibrations and maintain stability when the drone makes turns or changes the altitude.
Gimbals are available for specific drone models, so ensure you confirm the gimbal is compatible with your drone before purchasing.
If you own DJI Phantom 2 drones, this 3-Axis Gimbal is suitable for you. It works with the GoPro HERO3 and four cameras. It even allows you to remotely change the camera’s angle and keep the camera horizontal during vibrations.
After mastering how to fly your drone in the line of sight and using the on-screen mode, it’s time to upgrade to the FPV (First Person View) mode. This mode allows you to view the drone’s feed like you’re sitting in the pilot’s cockpit.
Trust me, it’s every drone pilot’s wish to own one of these. You can choose to view the feed through the goggles or on the screen. Either way, it’s more fun and an experience to look forward to.
Some even have head tracking capabilities where the drone turns as you turn your head. How cool is that?
The EACHINE FPV goggles are some of the best. They come with a 5-inch screen and a built-in battery that lasts up to 2 hours. The 720*576 pixels feed is good enough for this price range.
If you’re looking for a high-end model, you can go for the DJI 1080p Immersive goggles. They are quite expensive, but they have all the bells and whistles of FPV goggles.
These include head tracking, a battery that lasts up to 6 hours, and Intelligent Flight Mode Support.
Drones are sold with a set of cables. These may include charging cables, cables for connecting the drone to the tablet or any other controller, and cables for connecting to the FPV goggles or external hard drives.
These cables aren’t that expensive. So, it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra set of cables just in case the provided set malfunctions.
When a drone crashes, the first step is to locate where it crashed. Even though most drones have inbuilt GPS systems, they rely on the drone’s battery to function.
You can install an extra GPS tracker to help you track the drone. These trackers are mall devices designed to be attached to the drone, and they use their own set of batteries.
Trackimo is one of the most popular GPS trackers. It only weighs 1.4 ounces, and it can be attached through the magnet or using clippers. It has been used to track drones, cars, pets, kids, and even luggage. Its batteries can last between 2 weeks and six months.
This gives you enough time to locate your drone even when it stopped working after crashing. You can even find the drone through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GSM, as long as it’s within a 50 feet radius.
Controllers are another essential accessory. They help control a drone by sending “commands” to a drone through radio signals. Some controllers also have screens that allow you to view in FPV mode.
If your drone’s controller doesn’t have a screen, it should be compatible with your smartphone or tablet. In this case, you’ll also need to use the appropriate holder to hold the device in place as you control the drone.
Most drones come with controllers, so if you select a good drone, then you’ll get a high-quality controller. The only reason you’d need an extra controller is when the one you’re using breaks.
For those with DJI drones, DJI does sell a separate Smart Controller which works with DJI Mavic drones. This controller has the following features;
- 5.5 inches 1080p screen.
- HDMI port that outputs 4K quality videos.
- 5000mAh battery
- It has inbuilt DJI app features.
- You can post photos and videos on the internet directly from the controller. This is made possible by the SkyTalk App.
- 16 GB scalable ROM.
Whether it’s your first time flying a drone, or you’ve been doing it for a long time, you need to insure your drone.
As mentioned earlier, the drones crash often. And since they’re quite expensive, it’s not possible to buy a new one every time the drone crashes. Besides, some repairs are really costly. When drones crash, they may hurt people or damage property, and the drone pilot is responsible for these damages.
Manufacturers like DJI offer insurance coverage on their drones where they fix or replace the drone. But you should also get an insurance cover that covers any damage caused by the drone.
In my opinion, these were the essential accessories for any drone owner, but there are some accessories which can be useful too.
Let’s have a look.
Other Accessories: My Choice
Below are some extra accessories you can add to your arsenal. Some of them aren’t necessary, but having them will make drone flying easier and more fulfilling.
We mentioned earlier that you’d need extra batteries so that you can have more flight time. But if you only have one charger, you’d have to wait for one battery to charge so that you can charge the next one.
A battery hub helps you charge several batteries at once. And some of them are designed to charge each battery based on its charge levels.
The Hanatora 4-in-1 intelligent charging hub is one good option for DJI Mavic Air drones. It can charge up to 4 batteries at a time, and it’s foldable for portability. Besides a charging hub, you can also purchase a car charger so that you can charge the batteries as you travel.
As long as you have a car power inverter, you can charge any electronic device, including your camera, phone, and laptop.
Flying in bright sunlight is challenging since you’ll have trouble viewing the LCD screen. Sunshades help block this glare. Building one out of cardboard seems like a good option, but not if you’ll be using the drone for professional purposes.
Besides, drone sun shades aren’t that expensive, so there’s no reason to go DIY on this. Some of them can even be controlled remotely or folded to fit in a case or backpack.
These are the straps you tie to the drone controllers and hand them on your shoulders or around your neck. Even though flying drones is exciting, it gets tiring after doing it for several hours.
You may feel like taking a break but still monitor the drone’s screen. The lanyards will help hold the controllers in place. You can always fix a lanyard using readily available materials, but several lanyards are available for less than $10.
Remote Control Signal Booster:
Drones may also crash due to the poor connection between the controller and the drone. This may be due to interruption or flying too far from the controller.
To solve this, you can install signal boosters to extend the range and ensure a stable Wi-Fi connection.
These boosters range from cup-shaped devices to rail-like metal structures that you attach to the controller’s antennae.
If you don’t want your drone crashing due to a lack of battery power, you need to invest in a telemetry system.
This is a system that gives information about the drone’s battery levels in real-time. This enables you to know how much time you have and even determine if you need to fly the drone back home and change the batteries.
Natural Density Filters:
This is another excellent drone accessory for drone photographers. They are often abbreviated as ND Filters. Just like regular filters in conventional photography, ND filters control the amount of light reaching the camera’s lens.
ND filters are necessary when shooting 4K videos, which require slower shutter speeds.
Since the daylight’s brightness varies with time, you can buy a set of ND filters. These sets often have at least three different filters.
ND filters also allow you to take creative shots by adjusting the shutter speeds. There are several ND filters in the market to choose from, including DJI’s official ND filters.
LED Night Lights:
Professional drone photographers may need to take some shots at night or twilight. And the FAA requires drone pilots flying at these hours to have anti-collision lights.
The ideal batteries shouldn’t rely on the drone’s battery and should adhere to FAA rules.
These High Intensity LED strobe lights would be ideal for night flying since the FAA even approves them. They have rechargeable batteries that last up to three hours. They are also light and easy to stick on your drone.
Decals and Stickers:
If you’d like to decorate, pimp, or just personalize your drone, you can get some of these stickers. They come in different colors, shapes and with varying graphics.
Just make sure the stickers you select don’t leave a residue on the drone or are hard to remove when you want to replace them.
Release and drop devices:
If you’ve finally learned how to fly your drone and would love to try delivering gifts to friends, you can get release and drop devices.
For instance, the FliFli device is a remote-controlled gift dropping system with an operating range of up to 1KM. So, you get to fly your drone to the destination, then release the gift with the remote, and fly the drone back home.
It’s designed for the Phantom 4 Pro drone, and it can handle items weighing at least 1 pound.
Drone fishing is another activity that’s gaining popularity among drone enthusiasts. So besides dropping gifts, there are bait release devices to make the process easier.
To know more about drone fishing click here.
Screw Driver Kit:
Just like any other machine, drones can often malfunction when you’re in the field. Some are issues you can fix if you’ve taken any drone flying classes. Besides the drones, your controller, smartphone, or laptop may have minor problems that you can fix.
That’s why we recommend adding a screw-driver kit to your arsenal, or this JetFix Precision IT Screwdriver Kit to be precise. It comes with 52 different opening tools compatible with all electronics, including drones, smartphones, laptops, and iPhones.
The screw bits are made from high-quality steel to make sure they don’t break. The whole kit is also packaged in a free storage bag, making it easier to pack in your backpack.
We have done our best to think of any accessories you’d need based on the activities you’re partaking in. Some of these accessories are necessary. And others are just to make flying easier. The good thing is that they aren’t expensive. And you also don’t need to get them all at once. Get the basic ones, then upgrade as you gain more experience.