Drones are enjoying great and ever-growing popularity. Also the extensive and varied selection of drones accessories is used more and more often by the owners of quadrocopters. The reason for this is the many advantages that the use of drone accessories brings with it. It is by no means just a unnecessary “Nice to Have”, but the additional gadgets for drones fulfil certain functions and bring many advantages for drone pilots. The advantages vary from accessory to accessory, which is why it is interesting to know which drone equipment is offered and which is useful. Even a small and at first glance insignificant extra part for drones can noticeably improve your flying experience.
In this article we present real must-haves such as drone plaques, which are required by law for some drones. However, there are also accessories that are less essential but still useful, such as replacement batteries. Finally, we also treat not absolutely necessary drone gadgets, such as sun shades, which protect the display of the drone controller from strong sunlight and make it easier for the pilot to see what is happening.
Buy Accessories for Drones – Useful or Not?
Those who want to have fun with their drone should occasionally buy some drone accessories. As with the drone tags/plaques mentioned above, it is unavoidable in some cases because the law requires it (e.g. in Germany). It is good to know that most drone accessories are quite inexpensive. The pilots are therefore free to gradually purchase more and more drone accessories.
Since high-quality drones are more likely to be found in the high price segment, it makes sense to supply your aircraft with new accessories from time to time. This way the fun of flying is preserved, because after purchasing FPV glasses, for example, you can experience the drone flight from a completely different perspective. The purchase of replacement batteries also has the advantage that longer drone trips are possible. A scenario: You are out in nature for a longer time and find a suitable place for flying and filming. You fly the battery empty and suddenly come across an abandoned house in the woods, which at the same time looks scary and fascinating. With a spare battery you are well prepared for such an unexpected event and can continue filming.
Drone Accessories: Must Haves
Drone Label / Drone Plaque
A fireproof drone badge containing the name and address of the drone owner is part of the basic equipment. The German drone directive requires drones with a take-off weight of 250 grams to be equipped with such a plate. However, pilots flying lighter drones should also attach such a sticker to their aircraft.
In addition to the legal regulation, the observance of which saves fines, a license plate for drones also has a clear advantage for the owner: if the drone is lost, it can be assigned to the owner in contrast to an anonymous drone. If you lose the connection in flight and the drone lands automatically, as it is common with some models, you often have no chance of retrieving the drone. If someone else finds the drone, the person can bring it back to you. Besides name and address you can of course put other messages on the license plate.
SD Card (microSD)
If your drone doesn’t record aerial photos using internal memory or transfers them directly to your mobile device, which you use to control your drone, your drone probably needs a microSD card.
Drones such as the Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE require a memory card to be inserted into the drone before flight. During the flight, the drone stores all photos and videos on this memory card. After the flight, these can be conveniently removed and, for example, inserted into your computer to transfer the photos, view them and make room for new ones.
Most drones require a microSD card. These are very small. For many computers you need an adapter, because they only have a regular SD card slot and microSD cards are too small.
You should be aware that most drones have upper limits for the storage capacity of microSD cards. For example, the DJI Spark supports microSD cards up to 64 gigabytes of storage capacity. That’s enough for about two hours of 4K video recording. The Xiaomi Fimi A3 only supports 32GB memory cards. You should therefore consult the manufacturer’s specifications for more information.
The writing speed of the microSD card is also important. For high-resolution video recordings that are to be written to the memory card without errors, the card should meet the manufacturer’s requirements.
The SD cards from SanDisk are particularly recommendable. The following model is sold in the official DJI store and recommended for the DJI drones. But these cards are also suitable for drones of other manufacturers. In terms of value for money, these cards are a very good choice. We recommend either the 32 GB or 64 GB version. Both are available on Amazon:
- Ideal für Android-basierte Smartphones und Tablets sowie Actionkameras und Drohnen
- Bis zu 160 MB/Sek. Lesegeschwindigkeit und 60 MB/Sek. Schreibgeschwindigkeit für schnelles Aufnehmen und Übertragen
- Einstufung A2 für schnelleres Laden und schnellere In-App-Performance
- 4K UHD-fähig mit UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) und Video Speed Class 30 (V30)
- Konzipiert für und getestet unter extremen Bedingungen; temperaturbeständig, wasserdicht, stoßfest und röntgensicher. Betriebstemperatur: -25 ºC bis 85 ºC
Drone Accessories: Useful
Helipads (also “Landing Pads”)
More sensitive drones in particular require a certain surface in order to take off and land well. On dirty and wet ground or on high grass there is the danger that the sensors get dirty or the propellers get caught in something. Dirt and grass can have a very negative effect on the drone’s flight characteristics.
With a helipad, the owners of a drone can make a safe and easy launch, as well as an uncomplicated landing possible. Many drones have an automatic recognition of landing pads built into their software to enable a safe landing. Usually these drone accessories are made of wood or plastic. However, the plastic helipad is much easier for drone pilots to pack and transport. Advantages:
- Clean and safe take-off and an uncomplicated landing
- A smooth surface everywhere
- A plastic-Helipad can be transported better and easier
FPV Goggles – VR Headsets for Drone Flights
If you don’t want to miss the fantastic flying experience from the drone’s perspective, this type of accessory is definitely not to be missed. The FPV glasses (short for “First Person View”) allow you to create an immersive experience. You put on glasses that look like a VR headset and look through a built-in screen through the drone’s camera.
In addition to the fun of flying with FPV glasses for drones, there is another advantage: you are not blinded by the sun. If you are flying without FPV glasses, the screen of the mobile device or remote control will often not be able to withstand the sunlight and the screen content will be difficult to see.
Controller for Drones
Some drones, such as the Ryze Tello, come without a controller, but can be operated with an external remote control. Without a controller, these drones must be steered with a mobile phone or tablet and a matching app. Depending on the screen size, this can be uncomfortable or difficult.
For drones that support an external controller, the purchase of such a steering unit promises a real increase in flight fun and safety.
Bags for Drones and for Drone Equipment
For almost every drone on the market, there are also matching bags. These do not necessarily have to come from the manufacturer of the drone. There are also third parties who sell cheap drone bags.
Drones consist of sensitive parts. For example, the propellers quickly break if the drone is placed in the backpack without protection. If you also have accessories like spare batteries, cables and microSD cards with you, they are often lost if you don’t have a fixed place for them.
A suitable bag for drones usually offers not only cavities in which the drone fits perfectly and cushioned, but also space for spare batteries, replacement propellers, SD cards and other accessories.
If you own more than one drone, you can also put the accessories to the respective drone and you will not, for example, take the wrong spare batteries with you to the next drone tour.
Drone Replacement Batteries
Another useful addition to the equipment of a drone pilot are additional batteries for drones. These accessories are also easy to find for every possible model.
Most drones today already have a relatively long flight time with the supplied battery alone. However, new drone pilots in particular will notice after their first flight that time passes quite quickly if you have a lot of fun.
With one or more charged spare batteries in your luggage, you can fly on immediately after a short stopover and have even more time for tricks, aerial photos and impressive perspectives from the air. It happens quite often that one discovers something interesting in nature after a flight and would like to take pictures of it. In this situation it’s a great feeling to have charged batteries with you that you can use for this purpose.
Especially for drones with relatively short flight times, extra batteries are worth it. For example, the beginner drone Ryze Tello has a flying time of 13 minutes. With the included battery and only one additional spare battery, you can already add up the flight time that the top model DJI Mavic Pro achieves (approx. 26 minutes).
The propellers of a drone are very sensitive and can break from time to time. This can happen, for example, if you accidentally fly into a tree or against a wall. Even if the drone gets caught in a branch during takeoff or landing, a propeller can tear.
This is no big deal, but in this case drone owners should have spare propellers. So the fun of flying the drone can go on directly and won’t end immediately if a propeller should break.
Some drones come with spare propellers. Here you should read the product details of your drone before you buy extra propellers.
Drone Accessories: Nice To Have
A Table for Drones
A small foldable table is quite a practical drone accessory to put all the needed things on. The table offers space for bags, spare batteries, FPV glasses and other accessories. This equipment is ideal for longer drone flights, especially in completely open nature. So drone pilots do not have to put their equipment and other stuff on the ground and have everything always well-arranged and conveniently stored in one place.
The foldable tables are compact and easy to transport.
Sun Shade / Sun Protection for Drones
Many drones can be controlled via a remote control that does not have its own display. For example, a smartphone or tablet on which an app from the drone manufacturer is installed serves as the screen for these controllers. Using this app, the pilot can then view the drone’s camera view and trigger certain actions such as special flight maneuvers.
The problem: In strong sunlight, the brightness of the screen is not sufficient even at the maximum level. It is then difficult to recognize what the drone is seeing and you run into the risk of overlooking obstacles. Flying fun can obviously be reduced by this.
Here it is recommended to attach a sun shade to the remote control. The covers on the side and back throw a large shadow onto the display and the sunlight no longer disturbs your flying experience. The model shown can be used for various mobile phones and tablets. You can select the different versions on the Amazon page and then see in the description text with which mobile device the respective version is compatible.
- 1. L111 - Kompatibel mit iPhone 6, iPhone 7, Samsung S6 / S6 Edge, Samsung S7 / S7 Edge, Xiaomi Mi 5/4/4C.
- 2. L121 - Kompatibel mit LG G4 / G5, Xiaomi Note, VIVO X6 / X7, Huawei P8 / P9 / Honor 8.
- 3. L128 - Kompatibel mit iPhone 6 Plus / 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 / Note 7 / S7 Edge, Huawei Mate / P9 Plus / P10 / P10 Plus / Honor 6X.
- 4. L168 - Kompatibel mit iPad mini / Mini 2 / Mini 3 / Mini 4, Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Zoll, Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Zoll, Xiaomi Mi Pad 2/3.
- 5. L200 – Kompatibel mit iPad 9.7" / iPad Air mit 9.7", Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5", Galaxy Tab S2 / S3 9.7", Galaxy Tab A 9.7", Galaxy Tab 4 9.7", Huawei M2 10.1", Asus ZenPad 3S 10.
It is advisable to purchase accessories for your drone. For drones with more than 250g take-off weight, this is required by the German drone directive, at least with regards to the purchase of a drone plaque.
With good SD cards, helipads and extra batteries the flying fun can be increased many times over. Many extras for drones can be purchased cheaply and be easily transported.