Like many of the best things in life, finding the right drone is not just about a search through the various sizes, capabilities, cameras and more, there is another factor that can make or break your experience, accessories. It can be the smallest thing that ruins your experience, like not having the right cable to connect your drone to your mobile device.
Join us for a quick walk through some essential and convenient tools to assist in your flight experience – These are the best drone accessories.
Why trust Drone Rush?
I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.
Have a specific drone in mind?
Best drone accessories
We know, you likely already have a camera on your drone, it was made that way, but, if not, we highly recommend giving a camera a try. Ideally, you’ll get something that offers a live FPV experience, but sometimes all you want is just a camera in the sky.
For the FPV experience, why not check out the DJI Digital FPV system, it’s a little pricey, but it’s a top notch system that is simple to implement.
For a simple camera in the sky, you might have thought GoPro, but we’ll suggest an Insta360 camera instead. They’ve got a few, but the newly updated Insta360 Go now offers 5 minutes of recording time, all from a camera that weighs just under 20 grams. That’s 0.04 lbs. You might have to get creative to attach this pill-shaped camera, but near any drone can carry it, and enjoy stabilized flight footage with ease. Alternatively, the DJI Osmo Pocket is an interesting option.
This is a super simple thing, most controllers come with a small eye-hook or anchor point for a neck strap. If not, you might consider a little DIY or attachment to make it possible. If you’ve flown at all, I don’t think I have to convince you that there are many situations where you need to put the controller somewhere safe. A lanyard lets the controller hang from your neck, safe and sound with your hands free for other tasks.
There are many, many lanyards out there, but we must admit we are fans of the unofficial/official DJI shoulder rig for $13 on Amazon today.
Where should I take off and where should I land my drone? Sometimes you are on the move, but when home base is stationary, a dedicated platform to launch from can be a great thing. For me, it’s mostly so that I don’t have to land in snow, mud or other uneven and dirty surfaces, not to mention it’s just fun.
Aside from the challenge of landing on a small target, a helipad is a great tool to keep your drone clean and safe. Ideally you’ll use a solid flat surface made of wood or plastic. Metal sounds good until you realize it interferes with the GPS calibration of your drone. Myself, I let fun overcome practical – you’ve seen it already, I use a BB-8 area rug as my helipad. It’s not a solid surface, which limits my usage, but it keeps my quadcopters clean and looks good.
FPV goggles – VR headset or AR glasses
There may be a limit to the places you can fly with an FPV headset attached to our face, but when possible, the experience is fantastic. For VR headsets, round here we are fans of the DJI Goggles for casual flight, but now there is the DJI Goggles Racing Edition for those that want to take on the Fat Shark and other experienced racing drone goggles vendors. In the AR department, we visit Epson every chance we get to play with the Moverio glasses, that effectively augment your drone experience without breaking your line-of-sight to your drone.
The Fluidity FT Aviator is not only a fun tool for flying your DJI drone, it’s also designed similarly to the joystick on actual aircraft. Interactions are made to mimic existing Mode 2 RC controllers, we’d love to see it operate like the newer DJI Motion Controller, which embraces FPV RC airplane flight characteristics.
Fluidity FT Aviator quick review:
Where do you put your stuff when you’re flying? On the ground, in your pocket or does it stay in your bag? Allow me to recommend a table. You may have a picnic table or other nearby, but you might consider a small folding card table to hold all your accessories while you fly.
I’ll leave it to you to find the table that suites your travel needs, but this folding camping table for $37 on Amazon is a cool option.
I presume I do not need to preach the importance of cables, you know you need them for every device you have that runs on a battery, and many that do not. I am glad that most drones, their controllers and our mobile devices utilize just two or three, maybe four, types of connectors. Micro USB is the most common connection around, with Apple’s Lightning following close behind. After that is the newer USB Type-C and in the odd situation, and I mean odd as both rare and as, well, odd, Mini USB still survives on some electronics today.
If you recall from our Mavic Pro unboxing, DJI includes the three common cables to attach your smart devices. For those that did not get the right cable, or are looking to change things up a bit, you’ll want to hunt for that simple tool to get connected.
The only thing I really want to say here, have a look at right-angled cables. I know my mobile devices suffer from cables getting in the way when connecting to the Mavic Pro controller – the default cables are right-angle, and my desired replacements are too.
Umbrella or sunshade
Whether rain or shine, there is an argument to be made to protect yourself, or just your device, from anything that comes from above. The main idea here is that rain is bad for your drone and that direct sunlight makes it very hard to see your FPV display. There are a number of solutions to shield your controller from the sun, including cutting and folding into shape that Amazon box your drone shipped in.
If you do not want to build your own, you can buy one of the many generic or device specific sunshades. DJI has a dedicated shade for the Mavic line, I’ll let you know how it goes when it eventually gets here. Update: It’s here – I don’t like how the DJI sun shade attaches to the antennae, but otherwise it is great, folds down nice and is just enough to help you see your screen.
Please resist getting an the sort of umbrella or shade that would put you out of line-of-sight to your drone.
I cannot rightly promote any specific unit here, but this link will help you start your search for the perfect sunshade on Amazon.
Bag, backpack and case
Where will your flying camera take you? I don’t know about you, but I get the urge to hike trails or go to exotic places just to fly my drones. You better believe I do not haul everything in my hands, I have several bags to handle it all.
Finding the right carrying case, bag or backpack can be difficult. Actually, I use all of the above, swapping out based on my current needs and destination. Transporting a drone when traveling is the right time to use a sturdy case. A basic bag often gets me from my secret lair into my backyard to fly and my backpack(s) let me go hiking or otherwise head out for the day.
Related: Best drone bags, backpacks and cases
Once again, there are generic bags, backpacks and cases, as well as many custom built and official factory options. You know how rough you travel, but please consider stepping up to a more protective solution when you can. No point risking the drone over an extra pound of material or a few dollars for the next protective version up.
My backpack is not designed for drones, it just fits the Mavic Pro nicely, aside from that, maybe you’d like this SSE drone backpack for $35 on Amazon today.