Must you ever purchase a used drone? The advantages

I really like a superb thrift retailer and purchase most of my garments and furnishings used. It cuts down on waste and it normally means it can save you a ton of cash. Sometimes you save the atmosphere not simply on the manufacturing of a wholly new product, however pointless, wasteful extras like packing and (should you’re shopping for native, then) around-the-world transport, too. However must you ever purchase a used drone?

As is the case with many tech merchandise, there are particularly dangers once you purchase a used drone. Actually, a pair weeks in the past, I outlined the dangers of shopping for used drones right here (and it is best to undoubtedly learn that piece earlier than investing in a used drone). However you’ve come to study the advantages of shopping for a used one.

As a result of sure, shopping for a used drone generally is a good cash transfer. Listed here are 5 the reason why it is best to contemplate shopping for a used drone versus one brand-new:

Amazon virtually all the time provides used variations of merchandise for cheaper costs.

Value financial savings

Maybe the obvious, however sometimes crucial for many people: saving cash.

Used drones might be discovered at a fraction of the price of new ones, making them extra reasonably priced for many individuals. A fast internet search carried out in January 2023 for the DJI Mini 3 Professional, which launched in Could 2022 and begins at simply $759 together with controller when bought new goes for $609 in “Very Good Used” situation on Amazon, and $510 on eBay.

That’s a virtually 50% financial savings proper there. And on some web sites like Mercari, you may even make a proposal decrease than the listed worth, which many sellers are keen to take you up on.


Very like driving a brand new automotive off the lot, drones rapidly depreciate in worth after they’ve been unboxed and brought their first flight. Few people are keen to pay wherever near full worth for a used drone after they can get one contemporary within the field (which generally means a greater guarantee system in place).

In case you’re keen to take the chance, then the payoff is big. Purchase a used drone to keep away from the preliminary depreciation that comes with shopping for a model new drone. Whenever you flip round to resell your used drone (from one that you simply purchased used anyway), you possible will be capable of resell it for near what you paid to purchase it used, assuming you retain it in the identical situation you bought it in.

Right here’s me with my authentic DJI Phantom. Picture courtesy of Stuart Palley.

Entry to discontinued fashions

Drone makers routinely discontinue manufacturing of older fashions, as they solely have a restricted capability for manufacturing and assist

When previous fashions exit of manufacturing and subsequently promote out of the cabinets from conventional retailers, then typically the one strategy to entry discontinued fashions is once you purchase a used drone.

Whereas the newer fashions of drones sometimes are an enchancment over the previous ones, that’s not all the time the case. Some drones supplied sure options or worth that doesn’t exist wherever else in the present day. Take the now-discontinued DJI Spark, which was a superb newbie drone.

Then there’s that unbelievable, old-fashioned ‘OG’ vibe that comes with flying a DJI Phantom, your complete line of which has been discontinued.

Serving to the atmosphere

Contemplate your used drone buy as a manner to assist out Mom Nature — particularly should you would have bought a drone model new in any other case. An estimated 50 million tons of digital waste is generated worldwide yearly. In context, that’s equal to throwing out 1,000 laptops each single second.

If tech merchandise simply find yourself dumped in landfill, then poisonous substances like lead and mercury can leak into soil and water, creating future hazards for native communities.

Correctly recycling your tech merchandise can mitigate a lot of these points, however even nonetheless, recycling electronics shouldn’t be an ideal resolution. The method to recycle electronics in itself is gradual and inefficient.

And in keeping with Professor Richard Herrington, Head of Earth Sciences at London’s Pure Historical past Museum, nations export recycled electronics to be dealt with by residents of nations the place labor legal guidelines and security usually don’t defend these doing the meticulous and harmful work of processing e-waste for steel and mineral extraction.

Shopping for a used versus new drone cuts down on waste by half (or extra, if a used drone will get a 3rd or fourth life).

Testing the waters

Particularly as a result of people newer to drones usually purchase one and find yourself hardly ever flying it (both as a result of they understand they simply aren’t , or perhaps there are too many restrictions of their space), it’s not preferrred to pay over a thousand {dollars} for one thing solely flown a couple of instances.

As an alternative, check the waters earlier than committing to a costlier, new drone. By shopping for a used drone, you may get a way of what you want and don’t like a couple of sure mannequin, and use that info to make a extra knowledgeable determination when shopping for a brand new drone — all for a less expensive worth versus shopping for one new.

What to do before you purchase a used drone

Earlier than purchase a used drone, examine it totally, and ensure that it’s in good working situation earlier than exchanging cash.

In some transactions similar to shopping for by Amazon, you may have to pay upfront, however then you definitely’re entitled to free returns should you make a declare inside a sure interval. So transfer rapidly.

Some inspections it is best to do:

  • Visible inspection: Search for noticeable indicators of undisclosed put on like dents or scratches. You possible don’t want to fret about primary scratches on the drone physique, however take note of scratches on the digital camera lens, as changing a scratched digital camera can value greater than the financial savings from shopping for used.
  • Test the batteries: LiPo batteries was once so much much less user-friendly, and broken batteries had been susceptible to beginning fires. Whereas DJI’s new and improved Clever Flight Batteries mitigate many of the danger, they will nonetheless be danger. Test your batteries, paying particular consideration to in the event that they’re puffy. A puffy battery is a harmful battery.In case you occur to search out your self with a puffy battery in your arms which you could’t return to the vendor, instantly observe correct disposal protocols.
  • Discover out the lifetime of the drone. Sometimes, you may examine the drone’s flight hours by its accompanying app, which could even be useful in making a call whether or not a used drone is an efficient purchase.
  • Exit and fly it: The best inspection is solely flying it and ensuring it really works!

Associated learn: The way to care to your LiPo batteries

The very best locations to purchase a used drone

Shopping for used electronics by a third-party like Mercari means you’ll possible owe greater than shopping for instantly from the vendor (as a result of the vendor wants to present a reduce to the intermediary, they usually sometimes simply cross on these prices to you). However, the additional value is often value it, particularly on the subject of shopping for used electronics like drones or different high-value gadgets.

That’s as a result of web sites like Mercari have fraud prevention programs, product ensures and buyer assist in place, which you wouldn’t get from simply shopping for a drone off a stranger on the road. For instance, Mercari makes use of an escrow fee system to ensure a safer, extra dependable transaction service for each events. Each events additionally fee one another (and it’s normally smart to solely purchase drones from people with opinions). Mercari additionally has a devoted customer support system and makes use of a mix of human specialists and AI expertise to establish faux, deceptive or stolen items. And if a product arrives broken or faulty, Mercari provides returns and compensation. 

Amazon additionally has its personal market for used merchandise known as Amazon Renewed. Whenever you discover an merchandise, if there’s a used model out there then that possibility shall be displayed proper alongside it. So on this instance, a brand new model of the DJI Mavic 3 going for $2,049 can be bought in “Used – Like New” situation for simply $1,642. That’s 20% financial savings, or greater than $400.

Whenever you buy an merchandise by Amazon Renewed, Amazon slaps an Amazon Renewed Assure on relevant merchandise. This can be a satisfaction assure the place — if you’re unhappy together with your buy (together with the product not working as anticipated) — then you may return it inside 90 days of receipt of the acquisition for a full refund or alternative. Objects thought-about to be Renewed Premium product get an even-more beneficiant one-year return window. Amazon Renewed additionally guarantees fast assist for claims and free troubleshooting by way of Amazon customer support.

Shopping for a used drone generally is a good transfer for these wanting to economize, keep away from preliminary depreciation, and check the waters earlier than committing to a costlier new drone. In case you’re fortunate in recognizing a deal on a used drone on the proper time — and also you’re keen to tackle some danger — you could possibly save large.

How can I promote my used drone?

So now you’re satisfied that it may be an excellent thought to purchase a used drone. However what about should you’re the one attempting to promote a used drone? I’ve outlined all of the finest methods to promote used drones right here in a separate piece. The tl;dr, is that there are tons of trade-up applications the place you may trade your drone with sure electronics retailers for money or retailer credit. There are additionally nice on-line marketplaces for used drones like eBay and Mercari (I’ve bought two drones myself on Mercari!).

Join Mercari utilizing this hyperlink, and also you’ll get $10 off your first buy. And should you’re seeking to promote on Mercari, you’ll make one other $20 when you full your first $100 in gross sales.

In case you don’t wish to promote it outright however you wish to put your drone to work once you’re not utilizing it, there are drone rental corporations you may take part in. And, you may be capable of get a tax refund should you go the altruistic route and donate it.

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