Drones are gaining popularity and being used in almost every industry. Wedding photographers are using them to get cool shots; Amazon is using drones for faster delivery; real estate agencies are using them for promotional videos, construction companies are using them to survey land, videographers are using drones to shoot entire movies, and hobbyists are using them to get sweet photos. The list goes on and on.

The big question is whether you should put down the money now for a drone, or try it out first by renting. It all really depends on individual circumstance so let’s break down the pros and cons below.

You should buy a drone if …

1. You can afford it. A phantom or DJI will put you back over 1k USD, not including any extra batteries or gear that you’ll probably want to purchase. You can buy toy drones for half the price if you want to play around, however, you might be disappointed by the quality of video, battery life, resistance to wind, and a host of other factors that cannot compare to the standard DJI models.

2. You plan to travel a lot. Do you have several vacations, trips, and outdoor adventures planned for the next few months? It probably makes sense to buy a drone and bring it along! It’s kind of like a GoPro or any piece of equipment, if you’ll be using it several times then switch from renting to buying.

3. You’ve already tried drones and love them. Perhaps you flew a friends drone once or you’ve seen some videos that have inspired you. Or perhaps you rented one, and really liked it. Learning how to fly is not difficult, so as long as you have a reason to use the drone several times then it’s probably worth the purchase.

4. You can make money from it. If your line of work or business is photography or film related, and you plan to use the drone several times, it make sense to go ahead and buy it.

You should rent a drone if…

1. You’re curious. You’ve seen some viral drone videos and want to know what all of the hype is about but not ready to drop a thousand dollars. Renting is probably the right choice at a tenth of the price. Maybe you love it — then buy it. Or maybe you find it fun for an occasion but decide it’s not something you really need to buy.

2. You won’t use it often. If you don’t know when, or cannot say specifically how often you are going to use the drone, then it’s probably not a great idea to fork over a thousand dollars. Stick with the rental until you’ve figured out it’s worth the longer term investment. In this case it’s great for a one time occasion like your trip out hiking, boating, golfing, or weddings.

3. You want to get some sweet photos on your next trip. Flying a drone is an experience in itself. You’re buying the experience and not the drone. It’ll make the trip more memorable, not to mention you can get some really awesome, unforgettable footage.

4. You want to compare drones. Perhaps you own a phantom and want to try the mavic, or vice versa. Try out one to see if it’s worth upgrading.

Let’s summarize.

Both buying and renting have their merits. Renting is not throwing money away, and could be great for one time occasions. Buying has an opportunity cost, that is, you’re paying a big chunk of money up front, but worth it if you’ll be flying often.

For more info on drone rentals in Japan get started here on seranova.jp. If you’re interested in buying a drone, DJI is the best resource. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to drop me a message at hello@seranova.jp.

Happy Flying!