When you get a drone you might think that everything you need will come in the box, and on a basic level that is true. Most consumer drones come with everything you need to have a satisfying flying experience. However, the more you get into the hobby of flying drones, you begin to experiment with different things and start understanding some of the other gear you might need to get the most out of your drone.
Drone accessories are an often overlooked yet important aspect of the drone flight experience. Accessories like a carrying case, SD cards, extra batteries and propellers, and ND filters will help you get the most out of your drone both in performance and lifespan.
There are many accessories for your drone, but before you start loading up on gear, you should make sure that the accessories you choose fit your specific drone model. If not, you might purchase something that doesn’t work for your model, and then you’ll have to go through the hassle of returning it and getting a replacement.
This article will help you think through some of the most necessary and best drone accessories in 2021, as well as helping you make sure you get the right gear specific to your drone.
As I said, most drones do not absolutely require you to add any accessories. They are sufficient on their own out of the box. However, after flying drones for a while, I have often found myself thinking that I wish I had a certain accessory that would simply make things more convenient or efficient.
That is why I have compiled the following list of accessories that are extremely helpful for anyone who flies drones.
1. Carrying Case or Bag
Many of the high-end drones come with a flimsy carrying case just big enough to fit your drone and controller. They often do not fit everything else you might want or need to carry with you when you’re out flying.
Since the included bag isn’t really stellar, getting a quality case or bag for your drone is a great idea. There are many drone backpacks on the market, so you’ll have to shop around to find the one that will fit all your gear and suit your taste as well as fits your budget.
2. Extra Batteries
Once you start flying your drone, you’re going to want to fly it for longer without having to wait until your batteries charge. That’s why you’ll want to pick up a few extra batteries.
Since most batteries don’t last more than about 20-30 minutes at a time, a few extra drone batteries are a great investment to add to the drone accessories you are thinking about purchasing.
3. Charging Hub
While we’re talking about extra batteries, you may want to get a hub to charge your extra batteries. That way when you are ready to fly, all the batteries are ready at the same time.
4. Battery Bag
If you purchase extra batteries and want to transport them, it would be a good idea to get a battery bag. There are added concerns when transporting loose LiPo batteries, so a battery bag that is fireproof will help you transport them with confidence that you’re not going to start a fire.
5. High Capacity SD Cards
Most of us fly drones to capture incredible aerial views with high-definition cameras. We want to be able to share those views with others. If you’re going to be taking photos and videos with your drone, and want the best possible image files, you’re definitely going to need some high-capacity SD cards.
Some of the best brands are Samsung, Sandisk, Lexar, and Transcend. For a little bit of guidance on what to look for in an SD card, check out our article on the best SD cards for DJI drones.
6. Neutral Density Filters
While not strictly a necessity, Neutral Density filters are very helpful to the aerial photographer/videographer. An ND filter basically serves as sunglasses for the camera lens and will help the camera adjust the frame rate to capture more motion blur and a bluer sky while flying in bright conditions.
Be sure you get the right ND filter for your drone’s camera. A great place to start your search for the right ND filter for your drone is on Amazon.
7. Extra Propellers
Let’s be honest, we all crash our drones from time to time. And most of the time, a crash ends with a broken propeller. If you have spare props ready on hand, your flying session doesn’t have to end with a broken prop.
If you have some extras, you can keep flying even if you accidentally break one. Just be sure you know how to properly replace them and have them ready in your drone gear bag when you go out for a flight.
8. Landing Gear
Some drones come with landing gear, and some drones do not. You might want to get extra landing gear if the model you have lands on its belly, and you are taking off or landing from sandy areas, or places with tall grass.
9. Tablet bracket
If you are flying a drone that connects via Wifi to your phone, you may consider flying with the use of a tablet instead. The bigger screen on a tablet also gives you a clearer view of what your drone is seeing, and it often helps to be able to access the buttons that are in many of the drone flying apps.
If you choose to get a tablet to fly your drone, you will probably need to get a tablet bracket for your controller as well. Most of the time the bracket that comes with the controller is sized for smartphones, and may not be able to fit a larger tablet
10. DJI Smart Controller
An accessory that is not necessary but comes in handy if you’re flying a DJI drone is the Smart Controller. The DJI Smart Controller has a built-in screen so you don’t have to use your phone or an iPad to view what your DJI drone is seeing.
Of course, this controller only works with DJI drones (and not all of them), so check the specs of the controller to make sure it works with your model of drone.
Check out the price of the DJI Smart Controller on Amazon.
11. Propeller Strap
If you have a drone with foldable arms and propellers such as any of the DJI Mavic line of drones, you are probably already aware that these propellers are susceptible to getting torqued or bent. A simple strap to keep everything tightly in place will save a lot of grief (and the need for quite so many extra propellers), especially if you’re packing your drone along on hikes or travel adventures.
I personally like the soft velcro-style straps better than the stiffer silicone ones, for price point as much as anything, but either will work well. And either way, this accessory isn’t going to break the bank, as you can get them for $15 or less on Amazon.
12. Joystick Guard
Going along with the idea of the propeller strap, if you’re doing much packing or traveling with your foldable drone, the controller could do with a little bit of protection as well.
Some controllers have removable joysticks that can come off to prevent twisting or breaking while packed up. But if not (or even if you don’t like to take the time or trouble to take them on and off), you can get a guard that will snap on to keep the joysticks safely in place and unharmed.
You can get these as a separate item, or find them bundled together with other items such as the propeller straps here on Amazon.
13. GPS Tracker
We all think it will never happen to us, but not matter how experienced you are, there’s always the possibility that your drone will lose signal and fly away, or crash inexplicably. If you should happen to lose your drone, the best way to find it is to have it equipped with a GPS tracker to help you locate its exact location.
Depending on how comfortable you are with risk, a tracker may not be worth the investment, unless you have quite a high-end drone, as they don’t come cheap. One to check out is the Tile tracker, although these have a somewhat limited range of only 400ft.
14. Drone Insurance
While this isn’t technically an accessory, it’s not a bad idea to have insurance for your drone in case of crashes or other damage. If you’re operating as a professional, it’s also a good idea to have liability insurance.
If you have a DJI drone, the best place to start for crash damage is with a DJI Care Refresh plan. Or you can look into drone insurance plans from other sources with varying levels of coverage at different rates.
» MORE: How Much Does Drone Insurance Cost?
Now that you’ve seen some of my favorite drone accessories, here are a few extra questions you might have about which drone accessories you actually need.
Can you attach anything to a drone?
Attaching accessories to your drone will affect its performance. Many consumer drones are optimized to be flown “as-is” with no modifications. Since you can’t really upgrade motors or other parts that make the drone function differently, attaching other things to drones in many cases is risky. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, and many third-party companies have come up with some really interesting accessories that can be used with consumer drones.
Just remember that you should always try these accessories out at a low altitude and very close to your home point to assess their impact on your flight. Also, anything that you attach to your drone adds weight to it, so if you are flying a drone in a country where you need to stay under 250 grams to be flying legally, check the weight before you attach anything to your drone.
You should remember, also, that the heavier your drone is, the more the flight time will be affected. You will not be able to fly your drone the same amount of time as you normally would if you add accessories to it, especially ones that add a lot of weight.
Do I need a landing pad for my drone?
You don’t necessarily need a landing pad for your drone. A landing pad has a few benefits, but it is usually not necessary.
One benefit of a landing pad, if you are taking off or landing on grassy or sandy areas, is that it will help protect the important components from debris that might get blown up when close to the ground.
Some drones (especially the latest in Cinewhoops) are designed in an inverted “pusher” configuration. If that’s the type of drone you are flying, a landing pad is more useful than for those who are flying drones that are in the standard configuration because there is nothing protecting the props from below. In most drones, however, the arms of the frame protect the props and motors.
Another benefit of a landing pad is that your drone’s sensors may be able to distinguish the home point better because most landing pads are made of a bright, contrasting color that will help the drone’s sensors see the landing point when returning home.
If you do not have a landing pad, you can simply land in a soft spot near where you took off. Usually, if your drone came with a hard case, you can use it as a good place to take off from.
Now that we’ve covered the general accessories that work for many different types of drones, let’s talk about some special accessories for specific models of drones, especially accessories for DJI Drones.
DJI FPV Drone accessories
The DJI FPV drone has a lot of the same features as the others. One of the best accessories I’ve seen for this drone in particular is a mount for an action camera that goes on the canopy of the drone. Many people who want cinematic FPV footage prefer the use of an action camera because of the options to stabilize the footage and make it even smoother. The mount that goes on top of the DJI FPV drone comes in handy for this. (See an example here on Amazon)
The DJI FPV drone also has a motion controller. This is an accessory for your DJI FPV drone that allows you to fly the drone in a different manner—more of a hands-free style flying method.
Propeller guards are also available for the DJI FPV Drone. They will help you learn to fly without destroying your propellors in every crash. They also protect the people around you (and yourself) if you are just learning. You don’t want to fly your DJI FPV Drone into someone.
Best Mavic Air 2 accessories
If you have the Mavic Air 2, the basic accessories listed above are important, especially the ND Filters and the SD Card.
The Mavic Air 2 also has a few other accessories that you could benefit from having in your gear bag.
- Car Charger: This allows you to charge your drone batteries from your car’s power outlet. It protects your batteries from overheating and low-voltage to make sure your batteries stay safely charged. You can get the DJI brand, or an aftermarket alternative.
- Battery to Power Bank Adapter: This accessory lets you use your Mavic Air 2’s batteries as power for your cell phone or other devices. If you run out of battery on your phone but still have batteries left for your drone, you can power up your phone or tablet using the juice in your drone battery. This is also a great way to partially discharge your batteries for storage or travel.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro accessories
If you’ve got a Mavic Pro, you should get some of the accessories above as well as these on the list below:
- Battery hub for Mavic 2 Pro: This will allow you to charge multiple batteries at once. This hub charges up to four batteries quickly and will work well for anyone who has a Mavic Pro.
- ND Filters: Here’s a link for some ND filters that fit the Mavic 2 Pro.
- Sun hood: Sometimes you can’t see your screen because you’re flying in the sun. A sun hood for your phone or tablet will help you be able to see better what your drone is seeing.
Best DJI Mini 2 accessories
- Charging hub: with this accessory, you can charge multiple batteries at once.
- Charging Display Base: This base works both as a charger and a display case. You can put your DJI Mini 2 into the case and while it is charging it can be seen and admired by everyone who walks by.
- Mavic Mini Snap Adapter: This accessory allows you to attach small accessories to your Mavic Mini. You can write a message or attach something else and deliver it with your drone.
Other accessories not mentioned above
Cleaning Kit – Some companies sell cleaning kits for drones. You could purchase a drone cleaning kit from a number of different brands, or one that’s sold as a DSLR cleaning kit, since they contain the same basic elements. You could also get some condensed air to blow debris off your drone and get a microfiber cloth to keep the drone and camera lens clean.
Winter Drone Gloves – If you live where you will be flying your drone in the wintertime a lot, you might want to get a pair of winter drone gloves that will allow you to still fly and keep your hands warm.
Buying the drone is a good start, but figuring out what accessories you need is also important. While you can get started flying without purchasing accessories, the lists in this article hopefully have helped you understand what drone accessories you could use for your drone.