The best drone accessories are an amazing way to take your drone experience to, well, new heights. From useful backpacks that keep your drone protected from the elements, to incredible first-person POV goggles that make you feel like you're really there, drone accessories can completely transform your flying experience and get you addicted all over again.
We've put together this extensive guide to everything, from the affordable essentials to the flashy extras, and we've attempted to cover a range of price points, so even if you're working to a tight budget, there will be accessories for you.
Read on for our pick of the best drone accessories money can buy...
The best drone accessories in 2020
If you're going to be taking a drone out on adventures, a sturdy, bespoke backpack is one of the best purchases you can make. The Lowepro DroneGuard BP 250, as the name implies, is designed specifically to protect a drone; in this case, a drone about the size of the DJI Mavic fits in snugly. If you have a larger drone like the Phantom, consider the 400 series.
With a customisable interior and Formshell protection, this bag works the way you want it to and can be molded to suit your setup. There's even a removable waist belt for a little extra support on a long walk! For our money, this is the backpack for drone users.
Needing to be safely packed with sometimes-fiddly gimbal guards means drone lenses are especially prone to accidental dirt and marks. Worse still, the kind of swooping, turning aerial shots in sunlight are highly likely to translate those marks into unwanted flare. That’s why it’s important to be prepared with lens (and filter) cleaning wipes & microfibre cloths. Your ‘trusty’ T-shirt is not a good idea; modern fabrics usually create streaks and sometimes even permanent microscratches.
This full, specifically designed cleaning kit to help protect your drone from marks and scratches is the perfect solution, and, for the money, it's one of the best drone accessories around.
• See also Best lens cleaners
You might think of DJI as being a wholly respectable brand, high in the photographic and filmmaking firmament. You wouldn’t be wrong, but these goggles show DJI aren’t afraid of playing with the cool kids either. DJI’s first goggles worked only for owners of DJI’s aircraft (especially the Mavic), but the Racing Edition includes an analogue receiver too for use with the low-latency (50ms) analogue video from custom build racing drones. Connects wirelessly to DJI drones with OccuSync, with drone functions controlled via an easy-to-use touch-pad driven menu, the goggles also include an HDMI-in so you can take your own cinema on long journeys.
Drone operators are legally required to maintain line-of-sight (to be able to see the drone from where they’re standing), but piloting is more fun when you see through the drone’s eye – called FPV (First Person View). UK rules allow a ‘spotter’ (a buddy watching the drone) if you wear traditional goggles. But the Epson Moverio Smart Glasses’s unused screen area is transparent, so the effect is a 720p Silicon OLED head-up display.
Powered by a quad-core Android system, the glasses substitute for your phone, and run the DJI Go App. A touch pad and on-screen pointer serves in place of the phone’s touch-screen. This is super-pricey so not suited to novices, unless you have a load of spare cash laying about. But if you're a real drone enthusiast, this is one drone accessories manybe worth investing in.
The Insta360 One (and newer 360 ONE X) are amazing devices in their own right, and can create drone-like “Bullet Time” clips without a drone. You simply swing the device on an extendable “invisible selfie stick” to get amazing orbital shot. For more range than a stick, however, you need to fly, which is where the mount comes in. Obviously the extra weight is going to reduce your flight time, and you’ll need to fly more gently, but Insta’s FlowState stabilization is good and there’s no worrying about where the camera is pointing while flying!
Owners of DJI drones like the Mavic series usually make use of their phones as the remote screen, which has advantages (you’ve got one, and can easily share immediately) but it this comes at the cost of your phone battery. The Smart Controller provides Mavic owners a bright (1000 nits) built-in screen that works in daylight. This comfortably beat’s an iPhone X’s 800-nits, so you can get flying with easily in the sun. Ironically DJI have a reputation for better reliability on iOS than Android, and that’s still true here. There’s no sim card either, so you need to load map pages before you go (or from your phone).
We’ve seen the DJI Goggles RC, which handle DJI’s high-def system and “traditional” racing pilot’s analogue. The latter trades quality for low-latency, so the trade off for 70mph racing pilots in the drone racing leagues has always been a pre-digital era TV signal that drops in and out as the craft shoots round obstacles. For a price, though, DJI have changed all that. The DJI Digital FPV system replaces the camera, transmitter and receiver on your racing quad. In your hands, a snazzy grey version of DJI’s pro controller, while the goggles make you look like a top-of-the-line storm trooper. The fluidity of the video is simply stunning – it’s the closest thing you can imagine to actually being a bird (though the price is eye-watering for all but the most dedicated racers).
The Ultra sports a 2000-nit display which is stunning, even in bright sunlight, and the chunky size feels rugged (there is a cheaper 1000-nit version). There is 980 mAh battery inside, but pros can use swappable 4920mAh batteries for 4-5 hours, even in extreme conditions. As with all of DJI’s in-built monitor systems the compromise is a mediocre Android system that doesn’t feel as snappy as an iOS device, but you can use it to edit video in the DJI GO App. There is HDMI out at up to 4K, but sadly not back in.
What’s the best memory card for 4K? Not all memory cards are created equal, and a slow card can risk video cut outs. The SanDisk Extreme Pro suffers no such issues, with a read and write speeds in excess of 90 MB/s and the crucial U3 support (DJI officially recommend only U3 cards). 64GB cards are idea for a good few batteries, and a very cost-effective size, but you could splash out on 128GB for a long trip. Naturally there is an SD adapter supplied – only real complain is the packaging – it’d be nice if there was no plastic.
Worried about lithium battery fires? Then you need this drone accessory to keep your and your device safe. Although it's far from common, Li-Po batteries are a fire hazard and drone batteries pack a lot of ions. It makes sense to keep them in a fireproof bag. CamKix produces a series of elegantly shaped bags for DJI battery shapes which are a little more elegant looking than the classic hobbyist Lipo Guard bag, and are easier to fit into backpacks.
If you want to use a bigger screen with your Mavic Pro, or other drone with a compact fold-out controller, then you could do a lot worse than this sturdy iPad mount. Even if you stick to your phone, there is a lot to be said for putting it above the controller, as it is in pro systems, and it’s very handy to have a neck-strap to rest the weight on.
A small pouch is a great way to protect your drone from any extra damage in your bag, especially if you're the sort to carry a lot of things on a day trip. This sleeve is designed for the Mavic 2 and similarly sized drones, but plenty of others are made for other drones so shop around if yours doesn't quite fit.
OK, so this is pretty useless, but it’s undeniably cool-looking. A bell jar cover to put your Mavic Mini is while you charge. No more, no less. If you’re asking why you’d NEED one, you’ve missed the point. This is designed to show off your Mavic Mini (and, if you’ve augmented it with any shell coverings (like this), those too) while it charges normally. Think of it as a gadget-lover’s gift, as well as a way to keep the device on show. It’s all too easy to let useful camera gear languish in drawers while your phone does the day-to-day work – something like this might actually remind you to make use of your “FlyCam.” Incidentally a Mavic Mini is, in of itself, a pretty cool accessory for owners of larger pricier aircraft, and not wholly impractical. With a 30 minute flight time it can be used to survey sites before you get, for example, an Inspire 2 up there. Given the Inspire’s lower flight time and much pricier batteries, it might be worth thinking about.
Although charging hubs are specific to individual battery types (in other words you’ll need one for each type of drone you fly), the way they smooth away the stress of handling multiple batteries is hard to understate. If you’ve got four batteries that take 90 minutes each to charge, you need to stay near the charger for 6 hours, swapping occasionally. A hub, however, plugs three or four batteries onto your original power brick, sending the charge to one battery after another automatically, letting you do something more productive (or relaxing) with that time! The Inspire 2’s ‘drink can’ design is an especially cool one.
DJI Spark Hub on Amazon
DJI Mavic Pro Hub on Amazon
DJI Mavic 2 Hub on Amazon
DJI Mavic Air on Amazon
Want to fly your drone indoors, or near some trees? You’re going to need some propeller guards. Manufacturers offer custom guards for most models which fit over the motors and prevent the spinning prop from being damaged if you glance a wall or, well, organic obstacle, shall we say? The guards are best for bumping – to keep fingers from the props splash a bit more cash and sacrifice a few more minutes for a full Prop cage.
If you don’t already carry a portable charger, you should. This is one of the more expensive, but also one of the best power banks. There are so many reasons, and newer drones have given you a couple more: built-in USB-C charging. The Parrot Anafi, DJI Mavic Air and Mavic Mini (but not the Mavic Pro) series can be charged in your bag as you walk along from just the battery pack and a USB cable. It might seem pricey (if you’re on a tight budget try the RAVPower), but the PowerCore works with fast-charge devices, has an elegant charge dial and a sturdy shell.
Many pilots like to use an iPad or iPad Mini as their monitor and for good reason; the bigger screen makes it much easier to see the final video shot you’re getting, and less of the overall space is obscured by on-screen buttons and flight data. The only problem is the ambient sunlight, which makes it much harder to see the screen. A cheap and practical solution is this folding sun-shield, which every drone operator should have in their bag. Sun Hoods are available in a variety of sizes, so make sure you get the one appropriate for your setup.
A useful set of filters al in one kit, this is a great way to expand your shooting options with a drone. The first thing any landscape photographer will tell you to buy is a set of neutral density filters. These reduce the amount of light getting through the lens (ND 4 is equivalent to 2 shutter stops), meaning that in bright conditions, you can use a longer shutter speed, creating a more cinematic look. Another type of filter in the kit, the polarizer, has the added effect of cutting down reflections for a richer, more contrasty image. Aluminum alloy frames keep the weight down, and at this price, there's not much to argue with. Make sure you get the right size for your drone’s camera.
If you’ve got a compact wi-fi drone which you control with your phone, like the Tello, then you can get that pro-drone feel by adding a games controller. The SteelSeries Nimbus isn’t the cheapest, but there is an iOS version as well as Android and, crucially, it has two high-quality analogue sticks positioned evenly (some only have a D-pad on one side which isn’t as natural for flying).
This miniature cube-shaped 1000-lumen waterproof LED light panel is available with adapters for a number of popular (and less popular) drone models. Where you’re permitted to fly in the dark (check the regulations), these lights can assist in search & rescue or be used for very ambitious light painting. Put your camera down low, point it up at your drone and make your own UFO movie!
It might seem obvious to old hands, but extra batteries have a kind of exponential benefit. When you go out flying, you might pick a nice spot, get out all your gear, check the props, and take off, only to have to return in 20 minutes or so and pack up again. An extra battery gives you a whole extra flight but doesn’t add to your unpacking/packing time, so it’s a real benefit. Make sure you get the right batteries for your drone.