Buying a used drone – what you need to know

Dimitri Wolf Von Dimitri Wolf 8 Min. Lesen

Are you toying with the idea of buying a used drone and wondering what you should look out for? Whether for financial reasons, sustainability considerations or simply out of fascination for flying technology – buying a used drone can be a good decision. In this comprehensive guide to buying used drones, you’ll find all the information you need to avoid regretting your purchase.

💡What you need to know

  • Model selection: Firstly, decide which drone you need.
  • Reputable offers: Always check how reputable an offer is. Beware of stolen drones!
  • Check the condition: Look out for defects and obvious faults.
  • Purchase process: Never pay in advance!
  • After the purchase: Test the drone extensively and think about the legal aspects of drone flying.

Why buy used drones?

When entering the world of drones, you are initially faced with the decision of buying a brand new drone or opting for a used model. The main difference is, of course, the price and condition. However, there are also other aspects to consider.

While new drones come with the security of the manufacturer’s warranty and state-of-the-art technology, used drones often offer better value for money. The hurdle of buying used and cheaper drones lowers the inhibition threshold for beginners in particular to come into contact with the new technology. However, the risks, from hidden damage to outdated technology, also require careful consideration.

Important considerations before buying

The first question is: What are my exact needs and what do I want to use the drone for? Whether for breathtaking aerial shots, detailed inspections of hard-to-reach structures or just for fun – clarity about your potential uses will determine what type of drone you need. The spectrum ranges from small, manoeuvrable models for indoor use to larger, weatherproof drones with advanced camera functions for professional aerial photography.

So if you want to find out in advance which drone model is suitable for you, you should use our interactive drone buying guide to find the right model for you: To the drone buying guide

Another critical point is budget planning. The used drone market offers many options. It is therefore important to compare prices here too and find the best value for money. A good deal should take into account factors such as the condition of the drone, available guarantees or warranties and the accessories supplied.

A point that generally applies to the purchase of drones and only applies to used models: The legal regulations and requirements for drone pilots. A good understanding of drone law not only protects you from legal consequences, but also ensures that you use your drone responsibly and safely. The best place to start is our article on the EU Drone Regulation.

Recognising trustworthy offers

The trustworthiness of the seller should be checked before the actual drone is inspected. A reputable seller should communicate transparently, provide detailed information about the condition of the drone and be prepared to answer your questions comprehensively. What should be urgently excluded: Stolen goods. Don’t hesitate to ask for proof of purchase for the drone or search the Stolen Drone database using the serial number, for example.

stolendrone info website
The homepage of

You should be particularly sceptical about offers that are too cheap. Always compare the new price of the drone with what you are being offered. If the price is significantly lower, especially with current models, the drone could be defective or stolen.

Also find out about the warranty and return options. While private sellers often do not offer a warranty, commercial dealers may at least offer a limited warranty on used drones. Ask for details about the return policy in case the drone does not meet your expectations or has hidden defects.

💡Tip: A popular point of contact here is DJI’s own refurbished programme, where DJI itself offers used and refurbished drones.

Checking the condition

  • External inspection
    • Cracks, dents, broken parts
    • Defective gimbal/camera
    • defective rotors
    • Wear and tear on the housing
  • Technical inspection
    • Proper start of the drone
    • Functionality of the camera
    • Functionality of the control system

The most important step when buying a used drone is to carefully check its condition. This inspection begins with a visual inspection, looking for signs of wear and possible damage. While small scratches and signs of use can be normal, larger cracks in the housing or damaged rotors indicate more serious accidents or improper handling. You should take a close look at the drone and, if in doubt, ask where the damage came from.

If only the rotors are affected, these can be replaced cheaply and easily on most models.

mavic air 2 drohne propeller entfalten

The technical inspection goes beyond a superficial inspection and requires an assessment of the drone’s flight capability. If possible, flight tests should be carried out to check the responsiveness of the controls, the flight stability and the functionality of the automatic flight modes.

The condition of the battery should not be neglected, as a worn or damaged battery can significantly shorten the flight time. If the enclosed battery has already lost its capacity, it can be replaced on most models. However, this also involves additional costs. The functions of the camera and sensors are also important, especially if the drone is to be used for photo or video recordings.

If you don’t have the opportunity to view the drone before buying it or subject it to extensive testing (e.g. when buying online), at least insist that an actual video is created before the purchase in which the functionality of the drone is demonstrated. The points from our list above should be recognisable there.

💡Tip: Many drones record all flights performed. Ask before you buy whether you can provide this information. This allows you to see how often and for how long the drone has actually been used.

Secure payment processing

A secure purchase process is crucial to ensure that your money in a used drone doesn’t end up in nirvana. Choosing reputable sources plays a key role in this. Even if online platforms, specialist dealers and specialised forums offer a large selection of used drones, it is important to check the credibility of these providers. Do your research in advance, read reviews and testimonials from other buyers and don’t be afraid to ask the seller about the drone’s history and for proof of maintenance or repairs.

Especially with private offers, you should play it safe and collect the drone in person and only pay when you pick it up. This not only ensures that you get your money’s worth, but also allows you to inspect the drone yourself and check its condition.

After the purchase – important steps

Once you have purchased a used drone, there are a few important steps to consider. As mentioned at the beginning, the legal regulations play a decisive role. So make sure that you are actually allowed to fly your drone before you take off.

Then check the drone’s functionality again before taking off. Models such as those from DJI carry out a self-diagnosis after switching on the drone and report possible errors in the app in advance. Then it’s time for the first flight tests.

dji mini 4 pro
Check the drone thoroughly again before take-off

These initial flights not only help you to familiarise yourself with the behaviour and functions of your drone, but also give you the opportunity to carry out final checks with regard to flight capability and responsiveness to the controls.

For the longevity and safety of your used drone, it is crucial that you maintain and care for it regularly. Regularly check the rotors, batteries and sensors and update the drone’s firmware to ensure that your drone remains in optimal condition.

Responsible handling and regular care will ensure that you can enjoy your flying companion for a long time and that it will reliably support you on all your adventures.

Additional resources and help

Buying a used drone is only the first step. To get the most out of your new flying machine and continuously expand your skills, access to a community of like-minded people and a variety of learning resources is essential.

  • Recommendations for online communities and forums:
    Online communities and forums are great places to share experiences, get advice and find answers to specific questions. Platforms such as the DJI Forum or our own community offer a treasure trove for drone fans of all experience levels. Here you can network with other pilots, learn from their experiences and gain valuable insights into new technologies and developments in the world of drones.
  • Further reading and tutorials for beginners and advanced pilots:
    The internet offers a multitude of tutorials, online courses and e-books, ranging from the basics of drone flying to advanced manoeuvres and photography techniques. Websites such as Udemy, Coursera or YouTube are excellent sources of learning content that will help you improve your skills step by step. Of course, you can also find suitable articles and tutorials on a wide range of drones and areas directly from us.
  • Tips for continuous learning and improving your skills:
    Continuous learning and developing your skills are crucial to fully utilise the potential of your drone. Set yourself regular learning goals and experiment with new flying techniques and settings. Take part in workshops or local events to gain practical experience and put your skills to the test. Taking online courses on advanced topics such as editing drone footage or using drones in specific industries can also help to deepen your knowledge and skills.

Summary and conclusion

Buying a second-hand drone offers an attractive way to get into the world of drone flying or upgrade your existing equipment without breaking the bank. We have summarised the most important elements for a successful purchase process, from initially clarifying your needs and possible uses, to carefully selecting the model and thoroughly inspecting the condition, to the important steps after the purchase.

Key recommendations include the importance of checking the condition of the drone, including a visual and technical inspection. In addition, we have emphasised the importance of a secure buying process, which includes selecting reputable sources and verifying the trustworthiness of the seller. After purchase, it is important to comply with applicable laws, including those relating to insurance and registration, and to conduct initial flight tests to ensure that the drone is functioning properly.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions

What are the most important criteria when buying a used dr one?

The most important criteria include the general condition of the drone (including signs of wear and possible damage), the airworthiness, the condition of the battery, the functionality of the camera and sensors. It is also important to assess the suitability of the drone for the specific needs and areas of use.

How can I reliably check the technical condition of a used drone?

A reliable inspection includes both a visual inspection for visible damage and practical tests. If possible, carry out flight tests with the drone to check the responsiveness, stability and functionality of all flight modes. Also check the battery life and make sure that the camera and sensors are working properly.

Is it legal to buy and fly a second-hand drone and what regulations must be observed?

Yes, it is legal to buy and fly a second-hand drone, but you must comply with local drone laws and registration regulations. These can vary from country to country or region to region and often include regulations for flying in certain areas, maximum flight altitude and the need for drone registration or insurance.

Can I expect a guarantee or warranty on used drones?

For private sales, it is uncommon to receive a warranty. However, some commercial dealers may offer a limited warranty on used drones. It’s important to clarify this issue before you buy and to fully understand the terms of any guarantee or warranty.

Where can I find reputable sellers of used drones?

You can find reputable suppliers on various platforms, e.g. on specialised online marketplaces, at used electronics dealers and in drone forums. Look out for providers with good reviews, transparent information on the condition of the drone and a clear returns policy. Recommendations from trustworthy drone communities can also be helpful.

Dimitri is the founder of and has been working at skyzr since 2021. He has been fascinated by the topic of drones since 2016. When he is not flying a drone, he is responsible for planning and developing new concepts for the platform as well as writing and creating content. He is also responsible for the technical implementation and maintenance. His training as an IT specialist for system integration and his bachelor's degree in media informatics help him with this.
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