The prices of drones have dropped significantly in recent years, but a good drone still costs more than $500 just for the basic unit. The definition of good can be relative, but a drone that can do little more than fly around the backyard is not very good, nowadays.
A good drone is a significant financial investment for most people. Drone insurance really is a thing. To avoid the hassles of filing an insurance claim because of a bad landing, drone enthusiasts can add an inexpensive set of stabilizers to their rig.
The stabilizers provide a wider base for the drone. The stock landing gear on the popular Phantom 3 works well if the landing surface is flat and solid. In windy conditions, even an experienced pilot can have difficulty avoiding tipping over the drone as it touches down.
Another reason for adding stabilizers is to give clearance for the camera. The standard landing gear on the Phantom 3 is only a couple of inches lower than the camera. Stabilizers can help prevent damage from uneven ground and keep the camera lens free from dirt and sand.
Landing Gear Stabilizers
Out of all the aftermarket accessories drone owners can buy, stabilizers may be the most economical and practical. Below are a few of the best stabilizers on the market. They are not very expensive in comparison to a drone, so it might not be a bad idea to buy a couple of different stabilizers to see which one is best depending on the situation.
Sometimes, Polar Pro calls its stabilizers “landing gear,” but do not be fooled. They provide a wide stance for the Phantom 3, which not only can help with landing but also with windy takeoffs. The black stabilizers clip onto the legs of the landing gear. No tools are required. Compared with some of the other stabilizers available, the Polar Pro offering is on the high end at $30.
The Polar Pro stabilizers raise the drone by one inch. The wider stance is the real value in this product. The manufacturer made a video demonstrating the advantages of the Polar Pro stabilizers. The Phantom 3 is a little top heavy even at stock configuration, so the stabilizers can definitely help compensate for that situation.
The Polar Pro stabilizers have:
- Have a limited lifetime warranty
- Fit the Phantom 3 Pro, Adv, 4K, and standard
- Snap-on design
The Telesin version of stabilizers for the Phantom 3 are very similar in design and color to the Polar Pro model. They come with a one-year warranty. COB sells the Telesin stabilizers for about $10.
Knowing that DJI is a much more established company than Telesin, it might be a safer bet to spend more for the Polar Pro version of the stabilizers. Telesin does have a larger variety of GoPro accessories.
A scenario in which a pilot might want to go with the less-expensive Telesin stabilizers is if he travels a lot and must continually remove them for transportation. Snap-ons do not last forever. It certainly would be inconvenient if one of the stabilizers were to fall off during a landing.
Like the Polar Pro stabilizers, it might be time-consuming to convert the Telesin version from black to white. A drone enthusiast might even have to use primer to compensate for the black. The lack of color uniformity may be a slight issue, but it is reminiscent of spray painted storm trooper body armor. It just looks tacky.
The Telesin stabilizers have:
- A one-year warranty
- Snap-on design
- Fit Phantom 3 Pro, Adv, 4K and Standard
The Three King stabilizers are more complicated than the above models. There is some assembly required. Three King includes an Allen wrench along with screws and gaskets. The stabilizers come in white or black.
The stabilizers look more like arches than claws, as with the Polar Pro. The Three King stabilizers raise the drone up by one inch, but they do not have as wide a footprint as the Polar Pro. The narrower stance means the drone will be more likely to tip over.
The arch design gives the Three King stabilizers more spring, so the drone will have a softer landing and will be more likely to survive a bouncy landing. For about $12, the Three King stabilizers are not a rip-off. Three King Tech is a company that operates solely through Amazon.com, so customers will have to go through Amazon for support. There is a one-month refund policy on the stabilizers.
The need for screws and washers to mount the stabilizers opens the chance that drone owners could lose pieces if they don’t regularly retighten them. Another disadvantage of this design is the need to disassemble the stabilizers to fit the drone into a case. This should not be a problem for those pilots who only fly near home. More mobile users might want to go with the snap-on stabilizers.
Three King stabilizers have:
- A one-month refund policy
- Snap-on design
- Fit Phantom 3 Pro, Av, 4K and Standard
Play it Safe
Adding stabilizers not only can make takeoffs and landings safer and easier, they also give the pilot more chances to work on rough terrain. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing spectacular drone crashes. Some of them are because the pilot seems unfamiliar with the controls.
New pilots probably should practice on grass fields or on sand before flying over a parking lot. Another mistake pilots make is getting too close to animals or structures. Depth perception is limited on a controller screen. It’s like using a rear-view mirror on a car. The objects are closer than they appear.
No matter what the purpose of a drone, stabilizers seem like an easy and wise addition.