The DJI Phantom 3 is a fantastic drone, and it’s incredibly capable right out of the box. If you want to get the most out of it though, you’re probably going to want a few accessories.
From backpacks and batteries to propeller guards and memory cards, here are my recommendations for the best accessories for your new Phantom 3.
NOTE: If you have a Phantom 4, make sure to check out my list of Phantom 4 Accessories.
For the best protection of your new investment, I suggest the DJI Hardshell Backpack.
It’s designed to fit your Phantom 3 like a glove, and it has specific areas for the controller, up to four batteries, extra propellers, the battery charger, and extra memory cards and cables.
It’s also small enough to fit in the overhead bin of an airplane, so you can easily bring your drone with you as a carry-on when you travel without worrying about damaging it. Plus the hardshell design protects the drone from bumps and drops.
Having an extra battery on hand can be the difference between capturing the perfect shot, and heading home early after a single unsuccessful flight.
You’ll kick yourself the first time you need a spare battery and don’t have one, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
While the Phantom 3 has between 23 and 25 minutes of flight time, a lot of that time will be spent flying to the right area, aiming your shot, and then leaving yourself enough reserve battery to fly back home.
With an extra battery you can spend a few more minutes practicing your flight and getting just the right angle, knowing that you can quickly make another flight if you need to.
The Phantom 3 comes with a 16GB microSD card, but it’s just an ok quality card, and you’ll only be able to shoot about 40 minutes of video before it’s full.
SD cards are super cheap, so you can max out your Phantom with 64GB of space for less than $50. (The Phantom 3 doesn’t support cards larger than 64GB, so don’t waste your money on a larger card that you can’t actually use.)
Bonus Tip: Take the SD card that comes with the drone, and tuck it away in a corner of your new carrying case. That way, if you head out to fly somewhere and accidentally leave your main card at home, you’ll always have a spare that’s ready to go so you don’t miss out on an opportunity. Sadly, I learned this lesson the hard way…
There are two types of microSD cards you need to know about for the Phantom 3, and which one you get depends on which version of the Phantom you have.
If you have the Phantom 3 Standard or Phantom 3 Advanced, you need a “Class U1” card. U1 designates a minimum sequential-write speed of 10 MB/s, which is fast enough for the 2.7K video resolution the Phantom 3 Advanced can shoot in, and more than fast enough of the 1080p the Standard can shoot in.
Of the U1 class cards that are available, I recommend the Samsung EVO+. It’s one of the fastest U1 cards you can get without spending a lot more money for speed you don’t need.
If you have the Phantom 3 Professional or Phantom 3 4K, you’re going to need a “Class U3” card, capable of minimum sequential-write speed of 30 MB/s. The Professional and 4K can shoot in 4K, which means you need a faster card to capture all that data.
Of the U3 class cards that are available, I recommend the Lexar 633X. It’s fast enough for 4K, relatively inexpensive for a U3 card, and comes from a company that has been making memory cards for more than 20 years.
You can spend more for a faster card, but the Lexar 633X is already fast enough for the highest setting of the Phantom 3, so anything faster is just a waste of money.
iPad Mini 4
If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet, you can use that to get started. But if you want the best possible screen for monitoring your drone and making sure you get the right shot, you can’t beat the iPad Mini 4.
The screen quality is fantastic, it doesn’t add a lot of weight to your controller, the iOS version of DJI’s GO app is easy to use, and the battery will last all day.
1-Foot Lightning Cable
DJI includes a cable to connect an Android device to the controller, but if you’re going to use an iOS device, you’re going to need a Lightning cable to connect it to your controller.
You could use the same cable that you use to charge your phone or tablet, but there’s no reason to have a few extra feet of cable hanging off the back of your controller.
A shorter cable is easier to pack, less distracting, and less likely to catch on something if you’re spinning around trying to watch what your drone is doing as it’s flying. And if you have a cable that’s specifically for your drone, you can keep it in your backpack and never accidentally leave it at home.
I recommend the Anker Lightning Cable, because it’s well made and MFi certified, comes with an 18-month warranty, and it’s also relatively inexpensive compared to other options.
Carbon Fiber Propellers
Accidents happen, and if your new Phantom 3 runs into something, or has a rough landing, the propellers are the first thing to go.
Propellers are finely tuned, balanced, and shaped, so even a small scrape or ding can cause your drone to become unstable. When it comes to propellers, it’s better safe than sorry.
The Phantom comes with a total of 8 propellers, so you already have an extra set right out of the box. I recommend waiting to see if you need extra props right away, but they’re cheap enough that it can be good insurance to have if you feel like you might be rough on the drone during your first few flights, or if you’re going to be traveling and don’t want to get stuck without a good set.
If you’re going to get an extra set of props, you might as well spend a few dollars more to get the Carbon Fiber Reinforced Propellers.
The carbon fiber reinforced material provides extra durability, the lighter weight provides better performance, and the improved balance and quality control helps reduce vibrations for better videos.
Once you get used to flying the Phantom and feel comfortable that you’re less likely to crash it, getting a set of the carbon fiber reinforced propellers can also be a nice upgrade to give your drone a little extra performance, and possibly even an extra minute or two of flight time.
Note: You might have seen pure carbon fiber propellers that are made by third parties, but be careful with these. They’re known to be more fragile than the propellers from DJI, and there are even reports of them breaking apart during normal flying conditions. In this case, it’s better to stick with the propellers from DJI.
When you’re first learning to fly the Phantom, there’s a good chance you’ll accidentally run it into a tree, or bounce it off a wall, or even tip it over when you’re trying to land.
And if and when you do crash, the propellers are likely to bear the brunt of the damage.
If you want a little extra insurance against a damaged drone, a set of propeller guards is a cheap and easy way to make sure a small crash doesn’t do any damage.
Plus more advanced pilots will even use the propeller guards to give them a little extra buffer against trees and other objects, allowing them to fly closer than they would without the guards, and not worry about a propeller catching on something and bringing the whole drone crashing to the ground.
Your Phantom is able to capture the best possible footage when the sun is bright. Unfortunately bright sun also makes it hard to see the device you’re trying to use to control the drone. Not a good combo!
To help solve that problem, DJI created a monitor hood that sits between the controller and your device, and provides extra shade from direct sunlight.
It’s inexpensive, lightweight, and foldable, so you can stick one in your backpack, and have it on hand for when you’re having trouble seeing your screen.
Again, not something you need to buy right away, but if you go for a few flights and find yourself squinting at your screen, just remember that DJI has a solution that’s ready to fix your problem.
The Phantom 3 provides amazing performance for both beginner and advanced drone pilots, but you can maximize your investment (and protect it!) with a few accessories.
Stick with name brand accessories, don’t buy things you won’t need, but be prepared for situations that might happen, and you’ll be a happy pilot with a very capable drone.