The DJI Phantom 4 is an amazing drone right out of the box, but to get the most out of it, you’re probably going to need a few accessories.
From backpacks and batteries to propellers and memory cards, here are my recommendations for the best accessories for your new Phantom 4.
NOTE: If you have a Phantom 3, make sure to check out my list of Phantom 3 Accessories.
The Phantom 4 comes with a newly designed box that can be re-used as a carrying case, but if you want to provide the ultimate protection for your new investment, I suggest the DJI Multifunctional Backpack.
It’s designed to fit the exact dimensions of your Phantom 4, and has specific areas for the controller, up to four total batteries, extra propellers, the battery charger, extra memory cards and cables, and a laptop or tablet. Best of all, it’s lightweight and small enough to count as a carry-on, so you can easily travel with your drone without worrying about damaging it.
An extra battery is a life saver, and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t have a spare, and your only battery dies right before you get the perfect shot. While the Phantom 4 has up to 28 minutes of flight time, a lot of that time gets spent flying to the right area, aiming your shot, and leaving enough battery to fly back home.
When you’re shooting video, or taking a lot of photos, having an extra battery can mean the difference between having enough flight time to get that perfect shot, and heading home after a single unsuccessful flight.
The Phantom 4 comes with a 16GB microSD card, but it’s not the highest quality card, and it only allows you 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 4 doesn’t support cards larger than 64GB, so don’t waste your money on a larger card that you can’t actually use.)
Note: The Phantom 4 can shoot in 4K, which means you need a high quality card to make sure you can capture all that data. The easy way to make sure the card is 4K compatible is to look for U3 class cards. U3 is required for 4K video, and designates a minimum sequential-write speed of 30 MB/s.
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 4, so anything faster is just a waste of money.
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…
iPad Mini 4
If you have a newer iPhone or Android device, you can use that to get started. But if you want the best 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 the best available, 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
You’re going to need a cable to connect your phone or tablet to your controller. You probably already have a cable that you use to charge your phone or tablet, but there’s no reason to have 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 drone 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.
Accidents happen, and if your new Phantom 4 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.
To get the best footage out of your drone, you’re going to want to fly when the sun is bright. However, bright sun can make 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 has created a monitor hood that sits between the controller and your device, and provides extra shade from direct sunlight.
It’s also inexpensive, lightweight, and foldable, so you can stick one in your backpack, and have it on hand just in case you’re having trouble seeing your screen.
Again, not something I’d say is a must-buy right away, but if you go for a few flights and find it hard to see your screen, know that DJI has a solution that’s ready to fix your problem.
If you’re going to invest in a Phantom 4, it makes sense to get the most out of your investment (and protect it!) with a few accessories.
Stick with the name brands, don’t buy things you won’t need, but be prepared for what might happen, and you’ll be a happy pilot with a very capable drone.