Remember when the first drones hit the market? They were clumsy, expensive, and had weak batteries and poor cameras. Very few believed they’d become as popular, advanced, and affordable as they are now.
There are so many models to choose from, even though many of them may be using the same type of electronics. Check out the five best drones in the most popular categories.
If you’re not new to drones, you’re probably already familiar with the DJI Mavic Air, and for a good reason. Not only does the transmitter work from up to 2.8 miles away, but the drone also features obstacle avoidance sensors – in the back and rear.
Furthermore, the drone can shoot 4K videos at 30fps. Although its still shots are not overly impressive, the camera can produce very sharp and satisfying videos and photos, even at high speeds.
The 21 minute flight time is more than enough if you’re a good flyer, and you know what shots you want. It’s also nice that you can set the drone to track a phone or control it via one. That said, the remote controller remains the optimal way to go.
While it may seem pricey for beginners, the Mavic Air is nothing if not a highly professional 4K model with exceptional aerodynamics.
- Obstacle avoidance sensors.
- Dedicated controller with detachable sticks.
- Shoots 4K at 30fps.
- Controls have a2.48-mile range.
- Available in multiple bundles with extra accessories.
- Can navigate strong winds reliably.
- It will require an operator license and registration.
- There’s no dedicated LCD screen on the controller.
If you’re looking for a quality short-range drone, then the DJI Mavic MINI should get your attention. It’s palm-sized, can fly up to 30 minutes, and is lightweight and easy to carry.
This drone is one of the first quality camera models that reached mass-production. To this day, it still offers one of the best performance to price ratios. Even the standard bundle has everything you need to fly it, charge it, and store footage.
The basic bundle includes a battery, charger, a 32GB card, and a hand controller, along with some spare props. Consider that the MINI weighs at most 249g, which might also make it light enough that you won’t need to register it anywhere.
With this drone, you can take up to 2.7K HD videos. What’s even better is the reliable camera stability, thanks to its three-axis motorized gimbal.
- No need for registration.
- Multiple cable connectors.
- Up to 2.7K QHD videos.
- 12MP aerial photos.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Limited flight autonomy.
- No built-in obstacle avoidance.
Drones aren’t just about camera quality. Consider something like the Ryze Tello, an entirely programmable drone with a 100m range. Think of this as the cheapest selfie drone for lazy people.
Due to its compact size and lightweight build, the drone won’t require registration. Furthermore, you can program paths and watch it work its magic while you stay in range. As long as you keep an eye out, you’ll notice that the drone has impressive flight and image stabilization.
The camera has a 720p resolution and can also take 5mp still images. It’s not the best for pictures, but 720p videos can look neat in the right environment. Even better, the Tello EDU app, responsible for programming maneuvers into the drone, is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
- Top of the line DJI electronics.
- It can hold a position without GPS assistance.
- Good Wi-Fi range.
- Very light and doesn’t need registration.
- It can stay up for around 13 minutes.
- Limited autonomy.
- Won’t fold for better portability.
If you want maximum range while maintaining firm control over your drone, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is the model for you. This drone has a transmitter range of 5 miles, which is impressive by all standards.
4K resolution is a given. The camera allows you to shoot at 30fps even from long range and with the zoom turned on. You get double the frame rate at 2.7K resolution.
This drone can be the ideal choice if you want to film wildlife with minimal interference, primarily due to its 2x optical zoom. Unfortunately, the stills are of a lower resolution compared to other 4K camera drones.
However, the zoom, the massive range, 31 minutes of flight time, and obstacle avoidance sensors, might make the trade-off worth it in many scenarios.
- 2x optical zoom.
- 5 miles transmitter range.
- 31 mins on the battery.
- Obstacle avoidance sensors.
- It has high frame rates from long distances.
- Not everyone wants to tradeoff still resolution for zoom.
- Still somewhat expensive if you’re breaking into the field.
The DJI Inspire 2 is a professional drone, very niche, and quite expensive if you want some amateur footage. That said, it’s also a rather heavy drone, so it’s not something you can take anywhere.
With that in mind, consider that the Inspire 2 reaches up to 58mph and features a dual controller option. Its camera resolution goes up to 5.2K, and it can also take still pictures up to 24mp.
Along with a transmitter range of up to 4 miles, this can be your ticket to success if you want to make spectacular short films, documentaries, and so on. What makes it very high-performance is CineCore 2.0 technology. It’s a high-end image processing system designed for big things.
Thanks to its sensors, flight stabilization, range, speed, and camera resolution, no other drone can challenge the Inspire 2 in cinematic imagery capture.
- Dual battery.
- 4 miles transmitter range.
- 2K resolution camera.
- Superior image processing technology.
- Excellent for cinematic imagery.
- 58mph top speed.
- Very expensive for average users.
- Requires license, registration, and many practice hours to operate.