And now the bad news. You get what you pay for, and if you want an aerial video platform that can capture stunning footage, you need to be ready to spend some cash. Because drones are such pricey propositions, it pays to do your research before buying one. We've tested many of the ready-to-fly models on the market to determine what's important to look for, and the best models available.
There are far too many different types of drone to pick a single overall winner. A drone that’s good for a beginner won’t work for a professional photographer. The fastest racing drones will have low battery lives that will annoy recreational users. And so on. That’s why we’ve broken down our 32 top picks into different categories, so that hopefully everyone can find the drone that’s best for them.
Just like all of the drones from ImmersionRC, the Vortex 180 is an extremely well-built ready-to-fly racing drone with all of the features that beginners and pros need. The first thing you’ll notice from the older Vortex quadcopters is the cleaner design. All of the electronics are sandwiched between the carbon fiber on the top and the printed circuit board on the bottom. The only thing that sticks out is the camera which is protected by a hard plastic case.
This drone has a lot of really cool features. Although it’s only 90 mm in size, it has 7500KV brushless motors capable of running 2S or 3S batteries. That means this thing will fly like a mini bullet! To drive each motor, the Armor 90 has a 4 in 1 ESC capable of handling 10 amps of power per motor. It’s also Oneshot/Dshot300 compatible for super fast motor response times.
To be sure, you don’t want to lose any of the fruits of your drone’s flight recordings, so it might be a good idea to have microSD cards with you for plenty of storage. You can choose an app-controlled drone if you’re interested in having access to advanced in-flight features and aren’t concerned with the shorter range that goes along with using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Regardless of which drone you select, you’ll want to consider getting a drone case to protect it against moisture, dust and impact damage.
This drone is small and cute but pretty durable and very safe for young kids. It’s more suited for indoor use because wind can be a problem due to its small size and the ducted fan design. Some complain that it doesn’t have a hover feature, but neither do other drones in it’s price point. For the price, its a great choice if you want to have some fun with a drone that’s not going to break the bank.
The transmission range is 4.3 miles for 30 minutes and it offers a true 4K stabilized and smooth footage. Buttons are simple to access and users can command the drone to return home, including automatic take-off and landing, capturing photos, videos, etc. It can autonomously follow objects, thereby creating a box shape around the object. Cinematic shots are easy, where you just select the point that is to be shot and the drone flies a perfect circle around it. Automatic flight routes can also be set for surveying.
There are a few downsides to this drone, the main one being the price. At $1,999 USD, not everyone will be able to afford it. It also uses a 2 axis gimbal, so panning motion is not very smooth. Since it doesn’t have a controller, that also means you can’t fly the drone farther than wifi range will allow. The biggest issue with this drone in my opinion is the size It’s not much larger than the Mavic 2 when unfolded, but that’s the problem, it doesn’t fold up at all. This means if you want to fit it into a camera bag or small backpack, you’re just out of luck.
The TBS Vendetta is a quadcopter designed specifically for FPV (first person view) racing and freestyle flying. Today, you can find quite a few mini FPV racing drones that come ready to fly, but the Vendetta was one of the first racing drones to come out with everything you need to fly. It comes with almost everything you need to start learning to race. The only things that it won’t come with is a controller, battery, charger and FPV video goggles, but in the world of drone racing you’ll usually want to choose that stuff to fit your needs anyway.