There are many different kinds of drones available today. The typical cost for a toy drone ranges from about $20 to $250. Camera Drones start at around $300 and go up from there. The DJI Mavic Pro (the best drone we’ve tested) retails for just under $1,000. Professional drone users will spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the best image quality and flight time.
Drones aren't just flying cameras, though; they're also the modern version of remote-controlled vehicles. And again, they've made flying easier and more accessible, thanks to intelligent collision sensors that protect your investment from mishaps. There are a dizzying array of drones available, but there is a basic division to be aware of—cheaper drones, while fun, will never fly as well or deliver the kind of video and photo results possible with more expensive models. With drones, you get what you pay for. That said, if you're not worried about wowing YouTube with your sweeping panoramic masterpiece, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good, fun drone. Here are the best drones I've tested for every budget.
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.
The Fisheye Camera is hands down the best feature, especially being a camera drone. It’s a 14MG device that is able to take photos in high resolution, as well as videos in 30 fps. The lens can provide an 180-degree angle without the picture becoming distorted in any way, which is pretty neat. You will need a smart device of some sort, such as your tablet or phone, to use as a controller through the application, however.
There’s only one thing that the Parrot Mambo has that you won’t find on the Tello. Legos. Although DJI shows Lego blocks in their advertising photos, the Tello is not Lego block compatible like the Mambo is. For adults, this isn’t something you should care about, but if you’re buying the Tello for a kid who likes Lego, you might want to consider the Mambo instead.
If you’re familiar with the Parrot Mambo, the DJI Tello is very similar but even better. It has a slightly longer fight time (13 minutes in ideal conditions), better build quality, and two cameras. Just like the Mambo, the Tello has a camera on the bottom that is used for keeping the drone from drifting. This means you won’t have to fight the drone to get it hovering for the first time. It will simply takeoff and hover effortlessly. Thanks to the intel processor, there is also a second camera that faces forward for FPV flying and streaming live video back to your smartphone.
It shoots 1080p video and stabilizes it using a mechanical gimbal. This makes the Spark much better at shooting video than drones that only rely on digital stabilization. You can get exactly the kind of shot you’re looking for by connecting the Spark to your phone via Wi-Fi and using the virtual joysticks, but there’s an easier way of shooting that can make even a beginner look like a pro.
The Passport has a lot of the same features as the DJI Spark. You can turn it on, hold it up and launch it right from your hand. It will automatically recognize your face and start following you without using a controller. You can even make gestures telling it to take pictures. Camera wise, the Passport is technically better than the Spark since it does 4K and has a 13 megapixel camera, but we all know specs aren’t everything.
Although it weighs as little as the average smartphone, Mavic Mini delivers a mighty punch in terms of flight performance. The new DJI Fly app opens up the world of aerial photography to new flyers and those without any editing experience. Flight Tutorial teaches you fundamental drone flying operations, and Creator Templates make stunning videos for social media. This form of simplified recording and editing makes Mavic Mini accessible to anyone, easy to use, and, most of all, fun!
On-screen-displays have become pretty standard for ready-to-fly racing drones, but this time the OSD and video transmitter has been integrated into the Synergy flight controller to simplify the design and reduce weight. If you know about FPV, having an integrated video TX might scare you. After all, video transmitters do tend to burn out. Thankfully ImmersionRC has a great feature built into the video transmitter that eliminates this issue.
You might think that its small size means it doesn’t have a lot of features, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Mavic Pro shoots 4K video at 30FPS and 12-megapixel photos with DNG support. Now, I’m sure you know specs aren’t everything when it comes to cameras; that’s why we’ve tested the Mavic Pro and compared it to all of the other top camera drones out there.
The transmitter has a 4.3 inch color LCD screen (LCD resolution: 480 x 272). It shows you all the pertinent information such as battery life of the quad and the controller, and your telemetry. All the settings and calibrations are shown on the screen as well. You can fly FPV and it is compatible with Hubsan goggles and also various 3rd party goggles. It does require 8 AA batteries to operate, but it comes with a JST connector built in so it can also use a lipo battery.
It is the perfect camera drone for anyone, with all the core features and available at a reasonable price. The camera range and controller are excellent and it is compact enough to throw in a bag and travel. That is the major selling point of the Mini. The main features are a 30-minute flight time, an HD video transmission of 4 km, 3-axis gimbal with a 2.7K camera and physical controllers working with Android and iOS phones.
Although this isn’t really a camera drone, it comes with an action camera mount, so you can attach your GoPro or Yi cam to get some aerial shots. Honestly, with a little bit of practice, maybe a better camera mount and some good editing software, you could probably produce some amazing shots using something like the Hero 6 with its built in image stabilization.
The mini drone has a bunch of built-in quick shot functions that let the unit fly itself in preprogrammed aerial patterns, and DJI has even created a SmartCapture mode which lets you control the craft with hand gestures. Hook it up to the DJI Fly app and you can even control the drone with some cool features there, including a tap-to-fly option where you literally touch the place on the camera you want the copter to fly. The whole thing weighs only 430g — a true marvel of engineering for its size. Pick up this package on Amazon and you’ll get everything you need to start filming amazing flight-perspective vistas.
This category is better for those who need drones for commercial reasons, possibly for recording clips for an advertisement or a picture for their business’ profile, for example, or for residential fliers who want the best camera drone on the market. These camera drones for sale are professional in all aspects, with both the camera and the drone being high tech in accordance with the design.
The last feature only available on the Mavic 2 Pro is HDR video. Unlike the Parrot Anafi, this HDR shooting mode is for capturing true HDR content and outputting to a HDR enabled TV or monitor. This means you won’t see the HDR effect unless you have an HDR TV that supports HLG color. You do have the right TV for viewing the footage, this is a really cool shooting mode for creating true HDR content.
The dimensions of the HubsanZino Pro drone are 11 x 9.6 x 4.5 inches and it weighs 4.41 pounds. It has a removable 3S battery with a power of 3000 mAh. Different types of flight modes like automatic return-home, loss control failsafe, panorama, orbit, tracking, GPS, image tracking, follow-me, headless mode, waypoint, line fly mode, vision auxiliary landing and orbiting mode are available in this camera drone.
The FPV feature allows you to see in real time what the drone is capturing. Although I was unable to get video of it (I only have one phone, which was paired to the drone), I can say that it worked without an issue. The only thing I would recommend is that it be used in an open space at first as you need to practice. The setup is pretty simple, the manual will come with a QR code that you need to scan with your phone and it will take you to the download page.
The Contixo F18 Advanced GPS Quadcopter is loaded with interesting features that make this drone a great value compared to similar drones on the market. Thanks to built-in GPS, the F18 knows its location and where it is in relation to you. The return-to-home system commands the drone to move back to the home point when the battery gets too low or when the control signal goes out of range, so you are less likely to lose your drone after a long day of flying. Four powerful brushless motors give it the ability to quickly gain or drop in altitude and stop on a dime, yet they consume less battery life than non-brushless motors so you can fly longer. The onboard FPV FHD camera gives you a drone’s eye view – simply link the camera to the Contixo F18 app and the 5.0GHz band Wi-Fi beams you real-time images with zero latency up to 500 meters away.
It's no exaggeration to say that drones have changed the way we view the world. They've taken once difficult and expensive moviemaking techniques and made them accessible to anyone. Videos that once required a camera crew, expensive cranes, and hours of filming can now be done in minutes by the best drones with the tap of a single Auto Takeoff button.
i love this drone. its perfect. if things go wrong parts are easy to replace. but its hard to brake alot of thing on it unless your flying somewhere in a city or near obstacles like power lines and close together trees but if your good you can with ease. controlling this drone is so easy and on quick mode its so fun and whips around quick. cameras grate but i just have fun flying it bring it up high nd zooming it back it stope super quick and will take off with flick of throttle. the colors are so dope. its way to stable i can let it float in the air and set the controller down and just step back and not panic about losing it.all aroung grate. 5 stars if your not sure what to start off with or you want a grate drone just ... full review
A true legend among cheap fast drones, AKASO offers an amazing drone without the hefty price tag. It even comes with a foldable quadcopter design. This helps you keep your drone protected while in transit and makes it easy to take it with you anywhere. This drone comes with the one key return feature that allows you to call your drone back with the press of 1 button. It also comes with a 720P HD camera. This allows you to record high-quality video or take clear photos from the air. It also has a powerful air pressure altitude hold function that allows you to keep your drone hovering at a certain height, a great feature in cheap drones. This can be useful for beginners learning how to fly drones or for just taking a picture of yourself from the air. It also has 6-axis gyro flying control that offers strong stability. You can get it to do many different tricks by changing the directions- up/down, left/right, and even 360-degree rolls.