While searching for the best drones for sale you’ll get some simple recommendations mainly for the best DJI drones and that’s about it.
This article will instead help you find the best drone for your specific needs and teach you some of the most important things too.
Why should you care about my drone recommendations?
Nice to meet you, I’m Paul, and both on dronesgator.com as well as on dronesgators youtube channel I’ve been reviewing and comparing drones for many years now.
And this article will contain the best of the best in all those categories and more, including quadcopters that are made for videography and photography.
As you’d expect, you will require different things from a camera drone compared to an FPV racing one, but even though there’s so many types of drones out there, there are some universal specs you should actually look for.
Image Stabilization (gimbal) - Probably the most overlooked factor you should look for in a camera drone, image stabilization can be achieved either by a mechanical gimbal or Electronic Image Stabilization (or both). No matter how good quality an image is, if it’s shaking all over the place, the end video or photo will be terrible. This is why at the beginner level, cheaper drones are harder to choose, as you may end up with some unstabilized footage.
Camera quality - A pretty obvious one, but I do have something to add, besides resolution. What you should look for is actual image quality and see how it records on youtube, as resolution isn’t everything. Bitrate is also an important metric to look for that tells how many details a camera can capture.
Battery life - Battery life expectations have dramatically changed in the past few years. Usually the smaller the drone, the less battery life we see (somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes usually), however in the past few years some drones that can fly over 30 minutes have been released on the market, some even under 250g like the DJi Mini 2.
Range - Drone range can vary greatly by the aspects of the technology used.
Sensors - Obstacle avoidance sensors are also a new technology recently brought to the market by DJI in some of their Mavic Drones and these are basically small cameras in all directions (or just a few) that can detect objects to either stop the drone or make it avoid them. There are cheaper quadcopters with a few sensors at the bottom, either optical sensor or sonar for detecting height and keeping its altitude.
GPS - A pretty big requirement if you want a stable camera drone, as there’s no other way to keep a drone steady at all heights. Types of GPS also differ between them, so you’ll find more expensive quads having both GPS as well as the Russian and European satellite systems GLONASS and GALILEO. Having more of these means more satellites and in turn better precision.
Flight Modes - Flight modes are usually closely tied to the presence of GPS, as for the drone to make trajectory calculations it needs to know its precise position in the air. Besides return to home , some of the typical flight modes we find are Orbit (that circles the drone around a target), Dronie (basically doing a selfie with a drone), Waypoints, and others. One of the most popular flight modes is Follow me, in which the drone can follow you either by detecting you in the app using AI or following the GPS signal of the controller or phone.
Wind Resistance - While not all manufacturers have measured the wind resistance of their drones, some like DJI have, and since I compared the wind resistance of some DJI drones I know how important it is. Usually the smaller the drone, the less wind resistance it has, but there are exceptions to that rule.
Weight and portability - With the new regulation all over the world stating that drones over 250 grams need to be registered, drone companies are coming up with lighter drones. While toy drones are usually under this requirement, it’s rare for a good camera drone to fit all that technology in such a small package (one exception being the DJI MIni 2).
Accessories - While not as important, having accessories made for your drone does enhance your experience long-term with it.
In this section we’ll take a look at what the best drones on the market are and pick the best choice for every category of drone out there. The list is in no particular order.
|Mini 2||Mavic Air 2||Mavic 2||Autel Evo 2||Fimi x8||Tello||Power Egg X||Anafi||F11 4k Pro|
|Battery||31 min||33 min||31 min||40 min||35 min||12 min||30 min||25 min||25 min|
|Range||10 km||10 km||9 km||9 km||5 km||100m||6 km||4 km||1.2 km|
|Feature||under 250g||Follow me||1 inch||Sensors||GPS||EIS||handheld||GPS||EIS|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
If you feel like there are too many DJI drones on this list and want to look at something different, please check my best DJI drone alternatives article.
While not the most advanced drone on this list, I wanted to start the list with it since it’s my main drone and also the most frequent recommendation I make.
It’s under 250 grams and that makes it already good to get if you don’t want to register it in most countries. The portability and foldable form factor also make it a great travel drone.
However, the most impressive feat of it isn’t the size or weight, but what specs and results you can get with such a small bug of a drone.
However, the most impressive feat of it isn’t the size or weight, but what specs and results you can get with such a small bug of a drone.
It comes with a 4k camera, and a stunning one at that, stabilized by a 3 axis gimbal, which is the best option you can have. This small drone defies what we know about battery life and can fly for 31 minutes max which is outstanding while also flying as far as 10km in range. While it doesn’t have follow me or obstacle avoidance, it does come with some flight modes that are quite creative, including dronie, asteroid, circle around, and a few more.
I compared the DJi mini 2 with the Mavic Air 2 (which is a high end drone) and there’s really barely any differences.
If you want, you can also check my complete review of it right here.
The Mavic Air 2 would be the best all around drone for the typical consumer who’s looking for a great camera and pretty much every feature you can think of. Compared to the DJI MIni 2, the biggest addition would be the incredible active tracking and more solid stability in the wind. I would say it’s the best suited for people looking to make money in the future with it.
It comes with a 10 km range, 33 minutes of flight time and a ton of settings and flight modes.
5k micro 4/3rds
The Mavic 3 is the newest foldable drone from DJI and some of their highest quality professional drones, with some really insane specs, the only minus for regular people being the price.
If you're a pro, this is the most capable foldable quadcopter by far, as it comes with a huge micro 4/3rds Hasselblad sensor, a secondary zoom camera on top of it and much more.
The 46 minute battery life and increased range are also nice additions, but just as DJI puts it, it's all about the camera in this one. Check out my comparison of the Mavic 3 and DJI Air 2s, two of the best drones from them.
The JJRCx12, also known as the Eachine Ex4 is one of the best quadcopters you can get for under $200 and for a good reason: it comes with 3 axis gimbal stabilization which is very rare in this price range.
The camera is 1080p and comes with a 1km range that I tested myself in this youtube review.
And what’s best about this foldable quadcopter is that it comes under 250 grams with battery.
The DJI tello is a lightweight drone for which you need no registration and it works both as an indoor as well as outdoor drone. It’s made mainly for beginners and as a selfie drone and it’s on this list because of some really cool features it has for the price.
First of all the image stabilization in the camera makes it unique for the price range. Second of all, the 12 minute battery is very very competitive for its size and all this comes with bottom facing sensors to keep it hovering steady wherever you are.
It comes only with phone controlling capability, however you can get an aftermarket bluetooth controller and use it like that.
Another DJI Competitor is Xiaomi and their lineup of drones. The Fimi x8 is their flagship 4k quadcopter and comes with some impressive specs and camera for the price you pay for it.
With a hefty flight time of around 35 minutes, 8km and a 3 axis gimbal it competes with the best in the lineup for drones over $1000 from other manufacturers.
I personally own and have tested it and compared it with a bunch of DJI drones and it proved to be an outstanding quadcopter for both beginners as well as people who’re looking for some quality camera on a very low budget.
720p with EIS
You can check my other drones under $100 for more variety in this price range, but the Tello is certainly a great starter drone and unmatched in terms of camera.
It’s especially great as a selfie drone as the photos it takes are exceptional for the price.
The video is also Electronically Image Stabilized (EIS) and that’s quite unique for that price (I don’t know about any drone that can do it in this range).
However, the video is indeed 720p so don’t expect some amazing quality out of it.
It can be controlled by phone alone or you can buy a separate bluetooth controller to use with your phone. The standard range can reach between 50 and 100m and can be extended with a wifi range extender.
The Tello also has bottom facing sensors to keep it steady in the air, making it a stable flier indoors too, as it has no GPS.
6k/5.2k (changeable cam)
If you want to shoot RAW and want the next level of control, wind stability, and features in your drone, the Inspire 2 is the way to go.
Besides being way larger and able to fit a multitude of cameras, it also has the distinct option of retracting legs, so it is able to rotate the camera 360 degrees to greatly enhance your cinematic efforts and creativity.
Larger cameras mean larger sensors too, which makes it the best option for serious cinematic endeavors.
While weighing over 3,4 kg it’s definitely not a portable quadcopter, but well worth it for people in the industry.
This might just be the most unique drones on this list, being a waterproof drone that can also be used as a handheld camera if you want.
Yes, you read that right, the PowerVision PowerEgg X looks like an egg, but it can do more than that.
It has an external shell that makes it completely waterproof and also comes with landing gear to land and take off directly from water. I suggest you read my entire article on waterproof drones if you want to know more.
It also comes with tracking and follow me, making it the best choice if you want a drone that can follow your boat around or as a drone for watersports.
The PowerEgg can also be transformed into a handheld stabilized camera if you also need to take ground footage. This makes it quite a complete videography system even in the work with clients, so you get consistent footage both on the ground as well as in the air.
One of the main competitors for DJI in the US, Parrot is a reliable company that has a range of offerings from toy drones to fixed wing drones and more serious quadcopters like the Anafi.
The Parrot Anafi is a very portable and versatile quadcopter coming at an affordable price
While the 4 camera and gimbal are top notch, a very distinct feature is the ability for the camera to turn upwards too thanks to the unique gimbal design.
It comes with follow me options and a few flight modes, including great GPS positioning and bottom facing sensors for additional stability, but it doesn’t have forward facing sensors for stopping before hitting objects.
As with their other drone, Powervision seems to have a monopoly in terms of waterproof drones.
And what better waterproof drone than one that is made exclusively for underwater.
This remotely controlled submarine made it on the top of my list with the best underwater drones and for a good reason.
It comes with a very long… swim time of 240 minutes and comes with a pretty long tether (yes, underwater drones need a cable) of 100m.
It also comes with a 4k camera and 2 powerful lights in front to see in dark underwater environments.
Overall a great serious underwater drone for people interested in exploration.
When you go lower in price, every cent and dollar counts, and frankly it’s hard to find solid 3 axis stabilized drones if you go under $300. However, the Hubsan Zino has more than a 3 axis gimbal, it also comes with a stunning 4k camera, GPS and pretty good flight time of 23 minutes.
It comes with a variety of flight modes including waypoints, circle around, follow me and more.
It doesn’t have any obstacle avoidance or front facing sensors, only bottom ones.
I received this drone for testing in 2021 and it’s simply stunning how good it is for the price.
The most revolutionary feat is that even for this price it comes with a 2 axis gimbal AND EIS, so great stabilization overall, and a 4k camera. While it doesn’t really get to the level of $500 drones, for people on a low budget it’s a gift from heaven.
It's one of the best cheap brushless drones and also comes with GPS, and of course with the ability to return to home and a few basic flight functions.
Range and flight time are both decent and the foldable form factor means it’s quite easy to take with you anywhere.
Check my complete review on it if you want to find out more.
If you want to learn the basics of flight before you spend your money on more serious quadcopters, having a small beginner drone like the Potensic A20 is great.
It’s small enough to be flown indoors, but still powerful enough to fly in the park outside (if there’s no strong wing).
This is a super cheap drone, so don’t expect cameras, GPS and all that, but still a great flyer.
While there’s a ton of bigger FPV drones out there, I would certainly recommend a smaller brushless whoop as a first beginner fpv quadcopter.
The Emax Tinyhawk 2 is great because it can be flown both indoors and outdoors, comes with durable brushless motors and comes in a complete package including FPV goggles.
It can use both 1s as well as 2s batteries, this means you can make it fly slower or faster for indoors or outdoors or depending on your skill level. It comes with a stabilized flight mode as well as acro and the ability to set it up in betaflight as well.
Overall a complete FPV drone that can allow you to fly the entire journey from beginner to expert FPV flier.
Another waterproof drone on this list, but this time oriented towards fishing. The Spalsh Drone 3+ is the latest model that can land on water and take off from it.
It also comes with some modules that are especially used for fishing that allows you to release the fishing line from a button on the controller.
It’s not a cheap drone, so you need to justify the price for sure, but if you want, you can take a look at other similar drones and my guide on how to fish with a drone.
While there are many cinematic FPV drone and the community would go mad if I would crown this the king of all, I don’t really care, as this is what I believe.
Since you are searching for this article you’re probably a beginner, so if you want a safer FPV drone, the DJI FPV drone is it.
It comes with longer flight time than most out there as well as a long 10km range but what’s interesting is the GPS it comes with and the ability to press a button and make it stop in the air at any time.
It can reach 100km/h(60mph) in just 2 seconds and can fly as fast as 140km/h which is nuts, considering it’s larger than most in this market.
It also comes with a 4 image stabilized camera (that replaces the typical Gopro on many drones) which doubles as a digital transmission camera that sends the feed directly into the Goggles.
The digital feed it provides is considerably better than analogue ones and it’s pretty much the closest thing to flying you’ll get.
Let’s say expensive
If you’re looking for a heavy professional drone for agriculture that can do an efficient job, the Agras T16 is the way to go.
It can hold up to 16 liters of fluid and can spray up to 6.5 meters in width, which means it can cover up to 10 hectares per hour. This drone is water resistant(IP 67) and super solid. Considering its large size it can still fly for up to 18 minutes with load and has a 5 km range.For extra precision it uses all the satellites available to man.
6 kg payload
This drone can do it all in terms of industry, from surveillance to mapping, conservation, and whatnot.
The Matrice 600 Pro is one of the most versatile hexacopters in the industry and it can handle any task you give it (besides fitting through tight spaces). It can fit any array of cameras (with a maximum payload of 6kg(13.2lbs) and it’s made for aerial videography and photography and use in surveying and mapping.
One more thing about this drone is that it can reach 104kph(65mph) which is unbeatable for the size, especially good if you want to follow a fast object like a car.
A section in developement with the most frequent questions I get by email, so you don't have to go to that lenght.
Even though I could make a recommendation from the top of my head, the thing is there’s really no best drone in the world, as each category has its own winners and losers, but first, you need to decide what you’ll use that drone for and especially what your budget it.
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Get my Free "Before flight" drone checklist