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21 Best Professional Commercial Drones in 2021

Ultimate Guide for high end UAVs
best-professional-high-end-drones

So you’re looking for a professional drone because you don’t want to mistakenly buy a cheap toy drone and get some terrible photo or video results.

Or maybe you're looking to buy the best commercial drone for specific uses like mapping, surveying, inspection, etc.

If you’re interested in using your drone to record in 4k, need it for professional photography and videography, or even for industrial or agricultural use, this article will guide you through the entire process of choosing one.

Here's an introductory table to the first 5 drones. If you scroll down you'll see details on every one of the 21 drones.

Mavic 3
Matrice 300 RTK
Skydio X2
Ph4 RTK
Dragonfish
mavic-3-thumb
dji-commercial-drone-rtk-300
skyxio-x2-small
phantom-4-small-rtk-module-professional
autel-dragonfish-commercial-drone-small
5k
Multi camera
4k 100x zoom
4k
4k
46min
55 min
35 min
30min
120min
15 km
15km
10 km
10km
30km
Obstacle 
Avoidance
3 payloads
Obstacle 
Avoidance
Mapping
VTOL
drone-price-dollar-icon.png
$$
$$$
$$
$$
$$$

Commercial Drones benefits vs Toy drones

Since I have tested and reviewed anything from the cheapest beginner drones to the most expensive camera drones, I have a pretty good clue as to what the differences are and where we can draw the line between pro drones and beginner ones.

While there is a gradual improvement as your budget increases, it is typically that you will find these differences between toy drones and professional quadcopters:

PROFESSIONAL DRONES
  • Come with a 3 axis stabilizing gimbal
  • Thermal and zoom cameras
  • 4k cameras
  • Additional sensors for tracking or mapping
  • Longer flight times
  • Long ranges
  • Modular cameras (in some)
  • Precise automatic flight modes
  • Good software (for mapping, inspection etc.)
  • HIgh-quality materials for the build
  • Good companies behind
  • Come with GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO (satellite systems)
TOY DRONES
  • Way cheaper (usually under $200)
  • Smaller in size (but not always)
  • Less Battery life
  • Brushed motors (lower quality)
  • The camera is not stabilized(or badly)
  • Don’t have GPS or if they do, it’s a bad one
  • Can do flips
  • Crashed often

Commercial drone uses and applications

If you're looking for a professional drone, you must have some commercial use in mind, and that's why we should first  see what the main uses are for such drones.

After this, we’ll have a look at my top recommended drones for each one (and more)

What can commercial drones do?

  • For Photography and Videography - the most widespread use of modern drones, this means people usually buy a drone to capture footage and sell it or as an addition to ground cameras to offer video and photo services. Real estate is another popular field where more professional camera drones can provide great results.
  • For Agriculture - A professional-level drone is for sure required for agriculture, as spraying the crops or scanning terrain must be done with expensive and heavy lifting equipment.
  • For Mapping - Mapping can be done with a typical videography drone, but in certain cases, it requires special types of cameras and software. Heat-sensitive cameras or spectral cameras can be used in agriculture and search and rescue.
  • Inspection - Drones with powerful cameras, especially ones that can zoom and stay for longer times in the air can be used to inspect communications masts, bridges, constructions in general, wind turbines, etc. Pretty much any place where it’s more expensive and dangerous to bring a human, these drones can see details from afar and detect if the structure is still in order.
  • Surveillance - Usually police and military work with drones that have powerful zooming cameras, thermal cameras and have plenty of battery life for long surveillance missions.
  • Search & Rescue - Usually same drones that are great for surveillance work perfectly for search and rescue operations, as you need a thermal camera for detecting possible victims, have the ability to zoom in clearly to see some distance away and fly long distance and endurance to be able to search for potential victims.

How much does a commercial drone cost?

Commercial drones usually cost more than regular camera drones, starting from $1000 and going up to $10,000 or more, the average industrial drone (for mapping, inspection etc.) costing around $4000.

Usually the larger the UAV and  the more cameras and motors, the higher the cost.

What to look for in a professional commercial drone?

Since the most requested type of drone is a typical camera drone that focuses on delivering good photo and video results, I’ll cover the main things to look for.

Keep in mind that many of these apply to all the other drone uses too.

  • Camera - Drones are basically flying cameras, so you'll find that for every type of use, the camera can differ a lot. It can be a camera that can zoom in a lot, a heat detection one, or simply a high-resolution one. Keep in mind that resolution isn't everything for camera drones, and things like bitrate, sensor size, and quality are very important.
  • Image stabilization - In almost any type of drone, camera stabilization is of utmost importance. A 3 axis motorized gimbal is used in modern camera drones to get the highest level of stabilization. Electronic Image Stabilization can also be used, but it’s not on the same level and it crops from the image.
  • Battery life - Typically battery life in professional drones goes over 25 minutes in the air. Battery life is quite important since you want to keep your drone without stressing about getting it down soon and focus on the job at hand.
  • Range - While only search and rescue operations are usually legally allowed to fly beyond line of sight, having a long range also means a stronger signal that can persist in difficult interference mediums where there’s something between you and the drone.
  • Size - While I wrote an article on large drones and their benefits, having a large drone can be quite troublesome if it doesn’t aid your main purposes. For example, a small camera drone can have indistinguishable footage or even better compared to a large octocopter with a camera on it.
  • Stability and Sensors - Most drones these days come with at least GPS and bottom facing sensors, all having the purpose of making the drone more stable and enabling some flight modes like return to home automatically. The more satellites, the better, so some companies also include other satellite systems like GLONASS, GALILEO to increase precision.

Best Professional and Commercial Drones for sale

best-drones-podium-arm

In this section we’ll look at the best professional drones and underline what the best uses for each are, so you don’t have to choose between too many average ones in your particular industry.

1. DJI Mavic 3 - Best Professional Camera Drone

camera-icon-spec
5k
battery-icon-spec
46 min
range-icon-spec
15 km
drone-icon-spec
Huge sensor
PROS
  • Micro 4/3ds sensor
  • Great battery life and range
  • Secondary 7x optical zoom camera
  • Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance
  • Smart Return to home
CONS
  • None whatsoever

The Mavic 3 is the most recently released Pro Drone from DJI and it's made for professional cinematic use and the specs show it.

From the huge micro 4/3rds sensor to the 46 minute battery life and the proper 15 km range, everything screams top of the range. The large sensor is suitable for photographers or videographers who want to have the best results in low light as well as capture very true to life colors thanks to the Hasselblad setup. The secondary 7x optical zoom camera can work in anything from search and rescue to gaining a new perspective in your shots.

While the side by side results won't be noticeable for most people in terms of final image quality compared to something like the DJI Air 2s,  the finer adjustments, colors and low light performance make it one of the best cinematic professional drones in the compact range.

2. DJI Air 2s - Best Professional Camera Drone under $1000

camera-icon-spec
5.4k
battery-icon-spec
31 min
range-icon-spec
12 km
drone-icon-spec
GPS and sensors
PROS
  • 1-inch sensor
  • Great battery life and range
  • Stunning camera quality for the price
  • 48mp photos
  • 4 direction obstacle avoidance
  • Compact design
CONS
  • None whatsoever

If you're looking for a professional camera drone for taking photos and videos of everything commercial, from real estate, weddings, commercials, the DJI Air 2s is the best drone for the price!

I personally tested and reviewed every DJI drone released so far and when I saw that we're getting a 1-inch sensor and all this technology in such a compact drone I just have to recommend it.

The 1-inch sensor means better low-light photography and videos as well as the ability to zoom in.

It can shoot video in 10 Bit DLog for extra precise post-processing of colors.

It's a dream for photographers, as it comes with a dynamic range of 12.6 F stops and even HDR photos.

The obstacle avoidance sensors and technology are even better than before, considering they were already some of the best in the market, now DJI has added upward sensors too.

The Air 2s can follow and track any subject with ease and you can use automatic flight modes called MasterShots.

If your budget is around $1000, you can buy a Mavic Air 2s with accessories and it will take stunning footage and photos.

It’s also super stable in windy conditions and with that 12 km range and 1080p live transmission, I don’t think you’ll be too afraid to play with it.

Overall this is a beast of a camera drone for a super affordable budget.

 

3. Best Industrial Commercial drone (DJI Matrice 300 RTK)

camera-icon-spec
Modular
battery-icon-spec
55 min
range-icon-spec
15 km
drone-icon-spec
3 payloads

One of the latest releases of DJI in terms of enterprise solutions is the Matrice 300 RTK which is a monster of a quadcopter. Being able to carry up to 3 different types of payload at the same time and stay in the air for 55 minutes in total.

It also comes with a 15 km transmission range and operates in low temperatures  (recommended max of -20 degrees celsius).

You can get it with different payload cameras including the Zenmuse H20 or the H20T. These can integrate the following:

  • A 23 X zoom camera
  • Wide angle camera
  • Laser range finder
  • Thermal camera

It is made for special operations that require anything from inspection to mapping and search and rescue.

It can track moving objects at very far ranges and can alert you of incoming aircraft thanks to the ADS-B receiver.

It also has some of the most advanced 6 direction sensing and positioning systems.

It also has a dual battery setup which makes it very fast to land the drone and change the battery without the need to restart it when time is of importance.

4 . Skydio X2 - Professional Commercial Autonomous Drone

camera-icon-spec
4k and thermal
battery-icon-spec
35 min
range-icon-spec
10 km
drone-icon-spec
foldable
skydio x2 professional obstacle avoidance

While the Skydio 2 is priced and equipped for standard consumer level, the X2 is a recently released drone made specifically for industrial use.

It improves on the already incredible obstacle avoidance drone and even adds the folding capability to make it more compact.

It’s made for uses like search and rescue, inspections and public safety.

It comes with a 100x superzoom lens, a thermal camera and can be operated both during day and night.

The Skydio X2 is made from durable plastic and industry-grade carbon fiber.

The range is somewhere around 6 miles and the battery lasts for around 35 minutes. It seems to be advertised mainly for military and police use.

5.Best Professional 3d Mapping drone - DJI Phantom 4 RTK

camera-icon-spec
4k 20mp
battery-icon-spec
30 min
range-icon-spec
10 km
drone-icon-spec
mapping
SPECS
  • RTK module for precision
  • 1cm horizontal precision
  • Long range and flight time
  • Built in bright screen in the controller
  • Advanced mapping app included
  • Obstacle sensing
  • Mechanical shutter

The RTK version of the Phantom 4 is designed for high-precision real-time aerial mapping. It uses a 1 inch 20 mp CMOS sensor which is amazing for capturing high-quality image data to transform into a precise map.

The RTK module makes this drone super precise when determining its position according to GPS satellites ( up to 1 cm horizontal positioning accuracy, compared to 1-meter standard) and a 5 cm horizontal accuracy which is also insane.

It’s also made for surveying as it offers a wide range of control schemes and accuracy.

It also comes with the DJI GS RTK app which has plenty of tools for everything from surveying to mapping with ultra-precision. This allows you to plan your flights ahead and it includes a photogrammetry program along with a waypoint flight.

The drone also comes with a controller with a bright screen included, so no need to clumsily connect your phone and not see well enough in daylight.

6. Longest range commercial VTOL ( Autel Dragonfish)

camera-icon-spec
4k
battery-icon-spec
120 min
range-icon-spec
30 km
drone-icon-spec
VTOL
autel dragonfish commercial vtol drone
SPECS
  • 4k dual sensor 20x zoom (standard one)
  • Triple sensor one ( 20 x zoom and thermal camera)
  • Multispectral (1 RGB wide angle/ 5 multispectral sensors)
  • Third party payloads

The Autel Dragonfish made it at the top of my list with the best fixed wing drones and for good reasons.

It's a VTOL drone, which means it can take off like a multirotor but it flies in the air like a plane, this makes it easier to use than a fixed-wing and with much longer flight times compared to any normal multirotor.

Autel is also one of the main competitors for DJI, making it on of the biggest drone companies in the US.

It's made for surveying, reconnaissance and mapping.

The standard setup comes with a 20x zoom.

 

7.Commercial Professional Agriculture Drone (Agras T16)

camera-icon-spec
FPV cam
battery-icon-spec
18 min
range-icon-spec
5 km
drone-icon-spec
16L tank
SPECS
  • Drone weight 18.5 kg
  • Speed 10m/s
  • AI engine
  • 18 min battery
  • 5 km
  • 3d operation planning
  • 16L of fluid
  • 10 hectares sprayed per hour
  • 4.8l/min
  • 6.5m spray width

If we talk about agricultural drones, especially spraying ones, we need some size to the machine. Even more, heavy lifting drones like this one tend to have more than 4 rotors, being either hexacopter or octocopters to be able to lift a larger payload safely.

The Agras T16 is a drone that can carry up to 16 liters of fluid and can spray up to 6.5 meters in width, making it one of the most efficient AG drones on the market and can cover 10 hectares per hour.

It’s also waterproof (IP 67) and dustproof while also being made from durable plastic and parts of carbon fiber.

However, in drones large as this one with such a heavy payload, battery life can be more problematic, as 18 minutes is as much as it can fly with one full tank.

IT also uses an extra precision RTK module with all the GPS satellites available, including GLONASS, BeiDOu (china satellite system), and Galileo too.

Even though it’s very large, the foldable system can reduce it to a more transportable size (getting down to 25% of the original structure).

8.Professional drone with long flight time (Autel Evo 2)

camera-icon-spec
6k or 8k
battery-icon-spec
40 min
range-icon-spec
9 km
drone-icon-spec
Dual camera option
PROS
  • Great battery life and range
  • Sensors all around
  • Great Follow me option
  • Modular camera
  • Solid build
  • Great for Mapping
CONS
  • Slightly bigger than the mavic series

If flight time is of utmost importance, the 40 minute air time of the Autel Evo 2 is as high-end as you’ll get for this price and size. It’s really hard to beat, especially considering the other high-end drones fly at most 30 minutes.

What’s more, this drone is created with professionals in mind. 

It comes in 2 versions, the 8k and 6k camera versions (the body is the same). The 8k version has a dual-camera setup, including an IR (infrared) camera.

The Professional version comes with a 1-inch 6k camera, while the normal version has a ½ inch sensor.

Just like the Mavic 2 Pro, it specs 360 degree oriented obstacle avoidance sensors and comes with stunning obstacle avoidance and tracking modes.

Overall this is as professional as it gets, for quite an affordable price if you are to ask me.

9.Best Professional Mini Drone under 250 grams (DJI Mini 2)

camera-icon-spec
4k
battery-icon-spec
31 min
range-icon-spec
10 km
drone-icon-spec
Under 250g
PROS
  • Great Battery life and range
  • Under 250 grams
  • Very Compact
  • High quality 4k footage
  • 3 axis gimbal
CONS
  • No Follow Me

If you’re looking for a professional mini drone, there are really few options to choose from. There are two of them I can think of, both being very similar. One is the Xiaomi Fimi x8 mini which I reviewed and the other, DJI Mini 2 which is currently my most used drone.

Being under 250 grams it’s legal to fly without registration in most countries. It’s also incredibly portable and still comes with a Level 5 wind resistance which is on par with the bigger drones.

You might wonder if such a drone is worthy in fact to include in a list with professional ones, and my answer is a clear yes!

I have actually compared the Mini 2 with an under $1000 drone, the aforementioned Mavic Air 2 and not only it stood its ground, but people couldn’t actually make the difference.

The 4k camera is as sharp as any high-end one and the 3 axis gimbal is stellar even as small as this one is.

The 10 km range and 31-minute battery life makes it top range for this price category by far.

While it doesn’t have sensors in the front or back or active tracking, it still has some interesting flight modes and manual camera settings like ISO, shutter speed, and such. You can add ND filters to it and turn it into a great cinematic camera drone.

The only downside of this drone at a glance is that if you come with this at a client's place they might not take you too seriously (because of the size).

10.Compact Commercial Drone for inspections (Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced)

camera-icon-spec
4k +thermal
battery-icon-spec
31 min
range-icon-spec
10 km
drone-icon-spec
RTK precision

The upgraded version from the original Mavic 2 Enterprise, now the Advanced version brings one of the most complete industrial packages in a very compact drone.

Coming with an RTK module and a few others:

  • Spotlight
  • Speaker
  • Beacon
  • RTK

This is one of the most versatile and state-of-the-art drones for everything from Mapping to inspection and surveillance.

The dual Camera includes a 49mp visual camera with 32x digital zoom and a state-of-the-art thermal camera. The 32x zoom is 4x lossless and 32 digital zoom.

It also comes with omnidirectional obstacle sensing and obstacle avoidance.

The RTK Module allows for centimeter-level precision in mapping and flight positioning in general.

The app can split the screen to see images from the two cameras side by side, making it extremely helpful in search and rescue missions for example.

The RTK module also has an important role in creating precise waypoints to conduct automated, detailed inspection missions in complex environments.

11.Best commercial flight platform (DJI matrice 600 Pro)

camera-icon-spec
Modular
battery-icon-spec
38 min
range-icon-spec
5 km
drone-icon-spec
5.5kg payload

The Matrice 600 Pro from DJI is one of the best cinema drones out there made to fit natively with DJI cameras and gimbals as well as your own cameras.

 It's more of a flying platform than a drone, thanks to its modular components. The robust design features large actively cooled motors, a carbon fiber hexacopter frame with foldable legs. This allows the bottom camera to turn around 360 degrees of freedom.

The octocopter design makes the drone refundable in case of motor failure and more stable in the air compared to a quadcopter

12.Cheap Professional Hexacopter drone (Yuneec Tornado H920)

camera-icon-spec
DSLR + gimbal
battery-icon-spec
24 min
range-icon-spec
2 km
drone-icon-spec
1.6kg payload
PROS
  • Can mount different payloads
  • Can carry a DSLR
  • Obstacle sensors optional
  • Being a hexacopter, it comes with motor redundancy
  • Stable in flight
CONS
  • Larger than the previous mentioned drones

This drone is quite cheap for what it can do and it is a heavy lifting drone able to even lift heavy DSLR cameras off the ground (if it’s under 1.6kg payload).

It’s really well built and it can fly at up to 25mph (40km/h). 

One of the better points of this drone is the outstanding controller, which comes with an included LCD screen that gives access to the main features as well as simply being well built.

Since it’s a hexacopter it also has a motor failure redundancy system, so if a motor fails working, the drone can still get on the ground safely.

It also has an RTK module at the top for additional precision in flight and mapping.

Overall a solid hexacopter used for cinematography.

13.Best Professional FPV Drone Racing quadcopter (DJI FPV Drone)

camera-icon-spec
4k 60p
battery-icon-spec
20 min
range-icon-spec
10 km
drone-icon-spec
150km/h
PROS
  • Comes with GPS (unique in the FPV world)
  • Super fast
  • Has an emergency Button
  • Some of the longest flight times in the FPV hobby
  • Automatic flight modes and return to home
  • Very long range
  • Digital FPV transmission
CONS
  • Quite expensive for how easy it is to break

While I still fly a cinewhoop called Diatone Taycan, it just so happens that DJI have revolutionized the FPV industry too. If you want a cinematic FPV drone, there’s a few options:

  • Getting a cine whoop (with prop guards) and put a gopro on it
  • Get a more serious FPV drone and learn the settings and put a gopro on it
  • Buy the latest DJI FPV drone and you won’t need a gopro or that much messing around

So if you’re interested in flying FPV like you see online pilots doing flips all while filming cinematic stabilized video, the DJI FPV Drone can be your easiest way to start.

It will still require days of practice in a simulator before you even make your first flight, but DJI also provides a free simulator and what’s more GPS included so even if you lose control you have a safety button that will make the drone hover in place.

The included 4k 60p EIS stabilized camera also replaces what should have been an expensive gopro so you don’t have to mess with that.

The alternative is to dive a bit deeper into the hobby and buy a protected professional FPV drone that has prop guards around it and mount a gopro on it. This will make the experience safer for the drone and people since it has those prop guards, but it means it won’t have GPS and you’ll have to do a bit of digging around until you manage to fly it. You can also use this with the DJI FPV system (which is just a camera and goggles system) that will allow digital transmission which means a clearer FPV image.

14. Best Professional Commercial Cinema Drone (Inspire 2)

camera-icon-spec
Modular cameras
battery-icon-spec
23-27 min
range-icon-spec
7km
drone-icon-spec
94km/h
SPECS
  • Transforming design
  • 360 camera moving freedom
  • Dual operator with 2 cameras
  • 2 direction sensors
  • 2 batteries for redundancy
  • Modular camera bay

If you are looking for the best of the best in terms of cinematic results, while still at a reasonable price, the Inspire 2 is a great platform.

It features a 360 degree camera system which means that it can rotate the camera freely in every direction, since the arms and legs of the drone are lifted up in the air.

It is capable of recording RAW video at up to 5.2k and its maximum speed of 58mph (94kph) means it’s capable of following anything you throw at it.

The dual battery system prolongs the flight time to 27 minutes, which might not seem much by the standards of other drones, but considering it’s weight it’s plenty.

It also comes with an additional FPV camera that can stream video, so it makes it compatible for dual pilot operation, making it easier for each to focus on flight and video separately.

The zenmuse camera series can be mounted on it, providing a wide range of options for every type of cinematographer.

This drone is great for tracking fast moving objects or flying at fast speeds.

15. Best Professional Follow me Sports drone (Skydio 2)

camera-icon-spec
4k 60p
battery-icon-spec
23 min
range-icon-spec
3 km
drone-icon-spec
tracking
skydio-2-drone-review.jpg
SPECS
  • Best drone tracking I’ve seen
  • Perfect for sports
  • Durable
  • High quality camera
  • 2 axis +EIS stabilized camera
  • Good GPS
  • Interesting accessories

If you’re looking for a professional drone that can follow you wherever you go without even having to care if it ever crashes, this is it. The Skydio 2 uses cameras all around to detect and avoid obstacles in real time while keeping the subject in focus.

Although you may think this is exactly what the other drones from DJI do, it’s way better. I am impressed indeed by what DJI follow me can do and how it can avoid obstacles, but the Skydio is on a whole new level to the point where you can do sports and not care about the drone at all and it will simply never crash.

It features a 1/2.3” sensor and 4k 60FPS camera that can take HDR footage. It also has a beacon accessory that you can hold in your pocket or control the drone through it and it will improve the tracking accuracy by locating the beacons GPS location.

Overall this is a combination between a capable camera drone and a tracking dog, perfect to use for sports and adventure and especially great for beginners since it’s so hard to crash. The only downside is that it isn’t foldable so it does take up some space.

16.Best fixed wing mapping & surveying commercial drone (Sensefly Ebee X)

camera-icon-spec
modular
battery-icon-spec
90 min
range-icon-spec
8 km
drone-icon-spec
Fixed wing
senseFly-eBee-Plus-e1475848113108
SPECS
  • Speeds of up to 110 km/h
  • Long flight time
  • Large coverage for mapping
  • Multiple camera modules available
  • 1.3 kg - 1.6 kg (2.2 - 3.6 lb) weight (depends on camera)
  • 500 ha (~1,250 ac) coverage in 1 flight
  • index map, 3d point cloud, contour lines,3d mapping

A fixed-wing drone will fly for a longer time and cover larger distances in shorter time. That's why a commercial fixed-wing is used generally for mapping and photogrametry.

The Ebee X is a solid base fixed wing drone compatible with all senseFly cameras like:

  • dual thermal mapping camera rig
  • 3d mapping camera
  • photogrammetry camera
  • multispectral camera (for agriculture)
  • large sensor camera
  • pro camera for mapping linear infrastructure and sites

The great features and relatively affordable price (for the industry) make the SenseFly Ebee x a great choice in any of your mapping endeavors.

17.Best Commercial Tricopter (Atlas Pro)

camera-icon-spec
4k 60p
battery-icon-spec
45 min
range-icon-spec
8 km
drone-icon-spec
tracking
professional tricopter drone
SPECS
  • tricopter
  • visor NX cam (thermal)
  • Argus M10 cam (zoom camera)
  • 12.7MP 1/2 3" CMOS camera
  • docking station
  • controlling station

You don't often see a commercial tricopter drone, but it has it's advantages, believe it or not.

I wrote a separate article on tricopter drones, but long story short, tricopters are more agile and a bit more efficient compared to other drones. They have disadvantages like potential instability, but not with the proper technology.

The Atlas is made fully out of carbon fiber so it's very durable and weather resistant (IP52) and what separates it from other in the industry is that it's quite small.

You can use this drone with their ipad app. The tricotper also comes with a "nest" that can automatically change the drone batteries inside.

You can easily exchange payload cameras depending on your needs (like thermal, mapping etc)

18.Best heavy lifting commercial quadcopter ( FreeFly Alta X)

camera-icon-spec
Modular
battery-icon-spec
22-50 min
range-icon-spec
10 km
drone-icon-spec
15 kg payload
freefly alta x
SPECS
  • Active Blade design for less vibration
  • can carry a gimbal
  • lidar
  • mapping camera
  • high speed 1000 FPS cam
  • cinema grade LED light
  • RTK GPS

FreeFly is one of the most trustworthy commercial drone companies in the US with tons of tests completed on their drones before flight.

The Alta X is their newest heavy lifting professional quadcopter that stands on its own as a platform for pretty much anything, from film making, to delivery or even industrial inspection or mapping.

Depending on the payload it can fly up to 50 minutes and thanks to the unique motor bearing system, the team managed to reduce vibrations considerably that are quite frequent for such large motors.

 

19.Long endurance Hybrid multirotor (Perimeter 8)

camera-icon-spec
modular
battery-icon-spec
1-5 hours
range-icon-spec
100km
drone-icon-spec
7.5kg payload
perimeter-x-professional-drone
SPECS
  • 5 hours of no-payload endurance
  • 1 hour of endurance with a 17lb / 7.5kg payload
  • 100 KM / 60 MILES range
  • max speed 36 mph (57 km/hr)
  • -10°C to 50°C operating temp
  • hybrid  octocopter

This octocopter is a hybrid between an electrigasc motor and also a gas powered drone making it very efficient in terms of flight times (especially with no aditional weight).

It has full propeller, motor and ESC redundancy, so if a motor fails, the drone will keep flying.

The drone isn't as fast as the electric ones, but it certainly compensates because it is so long enduring.

Actually, the team behind, Skyfront, has managed to break the world record with one of their drones and fly for 13 hours and 205 miles... talk about long-range and flight time.

The drone can be used for mapping, surveillance, and security as well as search and rescue.

 

20.Best commercial search and rescue drone (Vantage Vesper)

camera-icon-spec
thermal & zoom & EO
battery-icon-spec
50 min
range-icon-spec
8 km
drone-icon-spec
waterproof
vantage vesper drone
SPECS
  • 2x low light EO + IR, 320p thermal
  • 48x zoom
  • 3-axis stabilized gimbal
  • 50 minute flight time
  • 45 mph top speed
  • 2.2 lb packed in IP64 waterproof
  • crush-proof case
  • AES-256 encryption
  • built in USA

The Vantage Vesper, probably the best recognizance drone in the world that's also super compact and with some stunning specs.

The ideal use for search and rescue, military operations, and police.

The Vantage Vesper is waterproof, comes with 3 cameras, including thermal, low light infrared and a 48x zoom one, all of these under the same gimbal.

at just 2.2lb it is quite portable, perfect for professional recon missions.

The drone is foldable and can slide down in a small rectangular tube, making it much more portable than the others with similar specs on this list.

21.Large professional surveillance drone - Airborne Vanguard

camera-icon-spec
zoom & thermal
battery-icon-spec
94 min
range-icon-spec
12 km
drone-icon-spec
4.5 kg payload
airborne vanguard
SPECS
  • 94 min battery
  • dual camera 1x zoom and thermal
  • 4.5kg max payload
  • modular camera option

The Airborne Vanguard is a long range professional quadcopter that can fly for extended amounts of time.

It can be used for surveillance and security, wildlife, inspection and detection, mapping, delivery, farming etc.

It comes with a dual-camera configuration, that includes a 10x zoom camera and a thermal flir boson camera.

It's one of the longest flying consumer drones I know of,  and that is its strong suite.

 

Frequently asked questions about pro drones

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Some more details before you decide what professional drone to actually pick!

How much does a professional drone cost?

Professional drones are usually over $1000 in price, but if there are 2 exceptions that I mentioned in this article that can start from $500 instead. However the average price for more advanced industrial drones are somewhere around $4000 or more sometimes.

What are the best professional drone accessories?

Professional drone accessories differ a bit from standard ones, and here are some of them:

  • RTK modules (made to increase the precision of GPS to the centimeter and used in mapping)
  • Infrared cameras (for search and rescue and other uses)
  • Zoom cameras ( zoom over 10x is quite frequently found in professional cameras since it’s such a useful tool to have in almost any situation)
  • Modular professional gimbals/cameras

If you want to see what other accessories are standard for a drone, check out my article on the best drone accessories.

What are the best Commercial drones companies?

DJI is by far one of the most popular drone manufacturers, period. They own 75% of the market in total and have extended even more in the profesional industrial drone space.

However there are other companies that I have presented in the article, including:

  • Autel - A large scale producer of professional drones and fixed wing drones that is probably the main competitor for DJI
  • FreeFLy - a dominant US based drone company in the film business and with amazing quality control but few offerings
  • Yuneec - originally an aircraft producer, now owning some of the popular drones in the market
  • Parrot - mainly into toy drones, but also got an industrial level drone in the form of the Anafi Pro
  • Skydio - recently expanded on the industrial drone market with great success

Which commercial drone has the longest range?

The Autel Dragonfish can fly up to 30 km in range (18 miles) and maintain a live feed during this time. It can also fly for very extended periods of time because it's a fixed wing drone.

How long can Professional drones fly for?

The Autel Dragonfish is one of the longest flying drones commercial drones on the market, with a battery life of 120 minutes. It can fly for that long because it is a VTOL drone, that can fly like a fixed wing while also landing like a multicopter.

Professional Drones conclusion to the article

While the meaning of professional commercial drone might not be the same for everyone, it’s safe to say that the more industrial-scale you’re going, the more expensive the drone. So if you happen to only need a good camera drone for things like real estate or video content creation, stick with the cheaper professional drones I recommended on the list.

paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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