Best Drones with Longest Flight time

ULTIMATE Guide for 2021
drones-with-long-flight-time

You’re looking for the top drones with long battery life because you’re probably looking to buy one, right? Or maybe you are just curious to simply find out what is the drone with the longest flight time in the world… Whatever your interest might be in the battery life of drones, this article will more than cover all aspects.

How long is the typical battery life on a drone?

A typical consumer drone can fly typically between 10 to 30 minutes, while more advanced professional drones can fly for even an hour or more. The typical battery life of toy drones (usually under $100) is on the lower end, averaging at 10 minutes, while camera drones (like DJI ones) have recently been able to consistently fly around 25- 30 minutes.

What drone has the world's longest flight time?

The longest time a drone can fly has been established by SkyFront, with a flight of 13 hours (13h 3 min 57 seconds),  taking off at 06:08 AM and landing at 07:12 PM.

This also wasn’t just hover time, the drone flew for over 205 miles  (330 km). The SkyFront is a hybrid electric drone that works both as a gas powered drone as well as an electric one.

Drone flight time comparison table

In the table below you can find some of the most popular drones sorted by battery life in order. I have many other drones included in this article, but further on.

This is more of a first introduction if you're in a hurry.

To be noted that I'm not going to introduce Long Flying Military drones until the very end because those would just blow everything out the water.

drone-price-dollar-icon.png
DJI tello
dji-tello-small
720p
12 min
100m
Bugs 3
mjx-bugs-3-small
GoPro
16 min
100m
DJI FPV Drone
dji-fpv-drone-small
4k
20 min
10 km
F11 4k Pro
sjrc-f11-4k-pro-small
4k
25 min
1.2 km
Mini 2
4k
31 min
10 km
DJI Ar 2s
air-2s-small
5k
31 min
12 km
Mavic Air 2
4k
33 min
10 km
Autel Evo 2
evo-2-small
8k
40 min
9 km
Matrice 300 RTK
matrice-300-rtk-small
modular
55 min
15 km
Autel Dragonfish
autel-dragonfish-small
modular
120 min
30 km

How accurate are the battery life reports from the drone companies?

Can a DJI Mini 2 actually fly for 31 minutes in real life? Well, the specs presented by drone companies are usually measured in ideal conditions and until the battery is completely drained (Which is not recommended in real life). So, no, the numbers given by the companies aren’t entirely reflective of the real life scenarios.

In real life scenarios, with any drone you’ll fly about 3 to 5 minutes less than what the actual specs say.

Drones compared by battery life

best-drones-podium-arm

In this section I’m going to compare the flight times of some of the most popular models (and ones I would personally recommend myself) and give you a list with pretty much most drones you can buy and how long they can fly.

Drones with 1 hour flight time (or more)

Here's a chart comparison and a list with the drones I could find that can fly for an hour or more (up to 2 hours or more).

I'm not getting too much in detail here but here's the list of them:

  • Dji matrice 300 rtk 55 min 15 km
  • Autel DragonFIsh 2 hours 30 km
  • Sensefly Ebee X 90 min 8 km
  • Perimeter 8  5 hours 100km
  • Vantage VEsper 50 min 8 km waterproof
  • Airborne Vanguard 94 min 12 km Surveillance

 

drones with 1 hour or longer battery life chart comparison

Drones with 30 minutes flight time (compared)

These drones tend to be some of the most affordable, some costing even under $500. Here's a list with the drones that can fly for 30 minutes in no particular order:

  • Phantom 4 Pro 30 min 7km
  • DJI Mini 2 31 min
  • DJI Mini SE 30 min 4 km
  • Mavic Air 2 33 min 10 km
  • DJI Air 2s 31 min 12 km
  • Mavic 2 31 min 9 km
  • Autel Evo 2 40 min
  • Skydio x2 35 min 10 km
  • Matrice 600 PRO 38 min 5 km
drones with 30 minutes of flight time chart comparison

Drones with 20 minutes flight time

Usually more affordable and will less features, drones on this list could be either cheaper or a but outdated, however you'll find that heavier drones like the professional Inspire 2 is around this range even though it's an incredible quadcopter.

  • 3DR Solo 22 min 500m
  • DJI Phantom 3 23 min 3km
  • Parrot bebop 2  25 min 3km
  • DJI Inspire 2 27 min 7km
  • Yuneec Typhoon H 25 min  1.2 km
  • SJRC F11 4k PRO 25 min 1.2km
  • DJI FPV Drone 20 min 10 km
  • Skydio 2 23 min 3 km
drones with 20 minutes flight time chart comparison

Best Long Battery life drones (by type)

best-drones-podium-arm

In this section we're going to look at each of the drones I would recommend best that have some of the highest battery life from their respective category (either price or utility).

1.Longest flying camera drone - Autel Evo 2 (foldable)

camera-icon-spec
8k
battery-icon-spec
40 min
range-icon-spec
10 km
drone-icon-spec
Foldable
PROS
  • Great battery life and range
  • Sensors all around
  • Great Follow me option
  • Modular camera
  • Solid build
  • Great for Mapping
CONS
  • Was a big sluggish to fly (but a recent update fixed it)

We’ll start in no particular order with the Autel Evo 2 as it’s one of the longest flying professional camera drones that’s still foldable. There are definitely drones that can fly longer than that, but they cost exponentially more and are considerably bigger too.

The Evo 2 is one of the best choices if you’re looking for a really capable photo and video drone with an outstanding 6k or 8k camera (modular) that can fly both for a long time (40 minutes) as well as for quite a long range of 9 km.

From the two versions, the 6k one is actually more professional, coming with a 1 inch sensor, which makes it great for low light scenarios.

Just like the DJI drones, it also comes with 360 degree obstacle avoidance sensors and tracking features.

2.Longest flying mini drone - DJI Mini 2 (under 250g)

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

Not everyone is looking to compromise everything else in a drone to have a long battery life, so that’s why I included a mini drone on this list with an incredibly long battery life: the DJI Mini 2

It’s the longest flying drone under 250 grams too, from what we know now (even though the Hubsan Zino Mini might even surpass it).

Even more, besides the fact that you don’t have to register it, it’s also quite a capable camera drone, coming with a 3 axis gimbal and 4k camera that are very well tuned and really hard to distinguish from more professional models.

It’s pretty much the best travel drone you can buy in my opinion and speaking of battery life it can fly for 31 minutes max, which is a ton!

3.Longest flying commercial drone - Matrice 300 RTK

camera-icon-spec
Modular
battery-icon-spec
55 min
range-icon-spec
15 km
drone-icon-spec
Professional
PROS
  • Can hold up to 3 different cameras at once
  • Great autonomy
  • Long flight range (15 km)
  • Very good build quality
  • Can carry a lot of weight
CONS
  • Battery life decreases the more weight you add

The Matrice 300 RTK is one of my top recommended commercial drones and for a lot of good reasons, one of them being the impressive 55 minutes flight time.

However, keep in mind that this drone can carry a lot of payload, including 3 entire gimbals with different cameras at the same time (maybe a thermal camera, 23x zoom camera, wide-angle camera etc.) . Having more payloads will considerably decrease the flight time, even down to less than 20 minutes.

Some of the basic payload cameras that can be used with this drone include the Zenmuse H20 or the Zenmuse H20T.

It is made for special operations, including inspections, mapping, search and rescue where long battery life is of utmost importance.

It also has a dual battery setup, which offers some kind of battery redundancy in case of failure as well as the ability to change on battery on the go even without stopping the motors.

4.Longest flying fixed wing drone - Autel DragonFish (2 h)

camera-icon-spec
Modular
battery-icon-spec
55 min
range-icon-spec
15 km
drone-icon-spec
Professional
autel dragonfish fixed wign pro drone
PROS
  • Vertical  takeoff (like a drone)
  • Very fast speed (can cover a lot)
  • Long range
  • 2 hours battery life
  • Modular camera build
  • More silent
CONS
  • Quite expensive for most people

This is probably the weirdest looking drone on this list, mainly because it resembles a plane more than the standard multicopter you had in mind. However, this is no standard fixed wing flyer, as it can actually take off like a multirotor drone and then change to plane mode, which is known as a VTOL (vertical takeoff).

Because of this and other optimizations, the Autel Dragonfish is one of the longest flying drones you can fly commercially, being able to stay in the air for 2 entire hours.

Just like the Matrice previously mentioned, it also has a modular camera setup, where it can exchange between multiple setups including a 20x zoom camera, thermal etc.)

5.Beginner drone with long battery life- SJRC F11 4k Pro

camera-icon-spec
4k
battery-icon-spec
25 min
range-icon-spec
1.2km
drone-icon-spec
EIS + gimbal
PROS
  • Comes with GPS
  • Long battery life
  • Super cheap
  • Brushless motors
  • 2 axis gimbal + EIS
CONS
  • None for the price

The SJRC F11 4k Pro is probably the best camera drone you can buy for under $200 that also happens to have quite a great range for that price category.

I’m saying that because I am actually looking at it while I’m writing these words… and it comes with a 2 axis gimbal and electronic image stabilization which makes it one of the most stable footage drones you can get for the price.

Of course, it also has GPS and return to home and the 25 minute battery life is usually enough to capture most of the stuff you plan to.

The F11 4k Pro comes with brushless motors which are stronger than standard brushed ones sometimes found in cheaper drones. It’s overall  a great foldable quadcopter made for people who want a cheap GPS drone and a good set of specs.

6.Longest flying cheap drone - MJX Bugs 3

camera-icon-spec
Gopro
battery-icon-spec
16 min
range-icon-spec
100m
drone-icon-spec
Beginner
PROS
  • Solid build
  • Super cheap
  • Brushless motors
  • Great for action cameras and gopros
CONS
  • Not foldable

Another cheap drone, but now to a more extreme extent, costing well under $100, but with an incredibly solid frame and very durable and powerful brushless motors.

This is great for people who want to stick an action camera or gopro on their drone and still want a flight time of over 15 minutes. This drone is impressive mainly because the typical drone in this price range flies for around 6 to 10 minutes, yet the Bugs 3 can fly for about 16 minutes because it has more efficient brushless motors and a larger battery.

7.Drone with longest flight time and range - DJI Air 2s

camera-icon-spec
5.2k
battery-icon-spec
31 min
range-icon-spec
12 km
drone-icon-spec
1 inch sensor
PROS
  • Very high resolution
  • 1 inch sensor
  • Amazing obstacle avoidance
  • Amazing tracking
  • Great for photo and video
CONS
  • Less battery life compared to predecessor

The DJI Air 2s is the newest upgrade from the Mavic Air 2, which was and still is a great drone by itself. The new setup added a more impressive camera of 1 inch, but somehow shaved about 2 minutes of flight time from the previous drone (probably because of the camera weight).

Even so, it can still fly for 31 minutes and I wanted to mention it on this list because the range it can fly at is one of the most impressive (especially for the price). 

The 31 minutes combined with a 12 km range is quite impressive, but what good is the range if the battery life is consumed before the 12 km are being met.

I actually tested this in real life, and you can’t reach that range with just that amount of battery life and return safely the entire way, however, keep in mind that this long-range also means the signal is stronger and it can deal much better with interference in the city as well as if there are obstacles between the drone and the transmitter.

Otherwise, the Air 2s excels with its 4 directional sensors and upgraded obstacle avoidance and active track technology, being the best on this list in terms of them.

Probably one of the best consumer camera drones you can get.

8.Longest flying racing drone - DJI FPV Drone

camera-icon-spec
5.2k
battery-icon-spec
31 min
range-icon-spec
12 km
drone-icon-spec
1 inch sensor
PROS
  • 150km/h speed
  • Great GPS
  • Simulator included
  • Stabilized Camera
  • Long range
  • Digital FPV transmission
CONS
  • Can be expensive for this hobby

The DJI FPV Drone is one of the longest battery life racing drones there are, and even though you could make a slimmed down custom made long range FPV quad, it wouldn’t have all the features you find on this drone. The typical FPV fast flying racing drone can usually last in the air between 4 and 10 minutes, while the DJI FPV drone doubles that most of the time.

It also comes with GPS and can hover in the air on command, which is especially helpful for beginners who want to learn how to fly a fast drone.

This is a completely different experience from the other multicopters on this list, as it can fly up to 140 km/h and reach 100 km/h (60mph) in just 2 seconds.

9.Longest battery life consumer drone - Mavic Air 2

camera-icon-spec
5.2k
battery-icon-spec
31 min
range-icon-spec
12 km
drone-icon-spec
1 inch sensor
PROS
  • 4K60p
  • 34min battery life
  • HDR video recording
  • great controller
  • internal storage
  • transmitter with screen included
CONS
  • Really nothing I can think of

While we talked about the more recent version, the Mavic Air 2 is still great to buy up to this day and that is because you can probably find it cheaper, and it can fly for longer, up to 33 minutes.

It’s an outstanding camera drone and I would recommend it as one of the best long life consumer drones you can buy under $1000, mainly because of the very well balanced specs and ease of use.

While I presented the Autel Evo 2 before with an even longer flight time, I would not really consider that as close to the “consumer level” model, but more towards more professional uses, also being considerably more expensive than the Air 2.

10. Long flying waterproof drone (PowerVision PowerEgg X)

camera-icon-spec
4k
battery-icon-spec
30 min
range-icon-spec
6km
drone-icon-spec
waterproof
PROS
  • 3 axis gimbal
  • great 4k camera
  • Waterproof enclosure
  • Can land on water
  • Can be detatched and used as a handheld gimbal
CONS
  • Quite large when unfolded

The best waterproof drone I would recommend buying, the PowerEgg X comes from a drone company with a history in weird but very capable drones.

It also comes with a very good 30-minute battery life and a great build overall. It's also special as it can be used as a handheld camera if you take out the removable modular landing gear.

It isn't waterproof by itself but the casing it comes in is. It comes with a great 3 axis stabilized camera, a solid GPS and follow-me mode.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions and some recommendations I have for lower priced drones with long flight times.

Longest flight time drone under $100 - MJX Bugs 3

The MJX Bugs 3, as presented above, is my main choice for drones under $100 in general, and it just so happens that it also comes with a pretty impressive 16 minute battery life for the price you’re paying.

Longest flight time drone under $200 - F11 4k Pro

The F11 4k Pro is one of the longest flying drones under $200, being able to fly 25 minutes. However its strength lies in its very well stabilized camera, brushless motors and 4k resolution, making it a great choice for this price.

Longest flight time drone under $300 - DJI Mini SE

The DJI mini SE is a newly released DJI drone that is very well priced, considering the specs it comes with, including a 30 minute battery life and 4 km range + a 3 axis stabilized gimbal.

Can drones fly for hours?

Yes, drones can fly for entire hours if they are professional long endurance ones, and usually fixed wing drones can fly for at least twice as much as normal multirotors. The skyfront Perimeter 8 Drone managed to set a record by flying for 12 hours straight.

How long can a commercial drone stay in the air?

Commercial drones can usually stay in the air anything between 20-40 minutes, some exceptions being made for high end drones and fixed wing planes that can fly even for a couple of hours.

Why are drone batteries lives so short?

Drone batteries don’t last a long time because they have to permanently adjust their stability in the air as well as maintain their lift, unlike a car that can use inertia to move forward or no gas in a ramp.

Cheap drones are especially short on battery life, as the smaller the drone, the less battery life it usually has. Another reason for why drone batteries don’t last long is different types of motors, in which case using more efficient brushless motors will lead to a better long lasting result compared to brushed motors..

How can I make my drone battery last longer?

There are 3 ways to extend your drone battery life:

  1. Make the drone lighter
    1. Maybe remove the camera, the landing gear or strip the canopy down
    2. You can also build a drone from carbon fiber which is lighter and stronger instead of metal or wood.
  2. Add a bigger battery
    1. If the space allows for this, combining 2 batteries might actually make your drone last for longer, but make it a bit more sluggish (try only with toy drones)
  3. Fly it slower
    1. Don’t use sport mode or simply fly slower to conserve battery life

Here’s a video showing a way to make a toy drone fly for longer (not recommended to try if you don't know what you’re doing).

Which dji drone has the longest flight time?

The longest flying DJI drone is the Matrice 300 RTK with a maximum flight time of 55 minutes, the next one being the Mavic Air 2 consumer drone with a flight time of 33 minutes

Is there a drone with unlimited flight time?

Yes, you can find unlimited flying  drones that are linked by a tether to a ground spot which provides continuous supply of energy. An example is the Fotokite Pro Drone which uses a lightweight wire for transmitting the energy through it and here’s a video showing how it’s done:

What is the longest flying military drone?

THe MQ-C Gray Eagle Extended Range  is an unmanned aircraft that can be considered the longest flying military drone with a maximum endurance of 42 hours, used in long-endurance surveillance and target acquisition and has a maximum takeoff-weight of 4,200lb.

Conclusion to the longest flying drones

Drone battery life has steadily increased with time, even though battery technology isn’t improving at the same pace, the Lipo batteries most quadcopters and RC are using these days are pretty much the same as always, yet with more aerodynamic designs, more efficient motors etc.

A good starting point for a beginner drone is somewhere around 20 minutes, while for a more professional one you might want to look past 30 minutes and if indeed used for industrial large scale purposes, there are options that go in the range of hours of flight time.


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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