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Best Return to Home Drones (My top 8 RTH drones in 2024)

Updated in 2024 by Paul Posea

It's needless to say just how much hassle and worry the return to home feature can save you. And today's market is filled with RTH drones, from DJI's premium offerings to other budget-friendly drones.

But amidst all those GPS drones, how do you choose?

This post is all about helping you do exactly that. I'll be using my personal experience of testing dozens of drones to give you my top recommendations for drones with some of the best RTH capabilities.

Plus, if you're unfamiliar with RTH, we'll also be briefly covering how it works and other commonly asked questions about it.

Comparison Table of Best RTH Drones

Drone ModelCamera QualityFlight TimeRangeGimbal TypePrice Range
DJI Mini 4 Pro4K Up to 34 min18 km3 axis gimbalCheck Out Price
DJI Mavic Air 34kUp to 46 min10 km3 axis gimbalCheck Out Price
Swellpro SplashDrone 44K 30 min5 km3 axis gimbalCheck Out Price
Autel EVO 2 Pro V36KUp to 42 min15 km3 axis gimbalCheck Out Price
Hubsan Zino4K 20 min1 km3 axis gimbalCheck Out Price
Bugs B124K20 min600m2 axis gimbalCheck Out Price
SG906 Pro 24K camera30 min1 kmNo gimbalCheck Out Price
Eachine Ex51080p Up to 30 min1 kmNo gimbalCheck Out Price
drone return to home what is RTH

What is auto Return to home(RTH)?

I think you already know the answer to this basic question, but there are a few details and types of return to home technology that you might not know about.

Return to Home (RTH) is the ability of a drone to come back by itself to the point it took off from. The feature may generally be triggered with the press of a button by the pilot or by the drone itself in an emergency.

So, here’s one thing to note: the return point isn’t necessarily your home, but wherever you launched the drone from, be that a point next to a tree in a park, or on top of a roof.

Types of Return to Home

There are actually two main types of return to home when I think about it:

  • GPS return to home
  • Non GPS return to home

GPS return to home

This is what we're mostly going to focus on, as this is the “true” technology that you can actually use in real-life situations. Advancements in drone technology have enabled even smaller drones to include features like Return to Home.

This means the drone HAS to have a GPS module and at least a few satellites connected.

Usually, drone GPS autopilot also has other features like waypoints and circle around, but more advanced flight modes like these are usually found in more expensive drones like DJI ones.

The GPS Return to home can also be useful in case you're fishing with your drone and want to get it back to shore.

How does GPS RTH work?

The drone saves a point location at the place you took off from and when the return to home gets activated, it will go in a straight line towards the original point.

This usually happens at a set height or at the height you currently are, but we'll see that some drones have additional settings that change a few things.

The farther a quadcopter flies, the more important RTH is, so I recommend you check my article on the Best Long Range drones if you want to have the best of both worlds.

No GPS return to home (one key return)

The one key return home feature you see on very cheap drones (the ones without GPS) is actually nothing more than the drone pressing the back button. Some drones retain the original orientation and put the drone in headless mode and try their best to get it back to you.

This can be useful sometimes, but in my opinion, it's mostly a way to trick people. You could do this yourself just by pressing the left stick towards you… and it would have the same effect, catastrophic if the drone is not facing the right direction.

Another very different way for a drone to return home is when we're talking about underwater drones since they have a tether cable that can be pulled to get the drone back from the water. However a normal waterproof drone can certainly come with GPS.


My top 8 best drone with RTH

This is my top list of Return to Home drones updated for 2024.

Unlike other articles out there, I actually included the best drones for every price category (with well stabilized cameras, not shaky ones).

This is the part where we look more in depth at the drones mentioned in the table above. They're super good drones, ranging from the cheapest GPS ones to some of the professional level ones, so everyone can choose one.

These are my top 8 drones with Return to Home, from the most expensive ones to the least expensive ones (even under $200).

1. DJI Mini 4 Pro - Best 4k RTH drone under 250g








3 axis gimbal

DJI Mini 4 Pro

DJI Mini 4 Pro

The DJI Mini 4 Pro is a standout drone, especially for its advanced Return to Home (RTH) feature. 

Its Advanced Return to Home function autonomously plans obstacle-free routes, scans surroundings, and offers power-saving and original RTH modes.

It ensures swift, efficient returns even with low battery, but the vision-sensing system must be enabled for it to work. 

Notably, it overcomes altitude zone issues during Straight Line RTH, providing a seamless and reliable way to bring the drone back home while prioritizing safety and convenience.

When the signal is lost or the battery gets low, the Mini 4 Pro automatically calculates the quickest and safest route back. It's smart enough to avoid obstacles on its return, making it reliable for both beginners and pros.

Besides all of that, the Mini 4 Pro impresses with its lightweight design under 249g, high-quality camera, and extended flight time, making it a top choice for aerial photography enthusiasts.


  • Exceptional camera quality for its size.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Advanced obstacle avoidance system.
  • Versatile shooting modes for creative content.
  • Impressive flight time.


  • Feels a bit delicate.
  • No obstacle avoidance in auto modes.


Lightweight Design (Under 249g): The drone's ultra-lightweight design is a significant advantage. It's easy to carry and falls under the weight limit that exempts it from certain regulations in many regions, making it more accessible for recreational use.

High-Quality Camera (12/48MP 1/1.3-inch CMOS Sensor): The camera is a standout feature. It captures stunning 4K videos at up to 100p and switches between 12MP and 48MP images. The quality is so high that it can easily be mistaken for footage from a heavier, more professional drone.

3-Axis Mechanical Stabilization: The gimbal ensures smooth and stable footage, even in challenging conditions. This was particularly evident when capturing videos of a fast-moving boat, where the footage remained impressively stable and clear.

Obstacle Detection and Avoidance: With sensors around its body, the Mini 4 Pro intelligently avoids obstacles, enhancing safety during flight. This feature is especially useful when navigating through dense areas like forests or urban environments.

Vertical and Horizontal Shooting: The camera's ability to rotate 90° for vertical shooting adds versatility, making it ideal for content creators who publish on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Extended Flight Time (Up to 34 Minutes): The drone offers a generous flight time, allowing for extended shooting sessions without the need for frequent battery changes.

Wind Resistance: It handles wind well, maintaining stability even in breezy conditions, which is crucial for capturing high-quality aerial footage.

2.Mavic Air 3- Best PRO RTH drone (on a budget)








3 axis gimbal

DJI Mavic Air 3

DJI Mavic Air 3

The DJI Air 3 is a significant advancement in drone technology, particularly in its Return to Home (RTH) feature. 

What makes it stand out is its advanced obstacle avoidance system, which ensures a safe return by detecting and navigating around obstacles. 

Additionally, it can adjust its altitude to avoid terrain and has a precision landing capability, matching the takeoff and landing spots for accuracy. This feature is particularly useful for new pilots, offering peace of mind and reducing the risk of losing the drone. 

With its smart battery management, the drone calculates the needed power to return home, adding an extra layer of safety.


  • Dual cameras for versatile shooting.
  • Advanced obstacle avoidance.
  • Extended battery life.
  • Robust connectivity.


  • Fixed aperture limits flexibility.
  • Larger and heavier than Mini models.


Apart from its RTH technology, the Air 3 impresses with its dual-camera system, long battery life, and enhanced connectivity, making it a versatile choice for various aerial photography and videography needs.

Dual-Camera System (24mm and 70mm Lenses): The Air 3's dual-camera system, featuring 24mm and 70mm lenses, provides exceptional versatility in aerial photography. This setup allows for a wide range of shooting perspectives, from wide-angle landscapes to detailed close-ups.

Omnidirectional Obstacle Avoidance: The drone is equipped with sensors in all directions, enhancing its ability to navigate through complex environments safely. This feature is particularly useful in dense areas, providing an extra layer of safety during flight.

Long Battery Life (Up to 46 Minutes): The Air 3 offers an impressive flight time, allowing for prolonged shooting sessions without frequent battery swaps. This extended battery life is ideal for capturing extensive footage in a single flight.

Enhanced Connectivity (Ocusync 4): With improved connectivity, the Air 3 ensures a stable and reliable link between the drone and the controller, enhancing the overall flying experience.

Versatile Shooting Modes: The drone supports various shooting modes, including 4K slow-motion video and 2.7K vertical video capture, catering to diverse creative needs.

48MP Photo Capture: The Air 3's ability to capture high-resolution 48MP photos ensures detailed and crisp images, suitable for both professional and recreational photography.

3. Swellpro SplashDrone 4 - Best waterproof return to home drone








3 axis gimbal

Swellpro SplashDrone 4

Swellpro SplashDrone 4

The Swellpro SplashDrone 4 distinguishes itself as a highly capable and resilient drone, specifically engineered for operations in wet and marine environments. 

Its standout feature is its comprehensive waterproofing, certified with an IP67 rating, which allows it to operate effectively in and around saltwater. A key aspect of its functionality is the advanced Return to Home (RTH) feature. 

This intelligent system ensures the drone's safe return to its launch point in various scenarios, including signal loss or low battery. The RTH is enhanced by the drone's robust GPS tracking, enabling precise and reliable navigation back to the pilot, a crucial feature for operations over water.


  • Superior waterproof design.
  • Intelligent Return to Home functionality.
  • High-quality camera.
  • Versatile for both aerial and aquatic operations.
  • Durable and reliable


  • Limited waterproof capability after prolonged exposure.
  • Occasional software glitches affecting flight control.


IP67 Seawater-Proof Body: The SplashDrone 4's fully waterproof design is ideal for marine applications, ensuring it can withstand submersion and operate in harsh aquatic conditions.

Advanced Return to Home (RTH): The RTH feature is a critical safety mechanism, especially over water. It automatically activates under specific conditions, guiding the drone back to its starting point with precision.

Dynamic GPS Tracking: Enhanced GPS capabilities offer accurate navigation, essential for the drone's varied applications, including complex aerial photography and videography tasks.

Automatic Power Flip: This innovative feature adds to the drone's resilience, enabling it to self-right if it capsizes in water, ensuring continuous operation.

High-End Camera Quality: Equipped with a 4K camera, the SplashDrone 4 delivers professional-grade imagery, suitable for high-quality photography and videography.

Floating Construction: Its unique ability to land and take off from water surfaces broadens its range of use, making it a versatile tool for different operational scenarios.

4. Autel EVO 2 Pro V3 - Pro RTH that's not DJI








3 axis gimbal

Autel EVO 2 Pro V3

Autel EVO 2 Pro V3

The Autel EVO 2 Pro V3 distinguishes itself with a 1-inch sensor, capable of 6K/8K video and 20MP stills, delivering superior image quality. It offers a substantial 42-minute flight time and a 15km HD transmission range, enhancing its operational scope.

Key specifications include an advanced obstacle avoidance system and an adjustable aperture range from f/2.8 to f/11, allowing for adaptability in various lighting scenarios.

The drone's Return to Home (RTH) feature is particularly advanced, adept at navigating around obstacles for safe return in complex situations.

The EVO 2 Pro V3, suitable for both professional and hobbyist use, is notable for its high-resolution imaging, extended flight capabilities, and robust safety features, including the efficient RTH system.


  • Advanced RTH for enhanced safety.
  • Professional-grade camera quality.
  • Extended flight duration.
  • Agile and responsive flight performance.
  • Durable and reliable construction.


  • High price point for the prosumer category.
  • Some complexity in navigating the user interface.


Advanced Return to Home (RTH): The EVO 2 Pro V3's RTH feature is engineered for reliability, automatically guiding the drone back to its launch point under specific conditions, ensuring safety and peace of mind during flights.

High-Quality Camera System: Equipped with a 1-inch sensor capable of capturing 20MP images and 6K video, the drone excels in delivering professional-grade footage with exceptional detail and clarity.

Extended Flight Time: Offering up to 42 minutes of flight time in optimal conditions, the EVO 2 Pro V3 allows for prolonged missions and extensive aerial coverage without frequent battery changes.

Impressive Maneuverability: The drone's design and engineering provide smooth and responsive flight controls, making it a pleasure to fly and capable of handling challenging environments.

Robust Build Quality: The EVO 2 Pro V3 is constructed with premium-grade materials, ensuring durability and resilience in various operational conditions.

5. Hubsan Zino - Best Camera RTH drone under $300




20 min


1 km


3 axis gimbal


Hubsan Zino

This drone is No.1 in my list with drones under $300 for a pretty long while now, and for a really good reason.

It's one of the best quality drones in terms of footage you can get for the price. Incredibly good 4k (stabilized by a 3 axis gimbal) and quite a few flight modes included, waypoints and a solid return to home if the battery is low.

The zino comes with a 3 axis gimbal and a really good one that's on par with high-end DJI drones in my opinion.

The Flight modes it comes with are also really capable and well made, from Waypoints, circle me function to course lock and it even returns back home on low battery.

With recent software updates this drone became even better (I also made a complete review of the Hubsan Zino).


  • Great 3 Axis Gimbal for the price
  • Solid real 4k camera
  • Good flight modes
  • Lots of accessories
  • Great for the price


  • No obstacle avoidance


4K Camera with 3-Axis Gimbal: The Zino's 4K camera, supported by a 3-axis gimbal, ensures stable and clear footage, rivaling the performance of higher-end drones.

Moderate Flight Time:  20 Minutes of Flight: Offering a flight time of 20 minutes, the Zino is suitable for a range of activities, from casual flying to more focused photography sessions.

Decent Range:  With a range of 1 km, the Zino provides enough distance for most recreational and photography needs.

Advanced Flight Modes:  Versatile Flight Modes: The drone includes several advanced flight modes such as Waypoints, Circle Me, and Course Lock, enhancing its usability and creative potential.
Reliable Return to Home:  Solid Return to Home Feature: The Zino is equipped with a dependable return to home function, especially useful when the battery is low, adding an extra layer of safety.

6. Bugs B12 - Best GPS EIS Camera Drone under $200








2 axis gimbal

mjx bugs b 12 eis drone

Bugs B12

The Bugs B12, although it may sound like a vitamin for Vegans, is definitely one of the best drones you can get for the price from one of my favorite companies (MJX).

They made some really solid drones along the years (like the Bugs 3, that's my favorite under $100).

This drone is definitely the best GPS EIS camera drone under $200 which also returns to home very precisely.

Its strong point is the "EIS" part, which means Electronic Image Stabilization.

It makes for a compact drone that has no mechanical gimbal, but a smaller camera profile instead, which means the drone is cheaper and less fragile overall.

You really can't go wrong with this one for the price!


  • Well stabilized EIS image
  • Cheap price
  • Powerful motors
  • Auto Return to home


  • So-so battery life


4K Camera with EIS4K Camera and Electronic Image Stabilization: The B12 features a 4K camera supported by EIS, offering stable and clear footage without the need for a mechanical gimbal.

Adequate Flight Time20 Minutes of Flight: Providing a flight duration of 20 minutes, the B12 is suitable for a variety of activities, from leisure flying to capturing important moments.

Moderate Range 600m Range: The drone offers a range of 600 meters, which is ample for most recreational and semi-professional uses.

GPS and Return to HomePrecise GPS and Return to Home: Equipped with GPS, the B12 ensures precise navigation and includes a reliable return to home feature for added safety.
Durable and Compact Design2-Axis Gimbal and Compact Profile: The 2-axis gimbal, combined with a smaller camera profile, makes the drone more compact and less prone to damage.

7. SG906 Pro 2 - Best 3 axis stabilized drone under $150








no gimbal

sg906 pro 2 drone with return to home

SG906 Pro 2

This one is at about the same level as the previous one mentioned, the MJX Bugs B12, which means you pretty much choose whichever is cheaper at that time.

One differentiating factor is that the SG906 Pro 2 comes with a 3 axis stabilized camera, which is slightly better than EIS in my opinion.

The 3 axis gimbal upgrade from the original 2 axis gimbal of the original SG906 Pro drone makes a slight difference, but you can definitely consider this closer to DJI, and for a price that's affordable for pretty much anyone!

It's definitely one of my favorite drones under $150 and it's really a miracle it's so cheap!


  • 3 axis stabilized camera
  • brushless motors
  • great GPS
  • foldable design


  • flight modes aren't that reliable


4K Resolution: The SG906 Pro 2 is equipped with a 4K camera, offering high-resolution footage for detailed and clear aerial photography and videography.

Flight Time: This drone provides a substantial 30-minute flight time, allowing for extended periods of recording and exploration.

Flight Range: It can fly up to 1 kilometer away, giving a good balance between distance and control for various flying activities.

Stabilization Technology: Unlike its predecessor, the SG906 Pro 2 features a 3-axis gimbal, offering improved stability and smoother footage compared to Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS).

Return to Home Feature:The drone includes a reliable return to home function, enhancing safety and convenience for pilots, especially in challenging situations or when the battery is low.Overall Value:The SG906 Pro 2 stands out as a favorite under $150, offering features and performance close to more expensive models like DJI, making it an exceptional value for its price.

8. Eachine Ex5 - Best Cheap RTH drone under 250g








no gimbal


Eachine Ex5

Being under 250g is very important these days, as it means you don't have to register your drone in many countries (including the US). Having a very accessible drone like the EX5 for such a cheap price is really great, especially considering it's a pretty capable drone.

This drone is very capable for its price indeed, it comes with solid GPS and return to home, as well as an amazing flight time and brushless motors, one thing is sure, it doesn't come with any image stabilization, and that's kinda hurting the overall image quality.

However, for many people, the drone being under 250g more than compensates for it!


  • Under 250g
  • 30min battery life
  • foldable design
  • good range of 1km
  • stable GPS flight


  • Image quality isn't that great, but nothing more to expect for the price.


Lightweight and Registration-Free:  Weighs under 250g, eliminating the need for registration in many countries, including the US.

Affordable and Capable:  Offers great value for its price, being an accessible and capable drone.

Camera Quality:  Equipped with a 1080p camera.

Extended Flight Time:  Provides a flight duration of up to 30 minutes.

Impressive Range:  Capable of flying up to 1km away.

No Gimbal: Lacks image stabilization as it does not come with a gimbal.

Advanced Features: Includes solid GPS and a reliable return-to-home function.

Importance Of Return To Home Drones (RTH)

Return to Home (RTH) drones are incredibly important for several reasons, especially when considering their functionality in scenarios like low battery, lost signal, regulatory compliance, and overall better performance. Here's a breakdown of these aspects:

Low Battery RTH

When a drone's battery gets low, the Return to Home feature automatically activates. This is crucial because it ensures the drone doesn't run out of power while still in the air, which could lead to a crash or loss of the drone. By returning to its starting point, the drone remains safe and retrievable.

Lost Signal

In cases where the drone loses its connection with the controller, RTH is a lifesaver. This feature kicks in to prevent the drone from getting lost or crashing due to a lack of navigational commands from the pilot. 

It autonomously returns to its home point, ensuring its safety.

Regulatory Compliance

RTH drones contribute to regulatory compliance. Many aviation authorities require drones to have safety features like RTH to minimize risks in the airspace. 

This feature helps in adhering to these regulations, making drone flying safer and more responsible.

Better Performance

Drones equipped with RTH generally offer better performance. This feature is often accompanied by advanced GPS and navigational technologies, enhancing the overall capabilities of the drone.

It provides peace of mind to the pilot, knowing that the drone can autonomously return home in various situations.

Tips and Settings for Using Return to Home

Using the Return to Home (RTH) feature on drones effectively and safely requires understanding and adjusting several settings.here are some essential tips and settings:

Setting the Auto Return To Home Height Correctly

  • Adjust RTH Altitude: Before takeoff, set the RTH altitude in the drone's app. This altitude should be higher than any nearby structures to ensure a safe return.
  • Consider Flying Conditions: The RTH altitude should be set within a recommended range, considering the flying environment. For instance, in urban areas or near large structures, a higher altitude is advisable.

Setting a Smart Drone Home Point

  • Record Home Point: Ensure your drone's home point is accurately recorded with at least 10 satellite GPS connections. This can be the drone's location before takeoff or the remote controller's location.
  • Choose Optimal Location: Select a home point that offers safety and accessibility for the drone's return. Avoid areas with obstacles or hazards.

Ensuring a Clear Landing Area for Your Drone

  • Check Landing Zone: Before enabling RTH, ensure the landing area at the home point is clear and safe. The drone will scan the ground before landing to confirm suitability.
  • Landing Protection Settings: Utilize settings like Landing Protection in the drone's app to enhance safety. The drone will attempt to find a suitable landing area if the initial zone is unsuitable.

Ensuring GREAT GPS Before Flying Your Drone

  • Strong GPS Signal: Make sure your drone has a strong GPS signal before takeoff. This ensures accurate navigation and effective use of the RTH feature.
  • Avoid Interference: Fly in open areas to minimize GPS signal interference from obstacles like buildings or trees.

Additional Considerations

  • Emergency Situations: Know how to disable RTH in emergencies, either through the app or the remote controller.
  • Manual Control: Be prepared to take manual control of the drone if necessary during the RTH process.

How to Recognize Good GPS in Drones

There are 2 main indications of good GPS quality:

No Toilet Bowl Effect

The “toilet bowl effect" is where a drone flies in circles around its initial holding point. Of course, this can be pretty troublesome, and it’s an important sign of poor GPS quality.

Precise RTH Capability

The return to home point must be as precise as possible, preferably around 1 or 2 meters range from the exact point it took off from. 

This is a good indication the GPS is working well.

You’d also want your GPS drone to be able to hover in the same spot, especially when you want to take smoother video without much shaking or movement.

What should you pay attention to when buying a Return to Home Drone?

When buying a Return to Home drone, especially if you're on a budget, here's what to focus on:

Purpose: Decide what you'll use the drone for. If it's for photos or videos, get one with a good camera. If it's just for fun, the camera might not be as important.

Budget: Know how much you want to spend. Drones can range from affordable to very expensive. Setting a budget helps you stay within your means.

Rules and Regulations: Check the drone flying rules in your area. Make sure you know where and how high you can fly.

Flight Time and Battery: Look at how long the drone can fly on a single charge. More flight time might mean buying extra batteries.

Features: Consider features like GPS, obstacle avoidance, and whether it has a follow-me mode. These can make flying easier and more fun.

Type of Drone: Understand the difference between Ready-To-Fly (RTF), Almost-Ready-To-Fly (ARF), and Bind-And-Fly (BNF) drones. RTF is easiest for beginners, while BNF might be cheaper but requires more setup.


In conclusion, picking the right Return to Home (RTH) drone in 2024 comes down to what you need and how much you want to spend. 

There's a big range out there, from high-end to budget-friendly. 

The best part? RTH makes drones safer and easier for beginners. So, think about what you'll use it for, how much you can spend, and the rules for flying drones in your area. Whether you're after great camera quality, long flight times, or cool features, there's a perfect drone for everyone.


Frequently askes Questions

In this section we're covering some of the most important FAQ's regarding GPS drones that have the return to home function.

So keep reading if you don't want to make a mistake the first time you fly your drone.

Here are a few of the FAQs answered quickly if you don't have the time to read more in depth about everythinHere are a few of the FAQs answered quickly if you don't have the time to read more in depth about everything.

What sensors are crucial for a drone's precise return home?

GPS and additional sensors like barometers and compasses are key for a drone's precise return home.

Does my drone come with a "Return To Home" feature?

Most modern drones, especially from reputable brands, are equipped with a "Return To Home" feature.

How accurate is a drone in returning to its launch point? 

A drone's accuracy in returning to its launch point typically falls within a few meters, influenced by GPS signal strength and calibration.

Do all consumer drones have the capability to return home? 

Not all consumer drones feature return to home capability; it's more common in mid-range to high-end models.

What is the maximum distance a drone can fly while maintaining a return home connection? 

The maximum distance for maintaining a return home connection varies, but many drones can manage up to several kilometers.

How does the return to home function work on drones? 

The return to home function on drones usually operates using GPS to navigate back to the takeoff point, either manually triggered or under specific conditions like low battery or lost signal.

Can external factors like wind or weather affect a drone’s return accuracy?

Yes, factors like strong wind or adverse weather can impact a drone's return accuracy by affecting its navigation and stability.

Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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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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