Best Return to Home Drones

My top 7 RTH drones in 2021

best-return-to-home-drones-RTH-with-GPS-quadcopters

You are looking for drones that can return to home automatically because you know how much safer and beginner-friendly that can be.

In 2021 there are a lot of new drones that range from the more expensive DJI ones to some very cheap drones.

But what do you choose from all those GPS drones out there?

Since I personally tested dozens of drones, In this article I'll cover the basics of what RTH is and give you my top camera drones that come with that (all have amazing footage).

Down below you can find the table with my top 7 best drones with Return to Home(updated).

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DJI Mini 231 min10 km4k $$ Check Price
Mavic Air 234 min10 km4k 60p $$$ Check Price
Autel Evo 240 min9 km6k/8k $$$ Check Price
Hubsan Zino20 min1 km4k $$ Check Price
Bugs B1220 min600 m4k $$ Check Price
SG906 Pro 225 min800 min4k $$ Check price
Eachine Ex530 min1 km1080p $$ Check price

Read the entire article for more information on each of these drones!

Table of Contents

What is auto Return to home(RTH)?

drone return to home what is 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.

We will refer to RTH as the ability of a drone to come back by itself to the point it took off from.

So this means it's not actually 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.

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 7 best drone with RTH

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This is my top list of Return to Home drones updated for 2021.

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 7 drones with Return to Home, from the most expensive ones to the least expensive ones (even under $200).

 

1. DJI mini 2 - Best 4k RTH drone under 250g

Although there are a few drones that make it to 1km and are cheaper, the new DJI Mini 2 has to be the best cheap long range drone with its 10km updated range (yes, that's not a typo, it's 10km).

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4k

small battery life icon

31min

distance icon smal

10km

drone gimbal small icon

3 axis gimbal

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DJI Mini 2

My favorite drone that I own at the current time, the super tiny drone under 250g, owns many of the spots on this list simply because of its amazing specs for its low price.

The 10km range is only for FCC (which means the USA, Canada and Australia). In Europe for example it can fly for up to 6km (which is still amazing).

And frankly, you really can't beat this price for the quality it offers.

ADVANTAGES

  1. 4k camera
  2. under 250g
  3. 10km range
  4. 31 min flight time
  5. very stead in wind

DISADVANTAGES

  1. No obstacle avoidance

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

To be frank, this and the DJI Mini 2 are my main drones currently, the Mavic Air 2 is without a doubt the most "worth your money" professional drone in 2021 and is a next step up from the DJI Mini 2 in regards to sensor quality, obstacle avoidance, active track and much more. It has incredibly precise GPS and flight modes too (that includes return to home).

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4k 60fps

small battery life icon

34min

distance icon smal

10km

drone gimbal small icon

3 axis gimbal

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DJI Mavic Air 2

The Mavic Air 2 is my current main drone for many reasons, one of them being the stunning half an inch camera sensor that handles low light pretty well and can also shoot in 4k 60 fps.

The other one is the amazing build quality and how long it can actually fly for.

There is a lot of technology in this drone that can make your life easier, including a lot of flight modes like active track, circle, waypoints, and pretty much the best obstacle avoidance you can have for this price.

ADVANTAGES

  1. 4k camera
  2. Active tracking
  3. Amazing Obstacle avoidance
  4. 10km range
  5. 34 min flight time
  6. Super steady in wind
  7. Great build quality

DISADVANTAGES

  1. None

3.Autel Evo 2 - Pro RTH that's not DJI

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8k/6k

small battery life icon

40min

distance icon smal

9km

1km

drone gimbal small icon

3 axis gimbal

No image stabilization

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The most expensive drone on this list so far, but one of the best spec-wise. The Autel Evo 2 made it here as an alternative of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, as people sometimes just want to see something else besides DJI thrown in a list like this.

It's a bulkier top of the game drone that not only comes with return to home, but also with a long battery life, amazing camera and all around sensors.

It can come with a 6k or 8k cam depending on the model you want to choose.

ADVANTAGES

  1. All around sensors
  2. 6k to 8k cam (depending on the model)
  3. Long battery life
  4. Smart flight GPS functions
  5. Reliable company(customer support)

DISADVANTAGES

  1. Pretty heavy compared to the rest on the list

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

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.

camera icon small

4k

small battery life icon

20 min

distance icon smal

1km

1km

drone gimbal small icon

3 axis gimbal

No image stabilization

hubsan-zino-drone-review-updated

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)

ADVANTAGES

  1. Great 3 Axis Gimbal for the price
  2. Solid real 4k camera
  3. Good flight modes
  4. Lots of accessories
  5. Great for the price

DISADVANTAGES

  1. No obstacle avoidance

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

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).

camera icon small

4k

small battery life icon

20min

distance icon smal

600m

1km

drone gimbal small icon

2 axis gimbal

No image stabilization

mjx bugs b 12 eis drone

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!

 

 

ADVANTAGES

  1. Well stabilized EIS image
  2. Cheap price
  3. Powerful motors
  4. Auto Return to home

DISADVANTAGES

  1. So-so battery life

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

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.

camera icon small

4k

small battery life icon

30min

distance icon smal

1km

1km

drone gimbal small icon

no gimbal

No image stabilization

sg906 pro 2 drone with return to home

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!

ADVANTAGES

  1. 3 axis stabilized camera
  2. brushless motors
  3. great GPS
  4. foldable design

DISADVANTAGES

  1. flight modes aren't that reliable

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

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.

camera icon small

1080p

small battery life icon

30min

distance icon smal

1km

1km

drone gimbal small icon

no gimbal

No image stabilization

Eachine EX5

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!

ADVANTAGES

  1. Under 250g
  2. 30min battery life
  3. foldable design
  4. good range of 1km
  5. stable GPS flight

DISADVANTAGES

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

Frequently askes Questions

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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 everything.

What is the drone return to home accuracy?

The return to home accuracy of a drone is usually 1 to 2 meters from the start point. If the drone is cheaper, it can extend up to 5m.

What autopilot flight modes are there?

GPS drones can have a few autopilot modes, inlcuding:

  • waypoint mode
  • return to home
  • circle flight
  • follow me mode
  • creative quickshots
Can you set a return to home altitude for a drone?

Yes, you can set up the return to home altitude in most drones apps. They usually have a minimum return to home heigh and a maximum.

Can Racing FPV drones return to home?

No, racing FPV drones usually can't return to home because they aren't equipped with a GPS, but there are exceptions to that rule.

How do I use RTH?

RTH can be used by the press of a button on the controller or is triggered automatically on low battery or loss of signal.

Avoid Flyaways (Low battery RTH and lost signal)

There are two very important situations where the Return to home (by GPS) is very important.

 This is when the battery has low battery life, and it should return to home automatically to avoid crashing somewhere randomly. 

The more expensive drones like the ones from DJI have a way to calculate how much battery they need to return home, but most other cheap drones usually do an automatic return to home at a certain battery percentage, usually under 20%.

Lost signal is a fact of life and something you'll almost inevitably stumble upon if you have a drone. If the drone has GPS, it will stay in place, but what if you still won't be able to pick up signal?

For that, there usually is a function of automatic return to home when signal is lost. Quite important, wouldn't you think?

How to recognise good GPS in drones

There are 3 main indications of good GPS quality:

  1. There is no “toilet bowl effect“
  2. The drone return to home is very precise
    It will hover in the same spot without much movement
  3. The toilet bowl effect is when a drone flies in circles around its initial holding point and it can be very troublesome because it can hit objects if you don't adjust the direction in time.

The return to home point must be as precise as possible, preferable around 1 or 2 meters range from the exact point it took off from. This is a good indication the GPS is working well.

Hovering in the same spot is obviously something you want in a GPS drone, especially when you want to take smoother video without much shaking or movement.

toilet bowl effect in GPS drones
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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Whenever you choose a drone with Return to Home, make sure you pick one that fits your budget and most importantly look at the camera quality more than every other spec.