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15 Best Long Range Drones in 2021

and how far can drones fly
best long range drones sorted by price in 2021

Long range drones is quite a subjective category, depending on the budget and what you plan to do with it.

I’m thinking that because you’re here, you got tired of piloting cheap toy drones that have a maximum range of like 50m and want something more to satisfy your need to fly.

But always keep in mind that you should check the map with all the countries drone laws before you fly too far!

That’s why even the cheapest drone on this list will start from 300m in range and they go up to 10km, enough to satisfy anyone.

My winner: Mavic Air 2(9km)

dji mavic air 2 package

In a hurry? Just pick my best recommended drone in this price category and you can't really go wrong!

  1. 9km 
  2. 4k 60p footage
  3. 34 min battery life
  4. 6 sensor cameras
  5. Awesome build quality
  6. My personal camera drone
Buy it from the official DJI site

How far can a drone fly from the controller?

Before we start, it's good if you have a measure of how far drones can actually fly from the remote controller and get a grasp of what ranges different types of drones can allow.

While toy drones can fly between 160 and 330 ft (50-100 meters), more advanced high-end drones can fly between 3 and 7.4 miles(5-12 km) away from the controller and mid-range drones can fly between 0.3 to 1.8 miles(0.5-3 km).

This means that the range is typically very closely tied to how expensive and advanced the drone is, so expect more expensive drones to fly further.

My top long range drones (table comparison)

drones-comparison-table-graphic.png
These are the top choices in terms of camera drones I would pick from my entire list of 15 drone examples.
This doesn't mean that the rest are inferior, but just my personal preference, when judging by quality and how capable their cameras and stabilization is.
Mavic Air 2
Autel Evo 2
Mavic 2
DJI mini 2
Fimi x8
4k 60p
4k/8k
4k 60p
4k
4k
34min
40min
4k 60p
31min
30min
9km
9km
8km
10km
5km
Obstacle 
Avoidance
Obstacle 
Avoidance
Obstacle 
Avoidance
Obstacle 
Avoidance
Obstacle
Avoidance
drone-price-dollar-icon.png
$$
$$$
8km
$$
5km

My video with details about these drones

How far can a drone fly? And what's the cost?

Range isn’t everything, but there is indeed a strong correlation between how far a drone can fly and its price and capability.Usually, cheap toy drones that you can find for under $50 or so will have a maximum range of 100m, usually 50m.

Frankly, for quads that don’t have GPS, there’s no need for a longer range, as you need to see the quadcopter permanently and not lose it out of sight.But all the drones on this list can use the Return to home function because they have GPS. Not only that, but they’re also some of my top pics when it comes to drones in general.

If you're confused about what everything means, I suggest you check my article on drone terminology to get a better clue about what to look for in a quadcopter.

8KM to 10km( 5 miles, longest range for pros)

1.Dji Mini 2 (10km range drone under 250g)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
31 min
range
10km
drone
under 250g
dji-mini-2-photo.jpg

The DJI mini 2 is the newest drone on this list and my favorite to use since it doesn't require any registration and comes with incredible specs like 31-minute battery life and an outstanding 10km range. I compared the DJI mini 2 with the Mavic Air 2 in an article if you want to find out which one is better for you.

It's perfect for people who like to travel a lot as it's one of the most portable drones on the market. It also doesn't compromise in terms of camera quality, being almost indistinguishable from higher-end drones and with perfect 3 axis gimbal stabilization.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
Amazing 10 km range
Under 250 grams
Foldable design
3 axis gimbal
4k camera
DISADVANTAGES
No follow me option

2.Dji Mavic Air 2 ( 9km range drone)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k 60p
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
34min
range
9km
drone
Obstacle Avoidance
dji mavic air 2 package

The DJI Mavic Air 2 has just made it as the top drone on this list thanks to its low price compared to its specs and amazing specs. It's my personal favorite drone and one of the longest ranges on this list.

The new transmitter is easier to use than with the other mavics from DJI and I feel like it has a better overall grip.

One battery lasts for A LOT (over 30 min) and I haven't even started to talk about the amazing obstacle avoidance system and HDR recording.

If you want to compare it in more detail to the other mavics, I recommend checking this DJI comparison sheet.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
4K60p
34min battery life
HDR video recording
great controller
internal storage
transmitter with screen included
DISADVANTAGES
Really nothing I can think of

3.Autel Evo 2 (4k modular long range drone)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k 60p/ 8k 30p
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
40min
range
9km
drone
Obstacle Avoidance
autel-evo-2-drone.jpg

The Autel Evo 2 is the longest range drone on this list, beating even the DJI Mavic 2 drone by 1km in declared range (although i haven't personally tested the max range as I have with the Mavic 2).

A drone that can go that far doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to reach that type of distance in regular flights, but it's a testament of a better connection in tougher times that might mean city wifi interference or trees or other obstacles in between.

The autel Evo 2 comes in 3 options, and specs some insane cameras and sensors, directly competing with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone.

The autel camera can record in up to 8k 25fps or 4k 60p and fly for 40 minutes (or 35 minutes of hover time) which is more than any foldable drone currently on the market (or any commercial drone).

It's true that the CE(Europe range) is somewhere at 5km, lower than the estimated 9km range for FCC(USA) range (but that's a condition for all drones).

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
4K60p / 8k 30p camera
40min battery life
12 obstacle avoidance cameras
interchangeable cameras (modular)
internal storage
transmitter with screen included
DISADVANTAGES
Heavier than most foldable drones on the market

4.DJI Mavic 2 (long range professional camera drone)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
31 min
range
8km
drone
Obstacle Avoidance
mavic-2-pro-drone.jpg

The body is exactly the same for both the zoom and the Pro version, featuring specs like:

  • 3 way sensors
  • 68kph (fastest among the 3)
  • follow me mode(quite a few options)
  • 8gb internal storage
  • ISo & shutter speed settings
  • 6 photo modes
  • takes RAW photos
  • 100mbps bitrate

If you want the absolute best in terms of image, build quality, and overall features, the Mavic 2 is the way to go.

Dji Mavic 2 pro has become the pinnacle of drone technology, with two versions to choose from, both coming with the same body and same insane range capability of up to 8km. Being so strong  it can also be used for fishing.

As an important note, the maximum range in Europe is 4km(in CE mode) while in FCC mode is 8 km (If you buy it from the US.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
Best for low light footage
1 inch Hasselblad sensor
changeable aperture
more precise colors
DISADVANTAGES
great for zooming in (up to 2x zoom)
24-48 mm focal length change
cheaper than the Pro version

4km/2.5 miles (still long range drones)

4km-max-range-drones.jpg

1.Xiaomi Fimi x8 (best long range 4k drone under $500)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
30 min
range
4km
drone
No obs avoidance
xiaomi-fimi-x8-black-package.jpg

Probably my favorite low budget camera drone under $500 that's still capable of some professional level shots, the Xiaomi FImi x8 is more than a long distance drone, but also a capable camera quadcopter.

The foldable design, great build quality and super stable 3 axis gimbal make it a favorite of mine, along a great combo of flight range and battery life.

The ability of manually controlling ISO, shutter speed and put ND filters on top of it make it a unique buy for people who want to play with their camera settings but have a lower budget

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
4k camera
2k recording at 60fps
100mps bitrate
long flight time
great range
Good GPS Stability
Foldable Design
3 axis gimbal
DISADVANTAGES
gimbal clearance quite low
no obstacle avoidance

2.Parrot Anafi (best 4k travel drone)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
31 min
range
4km
drone
No Obs Avoidance

The parrot Anafi is probably the best choice if you're looking for a lower-budget drone dedicated to both exploration and high-quality video and photo.

The 4k camera and gimbal are top-notch, but things like the ability to turn the camera to point up or the zoom function make it great for travel and exploration, as well as for framing more creative shots.

It's a great drone for people on the lower end of the budget who still want something compact with good specs and a reliable stabilized camera.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
Really Quiet
big battery life
4k camera
can film 90 degrees up
lossless zoom
21mp photos
a lot of flight modes
DISADVANTAGES
card slot must be handled carefully
only 2 axis stabilization + EIS

1km (long range budget drones)

4km-max-range-drones.jpg

A range good enough for most people ( that want to keep the drone in their sight).
It'also a great category to look for cheaper items (priced even bellow $200).

  • have a budget of around $300
  • want exploration freedom
  • want to use it more for fun

1.Hubsan Zino (best long range drone under $300)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
23 min
range
1km
drone
No obs avoidance

Always my top recommendation for drones under $300, the Hubsan zino is more than a long range drone, coming with stunning 4k video and 3 axis gimbal stabilization. Why is this surprising?

Mainly because this is unheard of at this price.

It simply has no competition, and if you are looking for a drone that has the best image quality possible and a reliable range, look no further.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
3 axis gimbal
4k camera
flight functions like follow me and waypoint
foldable design
return to home
super smooth gimbal
lots of spare parts available
DISADVANTAGES
no obstacle avoidance or position hold sensors
no low battery warning on the controller

2.Hubsan H501s (Best Cheap long range drone?)

camera-icon-specs-180
1080p
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
19min
range
1km
drone
No Obs Avoidance

The cheapest drone on this list might actually be exactly what you're looking for, a drone that can go up to 1km by default, and even increase the range up to 2 or 3 km with special antennas, booster, and a non-interference area.

There are a few YouTubers who managed to get this drone to even more than 3km and succeeded. To do that, you'd have to buy a booster antenna package from banggood (inexpensive).

This drone is great for exploration, and even if it's older, the camera is still quite sharp even for 2020, even though it's not stabilized.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
brushless motors
good range
great battery life
very stable GPS
good quality camera
can fly faster in altitude hold mode
DISADVANTAGES
no turning in follow me mode

Long range drones for different uses

drone-fishing.jpg

This is a bonus adition to the list with a few quadcopters that make the best choices for certain activities or uses. Things like fishing dronesGoPro drones, or infinite range.

Another category of drones where range is even more important is underwater drones, which are tethered with a cable, and every additional meter matters.

Best fishing long range drone (Autel X Star Premium)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
23 min
range
1km
drone
No obs avoidance
autel-robotics-x-star-drone.jpg

When it comes to fishing, I think this is one of the best long range drones for it. Besides the fact that it's a really great camera drone that you can actually use even professionally, it has the very useful Phantom-like format that allows you to get the bait in between it's landing legs and drop it when you turn the camera downwards.

The 2km range is way more than enough for fishing purposes, and even more, it can double as a great exploration drone for the area you'll be fishing at so you can show your wife and kids later in what spectacular place you've been.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
perfect image stabilization
Modular gimbal and camera
Long range
Great build quality
Good transmitter
Slow motion 1080p
Good color reproduction
DISADVANTAGES
Pretty big compared to the foldable drones of today (but perfect for fishing)

Best long range gopro drone( Gopro Karma)

camera-icon-specs-180
4k
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
20min
range
3km
drone
No Obs Avoidance
gopro-karma.jpg

The Karma is the only go pro specific drone on this list, so if that's what you're looking for, you really don't' have a better choice. A go pro drone like the Karma makes for a lot of versatility, as you'll be using an action cam that can be stripped down and used for other purposes, maybe with a handheld gimbal or other accessories.

Although bulkier than some of the other drones on this list, thanks to its versatility it can make for a great travel companion
The fact that you don't have to connect your phone and it comes with an included on-screen display is a big plus in my book.
The fact that you can remove the gimbal and use it on a handheld device for super stable footage is probably the biggest plus I can think of.

The 1km control range makes it still a good contender as a great long-range GoPro drone.

Check the Price and Specs
ADVANTAGES
easy to use controller
gimbal can be removed and used as a handheld
camera can be upgraded if new GOpro models appear
super stable footage
cheaper if you already have an action camera
Good color reproduction
DISADVANTAGES
a bit bulkier than other drones in the same price range
battery life could be better

Ulimited range drone (Parrot Disco LTE)

camera-icon-specs-180
FPV
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
45min
range
Unlimited with LTE
drone
No Obs Avoidance
This is not a standard quadcopter, like the rest on the list, but rather a fixed wing plane-drone, without vertical takeoff that can fly much farther distances and for longer times, basically made for exploring.
The 45 minute flight time makes it the longest flight time on this list, and that's thanks to the fact that it's gliding more than actually hovering on the spot.
 
The maximum speed is also 80km/h or 50 miles/h which is quite a lot, again compared to standard vertical takeoff drones.
 
The range of the drone is somewhere around 2km or 1.24 miles and it specs a stabilized FULL HD camera.
 
But the most interesting thing I found on the internet is someone who made this fly basically an unlimited range by using 4g LTE and frankly easy.
Dustin Dunhill used this 4g LTE module for his experiment that btw you shuld watch!
Check the Price and Specs

Best Long range drone that can carry weight(Dji Matrice 600)

camera-icon-specs-180
up to 5kg cam
drone-battery-specs-180 icon
40min
range
5km
drone
No Obs Avoidance
matrice-600-pro-large-heavy-lift-drone

The DJI Matrice 600 is made for professionals, yet follows the simple to use and intuitive design habits DJI got us used to.
The price range is considerably more than the other drones on this list, but the versatility for professional and industrial work is incredible.
You can view the DJI Matrice 600 as a great mapping and imaging system for land surveying, crop monitoring, inspection and many industrial applications.

This drone can handle most camera setups up to 6kg, which means you can even carry a RED Epic professional camera with it. Because it comes with the legendary lightbridge 2 transmission system from DJI, it can stream HD feed from as far as 5 km away. But this drone isn't made for huge distances, but for reliability and heavy weight carrying of camera equipment. 5km is still a big distance to travel, so if you're a true professional and plan to do industrial inspection, I recommend reading further about this drone.

Check the Price and Specs

What to look for in a long range drone (and FAQ)

This is an initial list of frequently asked questions and bellow this section we'll cover specific questions to help you know the world of long range drones better.

Toy drones and the FAA have a weird connection, as the rules say that weight is all that matters. That means that even if it’s a toy quadcopter if it’s over 250 grams it should be registered to the FAA.

Fortunately, I took that into account and all the drones on the list are indeed under that weight limit.

Otherwise, I recommend you check the list with the drone laws in every country.

Flying responsibly means to not fly over large crowds of people or close to other people's property that can be damaged. Using your common sense can keep you from a lot of trouble.

What features should you look for in a long range drone?

Battery Life
Image Stabilization
FPV Range (vs drone range)
Ability to increase range (with mods)
Size and Portability(foldable)
GPS Stability

Can drones return to home if they lose signal?

All the drones on this list will return to home if they lose signal.

How far am i allowed to fly a drone legally?

Drone laws differ between countries, but generally line of sight is good enough.

Do range extenders actually work?

Yes, range extenders work, find out how lower in the article.

How to prevent the drone flying out of range?

Limiting the max flight distance from the app is a great solution for that.

Will the drone return to home on low battery?

Most modern GPS drones have the function of returning on low battery.

Will the drone return to home if the battery discharges?

Yes, most drones will return to home on low battery alert. Smarter drones(usually more expensive ones) also can calculate how much battery it would take to return to home from the point it is curently. It takes into account the energy necessary to get to a point high enough for a safe return to home and landing too.

I sometimes cancel this automatic return to home, as I prefer getting the drone to home manually, but I agree it's safer to listen to what the drone has to tell you than listening to your gut.

5-things-to-know-about-drone-lipo-batteries-image.jpg

Can drones return to home if they lose signal?

All the drones on this list will return to home if they lose signal. This is the standard for most GPS drones, but remember not all will return precisely in the point you launched them from, some might have a few meters error, so make sure to take manual control if you feel like the automatic landing is not doing a good enough job.

A great way to ensure a drone comes back more precisely is by letting it to hover on the spot for a few seconds before flying away.

5-things-to-know-about-drone-RTH-image.jpg

How far am i allowed to fly a drone legally?

Drone laws are usually different from country to country and that's why you should always check the local regulation so you don't get in trouble.

But as a general rule, most countries agree that you shouldn't fly further than what your eyes can see. Most of the time, this means a range well under 1km ( about 700m max if you have good eyes and the drone is easy to spot).

 

Nobody can say an exact measure, but it's a good rule to follow. The only personal exceptions I make to this rule is when I fly in rural or wild areas where there is no risk to other people if I lose control or the drone. This is also the perfect setup for exploration and seeing nature from a different perspective, so it does have some therapeutic effect, at least for me.

Do range extenders actually work?

There are two types of drone range extenders:
  • reflectors
  • wifi repeaters
 
A signal refletor is basically a screen that's put behind the antennas that reflects more of the signal towards the front of the antenna and therefore improving the drone signal quality. This means you can get a better signal in most situations, and bypass some interference. In my personal experience I have tested this to be true, and I actually got a better signal(even in the city), increased by about 500m or so on a mavic 2.
 
This video can show a better proof of concept and explanation, so you'll leave you to it.

What are the uses for long range drones?

What are the advantages of long-range drones?
  1. You can be more assured you have the space to do your thing and not be stressed about range
  2. Signal strenght in "interference situations" is better
  3. It's easier to follow a car or any object that drives away from you and still get proper signal to your phone.
Agriculture
With the right camera, information like infrared data, heat maps and so on can be used for crop management and to investigate potential weak spots or distressed plants in the area, so that farmers can adjust on the spot.
Package delivery
With the long term promises of Amazon to deliver long range packages by drone, we still haven't seen anything put in place so far, but with the improvement of technology (especially battery power), it's obvious that the only factor remaining will be the range of a drone. So expect in a few years from now to receive packages at home, delivered by a trusty long-range drone from Amazon.
 
Exploration
The use for exploration and finding new perspectives in different places is quite obvious and can be an awe-inducing experience.
This is why a reliable long-range drone can become something that makes you feel like you have wings or simply feel like a child again.
 
Surveillance
Anything from multiple home surveillance to monitoring protests, groups, and certain activities, using a long-range drone can greatly enhance the existing capabilities. However, you must be assured that spying with a drone is quite hard, as you can't really go unnoticed, as the noise it makes can be pretty obvious most of the time.
 
Mapping
Anything from 3d maps of buildings to terrain mapping or forestry can be and is already the main activity of drones in domains like agriculture, archaeology, construction, architecture, and so on. This allows engineers to analyze a 3d map of the respective building or place so they can actually do more precise measurements or aesthetic decisions.

What are the uses for long range drones?

It happens in some drones that the FPV signal is the one to give in first. This means that you'll stop seeing the live feed on your phone or monitor, but still be able to control the drone and go much further. Usually, cheaper drones that come with 5.8 ghz 5g wifi technology come with a wifi visual range of somewhere between 300 and 1km, while the actual flight range can be over 1km. This can be a good thing though, as it means you can still blindly control the drone back to you until you regain signal. But with any GPS drone you'll have Return to Home technology, so it does become quite irrelevant.

How to prevent the drone to fly out of range

Many quadcopters have the option to limit the maximum flight range from the app itself, either labeled as a "beginner mode" or as another geofence option where you can actually limit the range yourself, just to be sure you don't go overboard.
 
This helps if you want to make sure to respect local regulation or simply don't want to ever lose signal.

Will the drone return to home if the battery discharges?

Yes, most drones will return to home on low battery alert. Smarter drones(usually more expensive ones) also can calculate how much battery it would take to return to home from the point it is curently. It takes into account the energy necessary to get to a point high enough for a safe return to home and landing too.
 
I sometimes cancel this automatic return to home, as I prefer getting the drone to home manually, but I agree it's safer to listen to what the drone has to tell you than listening to your gut.
drone-range-in-the-mountains.jpg

Can I transport objects over long distances using a drone?

As we've seen in the case of the DJI Matrice 600, you can actually carry a lot of weight (up to 6kg) with a reasonably priced drone, but for most other drones on this list, it would not be feasible to carry more than a couple hundred grams at most, as they are mainly made with the purpose of being camera drones.  

What factors affect a drone's range and signal strenght?

Signal strenght and drone range can greately be affected by multiple factors. Probably the most obvious and notable of all is simply having an obstacle between you and the drone, phisically blocking the signal (a tree or a building). The ideal scenario is to fly in an open area where there are no trees in front of the remote.
 
Flying inside a city can also prove a big problem, as besides the buildings themselves messing with the signal, the wifi interference can also considerably decrease the range you can fly at. An example would be my mavic 2 pro that got a range of a few hundred meters instead of 8km before it started losing signal. 
 
Also make sure not to fly next to power lines!
best-drone-checklist-infographic
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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