Best Most expensive drones in 2021

High end camera drones guide

most-expensive-drones-on-the-market-best-camera-drones

As the popularity of UAVs increase, there is growing activity and demand for high-end drones or just curiosity to find out what are the most expensive drones. Drones can virtually do anything these days from cinematography, industrial applications, search and rescue, underwater applications, even exploration of the red planet (Mars) – how cool is that! Generally, drones have continued to get cheaper as there is more competition, and price sensitivity plays a big role in sales. However, in this review, we will cover my top most expensive drones for sale.

What we rank as an expensive drone varies, this article will consider drones above $1000 as expensive. 

What makes a drone so expensive?

Drones come in different sizes and varieties, with varied prices. The simplest drones come at affordable prices. As is expected, advanced models with better equipment such as larger cameras cost more. 

As a professional, opting for an expensive drone is inevitable if you want to stay competitive and deliver quality work. 

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For instance, if we dissect the Phantom 4 Pro it packs expensive technology responsible for driving up the manufacturing costs. 

The high-tech drone packs:

  • 7 cameras
  • 2 compasses
  • 2 IR sensors
  • 2 accelerometers
  • 2 gyros
  • barometric pressure sensors
  • 2.4Ghz/5.8Ghz two-way transceivers

and GPS/GLONASS receivers. In addition to these features is a quad-core 1.5Ghz Cortex A7 processor of 1GB RAM and  MA2100A Vision Processor running algorithms through machine learning. 

My top 9 expensive drones in 2021

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In this section we're going to take a look at what are the best camera drones in the high-range of pricing. I'll also cover some more affordable drones that deliver amazing results.

Mavic 2Inspire 2Ph 4 Pro 2Evo 2Matrice 600
battery-test31 min27 min30 min40 min35 min
wifi-test8km7 km10 km9 km5 km
camera-icon.png4k 30p>6k4k60p6k/8k4k
drone-slim-icon~$1500$3000+~$2000~$60004 motor
$$$$$$$$$$
drone-price-dollar-icon.png Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

Which drone should I start with?

You need not break the bank on your first drone while trying to secure a one-size-fits-all drone. Instead, go for a drone that meets your goals, matches your budget and preferences. If you are undecided on finding the BEST drone in the market, just know there is none that meets such a criteria.

Expensive drones also happen to be quite easy to pilot, but if you don't want to risk it, I suggest checking out my best beginner drones list.

 Chances are that you will enjoy and fall in love with whichever drone you pick, if not you might as well sell it and upgrade to more expensive drone brands. 

Are expensive drones easy to fly?

Absolutely, given most have obstacle avoidance features, GPS navigation, hovering stability, and several other features that deliver smooth flight with fewer crashes. 

1.DJI Mavic 2 Pro (Best compact foldable drone for pros)

camera-icon-specs-180

4k 30fps

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31 min

range

8 km

drone

~$1500

For a long time, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro has been the best high-priced drone on the market. With similar features to the Mavic 2 Zoom (with the exception of the Hasselblad camera), no other drone in the market offers a perfect mix of portability and performance. 

Hasselblad is the world’s best manufacturer of medium format cameras. 

Besides, it's highly compact and can easily be carried in a bag, unlike the heavy Phantom 4 predecessors. What set it out from the pack was the Hasselblad camera, automated flight modes, and omnidirectional obstacle avoidance. 

The Mavic 2 Pro falls around $1500 as prices go, so it isn't necessarily even close to the most expensive drones you can buy, but it's one of the best camera drones for the money.

Why should I buy this drone?

The drone packs a Hasselblad camera, highly automated flight features, outperforms a ton of drones within the same class while remaining compact in size. Not to mention the obstacle avoidance features and 4K video in 10-bit color, 1-inch image sensor, and a lot more. 

Who is this drone for?

Suited for amateur professional drone pilots into photography and videography. 

Should You get a Mavic 2 Pro?

Absolutely.

If you are just making an entry into the expensive drone category, this is the best pocket-friendly small drone that delivers value for money.

ADVANTAGES

  • 1-inch 20-megapixel Hasselblad camera
  • Gimbal 3-axis
  • Consumption of power is low
  • Reduced noise 

DISADVANTAGES

  • Hyperlapse feature limited to 1080p

2.DJI Inspire 2 (Best video Production drone)

camera-icon-specs-180

up to 6k

drone-battery-specs-180 icon

27 min

range

7 km(4.3 miles)

drone

$3000+

dji inspire 2 expensive drone

The DJI Inspire 2 is iconic in the world of cinematography.

As one of the most expensive quadcopters, it has a controllable range of 4.3 miles and makes a top speed of 67 miles per hour, autopilot, image stabilization, forward obstacle avoidance, and several other features you would want in a drone.

Experienced drone pros will confirm that there is hardly anything the DJI Inspire 2 can’t do.

We are looking at all the features of the Phantom 4 Professional, a performance-enhanced design, and cutting-edge video features.

The drone is twice as big and fast as the Phantom 4 professional (speeds of 60mph). 

Video quality on the Inspire 2 is excellent. There are 3 cameras, x4S, X5S, and X7. x4S is comparable to that on the Phantom 4 Pro while the X5S has a lens that can be interchanged. X7 is DJI’s flagship camera for cinema even shooting in 6K. 

There is a lot more about the Inspire 2 – too much to cover in a few words. 

Specs

  • Zenmuse X5, Zenmuse X7 cameras can be added
  • 5.2K camera with interchangeable lenses, 6K (30fps)
  • 27 minute flight time (23 mins with X7 Zenmuse)
  • Range 4.3 miles
  • Multiple flight modes (ATTI, GPS, Visual, Follow-me, Tap to fly map navigation, Return to home)

Why should I buy this drone?

Shoots in 5.2K at 30 fps or 4K at 60p, not forgetting the advanced vibration absorbent 3-axis gimbal that ensures steady footage no matter how crazy the flight. The DJI Inspire 2 has a powerful control system running on the revamped DJI Go app which places all its advanced features at your fingertips.

The aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can easily be adjusted after a few taps. In such a setup you do not need prior filming experience or piloting skills to acquire professional footage. 

Who is this drone for?

Released in 2016, the DJI Inspire 2 uses the latest Zenmuse camera (the X5s) specifically suited for videographers and experienced photographers. Do not go buy this drone for your 12-year-old daughter as a Christmas gift. 

Opinion

Should I get a DJI Inspire 2? If you are looking for a professional camera drone that is ready to fly straight out of the box, The DJI Inspire 2 is the best choice available. If you can't afford it you can always opt for the Inspire 1.

Its picture quality may not match the Inspire 2 but the X5 camera does shoot a better image than the Phantom 4 Pro. 

ADVANTAGES

  • Excellent camera,specs and imaging
  • High wind resistance
  • 360 degree camera rotation
  • FPV camera for 2 pilot operation
  • Shoots RAW video

DISADVANTAGES

  • Pretty large (only suited for professionals)

3.PowerVision PowerRay Wizard(Underwater drone)

camera-icon-specs-180

4k

drone-battery-specs-180 icon

240 min

range

100 m

drone

~$1000

The underwater experience you get from the PowerVision Wizard is so vivid when viewing from the Zeiss VR One Plus Goggles you might wonder why your clothes aren't drenched in water. You can use the PowerRay Wizard from a boat. Navigation is easy, you can opt to use your head when controlling the PowerRay.

The drone generally goes where your head points mimicking an actual fish. Alternatively, you can opt for the remote controller connecting your smartphone and tablet. 

The drone is great for fishing as it uses the PowerSeeker Fish Finder to locate the fish and then easily lures them to your location. 

ADVANTAGES

  • Amazing battery life of 240min
  • Long tether range of 100m (230ft)
  • powerful LED lights next to the camera
  • Ideal for fishing
  • Fishing add-ons available
  • Great specs for the price

DISADVANTAGES

  • Long set up required prior to use

4.DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 (Best all-round drone)

camera-icon-specs-180

4k 60p

drone-battery-specs-180 icon

30 min

range

10 km

drone

~$2000

A successful model of the Phantom series. The drone was a significant update from the Phantom 4 bringing about significant improvements. Obstacle avoidance with front, rear, infrared sensors, and downward visual sensors. A 20MP 1-inch camera that can shoot 4K video at 60fps. 

Specs

  • Shoots in 4K, 60fps
  • Powerful 1-inch 20MP CMOS camera
  • 12 intelligent flight modes – Active Track, Tapfly, Return-to-home, Draw mode, Gesture mode
  • 30-mins flight time
  • Flight autonomy with 5 direction obstacle sensing with 4 direction collision avoidance.

Why should I buy this drone?

Easy to fly, presence of an OcuSync 2.0 transmission system, electronic speed controllers and low noise propellers. 

Who is this drone for?

The drone is suited for professionals in film and aerial photography. Sectors can range from aerial surveying, 3D mapping (using UAV photogrammetry), firefighting, search and rescue crews. 

ADVANTAGES

  • Smart Submersible
  • Changeable ballasts (for fresh and seawater)
  • 5 thrusters
  • Pitch adjusted camera
  • 1080p live stream

DISADVANTAGES

  • Sometimes hard to find online

5.Autel Robotics Evo 2 Series (Best DJI drone alternative)

camera-icon-specs-180

6k or 8k

drone-battery-specs-180 icon

40 min

range

9 km

drone

~$1500

This professional grade drone from Autel Robotics is a 6K capable drone, available in two versions: 8K resolution and 6K resolution.

The latter version has a larger camera and is favorable for serious photographers and videographers, a fact reflected in the overall cost which is $300 more than its 8K counterpart. Drone reviewers have endorsed the Autel Evo 2 series as a competitive alternative to DJI. 

Specs

  • Shoots in 6K and 8K
  • 10-bit color log 
  • 2.7K 120 fps slow-motion video capabilities
  • De-fogging mode
  • 20 MP one-inch sensor on the Pro
  • 12 optical cameras on the air frame

ADVANTAGES

  • Zoom capability
  • Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance 
  • 40 minute flight time
  • 9 KM range

DISADVANTAGES

  • Less user friendly than Mavic 2 Pro

6.Matrice 600 Pro (high end commercial filmmaking drone)

camera-icon-specs-180

4k zoom

drone-battery-specs-180 icon

35 min

range

5km

drone

~$6000

matrice 600 pro

The last thing any professional photographer would want is a feeling of restriction. They want the camera to adjust anywhere. The M600 Pro by DJI is a completely integrated heavy filming beast and contains everything you need from assembly to flight. 

The drone uses the Ronin-MX – the first aerial gimbal with a 360-degree rotation capability. Powered by a set of 6 DJI intelligent batteries, which solves the problems of large battery size that inconvenience filmmakers using heavy drones. 

Specs

  • Lightbridge 2 video transmission
  • HD Video feed 1080p/60fps

What is the difference between the A3 and A3 pro upgrade kits?

Increased accuracy but still uses the same system. Safety and redundancy basically.


What about the RTK?
RTK increases the level of accuracy when directing the aircraft to certain frequencies. RTK is helpful when using other software such as DroneDeploy for mapping or Ground station equipment.

As a six-rotor pro-level, the Matrice 600 runs on the Lightbridge 2, DJI’s iconic video transmission technology. Capable of streaming 1080p HD video transmission at 60fps from over 3 miles the M600 can hover airborne for over 16 minutes. If you opt for the lighter Zenmuse line cameras you can enjoy twice that flight time.


Why should I buy this drone?
Only go for this drone if you are expecting big jobs in Hollywood and other professional contexts.

Who is this drone for?
The M600 Pro is a professional drone for professional filmmakers and industry specialists trying to capture cinematic masterpieces.

ADVANTAGES

  • 35 min flight with zenmuse x5R
  • Intelligent flight modes: waypoint, Point of Interest, and Follow Me
  • DJI SDK for developers

DISADVANTAGES

  • 10-15 minute flight time on max camera payload
  • Quite bulky (even with the folding)

7.DJI PHANTOM 4 RTK (Best surveying drone)

camera-icon-specs-180

4k

drone-battery-specs-180 icon

30 min

range

7km

drone

~$6000

As the leading company in drone technology DJI offers the Phantom 4 RTK to customers. The drone is a revamped Phantom 4 with technology tailored to professionals.The key highlight of this drone is the 4 RTK, particularly the 1”CMOS Sensor, RTK module, and GS RTK App which are great for the commercial surveying industry. 

 

The company is revered for its centimeter-accurate data requiring fewer ground control points which is great for drones in construction surveys. “RTK” stands for Real-Time Kinematic, which is a GPD correction feature that corrects location data during surveys. The drone is best suited for mapping, conducting surveys of buildings and construction sites. 

Here we might get a little technical,

The Centimetre Level Positioning System offers an absolute accuracy on image metadata. The Phantom 4 RTK can be connected to any workflow and connects with the NTRIP (Network Transport of RTCM via Internet Protocol) via a WiFi hotspot or 4G dongle or D-RTK 2 Mobile Station. It can also store satellite imagery for Post Processed Kinematics. 

Why should I buy this drone?
The 4 RTK takes the best features of the Phantom line and adds advanced precision RTK technology delivering great hover accuracy, and photo capture.


Who is this drone for?
This drone is mainly for professionals and qualifies as an enterprise level drone.

Specs

  • Flight time 30mins
  • Camera 4K 30 fps
  • Speed 36 mph
  • Range 4.3 miles

ADVANTAGES

  • Light in weight (for the industry)
  • Real-time view 
  • Remote control
  • Obstacle avoidance 
  • RTK precision module
  • Great for Mapping

DISADVANTAGES

  • Flight time and coverage suitable for small scale projects
  • Fixed payload cannot be adjusted
  • No terrain following

8.DJI FPV Drone (Best Expensive FPV quadcopter)

camera-icon-specs-180

4k 60p

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20 min

range

10 km

drone

~$1300

Cinematic FPV camera drones are recently growing in the industry. DJI just released the first FPV drone. The drone comes bundled with the new DJI goggles. When compared to other fpv drones it is quite heavier largely due to the battery -arguably its main selling point (20 min flight time). The drone is a simple plug and play and easily establishes connection with its controller and the goggles automatically. This fpv drone shares a similar sensor as the DJI Mini 2.

Generally the camera works great during the day but starts revealing its downsides at night. You can shoot slower at 4K at 60fps or 1080p at 120fps.

If you want to find out more about it I suggest you check my review of the DJI FPV drone.

ADVANTAGES

  • Fast and dependable sync between controller and drone
  • Simple and easy to fly (for the hobby)
  • Long battery life Compared to other FPV drones
  • Way better Goggles image thanks to the Digital system(instead of analog)
  • GPS and flight stability in case of failure

DISADVANTAGES

  • No ability to change all the parts in case of crash.

FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

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In this final section, we're taking a look at some specific questions that people ask me, which might also be useful to you.

What are some of the most common drone buying mistakes?

Buying the newest drone on the shelf

While new drones carry the latest in technology and offer the buyer the prestige of owning the latest model in the market, it is important to understand why you're buying the drone in the first place. Anytime a new model is released, there is a drop in price of the older models. If the older model meets all the criteria you are looking for in a drone, you might as well go for it and save a buck. 

Getting by with a hobby drone

In as much as hobby drones are pocket friendly, do not compromise your work or shooting skills by sticking to that low end drone. Not only does it limit the quality of your work but prevents you from using advanced features on the more expensive drones out there. 

Rushing for a fixed-wing drone

Most drones operating in today's market are quadcopters for a reason. Before you take that step of switching to a fixed-wing drone, take a keen look at what you are looking at. First, most regulators have restricted their use to pre-authorized commercial work use. Secondly, regulations require users to maintain a visual line of sight with their aircraft at all times – something a fixed-wing UAV is not suited for. 

types-of-drones-and-glossary
What is the most expensive drone with a camera?

Here is a quick list of our top picks in case you don’t want to go on a case by case basis. 

  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro
  • DJI Inspire 2 
  • PowerVision PowerRay Wizard
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 4K
  • Autel Robotics Evo 2 Series
  • Matrice 600 Pro
  • DJI Phantom 4 RTK
  • DJI FPV drone
What’s the most expensive commercial drone?

The DJI Matrice Series has some of its most expensive drone catalogue. The M600 Pro currently tops the list with its advanced technology and capabilities.

What’s the most expensive drone from DJI?
  • Inspire 2 – $3,299 - $9,399. 
  • Matrice 600 Pro $6,599. 
  • Phantom 4 RTK
How much is a commercial drone?

Generally a professional or commercial drone costs slightly above $1500. The enterprise level drones are the most costly given the advanced features they pack. The Matrice 600 Pro and Phantom 4 RTK meet that criteria. 

How much does a good quality drone cost?

This depends on what you as the user are looking for. If you're a hobbyist, there are excellent options below $1000. As for professional experienced pilots, any drone above $1000 has advanced features with a wide range of capabilities that could be useful.

Who buys expensive drones?

Suited for amateur drone professionals who do not want to go through the trouble of assembling a camera drone rig.

Are expensive drones easy to fly?

Absolutely, given most have obstacle avoidance features, GPS navigation, hovering stability, and several other features that deliver smooth flight with fewer crashes.

Which drone has the longest flight range (transmission range)?

Most new generation DJI drones have incredible flight range and transmission due to the advanced upgrades to previous models.

  • DJI Mini 2 
  • The range on the Mini 2 is 10km, a 10% increase in flight range over its predecessor the Mavic Mini. 
  • DJI Mavic Air 2
  • The Air 2 has a flight range of 18.5km (11.49 miles).
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
  • The fight range on the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is 7km
  • DJI Matrice 600 Pro
  • A transmission range of 5km (3.1 miles)
  • DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise
  • Range of 8000m (5 miles)
  • DJI Phantom 4 RTK
  • Maximum distance of km
  • DJI Inspire 2
  • Maximum transmission distance of 7km (4.3 miles) and runs on the latest DJI Lightbridge technology. 
  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro
  • Max flight distance of 18km (11 miles).

You can read more on our review of long range drones to buy in 2021

Are DJI drones worth the cost?

Yes. DJI is the world’s leading drone company in technology and features. As the leading consumer drone brand in the world, photographers, vloggers and hobbyists all use DJI drones. DJI’s extensive variety ensures there are drones suited for every skill level whether kid toy drones or professional filmmaking drones.  Founded in 2006, DJI now commands the market share of all drone sales globally. 

Conclusion

When we say most expensive drones, it can literally mean anything from the million-dollar expensive military drones used for surveillance and combat or the professional-grade drones for the civilian consumer market. In our case, we have focussed on the latter. As drone technology advances, UAVs are becoming smaller and cheaper. 

Camera drones remain the most popular as more companies have joined in their manufacture. This has resulted in a price drop as competition gets heated up and different brands go out of their way to control the ever-growing consumer drone market. 

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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