select the best drone for you. Unlike all the other drone review pages you might see, we’re one of the only homemade webpage still around.
That’s because our recommendations are based on real personal experience and not influenced by a company sending us their latest product.
Before I get to the drone reviews, allow me to provide you with a bit of background: I have been toying around with RC cars, boats and planes for over 28 years. It started with little radio controlled cars back in the 90’s and evolved to planes, boats and in the past 6 years, quadcopters (also known as drones).
My goal is to present you with the most honest reviews of today’s top drones so that you can make an educated decision for yourself (or as a gift for a lucky person).
Each drone has been designed from the ground up to serve a specific purpose. For example, If you’re a real estate agent looking to take the absolute best pictures of a propery you want to list, then the DJI Phantom 4 will be your top choice.
If you’re an adventure photographer seeking action shots of your latest adventures, then the DJI Mavic Pro will be more your style. Want more of toy to learn how to fly indoors? The Syma X5C is the perfect beginner gift at under $50. If you’re into drone racing, then you might want to learn on the Hubsan H107D or the DJI Mavic Pro with the FPV headset before you start building you own custom drone.
In terms of value? Right now the DJI Phantom 3 standard is your best bet at under $500.
In summary, the hottest drone on the market is the Mavic Pro, so make sure you read our DJI Mavic Pro Review.
If you just want quick summaries of each drone, then read below as I go through the best all-around drones (and recommended) currently available today.
The DJI Mavic Pro completes is one of the best all around drones to come to market in a while and is currently the ‘must-have’ drone of the season. The killer features of the Mavic Pro are it’s extreme portability, rich controls and ease of use.
Previously, drones have been clunky and difficult to carry due to their lack of portability. You essentially needed an entire suitcase to house one and that resulted in adventurers leaving their drone behind during activities.
The DJI Mavic solves this by folding up into an incredible portable package that you can put into nearly any bag (or a giant pocket) and carry around wherever you go. I have yet to see how durable it is when it's being throw around all day long however drones are usually built to take hits and keep on flying.
It features a great 4K resolution camera (not quite as good as the Phantom 4 but close enough), 27 minute battery life (which is really long for a drone and a 4km range. When you consider that DJI has made the easiest to fly drones due to their advanced software, there currently is no equivalent on the market. Still not convinced? Read our full DJI Mavic Pro review to learn more about the advanced features it offers.
The DJI Phantom 4 is a Cadillac, a drone that was pretty much top of the line until DJI replaced it with its own Mavic Pro.
The Phantom 4 will give you the best performance in its price range. It bills itself as being easy to use and accessible to novice dronesters. It is full of automatic features, largely including the Obstacle Sensing System which is touted as making the drone crash proof—though one should keep in mind that it senses things only in front of the quadcopter.
Part of what the autonomous functions are all about is allowing a user to get some pretty risky video—the drone can careen close to trees or other objects to get the shots you want and still not crash. Combine that with the technical specs of the camera, and you have a formidable video drone. The Phantom 4 is loaded with a 4K camera that delivers video at 30 frames per second and 1080 p.
It gives you 28 minutes of flight and vid capture. It also has a compact design and a light body. The combination of qualities makes this quad a real winner.
Update: The GoPro Karma is no longer being sold due to a recall affecting the batteries on Nov 9th 2016
What if Milky Way or Reese’s got into the drone business, creating a craft that could be packed with chocolate candy that would parachute into birthday parties and such? That’s kind of what GoPro did, taking its expertise and prowess with shooting action video and packing it into a drone aircraft.
GoPro’s first drone, released in fall of ’16, is a portable action studio. I addition to the camera drone, you get a selfie stick to shoot video of yourself, as well as a follow feature that hovers the drone behind the user. It’s all about capturing action and doing it with GoPro picture quality. However, if you don’t want to use it with one of the state-of-the-art GoPro cameras, you can save money by using your own.
The compact drone, which folds into a backpack that ships with it, delivers competitive battery time and other basic flight features. It’s without obstacle avoidance, and that is an issue that doesn’t help in any in a head-to-head comparison with the Mavic. But one imagines GoPro will advance its flight functionality in the months to come.
The DJI Phantom 3 is now a few generations in the past, and the good news is that because of that, you can snag one at a low price, which may be falling steadily month by month. Keep in mind that within the 3 series is the Standard, for beginners, and the Pro, for serious photography.
Each variety uses GPS, and the Pro is equipped with no less than 36 satellites for easy recovery.
The Pro is so-named because of its pro-level camera, with a 94-degree field of vision for low distortion. Like the 4 and other high-end camera drones, it does give 4K video with up to 30 fps.
The flight time is billed at approximately 23 minutes. If you’re not looking to max out your credit cards, this one may be for you.
The Phantom 3, currently available at $499 for the standard version and $807 for the professional is larger than most shoe boxes and weighs quite a bit. That said, it packs a powerful punch: thanks to advanced electronics and endurance, you could easily go professional in photography with this one.
Here's what we pulled from the box, besides the quaddie system:
Powered by a long lasting 4800 mAh lithium-polymer battery, this
baby can remain in the air for up to 23 minutes in a single session. The
new highly efficient motors in the DJI Phantom 3 produce longer flight
times than previous generations.
The DJI Phantom 3
features an even greater range of up to 3.5 km (almost 2.1 miles) if
you're flying without any obstructions. That's much further than you
should be taking it and in our tests, it didn't quite make it out that
far. Vertically speaking, don't take the quad higher than
400 feet, even though you could: that's the maximum allowed by the FAA
Aviation Administration). Update: DJI has released a firmware that
prevents the Phantom from flying above 400 feet which means that you
won't have to worry about breaking any laws.
Should you ever lose control, e.g. by flying too far, the
drone will find its way back to you thanks to GPS-powered autonomous
functionality. Full disclosure, though: there are reports out there of people
losing their devices, so ensure it has proper GPS connectivity and be careful
and smart about your application. (None of the other reviews will tell you this)
The "Free Vision" app you use to control your flight is highly intuitive and useful, providing you with a host of real-time flight data.
The drone's stability is great, you get perfectly calm images from hundreds of feet above ground - in crisp, sharp hi-res quality, and the colours look amazing. More on that now...
The Phantom 3 has many variations (standard, advanced and professional) which come with various different cameras ranging from a 12 Megapixel camera that shoots video in pristine 1080p (1920x1080) resolution, with the field of view (FOV) selectable between 90°, 120° and 140° all the way up to a beautiful 4k camera that shoots some of the best video we have ever seen. Needless to say, photos you take look equally amazing, and you can even shoot in RAW picture format!
The video streams reliably to the Free Vision app, which you can install on your Android or iOS device. Then, mount your phone on the dedicated clamp that comes with the transmitter, and you'll have all your controls right in your hands.
Your remote control capabilities extend past the quad itself, as well: we liked that you can tilt the camera up and down right from the touch-screen interface.
The Phantom 3 is the first real consumer drone to produce movie-like video footage. You can get a pretty good deal on them right now since they released the newer Phantom 4
and DJI Mavic Pro. They are excellent drones and you're winning either way, either in cost or performance. In
addition, there is a huge community built around the DJI that will help
you learn about this particular RC model when you're ready to take off.
Unfortunately, DJI is notorious for their substandard customer service - on the other hand, the tutorials available on their website are highly helpful and we consider them invaluable. In any case: bear that in mind when you opt for this otherwise highly interesting, powerful quad.
Drones fulfill a lot of purposes, including high-end still photos and video, often for professional applications. But they can also allow people to just have fun. That’s where the Hubsan H107D comes in.
Its compact size measures 4.7 x 4.7 x 2.4 inches, allowing for indoor flight. It is operated by a simple left-hand, right-hand throttle controller with a 4.3-inch screen that allows the user to see where the craft is flying. That’s pretty sophisticated for a beginner’s machine.
The flying time is a quick 6-7 minutes.
The price of this bad boy is almost incredible—roughly $99. It’s all too easy to justify as a gift for a teenager or anyone looking to learn the way of drones.
It takes a solid foundation, upgrades all the components and integrates an FPV system into the radio controller. Yes, that means that you can fly your drone without even seeing it, using exclusively the on-board camera that is relaying the video feed in real time.
So what makes the Hubsan drone good? Well for one, you can use it like a video game, piloting the Hubsan H107D
drone around the house, through obstacles or outside, in places you've
never gone before. This makes owning the Hubsan H107D a whole adventure
with endless possibilities at a price that was never before possible.
(Previously, having FPV capabilities meant you had to spend a few hundreds!)
The first time you fly the Hubsan H107D, you'll be surprised by it's size. It's amazing that they packed so much technology into such a small drone. The video quality is very good and the performance is very intuitive.
This is one of the better drones to get started with because although it does have decent stabilization (in other words, it won't flip upside down when you're flying!), it allows you to learn how to really fly properly. (So when you learn how to fly this little guy, you'll be able to fly the bigger ones with ease)
In fact, most of the fun with these drones is learning how to fly.
When you're just starting off, I recommend trying to fly around a tree
or small obstacle. Just get it around and come back.
Once you've mastered the basics, try flying around your house using only the on-board camera for navigation! (Trust me, it's not as easy as it sounds... but sure is fun!)
The Hubsan H107D packs all the features that you want in a drone at this price but there are some compromises to be made. For starters, the radio controller has all the important parts (6 axis-control, full fledged video menu allowing you to configure everything on the drone, recording options, live video display) however it doesn't have the smooth rubbery grip that you can expect with some of the more expensive drones.
Same with the drone itself. The aim was to have the lightest possible drone in order to increase maneuverability and battery life so the propellers are made of soft plastic. This is both good and bad. Good because the drone propellers are safer (you won't be losing any limbs because the propellers are so soft! This alone should be an argument why you get this drone over other ones.) however this also means that you'll want replacement propellers handy. Fortunately, these are extremely inexpensive and I recommend you get a handful of them. Hubsan has put together an amazing crash-pack kit which allows you to pretty much do anything to your drone and have piece of mind.
If there's one thing Hubsan got right is the performance on this
drone. If you're going full speed, it moves! However, not at a rate that
is uncontrollable. You have enough power to make it fun and enjoyable
while not worrying about running into a wall. Sometimes it's a little
difficult to tell the orientation of the drone (what's forward and
what's backward) however in terms of flying, it provides very stable
If ever flight does seem a little bit wobbly, you'll want to make
sure the propellers are properly set (sometimes when you crash, the
propellers change orientation a little and you just need to make sure
they are level). Overall, I was very pleased with the performance and
stability of the drone. I was unable to flip it no matter what I did
which is a true testament to the stability control that is included with
As expected, the one problem with having so much fun with a tiny
drone is that the batteries always leave you wanting more. The stock
battery is adequate but you'll want to get the larger capacity 500mAh batteries when flying with the Hubsan H107D. If you have a pack of 500mAh batteries on hand, you're set for a good afternoon of flying!
I personally charge up 4-5 500mAh batteries
before I go flying and I have found that to be sufficient, giving me
about 45 minutes of fun with some small breaks to change the batteries.
One of the benefits of having such a popular drone is that there is a
huge community of enthusiasts (like myself), that own the drone. This
means that are there are countless mods, videos and components that you
can use with the Hubsan H107D if you want to take it to the next level.
(For example, there is a fish-eye lens mod that is pretty cool).
Really, you can improve any aspect of it (range, battery life, camera, propellers, etc) which was a great selling point. However, you really don't need any mods to start with (just get the basic drone with a few extra batteries, the crash-pack kit and you're good to go!)
Overall, the Hubsan H107D is a great drone that offers a good FPV experience at this price range. You'll learn how to fly a drone and have a ton of fun flying using the FPV camera. It really opens up a new world of possibilities, something that wasn't possible until right now.
I highly recommend the Hubsan H107D FPV drone.
Talk about a beginner’s drone! This hard-plastic drone is great for youngsters. The X5C weighs in at barely a pound and goes 16 x 12 inches. This petite size allows for backyard flight, and it can fly indoors too.
While advanced droners like controls that show real-time video of the craft in flight, new users should like the simplicity of the Syma’s controllers.
The Syma X5C does come with a camera, but the appeal will probably be flight itself.
This 6-axis quadcopter is a good snapshot of what the earlier drones looked like—four circles in a grid pattern. It’s a small indoor-outdoor type with good stabilization, the kind of drone you can get away with crashing.
It is a camera drone, giving you 640x 480 pixel output. A lot of the fun is going to be the flight itself, and since it’s now readily available at $75, it’s a low-risk treat for a teen!
We'll start off by reviewing a cute little RC bugger for beginners: at a mere 38 Dollars, the Hubsan X4 H107C gives you a sporty flight experience and the opportunity to record great-looking video.
This micro quad weighs just under 50 grams, which is still a bit heavier than equally-sized competitors (more on that later), and fits in the palm of your hand. Out of the box, it comes with pretty much everything you need to take off:
In addition to the whole system, we recommend you get a micro SD card for your digital videos, and four AAA batteries for the transmitter.
We found that the H107C's rotors are quite delicate, and we recommend being very careful with them. It's great to have the extra rotors out of the box, but you don't want to have to use them right off the bat.
If you want to protect the little guy while bumping into things (between us: you do), definitely mount the included blade protector: you'll need to look to find it, but it's in the box! It's attached to the bottom of the packaging.
And, before we go any further, a word about the manual: it's not the most helpful. You may want to check out a few of the useful tutorials available on Youtube before you reach for the sky with this little dude.
Charge the batteries, and off you go! You'll find that, thanks to a built-in 6-axis gyroscope, the quad flies very stable and level even in windy outside conditions. This very satisfying flight behaviour is also due to its weight, with the Hubsan H107C being heavier than equivalent models.
The quad's battery will take 30-40 minutes to charge and keep the it in the air for anywhere between 7 and 9 minutes. We recommend you get extra batteries for extended sessions. Thankfully, those are easy to find and you may even be able to use packs from other quads or helicopters you own.
The RC transmitter, sturdy and easy to use, features a standard and expert mode. In "Expert", you can do flips in all 4 directions! We appreciated the fact you can choose this mode, which means you won't start flipping unless you want it.
Now, flying is nice and fun per se, but of course, we'll also want to record video. For that, you'll first need to get a Micro SD card.
Use a button on the drone to start and stop recording (a bit annoying: you can't do it from the remote).
The camera records at 720p (that's a 1280x720 resolution) and provides crisp and lively footage - we were quite impressed! Thanks to the good flying behavior, you can get quite stable video - just make sure you shoot under good conditions, because, well, wind is wind. It'll shake it up.
The camera quickly adapts to light changes, e.g. when looking out through a window and then quickly panning to the inside of your living room. The colors are nice and even, though clearly not as natural and strong as more expensive, dedicated cameras. When you film at night, you'll see ghosting when e.g. making fast turns - again, this isn't anything you wouldn't expect and doesn't detract from the overall solid impression!
One thing we didn't experience, but users seem to have run into more than once, is problems with the camera: sometimes, it will refuse to record, and you may wonder if it's broken. Fear not! Chances are you can fix the issue. Check out this forum thread for easy approaches.
No two ways about it: we're quite fond of the Hubsan X4 H107C! Any drone newbie will appreciate this model's strengths:
There's only a handful of quibbles you can easily live with or work around:
Whether you want to perform acrobatics outside, get some cool aerial shots of your house or freak out your cat in the living room (yes, good times were had), this is a perfect way to start off your new quad hobby.
You'll want more. And that's why we have more drone reviews for you.
In the higher price reviews, we find the full DJI Inspire Pro, which
is designed with professionals in mind and is made for videographers. Although it's twice (three times?) the price, it is one of the most powerful, stable and feature rich recording solutions.
No matter which consumer-level drones you get, know they are called a couple of
names, including RC drone, RC helicopter, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), quadricopter and the most common: quadcopter (short: quad).
Of course, we already know about autonomous drones
controlled by onboard AI, as well as those controlled by a remote human pilot:
they're in widespread and growing use by military, police, firefighters or public
services. In other words, they are no longer just a toy.
But that's not all. Not by a long shot! And this is where the reviews
gets interesting. Give it some time, and you'll have the first friends
their own drones: as awesome toys and tools that make life a lot easier.
Alternately, you could be the first. You could be their heli advisor
when they get into drones themselves.
There are tons of drones available, many of them that we haven’t even gone over, because then this list would stretch on forever. A good way to think of a quad to purchase may be your purpose: do you want to fly in a park? Hover for as long as you can in the wilderness? Take still photos? High quality video?
Look, we'll make this easy for you. If you're in the market for the best drone with a camera, there's really no way around the DJI Mavic Pro. It has best in class range, camera, software and is considerably ahead of the competition in nearly every aspect.
It takes all the technology that has gone into the Phantom 4, (4k recording, optical sensors to keep it centered, GPS, smooth and responsive controller, fast charging) and shrinks the size into a package that can fit in any bag. At $999, it is by far the best drone solution. If you're looking for similar features (but with a bit less portability, battery, range and image quality) for a much more affordable price, the DJI Phantom 3 standard is $500 less and makes a good alternative on a budget.
For beginners, the Hubsan X4 107C (the baby brother of the H107D) is simply the best tech choice: even if you bang up the hull beyond recognition, it'll only set you back 60 bucks in exchange for easing you into the fun and adventure of the drone hobby.
It's amazing that they are able to put together a complete package that flies at under $50 these days. There are numerous limitations but you just can't argue with the price and because of that, if you're looking to give your nephew a small gift for beginners, this can be the ideal drone for you.
Our two biggest recommendations: Syma X5C and UDI 818A. These quads get a user of any age used to controlling a drone, used to understanding how wind plays a role, how to land, etc. They also get a user used to shooting video, allowing for practice before spending the money for something higher-end.
When you use a low-budget drone like this, crashing isn’t a tragedy, since, for example, the U818A comes with spare rotors. If you need replacement parts, they’re not pricey.
The 7-9-minute flight time lends itself to making a user crave something that will go longer, but spending the price of a dinner for two on a drone is a nice way to see if you’re going to like being a drone pilot.
That said, all our other contenders have their individual benefits. Under the $200 mark we chose the Hubsan H107D
as the drone to have because of it's superior FPV capabilities, it's
ease of use and tremendous support community. This makes it the best
choice for learning how to fly both in standard and FPV mode.
Even after months of flying the Hubsan H107D, we continue to take it
with us on our adventures because of it's durability and size. You can
do acrobatics with it and because it's so small you can fly it around
people in complete safety.
First, the Hubsan H107D. This little guy combines the fun-for-kids auto-flip feature with the ability of using a transmitter, which starts to get into slightly sophisticated territory.
Indoor capabilities are pretty cool for a toy drone, and for the price, if you’re not looking for sharp video, may as well go with the Hubsan.
But the winner in this range is the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. Now, as you can see, the DJI has new and improved models, but in the under-500 slot, the Phantom 3 more than carries its weight.
The wi-fi controller allows for live view of flight from the camera, and as explained above, the drone performs pretty well in terms of flight specs. It includes flight planning and a follow-me function. And as also mentioned above, the camera is of flat-out high quality. You get the nuts and bolts of much more expensive copters when you buy the Phantom 3 Standard, you just don’t get the frills.
Hands down: DJI Mavic Pro. This fall 2016 release from DJI is drawing rave reviews. It’s admirable—if not remarkable—how much of a wallop this one packs, considering its size.
It gives as much portability as the GoPro Karma, folding down smaller, and doesn’t sacrifice obstacle avoidance or other flight capabilities.
In addition to churning out crisp images, it gives you 27-minutes of flight, and when you consider functions like Active Track (which follows you around) and the Selfie feature (which makes the drone hover over the user and shoot pics or video), this is the Rolls Royce or Ferrari of drones.
The gold medal goes to the DJI Mavic Pro. The latest is also the greatest, when you consider state-of-the-art videography with cool features and hardcore flight specs, you’re not left wanting. Now, throw in the best portability of any drone at the time of this writing, and the Mavic wins.
The Silver goes to the Phantom 4, which has the meat and potatoes of the shiny new Karma and Mavic (and a bit more in capabilities than the Karma) and is mostly missing foldability. This was he industry standard when it came out and remains very cool.
Special Mention goes to DJI Inspire 1 Pro.
This funky-lookin’, Dark Side of the Force lookin’ bad boy partners with the Zenmuse X5 or X5R cameras to provide flawless video or stills. It gives you a tricked out controller and many automated flight features. It may be the best if price were no issue, but since price does help determine the overall strength of the vehicle, we can’t rate the expensive Inspire 1 at the top. It’s probably not 2 thousand dollars better than the Mavic!
What is the best drone to buy? It depends on what you want to do with it of course! From learning to fly, to capturing amazing aerial video, the best drone for you (or as a gift for someone else) will vary tremendously which is why I have quick drone recommendations for each category. I have spend a lot of time building and flying drones (thousands of hours for fun and photography for work) and I created this guide to help first time buyers make a decision by providing you with my take on what are some of the highest rated drones in the industry.
If you're excited about owning a new drone, then you're at the right place. We hope you've enjoyed reading our drone reviews of some of the world's best.
Here's a front-row-seat tech look of the full potential of today's best drones: Out of 15 drone reviews, ranging in price from entry-level hobby drone all the way up to a semi-professional drone for cinematographers. One by one, live and direct.
Imagine: you want to borrow a book from your friend across town. You give him a call. Then you stand by your window. 15 minutes pass, and there it is: your friend's drone lands in your front yard, carrying a little box with the book inside.
This could happen today, and the friend could be you. (Although make sure you are safe. If you fly drones long distance, you want to make sure you are abiding by the laws and aren't flying over people!)
From delivering packages to desert islands through re-enacting film scenes to filming weddings, drones are no longer toys and can enrich our lives in countless useful and fun ways. They are a future that's starting today.
Don't sit around waiting for the future to kick into high gear deliberating on what is the best drone to buy right now. Grab yourself one of the top drones on the market today.