A lot of people want to know what the best drone is, but that is actually a very difficult question. My favorite drone is the Mavic 2 Zoom, but I wouldn’t recommend that drone to everyone. I don’t think the best drones of 2019 are here yet as Skydio and DJI have some drones in the works. There are still some excellent options out there, though.
Your purpose and budget are two hugely important factors when looking for a drone. If your goal is to have fun, then I would recommend one of the inexpensive drones on my list. If aerial photography is your focus, then the best beginner drone has been the DJI Spark, but it isn’t one I’d recommend to professional or semi-professional pilots. I’ll take a look at the entry-level competition as well as some of the higher-performing birds, like the Mavic 2 Pro.
Unlike most authors of “best drone” lists out there, I have actually flown all of these drones. I have flown hundreds of other drones as well, so you know these drones actually are great picks.
Best Drone Under $25: Eachine E010
The Eachine E010 is the “gateway drone” to kick off your addiction to flying. For the price of a few pumpkin lattes, you can buy a tiny ducted drone that is a blast to fly.
The E010 is an excellent beginner drone and a solid option for kids as well. It is a no-camera, no-frills quadcopter, but sometimes simple is better. It can be safely flown indoors or outside. Those who enjoy DIY projects can convert it into a mini FPV race quad. Learn more or Buy One. Don’t forget the extra batteries.
Best Drone Under $100: Ryze Tello
This palm-sized drone is a technological marvel. Ryze, a small startup company, teamed up with Intel and DJI to give us an excellent beginner drone. The Tello has a 5 MP camera that shoots electronically-stabilized video. It has built-in sensors to help keep it stable and make it super easy to fly. The Tello even has built-in flight modes so you can take unique videos or killer selfies. Learn more or Buy One. Amazon has some great package deals as well.
Best Drone Under $200: Eachine Cinecam
The Eachine Cinecam is one of my favorite drones. It is a unique two-camera drone that fits in the palm of your hand. It is a Cinewhoop style drone that is typically flown using FPV goggles. It can capture 4K video in ways that really no DJI drone can. There are no frills with this little quad. In order to fly it, you’ll need your own FPV goggles and FrSky compatible remote. Cinewhoop style footage is unique and I highly recommend you check it out. Learn more or Order One.
Best Drone Under $300: Parrot Bebop 2
If you are looking for a little more range and flight time from your drone then you might want to consider the Parrot Bebop 2. The Bebop will give you 25 minutes of flight time and a range of up to 2000 meters. Its 14 MP camera will stabilize your video electronically for smooth footage. The Bebop also includes a handful of intelligent flight modes like “return-to-home,” “follow me,” and waypoints. The video and picture quality can’t compete with the drones further down the list, but this drone is a steal at its current price. Learn more or Buy One.
We’ve heard a lot about the Xiaomi Fimi A3. This drone checks in at $259 and has some solid features. Its HD camera on a mechanical two-axis gimbal put it firmly ahead of the Parrot Bebop abut not quite DJI Spark territory in terms of quality. We are waiting to get our hands on one to put it to the test. Stay tuned. Learn more or Order One.
Best Drone Under $400: DJI Spark
The Spark is the first drone on this list that we would recommend to anyone who wants to use their drone for high-quality aerial photography. It uses a two-axis gimbal to stabilize the 12 MP camera. The Spark is surprisingly stable and has some excellent intelligent flight modes. It has a range of up to 2,000 meters and a flight time of 16 minutes. The DJI Spark is a great drone for people getting into aerial photography. Once you get comfortable with the Spark you will probably want something a bit more capable. Learn more or Buy One. I strongly recommend the Fly More Package.
For a long time, the DJI Spark was the only drone I would recommend for anyone that wanted to get into aerial photography for less than $500. With the previously mentioned Xiaomi FiMi and now the Hubsan Zino, the Spark has some serious competition. The Hubsan Zino features a full 3-axis gimbal and the ability to shoot 4K video for $399. We are waiting to get our hands on one to do a full test, but the initial reports on the Zino are promising. Learn more or Buy one.
Best Drone Under $700: Parrot Anafi
Unfortunately, there isn’t much available in the $500-700 range, unless you are looking for a used drone or you can snag a flash sale. The Parrot Anafi is a step above the DJI Spark and adds two unique elements that you won’t find on many other drones — a 180° gimbal and 3X zoom. The Anafi offers a range of creative shots that no other drone can provide thanks to its innovative 180° camera gimbal that can look up, down, and all directions in between. It also is the first consumer drone under $1,000 with the ability to zoom, albeit digitally. With a solid flight time of 25 minutes and a 4,000-meter range, you can do a lot with the Anafi. The 21 MP camera of the Anafi can shoot 4K video. This is the time to buy, as for a limited time Parrot has dropped the price $100 and is offering an extra battery for free. Learn more or Buy One.
Best Drone Under $800: DJI Mavic Air
The Mavic Air is a super-compact drone with some impressive capabilities. With both front and rear obstacle avoidance you get peace of mind when you fly. The impressive camera sits on a full three-axis gimbal and is capable of 4K video. Whether you are a pro or an amateur, this is the perfect drone to throw in your backpack or suitcase. You’ll get some great intelligent flight modes, a decent 20 minutes of flight time, and a 4,000-meter range with the Mavic Air. Learn more or Buy One. The Fly More Package is a great deal.
Best Drone Under $1,000: Autel Evo
You can get a few really good drones under $1,000. The original Phantom 4 and the original Mavic Pro are two that you can’t go wrong with. However, for the money, the Autel Evo might just be the best buy. It folds up like a DJI Mavic and has an excellent 4K camera. In fact, it might just shoot better 4K footage than the Mavic 2 drones. Learn more. Order One.
Best Drone Under $1300: DJI Mavic 2
If I could only have one drone on this list I would choose the Mavic 2 Zoom. Not only does it have a top-notch camera and impressive specs, but it also is incredibly portable. While the Mavic 2 Pro might be better suited for professionals, the Zoom is probably the best drone for most people. The Zoom camera is spectacular, and the ability to zoom gives the photographer so many options. With sensors in the front, back, top, bottom, and sides, this is the smartest consumer drone that DJI has ever created. It is the first consumer drone with optical zoom, and it is sharp at all zoom states. The 8,000-meter range is bolstered by an impressive 31-minute flight time. Learn more or Buy One.
If you want a larger sensor, then the $1,500 Mavic 2 Pro gets you best-in-class color and dynamic range. There is no doubt that the Mavic 2 Pro produces the best-looking pictures I have ever taken from the air. Learn more or Buy One. Also, grab a Fly More Kit, you won’t regret it.
Best Drone Under $1,500: DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
The best camera you can get on a drone without breaking the bank is still the Phantom 4 Pro. The Mavic 2 Pro comes close, but it can’t quite match the sharpness you will get from the Phantom 4 Pro when filming in 4K. If you want the best, but don’t want the monster that is the Inspire 2, then you want the Phantom 4. For those that are budget conscious, I’d recommend the Phantom 4 Advanced. With the Phantom 4 Advanced you will get the exact same camera, you just won’t get the fancy propellers or the side and rear obstacle avoidance. It just might be worth saving a couple hundred dollars. Learn more or Buy One.
Best Big Budget Drone: DJI Inspire 2
If you want a no-limits drone to make Hollywood-quality videos then you need the Inspire 2. With a 58-mph top speed and a plethora of camera options, you can customize the Inspire 2 to suit your needs. The Inspire won’t come cheap. It starts at around $2,000 without a camera, but if you want the best camera options you will have to pay up. Learn more or Buy One.
What about FPV?
The Emax TinyHawk FPV is an awesome little racer. The brushless motors are powerful and the frame is incredibly strong. This tiny beast is almost indestructible. You can get one for about $100 by itself or you can get the drone, goggles, and remote for $165. This quadcopter is the absolute best drone to start with if you want to get into FPV flying or racing. I love flying my TinyHawk both indoors and out. If you want to get into FPV racing check out our FPV series. Click here for part one and here for part two.
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