Folks, honestly, coming up with this list of top five best drones was not really a walk in the park. Because, let’s face it; if you have been out and seriously seeking for a pretty good drone, then I am quite sure that you are probably not just looking out for any other drone besides the drone that befits your thoughts and preference.
Yet, preference for drone buyers differs very greatly. In fact, it is the very reason we got a diversity of drones in the market. So, the professional-type loves the drone with a great camera; the hobbyist adores the one with a superb battery, the drone-fanatics and the show-off (Mr. /Mrs. Beautiful) type on the other hand just cherishes the one with a killer looks and speed. Finally, the newbie too wishes to have the one with a fancy design and an easy-to-learn controller …good heavens! Preferences, preferences, and more drone preferences for every buyer! So, how do you really think we could combine all these numerous aspects to come out with this listing of the very best among all the best drones out there in the market?
Take it from us; no matter what your aim in buying a drone is, our top 5 listing surely got you covered. Well, you may wish to read a little further and find out why and what drone is likely to be on your buying list next time you intend to shop. But before I proceed further, I thought you may consider checking out our article on the vital features you will need to consider before buying yourself a new drone.
Let’s begin with:
Rank 1: DJI Mavic Pro …this thing flies like a pro.
DJI Company is one miracle anyone can hardly phantom when it gets to designing drones. Perhaps you too may have used the awesome DJI Phantom 4 and wondered if there could be anything better in the industry. Well, apparently, DJI Mavic Pro is something better. It is tiny enough to fit in your trousers’ pocket or travel bag, great enough to shoot professional 4K videos and friendly enough to be controlled with a FPV controller and a VR-like headset. Yet with a rated flight time of 21 minutes and a control range of 4 miles, the small Mavic Pro will obviously fit to a list of any ideal drone buyer, whether a professional, novice or just a hobbyist. In simpler terms, this drone is the ultimate bot for 2017 and that is why it made its way up as the best drone in our top 5 ranking. Here is how the DJI Mavic Pro performs:
- Camera: 12MP and video resolution of 4K relayed at speeds of 30 fps (frames per second).
- Battery time: 27 minutes (according to DJI, but could normally take about 20 – 25 minutes).
- Controller: App controlled and an accompanying headgear for easy control.
- Maximum Speed: 65KM/hr. (40mph).
- Control Range: 4 miles.
- Cost: between $999 and $1200
- Cool design: the design of the DJI Mavic Pro is something no one could pass without noting. First, it has a simple, catchy design that can be reduced to fit in a pocket. Then comes the stylish front design of the camera caging that allows the camera to rotate with ease and protects it from being spoilt. Lastly, there comes that awesome VR-like headset that gives one the absolute feeling of being airborne.
- Portable: as noted before, this drone is very durable and it is best suited for people who love adventures.
- Great camera: this drone really has a great camera. 12MP is what they will tell you. But besides, it is very stable when shooting videos. Thus, its videos often lack the popular shakiness of drone videos. Thus is very awesome for professional users too.
- 21 minutes of flight time! Well, I can’t explain any further, can I?
- Longer control distance: this drone has a control distance of just about 4 miles. This certainly makes be in the same class as other popular professional drones out there.
- Pricing: this drone is currently priced at about $999. Certainly, I know that $999 is quite a fortune to spend. However, when considering its features, I think it is the best bargain it could be.
The DJI Mavic Pro Short (a name given for the VR-like FPV headset) has got a somehow poor image relay to the headset and these goggles could give you some eye strain if you use them persistently. Besides that, I don’t really have an issue with the Mavic Pro yet. Do you? Please share with us.
Certainly, it could be very impossible to summarize all features of the DJI Mavic Pro in the few words used. This drone is a work of art both by looks and by performance. I know I have explored the main features of this small bot; however, I still missed to mention that the Mavic Pro is powerful too (it can carry quite a big load and still fly easily). It also has an enabled feature of obstacle avoidance among many other added features that make it so desirable. It may not remain as the best drone for the next 3-4 months (given the rapid increase in drone invention), but it certainly is the one device we all should watch out at the moment.
Rank 2: DJI Phantom 4
The DJI Phantom 4 is a drone that has made sales even in the markets where many other drone brands are striving just to make an entry. This trend is not without cause; DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter remains simply as the “most awesome boy” in the drone airwaves. Both in design and performance, this drone has been fitted to meet a variety of needs for various drone users. Thus, it has a pretty awesome outlook, a matching air stability (in fact, it can shoot videos in slow motion), a longer flight time and a generally better flight experience. If you are a professional looking for a super cool camera drone, there is no doubt that you will not regret buying this drone. But, first let’s have a look at its main features:
Features & Properties
- Camera: 12MP software support of Adobe DNG RAW.
- Video resolution: of 4K relayed at speeds of 30 fps (frames per second).
- Battery time: 30 minutes (according to DJI, but could normally take about 25 – 28 minutes).
- Controller: App controlled and an accompanying headgear for easy control.
- Maximum Speed: 65KM/hr. (40mph).
- Control Range: 4 miles.
- Cost: between $1399 and $1800
- Others: obstacle avoidance, 3D cameras for mapping, different flight modes to switch.
- An awesome camera: one notable feature any user of the DJI Phantom 4 will never fail to spot is this drone’s camera. I mean, its camera is something else… 12MP is what all reviews tell you. But besides 12MP resolution, this drone’s camera and vision lens actually shoots very clear images and has an unmatched live streaming capability. Besides, it has embedded 3D cameras and an accompanying PC software support for mapping its flight area. This aids it to easily learn its environment and avoid collisions.
- Highly fault tolerant: nothing sucks like a drone that breaks just a day/two after being purchased. But this piece of magnesium-bodied bot is strong enough to survive normal drone crashes/collusions (if they ever occur). It also has a feature of obstacle avoidance that helps it to evade crashes. Thus, it is very durable.
- Longer flight time: the main notable difference between DJI Phantom 3 series and DJI Phantom 4 is that the latter has got a relatively longer flight time than the former. At least, on this we need not to argue, you only need to buy Phantom 4 and disproof if it isn’t.
- A great consumer support: DJI Phantom 4 (like many other DJI quadcopters) comes with a wide support on how to use the product. It even has video tutorials for beginners and this makes it one adorable option if you considered the 6 factors for a great drone (link article 1).
- This drone is pretty agile: If you love drone racing, then I think 45mph (actually I feel like it’s more than that) is perhaps what you have been looking for, and here it is!
- Quite costly: priced at anything between $1399 and $1800 (depending on where you get it from), this price may somehow keep most buyers off its shelves. However, any true lover of drones will not feel this pinch in the wallet as most professional drones (besides Phantom 4) cost more than $2000.
DJI Phantom 4 is certainly a great performer in the airwaves. It has a great design and it is also truly durable. It may miss a bit due to its pricing or perhaps the fact that it is quite noisy too. However, generally, this drone is a piece worth its cost.
Rank 3: Yunec Typhoon H – this drone will fly minus one rotor
Yunec is not a very popular company like the DJI. However, so far, Yunec Typhoon happens to be the only drone in the market that I can comfortably rank as a match for DJI Phantom 4. This also happens to be the only hexacopter we got on our list. It can actually continue flying even when one propeller fails. Besides, it has some of the advanced features like the obstacle avoidance, 20 minutes flight time and a 360 degree camera gimbal. This certainly makes it quite a good option to opt for if you like to adventure in what could new and startling in technology. Here is how the Typhoon performs:
Features and Specs
- Camera: 12MP camera resolution (CGO3+).
- Video resolution: of 4K and supports UHD video streaming.
- Battery time: about 25 minutes of flight time.
- Controller: App controlled and an accompanying easy to use manual controller.
- Maximum Speed: about 40mph.
- Control Range: not specific, but it ranges between 3 and 4 miles.
- Cost: between $1199 and $1500
- Others: obstacle avoidance, different flight modes to switch.
- It is very stable: the Yunec Typhoon is very stable on air and it has a way to cut through the air easily. Thus it has very little resistance on air even on strong wind resistance.
- Longer flight time: it has an averagely good flight time of about 20 to 25 minutes.
- 8 different flight modes: this feature makes it very easy to control the drone under varied environments.
- “Follow-me” feature: once you activate this feature, you can basically let Typhoon to hover and film around you like your pet.
- Easy to learn and fly.
Not very durable: though priced very highly and with great features, this drone has attracted quite a number of negative reviews on its durability. Certainly this is one thing that could make you shy off purchasing this bot. However, if you are lucky to get a good one, you will not regret the purchase.
Yunec Typhoon is quite a great piece of art in both design and performance. It is very tolerant to faults and can actually fly with 5 rotors, have awesome auto-takeoff and safe-landing features. It is very easy to learn and above all, it has got a very great camera for filming. If you are new to drones and you could afford some $1200; I would certainly recommend that you get this bot without hesitation. It is the easiest drone to fly.
Rank 4: Walkera QR X800 …folks, this guy will actually carry your Nikon camera!
It’s quite true that most drones from the East are a no match for drones manufactured here in the West. But when it comes to the Walkera Company’s QR X800, I certainly can place a bet on it! Sure. Of all the best drones dished out for aerial filming, the Walkera QR X800 happens to have been my personal favorite for a very long time now. This drone is quite huge; has a fancy design with a retractable drone landing gear. Besides, it has an awesome feature of thrust balancing using an inbuilt system of advanced FCS800 Multi-axis Control System. This drone is controlled by either a manual controller, an accompanying controller with FPV, or for app lovers, this drone still got you covered with an accompanying controller app. Now to affirm its durability, I may just have to mention that its casing is built with strong 3K weaved carbon and it even has a variable warranty of between 8 and 18 months. Perhaps one more thing I must mention right upfront is the fact that Mr. Walkera QR X800 is pretty powerful. Ooh! So powerful!
Features & Specs
- Camera: No fixed camera. Supports vendor cameras like GoPro Hero 3, iLook, iLook+, Sony or even just a normal filming camera (if you could tie it well enough, it will still do the trick).
- Video resolution: relative to the included camera
- Battery time: 60 minutes (according to Walkera, but could normally stretch for about 40 minutes).
- Controller: manual & app controllers.
- Maximum Speed: about 50mph.
- Control Range: about 4 miles but can be controlled further remotely via GPS.
- Cost: between $1500 and $2000
- Longer flight time: if 30minutes of flight time excites you; well then, what do you make of a 1 hour of flight time? Crazy, isn’t it? But that’s real with QR X800.
- Very stable: if this drone shoots you a video, you will easily fail to notice any shakiness as it could be with most drone-shot videos. This guy is a pro in stability, take it from me.
- Cute design: The Walkera QR X800 has got a very enchanting design. Coupled with its cool retractable landing gear, it literary gives you a feeling of flying a literal chopper. Besides, its slightly curved front somehow enables it to move with agility and resist much of the air resistance even in harsh environments.
- Agile: don’t overlook that gigantic look QR X800, this drone is very agile. It’s only that owing to its huge size, it may be annoying to try and chase it like you could a toy. If you need a really fast drone, then check out our Rank 5 below.
- Customizable: Boy, this drone is customizable like no other drone I have ever used. In fact, it actually has some flight features that can be programmable (perhaps you may understand how this feels if you have flown some prototypes before). In addition, the ability to attach any vendor-off camera is really a feature any professional could cherish.
- Durable: as mentioned before, this drone’s casing is built from very strong 3K weaved carbon. Thus, it is actually very durable and fault tolerant no matter the accident.
- Longer control distance: Walkera argue that this drone has a safe control distance of up to 2000 meters. However, this drone has virtually a limitless control distance when controlled with a GPS.
- It’s very powerful: I can’t emphasize this enough, this drone takes off like a dragon fly and it carries a load that no other drone can rival. I mean it. Just dare to attach your 1.5KG professional Nikon Camera complete with its lens and tell this bot to take off and it will diligently obey!
- Costly: the $2000 price tag is quite a scary business, isn’t it? However, if you consider carefully all that this drone is capable of doing and its features; I (personally) think the drone is underpriced. But, that’s beside the point.
- Noisy: OMG! This drone is very noisy. Kindly consider not buying it if you live in a densely populated area or areas where noise is just not welcome.
- No inbuilt camera: though this drone allows us to add our own preferred cameras, it could still be bad for you if you dislike getting your hands dirty with fixing vendor cameras as it doesn’t come with inbuilt cameras.
- Durability of the retractable landing gear: Current releases of this drone have attracted several complaints of their landing gear. Perhaps, this is one reason you may not like it at the moment.
The Walkera QR X800 is a pretty good air companion. Having had an experience (personally) with this bot, I somehow doubted if I could possibly summarize all its features. However, this bot is surely something worth buying for professional photographers if you got some bucks to spend. Don’t believe me? You really don’t need to. Just spare some few coins and give it try then share your experience with us.
Rank 5: The TBS Vendetta …Ooh! The good old jeep for racing!
Now, there is just “something” about the TBS Vendetta’s design that brings back memories of the good old all-weather army jeep that could track any terrain. And of course Vendetta is really the jeep of the air! I thought it cool to chip in this great racing drone for the sake of all my fellow drone hobbyists.
Priced at $500, the little racing TBS Vendetta is one of the rarely designed FPV-enables drones for racing. Definitely, it does not have a very good camera for FPV like the DJI Phantom drones reviewed above. However, its speed can shoot up to 70mps (please tell me which DJI drone gets three-quarter way that speed?). Yet at that killing speed, the TBS Vendetta retains a very strong connection to its controller and it can perform acrobatics within the air like the swings, rotations, sudden halts, among many others in a manner that rivals no other drone. Maybe before, I could add my personal opinions, let’s have a look at how the small TBS Vendetta performs.
Features and Specifications
- Camera: Comes with either GoPro Hero 3/4
- Video resolution: relative to the included camera. Supports HD streaming
- Battery time: between 4 and 6 minutes (depends on the battery you order alongside the drone).
- Controller: app controller with FPV goggles.
- Maximum Speed: about 50mph.
- Control Range: about 200 meters.
- Cost: roughly $500 – $550.
- Durable: one of the key elements that make this bot so attractive is its durability. Well, let’s just face it. Most races love drones that could survive crashes and even in crashes they could be recovered with ease. Now, Vendetta is made of strong fibre that will hardly crash. However, even if the worst happens and it crashes/breaks, it is very easy to amend its propellers and set it back to airwaves.
- FPV enabled: perhaps you too will admit that not many racing drones have this feature. And even the few that have it, they cannot perform a third of what TBS Vendetta does.
- Very agile: I know the 45mph by DJI was quite a high speed; but boy, 70mph is just something else. So far, Vendetta is obviously the topmost racer in our list.
- Light weight: this drone weighs about 400g. It is very light to carry and you may be tempted to catty it to office or to the woods when you go hiking.
- Short flight time: I don’t know about you, but I find 6 minutes of flight time to be just too short (in my opinion), isn’t it?
- Quite costly: I know the $500 price tag looks pretty normal for a drone. But what you are never told out there is that you will need to purchase this drone’s controller, battery, FPV goggles and the charger separately. I don’t know what you make of that list, but I think, it’s quite a long one to add on top of a $500 price tag.
- Hard to learn: Vendetta is not a good teacher. If you need to learn, please don’t do it at 70mph with a drone that lacks GPS and a stabilization mechanism (like TBS Vendetta), it will certainly disappoint you.
TBS vendetta is certainly a great drone for either racing or in house flights. It is very responsive to its controller, very much durable and certainly cheaper to acquire. However, this drone could best be used by hobbyists. No professional would cherish changing/recharging a battery after 6 minutes. However, besides that one main drawback, this bot is generally awesome to try out.