Top 10 Best Drones [April 2018]

Here it is! My list of the top 10 drones on the market. I’ll take into consideration 5 things: Price, Camera Quality, Flight Specs, Smart Features, and Portability. This list is my opinion of which drones are the best value all around. You’ll notice that DJI pretty much owns this list; DJI is clearly the leader in the drone market, so I would recommend any DJI drone. Now then, on to the list!

Our #1 Pick: The DJI Mavic Air

DJI Mavic AirPrice (8/10): $799 (multiple colors available).

Camera (9/10): 4k 30 fps, 12 megapixel stills, 3-axis gimbal.

Flight Specs (8/10): 21 minute flight time, 2.4 mile range, 42 mph.

Smart Features (10/10): Hand Control, Quickshots: basically everything you could ask for.

Size (10/10): About the size of a smartphone, when folded up.

Total Score: 45/50

The DJI Mavic Air is the drone for everyone, whether you’re a hobbyist, a beginner, or a professional. It has as many smart features as you could possible want, with just as much power packed into it. Its size is great for everyone, because you can throw it into your pocket and carry it easily. But don’t be fooled by its small size: it can go 42 mph, which is as fast, if not faster, than the Phantom 4, which is a far bigger drone. The 800 dollar price point is high for some, but believe me, it’s worth every penny. Since it’s so easy to use, and yet has such good camera and flight quality, it’s easily the best drone on the market right now. For more information, read the full review here.

Runner-Up: DJI Phantom 4 Pro

DJI Phantom 4 ProPrice (6/10): $1,489 on Amazon (obsidian color available also).

Camera (10/10): 4k video at 60fps, 20 MP stills. 1-inch CMOS sensor. Best camera on the market (except for multi-thousand dollar professional drones).

Flight (10/10): 30 min flight time, 4.3 mile range, 45 mph max speed.

Smart Features (7/10): 5 directions obstacle sensing. TapFly, Follow Me, the usual smart features.

Size (7.5/10): Phantom 4 Pro is a giant drone, so be prepared to save some space in your car.

Total: 40.5/50

While the Phantom 4 Pro is a lot of money, it has the best camera and overall performance of any drone you can buy right now. Obviously the Mavic Air was rated better because of the cheaper price, but the P4 Pro has more to offer. The colors on the camera are brilliant, and the picture is sharp and clear. It can shoot 4k at 60 frames per second, and can take 20 megapixel stills. However, the Phantom 4 Pro was not designed for beginners. It’s a drone aimed at professional or advanced hobbyists, so if you’re a beginner I would direct you back to the Mavic Air or Spark. Read my full review of the Phantom 4 Pro here.

Runner-Up: DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic ProPrice (7/10): $918 on Amazon.

Camera (9/10): 4k @ 30fps, 12 megapixel stills, 3-axis gimbal.

Flight Specs (10/10): 27 minute flight time, 4+ mile range, top speed 40 mph

Smart Features (8/10): Has several smart modes, but you can’t control with your hands, and it’s missing quickshot modes.

Size (9/10): The Mavic folds up to be about the size of a small book. Not as compact as the Mavic Air.

Total: 43/50

The Mavic Pro, released in late 2016, packs a ton of features onto a foldable drone. It’s become one of the most popular drones out there, because of its reasonable price, and its great specs. While it lacks the new features of the Mavic Air and Spark (such as quickshot modes, and palm control), the Mavic remains a good choice for people looking to upgrade to a better drone. The camera quality is excellent: 4k at 30fps, with 12 megapixel stills. Whether you should buy Mavic Pro or Mavic Air really just depends on what you want; Pro has more flight time, Air has more smart features. I personally recommend the Air, but read my full review of the Mavic Pro here.

 

#3: DJI Spark

DJI SparkPrice (9/10): The Spark comes in at $345 for the base package, but $599 for the Fly More Combo, which includes the controller.

Camera (6.5/10):  Max resolution 1080p, 2-axis gimbal.

Flight Specs (6.5/10): 16 minute flight time, 1.2 mile range (with controller), top speed about 35 mph.

Smart Features (9/10): Very Smart drone; designed for beginners. Obstacle avoidance only in the front.

Size (10/10): Palm-sized, but arms do not fold in like Mavic Air.

Total Score: 41/50

The DJI Spark is a great drone for beginners. It’s not too expensive, although you do have to cough up another 200 dollars to get the Fly More combo with the remote controller. Otherwise you’ll be controlling the drone with your phone and/or your hands. Smart Features and Size are the biggest draws on Spark, but the Camera can’t shoot 4k, and only has a 2-axis gimbal. Also, 16 minutes in the air was pretty good at the time of release, but I hope they upgrade that on the Spark 2. All in all, if you’re a beginner, you’ll love this drone. Click here for the full review.

#4: DJI Phantom 4 Pro

DJI Phantom 4 ProPrice (6/10): $1,489 on Amazon (obsidian color available also).

Camera (10/10): 4k video at 60fps, 20 MP stills. 1-inch CMOS sensor. Best camera on the market (except for multi-thousand dollar professional drones).

Flight (10/10): 30 min flight time, 4.3 mile range, 45 mph max speed.

Smart Features (7/10): 5 directions obstacle sensing. TapFly, Follow Me, the usual smart features.

Size (7.5/10): Phantom 4 Pro is a giant drone, so be prepared to save some space in your car.

Total: 40.5/50

While the Phantom 4 Pro is a lot of money, it has the best camera and overall performance of any drone you can buy right now. Obviously the Mavic Air was rated better because of the cheaper price, but the P4 Pro has more to offer. The colors on the camera are brilliant, and the picture is sharp and clear. It can shoot 4k at 60 frames per second, and can take 20 megapixel stills. However, the Phantom 4 Pro was not designed for beginners. It’s a drone aimed at professional or advanced hobbyists, so if you’re a beginner I would direct you back to the Mavic Air or Spark. Read my full review of the Phantom 4 Pro here.

#5: Yuneec Typhoon H (With Intel Real-Sense)

Yuneec Typhoon HPrice (6/10): $1199 on Amazon

Camera (9/10): 4k at 30 fps, landing gear folds up for a 360 degree view.

Flight (8/10): 25 minute flight time, 43.5 mph max speed, 1 mile range.

Smart Features (9/10): Follow Me mode, Intel Real-Sense obstacle avoidance (all directions).

Size (8/10): Typhoon H is very large when extended, but the arms can fold down for portability.

Total: 40/50

The Yuneec Typhoon H is a great option for more advanced pilots who are looking for a better flight and camera. Since it’s a hexacopter, the flight is very smooth, and if you crash and break a propeller, it can stay in the air with 5. The flight time and max speed are good, but the 1 mile range is really small! I guess it doesn’t matter too much if you’re flying it in your line of sight, but it would be nice to have more assurance of not losing connection. Also, the arms fold down for easy storage (something that will definitely come in handy). Overall, the Typhoon H with Real-Sense is a great drone, and you can fly it safely because of the advanced obstacle avoidance system. Click here for my full review.

#6: DJI Phantom 4

DJI Phantom 4Price (8/10): $778 on Amazon as of now.

Camera (9/10): 4k at 30fps max resolution, 3 axis gimbal.

Flight Specs (8/10): 28 minute flight time, 3.1 mile range, 45 mph top speed.

Smart Features (7/10): Has Follow-Me mode, and obstacle avoidance in the front.

Size (7.5/10): Big and bulky, as all other Phantom drones.

Total: 39.5/50

The Phantom 4 has been a popular drone for a few years now, but it continues to drop in price on Amazon! Right now it’s at $768 on Amazon, which is 37% off the original price of $1200. For that price, you’re getting a 4k camera, excellent flight, some good smart features, and reliable obstacle sensing. I’d say that’s a steal any day. Now, the camera on the Phantom 4 is about the same quality as the Mavic Pro or Air, but it’s not as good as the Phantom 4 Pro. If you’re okay being outdated by a few years with regard to features, then the Phantom 4 is a great option for you. Read my full review here.

#7: Parrot Bebop 2 Power

Parrot Bebop 2 PowerPrice (8/10): $579 on Amazon.

Camera (6.5/10): Can only shoot 1080p, has 3-axis digital stabilization.

Flight (9/10): 30+ minute flight time, 2 km range, 40 mph top speed.

Smart Features (7.5/10): Follow me mode is included, also some Quickshot modes.

Size (8/10): Small and portable, but not a palm sized drone.

Total: 39/50

The Bebop 2 Power is a good drone for the many people who want great flight, and just a decent camera. The Power’s camera is average; 1080p is great for plenty of pilots. Combine that with excellent and responsive flight, and you get the Bebop 2 Power. The Power comes with 2 batteries, so you get over an hour of total flight time, which is unprecedented. Also, the pack contains VR Goggles, which adds some more fun. Overall, Bebop 2 Power might not be a drone for photographers, but for most people it will do the job very well. Also look at my full review here.

#8. Autel X-Star Premium

Autel X-Star PremiumPrice (8/10): $764 at BestBuy (Amazon doesn’t carry this drone anymore).

Camera (8/10): Can shoot 4k at 30fps, 12 megapixel stills.

Flight (8/10): 25 minute flight time, 35 mph max speed, 1.2 mile range.

Smart Features (5/10): Follow Me mode, Waypoint mode, and Orbit mode.

Size (7.5/10): As big as a Phantom drone; pretty bulky.

Total: 36.5/50

The Autel X-Star Premium, though it’s been around a while, is a great Phantom-like drone. It’s almost an exact copy of the Phantom, despite its bright orange color. The camera is excellent, the flight is great, and the smart features are… not so good. It has follow me mode, orbit mode (drone circles around a point), and waypoint mode (set a course for the drone), but is missing the smart features that you would find in the Mavic Air. Also, its high price of $900 makes it a relatively bad option when you pit it against the Mavic. Also, the X-Star Premium is starting to stop being sold (Amazon isn’t selling it anymore), and I think this is due to the fact that Autel released a new drone, Evo, at CES this year. The Evo will be $1000 and you can read more about the specs here. Anyways, the X-Star Premium remains a viable option for flyers who want 4k video and a good drone.

#9: Yuneec Typhoon 4k

Yuneec Typhoon 4kPrice (9/10): $500-600 (Different retailers price it differently)

Camera (9/10): 4k 30fps camera, 3 axis gimbal.

Flight Specs (6/10): 25 minute flight time, 400 meter range, top speed 18 mph

Smart Features (5/10): Has a follow-me mode, but that’s pretty much it.

Size (6/10): It’s a big drone, comparable to a DJI Phantom drone.

Total: 35/50

The Yuneec Typhoon 4k has a terrific camera, which is why it’s number 4 on the list. The price isn’t too bad, especially considering it includes the “steadygrip”, a handheld device which you can attach the gimbal to, for smooth footage out of your hand. The Flight specs are disappointing, with a tiny 400m range and a slow top speed of 18 mph. However, less flight specs are a fair trade-off for an excellent camera. I would say the Typhoon 4k camera is one of the best, because of its crisp, no-distortion shots. For the full review, click this link.

#10: GoPro Karma

GoPro KarmaPrice (7/10): $600 without GoPro, $900 with it.

Camera Quality (9/10): GoPro is a great camera, but you have to buy it.

Flight (7/10): 20 minutes flight time, 35 mph top speed, 3 km range.

Smart Features (3/10): Has a follow-me mode, but it’s not great.

Size (8/10): Not a huge drone like the Phantom, but it’s pretty big, even when folded up.

Total: 34/50

As much as I’m not a fan of the GoPro Karma, it has to be on this list because, well, it’s the 10th best drone out there. First of all, I don’t like the price of $900 to get the drone and the camera; you’d be far better off buying a Mavic Air at $800. However, $600 is not too bad if you already have a GoPro Hero camera. The flight specs are pretty good: 20 minutes flight time is a little low in this price range, but that’s a small difference. Now, the real issue is in the smart features. GoPro added a firmware update with a follow me mode, but instead of following an object, it follows the GPS signal of the controller. So the thing you’re following has to have the controller with it. Also, the size. Karma is a big drone, and even though it folds up, it’s still big! It’s not as tall as a Phantom drone, but it’s very long and can’t be easily transported like the Mavic Air or Spark. All in all, I think if you have a GoPro, it’s not a bad option, but if you don’t, definitely get the Mavic Air.