Best Drones 2017

Editor's choice

Best Drone for Beginners

UDI U818A

Learning to fly a drone begins with learning how not to crash. That process begins with mishaps, so an aspiring pilot needs a drone that is tough, but also cheap enough that losing it in a tree won't bankrupt them. The $47.99 UDI U818A has a great ra...

9/10
Superior
$89.90 Amazon
Product Use case Rating
UDI U818A Best Drone for Beginners 9
Aukey Mohawk Best Drone for Kids 8
DJI Mavic Pro Best Camera Drone 9
Parrot Bebop 2 Best Simple Video Drone 8
Blade Nano QX RTF Best Drone Under $100 8
Aerix Black Talon 2.0 Best Racing Drone for Beginners 8
Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 Best Seller on Amazon N/A
Best Drone for Kids
Aukey Mohawk
$49.99 Amazon
Best Camera Drone
DJI Mavic Pro
$999 Amazon
Best Simple Video Drone
Parrot Bebop 2
$649 Amazon
Best Drone Under $100
Blade Nano QX RTF
$79.99 Amazon
Best Racing Drone for Beginners
Aerix Black Talon 2.0
Best Seller on Amazon
Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3
$54 Amazon


 

Drones aren't just fun to fly. They can let you capture breathtaking footage, some in high-resolution 4K video. They're also more affordable than ever, as quality beginner models now cost less than $60. Good camera drones start at a few hundred dollars.

More complex drones, starting at less than $1,000, offer customizable and programmable features, turning them into truly autonomous devices that can make their own decisions. Plus, a new class of racing drones has started hitting the scene.

We've tested dozens of drones, evaluating them based on design, ease of use, camera quality, durability and flight time, to bring you our list of top picks.

Our top pick for the Best Camera Drone is the DJI Mavic Pro, which folds into a compact, portable size, comes with a 4K camera, and which you can control using nothing more than hand gestures. (Be aware that there's a new version of the DJI Mavic Pro available that slightly boosts flight time and costs $100 more.) For kids, we recommend the Aukey Mohawk, which doesn't have a camera, but costs less than $70 and is very easy to fly.

3D Robotics (3DR) is no longer selling a consumer version of the 3DR Solo, but will continue to support the consumer model for the foreseeable future, and is still providing a one-year hardware warranty. As a result, it's pretty inexpensive, even when you factor in the cost of a GoPro camera. Get it while supplies last.

Read on to see our choices for different types of flying and budgets. Below our recommendations, you can find our tips on shopping for a drone and what rules you need to follow.

Latest Drone News

DJI rolled out an update for its drones that is intended to offer better privacy for government and enterprise customers. Called Local Data Mode, DJI's app will stop sending and receiving data over the Internet. The update will be available on the DJI Pilot app on CrystalSky and for certain Android tablets. This also means that data, such as No Fly Zones, geofencing, and the user's location will not show up in the app.

Although you no longer need to register your drone with the FAA, DJI is requiring owners of its drones running its latest firmware to activate them online through DJI's app. Otherwise, the drone will only be able to fly as high as 98 feet, and in a 164-foot radius. Additionally, other flight functions, including camera streaming, will also be disabled.

For those who like to fly their drones in the dark, Lume Cube will sell a $179 lighting kit for the Mavic Pro, which includes two lights and connectors which snap onto the Mavic's forward arms. Each light, which is water-resistant to 100 feet, is capable of producing up to 1500 lumens, and will last up to 2 hours with the light at 50 percent. The kit is expected to ship in mid- to late September.

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