The popularity of drones has exploded in recent years, so much so that there’s not simply one kind of drone for sale. Drones are specialized now, with models for kids, beginners, flying enthusiasts, racers (yes, there are racing drones), photography and video. No matter what kind of drone you want, these days the best drones are easy to fly, include more versatile cameras and have better collision avoidance features than ever before. Some even work with VR (virtual reality) to provide an immersive first-person flying experience. An RTF (Ready to Fly) drone comes with everything you need to take to the skies right out of the box, and can work well for both drone racing and FPV (First Person View) drone flights.
It’s essential to choose the drone that matches your skill level and what you want to use it for—especially when high-end drones can easily run a few thousand dollars. But don’t let that scare you away—you can get a quality drone far more affordably as well. Whether your focus is to have fun perfecting your skills as a drone pilot, racing drones, performing aerial acrobatics or capturing aerial footage, we’ve rounded up the best drones you can buy below.
Best Drone Overall
For Experienced Pilots, Here’s Everything You’ll Want In A Drone
Best Enthusiast Drone With Camera
Fly Up To 7.5 Mile Range Capturing 5K Video
Best Drone For Beginners
Inexpensive Three-Speed Drone Is Great For Kids
Best Budget Drone For Photography
Capture Stunning 4K Resolution Aerial Video
Best Lightweight Drone
Palm-Sized Drone Has 7.5 Mile Range And Weighs Under A Pound
Best Small Drone
The Tiny Quadcopter Costs Less Than $40
Best Affordable Drone
Versatile Starter Drone Is Great For Beginners
Best First-Person View Drone
Drone Piloting With A Unique Perspective
What To Look For When Choosing A Drone
Start by deciding what you want to do with the drone, along with the flying range and flying time you’ll need. Next, consider the quality and resolution of the device’s built-in camera.
Other features can come in handy include GPS navigation and a GPS Home feature, so your drone will automatically return to you if you lose sight of it. Also look for a camera with a 3-axis gimbal, which will help stabilize bumps on the roll, pitch and yaw so the drone can capture smooth photo or video footage.
To extend your flying options, consider purchasing multiple batteries if available. This adds to the cost of the drone, but it’s a worthwhile expense that lets you extend your drone use.
If you opt to become a drone pilot, keep in mind you don’t need flight school or training, but you must adhere to local, state and federal regulations. You can find more information about these rules by visiting the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.