The Best Drones 2022

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 Features

Flight Range: 9.3 miles | Maximum Flight Speed: 42 mph | Maximum Flight Time: 46 minutes | Camera Resolution: 5.1K video / 20MP still images

Who it’s for: An experienced drone pilot looking for top-notch tracking, cutting-edge features and high-resolution aerial photography and videography. This drone comes at a premium price for good reasons.

The DJI Mavic 3’s abilities will satisfy enthusiasts and professionals alike. It stands apart thanks to its dual built-in Hasselblad cameras that can capture detailed video at up to 5.1K (50 fps) and images at 20MP. The cameras are mounted on a 3-axis gimbal for maximum tilt, roll and pan control. One camera has a wide-angle 24mm lens with a large 4/3 CMOS sensor for better dynamic range and lower noise in low-light environments; it also has an adjustable aperture from f 2.8 to f11 . The second camera has a 162mm telephoto lens with 28x hybrid digital and optical zoom and an aperture of f4.4.

This drone’s omnidirectional sensors, built-in GPS and advanced auto-return help it avoid obstacles in complex environments. DJI’s ActiveTrack 5.0 subject recognition technology locks accurately locks onto a moving object on the ground to track and film the object.

Pros:

  • 5.1K video capture
  • 46-minute maximum flight time / 40-minute hovering time
  • 9.3 mile range

Cons:

  • Premium price
  • Drone piloting experience required
  • Expensive accessories


Best Enthusiast Drone With Camera

Fly Up To 7.5 Mile Range Capturing 5K Video

Flight Range: 7.5 miles | Maximum Flight Speed: 42.5 mph | Maximum Flight Time: 31 minutes Camera Resolution: 5.4K video / 20MP still images

Who it’s for: A drone enthusiast looking to up their game from an entry-level model. This drone offers excellent videography capabilities and the ability to capture decent still images as well.

The DJI Air 2S provides a strong compromise on price and performance features, and it does so while providing drone users room to grow their flight skills.

The Air 2S is a good choice for more experienced pilots with a focus is on aerial photography and videography. It can captures hyperlapse, wide-angle, 180-degree field of view and panoramic video using its 5K camera. The 22mm camera has a 1-inch sensor and is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal. The Air 2S has subject tracking modes and pre-programmed aerial effects. DJI includes its two-handed Smart Controller to guide the drone; if you want to see what the drones sees, you can pair the controller with your smartphone and the DJI Fly app.

Pros:

  • Four directional obstacle sensing
  • Sensors to avoid airplanes and helicopters when flying
  • Themed templates

Cons:

  • 31-minute maximum flight time (with no wind)
  • Expensive accessories


Best Drone For Beginners

Inexpensive Three-Speed ​​Drone Is Great For Kids

speed: Three speed | Camera Resolution: 720p video

Who it’s for: Ideal for kids and anyone with zero piloting experience looking for a low cost, entry-level drone for use indoors or outdoors (on very calm days).

If you’re looking for a perfect “starter” drone for kids or beginners, the Sharper Image Pocket Video Drone is a video quadcopter that folds up and fits in your pocket.

As the pilot, you can choose between three flight speeds and learn to perform aerial acrobatics (like 360-degree flips. The drone connects to your iOS- or Android-based mobile device using Wi-Fi for piloting controls. It won’t ever be far from your sight, though, with a maximum range 98.4 feet.

Pros:

  • One key take-offs and landings
  • Fly indoors or outdoors
  • Camera has a “selfie” mode

Cons:

  • Video quality is just 720p
  • Limited flight range


Best Budget Drone For Photography

Capture Stunning 4K Resolution Aerial Video

Flight Range: 2,500 feet | Maximum Flight Speed: 27 MPH | Maximum Flight Time: 28 minutes Camera Resolution: 4K video / 11MP still images

Who it’s for: This general-purpose drone is relatively easy to fly and will capture great video footage.

In the under $400 price range, the EXO Cinemaster 2 is a great option for aerial photography and videography. It allows you to shoot 4K video using a camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal for maximum control. Still images captures are at 11MP (which is okay, but on the lower end of the resolution scale).

When your focus is on aerial photography, pilot the drone at speeds up to 13 mph, but when you want to have some fun, boost the speed up to 27 mph.

The drone can track moving objects and circle smoothly circle around objects while filming. A convenient pre-flight setting lets you set GPS points on a map and have the drone follow a precise route, which frees you in the moment to focus more on what you’re capturing than on piloting. If you want extra batteries, EXO sells two for $60, a relatively reasonable expense to get extended flight time.

Pros:

  • strong features
  • Comparatively inexpensive extra batteries
  • Comes with the Cinemaster 2 controller and extra set of propellers

Cons:

  • Less than average flight time
  • short flight range


Best Lightweight Drone

Palm-Sized Drone Has 7.5 Mile Range And Weighs Under A Pound

Flight Range: 7.5 miles | Maximum Flight Speed: 35.8 MPH | Maximum Flight Time: 34 minutes Camera Resolution: 4K video / 48MP still images

Who it’s for: Someone looking for a lightweight and portable drone with really good aerial videography and still photography capabilities, a long flight time and an impressive flight range.

The brand new DJI Mini 3 Pro is an ultra-lightweight drone that weighs a mere 2.8 ounces and fits your palm when folded. It has up to a 34-minute maximum flight time and a 7.5 mile range. With the extra-cost Plus battery, the drone can stay airborne for a lofty 47 minutes.

The camera is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal that can shoot portrait or landscape, and can capture 4K60 video or 48MP still images—using the up to 4x digital zoom. Despite its small size, the drone can withstand level five winds (up to 23 MPH). The compact size comes in handy in many regions, as this drone may be small enough to bypass local regulatory rules.

Pros:

  • Captures wide-angle, 180-degree field-of-view
  • Automatic take-off and Smart Return to Home
  • Impressive 48MP still image camera

Cons:

  • No automatic obstacle avoidance


Best Small Drone

The Tiny Quadcopter Costs Less Than $40

Good Value

Flight Range: 328 feet | Camera Resolution: 1080p video

Who it’s for: This starter drone for kids and adults alike who want to control a small drone using their smartphone. Like the Sharper Image Pocket Drone, this one also falls into the “toy” category.

The Lozenge Super Mini Drone is ideal for first-time drone pilots, because it’s easy to set up and fly. The camera has a reasonable 120-degree field-of-view and captures video at 1080p, better than many at this size and price. The drone operates with three flight speeds, and it has one key start, landing and return. Pilot this drone using any iOS or Android smartphone. It offers a 328-foot flight range, and can handle 360-degree stunt rolls and other aerial tricks.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to pilot
  • Works with any smartphone

Cons:

  • Basic camera features
  • Limited flight range


Best Affordable Drone

Versatile Starter Drone Is Great For Beginners

Flight Range: 315 feet | Maximum Flight Speed: 15 MPH | Maximum Flight Time: 15 minutes Camera Resolution: 1080p video / 6MP still images

Who it’s for: This reasonably priced drone is suitable for first-time pilots. The EXO Scout steps up from the toy drone category to provide a wider ranger of abilities. It has three flight speeds (7, 12 and 15 mph). The drone also offers auto takeoffs and landings. You can set an altitude hold mid-flight, plus take advantage of sensors to avoid crashes. The camera shoots 1080p video or 6MP still images, and it has a 10x digital zoom. You’re able to tilt the camera up or down remotely using your smartphone and take advantage of a 10x digital zoom feature. Maximum flight range is 315 feet, and flight time is a mere 15 minutes per battery charge, so consider going with a kit that includes extra batteries.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Full HD video

Cons:

  • Poor battery life
  • Limited flight range
  • Low still image resolution


Best First-Person View Drone

Drone Piloting With A Unique Perspective

Flight Range: 10.4 miles | Maximum Flight Speed: 87 MPH | Maximum Flight Time: 20 minutes Camera Resolution: 4K video / 12MP still images

Who it’s for: Experience the thrill of piloting a drone using VR and see everything from a first-person perceptive.

The DJI FPV Drone provides a very different experience. FPV stands for first person and view, and that perspective is what sets this drone apart from the crowd. This bundle includes the DJI FPV Drone, DJI FPV Goggles V2 and a DJI FPV Remote Controller 2.

When used with a smartphone you can pilot the drone with a first-person viewing perspective. To make the experience more immersive, strap on the FPV Goggles to see what it’s like to whoosh through the sky in stereoscopic virtual reality. This drone offers a maximum flight speed of 87 mph. The camera captures 4K video at 60fps with a 150-degree field-of-view lens.

Pros:

  • Has emergency break and hover
  • Customizable LED lights
  • Built-in obstacle sensing and avoidance

Cons:

  • Limited flight time
  • Costly extra batteries
  • Expensive


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.

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