Best Drone Reviews 2017

Looking for the Best Drones? Drones are all the rage in this new age of technology. Making the news regularly for their high flying maneuvers, they are taking fun to an entirely new level. Exciting to fly and now offering great aerial photography, drones are not only a great hobby, but can even take your business to another level. We have selected a wide variety of the best drones on the market to meet your needs from novice to expert.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Size
Weight
Distance
Flight Time
Extras
Our Top Choice
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Camera Drone
If you are a serious aerial photographer, get The Professional Phantom 3. You will get spectacular photography that can be applied to any type of hobby or business.
Comes with 4K video camera that captures 12 megapixel photos. GPS with GLONASS taps into 36+ satellites. Flight simulator lets you become a flying ace before going airborne.
Some customer support issues have been reported.
18 x 3 x 18”
9.2 pounds
FCC:5 km/CE:3.5 km
Up to 23 minutes
Go app + internet share
Best Value
Eachine 250 FPV Racer Drone with High Definition Camera
A drone for the kid in all of us, up your game from novice to master with this racer drone by Eachine. Great piece of equipment for the advanced hobbyist who loves to tinker.
Comes with monitor. Extended flight time versus less expensive models. Available in RTF and ARF versions.
Battery takes a while to charge. Arms and antenna can break easily, so be prepared to fix it.
13.8 x 9.8 x 5.5”
4 pounds
About 30 miles
Up to 10-14 minutes
Monitor included
3D Robotics Solo Drone Quadcopter
Great for survey work or professional videography and aerial photography, this smart drone provides advanced technology through use with GoPro or Sony cameras.
Locks onto subject with Orbit mode for 360 degree videos. Lightweight yet durable with GPS navigation. Easy to use video game style controls.
Some consumers experienced lack of customer support.
18 x 18 x 10”
3.3 pounds
6 miles (1km)
Up to 20 minutes
Wifi
UDI RC Discovery-wifi U818A Quadcopter Camera Drone
Be the parent your kid will adore with this super cool toy drone by Discovery. Rather inexpensive for a good quality brand that allows you to captain your own ship.
Low cost is great for beginners. Comes with a camera and does 360 degree flips with lights for night navigation.
Not a top-of-the-line drone camera for professionals but great for kids and amateurs for fun.
13 x 2.2 x 13.3”
4.2 ounces
Up to 30 miles (40 unobstructed)
Up to 7 minutes
360 inversion
Hubsan X4 HD Camera Drone H107C Quadcopter
A great experience for those who want a mini helicopter. This quadcopter allows you to rise above the fray to take cool footage of the neighborhood plus it’s super fun to fly.
Take it for a spin at night, great price for camera drone with aerial stunt capabilities. Available in 4 color designs.
Drones in general are easy to break, good idea to get some extra parts like propellers in case it needs fixing.
2.7 x 2.7 x 1”
1.1 pounds
Around 328 feet (100 meters)
Up to 7 minutes
Flips and rolls

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Drone?

Getting a new drone can be an exciting time and you might be tempted to pick the first one you see with a five-star rating and run with it. Fight the urge, just for a few minutes! There are a lot of drones on the market meant to do slightly different things, so look before you leap.

The first thing you want to think about is your overall skill level for handling quadcopters. Chances are if this is your first one, you will probably crash it at least once. If that’s the case, you might want to opt for a drone with a more stable flight controller - the built-in computer chip that determines how agile your UAV will fly.

It’s also important to consider where you’ll be flying the drone. Some of the higher end ones don’t have guards on the spinning blades, because they’re designed to fly fast and far outside. If you have a younger child or plan to fly it mostly indoors, you can get models that are less powerful but more house proof so you don’t have to freak out if you accidentally bump the TV.

Drones operate in a legal gray area right now so it’s important to keep in mind if your model needs to be registered with the government. If the model you pick weights more than 0.55 and less than 55 pounds, which is a large amount of commercially available models, you’ll be required to register it and pay a $5 fee.

One last thing, be sure to read the packaging! There are a few common abbreviations you will see that you need to be aware of:
  • RTF: Stands for ‘Ready to Fly,’ basically it means you have everything you need to hit the ground running. You may need to charge the battery first but it won’t require a degree in mechanical engineering to get your drone flying.
  • BNF: ‘Bind and Fly,’ these usually come pre-assembled for you but won’t come with a controller to mate it to. If this is your second drone or beyond this won’t be an issue, but for newbie’s, you’re going to have to purchase a controller separate to take to the sky.
  • ARF: ‘Almost Ready to Fly,’ this term means a lot of things to different manufacturers. If you see this, read the package contents carefully as you might be missing some crucial pieces like motors or even the battery.
Ok, now that we have all the preliminary stuff out of the way, let’s talk about a few other things to consider before purchasing a drone.
Price
Ranging from tiny models you can hold in your hand all the way to professional octocopters used in blockbuster movies, the sky’s the limit for a drone’s price. On one end of the spectrum, you can find tiny toy drones for less than the cost of a 12 pack of soda cans, but they are usually cheap drones and not worth your time (or money). We skipped over them in our recommendations as they tend to break after only a few uses, and may only get a minute or two of battery life.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have professional level gear that can cost you upwards of $10,000. These drones come packed with stabilization features and are used by big production companies to do things like film the Super Bowl or shoot a documentary.

You don’t need to spend more on your next UAV than a mid-sized family sedan to have a fun time in your backyard, our suggestions range in price from affordable drones costing under a hundred dollars up to some great ones that are just over a thousand.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind that directly affect the price:
  • Size and Weight: As a rule of thumb, the larger and heavier a drone, the more expensive it’s going to be. The larger frame means the producer could pack in more battery power or safety features.
  • Onboard Camera: Many drones carry a camera around to show you what it’s like to fly in the sky, the inclusion of a camera boosts the price depending on what model and how detailed it is.
  • Safety Features: Higher end models include things like flight planning, where a drone will follow a set route and return to the sender before its battery dies.
Features
One of the first things to keep in mind is the inclusion of a camera or not. Some drones include video cameras, others have a spot where you can add a GoPro and less expensive models may not have any camera features or mount at all. If you plan on using your drone to fly around your backyard and get the Jones family jealous, this may not be as important compared to someone who wants to film their neighborhood from 400 feet in the air.

Another important feature to keep in mind is rotor protection. Drones meant for the indoors or used by minors will include this by default, but a lot of the expensive heavy hitters in the industry have exposed blades. It takes a lot of force to go airborne and the blades are a real hazard, they’ve sent irresponsible enthusiasts to the hospital!

If you do plan on using your drone to take pictures of the neighborhood, you might want to look for a stabilization gimbal. The gimbal is a special mount for your camera that will keep it steady while you’re taking videos or photos. Drones can be a little unsteady, if you duct tape a GoPro to your drone chances are the film will be shaky to use.

In addition to the physical features of your UAV, there are a few software features you want to keep in mind as well. Drones can be extremely difficult to pilot, so many companies started including safety features to make them easier to fly. After all the last thing you want is to crash your brand new $500 investment because a gust of wind swept it right through your balcony window. There are a few common features you’ll see:
  • Flight Planning: We briefly touched on this above, it’s the ability to put in a pre-programmed flight path and then the drone will automatically follow the course. Combined with a video camera you can get some amazing scenery this way without worrying about crashing it into a tree.
  • Return to Home: With the push of a single button, your quadcopter can access it’s GPS and then return to the point that it was launched.
  • Automatic Landing: Similar to the parallel parking assist in your car, the drone can park it’s self safely in front of you.
Construction and Design
The construction and design of quadcopters vary quite a bit depending on the function. There are three main types of drones to consider:
  • Camera Drones: If you’re thinking of purchasing a drone, or have seen one flying around the park, chances are it was a camera drone. These are by far the most popular, they range from hobby level equipment up to professional level gear. These tend to have 4 rotor blades, and can be as large as small appliances like your microwave. Camera drones are usually built to be sturdy, they can take a few minor dings but ramming something solid like a tree or a fence at full speed will usually put them down for good.
  • Racing or FPV Drones: A recent entry, Drone Racing has taken the niche industry by storm in the past few years. Racers strap on goggles and race their machine from a first person view (FPV). They are usually about the size of the palm of your hand, and aren’t designed to fly very far away from you. Built to provide you the rush of first-person racing, they are meant to be agile and fast but won’t be able to take too many hits. Racing isn’t the same as bumper cars!
  • Toy Drones: The cheapest category by far, toy drones can be ones you find for under $20 in the discount bin or slightly more expensive ones that actually include tiny cameras. They are the easiest to fly as well, and are great to get experience because many have protection features allowing you to bump them all over and they’ll keep flying. They vary in size but are usually not too much larger than racing drones, the least expensive toy drones are even smaller than a one-dollar bill.
Take some time to think about what you want to do with your drone. Are you looking to start a new hobby photographing the neighborhood, or do you just want something you can annoy your cat with in your house? If you’re new to piloting quadcopters, toy drones are the most forgiving of mistakes. They won’t always do great outdoors, especially if you live in a windy area, but they can build your skills and confidence without breaking your bank.
Performance and Ease of Use
Although it’s last on this list, performance and specifically ease of use should be the first thing on your mind when you choose the right aerial drone for you. This often aligns with price, the more expensive hobby level drones are, the more features manufacturers cram in to assist you and keep your new best friend from slamming into a tree. For example, some quadcopters can help adjust for sudden gusts of wind, and can even keep within a set boundary per their internal GPS chip. If you’re an experienced pilot or looking for a racing drone, this aspect won’t be as important. For newbie’s, how hard or easy it is to keep your drone upright should be the first thing you think about – no matter how badly you want that high performance drone!

Most people will pick a drone solely on how fast it can fly, falsely assuming a faster drone means more fun to pilot. While speed is important, you also want to look for the drone’s range and battery life. Most drones on the market won’t have a spectacular battery life, you should expect to get between ten to thirty minutes per charge.

The range will vary greatly depending on the model you pick. Some of the cheap indoor ones will only work feet away, while most average hobby UAVs will still receive your commands more than 1,000 feet away.

What is the Best Drone?

When determining our selection for this article we took price range into consideration. On the higher end you can expect extended flight time and advanced photography with GPS navigation. There are also FPV racers for the hobbyist which fall into the mid-range, or inexpensive models with great features for the beginner that make a great gift for kids/teens.
Our Top Choice
Get the popular Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter today for professional aerial photography. If you want the most recent model, you can also buy the DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter which tracks moving objects.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter 4K UHD Video Camera Drone

DJI Drone CP.PT.000181


Features
Wow, when you see The Phantom 3 Professional Drone by DJI, you’ll know why it’s a favorite among consumers. 4 propellers stabilize your flight patterns and the high-quality design allows your camera to ride effortlessly through the sky. Speaking of the camera, you’ll capture up to 30 frames per second while shooting 4K video and snapping 12 megapixel photographs. The camera captures a 94 degree field view with an f/2.8 lens for wide aerial photography.

Keeping your Phantom 3 perfectly level is the 3-axis gimbal for stable footage. The range is up to 3.1 miles or 5km and includes a remote control that houses 2 sensitive joy sticks and allows you to view the footage on a screen so you feel like you’re right there with this drone as it’s flying. You can use the remote to take specific photos and video, tilt the camera, or come home at the touch of a button.

Use the Go App to stream your flight on YouTube or social media. You can also edit your video later to create professional looking movies using DJI Director video editor. SkyPixel allows you to share your fav videos and pics on a dedicated platform for aerial photographers and filmmakers across the globe.

You can practice your skills as a pilot with the flight simulator which is included. It gives you a lifelike virtual flying experience so you can become an expert without any risk to your device before hitting the sky for the real thing.

The Phantom 3 truly gives you an out-of-this-world experience at under $1K.
Construction and Design
With four propellers extending out from the center in a crisp and cool white design accented with gold stripes, The Phantom 3 looks like 4 helicopters in one. Sturdy legs for landing and take off house a camera in between for amazing aerial footage of the landscape. Each motor has the power and precision needed to give you a Top-Gun flight experience.

Driven by powerful brushless motors, change altitude and speed effortlessly. Air-braking mechanisms stop your flight on a dime. The aerodynamic self-tightening propellers stay firmly in place while you boost thrust. The Inertial Measurement Unit has an inner 6 axis gyroscope that records any change in tilt or movement and compensates automatically.

The ESC’s or Electronic Speed Controllers relay critical speed data to the main frame for constant communication and control.
Performance and Ease of Use
The Phantom 3 uses an Intelligent Flight Battery that calculates remaining battery power for a safe flight home. You can also use the advanced flight recorder which records internal mechanism data if you ever need to trouble shoot with the DJI support team. The Phantom 3 helps you fly, improving maneuverability and automatically logs all your flight data including the route, flight time and distance, and GPS location.

Speaking of the GPS, it locks onto satellites with greater accuracy and speed thanks to GLONASS which accesses 36+ satellites at any given time. Use the Go App to track your progress on a live map and enhance your understanding of the terrain for a perfect flight experience.
Best Value
Get this Eachine Racer 250 FPV Drone w/Monitor and HD Camera for a great racing experience, or get a less expensive version with 180 FPV with the Eachine Assassin 180 FPV with HD Goggles
Eachine H8 Mini RC Quadcopter - Racing Drone w/ Eachine I6 2.4G 6CH Transmitter 7” 32CH Monitor & HD Camera

Eachine Drone – RTF Version


Features
No need to buy an expensive racing car and join the Indy 500. For less than $400 you can race your very own hotrod in the sky from Eachine. Eachine is upping their game with this 250 FPV drone that is ready to fly right out of the box in just minutes. Dynamic camera angles produce vivid videos.

Some of you may be asking yourself “what’s a racing drone?” Unlike drones that are designed for playing pilot on the weekends or taking aerial photos for your profession, racing drones are compact quadcopters built specifically to take part in drone racing events that take place in cities across the globe, and are growing in popularity. If you’re in the winner’s circle at a drone racing event, chances are you custom built your drone. Because drone racers modify their crafts frequently, many only come partially assembled, assuming the owner will want to modify it right out of the box.

While “modding” your craft may be the way to the winner’s circle, you still have to start somewhere. If this all sounds exciting and you want to get into the drone racing game, you will need an RTF Racer. This means Ready To Fly. The Eachine Assassin 180 comes RTF so you can start the fun right out of the box.
Construction and Design
This Eachine Racer is designed to allow you to race from the First Person Viewpoint so you’re right there in the action. This model has a stylish red anodized front plate for the adjustable FPV camera. Made to last the duration of most races, the flight time is 5-7 minutes. The flying distance is around 30m, and charging time is 45 minutes for the 3.7V 150MAH battery.

The 6 axis gyro keeps it stable, and the light weight of this Eachine quadcopter is 4 pounds, keeping it fast yet sturdy. The camera is of good quality and adjusts well to changing light conditions. It includes a USB port so you can manually configure flight aspects from your pc. Designed to be easily repaired, assembled and disassembled for those who love to tinker.
Performance and Ease of Use
The Eachine Racer provides a great flying experience. A brand that makes high quality drones, they don’t disappoint with this model. Flight speed is ensured to be lightning quick with the 2204 2300kv motors. The mushroom antenna provides video transmission in real time to the monitor.

Don’t worry about wear and tear as that is to be expected, and Eachine built in a carbon fiber super anti-fall structure to make it durable. Download and install the pilot software to configure your drone, and you’re off to the races with the best of them. You’re going to love the smooth ride.
This Solo Drone Quadcopter delivers outstanding video and aerial photography. For enhanced smart battery functionaity, you can also purchase the 3DR Solo Smart Battery
3DR Solo Aerial Quadcopter Drone – Video Game Style Controller, High-Quality HDMI Port

3DR Drone SA11A - Black


Features
Your eyes in the sky, this Solo Smart Drone is designed with the videographer in mind. Providing options for outstanding professional aerial photography, you can use the Solo with your GoPro or Sony R10C to capture the specific type of imagery you are looking for.

With the Smart Shots feature you can be the Director of your videos, encoding your smart drone with the type of images you would like it to take before it even hits the skies. Then watch the magic happen as it takes flight, delivering the videos and images you pre-selected with the high quality HD provided by your GoPro.

A great accoutrement to your professional life for reliable aerial photography, 3D Robotics has developed SiteScan to be compatible with the Sony R10C camera to survey the landscape, map and inspect sites, and deliver the analytical data you require to get the job done.
Construction and Design
A highly sensitive smart drone, Solo is developed with over 35 sensors and 20 microprocessors to deliver a ride that is smooth-sailing. This smart drone is also constructed to be adaptable with future technology that is still in the development stage. The controller has a simple design with 2 joysticks for easy maneuverability. Lightweight at under 4 pounds, this quadcopter comes in a modular design so you can easily replace motors or change camera gimbals.

Twin 1 GHz computer flight controls offer autonomous flying and flight stability. The 3-axis Solo Gimbal works with the computer system to deliver perfectly stable shots automatically. Compatible with app for iOS and Android.
Performance and Ease of Use
One of the coolest features of this Solo Smart Drone is the ability to program it to follow you on the ground while it is up in the air -- it will actually track your every move. You can also use Orbit mode to get it to circle around a selected point, taking amazing aerial footage with an adjustable radius.

You can tell this drone exactly which camera angles you favor with the camera presets button. The GPS navigation helps you pilot your craft for smooth sailing. No need to worry about how to get your smart drone home, just tap a button to request it to safely retrace its steps, return, and land. The pause feature allows you to hover at any point in flight.

SiteScan with Sony R10C is a great professional tool for those who need to survey large areas. You can trace a specific spot on a site with your fingertip, and this smart drone will plan a flight path to gather the images you want, collecting detailed data per your request. If you need to develop 3D models, you can also program the Solo Smart Drone to select a flight path that will allow it to zoom in on specific areas from various altitudes with a 3D mesh overlay. Great for those who need to inspect areas which are normally difficult to access due to hazards and elevation.
The Discovery-wifi U818A Quadcopter from UDI RC is a great buy for the beginner to intermediate drone enthusiast. You may also want to check out the Freedom U32 RC Mini Quadcopter Drone that comes with a bonus battery to double flying time.
UDI Discovery-wifi RC Quadcopter with Camera - 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Gyro, RTF Mode 2

UDI RC Drone U818A


Features
A super fun hobby and a great gadget for teens, become a pilot and navigate the skies with this UDI U818A quadcopter. For less than $60 you can’t beat the price. It is the perfect camera drone for beginners, turning flying into a cinematic experience. No need for advanced skills, this quadcopter is ready to fly right out of the box. Performs awesome aerial maneuvers with an onboard camera that can upload pics to your iOS/Android phone.
Construction and Design
We love this design. If you have ever tried to fly a drone, then you know it takes a while to get the hang of controlling it. Even if you get a cost-effective model like this one, you certainly don’t want to break it by running it into a tree or whatever else it may encounter in flight. Thanks to UDI R/C’s experience in designing drones, this model has a protective barrier around each propeller so you can safely bounce off of obstacles while in the air.

This model also comes equipped with LED navigation lights so you can keep flying even after the sun goes down. The lights will flash to warn you when the battery is on low and your craft must be landed. This drone is lightweight but sturdy, and comes equipped with an HD camera to take amazing photos and videos from the sky. It comes with a 2.4 GHz remote control to maneuver your craft while in flight.

The UDI U818A is also equipped with Wifi which allows you to sync with a mobile app to transmit your videos live from a First Person Viewpoint. The camera is 2MP, 1280x720 and keeping this quadcopter steady is a 6 axis gyro with posture control. The USB charger allows for variations in how you can keep the juice to your quadcopter flowing, and it comes with a LiPo battery.
Performance and Ease of Use
Spin through the galaxy like a Star Wars Star-fighter with this drone’s amazing maneuverability. Be sure to get some altitude before tapping the 360 inversion button to make your quad do amazing aerial stunts, gracefully flipping and spinning. Save photos and videos captured during flight with the MicroSD card. Even if you don’t have a steady hand the auto-stabilization feature will assist you in keeping your flyer steady. The UDI R/C app allows you to make adjustments to improve the images you capture in real time for better photography. All in all, a great flying experience!
Have fun straight out of the box with this Hubsan X4 Quadcoptor. It’s an affordable drone that comes with a built in camera. If you want to spend a little bit more, you may want to check out the newer X4 Desire Quadcopter that comes with an upgraded 720p HD camera.
Hubsan X4 (H107C) 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Quad Copter with Camera - 4 Color Choices

Hubsan Drone – Red with Silver Stripes


Features
People are having a blast with their Hubsan X4 Camera Quadcoptor. It is hard to believe you can get such an advanced flyer for under $55. A great purchase for a teenager, and frankly moms and dads will love it too. Take your miniature helicopter out for a spin around the block and get really cool aerial footage, plus it flips and spins for fun maneuvers.

This miniature quadcopter comes ready to fly and has a cool red design with silver highlight stripes. This beginner’s drone is also available in black with red stripes, black with orange stripes or black with green stripes. The remote mimics the feel of flying a real helicopter. Throttle by moving the left joystick up or down to raise and lower the altitude of the copter. Yaw by moving the left joystick left or right (aka spin the copter around).
Construction and Design
The right joystick varies the rotor speeds. Built with an intuitive design, make your copter go forward by pushing the stick forward and go backward by pulling the stick back. Left and right movement of the stick makes the copter fly left and right.

When you first open the package charge the battery and put batteries in the remote. Then insert a micro SD card with the remote turned on and the throttle in the off position so the copter will sync to the controller. Plug in the battery to power up the copter and push the one button on the copter that turns on the camera. Now you are ready to go!
Performance and Ease of Use
Fun for the whole family, this quadcopter is extremely quick but stable and easy to learn, even for beginners. You can reach about 150 feet and move within about half a block to have a great experience with a birds-eye view of your surroundings. The camera is in a fixed position but you can use the yaw function to get a 360 degree view. This is your first step towards getting your pilots license, and you don’t even have to get airborne. Let this Hubsan X4 Quadcopter do the job for you.

Get the Best Drone of 2017!

These unmanned aircraft operated by remote control allow you to take the pilot’s seat with a virtual flying experience only available in this modern age of technology. Today's drones can produce aerodynamic maneuvers that are truly breathtaking and offer 360 degree imaging for a birds eye view of the terrain.

Our Top Choice
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Camera Drone
Best Value
Eachine 250 FPV Racer Drone with High Definition Camera
3D Robotics Solo Drone Quadcopter
UDI RC Discovery-wifi U818A Quadcopter Camera Drone
Hubsan X4 HD Camera Drone H107C Quadcopter