Here’s the good news. You don’t need to be an expert drone operator to fly one. Most drones these days are easy-to-use and come with all instructions that you need to set up and start flying right away.
Whether you’re simply an amateur drone pilot or a professional aerial drone photographer, being able to operate the drone should be the least of your worries. Selecting the right drone, however, is the real challenge. Most drones available on the market are quite accessible in terms of price without any compromise in quality.
However, you should be aware of how to fly your drone legally since most cities prohibit the flying drones. Some of the best drones on the market, however, come with an operating app that has an in-built map that automatically provides warning and information on areas that prohibit flying of drones.
Although most standard drones these days come equipped with 4K cameras, video-stabilization, portable, automatic flight modes and support for the first-person view (FPV), investing in a drone that suits your needs best should be a priority and this requires proper research. We’ve saved you a headache by compiling a list of the best drones available on the market in 2019.
1. DJI Mavic Air
The premier foldable DJI Mavic Air drone that is quite popular in the market these days. This drone is highly portable. Want to fit it in your backpack, or better yet, in your pocket? No problem! Just fold it up to your desire and fit it anywhere you like. DJI Mavic Air is not only highly portable, and it comes with all the basic features you could wish for in a drone. Starting at $699, DJI Mavic Air can capture steady 4K videos at 60 frames per second and basically offers the highest picture and video quality you could ask for. With a battery life of 21 minutes and a range of 6.2 miles, DJI Mavic Air comes with the capability of tracking moving objects, taking boomerangs and spherical videos. On top of all of that, it also has a near-perfect obstacle avoidance capability that definitely makes it worth the price.
2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the king of drones and nothing like is an original counterpart. The drone comes with an excellent foldable design that makes it easier to carry around and travel (something to pay attention to if you’re a photographer). Although the drone lacks the 4K camera resolution at 60 frames per second capability, it has a gimbal-stabilized Hasselblad camera that comes with a 20MP camera resolution. This basically means it delivers superior photos and videos with a sharp quality.
The camera also boasts a one-inch CMOS sensor that allows users to capture pictures with more detail and brightness. The drone offers a 3.1-mile range with at least a 1-hour battery. Even though the drone comes with a hefty price tag, the performance and overall functionality of the drone is worth the investment. DJI Mavic 2 Pro is definitely worth the investment for professional photographers who specifically want a camera that delivers superior photo quality and stabilization features.
3. DJI Phantom 4
DJI Phantom 4 is a very affordable option that delivers a nice and stable 4K footage. Unlike its Phantom 3 counterpart, DJI Phantom 4 comes with more sturdy construction that offers greater durability and makes the drone capable of sustaining rough usage. Like most standard drones on the market, the drone comes with an obstacle avoidance capability and an excellent app that can be used to control the drone. Users can enjoy a rock-steady footage thanks to the gimbal design and a 4K resolution camera that delivers high-quality photos and videos. One major drawback, however, is the low battery life.
The drone only offers approximately 15 to 20 minutes of battery life, which may be insufficient for professional photographers. Overall, the DJI Phantom 4 is an affordable option for beginners and drone enthusiasts, who are not looking to invest a lot but want to enjoy high-quality results.
4. DJI Inspire 2
DJI Inspire 2 is a very elegantly-designed drone with a sleek metal bodywork. The drone has a remarkable obstacle avoidance functionality that ensures your drone does not get damaged by hitting anything along its flight path. The drone has a very impressive sleek body that encloses a twin battery that provides 25 minutes of flight time. The range of the drone is a good 7km. The drone comes with a 4K quality and the ability to swap camera lenses which is great news for professional photographers.
The ability to swap camera lenses on the go means that you have more control over your photographs and videos. The drone also comes with an app that gives you complete control of the drone at your fingertips. Overall, DJI Inspire 2 offers good battery life and plenty of features making it a highly professional kit. The drone does, however, come with a hefty price tag.
5. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
A twin of DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom is the drone that comes with a camera feature which a lot of the other drones lack. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom has a 2x optical zoom camera that provides great quality images with a great zoom that lets you focus in on objects with great precision and clarity. Another good news is the remarkable battery life on this thing. Mavic 2 Zoom has a battery life of 31 minutes, which is more than decent. Like all standard drones, Mavic 2 Zoom also comes with a safety obstacle avoidance feature that provides protection. The drone delivers stable flying performance that lets you take photos and videos that are rock solid and not blurred out due to the motion. Mavic 2 Pro has a highly portable design which ensures that the drone is easy to carry around when not in use. Overall, the drone offers excellent quality both in terms of flight and image capturing capabilities. The zoom feature is something to look into, particularly if you’re a photographer.
6. DJI Spark
So far the drone’s we’ve listed are quite expensive. DJI Spark is an exception starting at just $349. The small price tag, small drone! DJI Spark has shorter flight time with just a 12MP camera resolution. The range of the drone is about 1.2 miles. The drone can be easily controlled using your smartphone, and unlike most standard drones, DJI Spark does not come with a remote controller, which may be limiting for some.
Overall, DJI Spark is a very lightweight drone that is ready to use right out of the box. Fair warning though, the lightweight could act as both an advantage and a disadvantage. A lightweight ensures that the drone is easy to carry around, however, at the same time, it makes the possibility of the drone’s flight being affected during strong wind currents. The body of the drone features different colors, particularly around the rotors which makes it quite eye-catching. DJI Sparks is a highly affordable option, particularly for beginners who are reluctant to invest in something bigger and naturally more expensive.
7. Parrot Anafi
Parrot Anafi is a lightweight drone that offers exceptional camera quality. The drone comes with a 4K resolution at 60fps. The camera also offers zoom functionality (2.8x) without any reduction in quality of the image captured. What sets Parrot Anafi apart from other drones is its camera has 180 degrees of vertical range, which enables it to take photos directly upwards. Parrot Anafi also comes with an additional cool feature known as the Follow Me mode which allows the drone to automatically fly around and adjust camera angle to take better photos or selfies of you.
Additional modes known as the Smart Drone modes including Orbit, Parabola, Boomerang, and Tornado allow the drone to fly around in different ways to take photos and videos. Parrot Anafi has one drawback though, and it does not have an obstacle avoidance feature, meaning it lacks safety when out in the open air. The price is quite decent for the features that Parrot Anafi offers.
8. Parrot Bebop 2
Another quality drone option for those who want to invest in one without breaking the bank. Parrot Bebop 2 comes with a 14MP camera resolution with fisheye lens and camera stabilization software, which removes the need for a separate gimbal. Parrot Bebop 2 has rubber dampers that reduce in-flight vibration and enable users to take rock solid photos and videos that clear and stable. Parrot Bebop 2’s battery life is quite disappointing, so it is more suitable for beginners instead of professionals. Parrot Bebop 2 has a good range of 300 meters – a suitable range size for those just starting out. The controller and headset that comes with the drone are of good quality. A drawback of this drone is that most of its features including the cool Follow Me option is locked behind a paywall – meaning users have to pay additional money to unlock those features.
When deciding which drone to invest in this year, remember to think of your personal needs and preferences. Ask yourself what you will be using the drone for. Once you’re clear on that, you should proceed with your research to determine the specifications of the drones that best fit your needs.