Ever wonder how those amazing (and slightly annoying) shots of weddings on a beach or family reunions gets aerially filmed?
Of course not! Because drones are increasingly becoming part of our modern society, anyone can have one and anyone can learn to fly them.
Whether you’re a drone flying novice or an action shot professional, drones can get the birds-eye view that’s a game changer for all of your soaring skyline visuals.
Want to know the best drones for flying around your neighborhood or getting everyone in one photo? We’ve broken down your best bets and investments so you can get with the new wave and start flying a drone of your very own.
1. Ryze Tello Quadcopter
Unless you’re working on the latest battle scene for a Game of Thrones-level fantasy saga, you can get plenty of the expected capabilities from a drone by starting small. This extremely affordable model will provide fun to use and easy to learn model without breaking the bank. The flight time is relatively short, but it’s a good place to start if you’re new to flying drones.
2. DJI Spark
Ready to invest a little more in your hobby? We thought you might be, so we’re showing you one of the best options you can get for a growing drone collection. DJI is known for its impressive video quality and usability, and the Spark stands out as a lightweight model that’s great to take along when you travel. It’s small, and as such shouldn’t be put under too vigorous of conditions. It will also need plenty of time to recharge between uses. If you only have a few minutes to capture a sunset perfectly, we recommend you add this to your cart ASAP.
3. DJI Mavic Air
While we’re on the topic of DJI drones, we can’t leave out this particularly compact and portable model. Not only can it potentially fit inside a jacket pocket, but it’s also surprisingly fast flying (we chalk it up to its lightweight, agile structure) and captures 60 frames per second. Though the battery life only truly hovers around 20 minutes, the obstacle-avoidance it offers makes it one of the most reliable and worthwhile models for photographers, filmmakers, or casual drone fliers.
4. DJI Mavic Pro 2
Okay, so DJI is a drone brand to be reckoned with, and none stand more prominent than the Mavic Pro 2 model. It’s known for taking the sharpest pictures and videos imaginable among market drones and is made even more enticing with its foldable design. It’s easy to get drawn in, but much less easy to check out. It’s a pricey option and very well-suited for those who think they can make flawless photos worth the investment.
5. Parrot Bebop 2
Falling back to the affordable side of things, the Bepop 2 has super steady video and an impressive headset and controller that even novice drone fliers can easily learn to navigate. Know how to use a smartphone? Then you know how to use the Parrot Bebop 2 model drone. Easy, affordable, and offering some cutting edge features, it’s a good one to have in your new or growing collection.
6. Parrot Anafi
Polly want Anafi! Turn your drone flying hobby up a notch while shrinking in size with the Anafi model from Parrot. Think of it as a close personal confidant. The 180-degree camera and Follow Me mode make it perfect to be your biggest fan and keep track of your every move. Great for adventure Instagrammers, narcissists, and or even just creating your very own mockumentary. *looks directly into drone camera*
7. DJI Inspire 2
Believe it or not, flight time for drones is still quite limited overall. Maybe you won’t be flying across the ocean just yet, but the Inspire 2 will take you a few miles with some buffer time. The Inspire 2 from the masters at DJI have figured out a way to get 25 minutes of flight time and easy-to-incorporate smartphone compatibility. Though it’s exceedingly sleek, high tech, and user-friendly, this DJI drone will cost a pretty penny.
8. ZeroTech Dobby
Cheap, cute, and user-friendly, this drone is much like the Harry Potter house elf who shares its name. Called a “selfie drone” by its makers, it’s tiny, powerful, and versatile. For all this you might suspect it will be a rather large investment, though in truth it’s one of the most astoundingly cheap models you can get. Fair warning: all of these great features are balanced out by the extremely limited flight time.
9. DJI Phantom 4
For all the true photographers out there who want to see their fisheye lens fly, we present to you the DJI Phantom 4. The Inspire is great, but the Phantom has all you can ask for from a DJI drone—a great smartphone app, sturdy video, and 3-mile range—-at a fraction of the cost of most other DJI models. Start here, take some award-winning photos, then consider upgrading.
10. GoPro Karma Quadcopter
Know your way around the landscape? Good. You’ll need to when you send the GoPro Karma Quadcopter into the sky. It’s greatly reliable in terms of stability and photo quality, but it will need a human touch to remind it not to run into its surroundings.
One last tip before we send you on your way: though uavs are intuitive, they don’t do all the work for you. If you’re new to the practice of flying a drone, take time to actually—you guessed it—practice. Large fields will help you get a feel for controlling the range, but you can also just work on lifting it off the ground in your own backyard. Whatever works for you, be sure to get a sense for what to expect before you accidentally unleash it into the wilderness or worse, your neighbor’s windows.