Drones are coming to our everyday’s life faster and faster. So yes, the future is here, along with FAA regulations and lots of new models on the market. Let’s take a look at best of the best of 2018 and overview of what I feel like the best drones for your money.
Best Air Drones 2018
Now there’s a lot of different price levels out there you can go with. The toy drones, the racer trial induced FPV with googles, you can also get DJI stuff for aerial photography and unique to the biggest companies out there. Let’s talk a little bit of what’s out there and what’s the best of 2018.
|Drone Model||Control Range||Top Speed||Flight Time||Camera|
|DJI Mavic Pro|
|7 km.||40 mph||27 min.||12 MP|
4K H.265 @ 30fps
|DJI Inspire 2||7 km.||67 mph||27 min.||30 MP|
5.2K DNG @ 30fps
4K H.264 @ 60fps
|DJI Phantom 4 PRO||7 km.||45 mph||30 min.||20 MP|
4K H.264 @ 60fps
|DJI Phantom 4||5 km.||35.8 mph||28 min.||12 MP|
4K @ 30fps
|Yuneec Typhoon H Pro||1.6 km.||43.5 mph||25 min.||12 MP|
4K @ 30FPS
|Yuneec Breeze 4K||0.1 km.||11 mph||12 min.||13 MP|
4K @ 30FPS
|ZeroTech Dobby||0.1 km.||17.4 mph||9 min.||13 MP|
4K @ 30FPS
|Aibao Walkera||2 km.||11 mph||18 min.||16 MP|
4K @ 30FPS
|Lumenier CHARPU 210||0.9 km.||68 mph||6 min.||3 MP|
|Inductrix FPV||0.1 km.||12 mph||5 min.||25mW FPV|
1. DJI Mavic Pro – Most Powerfull and Portable Flying Drone in this List
What you’re looking at right here is this is the DJI Mavic Pro. This is their portable line series. It folds up into something really small that you can put into a bag or some small type of travel carry-on bag. Probably the most portable drone out there right now besides the Yuneec Breeze 4k. This one’s also packing 27 minutes flight times.
Battery and Flight Time
You get that 25 minute flight time out of the battery safely. These batteries are actually under a hundred dollars, which is pretty affordable and the Mavic Pro current price so not bad for 4K camera and 12-megapixel resolution. I would actually trade a little bit of a camera quality for portability here. If you don’t want to spend much and you want something super portable Mavic Pro is super awesome. Probably the most locked in a drone that I’ve flown. It felt like it flew better than my Phantom 4.
These batteries are actually under a hundred dollars, which is pretty affordable and the Mavic Pro current price so not bad for 4K camera and 12-megapixel resolution. I would actually trade a little bit of a camera quality for portability here. If you don’t want to spend much and you want something super portable Mavic Pro is super awesome. Probably the most locked in a drone that I’ve flown. It felt like it flew better than my Phantom 4.
This one also comes with different flight modes in there. Some new flight modes that we haven’t seen before and it does have 20 different sensors built into this one. This one also has flight modes such as TapFly and ActiveTrack. A little more compact size and what I think is probably my favorite aerial drone this year.
2. DJI Inspire 2 – Best Flying Drone to Buy in 2018
Here is the DJI Inspire 2 and this is amazing offering from DJI. It’s brand-new, it just came out, it has a load of different features on here, and what is this drone all about – it does look pretty strange bit it has a ton of features backed into this an amazing aluminum-magnesium body combo. With carbon fiber arms and detachable props on and off, and you don’t need any tools to work with them.
Amazing obstacle avoidance system on-board, controlling and watching over the terrain as you fly from every different angle of the drone. So this is an all-in-one obstacle avoidance system on here you also have dual batteries on board, which is super nice because if one battery goes out the other one takes over and you can fly home without a crash.
You’ve got 27 minutes with those batteries and it is very nice because I’m hoping to see some upgrades in the future with this. Maybe they’ll give us a larger battery and we can even do more flight time coming up in the future, so that might be a little bit of a future-proof option.
Camera, Speed, and new FPV
Now, the next thing to talk about is camera video resolution and this is a very commercial grade style. The drone has a 5.2K/4K which means you can shoot 60 frames a second at hundred megabits per second in 4k, which is absolutely amazing. So if you’re looking for something cinema-grade a lot of Hollywood guys are using right this is the one.
New Front Camera
You also see something on the front here which looks a little different than what we’ve seen before with the Inspire. It’s a new FPV camera on the front.
That’s the first person view on the front of this drone and it allows the operator to see where the drones going, while the camera operator can see from the camera on the bottom of the gimbal and control the camera while the drone operator is flying. So, two different cameras allow this setup to be a lot more versatile in filming situations.
See also: our best handheld gimbal stabilizers for smartphone.
Obstacle Avoidance and Video Shooting
It’s a very safe system, now as far as, terrain follow and all those other features, that are packed into this Inspire 2 to this is definitely something you should look at if you`re looking at something to start a business or going to get certified as a drone pilot this is definitely a great platform. It is not a drone for beginners by any means. Inspire 2 is not one to start out with, this is a very intimidating drone for the size.
Also, it has some new powerful tracking features that allow you to follow alongside subjects. A someone’s riding a motorcycle, or you have someone surfing, you can follow them from that side profile and get a better version of tracking, than what we had before. It also does orbit tracking, so you can sort of fly around the car as it’s driving down a mountain. Make sure there’s minimal obstacles in the way. You do have 30 meters worth of obstacle avoidance on this drone. Very-very robust obstacle avoidance probably the most robust obstacle avoidance that we’ve seen for 2018 on any drone.
You can also record in Cinema DNG and apple programs at 5.2K. Very high quality h.265 video. Also on their h.264 video codec support 4k video at a hundred megabytes per second. So megabits per second pretty amazing fast on this camera. If you’re looking for the highest bitrate, that`s the highest one out there on the market in the drone market right now. Definitely the highest one.
3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro – Smart Pro-Level Drone for any Situation
The Phantom 4 Pro price is surely going to change over the course of 2018. They’re gonna drop the price probably by summertime and we’re probably looking at a cheaper price in the third quarter coming up this year. But the Phantom 4 Pro is something that blew me away right out of the gate.
This is quite an upgrade from the Phantom 4.
When the original Phantom 4 came out it was a great copter. So I got rid of my Phantom 3, this one is much easier to update and a lot easier to deal with. I think it also flies a little better and it has quite a few more features than the Phantom 3. Phantom 4 pro is pretty amazing because they’re giving us a flight time of 30 minutes.
Sensors, Camera and Controls
Camera and Sensors
A very high-tech drone. We’re looking at 60 frames per second 4k and a 20-megapixel image sensor. A nice camera as well comes along with this one and the transmission range. If you guys are looking for long transmission range – 4.3 miles is way out there, and 30-minute flight time. If it does 30 minutes that’s going to be pretty amazing. But what I’m the most excited about is the five directions of obstacle sensing on this drone.
It has great options for doing pull away selfies. If there’s something behind the drone at this point, you simply do a pull away. A selfie reveal sitting on the side of a mountain is gonna go around trees, that are behind it now, which is amazing because in the past you didn’t have any obstacle avoidance on the backside of the drone. If you were doing something in reverse down the street you might hit a light pole or things like that might be in the way, but this one is actually going to stop and go around it.
We also have 4K video on here and we have a larger 1-inch 20-megapixel CMOS sensor. A very nice sensor inside this camera if you’re looking for pro quality video. They also have a new backpack that comes along with that. So, you have a battery charging hub station, and you also have a USB charger setup.
You can get extra props there. Intelligent flight battery comes along with this one. A lot of people are going to want this one mainly because it also offers obstacle avoidance at every different angle.
New Brighter Remote
Also new to the Phantom 4 PRO, which I really like, they say it’s four times more bright than iPad outdoors. It’s the new remote control with a built-in screen. It flips up and you have all your information on there. It’s a 5,5 inch 1080p screen and with a touch screens function, so you can do your tap fly and all your different modes in there.
It uses the same DJI app which is called DJI GO. I believe it automatically detects which version of The Phantom for using. I do not know at this point whether it works with the phantom 4 or not, I will find out about that soon.
A ton of new modes for Phantom 4 Pro
We have a new mode called Draw and that’s a new technology. It allows a new style of waypoint control – you draw a route on the screen and Phantom 4 PRO move in that direction, keeping altitude locked in the direction that you draw on the screen. Really cool if you see something on the screen that you’d like to just kind of fly along and shoot. You can do sort of a pan along that, so that’s very interesting for making some pretty, complex shots.
You also have standard waypoints included. This one also has other features like dual redundant, GPS and next up we have ActiveTrack which is a new version of ActiveTrack I was telling you about with the Inspire 2. It allows recognization of subjects and to go from the side as well as going orbit and so you have Trace profile and spotlight versions.
With Trace, you can follow behind or in front of the subject of boarding objects automatically. Trace allows you to follow behind or in front of a subject avoiding obstacles automatically along the way as well. It is going to fly alongside somebody with a variety of different angles and you can, sort of, change the angles and get profile shots at the subject as subjects standing still or moving. A spotlight and that keeps the camera trained on the subject when the aircraft goes anywhere you want to pilot. So that’s also a pretty cool new mode.
And of course Tap like we talked about before. Where you can sort of fly in any direction visible on the screen with a tap and the drone will fly in that direction while it avoids objects forward or backward. You can also do a new mode called “Free” which locks forward the direction of the Phantom without locking the camera direction allow it to turn as it flies, so that’s also pretty cool, but it does say on their website that obstacle avoidance is not available with top-flight Free, so be careful with top fly free if you haven’t used that mode before.
You also have other modes on the Phantom 4 PRO like we’ve seen on the other one – Return Home, Gesture Mode, Dual Independent.
A 30 min. battery which is not bad at all. It is an absolutely amazing drone so this would make a great gift for someone if you want to get into some serious aerial photography without spending $3,000. This is a great platform and I believe will be also really reliable now.
4. DJI Phantom 4 – All-time classic for Air Photo and Video
It does not have side-to-side infrared sensors like the new Phantom 4 Pro and rear-facing obstacle avoidance. If you do any pull away reveal selfies you be sure to check you don’t have anything behind. This one is going to be almost five hundred dollars cheaper than Pro and you still going to get 4K video and general obstacle avoidance on here.
Let’s see the bit rates. It’s 60 megabits per second on the max bitrate on DJI’s website. So the sensor in this one is that one and a half point three CMOS effective pixels of 12.4 megapixels. Not bad for video stills and you’re going to get 4k video on this. So you can do a lot of cool stuff with this camera as well as single shot burst auto-exposure, time lapse in HDR, Photoshop DNG / RAW and you can also shoot in JPG and so.
This one also includes MicroSD card inside of it. I believe it comes with a 32 gig card or 16-gigabyte card so you can put plenty of 4k video on either one of those. I believe it also is updatable to 64 gigabytes. Not a bad drone for the money. This is probably going to be your best value for 2018.
The Way of Value
5. Yuneec Typhoon H Pro – Six is Better than Four
Now we’re moving on to something a little bit different. This is the Typhoon H by Yuneec and you know what’s different about this one? Notice it right away: there are six rotors on this one vs four. This is a major significance when you’re flying drones out.
The other drones that we saw, if you have a motor failure, all the technology in the world is not going to save you if you have a motor failure. And these electric motors from time to time they do fail. I want to warn you about that they do fail. And even if you have two brains inside or double redundant batteries and all this dual stuff in there – if you lose a motor you’re going in.
Motors and Controls
So the nicest thing about the Typhoon H is that it does have motor redundancy. If I lose a motor midair this has a special mode on there called 5 Motor Mode and five motors will actually take over level the aircraft and it’ll fly home. You can still control it. With five motors you can actually fold one of these arms down and fly it in five motor mode automatically off the ground. You can do it yourself and test to see if it actually works it’s pretty amazing.
You’ll actually have some obstacle avoidance on this if that’s a requirement for you. You do have that option with this one. It also comes with dual GPS on board as well so you have GLONASS up to 20 satellites on board in case you have a position where you need to fly come back and return to home. This one has also a lot of the same type of features that has a lot of different modes. You also have a neat option to be able to use the Wizard. It’s a controller that you hold in your hand, sort of like a TV remote, and you can make this thing fly around in the air on your command. A very competitive option from Yuneec.
6. Yuneec Breeze 4K – Selfie Stick that Flies
The next thing Yuneec has to offer is Breeze 4K. This is a really portable super small little selfie drone and this one goes up to around 300 feet. It does not have folding arms but is very compact. These little one does not have a 3-axis gimbal on it but it takes very smooth 1080p stabilize video. It’s software stabilized inside the copter and has onboard storage for your video which transfers over to your phone.
Camera and Video
The 4K video on this one is not stabilized, but a lot of times when shooting for quick stuff you can shoot at 1080p and it looks just great because you know what? A lot of us have been watching 1080p televisions and whites flat-screen televisions for years and that video resolution is pretty acceptable. So it also flies off the phone.
App and Controls
You don’t have to actually have the controller out in the field which is very nice because they have a nice app that has all of your videos saved to the gallery and once the drone is on you can transfer those down straight to your phone.
You have a variety of different tasks in here: Just Pilot, Selfie Orbit, Journey Mode and even Follow Me on the Breeze 4K. Pretty decent for under five hundred dollars. I would definitely suggest looking at the Breeze 4k. The flight time on this one is going to be around 10 minutes. It’s not a really super long flight time but the batteries are way cheaper, so they also include two batteries along with the Breeze 4K. Essentially you’re going to get 20 minutes flight time right out of the box with this one anyway. In upwards of 20 minutes that’s acceptable especially since they offer two batteries with it. Pretty sweet.
7. ZeroTech Dobby – Pocket Air Selfies with FPV camera and 4K video
This is ZeroTech Dobby and this is a really neat little compact drone. It is actually smaller than iPhone 6 Plus and gets about a 9 minute flight time. This one is awesome because it fits in my pocket, has Wi-Fi, onboard video and photo 3-axis stabilization. It’s not sort of a hardware type gamble stabilizer with motors. It has folding props and arms which fold-out lock into place. You have your own off button in the center and once that’s ongoing to get around nine minutes flight time.
Software and Hardware
There’s a little app called Do.Fun. With Do.Fun you can look it up and it works on Android or iOS. Once you login you can let this load up. There is a GLONASS on here, you have dual satellites up to about 20 satellites on here so it’s super locked-in in the air. In my test, it stayed in one spot and maintained its height until I was ready to fly. Controls on this one take a little bit of getting used to. It’s different than some of the other ones like the Breeze 4K but after a few minutes I was able to fly without crashing it. Be careful this one does not have an obstacle avoidance so it’s up to you.
Take this one camping with you on a family trip. This one’s all about simplicity so we’re looking for some sort of subtle and compact doesn’t attract a lot of attention. It also has optical flow in the bottom and will assist you in landing doing self-landing and auto take off. I had a lot of fun with ZeroTech Dobby so far so I would recommend this one if anyone’s looking for something small and simple.
8. Aibao Walkera – Competition and Entertainment
Now you’re looking at Walkera. It is sort of an entertainment style drone and this one is different than what we’ve seen so far previously. A lot of really serious drone technology and I’m not really talking about entertainment value. I’m talking about a serious photography stuff. This is something more along the lines of augmented reality what they call mixed reality. You have gaming options inside this one which is really different for the drone market. What they including here is a virtual drone racing across the Internet competing with other racers in real time.
You can go into this Racing Mode and keep all your stats in here. That’s really interesting. It also returns to home, has a GPS on board amd a 4K camera. So, you can also do some pretty intense shooting.
It does not have a stabilized gamble on here so you’re going to get sort of FPV-style footage meaning it’s going to be a lot more rough and noticeable in your altitude and directional changes. It is a neat drone because you can fly in these various modes and if you’re a gamer, somebody that likes to play games to compete with other people. This is neat that it does have these virtual reality gates and sort of overlaid overtop of your environment in real-time video.
The last mode in this one is the Free Video Mode where you can just fly around and shoot video freely. You also have a mode simulator in here to sort of practice flying before you even start for your first lift off outside.
Next thing that seems interesting about is that it does have an alternate app. Guys that are more serious about aerial video you could have DJI-style app for just the half price. Also, the biggest thing about this one is 4k video. You’re going to get around 18 minutes flight time with this. In my field test, I was getting a 13 to 15 minutes out of that battery. So 18 minutes a little bit stretching it on the website.
9. Lumenier CHARPU 210 – Pro-Grade DIY Air Racers
This is Lumenier CHARPU 210 and you know what? This has been one of my favorite quads this year. It is an amazing quad with an amazing camera and five-inch props. Also, we have those awesome 2205 motors from Lumeniere and very-very nice carbon fiber. This is 3k carbon fiber with a 45-degree angle till bond here. It’s very durable. This is a three ml. version that has held up in a ton of different crashes that I’ve had with. This is a DIY. You have to put it together yourself and add your own motors. But you can go check out the available kits from Lumeniere.
They do have this CHARPU 210 and it is by far one of the best performing racer quads out there. It’s also extremely lightweight, one of the lightest quads on the market. Some of the other ones feel really heavy and we’re talking about race quads. If you want to have something that has a very lightweight carbon frame and you also want to have a great power to weight ratio (as a result of that you want to have maximum power) with a little lighter weight frame you’re going to get the best results. So CHARPU 210 or the QAV definitely one of my best bets for 2018.
Lumenier QAV-ULX – Order kit
This is the Lumenier QAV-ULX. It’s at DIY racer and one of the fastest racer quads that I own to date. A hundred miles an hour this thing rips on 4S battery. You do have to build it yourself. It starts out with the frame and flight controller connections as well as the camera connections so it’s pretty straightforward build. If you’re new to building, this one’s going to be a fun one for you.
Materials and Design
It is a very thin looking frame but you do have that 3K carbon fiber on here and it is four millimeter on each arm. You have reinforcements underneath each motor and motor bumpers on the exterior of the frame. We also have some racecraft 5-inch props on there. These are kind of training right now they’re called butter cutters. A little thicker in the middle and a little more tapered on the outer edges so that gives you maximum thrust with a really smooth and high performance.
These are very quiet prop upwards of a hundred miles an hour. Super fast if you’re looking to pass other people on the racecourse the ULX is going to be passing folks in the dust extremely fast.
That is definitely one of the greatest quads for 2018 coming up. Like I said you do have to build this one yourself. You also have to have your own receiver and transmitter.
10. Inductrix FPV – Bring Friends and Start to Race
I spent three or four hours at a friend’s house last night. Couple guys came over. A three of us racing around the house, went out in the garage back into the house around the living room. Have the dog chasing us around. He was really excited about it. But these are some of the funniest and cheapest FPV quads out there. This one is under a hundred dollars.
Tons of Fun
There are two different varieties of this one. You can get you can get the Inductrix FPV or you can get a tiny Whoop FPV. There’s also a couple of different varieties of this one. So if you’re looking for some sort of stocking stuffer or kind of quick gift give this to your girlfriend or your boyfriend and you will definitely get a good response out of this one. Highly recommended.
So it’s not about how much money you spend on your drone is about what you want to do with it. You want to game with it, you want to race with it, you want to take aerial photos – there’s a ton of different options that are out there for drones right now.