DJI Spark

Last updated date: July 9, 2019

DWYM Score
8.5

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top 1 Drones and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including Trusted Reviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Tom's Guide, CNET, Digital Trends, Best Products, PC Magazine, The Verge, Tech Gear Lab and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Drone you should buy.

Overall Take

The DJI Spark's obstacle avoidance feature keeps your drone safe as it navigates around. Although it doesn't feature 4K video, you'll be able to capture decent-quality images and video, making it a great drone for hobbyists. Gesture control makes controlling navigation fun and easy, but that feature can be buggy at times, so bring plenty of patience. Overall, a great drone for the price. In our analysis of 92 expert reviews, the DJI DJI Spark placed 2nd when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 11, 2019:
Checkout The Best Drone for a detailed review of all the top drones.

Expert Summarized Score
7.2
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.6
993 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The Spark is incredibly light, though, at about half the weight of the Mavic Pro. It’s so light I kept thinking I’d forgotten to pack it inside its case because you can barely feel the weight of it. You can happily throw it into a backpack ready for your next shot and not feel over-encumbered.
- Trusted Reviews
July 14, 2018 | Full review
The DJI Spark’s autonomous features and intelligent flight modes help beginners feel more confident flying the drone because it can hold its position in the air, avoid obstacles, and return to home and land itself in an emergency.
- New York Times Wirecutter
September 27, 2018 | Full review
The Spark’s camera is mounted on a 2-axis gimbal, which helps make for an incredibly steady platform. Up at altitude — with a breeze blowing directly at it — video was so smooth, it was as if the drone were mounted on a tripod.
- Tom's Guide
June 19, 2017 | Full review
he DJI Spark delivers a tiny, lightweight design; excellent mechanically stabilized camera; USB charging and advanced features like gesture controls and obstacle detection. It travels well and is great for aerial photos and video.
- CNET
July 16, 2017 | Full review
Another big addition is Spark’s obstacle avoidance system. While the ability to sense and avoid objects is usually a feature reserved for larger drones, DJI went ahead and built one into the hull of the Spark.
- Digital Trends
The Spark is chock-full of intelligent flight modes, which help make it incredibly easy to fly. There's QuickShot mode, where the Spark will fly along and record video from a preset path, TapFly, which sends the drone to a specific point or coordinate with just a tap on the screen, and Active Track mode, which automatically recognizes objects, follows, and tracks them.
- Best Products
November 6, 2017 | Full review
The Spark is tiny. It measures 2.2 by 5.6 by 5.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 10.6 ounces—DJI points out it weighs less than a can of soda. It's not foldable, though the propellers do fold in for easy transport—you don't have to remove them for storage, so the Spark is always ready to fly.
- PC Magazine
May 31, 2017 | Full review
Spark is great at hovering in one place indoors, due to its small size, the Spark has to work overtime to stay in one place against even moderate wind. Flying outdoors on a windy day is going to cut down on your battery life and, since it’s a two-axis gimbal, some of that sideways movement will show up in your footage in a way that wouldn’t happen with a Phantom or Mavic.
- The Verge
June 7, 2017 | Full review
It is the easiest and most portable option available for buzzing around the backyard, grabbing some aerial selfies, and taking some home movies.
- Tech Gear Lab
March 13, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
In real-world flight, I was seeing anywhere between 11 to 13 minutes of flight time, which isn’t amazing. Charging the batteries can take quite a long time, too, so it’s definitely worth investing in spare batteries. But at £55 a pop, these can be quite expensive.
- Trusted Reviews
July 14, 2018 | Full review
The app provides a 720p FPV live view on a smartphone or tablet, which works well at a range of up to 109 yards, but lacks the video quality and reliability of the OcuSync system found on the Mavic Pro and other higher-end models. If you need more range, you can buy a separate remote control to fly the Spark up to 1.24 miles away.
- New York Times Wirecutter
September 27, 2018 | Full review
However, the Spark didn’t feel as spontaneous as it should. Unlike the Mavic, the Spark’s four arms don’t fold into its body, so you’ll always have to worry about its rotors snapping off if not stored in its foam carrying case. And, the Spark can’t fit in its case with its prop guards attached. The Hover Passport drone, on the other hand, has its rotors entirely enclosed in its body; you merely have to open up its two halves and press a button to start flying.
- Tom's Guide
June 19, 2017 | Full review
Flight time can be as short as 10 to 14 minutes. The app can be frustrating to use, especially on smaller screens. And you should expect to buy batteries and possibly the optional controller.
- CNET
July 16, 2017 | Full review
The only downside to the Spark is the fact that it doesn’t have a 4K camera, or the ability to shoot raw photos. The drone’s shooter boasts a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor that can shoot 12 megapixel stills and capture video in 1080p at 30 frames per second. That isn’t necessarily bad, it just isn’t 4K, which is something that a lot of other portable drones offer
- Digital Trends
Unfortunately, gesture control can be a little finicky at times, and your drone may not immediately recognize you. So, you may look like you're swatting at a swarm of bees, even though you're just trying to get your drone to fly away to get a wider shot.
- Best Products
November 6, 2017 | Full review
Dedicated remote control is a pricey add-on. Limited range and speed when controlling with phone. Video limited to 1080p.
- PC Magazine
May 31, 2017 | Full review
When the video signal starts to fail, meaning the drone is on the edge of losing its Wi-Fi connection with your phone, the unit should automatically move back into range of a strong connection.
- The Verge
June 7, 2017 | Full review
The Spark's video downlink was always smooth and never lagged in our testing, but the video was a bit grainy when compared to the downlinks of larger models. This earned the Spark a fairly mediocre score of 6 out of 10.
- Tech Gear Lab
March 13, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Intelligent Flight ModesSmart, reliable, and incredibly intuitiveQuickShotVideos with a Tap High-Performance CameraAmazing images and stabilized videoMechanical Gimbal StabilizationShake-Free Shots Flight PerformanceAwesome potential, immersive experiencesPowerful Propulsion Speed and Precision Control Flight SafetyWorry-free flight in the palm of your hand ; Propeller guards are recommended when using these functions.

Overall Product Rankings

1. DJI Mavic Air
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 9
2. DJI Spark
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 9
3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 9
4. Parrot Mambo
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 6
5. Holy Stone Wi-Fi FPV Drone
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 4
6. DJI Mavic Pro
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 9
7. Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 6
8. UDI HD+
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 8
9. 3D Robotics Solo Quadcopter
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 7
10. Parrot Bebop 2
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 9
11. GoPro Karma
Overall Score: 6.8
Expert Reviews: 7

An Overview On Drones

Though their development dates back to World War I, drones — also referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles  — have become increasingly popular in recent years. These small gadgets fly through the air without an onboard pilot. Instead, they’re steered and controlled by a user from the ground, often with a remote control or a smartphone app.

Drones are useful for a number of tasks, including surveillance, security, aerial photography, surveying and recreation. More recently, police departments and emergency services personnel have been using them for an array of tasks, including during searches, rescue operations and natural disasters.

Many commercial businesses like Amazon, UPS and Domino’s are considering how to use drones for day-to-day operations like package delivery. Drones are also useful for crop management, building inspections and storm tracking.

The distance your drone can fly varies from model to model, depending largely on battery life and the reach of its on-board receiver from the remote controller or your smartphone. Although most drones will offer very little in terms of battery life, you can get more from some models than others. It’s also important to pay close attention to charging time since a quick charge can get your drone up and going faster.

In addition, some drones come pre-equipped with a camera, while others require the use of a gimbal to manually mount a camera. The gimbal setup often leads to a clearer picture or smoother video capture because the camera is a bit farther away from the vibrations caused by the rotors.

Photography has become a top selling point for drones. Professional photographers have found them invaluable for capturing those otherwise hard-to-get aerial shots. If you’re interested in shooting photos or video from the clouds, know this up front and look for a model that supports high-resolution photography and high-definition video.

Editing is also a consideration. Some apps are better than others at this, including filters and sharing capabilities. Whether you’re a photography hobbyist or not, being able to easily share the images you’ve shot across your social media sites may make some drones better choices than others.

Before you start shopping, it may help to set a budget. Drones can range in price from $100 to more than $1,000. While the higher-priced drones do offer advanced features, if you’re just looking to have a little fun, you may be fine with a more basic model.

DYWM Fun Fact

The Federal Aviation Administration is the government body responsible for regulating drones. According to the rules, you’ll need to register your done and be sure to keep it below 400 feet off the ground. You’re also not allowed to fly over stadiums, large groups, events or anywhere near emergencies (which seems like it should be a no-brainer!). Laws can vary from one jurisdiction to the next, so check before you start flying. In addition to legal concerns, there are also some privacy issues associated with drones. If you’re flying your camera-equipped drone over neighbors’ homes, for instance, you may find you get complaints, especially if they’re trying to enjoy some private time in their own back yard. You may even get into legal hot water if you’re posting photos and video of your neighbors online without their permission.

The Drone Buying Guide

  • Before purchasing a drone, consider your skill and commitment level. Some are labeled “ready to fly,” meaning they require very little or no special training to use. Others are designed for more advanced users.
  • Another factor to consider when it comes to drones is portability and design, especially if you’re short on storage space at home or plan on taking it with you on a trip and won’t have a lot of room. The DJI Mavic Air folds up, with the thumbsticks able to be stored under the arms that hold your phone. The DJI Spark, on the other hand, doesn’t fold easily but is so small and lightweight, it’s still fairly portable. The only issue is that the arms don’t fold into its body, so you may worry about breaking the rotors if you don’t transport it in its carrying case. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is even less portable, since the landing gear and camera are attached to the body, making it not collapsible.
  • Because drones operate using a battery, it’s important to consider battery life when making a purchasing decision. The majority of consumer drones have a battery life between 5 and 25 minutes. Many drone users recommend purchasing spare batteries and having them charged up before you start flying so you can easily swap out the extras. The DJ Mavic Air flies a little longer than usual without a charge, at 15 to 18 minutes. The DJI Spark has a shorter flying time between charges and, unfortunately, charging time takes a while, so be prepared to be patient.
  • The most popular type of drone among recreational users is a multirotor drone. A drone with three rotors is known as a tricopter, while a drone with four rotors (an extremely popular model) is called a quadcopter.
  • Other types of drones include fixed-wing drones and single rotor helicopters.
  • Depending on what you plan to use your new drone for, you’ll also want to consider the payload of various models. Some are equipped to carry heavier payloads than others. This may be an important factor if you’re considering using your drone for something like aerial photography or videography.
  • One of the biggest issues with drones is maneuverability. If it’s a windy day, you need a drone that isn’t going to be easily blown around. The DJI Mavic Air holds its own against all but the strongest wind gusts, while many other drones struggle even in the lightest breezes. Best of all, if it’s too windy, you’ll get a warning in the app.
  • If you’re new to drones, you may prefer the Holy Stone F181W. The joysticks aren’t quite as sensitive to sudden movements, so it’s a great model to help you learn to navigate. Another model to consider as a newbie is the DJI Spark, which has intelligent flight modes to help you gain confidence in avoiding obstacles. It will also return to home and land itself if you can’t.
  • For some, aerial photography is the primary reason for purchasing a drone. If photography is your goal, you’ll likely veer toward the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which shoots smooth 4K video. The DJI Mavic Air also excels in this area, offering 4K images and UHD-quality video. It also has a wider-angle lens that can more easily capture landscapes.
  • The DJI drones have gimbals, which hold the camera in place for a smoother shot. This is especially important if you plan to be capturing video during even moderately windy conditions.
  • As advanced as drones are, they do have their limitations. If you think you’ll feel the need to zip through the air, you may want to steer toward the DJI Mavic Air, which boasts speeds of up to 42 mph. But the DJ Phantom 4 Pro has a sport mode that lets you go fairly fast. You may find your drone a little harder to control at these speeds, though.
  • Unless you plan to just fly your drone in your living room, you’ll need a decent range for your drone-to-remote connection. DJI Spark includes an app that offers 720p live view on your smartphone or tablet, but that will only work for up to 109 yards. You can buy a separate remote control that will keep your video going at ranges of up to 1.24 miles.
  • As you’re flying your drone around, you’ll occasionally encounter obstacles like trees and telephone poles. Instead of relying solely on the app, with some drones you have the built-in safety of obstacle detection and avoidance. DJI’s drones excel in this area, with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro offering five-direction avoidance. The DJI Mavic Air has avoidance, but it doesn’t cover your drone from the sides or top. DJI Spark has Active Track mode, which automatically detects obstacles and tracks them. However, it’s not foolproof. In many instances you’ll find that drones are only able to see things in front of the drone.
  • Drone pilots rely heavily on the remote. The DJI Mavic Air gives you an app that you can use to adjust exposure, shutter speed and other factors. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has an easy-to-use app, but if you want a touchscreen controller instead, it will be a $300 add on.
  • The DJI Spark offers gesture controls, which can make navigating easier. However, this feature can be bug-prone, with the app not always recognizing you.
  • If you’re planning to shoot video to share with friends, DJI’s app makes it easy to both edit and share the video you’ve just captured on social media. There are also built-in filters and templates to add that special touch.
  • Price may be one of the biggest differentiators among drones. At the high end of pricing is the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which retails in the $1,000 range. The DJ Mavic Air is also quite pricey, at more than $700. You can get the DJ Spark for less than $500, though. The Holy Stone’s low price is another reason this model is good for beginners, since it ranges around $100.