The Best Drone

Last updated on December 13, 2018

We looked at the top 11 Drones and dug through the reviews from 83 of the most popular review sites including Digital Trends, Tom's Guide, CNET, The Verge, PC Magazine, Trusted Reviews, Tech Gear Lab, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Radar, BestReviews, Wired and more. The result is a ranking of the best Drones.

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is the #1 product review aggregator. Our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then combine them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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

We looked at the top 11 Drones and dug through the reviews from 83 of the most popular review sites including Digital Trends, Tom's Guide, CNET, The Verge, PC Magazine, Trusted Reviews, Tech Gear Lab, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Radar, BestReviews, Wired and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Drones.

The Top Drones

Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

DJI

Mavic Air

Overall Take

Experts Included
BestReviews, Trusted Reviews, Tom’s Guide, CNET, Digital Trends, Wired, PC Magazine, The Verge, Tech Gear Lab. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Target.
Pros
"The thumbsticks are now removable and can be stored under the arms that hold your phone. This makes it much easier to stow the remote in the Air’s included bag."
Cons
"Expensive and relatively short battery life."

DJI

Spark

Overall Take

Experts Included
Trusted Reviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Tom’s Guide, CNET, Digital Trends, PC Magazine, The Verge, Tech Gear Lab and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
"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."
Cons
"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..."

DJI

Phantom 4 Pro

Overall Take

Experts Included
BestReviews, Tom’s Guide, CNET, Digital Trends, Wired, New York Times Wirecutter, PC Magazine, The Verge, Tech Gear Lab. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
"The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a drone better suited for advanced filmmakers and photographers. It is more refined, with a 20-megapixel ...and more advanced collision detection."
Cons
"What's worse is that it's supposed to record audio from the remote control so you can talk though your flight for the live video, but once the drone launched all it recorded was a loud clicking sound."
  The Best Value

Holy Stone

Wi-Fi FPV Drone

Overall Take

Experts Included
BestReviews, Tech Gear Lab and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
"It's high capacity battery and multi-channel function separate this copter from the rest. You get a lot of features for the price."
Cons
"We wouldn't fly this drone on anything but a very calm day. It also does not have a headless flight mode."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
27

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the drones available to purchase.
11

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most products to score.

View All Product Rankings

83

Expert Reviews & Ratings Included

Expert review and analysis from some of the most respected sources including: Digital Trends, Tom's Guide, CNET, The Verge, PC Magazine, Trusted Reviews, Tech Gear Lab, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Radar, BestReviews and Wired.

16,778

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target.

DWYM is the #1 product review aggregator. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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

The Best Overall

DJI Mavic Air

Expert Summarized Score
8.5
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
272 user reviews
The DWYM Consensus

What experts liked
Deliver 4K images and its speedy, it can fly to 42 mph. Portable and easy to fly and control.
- BestReviews
Drones easily slip into a backpack and shoot comparable video and stills, but the Mavic Air’s trump card is its obstacle avoidance, which is something the Parrot Anafi lacks. This is a really useful safety net for novice flyers and for shooting quick, set piece scenes.
- Trusted Reviews
August 3, 2018 | Full review
The Mavic Air was an incredibly easy drone to fly. It hovers well in all but very strong wind gusts (the app will warn you if it's too windy) and zips around effortlessly.
- Tom's Guide
March 9, 2018 | Full review
The DJI Mavic Air's folding design makes it great for travel while its 4K-resolution camera and three-axis gimbal capture nice-looking photos and video. Automated shooting options and obstacle avoidance make it easy to get good results fast.
- CNET
The Mavic Air also sports a 4K camera capable of shooting UHD video and 12 megapixel stills.
- Digital Trends
The Mavic Air footage, however, looks great without you really having to do anything. It has a slightly wider angle lens (24mm versus the Pro's 28mm) which is better for capturing sweeping landscapes. You don't have to tap to focus. And oh yeah, it shoots 4K video at 100Mbps
- Wired
The Mavic Air is DJI's smallest, most portable drone, and is just as full-featured as its larger siblings.
- PC Magazine
The thumbsticks are now removable and can be stored under the arms that hold your phone. This makes it much easier to stow the remote in the Air’s included bag.
- The Verge
January 31, 2018 | Full review
The Air has a much better camera and takes up the same amount of space in a bag. The Air will not disappoint if you're looking for something that can be tossed into a backpack and carried to even the most remote locations.
- Tech Gear Lab
March 13, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Flight times per change could be longer.
- BestReviews
Annoyingly, though, going between the two control methods required re-linking the drone to the remote control, which makes it far less convenient for when you want to go back to more nuanced controls.
- Trusted Reviews
August 3, 2018 | Full review
Through the DJI app, you get pretty granular controls over the camera, letting you adjust exposure, shutter speed and more. However, it became a bit annoying to dig through menus to find things such as the panorama or spherical mode for the camera.
- Tom's Guide
March 9, 2018 | Full review
Flight time is typically between 15 to 18 minutes, so expect to buy extra batteries. Piloting by app can be frustrating, especially on smaller screens. Obstacle avoidance doesn't cover you from the sides or top.
- CNET
Touchy camera controls, unless you’re in Cinematic mode
- Digital Trends
despite only being 20 yards away from me, the drone lost radio contact and attempted to land itself at the point where the flight started
- Wired
Doesn't support USB charging. No 4K DCI video.
- PC Magazine
Sadly, it’s not quite up to snuff for demanding droneographers
- The Verge
January 31, 2018 | Full review
Expensive and relatively short battery life.
- Tech Gear Lab
March 13, 2018 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Holy Stone Wi-Fi FPV Drone

Expert Summarized Score
8.3
4 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
1,434 user reviews
The DWYM Consensus

What experts liked
It's high capacity battery and multi-channel function separate this copter from the rest. You get a lot of features for the price.
- BestReviews
The joysticks seem to be a bit more friendly towards sudden movements than other models, so a panicked overcorrection won't send it careening into a tree.
- Tech Gear Lab
November 8, 2017 | Full review
Affordable drone with above average flight time and control distance for it's price range. Built of ABS elastic plastic that should not break if you crash it from low/medium altitude. Camera is handy and extra battery in package is always a plus.
- Drones Globe
August 11, 2016 | Full review
In conclusion of our Holy Stone Ff181 review, we need to say that this drone model is a great start for any beginner.
- Droneista
What experts didn't like
It doesn't fly well in windy conditions.
- BestReviews
We wouldn't fly this drone on anything but a very calm day. It also does not have a headless flight mode.
- Tech Gear Lab
November 8, 2017 | Full review
Camera doesn't have FPV. Which means you're not able to see live feed from camera on your controller or smartphone app. This isn't reason not to buy this drone in my opinion.
- Drones Globe
August 11, 2016 | Full review
However, when wanting to buy a drone with a great camera, we recommend sticking with DJI or Parrot rather than Holy Stone. Overall, the F181’s camera is decent, but you will find the photo/video quality a little frustrating.
- Droneista

Overall Product Rankings

1. DJI Mavic Air
Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 12

2. DJI Spark
Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 12

3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 12

4. Parrot Mambo
Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 9

5. Holy Stone Wi-Fi FPV Drone
Overall Score: 8.1
Reviews Included: 5

6. DJI Mavic Pro
Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 12

7. UDI HD+
Overall Score: 7.7
Reviews Included: 10

8. Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Overall Score: 7.7
Reviews Included: 9

9. 3D Robotics Solo Quadcopter
Overall Score: 7.5
Reviews Included: 10

10. Parrot Bebop 2
Overall Score: 6.9
Reviews Included: 12

11. GoPro Karma
Overall Score: 6.8
Reviews Included: 11

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.

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.

 

 

DWYM 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!).

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.
  • 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 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.