The Best Drones Voted Best Of 2023

Drones are fun, and they're gettinger every day. But whether you've got an itch to fly high above the clouds, or just want to take excellent aerial shots of your backyard, check out our picks for the best drone cameras today. You'll find many options, from compact action cams and DSLRs to tiny HDV recorders. And we've also included a few great options for beginners looking to get into filmmaking.

However, if you want an aerial video solution that captures breathtaking images, you'll need to invest several hundred to thousands of US dollars.

We don't cover racing, military, or agricultural aircraft here; our focus is squarely focused on imaging and video. Drones reviewed here are ready-to-use products, so you get to use them right out of their boxes.

Check out these top models we've tested, then read up on selecting the best drone for your specific needs and price range.

John Tiffany By, John Tiffany
TOP Choice #1 DJI Mini 2
Our Score:
9.8
DJI
TOP Choice #2 DJI Mini 3 Pro
Our Score:
9.6
DJI
TOP Choice #3 DJI Air 2S
Best Drone for Photographers:
DJI Air 2S
Our Score:
9.4
DJI
4 DJI Mavic 3
Best Drone for Cinematographers:
DJI Mavic 3
Our Score:
9.2
DJI
  • Smart Return to Home - With a new Advanced RTH system, Mavic 3 camera drone can return to its home point on a fast, safe, and optimized route. Whether activated by low battery or the pilot, getting the quadcopter drone back to you during flight is easier than ever.
  • Explore and Capture more - the DJI Mavic 3 drone offers a 15-kilometer max transmission range, which means you can fly farther to explore and capture more. And with the O3 Plus Transmission system, live feeds are smooth and stable.
  • Imaging Above Everything - With a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera, the sensor provides a 12.8-stop dynamic range that retains more details in highlights and shadows, upgrading your work to a professional level.
5 Parrot Anafi
Our Score:
9.1
Parrot
  • With its ultra-compact and lightweight carbon frame (320 g), this quadcopter drone unfolds in less than 3 seconds, reaches a speed of 55 km/h in sport mode and withstands bullets up to 50 km/h
  • Software updates can make changes to existing features, further enhance ANAFI’s reliability and performance, or offer new experiences. It is therefore important to have an updated FreeFlight 6 application and to accept the proposed software updates. Max charging power 24W
  • The ANAFI Parrot Drone can have up to 25 minutes of filmed flight time thanks to an intelligent Li-Po battery that optimizes its life and charges 60% faster using the Power Delivery USB Type C charger; Operating Temperature range: -10°C to 40°C
6 Autel Evo Lite+
Our Score:
8.9
Autel Robotics
  • Industry-leading Battery Life - The EVO Lite+ is the only drone of its size to offer an endurance of 40 minutes, giving you 30 percent more flight time than the competition. | SkyLink Video Transmission - Fly farther while maintaining crisp, clear visuals with Autel SkyLink, our strongest image transmission system yet, which offers a transmission range of 7.4 miles, transmission quality of 2.7K/30FPS, and superior anti-interference capabilities, all while relaying stunning HD video.
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ Drone (Orange) | Battery | Gimbal Cover | Propellers | Remote Controller | Pair of Extra Propellers | USB Type-C Charging Cable | Lightning Connector | Micro-USB Connector | USB Type-C Connector | Deco Gear Drone Photography Backpack | Deco Gear Landing Pad 29.5" | Deco Essentials VR Headset Goggles for 3.5"-6" Smartphones | Lexar 633x microSDXC 64GB Memory Card | Software: AirMagic, GRFX Studio, piZap, MightySkins, Replay Capture
  • Record Up to 6K/30FPS Ultra HD Video Resolution | Cinematic Shots Proficiency With A Single Click - Create dramatic, professional-level shots at the touch of a button with four automatic shooting modes and add soundtrack and filters in the Autel Sky app | SkyPortrait - With the touch of a button, the Lite+ will rise into the air and snap a photo of you and your friends, automatically adjusting the lens so no one gets left out. Blur the background automatically for additional cinematic effect
  • Palm-Sized and Agile: The lightweight and compact design of Avata makes it easy to carry and more capable of agile maneuvers. Fly between gaps, though branches, and take it with you on any adventure.
  • Be Bold, Fly Far: Avata offers an impressive 18-minute flight time and upgraded safety. With the built-in propeller guard, it can handle minor contact, stay in the air, and keep on flying.
  • Ultra-Smooth 4K Footage: Avata features an upgraded camera system so that no extra attachments are needed. Enjoy next-level imagery with the 1/1.7-inch sensor, 155° FOV, and flagship stabilization.
8 Ryze Tello
Best Drone for Kids Learning to Code:
Ryze Tello
Our Score:
8.5
DJI
  • Thanks to all the tech that Tello’s packing, like a flight controller powered by DJI, you can perform awesome tricks with this mini drone. Flying has never been so fun and easy.
  • Equipped with a high-quality image processor, the Tello drone shoots incredible photos and videos. Even if you don’t know how to fly, you can record pro-level videos with EZ Shots and share them on social media from your smartphone.
  • Video capture resolution: HD 720p
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FAQs

1. What is a drone?

A UAV is an autonomous flying vehicle that can be remotely piloted by humans or computer programs.

2. Are drones hard to fly?

Most consumer drones today come equipped with GPS positioning systems. These allow them to be flown easily without requiring any prior piloting skills. For first-time drone pilots, practice flying in large open spaces, keeping the drone in good working order and at a safe distance from people and objects. With better technology coming out every day, we're seeing an increase in the number of ready-to-fly quadcopters available for purchase. So far, these are usually targeted towards beginners. However, there are some exceptions, especially if you want something really special.

3. Do I need a license to fly a drone?

If you're flying a drone for recreational use in the US, you don't actually need a license, as long as the weight of your drone is less than 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and you follow the rules of the Air Navigation Order.

Top Picks

Best Entry-Level Drone DJI Mini 2

With long battery life and easy flight controls, the DJI Mini 2 is one of the best drones you can buy for under $500.

PROS CONS
  • Stabilized 4K camera
  • Raw and JPG photo modes
  • Automated Quickshots
  • Long flight time
  • Stronger motors and connection than Mavic Mini
  • GPS and other safety features
  • No FAA registration required
  • Still no color profiles for JPGs and video
  • Omits obstacle avoidance and HDR
  • Doesn't include ActiveTrack or Hyperlapse

Best Drone for Most Creators DJI Mini 3 Pro

Despite being small enough to fit into a pocket, the DJI Mini 3 Pro's quad-Bayer camera takes nice pictures and shoots stable 4k60 videos, while its video tool kit lets you record high-quality video from even the tiniest devices.

PROS CONS
  • Portable design
  • 4K60 with digital zoom
  • Vertical video and photo support
  • Upward-tilting camera
  • Three-way obstacle sensors
  • Strong safety features
  • Two remote control options
  • Extended battery should be standard
  • GPS lock-on takes some time
  • Omits AirSense ADS-B system

Best Drone for Photographers DJI Air 2S

The DJI Air 2S Pro is a compact foldable drone with an upgraded 1-inch sensor, 4K video, and a host of advanced flying and safety technologies, so it’s a pro-minded alternative for the less expensive Mavic Air 2 series.

PROS CONS
  • 1-inch sensor camera
  • Video at up to 5.4K quality
  • Robust safety features
  • Obstacle detection and avoidance
  • Automated camera shots
  • HDR, Log, and Standard video profiles
  • AirSense transponder
  • Half-hour flight time
  • Doesn't offer in-camera filtered looks
  • 8GB of internal storage isn't much
  • Remote doesn't include EV control wheel
  • App-based editing limited to 1080p output
  • HDR HLG workflow for pros only
  • Raw images don't transfer to smartphones and tablets automatically

Best Drone for Cinematographers DJI Mavic 3

The DJI Mavic 3 is a small foldable drone that has a Hasselblad sensor, but if you want to record 4K footage, you need to upgrade to the Cine version.

PROS CONS
  • Four-Thirds camera with Hasselblad color
  • Lens offers 7x optical and 28x digital zoom
  • 5.1K50 and 4K120 video
  • 20MP Raw or JPG stills
  • All-around obstacle avoidance
  • Long flight times
  • Strong safety features
  • Expensive
  • The base model offers only 8GB of storage
  • Automatic APAS navigation is not as good as Skydio
  • Telephoto camera underwhelms
  • Falls shy of 46-minute battery estimate

Best Drone for Travel Parrot Anafi

The Parrot Anafi puts all its emphasis on size—its small, foldable drone is ideal for traveling due to its 4K HD camera, small frame, and USB charging.

PROS CONS
  • Very small.
  • Charges via USB-C.
  • 4K video with HDR.
  • 3x digital zoom lens.
  • Upward gimbal tilt.
  • Big battery for 25-minute flights.
  • No obstacle detection.
  • Digital zoom cuts into 4K quality.
  • Requires smartphone.
  • The construction feels a little flimsy.

Best Drone for Long Flights Autel Evo Lite+

The Autel Evo Lite+ is an affordable foldable quadcopter with good performance and features. However, there are better options available at lower prices.

PROS CONS
  • Stabilized 6K30 and 4K60 video
  • 20MP stills in Raw DNG or JPG
  • 1-inch camera with variable aperture
  • Beefy battery for up to 40 minutes of flight
  • Three-way obstacle sensors
  • Automated camera moves and Hyperlapse
  • GPS and automated return-to-home
  • The Color video profile isn't configurable
  • 8-bit flat video profile
  • The screenless remote is a step backward from the previous generation
  • Doesn't support autonomous navigation around obstructions

Best Drone for Adrenaline Junkies DJI Avata

DJI Avata is an excellent choice for aerial photography and videography, but we're concerned about its safety.

PROS CONS
  • Incredibly easy (and fun) to fly
  • Sharp FPV goggles with diopter adjustment
  • The one-handed controller works well
  • Great for POV shots
  • The Wide-angle lens and 4K60 video convey a sense of motion
  • Expensive
  • Potentially dangerous
  • Unsuitable for small, crowded areas
  • Requires FAA registration for outdoor flight
  • Slow to react to shifts in white balance
  • Ethical questions around the DJI brand

Best Drone for Kids Learning to Code Ryze Tello

The Ryze Tello is an inexpensive drone that uses a smartphone or computer to control its flight. It's not a high-quality camera, but it's a good way for kids to learn about technology and robotics.

PROS CONS
  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to fly.
  • Programmable via Scratch.
  • Bluetooth remote control compatibility.
  • Automated flight modes.
  • Pixelated, low-quality video.
  • Limited control range.
  • No GPS or return-to-home capability.

When buying a new Drones, there are several things to keep in mind

Battery life

A large number of drones come equipped with an integrated rechargeable lithium-ion (LiPo) cell pack. These packs can provide between 20 minutes and one hour of flying time depending on the size of your aircraft. For example, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro comes with a LiPo pack that provides about 30 minutes of flying time. Some quadcopters also offer a quick charge feature that allows them to be recharged within 5–10 minutes.

Range

Drones can‘t keep flying forever. Once the battery runs out, your drone loses contact with the remote controller. Make sure to check the flight range of your drone before flying!

Weight

Make sure you take note of the weight of your drone. Lightweight drones are ideal for beginners who wish to learn how to fly. However, these lack the ability to withstand strong winds. On the other hand, heavy drones offer greater flight times and can be equipped with extra features.

What kind of drone’s video recording system

Some drones come with cameras; others don't. We recommend purchasing a quadcopter with a preinstalled video recording system, but if you're looking for aer option, you can buy a different type of video recording device and attach it to your own quadcopter.

When choosing a drone, consider the number of megapixels, video resolution, and if you can control the direction of the lens. If you are a hobbyist or aspiring professional, you might want to spend a bit more for a drone with better image quality.

Replacement options

If you want to save time, buy a drone with replaceable components so that if anything breaks down, you can get another one right away.

RAW/DNG format

Do you edit your photographs in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop? Then you'll definitely need a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) that shoots DNG files. These image formats store all the information captured by the digital sensor, allowing you to make adjustments after the shot.

The Ultimate Drone Buying Guide

A drone should be able to fly without being controlled by hand. So make sure your drone has a built-in camera and remote controller. You may also wish to consider buying a drone with a gimbal stabilizer. This allows the camera to move freely around the subject, so you get sharper pictures.

Intelligent functions

Drones are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so there's no telling what new features they may introduce.


2 ratings
John Tiffany By, John Tiffany