The Best Drones for Sale [Top Picks for August 2017]
Do you hear the distinctive hum of a drone seemingly every time you visit a local park? Consumer drone technology has matured greatly in recent years, and modern drones are more affordable and reliable than ever. If you're curious about what it's like to fly a drone, there has never been a better time to become a new pilot than right now.
If you've looked at drones for sale online, you've probably noticed that the selection is bewilderingly large. With dozens of different drone models available, how can you choose the best one for your needs?
In this ultimate drone buyer's guide, we'll walk you through the process of choosing the best drone for sale -- whether you're a new pilot or a seasoned veteran. We'll explain the key factors that differentiate one drone from the next. We'll also name the top 14 drones on the market right now.
Choosing the Perfect Drone for Sale: Key Features
Having trouble choosing the perfect drone for your needs? You can narrow down the product selection by looking at these three key features.
Do you intend to use your drone for photography or sport flight? If photography is your primary interest, you should look for a drone that includes a camera. Many drones include excellent cameras capable of capturing high-resolution photos and videos. Note, though, that a camera increases the weight of a drone and decreases its maneuverability. If you want a nimble drone that moves quickly and can perform tricks, you can save money by buying a drone without a camera. Many drones with cameras have removable camera mounts that allow you to customize your flying experience.
Whether you're a new or experienced pilot, you want a drone with as many safety features as possible. A drone often has an internal GPS receiver that allows it to return to its takeoff point if it loses the controller's signal or the battery is low. A drone may also have the ability to automatically avoid obstacles during flight.
Do you want a drone that includes a hardware controller, or are you content to use your phone or tablet as a controller? If you appreciate the tactile sensation of using joysticks and buttons for flight control, you'll want a hardware controller. A drone with a hardware controller may also have a longer flight range than a drone that relies on your phone or tablet for input. Having a hardware controller, however, can add to a drone's cost.
The 14 Best Drones for Sale
DJI Inspire 2
The DJI Inspire 2 is such an advanced drone that we could have devoted this entire article to analyzing its capabilities. The Inspire 2 is perhaps the best drone for sale on the market for professional aerial photography. Pair it with the X5S camera for 4k or 5.2k CinemaDNG or Apple ProRes files ready for importing into your favorite video production software.
The Inspire 2 uses a dual-battery system for up to 27 minutes of flight time. It also supports extreme flight conditions. Install two optional propellers to extend the flight ceiling to up to 16,400 feet above sea level. Install optional heated batteries to fly the Inspire 2 in freezing conditions. The Inspire 2 communicates -- and sends a real-time video feed -- to the controller up to 4.3 miles away.
The Inspire 2 isn't inexpensive, so it comes with some of the most advanced safety features on the market. Sensors scan above, below and ahead of the drone to map its flight path and prevent it from hitting obstacles. If you tell the drone to return home -- or the batteries become dangerously low -- the Inspire 2 uses the map to plot a safe route back to you.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
If you aren't ready for the expense of the Inspire 2 but still want to experiment with professional drone photography, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a great next choice. With many of the same safety features and a simple touch-based control scheme when you connect the controller to your iOS device, the Phantom 4 Pro is a safe, powerful drone for new pilots.
Like the Inspire 2, the Phantom 4 Pro scans multiple directions simultaneously to avoid obstacles during flight and plot a safe route home. The battery enables flight times up to 30 minutes, and DJI's Lightbridge technology ensures that you always have a lag-free video feed for setting up the perfect shot.
The Phantom 4 Pro supports 4k video recording and works at a maximum distance of 4.3 miles from the controller.
DJI Mavic Pro
The primary difference between the DJI Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro is the camera. While the Phantom 4 Pro shoots 4k video at 60 frames per second, the Mavic Pro supports a maximum 4k framerate of 30 fps. With the Mavic Pro, you'll save a bit of money while retaining all of the safety features that makes DJI famous -- automatic obstacle avoidance, real-time plotting of a safe path home and more.
The DJI Mavic Pro is great drone to buy if you'd like to experiment with professional aerial photography using a drone that won't dent your wallet. The Mavic Pro also has a feature that's sure to put it on your short list if you're a professional photographer in need of a drone that simplifies travel -- it folds. With the arms retracted, the Mavic Pro is about the same size as a water bottle. You'll feel comfortable about packing the Mavic Pro in your checked luggage, and you'll still have a drone capable of capturing beautiful images.
Are you looking for an aerial action camera capable of creating videos that'll stun your YouTube followers? The Yuneec Typhoon is one of the best action drones on the market. Use the Typhoon's built-in smart flying modes to automatically identify you and follow your movements. The camera's wide-angle lens helps to eliminate distortion that would otherwise occur when capturing photography from a distance.
The Yuneec Typhoon includes a camera capable of capturing 4k video. It can also record 1080p slow motion video at up to 120 fps. Would you like to add some ground shots to your production? You can remove the camera and three-axis gimbal from the Typhoon and mount them to a handle to enjoy the same vibration-free photography from the ground.
The Yuneec Typhoon flies for up to 25 minutes and works at a maximum distance of 2,600 feet from the controller. Real-time video transmission works at a maximum distance of 1,300 feet. The Typhoon does not include a GPS receiver, but it can use the controller's signal to find its way home.
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
Are you looking for a photography drone with the best possible combination of safety and affordable price? The Autel Robotics X-Star Premium might be the one. The striking orange color helps the X-Star Premium stand out against the background and ensures that you'll never lose your line of sight.
The X-Star Premium also allows you to select from two different fail-safe modes. You can have the drone return to its original takeoff position when the remaining battery charge reaches 25 percent, or you can extend your flight times by having the drone land immediately at its current position when the battery charge reaches 10 percent.
The X-Star Premium supports a maximum flight distance of 1.2 miles from the controller and flies for up to 25 minutes at a time. It receives signals from GPS and GLONASS satellites, and the included camera captures 4k video at 30 fps.
DJI Phantom 3 Pro
Are you concerned about buying last-generation technology? You shouldn't be. DJI still manufactures and supports the Phantom 3 series, and the DJI Phantom 3 Pro is one of the most affordable drones for sale in the market with a built-in 4k camera.
Supporting DJI's Lightbridge technology, the Phantom 3 Pro transmits real-time 720p video over the same wireless connection that the controller uses to send commands. The drone operates at a maximum distance of 3.1 miles from the controller. The Phantom 3 Pro has the same ability to avoid obstacles as the Phantom 4 series. It also uses its sensors to scan the environment and plot a route home. However, the Phantom 3 Pro has three sensors fewer than the Phantom 4.
The DJI Phantom 3 Pro has a redundant positioning system that receives data from the GPS and GLONASS satellite networks. The drone's downward facing camera automatically records its starting position during takeoff. The Phantom 3 Pro knows where it is during flight and can always find its way back to its starting position.
Parrot Bebop 2
The Parrot Bebop 2 is an entry-level hobby drone that's easy on the wallet but packs plenty of features to enable exciting aerial photography. The Parrot Bebop 2 is light enough to bring anywhere, lasts up to 25 minutes with a fully charged battery and includes a 1080p camera. While the camera is mounted in the drone's nose rather than on a gimbal, it does have three-axis stabilization to help prevent a shaky image.
The Bebop 2 includes a GPS receiver and has the ability to follow you while you're in motion. It also includes a fish eye lens that enables you to capture stunning wide angle shots
The Parrot Bebop 2 includes all of the basic features that you need for capturing great photos and videos while learning to fly a drone. Given the low price, though, you do lose some of the features that you'd get with a more expensive drone. For example, the Bebop 2 doesn't include a physical controller. You'll control it with your smartphone. The Bebop 2 also doesn't avoid obstacles automatically. It does, however, shut its motors down automatically to mitigate damage if a collision occurs.
The FPV bundle pictured above does however come with a controller and FPV Cockpitglasses, but does run a bit more as far as cost.
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard includes most of the same photography and safety features as the Phantom 3 Pro at a much lower price. If you'd like to learn how to fly a drone while getting some great shots that you can share with family and friends, you should strongly consider the DJI Phantom 3 Standard.
The primary differences between the Standard and Pro versions of the Phantom 3 are in the camera, controller and navigation systems. While the Phantom 3 Pro features GPS and GLONASS navigation, the Phantom 3 Standard includes a GPS receiver only. The Phantom 3 Standard captures 2.7k video and flies safely up to .62 miles away from the controller. The Phantom 3 Pro, however, captures 4k video and works at a distance of up to 3.1 miles.
Traxxas Aton Plus
Are you looking for a drone optimized for racing and trick flying rather than photography? The Traxxas Aton Plus is a sport drone that's appropriate for beginners but still capable of achieving some serious speed. In full sport mode, the Aton Plus reaches a top speed of more than 50 mph. The controller even has buttons that allow the drone to perform tricks automatically. If you release the control sticks, the Aton Plus uses its air brakes to reduce its inertia quickly and hover in midair.
The Aton Plus includes a physical controller and has a built-in GPS receiver. The GPS receiver allows the drone to hover in place or return home when you push a button or when the battery is critically low. You can also use the GPS receiver to program an automatic flight path. Although the Aton Plus doesn't include a camera, it does include a two-axis gimbal. If you already own a GoPro or other action camera, you can connect it to the Aton Plus and enjoy great aerial photography.
Hubsan H501S X4
With a high-definition camera, a GPS receiver and a physical controller with a built-in display, the Hubsan H501S is an entry-level drone with some very advanced features. The H501S has a strong 5.8 GHz antenna for maximum signal quality from the controller. It also has a real-time wireless video feed. It can even follow you automatically to capture your best moments on land or sea.
If the H501S has any drawback, it is that the camera doesn't have a gimbal mount or automatic stabilization. Although you can capture some exciting images with the built-in 1080p camera, you'll need to fly carefully to prevent a shaky video. The maximum flight time of 20 minutes is also a bit shorter than what some more expensive drones offer.
Goolsky MJX B2W Bugs 2W
From the first time you look at the eyes painted on the front, you'll know the Goolsky MJX is an entry-level drone that means business. The MJX uses a 2.4 GHz antenna to support a maximum flight distance of up to 3,200 feet from the controller. It also includes a GPS receiver that allows it to return to your position with the touch of a button.
The Goolsky MJX flies for up to 18 minutes with a fully charged battery and records 1080p video. You can see exactly what the drone sees with a first-person video feed that's sent directly to the controller's display at a maximum distance of 1,600 feet. For a more in depth look at the Bugs 2 have a look at our MJX Bugs 2 Review.
Blomiky B6FD Bugs 6
The Blomiky B6FD is another one of the best drones for beginners. The B6FD includes a physical controller with a built-in display and video downlink. Not only can you see exactly what the B6FD's camera sees, but the drone's front-mounted LED lights can also help you get a better view. Do you need a drone for finding lost baseballs at night? The Blomiky B6FD can probably do the job!
The B6FD has a built-in 720p camera and supports up to 14 minutes of flight time. It communicates with the controller at a maximum distance of 1,640 feet. Although the B6FD is an extremely affordable drone, it does lack some of the safety features that more expensive drones have. Specifically, the B6FD doesn't have a built-in GPS receiver. It also lacks a return to home function.
MJX Bugs 3
With a maximum flight time of up to 18 minutes, the MJX Bugs 3 stays in the air longer than almost any other drone in its price range. The MJX Bugs 3 is light, nimble and performs tricks on command -- it's the perfect low-cost racing drone for a beginner
The MJX Bugs 3 does not have a GPS receiver or a return to home function. It does, however, include a physical controller that works at a maximum distance of 1,640 feet. The controller emits an audible alarm if the drone is too far away or its battery is low, giving you an opportunity to take action. Many people have also commented that the nylon fiber body of the Bugs 3 is very resilient against damage from minor crashes.
The Bugs 3 does not include a camera, but it does include a removable mount for a GoPro or compatible action camera. This drone can't quite support the weight of a gimbal, though, so videos will shake a bit. The Bugs 3 also lacks an altitude hold function, so you'll have to maintain the drone's altitude manually while you film. Despite its limitations, the Bugs 3 is a great beginner's drone that's light and nimble while still giving you the freedom to explore aerial photography. For a more info on check our bugs 3 review.
Whether you're looking for your first drone or simply want to upgrade from a toy drone to a more full-featured quadcopter without breaking the bank, the Syma X5C-1 is an excellent choice. The X5C-1 has a maximum flight time of seven minutes and includes a built-in 2.0 megapixel camera. Although the camera captures still images only -- no video -- it does include an SD card for storing images.
Being a budget photography drone, the X5C-1 doesn't have a GPS receiver or a return to home function. However, it does feature two flight speeds to help beginners learn the principles of drone flight. It also features two different joystick mappings and performs flips and rolls automatically.
While the X5C-1 doesn't have a return to home function, it does include a set of propeller guards. The optional guards add to the weight of the drone, reducing its maximum flight time. However, the guards also help to protect the drone's propellers in a crash. The X5C-1 also includes bright LED lights for night flying.
Best Drone for Sale - Wrap Up
Well there you have it the best drones for sale list. Let us know your thoughts and if there are any you think should be on this list. If you are new to drones hopefully you learned a little something about the wide range of drones available out there today.