- Drones have a wide range of uses, from military and surveying to real estate and package delivery.
- The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is the best overall drone, with advanced features like obstacle avoidance and a 17-mile range.
- The Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ is the best professional drone, with adjustable cameras and obstacle avoidance up to .50 miles.
- The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best compact drone, with 4K video capabilities and tri-directional obstacle avoidance.
- The EXO Cinemaster 2 is the best content creation drone, with 4K UHD video and 360-degree laser detection for obstacle avoidance.
- The DJI Ryze Tech Tello is the best beginner drone, with automated flight features and a lightweight design.
Drones aren’t just fun toys. Formally called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), these pilotless aerial machines are capable of many roles and uses. Everybody is using drones. The military, surveyors, farmers, communications companies, construction workers, engineers, forensic investigators, realtors, and more. The best drones on Earth today have advanced features that help users in numerous ways. They collect data, track suspects, find missing persons, and even deliver packages.
UAVs are available to individuals and businesses for a variety of purposes. Hobbyists enjoy them, and companies use them to collect images, videos, and more. Videography, mapping, modeling, and even combining drones with Artificial Intelligence now expand their uses. Our listing of the best drones on Earth today provides options for many applications, from hobby flights to commercial operations.
Commercial drone companies offer advanced features like GPS, waypoint and terrain following, object-avoidance technology, thermal cameras, LiDAR, and high-resolution imaging and videography. While many of the more advanced UAVs are quite costly, there are still budget-friendly options.
After researching many options, our rankings and reviews for the best drones on Earth today are:
- Best Overall Drone: DJI Mavic 3 Pro
- Best Professional Drone: Autel Robotics EVO Lite+
- Best Compact Drone: DJI Mini 3 Pro
- Best Content Creation Drone: EXO Cinemaster 2
- Best Beginner Drone: DJI Ryze Tech Tello
#1 Best Overall Drone on Earth Today: DJI Mavic 3 Pro
- 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad 4K camera takes 20MP images and 5K video
- Dual tele cameras are 1/1.3-inch CMOS and 1/2-inch CMOS
- 43-minute flight time
- Transmission distance of over 9 miles
- Rechargeable 5000 mAh battery
- Omnidirectional obstacle sensing
The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is the #1 Best Overall and is the most versatile drone available on Earth today for a wide range of uses. DJI is one of the most popular drone manufacturers, and this model is designed to serve many purposes. Only weighing about 3.5 pounds and measuring 13.68 x 11.44 x 4.24 inches, this UAV has three specialty cameras for collecting incredibly clear photos and videos. The main Hasselblad 4K camera takes 20MP images and 5K video. The Medium Tele Camera takes 48MP images. The CMOS Tele Camera takes 12MP images. The cameras are fitted to a 3-axis gimbal for the ultimate camera angling and aiming.
Eight separate sensors allow this high-tech drone to avoid obstacles in flight for up-close monitoring and data collection. Built-in GPS, auto-return, and ActiveTrack subject recognition technology enable users to follow objects for advanced tracking and monitoring. Fly this drone up to 17 miles from the controller at 20 mph for a maximum of 43 minutes. Transmit real-time data from up to 9.3 miles away or store it in the 1TB SSD online storage for later downloading.
The detachable rechargeable 5000mAh battery charges in a few hours and can be switched out with an extra battery for extended use time. Waypoint flight, cruise control, and other technologies combine to help this drone fly smoothly and handle wind gusts. It also features both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Check out the DJI Mavic 3 Pro on Amazon.
|The DJI Mavic 3 Pro weighs 3.5 pounds and measures 13.68 x 11.44 x 4.24 inches for easy handling and portability.||This drone is quite expensive.|
|Three high-tech cameras facilitate 5K video and 4K images and are mounted on a 3-axis gimbal for precise angling and aiming.|
|This drone has a 17-mile range, a top speed of 20 mph, and a maximum flight time of 43 minutes.|
|Transmit data in real-time via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or record images and videos in the onboard 1TB SSD storage for later downloading.|
|Various technologies help this drone fly smoothly, avoid obstacles, track objects on the ground, and navigate via GPS.|
Best Professional Drone on Earth Today: Autel Robotics EVO Lite+
- 1-inch CMOS sensor and a 20MP camera
- Adjustable f/2.8 to f/11 aperture
- 6K@30fps or 4K video@60 fps
- Three-way obstacle avoidance
- Live view transmission range max 7.4 Miles
- 40-min flight time
The lightweight and foldable Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ is our top choice for the Best Professional Drone on Earth Today. The triple cameras on this versatile drone can capture images and video in virtually any setting, including darkness. The high-tech cameras with adjustable aperture, focus, and zoom allow capturing 5472 x 3648 resolution photos. Users can also capture 6K video at 30fps or 4K video at 60fps. Choose from four imaging modes to capture the best image and video quality. Cameras are mounted on a 3-axis mechanical gimbal for the best camera angles.
Three-way obstacle avoidance keeps your drone safe in flight at altitudes up to .50 miles for a maximum flight time of 40 minutes and seven miles distance. The Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ weighs 2.6 pounds, measures 9.1 x 5.1 x 4.3 inches, and is foldable for easy carrying. The Lithium Polymer battery is rated at 6175mAh and charges in a few hours. This drone supports GPS tracking, waypoint travel, and automated return-to-home when the battery runs low. It also signals and returns if it loses connection with the remote.
This advanced quad-copter drone has everything the professional UAV operator needs to gather data in real time. You can also download data from the removable 64MB SD card. It has superior level 7 wind resistance in flight for use in most types of weather. This model drone also has no geo-fencing to restrict its flight. Check out the Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ on Amazon.
|The Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ is foldable and comes with a shoulder bag carrying case for easy portability.||This drone is quite expensive.|
|The Lithium Polymer 6175mAh battery enables 40 minutes of flight at up to 7 miles distance and 800 meters of altitude.|
|Plot your UAV’s course with GPS tracking, waypoint travel, and flight-steadying technology that helps it handle level 7 winds.|
|The automated return-to-home feature sends the drone back to its launch point when the battery gets low or it loses connection with the remote.|
|This drone does not support automated geo-fencing.|
Best Compact Drone on Earth Today: DJI Mini 3 Pro
Weighing half a pound and fitting easily in the palm of your hand, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the Best Compact Drone on Earth Today. Professional or hobby users who need a small, portable drone will enjoy this tiny UAV that is packed with advanced features. Record 4K video and 48MP images night and day with the 90-degree gimbal camera. Rotate it upward for totally vertical shots.
The advanced tri-directional obstacle avoidance technology and one-button return-to-home feature help keep your drone safe from damage. Plus, autopilot allows you to use this drone in close quarters, low to the ground, or in complex spaces. Enjoy a 34-minute flight time with the standard battery or upgrade to the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus for 47-minute flights.
Use the DJI Mini 3 Pro UAV either with the remote control or via the DJI Fly smartphone app. Transmit images or video in real-time or save them to the onboard SD card for later downloading. Professional users can carry and use this portable quad-copter for real estate scanning, obtaining marketing videos and images, advanced mapping and surveying, search and rescue, and numerous other applications. Check out the DJI Mini 3 Pro on Amazon.
|The DJI Mini 3 Pro measures only 9.65 x 6.73 x 2.44 inches when unfolded for flight and weighs half a pound.||This compact drone may be too expensive for some users.|
|This UAV records 4K video and 48MP images day or night.||This lightweight drone may not be suitable for severe weather or high winds.|
|Tri-directional obstacle avoidance and smart autopilot allow you to use this drone in complex environments and up to level 5 winds.|
|This drone can be piloted with the remote control or via a smartphone with the DJI Fly app.|
|Two battery options allow for 34-minute or 47-minute flight times.|
Best Content Creation Drone on Earth Today: EXO Cinemaster 2
- 11MP photos and 4K UHD video
- 1080p 60fps slow motion filming
- 1/2.3in Sony sensor
- Up to 28 minutes of flight time
- Speeds of up to 27mph
Videographers interested in superior content creation need the EXO Cinemaster 2, our Best Content Creation Drone on Earth Today. Obtain 11MP photos and stunning 4K UHD video in rich color and with crisp resolution with this 1.6-pound, 5.1 x 3.14 x 2.16-inch drone. Enjoy impressive stabilization features and five flight modes that facilitate incredible video capture. Command the drone to hover, return home, auto-takeoff, and auto-land. Plus, 360-degree laser detection automatically voids obstacles to keep your UAV damage-free.
This impressive drone comes with three Lithium Polymer 3200mAh batteries, each enabling 28 minutes of flight at 27mph, up to a half-mile distance, and in up to level 5 winds. Quickly swap out a low battery with a fully charged one for extended use. The 3-axis gimbal enables superior panning, tilting, and rolling to obtain spectacular images and videos.
The EXO Cinemaster 2 content creation drone is ready to fly out of the box after an initial charge. The intuitive controls allow even beginner users to operate the unit quickly and effortlessly. Put the UAV in follow-me mode to capture your own activities hands-free. Use the circle-me feature to capture images and video 360 degrees around any object. Check out the EXO Cinemaster 2 on Amazon.
|The EXO Cinemaster 2 drone has 5 different modes that enable stunning image and video capture.||The half-mile range may be restrictive to some users.|
|This drone weighs 1.6 pounds and measures 5.1 x 3.14 x 2.16 inches for easy portability.|
|The 360-degree laser object avoidance feature helps keep your drone from collisions.|
|It has three Lithium Polymer 3200mAh batteries that enable 28 minutes of flight at distances up to a half mile in up to level 5 (20 mph) winds.|
|This exceptional UAV is affordably priced compared to many other drones in its class.|
Best Beginner Drone on Earth Today: DJI Ryze Tech Tello
- 5MP images and 720p HD videos
- Flight time of 13 minutes
- Two antennas for stable video transmission
- 17.9mph max speed
- Flight controller powered by DJI
The DJI Ryze Tech Tello is our Best Beginner Drone on Earth Today for its simplicity and affordability. Newbies and youngsters alike can quickly learn to use and fly this drone in no time. Impressive automation features allow users to hover, fly, and capture 5MP images and 720p HD videos for fun and sharing. Control this beginner drone with an app on your smartphone with several automated flight features.
Fly this 2.82-ounce UAV for up to 13 minutes on a single battery charge at distances up to 328 feet. The small 3.86 x 3.66 x 1.61-inch size is easily handled by youngsters but may not be stable in windy conditions. The app also offers coding options, games, and programmable tricks for the ultimate fun with this drone.
The DJI Ryze Tech Tello is the ultimate starter drone for a limited investment but is packed with fun features that anyone can use. Begin small to learn the basics, see what drones can do, and then invest in more sophisticated UAVs as your skills and confidence improve. This product also includes extra propellers, propeller guards, and a propeller removal tool. Check out the DJI Ryze Tech Tello on Amazon.
|The DJI Ryze Tech Tello is very affordable for a starter drone.||The small lightweight size is not stable in windy conditions.|
|Automated flight and stabilization features make flying this UAV a snap.||The short battery life may discourage young users.|
|Users can record 720p HD videos and 5MP images.|
|A Lithium Polymer battery lasts for 13 minutes of flight time before needing to be charged.|
|The unit is controlled by a smartphone app that includes games, programmable tricks, and coding options for even more fun with this drone.|
How to Pick the Best Drones on Earth Today: Step by Step
Piloting a drone can be fun, but choosing the best one for your application requires some forethought and research. Certain features may be desired for specific commercial applications or hobby use. How you plan to use your UAV dictates the features that are most critical. Our five best drones on Earth today weighed the major factors most important to the widest variety of users.
The best drones balance the following primary features:
- Flight Time
- Advanced Features
Let’s review each of these criteria in more detail.
The best drones on Earth today are quad-copters, meaning they rely on four propellers for balanced lift and propulsion. This actually makes a drone easier to handle, which is good news for beginners or inexperienced operators. Some models are also foldable for better portability. Slip it into your backpack and head to the outdoors to find the most suitable location to get your pictures or video.
Choose the size and design that best fits your planned usage. Most commercial applications will need a larger, more stable drone with exceptional controllability features for precise data collection or monitoring. Hobbyists want a design that is easy to use, land, and enjoy flying. Interchangeable batteries are also a plus since you can change low batteries in the field and keep flying.
Controlling your drone takes a light touch. The remote control unit or smartphone app’s design makes it easier or harder. Most smartphone apps offer limited control options and may not be as sensitive to touch control as a dedicated control unit. A radio controller with a full-color display and intuitive controls is best for high-end operators in commercial uses or the experienced hobby flyer.
New UAV users may like the smartphone app for its simplicity, especially when the drone has flight-assistance features built in. As you gain operating experience, you will likely prefer better controls with more advanced options, like those in a dedicated remote control unit. Remember that handheld remotes require their own batteries for operation, separate from the rechargeable drone battery.
Drones are not built to withstand heavy impacts. Even breakaway propellers can allow considerable damage when a drone collides with an object or the ground. Look for durable construction and crash-avoidance features. The best of these warn you of impending collisions and can even steer the UAV away from danger or pause its flight.
The most popular drone brands and models will have readily available replacement parts when accidents happen. More obscure brands or beginner models may not have replacement parts, leaving you with a useless drone.
The range of your drone is how far it can travel away from the control unit before losing contact. The best drones on Earth today feature warning systems that signal users when this is about to happen or even turn the drone around to remain in contact. Some include return-to-home technology that returns the drone to its launch position when it loses contact.
Most of the best UAVs for hobby or commercial use have a range between 7-12 miles and can fly up to .50 miles high. Better range provides more options for photo and video capture or other uses, like follow-object technology used in surveillance and tracking operations.
Battery life determines your drone’s flight time. The best drones on Earth today have detachable rechargeable batteries. Swap them out to stay in the field or at work longer. Some models do not have detachable batteries, so the unit must be charged in the field or returned to where charging can take place. Many of the newest Lithium Polymer batteries allow up to 30 minutes of flight time. Your UAV’s weight and speed and the flight conditions will also impact flight time.
Most drone operators want to capture images and videos, so a high-resolution camera is a must. Choose a high frame rate and image resolution, 4K or better video, and cameras mounted on a three-axis gimbal for better stability and control. The best drones on Earth today will also include several features to help improve image capture in different environments and lighting conditions.
Many of the best drones on Earth today have advanced features to help with flight, stability, image capture, object avoidance, monitoring, mapping, heat detection, and other specific uses. Some high-end drones accept specialized software for commercial applications like mapping. Automated takeoff and landing features are always a plus. Some newer features allow GPS positioning and waypoint programming, automatic hovering, following, 360-degree flight around designated objects, and more for unique image and video capture scenarios.
Get ready to spend a considerable amount of money on the best drones on Earth today. Those capable of high-end performance, range, flight time, and data collection are typically well over a thousand dollars. Premium accessories and specialty software can push that total to over two thousand dollars. Commercial drone users can recoup that expense easily with the benefits drone operations can add to their business. Hobbyists should start small and invest in a beginner model until their skills and confidence are ready for larger, more sophisticated UAVs.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Drones on Earth Today
Hobbyists and commercial users alike should become familiar with the regulations governing drone operations. These can vary from region to region. Certain federal regulations require registering your drone, testing, and certification before operating a drone. Hobby users have a much simpler test and process than commercial users. The FAA has established no-fly zones for drones and you may need a special permit to operate one commercially in some areas.
Users should also prepare for a learning curve when operating drones. Every drone operates somewhat differently, so some training and practice are advisable before attempting extensive maneuvers or operations. Look for some drone training services in your area and research all the regulations pertaining to drone use before venturing out with your UAV for a day of fun or work.
Using the Best Drones on Earth Today: What It’s Like
Using a drone can be an exhilarating experience. Controlling a UAV as it soars above the ground, attempting maneuvers, capturing high-quality images and videos, and even the most basic takeoff and landing steps require practice and expertise. Many industries are incorporating drones into their operations to enhance surveying, material control and inventory, surveillance and tracking, pipeline and tower inspection, and more.
Drones can take sophisticated viewing and recording technology where humans cannot go, or can’t go safely, extending our reach and capabilities. More than a high-priced toy, modern UAVs push the envelope of where we can see and what we can do. Package delivery is already on the horizon, and many high-end entertainment productions rely on drones for stunning aerial images and video.
Be sure to match your drone investment to your skills, experience, and application. Start small with a beginner drone, and explore larger, more feature-heavy models as you gain knowledge and experience. Our selections of the five best drones on Earth today provide suitable options for hobby and professional use. Choose the best product that matches your needs and budget and enjoy adding drone flight to your life!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock.com.