The popularity of drones has increased significantly over the past few years. More and more ordinary people are getting into the hype. This has caused a lot of drone manufacturers to pop up, competing for the drone market share. Finding the best one has, therefore, become quite difficult seeing as that there are a number of products to choose from.
For this review, we are going to look at the best professional drones that money can buy. We will be excluding compact drones and racing drones from this list. Low to mid-end products are not part of this list. Those who are looking for the best budget drones they can buy can check out our list of the Best Drones You Can Buy under $300 in 2018.
Drone technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the years. Newer models now put older industrial models to shame in terms of its stability and features. However, prices for these professional models haven’t really gone down that much. This means that ultra high-end drones will cost quite a lot of money. DJI’s top-of-the-line models, for example, will cost thousands of dollars. Some models don’t even include a camera. Fortunately, buyers will get their money’s worth with these top-tier drone models. These drones typically sport advanced flight features and an incredible flight time. These include dual-operator functionality, retractable landing gear, and interchangeable lenses. These types of drones are mostly in use by cinematographers, news crews, and other businesses.
Majority of the drones in our list are products from the company DJI. The company is currently the leading manufacturer of drones in the whole world. Their technology is currently far superior to its direct competitors. However, some companies have started to offer some very interesting products. The company currently offers a myriad of drones at various price points. Our list looks at the very best that the company has to offer.
Top Professional Drones Spec Breakdown
Created for Hollywood and Serious Enthusiasts
DJI Inspire 2
- CineCore 2.0 Image Processing
- 2-Axis Stabilized FPV Camera
- ProRes Recording and CinemaDNG Support
- Dual Battery, 27-minute Flight Time
- 58mph Top Speed
- 2K Gimbal Camera Compatible
- Sense and Avoid, Smart Return Functions
Why We Like It
The DJI Inspire 2’s HD video transmission system and CineCore 2.0 image processing engine make it one of the most powerful cinematic tools to date. The images and footage produced are cinematic-grade and are recording at extremely high bit rates.
The new Inspire 2 will blow away filmmakers and professional videographers who loved the original DJI Inspire Drone. The newer model sports the very best in drone and camera technology. It basically elevates the capabilities of the original Inspire Drone along with other nifty new upgrades. The new professional drone packs quite a lot of tech under the hood. One of its biggest upgrades is the capability to carry two batteries. This gives it a maximum flight time of about 27 minutes. The redundant battery also assures that ancillary systems always have power.
Under the hood, the DJI Inspire 2 packs two motion sensors, two barometers, and a dedicated computer that handles its various subsystems. DJI has also beefed up the drone’s flight capabilities. It can now accelerate to 50 mph from a standstill in just 4 seconds. It can also reach a top speed of 58 mph, making it a great drone for chase scenes and fast-paced action shots. Advanced sensors installed on the drone now allow it to automatically avoid obstacles. This includes obstacles from above, below, and in front of the drone. Its Smart Return function also works even without GPS. The drone does this by automatically remembering its flight path in case of an emergency.
As for its video and image capturing capabilities, the DJI Inspire 2 supports various Zenmuse cameras. These cameras attach to the bottom of the drone and will function simultaneously with its forward facing FPV Camera. Two operators can fly the drone and control the camera at the same time. A basic package will not include a camera. Buyers can choose between various models, but the Zenmuse X5S is likely the best option for it. The Micro Four Thirds camera, built from the ground up specifically for the Inspire 2, is quite capable. Its 20.8-megapixel sensor can capture quite a lot of detail. It is capable of shooting 5.2K video at 30 fps and 4K at 60 fps.
The DJI Inspire 2 is one of the safest drones to fly. Its reliability and safety features make it a great investment. This is, of course, a big factor to consider given that the drone itself and the camera attached to it costs thousands of dollars.
The Best Phantom You Can Buy Today
DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ V2.0
- Built-in 20-megapixel CMOS sensor
- 4K video recording at 60fps
- 3-Axis Stabilized Gimbal
- Obstacle Avoidance, Visual Tracking
- 45 mph Top Speed
- 3-mile Control Range
- Autonomous Flight with Redundant Sensors
Why We Like It
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 is a slight upgrade from the Phantom 4 Pro. But, its upgraded propulsion system and OcuSync transmission system make it a superior drone. at least for those who don’t have to wait for the next Phantom model.
The upgraded version of the current Phantom 4 Drone has the same exact external features. This means that sensor placements and the overall design remain the same as the older model. However, its internal components do sport a number of interesting upgrades. This includes improved electronic speed controllers, better propellers, and better connectivity capabilities.
The newer model is significantly more efficient than the older model. This is partly thanks to its redesigned propellers and components. A more aggressive angle on the propellers increases its efficiency; while at the same time decrease overall flight noise. The upgraded ESCs also ensure an optimal flight experience, especially for first time Phantom drone flyers. Thanks to the upgrades, the drone has a longer flight time of 30 minutes and a range of 4.35 miles. The lighter propellers and overall weight also allows the drone to take off much faster than the older model.
The Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 retains the same camera as the regular Phantom 4 Pro. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing given how amazing the capabilities of the camera are on the older model. The 20-megapixel 1-inch CMOS sensor is on a 3-axis stabilized gimbal similar to the original model. The camera is capable of shooting 4K video up to 60 fps with photo bursts up to 14 fps. The integrated shooter has an f2.8 lens and up to 1/2000 second mechanical shutter. It also has 11.6 stops of dynamic range.
One of the biggest upgrades that come with the newer version is in its connectivity suite. The newest Phantom uses DJI’s OcuSync system, which lets it stream live video at incredibly fast rates. This results in improved resolution for on-controller streaming. The system also results in faster wireless connectivity with the DJI Goggles. Transmission signals have also been significantly boosted on the newer version.
The Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 may look the same as its predecessor, but it does sport some great improvements. It still has the same camera as the older model, which DJI likely didn’t want to tamper with given its amazing performance. Those looking to get their first Phantom drone may want to consider getting this if they really can’t wait for the new model to come out.
DJI’s Heavy Lifter that’s Ready For Any Situation
DJI Matrice 600 Pro
- 5kg (34.17lbs) Max Weight Capacity
- Retractable Landing Gears
- A3 Pro Flight Controller
- Lightbridge 2 Support
- Zenmuse Gimbals/Camera Support
- Intelligent Battery Management system
- 35-minute Max Flight Time
- 5km Max Transmission Range
Why We Like It
The Matice 600 is DJI’s industrial heavy lifter. It is one of the best drones in the market for filmmakers and industrial applications. The hexacopter features all of the company’s best drone technologies. This includes advances rotors, multiple redundancies, and incredible stability.
Industry professionals and filmmakers are primarily the users of this kind of drone. However, enthusiasts and those who are serious about their crafts may want to consider the Martice 600 Pro as their next investment. The hexacopter is a huge drone that dwarfs other products in its segment. Despite its size, the drone is still relatively easy to set up and fly. The DJI Matrice 600 Pro sports six rotors and six batteries. This allows it to carry heavy equipment up to 15.5kg or 34lbs. The multiple batteries and rotors are also built-in for extra safety, redundancy, and stability.
The drone itself doesn’t come with a gimbal or a high-res camera system. Instead, the drone can take on different equipment and accessories suited for specific tasks. Users can install any third party cameras they want. The drone is also compatible with DJI’s own Zenmuse gimbal and camera line, including the X3, X5, and XT models. It also features retractable landing gear, which can be useful in certain shooting situations. The customization possibilities are practically endless with the Matrice 600. Filmmakers and industry professionals can equip them with different accessories. This is mainly thanks to its sizable carrying capacity.
Even at full load, the Matrice 600 is still stable and easy to fly. This is thanks to a myriad of advanced flight systems that ensure a safe and stable flight experience for users. With specific upgrades, the drone is capable of more than just Hollywood-style filmmaking. The drone meets the need of various aerial imaging and data collecting tasks. This includes multi-sensor imaging, thermal imaging, news broadcasting, and LIDAR applications. DJI ships the Matrice 600 with its advanced A3 Flight controller. The controller works with the company’s Lightbridge 2 video transmission system. This basically allows users to stream high-definition video up to 5 kilometers.
The Matrice 600 Pro is the most powerful commercial flying platform from DJI. It offers many more features that the company’s other products. Those who are serious about their craft and those who need a reliable industrial workhorse will want to consider buying this product.
A Capable Drone With A little bit of Everything Thrown In
Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
- 25-minute Flight Time
- 6-kilometer Control Range
- Intel RealSense Obstacle Avoidance
- 3-axis Anti-Vibration CGO3+ Gimbal
- 4K Ultra HD Video Recording
- ST16 Controller with 7-inch Touchscreen
- Retractable Landing Gear
Why We Like It
Yuneec is currently one of DJI’s biggest competitors. Its Typhoon H Pro is in the same price range as the DJI Phantom 4, but it offers so much more in terms of its features and capabilities.
The Typhoon H Pro is a Yuneec’s flagship model with a six-rotor design. The hexacopter is a pleasure to fly even in strong winds. It can even safely land itself if one motor should fail. The list of features for this particular drone is quite impressive and it does blow away other products in its price range. The drone sports a 3-axis Gimbal with a 4K video camera. The freely rotating camera is also capable of capturing RAW and JPG images. The camera’s settings are fully adjustable while in flight. It also features a 98-degree field of view and a wide-angle lens.
Similar to the DJI Phantom 4, the Yuneec Typhoon H Pro features an automated obstacle avoidance system via Intel’s RealSense software. It also has a flight time of around 25 minutes, which should be sufficient for most users. Unlike the Phantom 4, the Typhoon features fully retractable landing gears. This will come in handy in certain situations. Another notable feature is the drone’s 1.6-kilometer controller range. This will come in handy for epic landscape aerial shots in areas such as canyons and mountains.
To control the drone, Yuneec has included an all-in-one Android-powered controller. The controller sports a built-in 7-inch touchscreen display, which means that users won’t have to use their phones to control the drone. While the interface for the controller may not be as intuitive as DJI’s own UI, it still has a lot of interesting modes and features. Some of the modes include an Orbit Me mode, which keeps the camera tracked on a subject while it flies in a circular path. There is also a selfie mode, a point of interest mode, and a Curve cable cam mode. Users can also program their own invisible route for the drone to follow.
The Yuneec Typhoon H Pro sports some capabilities only found on high-end professional drones. These features are typically only available on products way above its price range. Priced similar to the Phantom 4, the Typhoon is a great value for money product for those looking for a drone with a little bit of everything.
A Cheaper, but Fully Capable, Alternative to the Mavic Air
- 4K Video Camera with f/2.4 wide-angle ASPH Lens
- 180-degree Vertical Tilt Gimbal
- 8x Digital Zoom
- 25-minute Flight Time
- USB Type-C Charger
- 55kph (33mph) Top Speed
- Parrot Skycontroller 3 Folding Controller
Why We Like It
The Parrot Anafi drone is significantly cheaper than the DJI Mavic Air. It also features a 180-degree tilting gimbal, which is unique only to this particular drone. The Anafi also sports some nifty camera tricks that should result in some spectacular shots for those who know how to use it.
For years, Parrot has been playing catch up with DJI for the international drone market share. The company has so far produced a number of products that are mostly beginner drone flyers. However, the company has had one product that may be of some interest to professional pilots. The Parrot Anafi is the company answer to DJI popular Mavic Air drone. The Anafi is a compact and capable drone that can capture 4K video footage in very unique ways. The drone is also great for aerial photography as it can take 21-megapixel RAW and DNG images.
The Parrot Anafi currently sports a feature that is not available on any other consumer drones. The Anafi has a 180-degree Vertical Tilt gimbal that allows it to point its camera straight up and straight down. This results in some very interesting angles that are achievable with any other done. The rotors are also absent from the shot, a feat that can be very useful for specific situations. Another great feature is the camera’s ability to zoom in on its subject. The camera can zoom in up to 1.4x in 4K mode and 2.4x when in full HD 1080p mode. The Anafi has a number of standard video shooting modes, including an orbit mode, reveal mode, and a parabola mode. However, its most interesting shooting mode it is Dolly Zoom mode. This mode produces a very unique effect popularized by Alfred Hitchcock in the movie Vertigo.
In terms of its design, the Anafi is very compact and easy to store. It folds and unfolds quite easily. It is also very light thanks to some carbon fiber components. The drone weights around 11.3 ounces, significantly lighter than its direct competitor the Mavic Air. The Anafi comes with the company’s Parrot Skycontroller 3, which also has a foldable design. The controller uses a smartphone as its screen, which means users will have to download Parrot’s app for everything to work. Due to its lightweight, the drone can fly to speeds of up to 33mph.
The Parrot Anafi is one of the company’s best drones yet. While it doesn’t yet really catch up to DJI’s offering, it is well worth taking a look at. The Anafi is a capable drone that is able to take great still images and amazing 4K footage.