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To find the best foldable drone, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you. We recommend that you favor foldable drones with powerful cameras, multiple assisted flight modes, and longer battery life, which provides longer flight times, and durability. Make sure to consider foldable drones with significant flight ranges, allowing them to fly further away from the controller without losing their signal. When buying a foldable drone, always look for the number of axis points on its gimbal, which can provide smoother video footage while exercising its incredible maneuverability. You may also want to check out our best drones for the top-rated drones in the market.
After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the DJI Mavic Pro 2 is the best foldable design of all of the drones on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best drones on the market.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It shoots gorgeous 4K content that’s high quality that stands above the other 4K competitors in its price range. The crisp image quality is due to the one-inch 20-megapixel sensor. There’s a reason why so many tech writers and YouTubers refer to it as the “holy grail.”
The DJI Mavic Pro 2 is our Top Pick with superior image and video quality, obstacle avoidance, and excellent battery life. The brand new 1-inch CMOS sensor on the Hasselblad L1D-20c camera has an advanced active sensing area making it easier than ever to shoot high-quality videos and photos even in low light settings. The remote control utilizes an ultrabright 5.5-inch 1080p display that helps you to maintain clear visibility even in direct sunlight.
Multiple intelligent flight features make this piloting experience exciting for beginners and pros alike. The pause button acts as “emergency braking” and will stop the unit in its tracks causing it to hover until you command it otherwise. You might also be interested in the best vlogging camera to add to your content creation toolkit.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Not only does the Autel Robotics EVO II have the most extended battery life, but it shoots 8K video. This orange flying robot is a massive win for both recreational and pro pilots.
The ability to shoot footage in 8K and 6K does sound nice, but most computers aren’t equipped to handle it right now. Also, the high compression involved in storing footage of that size on a foldable drone can degrade its quality. With that said, the 4K video footage is beautifully crystal clear and sharp. The EVO II’s coral-colored, rounded, foldable form makes it stand out in the pale, sharp-edged DJI lead crowd.
As far as the flight goes, the EVO II comes equipped with omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, including 12 visual sensors and two ultrasonic sensors on the bottom of its body. It is easy to operate, with three intuitive smart flight modes and the ability to handle high winds. It is missing the popular automated flight programs that allow you to film a ‘dronie’ or ‘rocket’ clip-where the drone quickly flies away from you or straight up above you. However, you can find some of those features in the best selfie drones.
Award: BEST VALUE
WHY WE LIKE IT: The DJI Mavic Air II is the best “all arounder” foldable drone. The 1/2″ 48MP CMOS image sensor, helpful flight features, and the fact that it can fold up and fit into the palm of your hand make this quadcopter the most bang for your buck.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is an incredible high-quality balance between size, portability, and features. For a drone to take 48MP stills, 8K Hyperlapse, and 4K video at 120 Mbs is impressive. The DJI Mavic Air 2 Foldable Drone comes equipped with AirSense, DJI’s alert system that receives automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) signals from nearby crewed aircraft and displays their location on the remote control’s screen. The 34-minute battery life is a significant increase from the original Air model’s 21-minute flight times.
DJI has also added SmartPhoto modes to the DJI Mavic Air 2, which are similar to those on an iPhone. The three modes are HDR, Hyperlight, and scene recognition, making the folding drone’s photos as dynamic as possible with the maximized tone, clarity, and color. The DJI Mavic Air 2 also comes equipped with obstacle avoidance sensors on the front, back, and bottom, which keeps this drone safer in flight and landing. It’s a nice choice for people looking for the best follow-me drone in a portable form.
Award: BEST COMPACT DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: DJI has succeeded in making a reliable, intuitive, and capable quadcopter that captures beautiful footage. It’s so small that there’s rarely an inconvenient time to bring it along. Could it make our list of the top nano drones?
DJI has added “Cinesmooth” mode, which they say “elongates the braking process.” This feature can make for much smoother-looking footage during quick turns and other sharp movements. The “Cinesmooth” mode might make up for the lack of “tripod mode” and the 2.7K video capabilities.
Despite the integrated app offering a somewhat minimal feature set, the DJI Mavic Mini is still a high-quality foldable drone that is easy to take with you on the go. For how small this high-quality foldable drone is the 2.7K footage stabilized by the three-axis gimbal is nothing to scoff at. It’s built well, reliable, and easy to take with you on the go. For a more immersive experience, check out our best VR drone buying guide.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Ruko F11 Pro is a compact, durable, easy to fly, affordable quad that shoots 4K video and offers a 30-minute flight time. Not to mention that you get a wealth of advanced features that would impress even a seasoned quad pilot, and it won’t break the bank.
Ruko has added “Tap Fly” mode to the F11 Pro, which allows you to draw the route that you would like it to adhere to on the app screen. The drone will automatically follow the drawn path that you mapped out for it. The return to home function ensures no risk of losing your drone even when it passes beyond this maximum range. If you were to run out of battery life while in flight, the app helps you retrieve it.
The quadcopter uses powerful brushless motors that help to keep it steady in windy and obstacle-ridden conditions. However, the drone camera doesn’t have a gimbal stabilizer, which may cause your videos to be a little bit shaky. It also doesn’t have any sensors for obstacle avoidance, as you get with the best professional drone. The F11 Pro is easy to use and comes with high-quality features that will impress both experienced drone pilots and amateur hobbyists.
Award: BEST FOR RECORDING SOUND
WHY WE LIKE IT: The GoPro Karma was built for the GoPro camera enthusiast with portability in mind. If you already have a GoPro and you’re looking to get into shooting aerial content, this is the perfect starting point.
The linear recording option gives your images a natural feel by eliminating the fisheye effect that results from GoPro wide eye lenses. The ergonomic remote control feels just like a modern gaming system. The controller’s built-in monitor eliminates the need to connect a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to view the live feed. It is a relief to not have to worry about the drone losing connection or the smartphone screen going to sleep. The ability to record ambient sound when you’re flying at low levels is a very cool unexpected bonus.
The GoPro Karma Drone is capable and comfortable to fly while being easily packable with propellers and landing gear that collapse for being carried. The GoPro Karma includes a removable GoPro camera which gives you the freedom in the future to level up to a more advanced model in the future. The GoPro Karma Drone is a solid buy, especially for anyone who has already invested in purchasing a GoPro camera and wants the best drone for GoPro.
Award: BEST FOR BEGINNERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Holy Stone HS510 is an excellent option for anyone’s first drone. This quadcopter is Incredibly easy to fly and holds up well in light winds. It’s capable of taking crystal-clear aerial photography and can shoot 4K videos at 16 frames per second or 2.7K videos at 25 frames per second.
The Holy Stone HS510 is a compact, foldable drone that makes for a perfect travel accessory. It’s complete with a set of flight functions that make it super easy to pilot. The camera can capture stunning aerial footage, and although the flight time is only 16 minutes, it comes with two batteries.
The HS510 is feature-rich, including flight modes such as “GPS follow me,” “Point of Interest,” “Draw Path,” “Tap Fly,” “Optical Flow Positioning,” and “Smart Return to Home.” This drone is the best drone for beginners to start flying, given the low price and compact size.
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Award: BEST FOR RACING
WHY WE LIKE IT: The E520S is a feature-rich drone that shoots 4K video footage that comes in at a modest price point. With a return to home button, one-touch take-off, one-touch landing, emergency stop, and follow me mode- this multi-featured racing drone has something for everyone.
The Eachine E520S is a high-speed and affordable folding drone that is well built with quality parts. The Eachine E520S has three-speed flight modes and flies very fast even on the lowest setting. The three assisted flight features are “Waypoint,” “Surround/Orbit,” and “Smart Track,” which allows you to draw a path for the E520S to follow, orbit the person with the remote controller, and lock-on and follow the person with the remote controller.
The Eachine 520S does lack any sensors for obstacle avoidance, which would be a helpful feature on a drone that flies so fast. The relatively short battery life isn’t helped by the amount of time the batteries require to charge. You might also be interested in the best FPV racing drone on the market.
Award: BEST QUIET OPERATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Parrot Anafi, which is a super quiet drone, is a highly capable 4K drone that folds up into a long thin brick and fits into the included sleek zippered case. In addition to the smooth intuitive flight experience and capable camera, the Parrot Anafi can collapse into a tiny package and fit into most pockets.
The camera’s gimbal can point straight up 90 degrees, which Is a very nice option that could make for some very creative footage; like looking up at trees or bridges while flying underneath.
Also, for as sleek as the Parrot Anafi is when folded up, the bulky Sega Genesis-style controller appears to be an afterthought.
Noticeably missing is the Parrot Analfi’s lack of sensors that provide obstacle avoidance while in flight. But the camera and easy-to-use remote control make up a lot. For younger flyers, you might also like our best drone for kids buying guide.
Award: BEST PORTABLE DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Zerotech Dobby is the “little quadcopter that could.” The Dobby’s video and photo quality are incredible, despite the drone’s small size and light form factor. The Dobby is a great pocket drone; it is smaller than most smartphones and somehow includes 16GB of internal memory. This compact foldable drone is equipped with GPS, which assists in digital image stabilization and a return to home feature for both ground and palm landings.
Some have described the Zerotech Dobby as a toy drone explicitly built for the selfie-taking crowd like that’s a bad thing. It’s a bit noisy for indoor use, but it does come with prop guards, making it safer around walls and furniture.
Although they have packed a ton of features into this little foldable drone, be aware of the limitations of a drone this size in the wind, and the short battery life is not going to compete with larger drones on the market. Still, the Zerotech Dobby’s video and photo quality are impressive, especially considering its size. If you’re in the market for the best drone for traveling, this is a great option as well.
There were so many foldable drones on the market with a relatively broad price range. We considered the most important features to us, which aligned with the pros and consumer needs. We had to balance performance elements with price and ease of use.
The lithium-ion batteries that power most of the best drones run for 15 to 25 minutes on a charge, though some newer models can fly for a whopping 40 minutes. We made sure that some of the drones that we reviewed included spare batteries, which can range from $45 to $220, for longer flight times when you’re out and about. Another thing we considered is how long each battery takes to charge, preferring batteries that completed a full charge quickly.
A big thing to consider when stepping into the consumer drone world is the weight. The US Federal Aviation Administration requires anyone who wants to fly an aerial vehicle that weighs between 0.55-pound (250 grams) and 55 pounds (approximately 25 kilograms) to complete a formal registration. Most value drones fall into this lighter category. If you’re about to purchase a quadcopter for over half a pound, don’t worry, the registration only costs $5, and the process isn’t too tricky. More registration info can be found here.
Folding mechanisms add a lot of complexity to the design and engineering of a quadcopter, so we made sure the foldable drones we chose featured durable and long-lasting designs. Finally, we liked drones that felt solidly built, which were able to fold up into a light, pocketable shape while capturing clear footage during longer assisted flights.
See Also: You should also check out the best fixed-wing drone if you want a seamless flying experience.