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When searching for the best professional drones, you’ll need to decide on the features that are right for your workspace setup. We recommend that you prioritize durable drones with high-grade components and those that feature professional-grade HD cameras for shooting video and taking still shots. Make sure you consider battery life and the overall noise output, as a noisy drone could impact audio if you are shooting video instead of still photography, as you would with a great drone for real-estate photography. Also, when buying a professional drone, look at what accessories are included and what control options are offered. Professional drones have excellent features that make them some of the top-rated drones.
After researching a wide range of models with different features and at various price points, we’ve concluded that the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the best professional drone you can buy today. Continue reading for more on this model and our other top picks for the best drones on the market.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Best professional drone with camera and GPS, in addition to including a well-regarded Hasselblad camera and a motor that can easily reach speeds up to 48MPH.
Like most DJI drones, the DJI Mavic Pro is of exceptional quality, with an astounding feature set that includes the renowned Hasselblad L1D-20c camera that can capture 4K HDR video and comes with a stability-enhancing gimbal. We appreciated the high-grade motor that can easily reach speeds of up to 48 miles per hour, even in windy conditions, and that this drone is outfitted with an advanced obstacle detection system. We also liked that the included lithium battery allows for more than 30 minutes of flight time per charge.
This Mavic 2 Zoom drone is certainly on the expensive side, likely due to the stellar brand name recognition and the suite of advanced features and high-quality components. Additionally, this is a powerful drone and, as such, it must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration before use. If that’s a deal-breaker, you can get similar features with many of the best VR drones, which are worth checking out as well.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best drones for photography and video, thanks to the inclusion of a camera that supports H.264 4K videos at a snappy 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps, both with a 100Mbps bitrate.
The DJI Phantom 4 PRO is a great option for professional video shooters, as this model includes a 1-inch 20MP camera for stills that also supports 60fps H.264 4K videos with 100Mbps bitrate. We loved that this drone ships with a suite of useful accessories, including a hardshell case and plenty of replacement rotors. We also liked that the lithium-ion battery included with this model can last around 30 minutes before needing a recharge.
Like many DJI drones, this model is on the expensive side, though you get a whole lot of bells and whistles with your purchase. Also, this drone does feature an advanced multi-directional obstacle detection system, but the motor is simply too powerful to be used indoors. You may want to check out our best indoor drone guide for indoor drones.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality drone with an advanced feature set that includes a 4K camera complete with a 360-degree rotating gimbal and a durable exterior that is designed to withstand extreme temperatures.
The DJI Inspire 2 Professional Drone boasts a best-in-class design that is built to withstand extreme temperatures, as cold as -4 Fahrenheit ande 104 Fahrenheit. We loved the relatively simple operation process here, which includes push-button takeoff and return functionalities. We also appreciated that this drone ships with a high-quality 4K camera embedded in a 360-degree rotating gimbal, offering both accuracy and stability as you shoot videos or take still photos.
This is an extremely expensive drone, likely due to the advanced and weather-resistant components on offer. Additionally, there is no analog remote included with the purchase, though it can easily be controlled via a smartphone app. It’s great for anyone looking for a professional drone with the best digital camera.
Award: BEST FOR FILMMAKERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Fantastic option for professional filmmakers, thanks to the inclusion of a camera that can shoot 8K video and 48MP still shots, in addition to offering a somewhat portable and foldable design. It just may hold a candle to the finest Holy Stone drones.
The Autel Robotics EVO II Professional Drone is the ultimate option for filmmakers, both professional and amateur level, as this model includes a stunning camera that can shoot 8K video and capture still photos of 48MP. We loved the light and compact design, weighing just 2.5 pounds and boasting a foldable form factor for portability. We also liked that the integrated lithium-ion battery can go for over 40 minutes before needing a recharge. But, compare the Autel EVO 2 6K vs 8K to see which one is best.
Due to the portable design and professional-grade camera, this drone does come in at a fairly steep price point. Also, the maximum speed here is on the lower side, as this model is designed for flyover photography, and not racing. For that, you’ll want a leading FPV racing drone. You might also be interested in our best camera for filmmaking on a budget guide if you’re just getting started.
Award: BEST FOR HEAVY PAYLOADS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This drone is built to carry heavy payloads of up to 20 pounds, making it the perfect choice for several industries, including filmmaking and product delivery.
The Freefly Alta 8 Professional Drone is an extremely durable drone made from high-grade components that can easily survive a collision or two. This drone is made to carry heavy payloads, as much as 20 pounds, and ships with several quick-release bottom trays for a simple attachment process. We also appreciated that this model ships with a hardshell case and features proprietary carbon propellers, both of which enhance durability and safety.
The battery life here is on the lower end, maxing out at 20 minutes of use when you are transporting a five-pound payload. Obviously, this metric decreases further as you approach a 20-pound payload. Additionally, this drone does not ship with an analog remote, though it works with several third-party options. Check out our best smart remote guide to see what’s available.
Award: BEST FOR INSPECTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Purpose-built for conducting professional inspections in difficult-to-access areas, with advanced collision-resistance technology and an extremely durable form factor, with the drone itself safely encased in a round metal cage.
The Flyability Elios 2 Professional Drone has been built exclusively for professional-grade inspections, with a durable form factor and advanced collision avoidance technology. The drone itself is incredibly durable, made from metal components, and it is encased in a round metal case, further increasing its durability. We also appreciated the full HD live streaming camera and the 10K lumens lighting system, both of which add to this model’s use as an inspection tool.
This is a professional-grade inspection drone and, as such, the learning curve here is on the steeper side and not recommended for amateurs. Also, the price tag is incredibly steep, so consider this one of the best commercial drones on the market. If you don’t need a professional-grade drone, our best follow-me drone buying guide has some top-notch options as well.
Award: BEST PORTABILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Incredibly portable and compact form factor, weighing just over 2lb, with an advanced feature set that includes an intuitively designed analog remote and a 2-axis stabilized gimbal camera.
The DJI Spark Professional Drone is the perfect choice for those who want an easy-to-use option that won’t take up a lot of room when not in use. This drone is designed to be as compact as portable as possible, weighing just over two pounds and offering a folding form factor. We loved the powerful motor here, which reaches a top speed of 31 miles per hour, and the integrated advanced obstacle detection system. We also admired the integrated 2-axis stabilized gimbal camera, which is great for both still photography and for shooting live video.
The battery life here is on the lower end, allowing for a maximum of 16 minutes of use per charge. Additionally, this drone must be registered with the FAA, despite its small stature. It’s not one of the biggest drones, but it’ll do in a pinch. If you prefer to avoid having to register with the FAA, check out our best drones for traveling guides with additional portable options.
Award: BEST APP CONTROL
WHY WE LIKE IT: Controls via a best-in-class smartphone or tablet app that allows for push-button take-off and landing, obstacle avoidance, and live streaming HD video.
The DJI Inspire1 Pro-X5 Professional Drone is a great option for professionals who prefer smartphone-based controls over a traditional analog remote device, as this model integrates with DJI’s stellar app that is designed to simplify the flying process as much as possible. We loved the retractable landing gear, offering safety during both taking off and landing, and the integrated 3-axis stabilized camera that can shoot live video in stunning 4K. This drone should also suit a wide variety of different filmmakers, as it can easily integrate with an array of third-party lenses and related attachments.
The battery life here is decent, though not the greatest, and a full charge should get you around 20 minutes of flight time before needing to hit the power outlet. Also, this is a fairly heavy drone, at nearly 20 pounds, which may not suit all consumers. Make sure to use the latest, best smartphone.
Award: BEST FOR BEGINNERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Designed primarily for beginners, with a proprietary Smart Mode for amateur flyers, in addition to featuring a decent lithium battery that allows for 30 minutes of flight per charge.
The Blade Chroma is the best drone for beginners, thanks to seamless integration with the company’s Smart Mode, offering an intuitive and simple control scheme that can suit both veterans and newbies alike. We appreciated the push-button return functionality, offering some security, and the highly useful Follow Me mode, which follows the user as they travel. We also liked the integrated lithium battery here, allowing for up to 30 minutes of flight time per charge.
Though a good option for action photography and video, this model does not include a camera, so you’ll have to purchase a GoPro and install it manually. Additionally, this drone does ship with a fantastic ST10+ analog remote but it cannot be operated via a smartphone app. Still, a good choice if you want the best drone for beginners on this list.
See Also: Be sure to also take a look at the best selfie drone if you are a photography lover.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-friendly drone with a robust feature set that includes a light and compact form factor, weighing just 7oz, and a bright LED on the rear of the unit for increased visibility in low light conditions.
The Parrot Bebop 2 is the best cheap drone for photography, as it features an enhanced 14-megapixel fish-eye lens that offers 1080p video recording and robust image capture capabilities. We appreciated this drone’s incredibly light and compact form factor, weighing just seven ounces, making it easy to stow away when not in use. We also like the ultra-bright LED on the back of the unit itself, offering increased visibility in low-light scenarios.
Though compact, this drone still requires registration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), so consider that before making a purchase. Also, this drone does not include a dedicated analog remote, though it does integrate nicely with a smartphone app and can be used with third-party remotes. For fewer registration hassles, the best foldable drone might be an attractive alternative.
To help narrow down the above list, we painstakingly researched a wide array of popular professional drones, ensuring that they delivered a truly professional-grade experience for the discerning flight enthusiast. To that end, we liked drones with powerful motors that could easily achieve blazing-fast top speeds, even in windy conditions or bad weather.
We liked consumer drones with robust lithium batteries that offered plenty of flight time before needing to hit the power outlet for a recharge, somewhere in the 30-minute range. We also liked drones that shipped with high-grade cameras that excelled at snapping gorgeous still shots and shooting live video for filmmaking purposes.
As for controls, we liked professional drones that offered several easy-to-use control options, including integration with popular smartphone flight apps and control via an included analog remote controller. Finally, we appreciated drones that shipped with any number of additional functionalities, including integrated LED lights for visibility and replacement rotors, extra batteries, and related accessories.