If you are like me, you still need to purchase gifts for the holidays. Despite my best efforts to get things done a month or two before the end of the year, December always seems to come bearing down fast on me. There is at least one silver lining to waiting until the end to get gifts, all the sales.
Like other manufacturers, drone companies roll out the red carpet of discounts and deals starting with Black Friday. If you haven't made your end-of-year drone purchases as gifts for others or yourself yet, here are some recommendations you might want to consider.
Just quick note on my selections. There is a lot of personal preference and individual needs that goes into choosing the best drone for you. These are drones I have come to like over the last few years of being a commercial drone pilot. I’m purposely ignoring drones over $8,000 partly because I know I haven’t been that good and also I feel enterprise level drone are a topic for another article.
Best Drone For Kids
There a numerous toy drones out there for kids. Some cost under $100 and have alright features. Unfortunately, most of these drones are a disappointment. The flying is unstable, or the battery life is terrible, like 5 minutes of flight and an hour or more to charge. That leads to disappointed kids.
That's why I like the DJI Mini series. The minis weigh under 250g, so they do not need to be registered with the FAA. They are easy to fly and are great drones for kids. Several bundles come with propellor guards making them safe for indoor flights too. They even have a decent camera so kids can learn photography skills too.
Best Drone For New Commercial Drone Pilots
If you have passed your exam, don't know how to fly, and are ready to work, the DJI Mavic Air 2S is the UAV for you. The Air 2S is much less expensive than models like the Mavic 3 series and pretty close in capabilities. The camera is excellent, and the drone is very portable.
I use the Air 2S for most of my land and real estate photography. The camera sensor is more than you need for most projects. The drone has great obstacle avoidance features, an extended range, and (for those who have never flown a drone) it is easy to control and safe.
Best Starter Commercial Drone
If you or someone you know needs a high-quality starter drone for their commercial UAV endeavors, the DJI Mavic 3 is the way to go. Although its market share has diminished from its height, DJI is still the big kid on the block for good reasons. They make some of the best drones on the market.
The Mavic 3 series is portable and at a reasonable price point for all that comes in a small package. This drone comes with a 20MP Hasselblad Camera, a 46-minute flight time, omnidirectional obstacle sensing, a 28x Hybrid Zoom camera, and robust software features. Unless you need something like thermal imaging, the Mavic 3 can tackle most of the work you find when you first start out in this industry.
Best Drone For Adventure
Whether you are mountain biking, off-road exploring, surfing, or skiing, it's hard to beat the Skydio 2+ when adventure calls. The company's advanced autonomous flight capabilities make Skydio stand out as the thrill seekers’ UAV.
The Skydio 2+ has built-in motion tracking, advanced obstacle avoidance features, and a slew of preloaded maneuvers like boomerang shots, rockets, and orbit. You can ride your bike or take on the big waves while the Skydio 2+ follows you and captures your every move without you needing to pilot the drone.
The drone is available on the Skydio website, and most bundles are $200 off now.
Others To Consider
If you are not a fan of DJI or Skydio, here are two other drones worth considering.
The Autel Robotics EVO II series is an excellent folding drone. Several variations of the base drone range from a standard camera drone to enterprise-level bundles.
Parrot has been making drones since they were little more than toys. The ANAFI AI and ANAFI USA are great drones for work and fun. The price point for Parrot is slightly higher than others, but the quality is there. I still fly my Parrot ANAFI Thermal from time to time even though it is several years old.
Happy Holidays! Enroll now!
Article Written by David Daly