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Drones are becoming more and more popular, and as they continue to be part of our everyday lives, it’s important to consider which features matter most to you. For some, the most important benefit of a drone is its controllable range. Controllable range is defined as how far your drone can be away from the remote before the connection begins to falter.
The majority of commercial drones on the market will only give you a range of around 30 meters, but how far can the long-range drones go? This is especially interesting if you want to take videos or pictures with your drone. How can you accomplish that if you’re limited to 30 meters?
To help you out, we’ve come up with a short list of the best long-range drone available today, but first, let’s take a look at how to choose a long-range drone, and what advantages they have to offer.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Choosing a Long-Range Drone
- 2 Advantages of a Long Range Drone
- 3 DJI Mavic Pro
- 4 DJI Phantom 4
- 5 Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
- 6 DJI Phantom 3
- 7 Hubsan H501S
- 8 DJI Phantom 2
- 9 3D Robotics Solo
- 10 Holy Stone F181
- 11 Final Thoughts
Choosing a Long-Range Drone
When you’re ready to start looking for a long-range drone, you might consider the following features:
Of course, range is probably the feature most important for you, so you might have to sacrifice in some other areas like camera quality or flight modes to get additional range.
Ideally, when it comes time to select a drone, you have a minimum range in mind. For example, some people won’t go with a drone that has a range of less than one kilometer. Know your minimum range, that way you can eliminate other options immediately.
Don’t focus solely on range as you might give up too much on features that you care about, however, be cognizant that the drone you want has all the benefits you need.
Advantages of a Long Range Drone
There are several advantages to having a drone with a range that is further than typical drones. One key advantage is safety. The longer your drone range, the lower the likelihood that you’ll lose control of your device, even if you have a very fast one. This is a great reason why beginners are in need of a drone that has good range.
Additionally, long-range drones offer amazing opportunities in the area of aerial videos and photography. Using a drone with an extended range means you can get great shots from a very high viewpoint. You can also use your device to get wide-angle views for when the photograph is from a far away point of view.
You’ll also discover that it’s a lot safer to use a drone for picture taking while you’re on the ground rather than employing traditional aerial methods. These are typically taken by standing atop tall buildings or structures, or by using a very-expensive helicopter to take pictures from above.
As a matter of fact, many popular motion pictures have used long-range drones to capture footage. These include Man of Steel and Captain America: Civil War.
Having covered a few precursory areas, let’s get into which drones are best for long-range use.
DJI Mavic Pro
The DJI Mavic Pro is arguably the best drone available on the market. This quadcopter is highly advanced and has plenty of features and benefits any user will enjoy. For instance, if you want to take your drone with you wherever you go, the Mavic Pro will fold down to roughly the size of a water bottle.
With the Mavic Pro, you’ll get an extremely long range of nearly 7km. This drone can reach speeds of up to 40 mph and includes smart capabilities that allow it to fly autonomously. The Mavic Pro comes with a clean and crisp 4k camera and also have the ability to automatically avoid obstacles.
If you pay close attention to this drone, you’ll soon realize that the DJI Mavic Pro isn’t just a great long-range drone. This device is one of the best drones available on the market period.
Pros of the Mavic Pro
Great for novice and veteran pilots
Plenty of flight modes
Avoid obstacles automatically
High-quality camera included
Cons of the Mavic Pro
Unable to attach your own equipment or cameras
DJI Phantom 4
Another great device from DJI is its Phantom 4 drone. Just like the Mavic Pro, the Phantom 4 has a flight range of 7 kilometers, and nice long battery life so you have enough time to enjoy your drone. The Phantom 4 includes a 3k camera which can take 12-megapixel photographs. Additionally, this quadcopter can avoid obstacles to help minimize the number of crashes that occur.
The DJI Phantom 4 also has autonomous flight capabilities, so even if you’re new to taking videos with your drone, you can get excellent shots. With the Phantom 4’s gimbal technology that keeps it stable, you know you’ll get smooth and clean videos.
Pros of the DJI Phantom 4
Advanced flight mode capabilities
Reliable and durable device
Long flight time
Great camera included with drone
Cons of the DJI Phantom 4
Takes a while to charge up
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
One drone that doesn’t get as much attention as it should is the X-Star Premium offered by Autel Robotics. You’ll get over one mile of flight range out of the X-Star premium, along with a flight time of nearly half an hour. This provides you with plenty of time and distance to ensure that you get the videos or photographs that you want.
Like with many of the drones on this list, the X-Star Premium includes a 4k camera and autonomous flight modes. You can also use the free iOS and Android Starlink app to view your flight from a first-person point of view. Additional features include dual GLONASS/GPS outdoor navigation, a remote that comes with a holder, and SecureFly ™ magnetic interference protection.
Pros of the X-Star Premium
Fly your drone indoors and outdoors
Fun smartphone app
Good flight time
Quick charging time
Captures high-quality videos and images
Cons of the X-Star Premium
Drone is a little unstable when taking off
DJI Phantom 3
The third DJI entry of our list is the Phantom 3. This drone is a great option for anyone looking for a device with fantastic features without breaking the bank. You’ll get a 4k camera capable of capturing 12 megapixel still photographs along with a flight distance of 1200 meters.
Phantom 3 users also get almost half an hour of flight time, a drone with excellent reliability, as well as DJI’s autonomous flight modes. For the price, the DJI Phantom 3 really is hard to beat.
Pros of the DJI Phantom 3
Easy to use and navigate
High-quality 4k camera included
DJI Autonomous flight modes
1200 meters of range
Half an hour of flight time
Cons of the DJI Phantom 3
Drone could use a starter manual that provides more details
The Hubsan 501S doesn’t fly as far or last as long as some of the other drones on this list, but it’s the perfect drone for someone just getting started. You’ll get a range of 300 meters with the Hubsan H501S and a flight time of roughly 20 minutes. The drone also comes with brushless motors so you’ll get additional power when flying.
The drone’s camera offers 1080p quality pictures and videos and comes with a return home function so you don’t lose it. The H501S also have the ability to follow you around while shooting video. This quadcopter is great for those just entering the drone community and wants a device with basic functionality.
Pros of the H501S
Built-in first-person view perspective
Flies indoors or outdoors
Autonomous flight modes
Ready to go out of the box
Cons of the H501S
Charging time is longer than other drones that offer the same features
DJI Phantom 2
Once again we find a DJI drone on the list, this time it’s the DJI Phantom 2. This drone is a solid all-around quadcopter that offers long-range capabilities. This device comes with a 5200 mAH battery, which gives it a flight time of almost half an hour. The Phantom 2 has a range of 700 meters and shoots video for you in 1080p. (Read my full review here!)
With a wifi connection to your smartphone, you can get a first-person perspective and see what your drone is seeing as it flies through the air. You can also mount your phone to the controller, which allows you to adjust the settings and for easier viewing. The Phantom 2 also has an intelligent flight system, which makes it the perfect drone for a new pilot to practice and learn with.
Pros of the DJI Phantom 2
First-person view option
Half an hour of flight time
Fly indoors or outdoors
Intelligent flight system feature
Cons of the DJI Phantom 2
More expensive than its other drones in the DJI family
3D Robotics Solo
The Solo drone from 3D Robotics is one of the more advanced devices available today. This drone is an action cam drone that doesn’t come with a camera, but rather holds one that you purchase separately.
It is one of the few drones on the market that can stream a first-person feed right from your Go Pro camcorder to your smartphone. It will also allow you to adjust the settings of your Go Pro while the Solo is in flight. You’ll get a flight-range of over one kilometer along with settings like Follow Me, Selfie, or Orbit.
Pros of the 3D Robotics Solo
Decent flight time
Excellent top speed
Autonomous flight modes
Access to your Go Pro while drone is in flight
One kilometer flight range
Cons of the 3D Robotics Solo
Isn’t appealing to drone users who don’t use Go Pros
Holy Stone F181
Last on our list is the Holy Stone F181. This drone comes with nice features that are perfect for someone just starting out with drone flying. The device has a range of 100 meters and can do 360-degree flips. It comes in a headless mode, includes LED lights, and has an extra battery for those longer flights. The Holy Stone F181 also has a 2 Megapixel camera and a one-key return home option.
Pros of the Holy Stone F181
Stable flight experience
Return to home feature
Great for learning how to fly
Fast charging time
Cons of the Holy Stone F181
Unable to use first-person perspective
As you can see, there are plenty of drones available on the market that offer long-range functionality for those days when you need to fly further than a few hundred meters. Whether you want a device that will fly over a mile away or one that lets you learn the basics before moving on, there are options on the market to suit your needs.
Hopefully, our list helps you get an idea of what type of drone makes sense for your style of flying and what you expect to do with your device. Drones make taking videos and pictures from a high distance easier and simpler, but they are also great flying tools as well. Regardless, take your time to make your decision so you have a great flying experience no matter which drone you select.
Justin obtained his MBA at Baker University. He loves learning and writing about smart home technology and has a passion for its application. Justin brings a wealth of writing experience to the All Home Robotics team and enjoys discovering new and creative ways to implement smart home technologies into his own home (and sharing his findings here)!