12 drones that can reach high altitudes

If you are planning on buying a drone and you want high altitude drone, then you have come to the right place. Many people overlook this specification or confuse it with maximum control range. Trust me, they are not the same. Heck, they are not even similar to one another… Well, perhaps they are, a bit… Anyway, in the list down below, you’ll find how high can drones fly plus some of the highest flying drones currently available on the market. Also, you’ll get answer to frequently asked question : How high can a drone fly? This means that if you have a sexy neighbor living on the 13th floor, most of these bad boys might just sneak a peek through her bedroom window… Not that I ever did that… Cough, cough… Well… Uhm, I believe it is time for me to cut with my nonsense and jump straight to the list and see what’s highest flying drone:

Table : High Altitude Drone:

NameImageMax altitudeTimeRangeBest Price
13. JJRC H8Djjrc-h8d-350m10 min100mSee price now
12. IONIC STRATUSionic-stratus-drone80m10 min120mSee price now
11. MJX Bugs 3300m15 min300mSee price now
10. TRAXXAS ATONTRAXXAS-7908-ATON-300x179-300x163150m20 min200mSee price now
9. DJI PHANTOM 2dji-phantom-2500m18 min1.5 kmSee price now
8. HUBSAN H501S200m16 min300mSee price now
7. XIRO Vxiro-xplorer-v-300x143600m23 min1 kmSee price now
6. YUNEEC Q5001km22 min2 kmSee price now
5. DJI PHANTOM 3dji-phantom3-advanced500m22 min2 kmSee price now
4. AUTEL X-STARautel-robotics-x-star-premium1km25 min2 kmSee price now
3. DJI PHANTOM 4DJI-Phantom-4500m26 min3 kmSee price now
2. DJI Mavic Pro500m26 min7kmSee price now
1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro500m27 min7kmSee price now

So, How High Can Drones Fly?

13. JJRC H8D

JJRC-H8D-newJJRC is a well-known entry level drone manufacturer. Their drones are set up with very competitive price tags but with rather surprising specifications and quality. Nothing different cannot be said about their H8D drone which has been getting a lot of attention in recent times. With headless mode and one key return, you can’t say that it’s just a bare bone drone with no features. But, that’s not where the fun ends. This drone is priced at just above $100 but has a 2MP HD camera capable of providing FPV live feed to the dedicated LCD screen that’s found on top of its controller (if camera is most important factor for you, this is right article for you : Best drones with camera 2017). They communicate via 5.8Ghz frequency while the controller uses 2.4Ghz which means there will be no interference. This is rather important because it will give you crystal clear live feed up to 50 meters. In other words, if you’re asking yourself how high can a drone fly – you can go up to 50 meters above you with this drone, but you’ll barely be able to see it at that distance… At least in my honest opinion. All things considered, for the price of just $100, 50 meters’ height is not bad at all.

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12. Ionic Stratus Drone

Ionic-Stratus-DroneLet’s start off by saying that this drone looks absolutely amazing. If, in addition to high altitude, beauty is another trait you want in your drone, then you should seriously consider opting for Ionic Stratus. It has a beautiful silver finish with 2 white and 2 black propellers. Unfortunately, it does not come with a dedicated camera, but provides you with a gimbal that is compatible with most modern day action cameras. Among other standard features, it has a 6-axis gyro system and packs in 1-button 3D roll which is always a nice thing to have if you are thinking of showing off your pilot skills in front of your loved ones. To top it all off, it’s maximum height is around 80 meters which is drone max altitude and almost at the point which renders your drone barely visible.

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11. MJX Bugs 3

Bugs 3 by MJX is one of those drones that is not getting nearly enough attention as it deserves. With a solid build quality, cool design and exceptionally affordable price tag to its name, I see no reasons why you should turn your head away from it.

When it comes to the main specifications, MJX Bugs 3 seems like a great choice for beginners. It has a solid battery with 18 minutes of flight time which is more than the average number in this price range. Likewise, it also features electronic speed control with a built-in automatic high temperature lock protection that ensures you don’t damage your brand-new drone due to high temperatures. When it comes to maximum altitude, you will be happy to know that MJX Bugs 3 can go as high as 300 meters.

Additionally, it is important to state that it runs on MT1806 1800KV brushless motor which provides it with great power efficiency and durability. Unfortunately, it does not come with a camera but supports a great deal of popular action cameras out there, including the ever so popular GoPros as well as Xiaomi Motions. The camera mount provides decent stabilization and ensures all of your aerial footage is as smooth as possible.

And finally, MJX Bugs 3 provides with approximately 500 meters of operating range. That number is pretty solid and exceeded my expectations by a lot. Everything taken into consideration, MJX Bugs 3 is a great entry-level drone. If equipped with a solid camera, it can serve as quite the aerial photography platform.

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10. Traxxas Aton

Aton by Traxxas is another great looking drone with awesome red and black color scheme. With a top speed of above 50 miles per hour this best can be considered as a proper racing drone just as much as the prior one that we have featured in this list. In addition to its racing capabilities, Aton can also shoot outstanding aerial footage due to its fixed camera mount that supports most of today’s action cameras. When it comes to its maximum height, it is able to go up to about 120 meters (drone max altitude) which is just around the FAA’s regulations.

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9. DJI Phantom 2 V2.0

For a little bit over $300 mark you can get your very own DJI Phantom 2 V2.0. Truth be told, you’ll get only the drone itself along with its controller which means you will have to buy your own action camera and mount/gimbal. If you want all of these things bundled up together you will have to set aside an additional $200. It is able to fly for around 20 minutes on a fully charged battery. If you’re wondering how high does a drone fly, it can go as high as 500 meters… but this is due to software based restrictions. If you were to remove these restrictions (there’s a guy who did this and put his video on Youtube) you could go up around 1.5 kilometers which will get you in serious trouble with the law. But then again, if you are one of those rebellious types, go ahead… just make sure no one ever finds out!

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8. Hubsan H501S

Hubsan H501S is another relatively small drone, just a big bigger than the DJI Mavic Pro. More precisely, it’s exact proportions are 12.5 x 6 x 13.5 inches which means it falls into the smaller side of the drone market. Even though it has plenty of operating range, Hubsan has set a software limit to only 250 meters in height. But, considering it offers great value for money, it’s still the number 1 pick on this list.

It runs on the 7.4V 2700mAh Lithium Polymer battery which allows for approximately 20 minutes of flight time. Judging by its price tag, I’d say this is a praiseworthy number since you (as a customer) are getting an awfully lot of value for your money. Other than its battery, Hubsan H501S also relies on its brushless motor which can stand the test of time no matter what you put it up against. An interesting thing about this one is its excellent controller with a 4.3 inch display that offers seamless and intuitive controls.

What’s even more interesting are its functions and features. Believe it or not, Hubsan H501S comes with GPS which is amazing at this price range. It’s quite good as well, allowing the drone to support the ever so popular Follow Me feature that allows autonomous flight at the tip of your fingers. Camera is not to be taken for granted either. It does not support 4K unfortunately (it would be an overkill at this price point) but can capture solid FHD videos. All things considered, If you are looking for a great mid-tier drone that can exceed all of your expectations, give Hubsan H501S a go. It will pleasantly surprise you!

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7. XIRO Xplorer Aerial V

You can get the V version of XIRO’s Xplorer Aerial models for around $500. It’s a beautiful looking matte black drone that comes with a full HD FPV camera. It’s mounted on a 3-axis gimbal which will do wonders for your photos in videos. With a lot of extra features this thing is packed with, you will be happy to know that it can go up to 600 meters in the air. This number can go a bit higher if there’s no interference, but keep in mind that these sorts of heights are quite dangerous and should be avoided in urban areas.

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6. Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon

Now we are moving onto the big boy drones! Yuneec Q500 is packed with a top quality 4K camera (as its name implies) mounted on its 3-axis gimbal for optimal image and video quality. Its camera is able to shoot great quality videos in 4K resolution but excels at shooting 120FPS slow motion footage. Truth be told, it can’t record slow-mo in 4K, but it can in full HD which is still an admirable trait. When it comes to the maximum height, the Q500 can go up to 1000 meters. Yup, you read that right – this beast can go up to 1 kilometer above you…. I actually don’t have anything else to say… I’m speechless…

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5. DJI Phantom 3 Professional

dji-phantom-3-professionalDJI Phantom 3 is among the drones with highest possible control range which is around 5000 meters in an unobstructed area. When it comes to the packaging, for cca $1000 you will get the drone itself along with its controller, extra battery, 4K camera and Hard-Shell Backpack. This is quite a good deal especially considering all these extra things will set you back for much more money if you were to buy them separately. When it comes to its maximum height, I will have to disappoint you because it has been software restricted to only 500 meters, even though the model can reach far beyond that. I am sure there are tech savvy people who are able to bypass these restrictions, but for us regular Joes… Looks like we will have to come to terms with “only” 500 meters of maximum altitude.

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4. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

autel-robotics-x-star-premiumEven though the standard version of this high altitude drone will cost you about $200 below the 1K mark, you should consider buying the bundled option that gets you a lot of accessories for it for much cheaper price than if you were to buy them all separately. With this in mind, we are talking about a high quality drone that comes with a 4K camera and can reach distances up to 2000 meters without any sort of lagging. When it comes to restrictions, you will he happy to hear that folks at Autel Robotics have not made a software restriction on the maximum flying height of their drone (at least not at the time this article was written), but to be honest, this is to be expected with an upcoming firmware update. If that’s not the case, we expect it to be able to go at least 1000 meters high, which makes it one of the highest flying drone.

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3. DJI Phantom 4

DJI-Phantom-4This is it guys! This is the most expensive drone that can go well beyond the FAA 400feet (cca 120 meters) altitude rule. As its name implies, it comes with an excellent 4K UHD camera that is mounted on top of a motorized gimbal which makes sure you get a perfectly stabilized (and smooth) aerial video time in and time out. Keep in mind that, despite it having a perfect control range of 5 kilometers, it also has the infamous software restriction that disables it from flying higher than 500m from its control point. Even though this rule is possible to bypass (it takes much effort and coding skills to do this though), so far no one was able to do so… But there’s still enough time for someone to do just that and enable pilots to go a couple of kilometers high in the air. Once again, I cannot stress this enough – flying over 500 meters is considered extremely dangerous not only because your device could fall down and potentially kill someone, but because it could crash into an airplane and we all know how dangerous that can be. With this in mind, as much as I am against these maximum altitude regulations, perhaps they are a good thing because they are keeping all of us safe from unscrupulous pilots.

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2. DJI Mavic Pro

Now we have come to the best miniature drone currently available on the market. With the only competitor being Karma by GoPro, it is not even surprising that DJI Mavic Pro is still gaining popularity. With superior specifications and outstanding set of top notch features, this little fella proves to be on par with some of the bigger, fully fledged drones available on the market.

With an incredibly compact design (11.5 x 7 x 9.5 inches) and foldable arms with propellers, DJI Mavic Pro can be carried in any bag. If it was any smaller it would fit into your jacket pocket for sure! Despite its small size, it can still hover steadily even during the strongest of winds. That’s one of the biggest issues with smaller drones and it is safe to say that DJI addressed it perfectly with their new DJI Mavic Pro.

DJI Mavic Pro specifications are nothing short of brilliant either. With roughly 27 minutes of flight time and close to 7 kilometers of operating range, this thing is quite the beast.  Same as P4 Pro, Mavic Pro also has only 400 feet by default. Luckily, by exiting beginner mode and increasing the maximum altitude settings, you can go up to 1640 feet. Additionally, it is also important to mention its awesome built-in camera that can capture 4K footage with ease. FPV capability is there as well, making this little fella an extremely versatile and well-built model. 10 out of 10 for sure!

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1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Here we have the absolute king among mainstream drones – the one and only DJI Phantom 4 Pro. This amazing drone is on top of all charts and is ought to stay there for quite the time.

Starting off with the camera, DJI made quite the upgrade by implementing a 1-inch 20 megapixel sensor which, in combination with the omnidirectional gimbal stabilization, shoots perfect aerial footage time and time again.

In addition to the awesome camera, Phantom 4 Pro can also brag with the popular obstacle avoidance system. It was brought to fame by Yuneec but, realistically speaking, DJI’s system is much better since it features 4 sensors, 1 on each side. With that being said, Phantom 4 Pro offers a worry-free experience when it comes to accidental crashes.

Moving forward, Phantom 4 Pro offers amazing 7 kilometers of pitch-perfect operating range with HD PFV capability. Unfortunately, maximum altitude is set at 400 feet (120 meters) by default to cope with FAA’s regulations. Fortunately, it’s possible to change the maximum altitude to 500 meters (1640 feet). Additionally, it’s Lithium P4 smart battery can hold up a 30-minute flight which is leading the charge across the entire industry. Feature-wise, it comes equipped with GPS+GLONASS, TapFly and a whole plethora of additional smart features that some of you will greatly appreciate. Combine all of the above and you will realize why DJI Phantom 4 Pro is at the very top of the drone market.

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Conclusion

Well, I’m afraid that’s it guys. You have come to the end of my TOP 12 DRONES WITH HIGHEST ALTITUDES LIST. I sincerely hope that it was informative because it took quite an effort to come up with it. With this being said, I also hope that it helped you make up your mind… and that you got yourself a proper drone for those sky-high “missions” … *wink*

 

Drones from 2016 list

Hubsan H502S

hubsan h502sHubsan’s H502S is a beautiful white drone with lots of interesting features to it. It sports a built in 720p camera that is able to shoot decent quality videos while the drone is in midair. Additionally, this camera is also able to provide you with FPV although the quality is a bit of a con – with just 640 x 480 resolution and a pretty rough 4-inch screen, your FPV experience may not be the best. Still, H502S is able to compensate for this with its GPS system, follow me function, headless mode and return to home feature. So, how high does a drone fly? All in all, this is a good entry level drone that can reach up to 150 meters of height before giving you a black screen in FPV. Flying this high is, without doubt, a dangerous activity since US laws have banned drone flight over 400 feet or cca 120 meters.

 

ARRIS FPV 250 250mm

ARRIS-X-SPEEDIf you are looking for a great high flying racing drone, then ARRIS has the right one for you. I am talking about their FPV 250 model which is priced at around $300 (bundled together with an HD camera and AT9 transmitter), but packs quite the performance for its price range. It has a sturdy black frame with 4 cool looking green blades. When it comes to its specifications, it can reach up to 250 meters of height which is well beyond FAA’s regulations. But still, for those of you looking to break a couple of laws, or for those of you not living in the States, this might be a great choice for a proper racing drone. It’s not overall highest flying drone but in this price range it’s one of the best.

 

BLADE Chroma

Chroma Camera Drone CGO2+As you can see, we are slowly moving to more expensive models which can go quite high up. Keep in mind that you should check your country’s UAV regulations because you probably don’t want to end up paying a huge fine because of piloting your drone on dangerous heights. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at BLADE Chroma. It comes with a lot of useful features, but the one that (probably) interests you the most is its height range. If that’s so, then you will be very happy to find out that it is able to achieve cca 300 meters of height (drone max altitude). In addition to that, its battery can endure about 25 minutes of flight.

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2 comments

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1

Jonathan! You said: "This means that if you have a sexy neighbor living on the 13th floor, most of these bad boys might just sneak a peek through her bedroom window… Not that I ever did that… Cough, cough…"

Jon, that's just creepy. Take it back! You are a wealth of information, your columns are wonderful and thorough, and you do the teenage boy peeping tom joke? Just, no. Thanks, Jonathan.

2

Q500 cannot go above 8,000 feet. I've tried it at 7,000 feet in Colorado, and it would barely hover at 3 feet above the ground. This was using the propellers that Yuneec recommended. So, unless you live at sea level, don't expect this altitude.

12 drones that can reach high altitudes

by Vito Dronelli time to read: 15 min
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