14 drones with the best flight times [from $30 to $3000]

Every day of every month, drones are slowly finding themselves in the homes of enthusiasts and curious consumers. What once started mainly in military operations is now becoming commonplace among the general public, and with it, bundles of uses. Drones are nifty devices, manned via remote control, often utilized with a recording device to capture something interesting. A bird’s eye view, a high peak, a sweeping video over an ocean, the potential is endless. Today, we’ll find out what’s the longest flying drone.

Table : Drones With Best Flight Time :

NameImageCameraRangeTimeBest Price
12. Parrot AR drone720p50m11 minSee price now
11. MJX Bugs 3GoPro300m15 minSee price now
10. Upair One4K500m20 minSee price now
9. TRAXXAS ATONGoPro200m20 minSee price now
8. DJI Phantom 3 Stand2.7K1.5km25 minSee price now
7. YUNEEC Q500+16 MP2km22 minSee price now
6. 3DR Solo3dr-solo-drone-300x196GoPro500m22 minSee price now
5. Autel X-Star4K2km23 minSee price now
4. DJI Phantom 3 Pro4K3km23 minSee price now
3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro4K7km26 minSee price now
2. DJI Inspire 24K7km27 minSee price now
1. DJI Mavic Pro4K7km27 minSee price now

Of course, potential needs a little help. Drones aren’t immortal in the skies, and there are hundreds of designs out there.  From frame to blade, efficiency separates quality from fad-style cash ins. One of the biggest factors is battery life, which then translates to flight time. Many drones for sale don’t come with extra batteries either, so there are various factors to consider. The better the battery though, the better a drone can achieve the longest flight time.

Find out more about FAA drone registration, Drone Pilot License, Part 107 etc etc.. here : FAA Part 107 Study Guide.

What is a good flight time for different usage scenarios?

  • Casual usage

    For casual users, a flight time of 10-15 or even 20 minutes is more than enough. Casual users aren’t demanding and they probably won’t go for extras such as additional batteries or batteries which incorporate fast charging.

  • Professional aerial photography

    Professional aerial photography can be a tricky situation since it heavily depends on the amount of footage a drone needs to record in a single flight session. With that taken into consideration, it’s safe to say that professional aerial photographers should not go for camera drones whose flight times are less than 20 minutes.

  • Filmmaking

    Drones are ever so popular in the filmmaking industry. They are relatively cheap (and this is a widely loose term) but can provide with exceptional aerial footage. Combined with professional pilots licensed for commercial piloting, drones used in filmmaking are becoming an industry branch of their own (just take DJI Inspire 2 as an example). For this usage scenario, you’ll need at least 25 minutes of active flight time as well as a battery which incorporates quick charging technology that will allow you to switch between extra ones in a quick manner. These are very popular among real estate agents with drones.

Is it worth buying extra batteries?

This heavily depends on the usage scenarios mentioned above, but here’s a quick overview once again. If you’re a casual user who likes flying drones as a past time activity, then you most likely won’t need extra batteries. Most modern drones tend to have between 15-25 minutes of flight time which is more than enough to saturate your thirst for drone piloting.

On the other hand, if you’re a commercial user you might profit from extra batteries as they will allow you more action time from your drones. This is especially true for filmmaking and professional aerial photographers, all of which greatly benefit from extra batteries and fast charging technology (more on that below).

What about fast charging – Is it worth it?

Another very interesting technology has just reached its peak. With smartphones being the first gadgets to incorporate fast charging technology to their batteries, it is quite clear that the era of incredibly fast charging has just begun.

More and more high-end drones offer virtually the same concept of quick and efficient charging. While conventional batteries in mid-tier drones take roughly 2 to even 4 hours to charge, those equipped with the fast charging technology can charge in an hour, hour and a half tops. This is especially convenient for filmmakers who can greatly benefit from extra batteries and fast charging technology, allowing them to operate their drones for roughly the entire day without being out of juice.

Long story short – if you are using drones for commercial purposes which require prolonged usage, then batteries that incorporate fast charging technology are definitely worth it. On the other hand, if you are a casual user who is flying drones for the sole purpose of having fun, then there’s no need to put strain on your budget and get a drone equipped with a fast charging battery. So, it’s time to see what are drones with longest flight time!

 

14 Drones with long flight time :

14. Holy Stone HS170 (Toy grade drone)

Our first pick landed on the list for having an excellent starting price of around $40-$50 USD (depending on where you get it from) and a great flight time versus charge time. While it can only scour the skies for about 6 to 8 minutes, it’s total charge for full battery is about 50-70 minutes. Other models in similar price/size ranges require longer times and get about the same flight duration too.

However, it’s smaller in design and more or less a great starter drone to get a feel for how they operate, so if you’re looking to record or mount payloads, you’ll want a different make. Since it comes with blade protectors, you’ll have no problems when flying it indoors. That comes especially well during winter and windy days.

These types of drones are often bought from parents to their young kids (Top 10 drones for kids). For the relatively low price, your kid will get a lot of fun with this little fella. If you want professional drones with extended flight times, you’ll have to move up a model too.

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13. MJX X101C  (Toy grade drone)

Next up, the MJX helps introduce newcomers to the glory of video recording, proudly featuring its 720p resolution capture. A nice touch, and even nicer is the lengthier sky time of roughly 8-10 minutes, even though it’s not a drone with the best battery life.

The quad-heli style drone currently sits at around $100 USD, marked down from its original plus $200 pricing. So, if you’re looking to budget but still want a cut above the intro brands while having some decent fly time, the MJX is a fine middle ground. We have tested several their drones (you can see results in “reviews” section of our page) and we can say they offer good value for the money.

All in all, I believe the folks over at MJX are on the good way to grow into one of the most recognizable drone manufacturers in this “low” price range. Do you have any experience with MJX drones? Keep reading, we’re getting closer and closer to longest flying drone.

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12. Parrot AR Drone 2.0

Parrot has become a staple in the hobbyist drone field, especially for those looking to utilize GoPro cameras or the like. No surprise, as their models, including their Elite AR model here, feature nice payload capacity and one of the better drones with high battery life.

This particular drone handles roughly 12 minutes in the air, depending on what you’re doing. However, better times do exist if invest in batteries with higher charge, reaching flight times of up to 20 minutes. Along with its $270 price tag, this might be the standard in your drone collection. Note : price has dropped significantly during last few months. You can get one of this for under $200 now. Because of its “protective” design, it’s very suitable for indoor flights. It is relatively safe (lightweight + protection frame) and shouldn’t hurt anyone in case of crash. Please don’t test that at home! 🙂

Coming to an end, I can assure you that Parrot AR 2.0 is a great purchase since it provides awesome price/performance ratio. So, if you need a solid drone that can fly for quite a long time and is remarkably safe to use, then you cannot go wrong with this one!

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11. MJX BUGS 3

MJX might not be the most popular brand out there, but it sure as hell can manufacturer a solid drone every now and then. With that being said, I would like to point this out at the very start – if you are looking for a drone that can fly around for quite some time and you do not want to spend a lot of money on it, then MJX Bugs 3 might just be the one for you. Why?

Well, in addition to its cca 500 meters of flight range (on of 12 Long Range Drones), which is quite enough for its price tag, this little fella also sports a high quality 1800mAh battery that allows it air-time of up to 15 minutes. I doubt you’ll find a cheaper drone with more air-time than this one.

Moreover, it is also finely poised with a good design and solid build quality. The only real downside (for some of you, at least) is the fact that it does not come with a dedicated camera, meaning you will have to use your own. Still, considering it only costs a fraction of the price you’d normally pay for a high-end drone, MJX Bugs 3 seems like a winner.

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10. Upair One

Upair One

Upair One is one of those drones that gets bad ratings just because of its similarity to DJI’s Phantom series. Truth be told, the similarity is there and it cannot be deniable… But still, Upair One is not one of those cheap copycat drones that are all looks and no show. Not by a long shot! You see, Upair One is a solid all around drone with a great camera. Come to think of it, it actually allows you to choose between two cameras, 2.7K and 4K one. The price gap isn’t huge (around $50) so I warmly recommend you going for the 4K option.

With exceptional build quality, great controller that features a 7-inch FPV capable display and solid specifications, Upair One cements its place as one of the best medium price drones available on the market. Feature-wise, it is nothing short of brilliant with position hold, headless mode, and one key return; all the essentials you need from such a drone.

Specification-wise, Upair One does not fail to deliver. It sports a powerful 5400mAh battery that gives out approximately 18 minutes of flight time. On top of that, it can reach up to 500 meters of seamless range which is praiseworthy in this price range. All in all, Upair One is an excellent drone that performs decently across all departments. It looks like the Phantom lineup so a few knowledge-lacking eyes will mistake it for one of DJI’s masterpieces… and that’s always a good thing. Right?

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9. Traxxas 7908 Aton

At the very edge of the $400 drone range is the Traxxas, a recent model on the market with a mix of flight modes and some great durability. The big thing to note here is, on its own, the Traxxas has a bulky 18-minute lifespan in the sky, a great standard for a new model. Combined with its stability in the air, fighting off windy weather and supporting camera payloads, an enthusiast will find themselves in possession of quality hardware.

If you’re interested in drones with best battery life, this is definitely one of models you should consider. Good battery combined with great flying experience is winning combination. Since Traxxas is USA based company that has many years of experience in manufacturing RC products, I’m not surprised they produced such a great drone for still affordable price.

One more thing left to note – It looks like they have customer support that replies on all your queries. I have not tested it so I can’t say if it’s good enough. If you did, please let us know in comment section below.

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8. DJI Phantom 3 Standard

It’s pretty hard to ignore the quality of the Phantom in respect to both its enormous price cut (basically down from $1000) and healthy battery life. While likely some manner of conservation is used by its “smart” battery, the Phantom boasts a ~20-minute sky life with a flight range of nearly half a mile.

With this impressive range, and at approximately $500 USD, this is where enthusiasm for the hobby starts to pay dividends. It used to be much more expensive but price has dropped after DJI announced new generation of Phantom series : Phantom 4. Now it is right time to buy one of these drones with best flight time if you’re interested in them. For such a “low” price you will get safe and reliable drone that performs well in air. It has camera that is still considered as one of the finest on the market. DJI Phantom 3 can be suitable for both beginners and professionals. Do you agree?

It might sound crazy when I say this drone is suitable for beginners, but please take a look at “Phantom 3 Pro” section down below where I explained myself. I would like to hear your opinion in comment section!

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7. Yuneec Q500+ Typhoon

We’re getting into pricier models now, but with higher value comes higher performance, and the Yuneec Typhon really delivers. Along with its extra blades and double battery equipment, it sports some extremely impressive specs which are sure to please. On average, it boasts sky times of approximately 20-22 minutes, while also capable of reaching heights to about 8000 feet. It’s definitely one of the longest flying quadcopters.

What’s even better is the fact it comes with its own camera and carrying case too (of course, you can buy it without carrying case if you want). Overall, it feels like something a professional would use, and in this price bracket might be one of the drones with the longest battery life. We shouldn’t forget it’s futuristic design, it is really eye catching. In the world full of Phantoms, Yuneec Q500 will bring up many question “woah, what’s name of that drone?”.

There’s no doubt Yuneec did great job with this model. Since it comes with aluminum case where you can put your drone and all your accessories, it will make your life much easier if you like to take your drone with you on trips.

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6. 3DR Solo Drone

In this price range there are few champions tested in terms of performance and life, but among those few the Solo remains a strong contender. This mark on our list was a little tricky, as in fact it sports only 20-22 minutes of fly time versus say, the Typhoon.  It’s basically one of the best drones with good battery life, relatively speaking.

If there’s a drawback to list, it’s that this miniature powerhouse sits right at the $800 point, so all the performance does come with a literal price. It’s often called “smart drone” because of all it’s features. Also, 3DR promised to keep its software regularly updated for following years. For now, we have no reason not to trust them. UPDATE : Since I published 1st version of this article, 3DR has updated its software several times. During that period, many features were improved while some new were added too. I believe some of you guys will find this information helpful when buying your new drone.

It is always good to know that manufacturers are holding your back, and that they will fix potential software issues when they appear. So, with that in mind, I would like to ooze off this one and get ready for the top 5 drones with long flight times!

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5. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

autel-robotics-x-star-premiumAutel Robotics broke through on the market with this amazing drone. It is more of a high-end device, with a price to match that characteristics. It has an amazing number of smart features as well as top notch specifications that will surely amaze even the most demanding of people.

Starting off with the camera, you will be happy to know that Autel Robotics X-Star Premium features a (as its name suggests) premium 4K Ultra HD camera. It is mounted on a state of the art gimbal stabilizator which manges to capture silk smooth videos no matter the weather conditions. Combine that with a HD live view feature that works up to 1.2 miles away from the controller (the controller is included of course) and you have a good starting point for this one. Oh, it’s also compatible with FPV Goggles.

Moving forward, Autel Robotics X-Star Premium features dual GPS + GLONASS navigation system for outdoor use which greatly helps with the autonomy of the drone. In addition to that, it is also finely poised with SecoreFly magnetic interference protection as well as the Starpoint Positioning System, both of which are patented by Autel Robotics.

When it comes to the main specifications, X-Star Premium makes sure it stands good against its main competitors such as DJI Phantom 3 Pro and alike. With more than 2 kilometers of operating range and a fast charging (just 1 hour from 0% to 100%) battery that lasts up to 25 minutes, it’s quite clear that Autel Robotics X-Star Premium will not fail to deliver!

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4. DJI Phantom 3 Pro

As we approach the tail end of the priciest drone models, performance and quality can be middling. Some expensive models could have HD cameras and durable builds, but only sport 8-minute flight times. The Phantom by DJI, a brand that made up a good chunk of our list, counters this with a quality professionally minded set of hardware.

Depending on your budget, this one sits in excess of $1000 USD, and you can opt in for the full package or just the drone/camera, things like that. For flight time it’s pretty impressive, as its battery (comes with two) holds a charge for 23 minutes, so you’re looking at a near long flight time drone. When it comes to the price, I could just repeat what I said for Phantom 3 Standard. Due to new models hitting market, price of Phantom 3 series dropped a lot. Now you can get one of these for like $500. What a great time to be alive 🙂 DJI Phantom 3 Professional is also suitable for both beginners and professionals.

It might sound crazy when I say this drone is suitable for beginners, but let me explain myself. Phantom 3 series is so popular that there are hundreds, if not thousands of tutorials and how to’s videos about this drone on youtube. Since it is one of the drones with GPS and altitude hold, it won’t be that easy to crash it either 🙂

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3. DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO

Phantom 4 Pro represents the 4th installment in the Phantom series and the flagship (the Pro version) of DJI’s current generation of drones (head to head with Inspire 2, but more on that later on in this list). It is boosted with a 1-inch camera sensor which is quite an upgrade over the regular Phantom 4. It covers 4 times more surface area than the standard version and is capable of recording videos in 4K at silk smooth 60 frames per second. In addition to that, its state-of-the-art camera shoots 20mpx photos in both Raw and JPG formats.

When it comes to other upgrades, you will be happy to know that DJI stepped up their sensors game and finally implemented obstacle avoidance into this beauty. It’s a feature we’ve all been waiting for quite some time now, and it is a real refreshment to finally see it in action. It works as smooth as possible and will definitely save you a ton of nerves in the long run. The controller has received a bit of a cosmetic upgrade as well, but more importantly, it has finally gotten itself a dedicated display which will make your lives a lot easier, at least when it comes to FPV. Specifications wise, it’s nothing short of brilliant, but that was also something we all expected from it. Its top speed clocks in at around 45mph (30mph with GPS turned on) and can last up to 7 kilometers without any interference or signal fails. Additionally, it’s battery is not to be taken for granted either – with half an hour of seamless flight duration (more like 25-27 minutes), needless to say – it’s one of the most powerful ones on the market.

And that’s about it regarding DJi Phantom 4 Pro. There’s really nothing more to add about this amazing piece of tech gadgetry other than saying one final time – It’s just too good to be true… Good job DJI!

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2. DJI INSPIRE 2

The pinnacle of drone’s industry is out in a new fashion and, my oh my, it looks amazing. With a refurbished set of hi-tech features, a slightly improved design and breathtaking specifications that will sweep the floor with the rest of its competition, DJI Inspire 2 seems to be set for going up against the next generation of drones.

As everyone expected, it is absolutely packed with sensors (DJI took a lot of effort with sensors when it comes to their new series of drones) and even features obstacle avoidance which is a system that took DJI quite a lot of time to master. Still, it’s available with their newest series of drones and works like a charm. Specifications are something that DJI also worked a lot on. Luckily, they’ve managed to drastically improve their infrastructure and now offer up to 7 kilometers of flight range on all of their newest models. Combine that with approximately half an hour of flight time (25-27 minutes) and you’ll realize just how good the DJI Inspire 2 really is.It powers through windy environments with great stability so, with such a bulky flight life and solid construction, this is definitely one of the drones with longest flight times.

There is no doubt Inspire 2 is one of those pricier drones that will mostly be bought by people who will use them for business purposes. I really doubt regular Joe will spend that much money for a drone that they will mostly use for fun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun drone, one of the most entertaining ones out there… But spending a ton of money for it just for the sake of some good old fun is just absurd… bordering on stupid.

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1. DJI MAVIC PRO

Even though DJI Mavic Pro is a premium, high-end drone, it is extremely different from the likes of Inspire 2 and Phantom 4. You see, this is a miniature drone that is easy to carry around with you wherever you go. It can even fold, allowing it to fit into virtually any sort of compartment.

So, mobility is one of its key virtues and what makes it so special in the first place. But, in addition to its small size factor, you’ll be surprised at what this little guy has to offer. It’s basically the power and performance of a Phantom 4 cramped up in a miniature package. With the recent success of selfie drones, it was just a matter of time before DJI made an entrance… and that’s just what DJI Mavic Pro is for. Competing against the likes of Dobby by Zerotech and S6 by Wingsland, at the first glance there is just one factor that’s completely clear – price gap. You see, DJI Mavic Pro is the only premium model in the selfie drones niche, making it rank much better than its competitors (at least when it comes to sheer performance).

This little devil can reach up to 7 kilometers away from its transmitter while the standard in its niche is roughly 0.1km (100m). That just puts things into a whole another perspective. In addition to that, it also has a rather powerful battery that can keep it roughly 26 minutes in air. That’s also amazing when compared to its competitors which last 10 to 15 minutes at best. Combine all of that with its 4K camera mounted on a miniature stabilization system, and you will understand that this little drone is no joke. Should I even mention it comes with DJI’s upgraded “drone follow me” feature? It really has the power of a Phantom 4 in an extremely mobile fashion, which is undoubtedly its main selling point. So, with that in mind, if you are looking for a great travel companion, look no further because DJI Mavic Pro is the friend you desire!

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Blade Chroma - Removed at 2017 Update

Chroma Camera Drone CGO2+

Next in our list, the Chroma sits at the very edge of the $600 USD price mark, but for good reason. Cut in half from a prickly $1200, the Chroma also holds champion in this range with a up to 30-minute flight time. This is because its design is primarily made for camera recording and functionality, versus speeding about with impressive aerial feats. However, with this extensive lifespan and ability to capture video at 1080p, it’s a good grab for the “vacationer” kind of hobbyist or those who like to get crisp images during use. If you like drones with the longest flight time this is a solid choice, we feel.

 

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9 comments

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1

Long flight time is crucial for aerial application like inspection,surveillance etc.However current battery technology is a limit for this,so I think the best solution for the time being is to build a lightweight and tough enough uav frame.Also the VTLO fixed wing is a good option.

2

flight time is 30mins not 302mins

3

What about the DJI Magic Pro. That can fly 27 minutes. It's priced at $999.99 and has some of the top tech features. iMHO this is the best drone for the money. If not it's best getting the original bebop and putting on an extended battery, heck at $599.99 you can get the bebop 2 from parrot and that has a 25 minute flight time with gps (Like the original) but it's advertised out of the box at that Time and for an amazing price.

4

hubsan h501s 20 minutes for less than 250$ with FPV, Follow-me,....

5

If the XK 380 can fly for 302 min its a world record

6

The world record is 25 hrs

7

What about the xk detect x380 with a flight time of 302 min.

8

Web site: GearBest says, 30minutes of flight time for the xk detect x380

9

arghh ! Looks like we missed it. We'll add it to this list on next update, thank you for your suggestion Gary! 😉

14 drones with the best flight times [from $…

by Douglas James time to read: 20 min
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