12 Drones That Can Return To Home Automatically

In the sea of extra features that today’s drones come with, one of the most important ones (safety-wise) is surely the return to home function AKA one key return. This function is quite common in modern drones, but there are still entry level ones that don’t have it.

Today, we’ll find out what’s the best drone with return home function. If you are buying a drone without this function, keep in mind that its safety might be on the line because, if you happen to lose track of it and the connection breaks, you might have a whole heap of trouble finding your precious drone again. Believe me, this happens way more than we’d like to admit, so for the sake of not losing your drone, here’s a list of top 10 drones with return home function (aka “return to home drones”).

Read later : Kid friendly drones / Beginner friendly drones / Indoor drones

 

NameImageRangeTimeBest Price
12. UPAIR ONEupair-one500m20 minSee price now
11. Hubsan H501S300m18 minSee price now
10. AP10 PROAP10-Pro500m23 minSee price now
9. HUBSAN H109SHubsan-H109S-X4-Pro1000m22 minSee price now
8. XIRO XP. Vxiro-xplorer-v1000m22 minSee price now
7. DJI Spark2000m15 minSee price now
6. 3DR SOLO3dr-solo-drone-300x196500m23 minSee price now
5. Yuneec Q5001000m20 minSee price now
4. Autel X-Star P.2000m23 minSee price now
3. DJI Mavic Pro6000m27 minSee price now
2. TYPHOON Hyuneec-typhoon-h1000m23 minSee price now
1. DJI Phantom 4 ProDJI-Phantom-46000m26 minSee price now

What does the Return To Home feature do?

To be honest, the name is quite self-explanatory. This feature basically returns your drone back to its initial location. Now, there are certain aspects of it that greatly vary from drone to drone. For example, some of them have a locked take off location that will be used every time you press Return To Home button; while others have an adjustable location that you can change on-the-fly. Either way, the feature makes sure your drone gets back to you no matter what. If that is somewhat of a priority to you when purchasing a drone, then you are at the right place!

Auto return to home when : out of range / low battery

RTH feature on high end devices goes even a step further. You see, if there’s a shortage of battery, it will automatically start returning your drone to the takeoff location. Likewise, if there’s an interference between the drone and its controller, RTH feature will turn on automatically, getting your drone back safely. The latter mostly happens when drone gets out of its designated range. In that scenario, the only safe way of getting your drone back is the automatic return to home feature. So, for all of you who thought this was a gimmick, I’m sorry to inform you were wrong.

 

Why is it so popular?

If you haven’t noticed by now, this feature is quickly spreading all over the market. At first, return to home was a special trait of high end drones. Nowadays, even the cheapest, entry level models have it. Even models without GPS have it. How does that work? Is that just a marketing trick?

Well, it’s not a marketing trick (well, actually, it sort of is). RTH feature does indeed work without GPS data (10 Drones with GPS system). To be more precise, there are 2 version available – GPS-powered and standard. The latter is, of course, used by those insanely cheap models. I’ll explain how they essentially work down below.

GPS vs non-GPS RTH

As I have mentioned above, there are 2 versions of this feature available on the market today. Let’s take a closer look at both of them and explain how exactly do they operate.

GPS - Return to home

GPS RTH feature, as its name implies, heavily relies on GPS data. In most drones, once you take off, the current location is registered and will be used once you press RTH button on your controller. That’s why, if you want to use it, you first have to enable GPS data on your drone. Otherwise, if you happen to lose track of your drone and press the button, you won’t get any results. While we all know that GPS spends a lot of battery when enabled, it’s still a small price to pay for safety.

NON GPS - Return to home

Instead of getting the takeoff location, this version of RTH feature relies on going backwards. Yup, it’s as simple as that. In combination with headless mode, non-GPS RTH works pretty good. Despite that, the overall precision is nowhere near a GPS powered one. But, considering the price difference, it’s still better than nothing!

 

$200 to $400

12. Upair One

I decided to start this list with a rather unusual drone. Meet Upair One, a solid drone that looks just like a DJI Phantom copy. The build quality isn’t that far off either, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts! So, with that said, let’s see what does Upair One bring to the table!

This bad boy comes with a fully-fledged 2K camera (there is a 4K version too, and here’s list of 15 Best Camera Drones) capable of recording amazing aerial footage. Another thing that will amaze you is its sleek looking controller that comes with a huge 7 inch LED screen for FPV live feed. Its equipped with all the standard features such as one key return to home, headless mode, failsafe auto return (in case your battery drops dangerously low your drone will hurry back to ground to avoid any potential fall damage) and GPS systems that will allow better positioning. Of course, it’s drone with home button.

When it comes to the specifications, you will be happy to find out that it can reach up to 500 meters (it’s one of our Top 10 long distance drones) without any lags (with the live video feed running) and can last up to 18 minutes on a single charge. Those are quite good specifications for a mid-tier drone, and we just had to include in our return to home drone list. Don’t you agree?

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11. Hubsan H501S

Let’s start off by saying that Hubsan did a terrific job with their new H501S and H109S models. They’re both amazing in their own right (and both are featured in this list) and credit has to be given where its due. Now that we got all that out of our way, it’s time to get around this little fella and see how good it really is!

Starting off with photography characteristics, Hubsan H501S sports a FHD camera. Continuing in the same spirit, it’s also noteworthy to state the 4.3-inch LCD display on the provided controller. It’s not the best resolution – just 480×272, but it’s still something.

In terms of features, this little bugger incorporates GPS, headless and altitude modes, follow me and, of course, return to home. It’s incredibly smooth while in flight. Those are great news for beginners since, quite honestly, H501S is incredibly easy to control. To be fair, H109S is beginner friendly as well, but I’m positive that most beginners will pick this one instead; mostly because of a much cheaper price tag.

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10. AP10 Pro

AEE Tech has made yet another awesome drone. Their AP10 Pro is surely going to make quite a name for itself on the market due to the fact it’s packed with quality features accompanied by an excellent overall build quality. Are you thinking about purchasing it? Well, here’s what you need to know!

It sports a full HD camera capable of recording aerial footage in 60 frames per second. Combine this with an awesome range of up to 500 meters and cca 22 minutes (12 Long flight time drones)of flight time and you got yourself quite the aerial video platform for $400. It’s also important to add that it sports a lot of extra functions such as dedicated GPS systems for better stability and automatic position hold, semi-autonomous flight, one key return to home and failsafe auto return.

In the end, I guess I owe you a brief summary. So, here goes – When we take all those things mentioned above into considerations it becomes quite clear that AEE Tech did their job with this model… and they did it good! As long as your expectations aren’t set too high (you’d be surprised at how many people expect $1000+ expectations from a $400 drone), you’ll be more than happy with Ap10 Pro.

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$400 to $600

9. Hubsan H109S X4 Pro

Hubsan-H109S-X4-ProAfter Hubsan H501S, we have yet another one of their awesome new models. Come to think of it, that just proves my point that Hubsan is an up-and-coming company with big ambitions (and talent as well) on the drones market. So, with this interesting introduction, let’s see how things go for the H109S.

Their beast of a drone will set you back for just over $400 but it has everything you’ll need for an awesome flying experience. It is packed with a full HD camera mounted on 1-axis gimbal for ultimate recording stability. It’s a 4 channel device that connects to a 2.4Ghz transmitter (included in the package). H109S X4 Pro supports FPV and transmits the live feed via separate 5.8Ghz frequency which annihilates interference issues that are commonly seen on devices which use 2.4 Ghz for both drone controllers and FPV transmitters.

Additionally, this bad boy also supports headless mode, altitude hold, automatic return and follow me function that come in handy not only to first time but to more experienced pilots as well. As I’ve already mentioned, Hubsan H109S is a proper beast and, at this price point, can be considered a steal!

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8. XIRO Xplorer V

When it comes to looks, it doesn’t get much better than Xplorer Aerial V. It’s a beautiful, bulky, black drone with green finishing touches. I guess design is not that important to most of you, so let’s move on to the real things, such as its camera. We are talking about a full HD, FPV capable camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal. There is no doubt that it can produce extraordinary aerial shots with just a few button presses.

In terms of its features, Xplorer Aerial V is equipped with follow me, circle around me, return to base and failsafe auto home return… All of which are useful in different scenarios of various activities. It also comes with a range extender that is able to increase the default 500 meters range significantly.

In the end, I would also like to mention the existence of XIRO Xplorer G. This version lacks that full HD camera which comes with this one. But, on the bright side, it does come with a gimbal. You will pay a bit less money for it which is something that people who already own an action camera will greatly appreciate.

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7. DJI Spark

Just a couple of days ago, DJI announced a brand-new drone called the Spark. It’s their tiniest one yet, smoothly surpassing DJI Mavic Pro with only 5.5 x 2 x 5.5 inch proportions. One thing that should also be stated right away – DJI Spark is not a foldable drone. It’s just small! Now that we got this out of the way, let’s see what’s this baby all about!

First off, Spark comes with an amazing array of features. In addition to the most popular ones such as ActiveTrack and TapFly, it also features PalmControl. This allows you to fully control it with your hand gestures. Trust me, it’s one of the best experiences ever.

Moving forward, camera also deserves one or two describing sentences. We are talking about a full HD one that’s capable of shooting at fluid 60 fps. It’s mounted on a 2-axis gimbal so you shouldn’t really experience any stabilization issues. If you’re worried, there are already plenty of video tests on YouTube for you to check out. One thing is for sure though, Spark seems like a great addition to DJI’s line-up of drones. With excellent specifications (15 minutes of flight and 2 kilometres range), affordable price, compact size and solid camera, nothing can stop it on the way to success!

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$600 to $1000

6. 3DR Solo

Why is 3DR Solo placed in this price point? Well, because I reckoned the standalone version (only the drone) wasn’t a good choice for you. Instead, I opted for an accessory-rich bundle that will save you a ton of money in the long run.

This bundle that I am referring to will set you back for almost $900 but it’s a real bargain considering the fact it comes with a bunch of extra accessories that would cost a ton of money if bought separately. When it comes to the drone itself, it does not come with an action camera, but it does have a 3-axis motorized gimbal compatible with GoPros. Additionally, this bundle includes an extra battery, propeller set, 32GB micro SDHC card, controller with a huge LED FPV monitor and a whole heap of other stuff that might come in handy eventually.

All things considered, Solo is becoming one of the best-selling drones in its price range- It’s becoming more and more obvious that 3D Robotics hit the sweet spot with this one. Excellent design and great specifications make up for the lack of camera… even more so if you include the 3-axis gimbal for GoPros.

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5. Yuneec Q500

It’s safe to say that the folk over at Yuneec are really stepping up their game. With their Q500 and Typhoon H models, they’ve spiced up things in the high end market with DJI having first signs of issues. Still, the drone giant is quite secure on the top with Yuneec and all other drone manufacturers merely picking up small crumbs.

But, all that could change if more people decide try out Yuneec Q500. This brilliant drone offers great 2 cameras to choose from (the decision is made before the purchase, don’t worry), 4K and FHD one. They’re both aggressively priced. As a matter of fact, Q500 is a proper champ when it comes to value for money. Why is that so? Well, take a look at its specifications.

It runs on 3S 11.1V 5400mAh Li Po battery that can effectively endure up to 22 minutes flying. The range is not that breathtaking – 600 meters. It’s nowhere near newer DJI models… but then again, the price isn’t there either. To be honest, if you’re willing to try out a fresh approach to drones while not spending a ton of money, then Yuneec Q500 is practically made for you.

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4. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

autel-robotics-x-star-premiumEven though many of you probably haven’t heard about this one, I could not help myself – I had to place it in this list. 4th place is a bit high, I know, but bear with me here, I promise you the X-Star Premium by Autel Robotics is more than worth it!

Leading the charge, we have a 4K UHD camera featuring quick-release gimbal. FPV (even FPV goggles)or, as Autel Robotics likes to call it, HD Live View, is good for about 1.2 miles away from the controller. That’s basically the overall range of the drone itself. In terms of battery life, X-Star Premium stands tall at 22 to 25 minutes, depending on the flying conditions.

Moving forward to the features, Autel Robotics has included several smart flight modes in addition to GPS/GLONASS navigation systems. Likewise, they’ve also added in support for their patented Starlink app (works with Android and iOS devices at the moment) and SecureFly interference protection. Combined with a sleek design and responsive controller, Autel Robotics X-Star Premium seems to be well set for the upper-class market.

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3. DJI Mavic Pro

The bronze medalist in this list is one and only DJI Mavic Pro. It’s safe to say this drone excels at virtually every possible aspect. Not only is it small on its own, but it even folds down to an even smaller size. This makes it perfect for carrying around wherever you go.

Specifications-wise, it’s nothing short of brilliant. I’d dare to say it’s pretty much on par with the standard version of Phantom 4. It can fly for up to 25 minutes and reach 7 kilometers with ease. Combine that with a phenomenal 4K camera with 3-axis stabilization and you’ll understand what we are talking about here.

Flying speed is not to be taken for granted either. It goes around 40mph (cca 65km/h) which is incredibly fast if I may notice. Still, if you want maximally stabilized aerial footage with no jello effect, you’re not getting it at top speed. All in all, there’s no question in Mavic Pro’s supremacy in the foldable drones market. I really doubt any other drone will be a direct competitor any time soon.

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Over $1000

2. Yuneec Typhoon H

If you don’t want to agree on any sort of compromise when it comes to buying drones for sale, then this one might be just the right drone for you. The Yuneec Typhoon H is a unique looking hexacopter (yup, this one has 6 propellers while all others featured in this list have 4) sporting a 4K UHD action camera that is bound to make AMAZING aerial footage. It is mounted on a 360 degree gimbal that annihilates all vibration and stuttering in order to provide you with a smooth video time in and time out.

When it comes to special features this bad boy has, it’s important to mention its collision avoidance systems that will prevent crashes and keep your drone as safe as it can be. Another surprising thing about this drone is the fact that its beginner friendly, which is quite a rare occurrence in this price range.

The flight is automatically stabilized with the help of its GPS system and 8 smart flight modes including auto home return, auto takeoff, auto land and many more. Coming to an end, I’d like to point out that I’ve been using it for more than 2 months now and I haven’t found a single downside to tell you about… It’s that good!

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1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am afraid that you’ve all come to the last drone in this list… But don’t be sad because it is the best (and most expensive of course) drone that is currently available on the market… and that has the one key return to home function.

DJI, the most known drone manufacturer in the world has been making a lot of new drones recently, but not one of them stands out of the crowd as much as the new Pro version of their Phantom 4 flagship. This everything you need kit comes with… well pretty much everything you might need, including a carrying backpack, card reader, neck strap, 3 extra batteries, 2 micro SD cards (16 and 64GB) and that’s just a small part of what comes within the package.

When it comes to the actual specifications and features of this drone, I believe you already know everything there is to know. It’s a professional aerial platform that can reach up to 7 kilometres of lag free control range and can be in midair for almost half an hour (on a single battery). In other words, if you buy this kit you’ll get a total of 3 batteries, meaning you’ll get more than an hour worth of flying time if you fully charge all of them.

With all of this in mind, it’s also important to add that it comes with a dedicated transmitter and a brilliant 4K camera with a professional-grade lens capable of providing you with professional image/video quality at silk smooth 60fps. If we take all its features and specifications into consideration, there is no doubt that DJI Phantom 4 Pro will remain on its throne for quite some time.

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Conclusion

I hope that, after reading this article, you have a much better picture on the drone you want to purchase. As you could see above, this feature is of great importance if you find the safety of your drone of utter importance. It keeps it safe and returns it to its take off location in case it loses connection, without you having to worry about it.

 

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2 comments

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1

Do any flying drones have RTH accuracy to land back on a charger automatically?

2

Does Auto Return automatically kick in when these drones get out of range from the transmitter? Flying the HS 110W and the auto return button was not working?

If it is not automatic, is there a drone that has this feature?

12 Drones That Can Return To Home Automatical…

by Vito Dronelli time to read: 16 min
2