The time has come for us to unveil the best drones that will make a great transition from 2017 to 2018. There aren’t too many surprises across the board with some “older” models still doing themselves justice.
However, the industry has grown a fair bit in 2017 and is expected to continue in the same fashion for years to come. Finally, we are seeing the industrial drone use flourishing with direct signs of expansion throughout more and more industries.
But, I suppose the majority of you aren’t here to read about the best industrial drones. Not by a long shot, huh? Well, that’s why I’ll cut with the introduction here and present you with the best drones in 2018! Let’s kick things off, shall we?!
I suppose the best way of starting off is giving you 2 of the best overall drones right away. Needless to say, they are both made by DJI which reflects on another very successful year for the China giant.
TABLE : Best overall drones in 2018
With massive improvements in their OcuSync technology and risky endeavors into smaller form factor drones, DJI has cemented their position as the industry leader. All of their moves turned out to be great and their Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro Plus models are deservedly placed as the overall best drones in 2018.
DJI Mavic Pro
As stated above, the best overall drones are coming from DJI… and what is that like, 4th year in a row? Well, it’s not surprising at all considering the state of the art technology that DJI implements into their drones year after year. And it’s nothing different about their Mavic Pro model. It basically bears the brilliance of full-sized models and crams it into an incredibly small package, making it the top drone in 2018! Here’s why…
Camera and features
There’s one thing that needs to be clear right away – everything about DJI Mavic Pro is absolutely brilliant. Starting from its camera, to its features and then finally it’s groundbreaking specifications. What is there to say about the camera? Well, a good starting point would be its ability to capture 4K videos in 30fps. Of course, that’s not all – DJI Mavic Pro’s camera also sports a fully fledged 3-axis gimbal. Needless to say, it does an absolutely brilliant work in terms of image stabilization and camera controls.
I’ve already told you above that this little birdie has brilliant features that are surely enough to place it among the top drones in 2018. But what exactly are they? Well, basically all GPS-powered smart flight modes that you’d come to expect from the Phantom series of drones. Yes, obstacle avoidance and hand gestures are here too, nicely rounding up this brilliant foldable drone.
It is fairly well known that DJI only makes drones with unparalleled performance. This is usually mainly reflected in their specifications which tend to be miles ahead of the competition. If we’re looking at the operating range, that phrase basically describes the situation as DJI Mavic Pro can go as far as 7 kilometers away from its transmitter. Battery duration is also of crucial importance and it’s safe to say Mavic Pro does not fail to deliver. Thanks to its proprietary intelligent LiPo battery, this birdie can enjoy smooth flight for over 25 minutes. Up to 27 minutes for those of you who want exact numbers.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus
Now we are up for quite the treat becuase we have DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus on our hands. I’m sure most of you are well familiar with the fact that there is just one thing differentiating the standard from DJI P4Pro Plus version. And I am about to tell you all about that down below. Additionally, you will also find a great deal about this birdie’s specs as well as its camera and features. So, without any further adue let’s kick it off…
Camera and features
As I’ve stated above, there is only one thing differentiating the standard and Plus version of DJI P4 Pro… and that’s the tablet. Yup, you read that correctly – a tablet. You see, DJI Phantom4 Pro Plus comes with an integrated Android-powered tablet that sports FHD resolution and insanely bright 5.5-inch display (1,000cd/m2). Besides that everything else is identical.
The camera has remained the same brilliant 20MPX 1-inch sensor with a mechanical shutter. It also sports an integrated 3-axis gimbal and can record videos in 4K resolution at buttery smooth 60fps. Combine that with a plethora of smart and autonomous features and I am sure you will realize what a steal this quadcopter is. We shouldn’t forget about 5 obstacle avoidance sensors which make sure DJI Phantom 4 Pro doesn’t collide with anything in its path.
Now we’ve come up to the technical side of the deal… and don’t worry – DJI Phantom 4 Pro is surely going to be among the top drones in 2018. What’s so special about this one (alongside Mavic Pro and Inspire 2) is the fact it comes equipped with OcuSync transmission technology. It’s a huge deal, no doubt about that. For those of you who don’t know about what exactly does it do – it grants up to 7 kilometers of operating range. Absolutely bollocks, right? Battery duration is good too, standing greatly at 27 minutes.
For those who want nothing but the best value for money, I’m sure this next drone will be a wet dream. DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus are both exceptionally well-performing drones… but let’s face it – the majority of the best drones in 2018 will be quite expensive for an average Joe.
TABLE : Best value for the money drone in 2018
So, if you want something that can still perform fairly well but costs just a fraction of their price tag, look no further than MJX Bugs 2W. As a matter of fact, it’s definitely going to be one of the best drones of 2018!
MJX Bugs 2W
This miniature drone looks beefy with its sturdy plastic body and aggressive bug-like design. Underneath the body, you will find a whole deal of hardware, but more about that later on. For now, I would just like to say once again that MJX Bugs 2W is the best price/performance drone out there. For an amazingly cheap price, you are getting a really smart drone… Let’s talk about that!
Camera and features
MJX Bugs 2W is a smart drone, no doubt about it! That’s all thanks to its integrated GPS+GLONASS reception which makes room for an impressive array of features. Impressive at this price point at least. You see, MJX Bugs 2W has 3 failsafe modes – GPS failsafe, non-GPS failsafe and even smart failsafe which allows you to take slight control over your drone while it’s returning to home. Additionally, MJX Bugs 2W also comes with headless mode, altitude hold, and WiFi FPV… everything you need for an enjoyable drone flying experience.
Let’s not forget about the camera guys! This little bugger actually sports a decent camera straight out of the box. It sports no stabilization but still manages to capture relatively steady aerial footage. Moreover, we are talking about FHD videos taken with a wide-angle lens that look absolutely amazing especially for recording panoramic videos from a decent height.
And it can go pretty high too, trust me! We are talking up to 500 meters and not a meter above it. Why is that so? Well, even though MJX Bugs 2W can go further than 500 meters away from you (up to 1000 meters if we are to be more precise), its software is capped at 500m of height for various safety reasons. Last but not least, this speedy little devil sports a powerful 1800mAh 2S LiPo battery which allows it to fly around for cca 18 minutes. Needless to say, this entire package brings amazing performance and can be considered an outright steal for less than $300!
For users who already operated a toy-grade drone and are now looking for something beefier, I am proud to present with 2 awesome models. They are very different though, but that’s nothing surprising considering they are meant for 2 completely different types of users.
TABLE : Best drones in 2018 for : intermediates
While Parrot concentrates on casual users who want a compact drone for occasional aerial selfies and videos, Autel Robotics, on the other hand, are focusing towards users who want an easy way into professional aerial photography. So, let’s dive a bit deeper into these 2 awesome drones and see what exactly do they bring to the table… and which one will bear the title of the best drone in 2018 specifically designed for intermediate users.
Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer
I’d like to inform you that Bebop 2 is one of the most successful drones that ever came out of Parrot’s labs. With that in mind, it’s not surprising at all to see them releasing it with several different packages. Today, we will be focusing on Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer that packs quite a bit of accessories for you to try out. So, let’s open it up and see what awaits you inside this awesome (and relatively affordable) package!
Camera and features
First of all, let’s see what can be found inside the package. Of course, you’ll be getting the drone, Parrot Bebop 2, itself along with several extras. The most notable one is definitely SkyContreoller 2 which brings the controls in a physical fashion and also delivers certain specification boosts (operating range of course). Alongside the controller, you will also get Cockpitglasses, Parrot’s VR headset which will surely come in handy since their dedicated app supports VR. On top of all that you will also get a neat little backpack that fits everything mentioned above.
Specifications-wise, Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer fairs pretty well in comparison to other models out there. Once again, thanks to the provided SkyController you will be greatly extending its operating range. For comparison sake – without the controller Parrot Bebop 2 would be a mere selfie drone with cca 100 meters of range. However, when controlled with SkyController, Parrot Bebop 2 gets a massive boost and can reach 2 kilometers.
Battery duration is equally important as the range, but I guess I don’t have to be the one to tell you that. When it comes to Parrot Bebop 2, you’ll be very satisfied since it sports a 2700mAh 3S LiPo battery that is capable of outputting roughly 22 minutes of airtime. Well, you’ll be getting anywhere from 20 to 25 depending on how you fly it.
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
Now is the time to tell you a bit more about the top model made by Autel Robotics. In addition to their X-Star drone, their top model bears the Premium suffix which lets you in on the whole performance you can expect. The price is a bit higher too, but still preserves pretty good value for money.
Camera and features
The best thing about this one is definitely its amazing camera that is capable of recording breathtaking aerial footage. That’s partially because of the integrated anti-vibration mount together with a fully fledged 3-axis gimbal for stabilization purposes… and partially becuase of its impressive imaging sensor. Due to all this, Autel Robotics X-Star Premium is capable of recording 4K footage in solid 30fps.
If that’s not enough for you to purchase this one… perhaps its features will help you change your mind. Let’s start off with the fact that Autel Robotics X-Star Premium sports HD video live stream that stretches out as far as its controlling range. Furthermore, it is also one of the most reliable drones out there with GPS/GLONASS reception and magnetic interference protection. You can also count on failsafe protocols and a plethora of smart flight features…
Continuing in the same fashion, now is the time to say a couple of words on Autel Robotics X-Star Premium specifications. No need to worry guys – this bulky drone won’t fail to impress you. Kicking things off with battery duration, believe it or not, this big ass drone can fly for up to 25 minutes which is almost in the touching distance of the newest DJI flagships. Operating and FPV range are awesome too, standing great at around 2 kilometers. So, with that being said, I believe there’s no doubt in the sheer quality of Autel Robotics X-Star Premium… placing it among the best drones of 2018 for sure!
Beginners are always an important factor when it comes to the adaptation of new gadgets. That’s why manufacturers are trying to create the cheapest and easiest to use drones at virtually all price sections. Nowadays, you can fly like a pro from your very first session thanks to autonomous flight and intuitive GUIs.
TABLE : Best drones in 2018 for : beginners
However, that’s not the real path for beginners… at least in my personal opinion. I believe beginners should start off with cheaper models like these 2 featured below:
Although it may seem like an easy task, finding a good drone for your money can easily turn out to be a mission impossible. In this moment drones are probably one of the best choices for a birthday or a Christmas present. Buying it for someone else, especially if you don’t have enough knowledge in the area, may end up as a big disappointment. Luckily for you, we had few budget models on our mind that will blow you away. U818 Plus, created by folks fromUDI is a perfect example on hof budget models should be done.
Camera and features
It is equipped with wide-angle 2MP HD camera with included 4GB TF card. Altitude hold will make sure your machine stays supper stable during flight, making it possible for you to shoot smooth videos and photos from variety of perspectives. U818 Plus also comes with headless mode, and one button take-off and landing for a more enjoyable ride. Custom flight route is yet another feature you will have fun with, allowing you to control the device with a single tap on the screen.
Keep in mind though, UDI U818Plus is not a GPS powered drone so all of these features won’t exactly be pinpoint precise. Still, it doesn’t mean they won’t work – it’s just that they will have slightly lesser accuracy than their GPS-powered counterparts.
Although all these features are great to have, especially for a beginner or a kid, one thing that separates it from the rest is its battery life. It will stay in the air for up to 15 minutes with a single charge. Such a capacity is something you will hardly find in this price range, especially considering it isn’t lacking in any other important areas. Apart from that, this bulky beginner-friendly drone serves as a great scout too. It’s able to fly as far as 150 meters away from its controller… and I’m sure we can all agree that’s quite the feat coming from such an affordable little bugger.
MJX Bugs 3
Even though MJX Bugs 3 is a fairly old drone, it still has a fair share of charm that keeps it at the very top of the food chain. Well, at least when entry-level aerial photography drones are concerned. Yes, MJX Bugs 3 makes for a damn fine learner’s aerial photography birdie. It doesn’t come with a camera though but sports a neat little mount.
Camera and features
This mount will serve as the platform for mounting various types of action cameras. You know, the usual likes of GoPro, SJCAM, Xiaomi and other popular brands. The mount only deals with the most basic amount of anti-vibration… but MJX Bugs 3 is stable enough on its own so its footage doesn’t suffer that much from jello effect or shakiness.
When it comes to features, this entry-level camera birdie actually sports highly precise altitude hold which allows it to capture brilliant aerial footage no matter the camera you have mounted. Additionally, MJX Bugs 3 also sports low voltage and high-temperature lock protection which make it a really reliable option.
Last but not least – MJX Bugs 3 has solid specifications on top of all those safety features and altitude hold. Even though we have quite a bulky drone at our hands here, it’s still incredibly fast for its size. That’s because it sports powerful 1806 1800kv brushless motors. On top of that, it also sports a bulky 2S 1800mAh battery that allows flight times of up to 15 minutes. Round that off with cca 300 meters of operating range and you’ll come to the conclusion that this is indeed a damn fine drone.
Children are becoming the deciding factor in the overwhelming presence of drones on the market. And there’s a real abundance of toy-grade drones suitable for children out there.
TABLE : Best drones in 2018 for : kids
Of course, the key events were several technological advances which resulted in huge price drops that peeked in the entry-level market section. Amidst all that, 2 awesome drones emerged and are now ruling the toy-grade market as the best drones for kids currently available. Let’s take a closer look at them, shall we?!
Getting the right deal for your buck isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Often, products are overvalued due to successful marketing, or just because of the hype around it. Fortunately, there are still companies taking good care in creating a high-quality product while staying in the realistic price range. Altair Aerial definitely belongs in this category, as their new model AA108 is one of the best drones you can currently find on the market, that won’t cost you a fortune.
Camera and features
It comes with a built-in 120 degree wide-angle 720p HD camera which allows you to take captivating photos and record video directly from your phone. There is no stabilization present, but we can all agree that would be an overkill at this price point. We’re still miles away from hardware or software stabilized imaging solutions in the low-tier section of the market.
Altair AA108 also sports a couple of well-placed features that will allow even the least experienced pilots to fly it with ease. Most important ones are definitely headless mode, altitude hold, 1 button takeoff and landing, and a possibility to switch between 3 flight skill levels. Out of range and low battery alarms will keep you safe on almost any terrain you decide to have fun with it.
Although it may seem like an ordinary drone at first, it is everything but. Overall quality of the build is impressive, putting away all the possible fear of crashing. Most of the credits for that go to extremely durable frame construction and smart choice of materials. AA108 is also equipped with 2 batteries, each providing a comfortable 10-minute ride that goes up to 100 meters.
Holy Stone F181W
If you’re buying a drone specifically for kids, then you really cannot go wrong with Holy Stone F181W. It comes at an affordable price tag and features pretty much everything kids want from their first drone. What exactly am I thinking about here? Well, let’s take a closer look and you might just find out!
Camera and features
First off, Holy Stone F181W sports a detachable wide-angle camera that shoots videos in 720p. It’s nothing spectacular but will provide you with an enjoyable experience thanks to its support for WiFi FPV. In terms of features, this little bugger sports adjustable flying speed, headless mode, and one key flips. Pretty basic stuff that kids of all ages will surely enjoy.
The controller is pretty cool too. It kind of resembles console styled ones with the addition of a small screen on top of it. You’ll find a good deal of information there, from speed settings, RSSI, battery level, LED status and trim options. It’s highly responsive as well so there are no worries in that department.
As for the specifications, I suppose there aren’t too many worries in that department either. Operating range is awesome, allowing Holy Stone F181W to reach approximately 100 meters away from its controller. The battery in charge is a mere 1S 750mAh which doesn’t look like much but can still provide a decent amount of juice. You can expect around 8 minutes per charge which is not half bad considering the price you will pay for this drone.
And finally, we have reached the final category. This time around we will be giving useful advice to people on the market for professional-grade drones. More precisely, the best new drones in 2018 as far as commercial uses are concerned.
TABLE : Best drones in 2018 for : professionals
Needless to say, these beefy models are well versed in several industries and can relieve man hours and automatize your work processes. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the professional-grade new drones in 2018!
DJI Inspire 2
Now we have the most expensive drone in this entire article. Yup, it’s none other than DJI Inspire 2, an exquisite monstrosity of a quadcopter with several unique features to its name. The most known one is definitely its retractable landing gear and arms which place the camera at the bottom point, allowing full 360 rotation without getting anything in the way of its frame. More importantly, though, it looks cool too…
Camera and features
Considering DJI Inspire 2 is a professional-grade drone specifically design for aerial photography and cinematography, it is not surprising at all to see it sporting an absolute beast of a camera. Well, technically, you can choose between several options including the likes of Zenmuse X4S and X5S, both of which are supported by the integrated CineCore 2.0 image processing system. Moreover, DJI Inspire 2 sports RAW footage capture and does so at 5.2K and 4K. The latter will allow you to relax with silky smooth 60 frames per second. As far as features go, there’s really no need to mention all of them as that would take up the majority of this article. I’ll just say that this is among the most sophisticated and feature-packed drones out there. With pinpoint satellite precision, comprehensive obstacle avoidance software and plenty of autonomous flight modes.
If you though everything above was outright awesome, wait till you hear about DJI Inspire 2 specifications. They are really impressive, both operating range and flight duration. But, it should not surprise you since we are talking about a rather expensive model. For that matter, DJI Inspire 2 can record aerial footage for around 27 minutes with proper ease. Furthermore, thanks to OcuSync technology, it is able to achieve 7 kilometers of operating range which should be enough for virtually any task you put it up against.
Yuneec Typhoon H
If DJI Inspire 2 is too expensive for your taste then perhaps this next one will be more of a match. As the title shows, I am talking about Yuneec Typhoon H, a highly powered hexacopter that comes with a brilliant transmitter with a built-in FPV monitor. Even though it’s mostly used as an aerial photography drone, Yuneec Typhoon H is way more than that. It can be equipped with a thermal camera making it viable across a wide variety of industries.
Camera and features
On the other hand, even if you don’t have thermal cameras in mind, you will still be satisfied with the stock one. It’s mounted on a 3-axis gimbal and does its job fairly well. It records videos in 4K at 30fps and can even shoot slow motion if you lower the resolution.
In terms of features, probably the most important one is obstacle avoidance. You can choose between the standard one (which works fine, I guess) and Intel RealSense powered one which is absolutely amazing… so much that it even beats the likes of DJI’s OA systems. Other than that, there’s also live video streaming, a bunch of smart features including the likes of RTH and even 5-motor failsafe. Pretty neat, don’t you think?!
As stated above, Yuneec Typhoon H is a hexacopter. In fact, it’s the only hexacopter on this list. It’s powered by a bulky Lipo battery that allows it to fly around for roughly 25 minutes with the stock camera/gimbal system mounted on. If you remove it, not only will this birdie become much faster but will also get a few extra minutes of flight time… But what’s the point in flying such a huge drone without a camera. It’s good for exploration, I guess… It can reach approximately 1.5 kilometers away from the provided transmitter which is enough for most industrial purposes out there.
What types of top drones in 2018 can we expect?
2017 was definitely the year of foldable/selfie drones. With a huge number of miniature selfie birdies flooding the market, led by DJI’s brilliant Spark, there’s no question that they were the main craze. But, what will be the case in 2018? Well, I have several guesses
- Fully autonomous drones
We already have fully autonomous drones readily available to consumers all over the world. However, the main problem is their expensive price tags which don’t fall too well for regular Joes. Still, I believe the year 2018 will be the golden age of fully autonomous drones that will be accompanied by fair prices. This could lead to a potential uprise in the high-end market.
- Industry-specific drones
Even though DJI has already started on industry-specific drones with their Agras model, there are signs of many other brands focusing their new models solely for purposes of a single industry. So, in addition to agricultural and aerial photography drones, we’ll also have specialized surveillance, firefighting, search and rescue, and inspection drones.
- 5G WiFi drones
There are plenty of 5G WiFi drones already available on the market, but most of them fall in the expensive section of the market with the brilliant MJX Bugs 2W being the only exception. However, as the 5G WiFi technology becomes cheaper, I reckon more mid-tier models will sport it as one of their main selling points.
What will be the pivotal feature of best drones of 2018?
There are several interesting features that could, in fact, shape up the entire drone industry in 2018. While there are no exact signs of which one will it be… I can certainly name a few and hope for the best. So, here are my 2 thoughts on the pivotal features for new drones in 2018:
Drone fleet controlling
By drone fleet controlling I mean controlling several drones from a single controller without having to worry about them colliding with each other. Each drone in the fleet will know its exact position and won’t interfere with others under no circumstances. Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is probably going to be the next big thing in the drone industry. For casual users, perhaps it will be an interesting gimmick… but for professionals, it will open the door for limitless possibilities, no doubt about it.
Automatic charging stations
Just like drone fleet controlling, automatic charging stations are also going to be more focused towards professionals than casual users. The sheer thought of fully automatic drones that can deliver goods and charge themselves back up is really mind-blowing. There has been a lot of talk about these automatic charging systems in recent time. In fact, there were already tests that showed promising results. With that being said, it seems as though it is only a matter of time before automatic charging stations become a reality.
DJI in 2018 – What will their next drone be like?
Well, this one is a particularly tough nut to crack as DJI is one of the most unpredictable brands in the entire industry. But, then again, that’s what makes them the best player in the game…
So, what will their next drone be like? Well, I for one would not be surprised at all to see a brand new Mavic Pro. It’s one of their most popular drones ever and it would be extremely unlogical to see it without a successor. Another notable topic is their Phantom X prototype that was announced way back in 2015. Since then there wasn’t much news on it… but it could very well be DJI’s next flagship.
That’s it guys… With several of these information sections, we have come to the end of the top drones of 2018. One thing you have to admit – there is a huge number of great drones out there, each made for their own specifically targeted audience. In the end, I’d like to thank you all for reading!
Happy New Year!!!