Imagine you finally get the drone you recently purchased, charge it up and drive all the way to your local park… only for the fun to be over right after it began. Short flight time syndrome takes its toll on a considerable number of drones these days.
However, considering rapid technological advancements in the drone industry, more and more top-flight models offer unparalleled flight times. We’re talking anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes here.
Unfortunately, though, there are plenty of entry-level (and some mid-tier) drones still suffering from airtime issues. Today, we’ll dive deep into drones available on the market and see what is the drone with longest flight time.
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Table: 6 Drones With Longest Flight Time
|6. Potensic Dreamer Pro||4K||2km||28min||See best offer|
|5. DJI Mini 2||4K||8km||30min||See best offer|
|4. DJI Mavic 2 Pro||4K||8km||30min||See best offer|
|3. DJI Air 2s||5.4K||12km||32min||See best offer|
|2. Autel EVO 2||8K||8km||40min||See best offer|
|1. DJI Mavic 3||4K||15km||45min||See best offer|
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 the blade, efficiency separates quality from fad-style cash-ins. One of the biggest factors is the battery life, which then translates to good flight time.
Many drones don’t come with extra batteries either, so there are indeed various factors to consider. The better the battery though, the better a drone can achieve the longest flight time :
6 Drones with long flight time
Next up, a slightly bigger model that kind of resembles the good old DJI Phantom models. It’s in many ways similar to the legendary drones that kickstarted this whole market, and as such, it definitely deserves your attention. But, it’s a fairly unknown drone, coming from a company that hasn’t really been brilliant at making pricier models. Here’s a quick rundown:
Priced at around $400 to $500, depending on availability, Potensic Dreamer Pro is a mid-range drone, no doubt about it. But, is it worth the money when you can, for a similar amount of money, get a low-end DJI drone?
Well, it all depends on what exactly you’re looking for. If you’re looking for nothing but compactness, then Potensic Dreamer Pro isn’t for you. If you love beefier, more powerful models that can withstand quite the beating, then you’re in luck because that’s just what this bugger has to offer.
Cheap drone with long flight time
Furthermore, this thing can capture 4K footage with a 1/3-inch CMOS sensor by Sony. It records 4K at 30fps video and 12MP photos. Everything is buttery smooth, courtesy of the onboard 3-axis gimbal module that we’ve come to expect from drones at this price range.
All in all, if you’re looking for a beefy drone that won’t let you down, even in strong winds, then Potensice Dreamer Pro is the obvious choice. As mentioned earlier, it’s worth every penny! If you don’t mind the fact it’s not foldable and it’s a bit on the bulky size, look no further!
5. DJI Mini 2
DJI Mini 2 is a marvelous little bugger! It’s just a feather below .55 lbs, meaning it doesn’t require registration. Despite that, it’s quite agile, strong, stable, and carries a superb camera. Long story short, it’s definitely worth every penny… and it’s definitely among the most budget-friendly long-flight-time drones currently available.
Interesting Little Bugger
Its predecessor, the OG DJI Mini, is one of my favorite drones ever. Despite the fact it didn’t have ideal stabilization nor camera, it was miniature, yet the performance it had to offer was off the charts. The second-gen Mini takes off where its predecessor left off.
It’s been improved in basically every segment. For starters, it has a much better camera and a proper 3-axis gimbal that ensures smoothness through and through. Mini 2 supports RAW format, can shoot 4K at 30 fps, and has 4x zoom, though the latter isn’t going to be useful in all scenarios.
The Fun Doesn’t End There
Moving forward, DJI Mini 2 features OcuSync 2.0 which gives it up to 10 kilometers (6 miles) of transmission distance, whereas the original Mini could reach 2-3 kilometers because it relied on the fragile WiFi connection.
The fun doesn’t end there – the second-gen Mavic is slightly faster, has Level 5 wind resistance, and has a ton of supporting camera features. We’re talking flight autonomy here, as well as interesting software-based camera quirks that will leave you craving for more.
Even though DJI Mavic 2 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.
Camera and Features
It’s basically the power and performance of a Phantom 4 Pro cramped up in a miniature package. The original DJI Mavic Pro was a huge hit and tackled a similar premise, with the second-generation model improving across virtually all departments.
Camera-wise, you’re looking at a potent 1-inch sensor made by DJI in collaboration with Hasselblad. DJI Mavic 2 Pro’s camera can shoot 4K HDR footage on a professional level, especially once you chime in some money into proper ND filters.
And don’t even get me started on all the features this thing has. From dual positioning systems (GPS and GLONASS), all the way to advanced smart capture modes, safety features, and autonomous flight routines. Everything about this drone screams high quality, including the features… and the price tag!
DJI Mavic 2 Pro costs an arm and a leg, that’s true. However, it’s capable of doing so many different things that I’m absolutely fine with it costing as much as it is. Of course, a proper sale every now and then would be awesome, but you can’t say the price doesn’t reflect the quality.
The hardware of this drone is absolutely amazing. The onboard battery provides around 30 minutes of flight time and you can expect around 8 kilometers of lag-free range. That’s sick, if you ask me, who on Earth needs to go that far with a drone?
3. DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S is just slightly bigger than DJI Mini 2, but enough for it to require registration and license. However, there’s a good reason for that. You see, it does bring forth lots of additional options, obstacle sensing, better stability, superior wind resistance, and all-around slightly better specs.
But, is it Worth the Price Tag?
If you need drones with long flight time for commercial purposes or you consider yourself a prosumer and you’re willing to pursue a license, then yep – this thing is worth every penny. If, on the other hand, you have no prior experience with drones, then you’re better of with DJI Mini 2. It’s a more beginner-friendly option, it’s cheaper, and you’re going to love it as your starter device.
What Sort of Package Are We Looking at?
This thing is no joke! Even though price-wise, it belongs to mid-range models, lots of things about it scream flagship! For instance, it features a 1-inch sensor capable of shooting 4K at 60 and 5.4K at 30fps. RAW support is there too, as well as 12.6 stops of dynamic range.
As for the features, DJI Air S2 comes equipped with MasterShots, Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, and Point of Interest 3.0. These are high-end, flagship-friendly features – they perfectly use them to your advantage whenever you can!
2. Autel EVO 2
Next up is the unique-looking Autel Robotics EVO 2. Yep, the second-gen EVO is a force to be reckoned with. It’s a pricey model, no doubt about that, but its massive 71mAh battery ensures over half an hour of uninterrupted flight time.
Take The Specs with a Grain of Salt
As always, the official specifications are not to be trusted. Drone manufacturers keep pumping the numbers in ideal conditions, meaning you should always take away 10 to 20% if you want a realistic depiction of what to expect.
That said, EVO 2 is marketed at 40 minutes, but in realistic scenarios, you’ll be getting slightly more than half an hour. That’s still very viable, and among the longest flight time drones, so you shouldn’t take it for granted.
What about the camera? No worries, this thing packs quite the punch! It can record buttery smooth aerial footage in 8K, and boasts with a 4x lossless zoom. There’s 8x digital zoom too, which isn’t half bad because of the maximum resolution.
Lastly, the feature set is a big selling point too. It has everything you’d expect from flagship DJI devices. Follow Me, Smart Return to Home, and a whole bunch of camera-based features to spice up your aerial footage. All in all, if you’re not a fan of DJI drones, but you still want a flagship drone with long flight time, look no further than EVO 2.
1. DJI Mavic 3 – Drone with longest flight time
Should you invest so much money into a long flight time drone? I mean, this thing packs quite the punch in the price department. It’s one of the most expensive drones on the market, not counting just consumers, but prosumer and commercial models too. It’s absurd, come to think of it, that prices of flagships model have increased so much.
This thing is sick! Not only is it foldable, compact, and relatively lightweight, but it also features everything you could wish for in a prosumer drone. With a massive 4/3-inch Hasselblad sensor as well as an accompanying tele sensor, this thing is second to none in terms of imaging solutions. The same goes for its raw specs too – roughly 15 km of transmission range (roughly 9 miles>) and over half an hour of battery life.
Following the Trends
We have to admit, though, that DJI Mavic 3 is extremely expensive, but it’s also bringing forth radical improvements over the last gen Mavic. Improved camera(s), improved transmission system, optimized battery life – everything is slightly better. But, if you’re not going to be using your long flight time drones for commercial purposes, it’s better to invest elsewhere.
Don’t get me wrong, DJI Mavic 3 is a world-class machine, but if you don’t need the latest and greatest in drone tech, it’s better to spend less money for something like an Air 2S or similar. You’ll get similar performances, perhaps not all bells and whistles you’d get with third-gen Mavic… but you’ll get it at just a fraction of its cost.
Table: Cheapest Drones with longest flight time
|Image||Name||Camera||Range||Flight Time||Best Price|
|5. Altair AA108||720p||100m||10min||See best offer|
|4. Altair 818||720p||150m||12min||See best offer|
|3. HStone HS120D||FullHD||250m||15min||See best offer|
|2. Potensic D88||2K||1.5km||18min||See best offer|
|1. HStone HS720||1080p||0.8km||20min||See best offer|
5. Altair AA108
You’ve taken a peek at those professional drones above but they’re all way over your budget limitations. Well, consider yourself lucky because I have prepared another 5 contestants with a great flight time/price ratio. The first in line is Altair AA108, a relatively new toy-grade drone whose main characteristics are excessively cheap price and great specifications. Let’s talk more about it!
Camera and Features
The first notable thing about this little fella is its miniature camera which runs the show in the front. It’s a mere 2MPX sensor that’s good at capturing an occasional selfie or two. Aerial videos look decent as well, but they’re recorded in a 720p resolution which is too low by today’s standards. Still, the camera performs above average for this kind of a price tag… so I suppose it can be marked as a plus.
As far as features are concerned, don’t be surprised that it doesn’t sport a GPS module as it would be overkill at this price point. Still, it comes with the basic versions of altitude hold and waypoints which are not that precise but still do the job more often than not.
If you think all toy grade drones come with 5 minutes of airtime and 50 meters of range, I can’t wait to tell you – you’re wrong… Well, here goes – you’re wrong! And Altair AA108 proves that with style – this birdie can reach as far as 100 meters and can stay in the air for up to 10 minutes. Both of these numbers are quite impressive, and realistically speaking, so is the entire Altair AA108. If a tight budget is something you can’t bypass but you still want a drone with decent flight time, I believe Altair AA108 is your best option!
4. Altair 818
For starters, let’s check out the Altair 818. It’s a cheap drone with long flight time, a low-end model that delivers in the flight time area. But, the manufacturer had to cut the edges somewhere. Altair 818 does have its downsides. No worries, though, we’ll be sure to cover both sides of the medal in the following couple of paragraphs.
Camera and Features
Altair 818 AKA The Hornet, is an affordable little bugger that goes for well under $200 but provides an interesting beginner-friendly experience for all age groups. Right off the bat, though, I have to point out its 720p camera isn’t that good. The onboard stabilization system is pretty much non-existent, and the sensor itself can’t do anything noteworthy. If you’re looking for something that can shoot decent aerial videos, I’m afraid you’ll have to spend double the amount you’d pay for Altair 818.
Solid All-Around Specs
It can fly around for roughly 12 minutes in realistic conditions, though it’s marketed for 15. More precisely, it’s marketed for half an hour, but that’s because you get two batteries in the package. Range-wise, though, it’s not really that advanced. You’ll be getting around 50 meters (roughly 150 feet) of video transmission distance, and up to 150 meters of control range. If you don’t need a long-range drone but you appreciate an extra battery and affordable price tag, then Altair 818 is the drone for you!
Hey look, this is a black DJI Phantom 4 Pro!!! Nope, as the decal upfront suggests, this is a Holy Stone model. Holy Stone HS120D, to be more precise. It does look like a Phantom, though, but brings forth a massively different experience for a much lower price tag.
Camera and Features
First up, let’s talk about the camera. Holy Stone installed an okay full HD cam here, capable of shooting somewhat solid videos and decent aerial images. I said somewhat solid because the stabilization isn’t ideal, especially in windy conditions when the drone gets shaken up quite badly.
Features-wise, HS120D shows a lot of effort from its makers. The likes of follow me, tap fly, gesture control, and a simple version of waypoints. They all work quite well given the fact we’re this is such an affordable drone.
For under $150, Holy Stone HS120D brings forth pretty good numbers. We’re talking around 200 to 300 meters of operating range. Considering the fact HS120D is a pretty big drone, you should have no issues keeping up with it at that distance. Just make sure you keep an eye out on the battery duration which goes around 15 to 18 minutes. Not bad for a Holy Stone model, huh?
2. Potensic D88
Next up, we have Potensic D88, an interesting-looking drone from a relatively unknown player on the market. Despite not being that popular, Potensic is known to make solid all-around drones with affordable price tags, and their D88 model is no different. It’s well-rounded, looks awesome, and flies just short of 20 minutes!
Camera and Features
If you’re looking for a long flight time drone packing great visuals, then you’ll love Potensic D88’s 2K camera. Don’t let the name fool you, though, as 2K is only slightly better than full HD. In most cases, you won’t notice the difference. What you will notice is the presence of a motorized gimbal that does wonders for the image/video quality.
Potensic D88 also sports a decent set of features. For instance, 5GHz WiFi FPV goes up to around 300 meters and provides a smooth, lag-free view. But that’s not all – it also has stuff like GPS, auto return to home, waypoints, and point of interest autonomous routines. Combine all that with powerful brushless motors and a professional-looking storage briefcase and you got yourself a real winner.
Specs-wise, Potensic D88 won’t disappoint you. The dedicated 3400mAh battery ensures around 17 minutes of flight time on average. You’ll rarely go above 18 if you’re actually flying the darn thing, so you can scratch the marketed 20 minutes battery life. 17 minutes is still good, especially at the price point, this sucker goes for.
As mentioned earlier, the onboard 5GHz WiFi FPV module can stretch to about 300 meters. If, however, you’re more of a LoS (line of sight) kind of guy, you’ll be happy to know Potensic D88 can reach more than 1 kilometer. Some claim it goes close to 1.5 km in clean and unobstructed areas.
Holy Stone HS720 takes the last spot on the 20+ minutes of flight time list. And rightfully so, this foldable bugger comes at a low price but manages to squeeze in quite the performance in return. Holy Stone keeps surprising us with excellent models, and the same story goes for their HS720. So, without further ado, let’s dive right on in and see what’s this bugger all about!
Camera and Features
Holy Stone HS720 is one of the best drones that came out from Holy Stone’s workshops. This one features a solid full HD camera boasting an impressive 5GHz WiFi FPV. The shots look surprisingly clear for a drone of this caliber. However, the stabilization isn’t doing itself any justice, with a ton of that nasty jello effect ruining the videos.
Features like an auto return to home, follow me, circle around me, and waypoints are all here, ensuring even the biggest drone noobs can keep this thing in the air. In fact, the only downside to this little bugger is the camera which I’d really like to see improved in the next version. Please, Holy Stone… it would make your HS720 V2.0 much more competitive.
Cheapest drone with longest flight time
Let’s go through the main specifications real fast. HS720 will not let you down if you’re into drones with long battery life. This thing packs quite the punch, with around 23 to 25 minutes of casual flying. The range isn’t half bad either. You will not be able to see this thing at 800 meters, which is its marketed flight range. In real conditions, you’re looking at around 500-600ish meters, which is still decent considering the price tag.
[Honorable Mention] Parrot Disco
Parrot Disco is an unbelievably gorgeous fixed-wing drone with sleek design and exceptional build quality. It is pretty big too, bigger than most commercially available drones nowadays. But, despite its size, it still has the longest flight time out of all 8 drones with long flight time featured above. Why is that so and what are the exact numbers we are talking about here? Well, I am afraid that will have to wait until the specifications section. For now, let’s just focus on its camera and features which will tell us just how different flying this thing is in comparison to a regular drone.
Camera and Features
First of all, I would like to say a thing or two about how Parrot Disco performs. You see, it sports automatic takeoff and landing which is basically what gives it that hybrid feel to it. It doesn’t require a huge runway to takeoff which is the usual case with fixed-wing models Nope – simply throw it in the air after turning it on and it will automatically rise to the default flying altitude.
Furthermore, it can be controlled with one hand since it always keeps the exact altitude no matter where or how much you turn. If you want to go more up or down, there’s no need to adjust the throttle, simply pitch in that direction and you’re good as gold. It takes a bit of time to get used to it… but the Skycontroller 2 makes things pretty straightforward.
Camera-wise, this beauty rocks 14MPX wide-angle camera with integrated EIS, the same as Bebop 2 Adventurer. It records aerial video in 1080p at 30fps which is somewhat of a standard at this price point. There’s FPV as well, which will surely provide you with an immersive flying experience.
Cheapest drone with longest flight time
This is what you’ve all been waiting for, isn’t it? The flight time of this beast, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, is straight-up mental. You see, thanks to its ability to glide and generally having a better power consumption (which is usually the case when comparing fixed-wing to rotary UAVs), Parrot Disco has an unbelievable flight time of up to 45 minutes. That’s way more than any of the drones mentioned above and can surely be the prevailing factor for some of you. The range is not bad either. As a matter of fact, it’s the same as Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer – roughly 2 kilometers, all thanks to Skycontroller 2.
How to improve your drone’s flight time?
Remove prop guards
The easiest method of increasing your battery’s duration is definitely removing prop guards. The downside – not all drones have prop guards so you might have nothing to remove. Still, if your drone does have them, chances are high they’re removable. Shaving off a few grams by doing just that will give you a slight boost in flight duration which means more fun and more aerial footage.
Unmount the camera
Getting rid of the camera is always a great flight-extending solution. However, this might be a no-no for people who want longer flight times just for the purpose of recording more aerial videos. They wouldn’t be able to do that after removing a camera, would they?! For those who don’t give a crap about aerial photography and just want to fly around for a bit, unmounting a camera is a no-brainer!
Get a few extra batteries
Well, this one goes without any question. Purchasing several extra batteries will definitely significantly increase your overall flight time… with a few pit stops. Keep in mind though – you’ll want to charge them all at once so buying a 5 in 1 LiPo charger would do you a world of good. One more thing – if your drone sports brushed motors, give it a rest for 4-5 minutes after each consecutive flight.
Besides flight time, what are other important traits in a drone?
The camera is the first thing that will pop into your mind. And you’re right – the camera is of utmost importance for virtually every drone available on the market. That and the provided gimbal (if it has one, it’s a big plus) are supposed to make up for admirable aerial footage, especially for people who want to get into the aerial photography business using their drones with cameras.
Flight time and operating range are the 2 basic specifications of each drone. Ideally, you should ensure your drone stands pretty well in both of these departments for the best possible experience. However, depending on your usage preferences, you might want to skew in favor of long-range drones… but I wouldn’t want to get into that discussion.
If you want your drone to be able to hover at a constant height without needing to manually adjust its throttle, then what you need is a proper drone with GPS. That combined with a feature called Altitude Hold will enable your drone to perform a steady hover, allowing you to concentrate on snapping the perfect selfie or recording smooth aerial videos.
Yup – Altitude Hold is another brilliant feature that’s well worth exploring before purchasing a new drone. Just like I said above, if you’re up for having a highly stable flying experience, then GPS and Altitude Hold drone is an obvious must. This goes without a doubt for professional photographers and filmmakers as they couldn’t do their jobs if it wasn’t for these 2 features.
And last but not least – drones with follow me mode is an absolute must for those with adventurous spirits. Hikers, mountain bikers, skaters and pretty much everyone who indulges in some sort of outdoor activity. By investing in a drone equipped with Follow Me feature, they’re basically getting an autonomous aerial platform capable of producing amazing pieces of aerial art.
What is a good flight time for different usage scenarios?
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 pastime 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 that 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 a strain on your budget and get a drone equipped with a fast-charging battery.
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