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”).
|9. MJX Bugs 2w||1 km||18 min||See best offer|
|8. UPair One||0.5 km||20 min||See best offer|
|7. Hubsan H501S||0.3 km||18 min||See best offer|
|6. DJI Spark||2 km||15 min||See best offer|
|5. 3DR Solo||0.8 km||23 min||See best offer|
|4. Autel X-Star P.||2 km||23 min||See best offer|
|3. DJI Mavic Pro||6 km||27 min||See best offer|
|2. Typhoon H||1 km||23 min||See best offer|
|1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro||6 km||26 min||See best offer|
9. MJX Bugs 2w
MJX bugs 2W is actually the cheapest drone on this list with a 100% reliable return to home feature. The price tag is absolutely brilliant and makes MJX Bugs 2W the best option for beginners who want a safe and worry-free flying experience. But other than that, what else is there to be said about this impressive little quad?
Camera and features
Starting off with the most important thing, obviously, MJX Bugs 2W sports Return to Home feature. Not just one – its RTH works with and/or without GPS connection, making your flights as reliable and safe as they can be. Furthermore, you can also take control over your quad in order to avoid obstacles while it’s returning home. It’s pretty neat, don’t you think?!
Other features include WiFi FPV, GPS/GLONASS, headless mode, and altitude hold. Lastly, the camera. We are actually looking at quite a decent sensor that captures superb 1080p footage. The framerate is capped at 30fps but it is still decent enough for most casual users.
Specifications are the last aspect of MJX Bugs 2W that I plan on reviewing. No need for alarm though as Bugs 2W sports pretty impressive numbers. Let’s start off with range. WiFi FPV can go all the way to 500 meters if you own a smartphone featuring a good 5G WiFi capability. Moreover, the operating range goes to the extremes, standing comfortably at 800 and even 1000 meters. Battery duration is no joke thanks to the proprietary 1800mAh 2S LiPo that comes with the package. (you’ll get 2 if you click on the link above). You can expect around 18 minutes of flight time per charge.
8. 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 brings to the table!
This bad boy comes with a fully-fledged 2K camera (there is a 4K version too, and here’s a 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.
It is 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 the ground to avoid any potential fall damage) and GPS systems that will allow better positioning. Of course, it’s a drone with the 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?
7. 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 an 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, follows me and, of course, returns 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.
6. 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, the 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 lineup of drones. With excellent specifications (15 minutes of flight and 2 kilometers range), affordable price, compact size, and a solid camera, nothing can stop it on the way to success!
5. 3DR Solo
Why is 3DR Solo placed at 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 a camera… even more so if you include the 3-axis gimbal for GoPros.
4. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
Even 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.
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.
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).
It sports 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 the 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!
1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am afraid that you’ve all come to the last drone on 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 kilometers 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’s 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.
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 interference between the drone and its controller, the RTH feature will turn on automatically, getting your drone back safely.
The latter mostly happens when the 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 Return to home feature 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 a GPS system). To be more precise, there are 2 versions 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 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.
Instead of getting the takeoff location, this version of RTH feature relies on going backward. 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!
I hope that, after reading this article, you have a much better picture of 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.