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 20 to 30 minutes here. Unfortunately, though, there are plenty of entry-level (and some mid-tier) drones still suffering from airtime issue.
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So, if you want your drive to the local park yielding a proper amount of flying, then I suggest you take a closer look at these 8 awesome drones with best flight times. Below them, there is also an honorable mention as well as 5 bonus entry-level drones for people on a tight budget. So, without much further adue, let’s see what we have in store for you today, and what is the drone with longest flight time available on the market today!
Hobby Drones with longest flight time :
5. Snaptain S5C
Snaptain S5C is the last 0-20-minute drone we’re going to talk about here. It’s the fifth-placed model on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s outright awful. If that was the case, it wouldn’t be here, to begin with!
Camera and Features
The best thing about this little bugger is its visuals, and by that, I am not referring to its camera quality. This time around, I’m referring to its astonishing visuals. Yes, it’s made out of cheap plastic, but darn it, Snaptain S5C looks very cool.
As for the actual visuals, this drone is equipped with a tiny 720p camera featuring WiFi FPV. Don’t expect professional quality aerial footage though. At 60ish bucks, that’s just not going to happen. Last but not least, Snaptain S5C sports a handful of low-end features too, such as one key takeoff and landing as well as VR headset support.
If you’re buying this sucker, you’re not buying it for its state-of-the-art hardware. You’re buying it because it’s cheap, affordable, and you won’t be stressing out once you crash it a few times. That said, lower your specs expectations and you won’t be disappointed. Here goes – 50ish meters of operating range and max 10 minutes of flight time.
4. 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!
3. Holy Stone HS120D
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 that 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.
1. DJI Mavic Air – Longest flight time drone
If you’re looking for drones that pack a punch in the battery department, then DJI Mavic Air is the one you should go for! Not only does it sport a hefty battery but it’s also a great all-around model, decent enough for professional use. We’re talking aerial photography here, but DJI Mavic Air can also be used for all sorts of other industrial tasks.
Camera and Features
As mentioned above, Mavic Air sports an awesome camera. It’s capable of shooting 4K footage directly to its internal memory (8GB) or to a high-speed microSD card. Additionally, HDR stills are an option too, ensuring great color presentation and vivid scenery.
Features of DJI Mavic Air are second to none. It sports a bunch of obstacle avoidance sensors, has GPS as well as a bunch of supporting autonomous features, and the usual safety stuff like an auto return to home, failsafe, etc. You really don’t need anything else…
Longest flying drone in this category
DJI Mavic Air’s battery is one hefty unit. It can support the drone for around 20 minutes, just enough to make it onto this list. And we’re not talking about simple hovering here. This bad boy can do all sorts of speedy acrobatics in sports mode and still get out with 18ish minutes. As for the range, if you buy the Fly More Combo that features the controller, you’ll get around 3 to 4 kilometers of range, which is a lot more than you’re legally allowed to fly at.
Professional Drones With Longest Flight Time :
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 :
Professional Drones with long flight time
8. Holy Stone HS720
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 with 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.
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.
7. Hubsan Zino
Zino is the all-new drone made by Hubsan. We’re talking about a well-known player in the drone industry with numerous successful drones, H501S probably being the first one that comes to mind. Zino, however, brings forth a completely new perspective, positioned in the middle of the pack, actively provoking responses from DJI and other competitors. What’s so special about it and how good is its flight duration? Let’s check it out…
Camera and Features
The camera is what stands out about this drone. It’s really amazing. Mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, this 4K camera is a proper beast, capturing professional-grade aerial footage and mesmerizing still images. I’m not even exaggerating here, Hubsan Zino has one of the best cameras at its price point. Heck it, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that it has the best camera at its price point.
Zino’s set of features is not to be taken for granted either. This is a GPS+GLONASS-equipped drone meaning it can do all sorts of things thanks to precise positioning data. For instance, Zino has access to GPS failsafe, auto return to home, the two safety features embedded into virtually all GPS-ready drones out there. Additionally, Hubsan also went out of their way to provide Zino with orbiting and image tracking abilities.
Hubsan wasn’t shying away from making the Zino fare well in the specifications department too. With around 4 kilometers of operating range and 20ish minutes of flight time, Hubsan Zino is a force to be reckoned with in the under $400 category. It’s a proper steal, and I’m not even joking here…
6. DJI Mavic Mini
Mavic Mini is DJI’s smallest drone. Well, technically, DJI Tello is right up there so perhaps that introductory section isn’t holding any water… Hmm, how should I fix this? Let’s try with this – Mavic Mini is DJI’s smartest drone that’s actually good. There, that fixes it!
Camera and Features
Features-wise, DJI Mavic Mini’s set packs a ton of variety. Whether you’re into QuickShots, Snap Adapter specialties, or you’re just looking to get that manual perfection, DJI Mavic Mini is there for you. The integrated 2.7K 12MP camera is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal ensuring smooth stabilization and none of that jittery jello hell. It’s the best selfie drone out there, aggressively priced at around $400.
DJI Mavic Mini has roughly the same operating range just like its big brother, DJI Mavic Air. Yes, that means this miniature foldable drone can reach as far as 4 kilometers. On the other hand, its small size greatly contributes to the next spec, and that would be flight time. It’s miniature, weighing in at less than 250 grams, which helps it reach amazing half an hour of flight time. Pretty impressive, right?
5. 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).
Camera and Features
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 expect 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 to this amazing piece of tech gadgetry other than saying one final time – It’s just too good to be true… Good job DJI!
4. Parrot Anafi
Parrot has been in the drone industry ever since its earliest stages. However, it couldn’t always find success. Bebop and AR were met with divided views, but luckily, Anafi showed up to improve the marks. This unique drone is yet another foldable masterpiece, carrying exceptional hardware and packing in a surprising twist to an already stale section of the market.
Camera and Features
The special thing about Parrot Anafi is its camera module. It’s the standard 3-axis motorized gimbal packing a 4K HDR camera we see on all high-end drones, but this little bugger sports something specials. You see, the camera is upfront for a good reason – it sports 180-degree vertical rotation, meaning it can shoot straight down… and straight up. Yep, you’ve read that correctly, Parrot Anafi can shoot straight up!
Additionally, Anafi comes with a bunch of cinematic presets, including the popular Dolly Zoom which gives that extra pop to your selfie game. Safety features, visual tracking, failsafe and all that good stuff are present too, but they are to be expected from a drone of this caliber.
Before I forget – Parrot Anafi isn’t afraid of showing off impressive features. 4 kilometers is more than enough for this little bugger to shoot mesmerizing cinematic footage. 25ish minutes of flight time is also pretty good, allowing you to concentrate on flying and shooting instead of charging up the batteries. All in all, Parrot Anafi is a solid all-around drone with a unique camera twist. If you think the 180-degree vertical madness is something you need, then, by all means, go for it!
3. Autel Robotics EVO
Autel Robotics EVO proudly sits at the third-place team. It has great hardware, excellent stability, and drop-dead gorgeous looks. But then again, I’ve always been a sucker for Autel Robotics’ orange drones and the same goes for this one. Still, the orange color is not what brought it onto this list, this is what did:
Camera and Features
Needless to say, Autel Robotics have put in a proper 4K camera in their flagship foldable model. EVO is proudly packing a 12MP camera with 4K 60fps capabilities.
When discussing central features, waypoints, orbit, and dynamic tracking are all here, alongside VR headset support that’s bound to up the immersion to a whole new level. Let’s not forget about obstacle avoidance, enabling EVO to be among the safest drones on this list. Not counting DJI’s high-end masterpieces, of course.
When talking numbers, you can’t help but admire what Autel Robotics managed to accomplish with this device. We’re looking at a foldable beast featuring 30ish minutes of flight time and 7 kilometers of operating range. That’s the same specifications featured by the likes of highest-end drones in DJI’s lineup. Yep, Autel Robotics EVO means business!
2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
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?
1. DJI Inspire 2 – Longest Flight Time Drone
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. Let’s not forget about the Zenmuse gimbal/camera solutions which bring unparalleled performance across the boards. Both amateurs and experts will have their way with this beast which puts their imagination to the test with exceptional features at its disposal.
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.
Final words on DJI Inspire 2
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.
Honorable Mention :
1. 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, 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 immersive flying experience.
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?
Let’s take a closer look at quick and easy methods of increasing your drone’s flight time:
1. 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.
2. 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!
3. 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?
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.
And last but not least – drones with follow me mode are 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 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 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.