Syma X5C batteries

One of the biggest obstacles when flying drones is their fairly short battery life. Early machines were lucky to exceed ten minutes in the sky, which is fairly standard for modern toy-class drones, but the best consumer drones are beating half an hour, and many fixed wing can exceed an hour. There are commercial machines that can fly for multiple hours and even some solar powered units that can fly indefinitely.

Today is another list of drones generated from our database. As you may be aware, our database is ever expanding, but does not yet contain all of the drones on the market. We’ll get there! We know full well that there are commercial drones that far exceed what the typical consumer drone can accomplish, but we’re mostly going to stick with the consumer off-the-shelf drones here today. Let’s get started.

  • DJI Matrice 200 series: 200/210/RTK

    (9.5)
    $6500.00 BUY
    • 38 - MIN
    • 6K - 24 FPS
    • 50 - MPH
    • 5 - MILES
    DJI designed the Matrice 200 series to offer a versatile set of inspection capabilities. Choose from various payloads and mounting points to look up, down...
  • Yuneec Mantis G

    (9.2)
    $699.00 BUY
    • 33 - Minutes
    • 4K - 30 FPS
    • 45 - MPH
    • 2.43 - MILES
    The Yuneec Mantis G adds a stabilized camera Gimbal to the Mantis Q - exactly the missing piece from the original folding drone. Now you...
  • Yuneec Mantis Q

    (8.1)
    $499.00 BUY
    • 33 - Minutes
    • 4K - 30 FPS
    • 41 - MPH
    • 0.93 - MILES
    The Yuneec Mantis Q is the company's first compact, folding drone. Voice commands are fun, it's fast and reliable, we just want to see a...
  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro

    (9.7)
    $1449.00 BUY
    • 31 - MIN
    • 4K - 30 FPS
    • 44 - MPH
    • 4.3 - MILES
    DJI called the Mavic 2 Pro an iterative update over the original Mavic Pro; It may look like a simple upgrade, but the Mavic 2...
  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

    (9.5)
    $1299.00 BUY
    • 31 - MIN
    • 4K - 30 FPS
    • 44 - MPH
    • 4.3 - MILES
    Along with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic 2 Zoom is one of the safest drones in the sky. You'll enjoy the flight with...

How can I improve battery life?

There are many factors that affect battery life in your drone. Most of the factors are absolutely predictable, such as weight, aerodynamics, power consumption from lights or cameras, and fighting wind in the sky. For example, removing the camera and propeller guards from the Syma X5C almost doubles the flight time. If you have unnecessary accessories attached to your machine, consider removing them.

It’s important to note that drones are more efficient when moving than when hovering. This isn’t always true, but the likes of DJI tend to report maximum flight time when constantly moving at a smooth and consistent pace. This is easier to understand with fixed-wing drones — when moving fast enough the wings create lift, pulling the drone through the air requires far less energy than to hover in place. Explore our science of flight series for more details.

The last piece of advice I can offer is to fly smooth and slow. Ever notice that racing drones, the ones that fly at top speeds and make many rapid direction changes, they rarely exceed 8 minutes of flight, most are rated for about 5 minutes. Camera drones tend to last longer, as you keep them smooth for video capture. Bottom line, it takes a lot of energy for a drone to change direction, the fewer direction changes, including acceleration and deceleration, the longer you’ll fly.

Let’s learn more about those drones:

1st

DJI Matrice 200 series: 200/210/RTK

February 2017

Release Date

When DJI re-imagined their commercial drone platform, they had inspection services in mind. Previous drones struggled with looking up, so DJI added a mount to point a camera up. Previous drones struggled with only having room for one payload, so DJI put three mount points, and thus the DJI Matrice 200 series was born. The Matrice 200 is the started machine, a quadcopter that accepts two bottom mounted payloads. The Matrice 210 adds a third mount on top of the drone, for an upward facing camera. The Matrice 210 RTK adds in that crucial GPS performance for demanding environments and precision operations.

These are powerful, fast and weather resistant drones that are almost custom order from DJI. Budget about $6,500 to get started, with a full flight package of the 210 RTK running north of $10,000.

2nd

Yuneec Mantis G

October 2019

Release Date

The Yuneec Mantis G is everything we had hoped for in the original Mantis Q. We can't see the difference between these drones, save for the new stabilized camera Gimbal. Superb flight time, easy controls, voice activated features, a compact design that folds small for transport and a 4K camera all sound good to us.

Yuneec understands they have stiff competition in this portion of the drone market. They build mostly for the commercial space, but fun drones like the Mantis line and larger Typhoon hexacopters have a tough battle. The Mantis G is a leap forward for the company. We had a hard time recommending the Mantis Q to users that cared about shooting video, now we can put the DJI Mavic 2 drones and this new Mantis G in the same sentence.

Based on price and camera sensor size, the Yuneec Mantis G best competes with the DJI Mavic Air, which is to say it is a viable option for hobby pilots looking for a reliable drone to fly.

The Yuneec Mantis G will be $699 at launch in October 2019.

Purchase links coming soon!

3rd

Yuneec Mantis Q

August 2018

Release Date

The Yuneec Mantis Q is an easy drone to get excited about, it packs a slim, folding form-factor, it flies for longer than most drones on the market, it has DJI Mavic Air level specifications and it has a cool trick, voice commands. We must admit, the long list of flight features and modes exceeded our needs of a drone, but the things we asked it to do, it did very well. 33 minutes of flight time allows for a lot of action in the air, the voice control features make for a good time as well.

We understand that this is a first generation of the product, we really like it, but the camera is not stabilized. It's obvious that this drone was made for pilots, not for photographers. That about sums up our opinion of the machine: if you are looking for a fun drone to fly, the Mantis Q is fantastic, if you are looking for a flying camera, this isn't the drone you're looking for.

Check out the Yuneec Mantis Q for about $450 on Amazon, down from its original $499 price at launch.

4th

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

August 2018

Release Date

Introduced in August of 2018, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro instantly became the best consumer-class folding drone that DJI had to offer. A marked upgrade over the original Mavic Pro, the Mavic 2 Pro rocks a 1-inch camera sensor for 4K video capture at 100Mbps, multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors for some of the safest drone flight possible, and much more. OcuSync 2.0 enhances connectivity to the remote control and other accessories, now able to transmit 1080p live stream video well beyond the legal line-of-sight.

With an initial launch price of $1449, plus another $319 to get the Fly More kit with extra batteries, there is a barrier to entry with this machine, but if the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is within your budget, we think you will not be disappointed.

5th

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

August 2018

Release Date

If you run down the spec sheet, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro are the same machine, with one major exception, the camera. The folding quadcopter design offers great portability, the multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors assist in safe flight and the new capabilities of OcuSync 2.0 add versatility for control and accessories. That is true for both of the drones, the Mavic 2 Zoom, on the other hand, rocks a 2x optical zoom lens on top of a 12MP camera. It shoots 4K video at 100Mbps and can digitally double that zoom for an impressive close-up.

Launching with a price of $1299, plus $319 for a Fly More kit, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom was an instant crowd favorite.


Notable commercial and fixed-wing drones with superb battery life:

How important is battery life to you and your flights?