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 now exceeding half an hour, and many fixed wing can exceed an hour. Outside of the consumer class drones, 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.
Why trust Drone Rush?
I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.
Drones with the best flight time
DJI Matrice 300 RTK: 55 minutes
Aerial inspection services can be time consuming endeavors, particularly if precision is required, which is why DJI made the M300 drones to enjoy nearly an hour of flight time. That’s right, most consumer drones float around the half hour mark, but the Matrice 300 RTK can stay airborne for up to 55 minutes.
Should I buy the Matrice 300 RTK?
If you are a hobby pilot, enjoying flights from your backyard, or an aspiring professional pilot, seeking to take amazing photo and video from the sky, the M300 is not really for you. The additional expense for RTK, the ability to haul infrared cameras, and the size of the drone can be fun, but are ultimately overkill for your backyard needs. However, if you’re in the business of inspecting things for a living, the m300 might be the best option you can get your hands on.
Autel Robotics Evo II: 40 minutes
The Autel Robotics Evo II hit the market with a splash back in 2020. Not only was it the first consumer-friendly drone with an 8K camera, it smashed the average drone flight time by over ten minutes. This folding quadcopter is reasonably portable, though we think it’s on the heavy side for a drone its size. Of course, 40 minutes of flight time helps you ignore the extra weight.
Should I buy the Autel Robotics Evo II?
On one hand, the Evo II is still the latest and greatest from Autel Robotics, but on the other, it’s going on two years old already. This is no problem for the airframe, remaining a reliable and powerful option for pilots, but we don’t think the camera sensor has aged very well. Sure, 8K is great, but that sensor was really designed to shoot 4K video with 12MP images, so there was a loss of fidelity to begin with, but newer and more capable sensors have launched since, meaning there are better camera drones on the market for the price today.
DJI Matrice 200 series: 38 minutes
The DJI Matrice 200 series is discontinued, in favor of the newer 300 series, however, if you can still find one, it’s worth your time. With only 38 minutes of flight time, you’re still enjoying some of the longest airtime around, and the various payload options again make for superb inspection drones. I say again, commercial-class inspection drones.
Should I buy the DJI M200 series?
If you can find an M200, M210, or M210 RTK for sale, and you choose the one that best suites your flight needs, you won’t be disappointed. You might even save a decent chunk of change over the newer M300 series craft.
DJI Mavic Air 2: 34 minutes
The DJI Mavic Air 2 was a treat of a drone. Not only did it offer one of the best cameras for a sub-$1000 drone, it also stepped up the flight time from the Mavic series’ normal 30-31 minute ratings, that’s right, the Mavic Air 2 is rated for up to 34 minutes. The newer Air 2S is the better drone in terms of camera and flight capabilities, but the Mavic Air 2 has better battery life, you decide which is more important.
Should I buy the DJI Mavic Air 2?
The Mavic Air 2 holds an important place in the Mavic lineup, it’s more capable than the mini drones, and less expensive than the larger craft in the series. Sadly, battery life is the Mavic Air 2’s only shining point, as the other drones outpace it in one way or another. I’m trying to say, if you can’t afford the Air 2S or larger, but you can afford more than the Mini 2 and smaller, the Mavic Air 2 will keep you happy. Just know that it has the same camera sensor as the Evo II, which we critiqued for its age already.
Yuneec Mantis G: 33 minutes
The Yuneec Mantis G was an exciting drone for us, we were sure it was the beginning of Yuneec taking on DJI directly in the small, folding consumer quadcopter market. While the Mantis G was able to keep up in most regards, it fell short in availability. We had a hard time finding them to purchase when they were still new, and that trend continues today. That said, it has fun flight features, and a solid 33 minutes of flight time, that’s a win!
Should I buy the Yuneec Mantis G?
At this point, I’d say no. I want to say yes, I want Yuneec to bring the Mantis series back to the forefront, I want to see more great offerings for consumer camera drones, but the Mantis G is no longer a contender for a great camera drone. Still a great drone, fun to fly, and the price might be superb if you can find it.