We’re excited to see what comes next for the new year, as 2022 promises some serious changes in the drone market. So far, we’re seeing impressive new camera drones, and later this year we expect to hear all about techniques and technologies to meet the requirements of the FAA’s Remote ID mandate.

DJI Air 2S

There are some amazing drones out there, everything from nano machines for the living room pilot, carbon fiber beasts for the commercial market and Hollywood, plus some amazing consumer rigs designed to put a camera into the sky. Here is our short list of the best of the best drones in 2022.

Note: We will update this list every month, or when new drones make the list. The Autel Robotics Evo Lite+ impressed us, it comfortably belongs with the other top-end camera drones. Another difficult decision was made, we’ve removed the DJI Mavic 2 Pro from this list. It’s still a capable drone, but newer machines are outperforming it for the money.

Important: The FAA has mandated the need for a drone license for all flights. Hobby pilots now need a TRUST certificate before they fly!


Jonathan Feist, Drone Pilot
Jonathan Feist

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.

 

 

Best drones

Let’s explore the best drones on the market today!

1. DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S: Best value camera drone

Drone Rush RecommendsThe DJI Air 2S is the culmination of every lesson DJI has learned with their Mavic series to date. This flying 5.4K camera has efficient flight, solid speeds, superb stability, reliable safety features, and the entirely familiar folding design and flight features many of us have come to know from other DJI drones. Considering that the Air 2S packs a camera and features that compete with drones twice the price, this is a winner for most pilots.

This is the first viable drone we’ve seen that packs a 1-inch, 20MP camera for under $1,000, and the new flight range is a class-leader at any price. 12KM of HD connectivity is more than most pilots can fly, but ensures an excellent connection at close range. Battery life is on par with the best consumer drones out there, offering up to 31 minutes of flight time.

See the full DJI Air 2S review

Why we fly the DJI Air 2S?

Considering the available drones on the market today, we are happy to recommend the DJI Air 2S to any hobby pilot whose goal is to put a camera into the sky. Make no mistake, there are better camera drones available for higher prices, and there are more affordable drones for those that do not care about the camera as much, but the value for the price is hard to beat with this little drone; We’re packing the Air 2S in our backpack the next time we go hiking.

What we like

  • 5.4K camera
  • 31 minute flight time
  • Upgraded flight features
  • Huge 7.5 mile connectivity

What we don’t like

  • No display on remote
  • Fewer safety features than larger drones
 

DJI Air 2S

(9.8)
  • 31 - MIN
  • 5.4K - 20MP
  • 42.5 - MPH

April 15, 2021

Release Date

2. DJI Mavic 3

DJI Mavic 3: Best flying camera

DJI Mavic 3 Cine flying

Equipped with a powerful 20MP Micro Four Thirds camera, the DJI Mavic 3 instantly became one of the best camera drones on the market. 46 minutes of flight time and a whopping 15km (9.3 miles) of connectivity mean a stronger connection than ever before.

The Mavic 3 comes in two versions, the standard model has 8GB of internal storage, while the Mavic 3 Cine bumps up to a 1TB internal SSD. The SSD is fast enough to enable Apple ProRes 422 HQ format video, but both machines can record up to 5.1K at 50fps. There is a second camera as well, a 1/2-inch shooter that has up to 28x hybrid zoom. All-direction obstacle avoidance keeps you safe as you soar through the sky for up to 46 minutes per battery.

The optional new RC Pro remote has a built-in display, and is a solid new remote control for some Mavic drones.

See our full DJI Mavic 3 review

Why we fly the DJI Mavic 3?

The Micro Four Thirds camera on the Mavic 3 is a reason to get excited. Few drones have a camera this large and capable. The latest flight features make this drone one of the safest and easiest to fly, as well. However, a fantastic camera package comes with a cost, the DJI Mavic 3 starts at $2,199, with the Fly More combo running $2,999, and the full DJI Mavic 3 Cine with RC Pro for $4,999.

Bottom line, the DJI Mavic 3 is a serious camera drone, designed for the professional pilot. 

What we like

  • Powerful drone
  • Superb 5.1K camera
  • Up to 28x zoom
  • 15KM range with O3+ connection
  • APAS 5.0 & ActiveTrack 5.0
  • Optional RC Pro remote has a great display
  • Optional 1TB internal SSD
  • All-direction obstacle avoidance

What we don’t like

  • Price
 

DJI Mavic 3

(9.9)
  • 46 - Minutes
  • 5.1K - 20MP
  • 42.5 - MPH

November 4, 2021

Release Date

3. Autel Robotics Evo Lite+

Autel Robotics Evo Lite+: A welcome camera drone contender

Autel Robotics Evo Lite

The Autel Robotics Evo Lite+ is a solid camera drone. The 6K shooter is a 1-inch sensor that captures 20MP stills, the big battery supplies up to 40 minutes of flight time, and the new range capabilities make for a reliable connection. There are two versions of the Evo Lite, the standard model comes with a smaller camera that is limited to 4K, while the Evo Lite+ model is the version we would recommend.

Why we fly the Autel Robotics Evo Lite+?

One of the selling features of the Evo Lite+ is its low-light capabilities. We can vouch for that, as that big 1-inch camera captures extremely clean low-light shots. Very few are allowed to fly at night, so this is a tough selling point, but tough shadows benefit as well. 

What we like

  • Relaxed flight characteristics
  • Great 6K camera
  • Super low-light capture
  • Great flight time

What we don’t like

  • No display in remote
  • Not great indoors
 

Autel Robotics Evo Lite

(9.5)
  • 40 - Minutes
  • 6K - 60 FPS
  • 42.5 - MPH

December 2021

Release Date

4. DJI Inspire 2

DJI Inspire 2: Best professional drone

DJI Cendence Tracktenna Ronin 2 launch DJI Inspire 2

The DJI Inspire 2 is the kind of drone that was made with Hollywood action shots in mind. This high-speed drone is powerful, stable, and can carry multiple payloads. The Zenmuse series of cameras can go up to 6K video recording, the dual hot-swappable batteries mean minimal down-time during shooting, and the dual-operator controls make it possible for the pilot and a camera operator to work together to get the best shots possible. Further, the retractable landing gear with 360-swivel  camera gimbal better allow for shots from any angle.

Why we fly the DJI Inspire 2?

Let’s be honest, this is still the best camera drone you can get for around $5,000. It is really old, as far as drones go, but it was so well built that newer machines are still trying to catch up. It is a larger drone, making it tough to transport, but if convenience is not of concern, and you need a great camera drone, the Inspire 2 is still leaps and bounds better than the smaller hobby drones on the market today. 

What we like

  • Best pro camera around!
  • Great camera options
  • Fast and reliable
  • Easy to operate

What we don’t like

  • Full flight kit is expensive
  • Very large drone
 

DJI Inspire 2

(9.8)
  • 27 - Minutes
  • 6K - 30 FPS
  • 58 - MPH

November 2016

Release Date

5. DJI Mini 2

DJI Mini 2: Most affordable 4K drone

DJI Mini 2 flying front

For a long time after it launched, the DJI Mini 2 was the only 4K camera drone under $500 that we would consider for our personal fleet. The Mini