The French company Parrot is one of few top name drone manufacturers not based out of Shenzhen right now. Offering an impressive line of uniquely-styled fliers, Parrot likes to break out their aerial vehicles into two main categories, Minidrones and Drones. From there, Parrot Business Solutions handles their commercial side of things.
Looking into Parrot’s two categories, I would break out the devices into four groups, including boats, cars, quadcopters and airplanes. Do not get fixated on these four styles exclusively, however, as more than one of the drones merges two groups together.
Promising a fun way to hit land, sea and air, let’s take a look at the Parrot drones lineup.
Fall-2019: Parrot has not made any major moves lately, we know they are working hard on the commercial end of their offerings, with the Disco-Pro AG offering multiple payloads for inspection services, but the consumer side has been stale since the launch of the Parrot Anafi. We hope to see more from them soon.
Before we begin
As always, please allow us a moment to talk safety and best practices before we dive into the drones. If you are a regular to our site, there is not much to say that you haven’t already read. Most Parrot drones are large enough that they need to be registered with the FAA before you fly. It’s $5 that gives you easy access to the latest safety information on all things that go into the air in the United States. Obviously you’ll need to identify and follow the drone laws and regulations in your own country, and even in your specific state, city or community, and always remember to fly safe out there.
Keep in mind, it does not matter if you have to register your drone or not, you will have to follow the same rules of the air. Do you know what they are?
Related reading: Before you fly, things to know
I won’t go long on this, you can get into the specific safety and legal info through the links below.
Things to know before you fly
- You must register your drone with the FAA before you fly
- You must affix your drone registration number to your craft
- Coming soon: The FAA will require you to pass a test before you fly your drone
- You must acquire your Part 107 certificate if you are to receive any compensation for your flight
- You must follow all of the FAA’s airspace rules if you are flying outdoors
- Hobby flights have different requirements from commercial flights
- In the eye’s of the FAA, drones are aircraft. Period.
- You need to acquire authorization to fly in controlled airspace
- Almost all drones over 249 grams will need a Remote ID broadcast starting April 21, 2021
July 2018Release Date
The Parrot Anafi is one of the best entries from Parrot for the consumer camera drone market. Recognizing the power of an articulating gimbal, the new 21MP, 4K camera is able to point all the way down and rotate to pointing all the way up. This is extremely powerful for inspection services on commercial drones, but is built into a consumer friendly folding quadcopter design.
The drone itself is a step up from Parrot's usual mostly-foam build. Foam is great for building size without adding much weight, instead the Anafi is a much sleeker package with a plastic body.
Look for the now-common set of features in the Anafi, such as folding propeller arms, folding propellers, a compact size and a stabilized 4K camera. The remote control uses your phone as a display and you can swap batteries to expand your flight day. The Parrot Anafi sells for $699, but you can often find deals to save a few dollars.
Starting off with, what we will call, the toy-class drones, the minidrones, this is where we will find the most diversity in the Parrot line. Keeping things small, lightweight, easy to control and fairly inexpensive, first time pilots and children may want to start here.
Airborne Night and Airborne Cargo
At just 54 grams, 0.12 lbs, the Parrot Airborne line offers two flavors for your tastes, the Night, which has bright LED headlights, and the Cargo, with mounting points for Lego/Mega-Blocks style cargo.
Control either by mobile application or opt for the controller for a few more dollars. Marketed to younger audiences, the Airborne drones are durable and promoted as being safe to fly indoors for about 9 minutes per charge. Get started with quadcopter flight for $80 straight from Parrot, or about $55 for the Cargo on Amazon or $32 for the Airborne Night today.
Officially replacing both the Airborne Night and Cargo, the Parrot Mambo is a slight more substantial drone, and one that takes fun to the next level. Two accessories define the Mambo, the first is a small ball launcher that mounts on top of the drone, ready to take on other drones in aerial battle, or just annoy a parent or sibling.
The second accessory has a bit more function and potential, a cargo clamp. The Grabber is a cute little clamp that is motor controlled for you to carry up to 4 grams of cargo. Simple enough, they advertise this as a fun way to deliver notes to a loved one.
Jumping Night and Jumping Race
Taking remote control vehicles to the ground, the Jumping line of Parrot drones are two wheeled vehicles that scoot along the ground, then have the ability to leap into the air. The mounted camera is perhaps the most interesting bonus to the Jumping drones, with Race enjoying higher speeds but Night offering up LED headlights.
Take video from the ground at up to 8.7 mph with the Parrot Jumping Race and Jumping Night for $75 from Amazon.
Also seen in our Best waterproof drones list
I think the easiest way to explain the Hydrofoil is as a float attachment to a mini quadcopter. The genius is in providing two machines in one. The little quadcopter can fly alone, or attach to the floats to propel the boat portion through the water.
Check out the Parrot Hydrofoil for $35 on Amazon.
Blurring the lines between quadcopter and airplane, the Parrot Swing is an intriguing device. This is a large foam X-shaped dual wing design, you start with the propellers facing up. Throttle up to hover as a quadcopter, then as you move around you’ll eventually get to speed forward and the wings will bring you into airplane-like flight.
With the large flat wings providing much of the lift, the propellers are then able to produce higher speeds and much greater flight time. This is the first drone on our list that exceeds the U.S. mandated 0.55 lbs registration requirement – please register this drone with the FAA before you fly.
Check out the Parrot Swing for $39 from Amazon today.
Science of Flight series
We have plenty more to read if you are interested in the science of drone flight. We are not physicists, but we know just enough to explain some of the basic concepts of how drones operate, how they fly and how to do so effectively. Be sure to check out our other Science of Flight articles to learn more.
Now we move onto the serious fliers. If you will, let’s say that it is safe to fly the minidrones in the house, excluding the Swing, obviously, but the following full drones are for outdoor enjoyment.
Unlike the minidrone segment, Parrot has only two styles of flying drones, including a couple variations on the standard quadcopter and another airplane-like machine.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0
September 2012Release Date
As you may have noticed, Parrot makes a lot of drones. Most of their machines are toy-class or commercial drones, with a few in between. Parrot likes to play with different designs, including fixed-wing planes and, like the AR Drone 2.0, standard quadcopters. The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is like most of their machines, made of foam and plastic. This is great for making light-weight crafts that are easy to operate, and safe for young pilots.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 offers a 720p camera for FPV flight, and holds up very well considering its age. Check out the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 from around $180. Be forewarned, this is a discontinued drone, it sold for under $100 for a time.
Parrot Bebop 2
Following after the popular Bebop (1) the Parrot Bebop 2 finally bumps the onboard camera to 1080p resolution. This foam bodied quadcopter is a high flying, fast, lightweight photography drone. The drone itself can be purchased and flown via a connected mobile device, or you can seriously gear up with controller accessories.
Starting with the Skycontroller, a purpose-built remote control with far better range than your smartphone, and mount for a small tablet. Basically, this is the starter pack for Parrot’s efforts that match some of the larger and more expensive drones on the market.
Beyond streaming video to your mobile device, Parrot also has a treat called the Cockpitglasses. A VR style head unit for immersive FPV flying.
The Parrot Bebop 2 recently received a software update that enabled several follow-me modes, unfortunately, they come in form of an in-app purchase through the mobile app, but at least it exists.
Check out the Parrot Bebop 2 for $350 as the drone alone through Parrot or Amazon.
Parrot Bebop 2 Power
Looking within, the new Parrot Bebop 2 Power is an internal upgrade of parts and software to improve the flying experience. The same outward design now has greater range, an upgraded 1/2.3-inch cam