To be honest… there are a LOT of garbage drone products out there. Our Best Drones 2017 list is designed to give you a quick glance at the best drones the market has to offer. This is a pretty subjective question unless you really break down what you are using that particular drone for. Some people just want to fly around their house, others might want to focus on cinematic shots and yet others might want to go as fast as possible!
For convenience, this list has been broken down into a couple of categories and for each category there is a “winner” and a runner up. These truly are the best drones available in 2017.
Best Drones 2017
I decided to include a “best overall” drone as some people might like to have a singular recommendation. When I say best overall what I really mean is that this drone has the best mix of beginner friendly features, growth for something you won’t get bored with and recognition in the industry as one of the most well made drones.
BEST OVERALL: Blade Vortex 150
For clarification this is not a recommendation for a starting point for children. This is a 3in “racer” style drone that will give you a lot of benefits and thrill of flying a larger 5 in set up but at a more manageable size. If you are beginner and this is your first “race” quadcopter it would definitely be wise to start with a 3 cell battery. It’s a much more relaxed flyer and much more docile at that speed. It has some much more advanced features such as full acro mode, an on screen display and requires owning a transmitter and receiver already. These features make it a questionable inclusion to our Best Drones 2017 list but if you are up for the challenge, this drone is worth a look!
This category who really want a drone that will basically fly itself while you focus on photography, camera settings and camera movement. There is no better company in the aerial photography business than DJI. There are two drones in 2017 that really hit it out of the park.
TOP CHOICE: DJI MAVIC PRO
The DJI Mavic Pro is easily the highest performing, most affordable and most portable aerial photography drone that is out on the market right now. DJI has sold hundreds of thousands of these drones and the reason is pretty clear. It is an extremely well made product with an attractive price point and pretty much any feature the average photography / cinematographer would want.
Runner Up: Phantom 4
The runner up for the aerial photography category is by the same company, DJI. The Phantom 4 is the runner up because you get all of the benefits of the image quality and stabilization for a lower price. The downside to the Phantom 4 is that it is quite a bit less portable then the Mavic Pro. However if fitting in your computer bag or DSLR bag isn’t a huge priority – you will be an extremely happy with a Phantom 4 purchase.
The reason the Phantom 4 Pro was not the runner up is because while it does give a better feature set then the Phantom 4, it isn’t compelling enough for the price. The slight camera upgrade and the additional positioning sensors weren’t quite enough to push it over the top.
The second most popular category of drones is micro drones. These are drones you can comfortably fly in the smallest of back yards or even your living room space and still have a ton of fun. Without question the best way to learn how to fly any kind of drone is by purchasing an inexpensive micro drone and learn the basics consequence free. With a small amount of mass but the same control inputs you can really get the movements down without worrying about crashing.
TOP CHOICE: BLADE INDUCTRIX
The Blade Inductrix is legendary in the drone community. Though it was technically released in 2016, it still easy makes our Best Drone 2017 list. It is essentially the perfect starter drone. It’s blades are enclosed in a “duct” like plastic protection making it perfect for bumping into furniture, ceilings and floors without consequence. At a mere 19 grams, you can’t really hurt anything else either! With that little mass, you are also very unlikely to break the drone in your misadventures.
Runner Up: Hubsan X4 H107C
The Hubsan X4 is also a beginner classic. This drone truly qualifies as a micro drone – the core body about being about two inches long. Having an onboard camera is more of a novelty then anything but the $45 price point of this drone makes it kind of a non-factor. If you use the camera feature… great! If you don’t use it at all you are still going to learn the basic flying skills necessary- with LED lights to help you with orientation and direction.
Honorable Mention: Eachine E010
A honorable mention in the micro category is the Eachine E010. The micro category is such a huge category and it probably deserves more than a top two. Price is a big consideration in the Best Drones 2017 list so this one is worth looking at. Although the Eachine E010 is suspiciously similar to the Blade Inductrix but at price point of under $25 it is pretty hard to ignore.
Okay, even though it seems super lame – it is really important that you don’t buy a 100 mph race drone for you first FPV quadcopter. You will have more fun, more success and be better skilled to buy a mean, lean racing machine after gaining experience with a smaller platform.
TOP CHOICE: BLADE INDUCTRIX FPV
Much like the regular micro drone listing, I can’t help but recommend the Inductrix FPV as a first FPV drone. It’s agile, tough and give a full FPV experience in a small package. Like it’s non-camera younger brother it has a low mass to power ratio making it perfect for “shooting gaps” with little risk to damaging the platform. A special note on this is that flight times… are not great. You can expect to get 3-4 minutes per battery which can really be a buzz kill. The fix for this is to buy plenty of replacement batteries so you can always have one on charge.
Runner Up: Estes Proto-X FPV
A bit cheaper than the Inductrix FPV – the Estes Proto-X is a great option. It’s slightly less agile and definitely heavier than our top choice but it is a clear contender bases on performance, support and reviews of the aircraft.
Hope you enjoyed this Best Drones 2017 list! It really depends on what your goals are for flying drones, but I hoped I have covered most of the main goals and purposes for buying and flying. This page will be updated every 30 days with the latest developments in the drone industry so you can always be sure you are seeing the latest and greatest in the industry.