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The 7 best drones for 2024 let you shoot gorgeous video with ease

The 7 best drones for 2024: Experience flight from a bird's eye perspective

The latest drones are easier to fly than ever, even for amateur pilots. Many are loaded with technology that prevents them from crashing and that makes take offs and landings as simple as pressing a button. All also have at least one camera that captures breathtaking, high-resolution video and images with a vast field of view and incredible detail. And thanks to GPS, you always know where you're drone is and how fast it's traveling. 

Maybe the most amazing feature we've seen recently is the ability to connect with FPV goggles, so a pilot can immerse themselves in a flight and see everything from a first-person, bird's eye view with incredible clarity. 

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What is the best drone in 2024?

Whether you're a keen drone pilot, or just someone who wants to try a drone flying for the first time, our in-house team of tech experts has curated this roundup of the best drones out there. Out of hundreds of drone models, we've narrowed down the selection to seven models that represent the best value and features for first-time, amateur and semi-pro drone pilots. 

Best drone overall: DJI Mavic 3 Pro

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

Max. Video Resolution: 5.1K 50fps | Max. Still Image Resolution: 40MP | Max. Flight Time: 43 minutes | Max. Flight Distance: 17.4 miles

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro has a unique three-camera system mounted on a three-axis gimbal that tilts, pans and rolls. The cameras can be remotely controlled while the drone is in flight. However, this is no ordinary camera setup. The folks at DJI teamed up with Hasselblad, one of the world's most prestigious camera companies, and the end result is impressive. 

You get a 4/3-inch CMOS Hasselblad camera with a 24mm equivalent lens (20MP resolution). This is accompanied by a 1/1.3-inch CMOS medium telephoto camera with a 70mm equivalent lens that has a 3x optical zoom (40MP resolution). The third camera offers a 1/2-inch CMOS telephoto camera with a 166mm equivalent lens and a 28x hybrid zoom (12MP resolution). 

For video, this drone captures stunning 5.1K resolution images at up to 50fps, or 4K video at up to 120fps. The cameras offer HLG support and a special night mode. To store all this gorgeous content, the drone has 1TB of internal storage.

Of course, DJI packed plenty of piloting features into its flagship drone, so you get powerful navigational tools and built-in GPS. The drone itself has a folding design. It can travel at speeds up to almost 69 feet per second and be controlled using the DJI RC-N1 remote control. Everything about this drone, from its design and piloting interface, to the quality of the video and photo content that can be captures is beyond impressive. 

And for the ultimate in immersive piloting experiences, you can use the DJI Goggles Integra Motion goggles or the DJI Goggles 2 Motion goggles (each sold separately). If you've dreamed about taking Hollywood quality aerial video or detailed images, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro can make those dreams come true, and at a price that's very reasonable, considering the advanced technology that's packed in.

Out of all the drones featured in this roundup, this is the one we most recommend for consistent, pro-quality results without the pro-level price tag (which is often two to four times higher).

Best for drone with VR headset for beginners: DJI Avata Explorer Combo

DJI Avata Explorer Combo

Max. Video Resolution: 4K 60fps | Max. Still Image Resolution: 48MP | Max. Flight Time: 18 minutes | Max. Flight Distance: 7.21 miles

This compact drone (which weighs a mere 14.46 ounces and fits in one hand) offers several goodies. We love that the propellers are surrounded by protective guards that prevent damage in the event of a crash, and reduces the risk of injury if someone gets too close.

Built into the drone is a high-resolution camera that takes 4K video at up to 60fps with a 155-degree field of view, or still images at an impressive 48MP. The image stabilization features ensure focused and fluid video that showcases stunning detail.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to purchase this drone, however, is that it comes with DJI's FPV Goggles 2 and an RC Motion 2 controller, which makes the drone extremely easy to pilot while seeing every second of the flight from an incredibly immersive first-person perspective.

While the RC Motion 2 controller gives a beginner pilot maximum and intuitive control during flights, there's also an emergency-brake button and downward-facing sensors to prevent crashes. The DJI Avata is a pleasure to fly. As your piloting skills get better, you can give yourself more control over the drone's movements and speed.

Best value drone for videography: Exo X7 Ranger Plus

EXO X7 Ranger PLUS (2024)

Max. Video Resolution: 4K 25fps | Max. Still Image Resolution: 10MP | Max. Flight Time: 28 minutes | Max. Flight Distance: 5 miles

The Exo X7 Ranger Plus does not have the highest resolution camera, For that, you'd need to spend well over $1,000. But what this drone offers is an impressive 4K resolution camera and a price that's under $350.

This 2024 model of the Exo X7 Ranger Plus has a retail price of $549, but it's on sale for just $329 (with a bundle that includes the drone, one battery, a travel bag and a collection of accessories). We suggest purchasing the model with the integrated 360-degree obstacle avoidance system for just $50 more and at the same time, investing in at least one additional battery.

When folded, the X7 Ranger Plus measures 8 x 4 x 3 inches, but extends to 10 x 10 x 3 inches when it's ready for flight. The entire unit weighs just 22 ounces. Overall, this drone offers a great value for the money. It's great for beginners, as well as slightly more experienced drone pilots.

Best drone for 6K cinematography: Autel Robotics Evo Lite+

Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ Premium Bundle

Max. Video Resolution: 6K @30fps | Max. Still Image Resolution: 20MP | Max. Flight Time: 40 minutes | Max. Flight Distance: 14.9 miles

Updated for 2024, this bright orange drone stands out for its 6K resolution video at 30fps using a 1-inch CMOS sensor. 

The built-in camera is mounted on a three-axis gimbal, and you can control camera features during a flight, including the aperture. And in low light, a night mode allows for an ISO as high as 64,000. The camera setup also supports HDR.

Other photography modes include portrait, follow and movie, plus the camera offers 16x digital zoom capabilities, so capturing those cinematic shots is simple. Another useful feature is the defog mode that can cut through haze to capture a more vibrant image.

When it comes to flying this foldable drone, you can rest easy thanks to three-way obstacle avoidance. The display on the included remote offers 2.7K resolution and it can receive content from the drone in real time from up to 7.5 miles away. Flight speed is 11mph in smooth mode, 22mph in standard mode, or up to 40.2mph in ludicrous mode. (We do not recommend amateur drone pilots activate ludicrous mode.)

The drone comes bundled with everything needed to start flying and capturing photo and video content, including three batteries. 

Best compact drone: DJI Mini 4 Pro

DJI Mini 4 Pro

Max. Video Resolution: 4K 60fps | Max. Still Image Resolution: 48MP | Max. Flight Time: 45 minutes | Max. Flight Distance: 12.4 miles

 If you're looking for a compact drone with great performance, we recommend checking out the DJI Mini 4 Pro. It weighs in at a mere 8.78 ounces and offers a folding design. However, packed into this drone is a powerful camera system and a wide range of piloting features, including advanced omnidirectional obstacle sensing. Maximum flight speed is about 52.4 feet per second. 

The built-in camera is mounted on a three-axis gimbal. It offers a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor that grabs 4K 60fps HDR video or 4K 100fps standard video. 

To warehouse your content, the drone has 2GB of internal storage, but it can also store content on optional microSD memory cards. Piloting the drone with an included DJI's RC-N2 remote.

The drone itself can be purchased for $759 (including the remote), but the DJI Mini 4 Pro Fly More Combo Plus bundle ($1,159) includes the drone, DJI RC 2 remote, three Intelligent Flight Battery Plus batteries, a charging hub and a shoulder bag.

Best handheld drone for casual flying and videography: HoverAir X1 

HoverAir X1

Max. Video Resolution: 2.7K @ 30fps HDR | Max. Still Image Resolution: N/A | Max. Flight Time: 11 minutes | Max. Flight Distance: 98 feet

This adorable little drone fits in a hand and weighs just 4.41 ounces. It offers a handy follow-me mode, so it's ideal for capturing selfies from above. It can also be operated hands-free.

While in flight, the drone can follow pre-determined patterns, so it can hover, zoom out, follow, orbit or offer a bird's eye POV of whatever you're doing. The camera uses triple stabilization to help ensure it captures smooth video.

You get 32GB of internal storage for your recorded content, so there's no need to mess with memory cards. Maximum flight speed is about 20mph (depending on winds). Flight time is only 11 minutes and flight distance is just 98 feet, but the drone provides an easy way to capture your activities from unique points of view. 

The HoverAir X1 is extremely easy to fly and offers intelligent tracking.

Best drone for kids and families: Holy Stone HS440

Holy Stone HS440 Foldable FPV drone

Max. Video Resolution: 1080p | Max. Still Image Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels | Max. Flight Time: 20 minutes | Max. Flight Distance: 330 feet

The Holy Stone HS440 foldable drone is ideal for younger pilots. It promises automatic stabilization and has auto-take off and landing capabilities, making it easy to fly. Video resolution, however, is limited to 1080p and maximum flight time is only about 20 minutes.

The camera tilts 90 degrees. Everything folds up and fits in a handy carrying case. The drone itself weighs a mere 5.9 ounces. The included remote requires a smartphone connection.

The drone also offers a gesture-control mode, flight point mode and circle fly mode. The Holy Stone HS440 is more sophisticated than a remote-controlled toy for kids, but it's nowhere near as feature-packed as more advanced drones that are also more expensive. (In other words, you get what you pay for.)

Be sure to click the coupon to get the best price.

Can drones be flown anywhere?

Nope. There are strict rules about where drones can be flown. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration requires you to register drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds (or 250 grams). Plus, all recreational drone users, even weekend hobbyists and beginners, are required to take and pass the the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST), before flying their craft.

To learn more about drone requirements, check out this handy tool on the FAA site. The website asks you questions and then shows you what rules or guidelines apply to you. Also, be sure to visit the FAA's main drone page for more useful information. 

The bottom line: Don't take to the air without first getting up to speed on your responsibilities -- and FAA requirements and regulations. 

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