Beyond how long drones can remain in the sky (Long Flight Time Drones) drones do have some other limitations too. Finding out which drone in which price tier has the least amount of limitations is the key to enjoying the hobby to its fullest. In this case, it’s about flight range. That’s why today we’ll talk about drones with long range.
Since drones are remote-controlled they need a signal to respond to from the pilot’s point. The common question is: How far can a drone fly? Good long range drones can still hold steady hundreds, if not thousands of feet away. Lesser models will likely falter after about a few hundred feet or less.
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So in this article, we’re going to target long distance drones which can get to impressive distances within their price ranges – we’ll see what is the longest range drone in 3 different sections. We’ll mention other important specs too, but the main focus will ultimately cover how lengthy their sky trip scan be.
Table: 5 Long range drones
|5. MJX X708W||720p||10min||80m||See best offer|
|4. Holy Stone HS300||Full HD||10min||100m||See best offer|
|3. Holy Stone F181W||720p||10min||80m||See best offer|
|2. Altair AA108||720p||10min||100m||See best offer|
|1. UDI U818 Plus||720p||15min||150m||See best offer|
5. MJX X708W
The first cheap long range drone that we have on our hands here is made by MJX, a company well known for pushing the boundaries of price/performance. Especially in lower to mid-tier drone market where their models are basically running the show with great specifications and solid overall performance. Nothing different can be said about their X708W model which incorporates gorgeous design with an easy to use control schematic. So, without any more introductory talk, let’s jump straight to action and see what can this little birdie bring to the table!
Camera and features
Yes, drones made by MJX have pretty high specifications, but that doesn’t mean their features are far off from the chart. It’s quite the contrary in terms of X708W. You see, this little camera birdie does not only feature headless mode but adjustable flying speed as well as one key return to home. All 3 of these features will come in handy, but the last one will surely be the one that interests you the most.
As far as the camera is concerned, MJX X708W sports a miniature built-in sensor that can shoot solid selfies and 2MPX aerial photos. However, when it comes to videos you will be surprised to see HD resolution (720p) and relatively smooth framerate. What more could you ask for from an entry level model?
Considering the price tag of this camera birdie, it is really surprising to see such a huge (and yet unbelievably responsive) operating range. As I mentioned at the start – MJX is known for pushing the spec-boundaries and they’ve done so with this one. MJX X708W is able to reach around 80 meters. It is not the longest range drone on the market, but it is definitely one of the best in this price range. Undoubtedly, such a high number is praiseworthy coming from a dirt cheap model. Last but not least, MJX X708W’s battery can endure around 10 minutes of flight time, even when recording. Great job MJX, once again…
4. Holy Stone HS300
Unfortunately, not every long distance drone can wake up real excitement to a person who controls it. Holy Stone HS300 however, can do a lot more. Besides having a high-quality frame, HS300 is equally good when it comes to performance in the sky. It is very well rounded, providing almost everything you can ask for. Whether you are already a professional or having your hands on such a machine for the first time, a good time is guaranteed. Although beauty is measured differently with each pair of eyes, this little fella will most definitely leave its owners more than happy with the way it is designed.
Camera and features
People from Holy Stone made sure this one has everything a potential buyer would want to have for something in this price range. It is equipped with a 1080P HD camera, making it possible for you to take awesome pictures and record high-quality videos. One button takeoff and landing, 3D flip, headless mode, and smartly integrated altitude hold allow you as good experience as it gets.
It weighs just under 1.5 pounds and takes almost no space, making it a great choice for both long and short trips and adventures. HS300 also comes with 2 2000mAh batteries, each capable of holding the machine up to 10 minutes in the air. The control range is somewhere around 100 meters, and just in case something goes bad, it comes with plenty of spare parts that will keep it up and running.
3. Holy Stone F181W
Unfortunately, not every drone can wake up real excitement to a person who controls it. Holy Stone F181W however, can do a lot more, which is something you will hardly get for its price. It is very well rounded, providing everything you need. Whether you are already a professional or having your hands on such a machine for the first time, a good time is guaranteed. Although beauty is measured differently with each pair of eyes, this little fella will most definitely leave its owners happy with the way it looks.
Camera and features
The first thing you will notice on this gorgeous birdie is its camera module. It’s located underneath its body and can produce a pretty good image/video quality. It records only in 720p though, so don’t get your hopes too high for it. Other than that, we should also say a thing or two about Holy Stone F181W features. This little fella has access to the following: one key flip, one key return to home and adjustable speed controls to fit pilots of various experiences.
As far as specifications are concerned, it is safe to say Holy Stone F181W does itself justice. It offers nothing spectacular, but considering the price point it is in, there is no doubt you will be fine with how it performs. Looking straight at the numbers, Holy Stone F181W can endure 7 to 10 minutes in the air and reach all the way to 80 meters from its controller. All in all, if you’re in the market for a solid camera birdie that will not take too much money out of your wallet, Holy Stone F181W is definitely one to check out!
2. Altair AA108
Usually, if you want something with solid quality, you will have to spend a fortune. Altair Aerial AA108 brings a different dimension to the market considering the fact it is sold for a bargain. It is built with a lot of care and attention to detail, which is a pretty good indicator of what to expect from it. One of the best things about it is the great learning curve, as well as its ability to adjust and change different modes depending on the skill set of the pilot. AA108 is a great choice for anyone, mostly due to its versatility combined with a strong frame and a low price.
Camera and features
This long range quadcopter has implemented 120 degrees wide-angle 720P HD camera, making it a great choice for capturing breathtaking shots directly from your smartphone. It also features Custom Route Modes, Headless Mode, and Altitude Hold. Flying it indoors shouldn’t represent a problem even to a kid, with available 1 button takeoff and landing, and overall simplicity of a controller. Once you get your hands on it, you will have some troubles getting them off!
This drone is powered by 2 powerful batteries, each serving up to 10 minutes of flight time. When it comes to range, 100 meters reach should be more than enough to fulfill anyone’s needs. A low battery alarm will take care in keeping you without worries and your drone away from any unnecessary crash risk. It is far from being bulky, so you can take it wherever you want to.
1. UDI U818 Plus
Finally, we have reached the top spot among drones that can go below 300 meters. Sure enough, you’ve all realized that these birdies are all relatively cheap but still able to provide with satisfying flying experience. The same can be said about UDI U818 Plus. It ranges somewhere between entry-level and mid-tier markets, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and more experienced users. What’s so special about it? Well, let’s find out, shall we?!
Camera and features
Thanks to altitude hold, UDI U818 Plus is a highly stable long distance drone. And thanks to such stability, its HD camera (2MPX sensor) is capable of providing you with buttery smooth aerial footage. I kid you not – you will be impressed with what U818 Plus has to offer in terms of photography. Despite the lack of stabilization (hardware or software) it still achieves smooth footage which wouldn’t put to shame even much pricier models.
For those of you loving the number-game, I’m sure you will feel happy with UDI U818 Plus. With approximately 150 meters of operating range, this little bugger is quite the explorer among other similarly priced competition. Battery duration is not to be taken for granted either. This durable drone’s battery can produce 12 to 15-ish minutes of pure fun anytime you want. If that’s not worthy of the 1st spot, then I really don’t know what is…
One more thing – Obviously, UDI U818 Plus has a shorter range than Hol Stone HS100… but the price difference (which is huge) pulls the odds in favor of U818 Plus. Does it deserve the throne? Tell us what you think down in the comment section below!
Table: 300m to 1000m Long Range Drones
|5. HStone HS120D||Full HD||15min||250m||See best offer|
|4. MJX Bugs 2W||Full HD||18min||1km||See best offer|
|3. Drocon DC08||Full HD||13min||400km||See best offer|
|2. HStone HS720||Full HD||23min||800m||See best offer|
|1. DJI Mavic Air||4K||20min||3km||See best offer|
5. Holy Stone HS120D
We’re starting the medium-range list with a proper banger from Holy Stone. HS120D is the name, and this massive drone will sweep you off your feet with its price/performance ratio. Even though it looks massive, it weighs in at only 221 grams, which means you don’t have to do the whole FAA registration process.
Camera and Features
This pupper boasts with a 1080p camera that’s pretty good for personal use. There’s no onboard stabilization so you’ll have to make do with footage that’s a bit on the shaky end. HS120D has FPV too, but the WiFi signal is pretty poor so don’t get your hopes up you’ll go far with it.
The most important factor about this one is the integrated GPS module. This drastically improves the flying accuracy and allows drones to sport features such as flight path, auto return, and follow me. Overall, HS120D is pretty easy to fly and won’t be too much of a burden for newcomers.
If you’ve looked at the price tag and thought to yourself this thing is way too cheap to be any good, I really can’t blame you. However, Holy Stone HS120D is actually quite impressive in the specs department. With around 300 meters of flight time, just enough to make it in this section of our list, and approximately 15 to 18 minutes of flight time, it fares pretty well for its price tag.
4. MJX Bugs 2W
I’ve already mentioned at least a couple of times that MJX does not joke around when it comes to creating affordable long-distance drones with serious power. You already had the chance to see their X708W model at work. With a similar design to this one, that brushed mini quad delivered quite the performance. However, Bugs 2W steps things up a notch by providing with, and this is not even exaggerating, the best price/performance ratio in its price range. Hands down!
Camera and features
Let’s start off with the camera, shall we? Some might not like the fact that this built-in 1080p camera does not have any sort of stabilization going on. And it’s true – MJX Bugs 2W doesn’t have EIS or gimbal. Its camera relies solely on drone’s stabilization. In theory, it might sound stupid or paradoxical… but in reality, it works like a charm. That’s partially thanks to GPS/GLONASS connectivity and great satellite reception (I am getting around 16 satellites on average) and partially thanks to altitude hold. I kid you not – this thing is smooth and does not drift at all!
In terms of other features, MJX Bugs 2W also supports headless mode (which works perfectly each and every time) as well as return to home. There is also a dedicated failsafe protocol in case you lose signal or the battery gets extremely low. No need to worry about anything – MJX Bugs 2W will safely return to its takeoff location and live to tell the tale.
MJX Bugs 2W sure has a lot of things going for it as far as features are concerned. But we haven’t even reached the best part. Specifications-wise, you are looking at a drone costing slightly over $200 that can come pretty close to 1000 meters. That’s the answer to your question how far can a drone fly! Crazy, huh? Well, not only that… This affordable drone can fly as long as 15 to 18 minutes. Somewhere around 16 was the average airtime. If you want more flight time, I warmly suggest going for the more expensive version that packs 2 batteries Charge them both up and you’ll have roughly 30 minutes of pure entertainment.
3. DROCON DC08
Next up, we have DROCON DC08, a rather unique drone boasting with an all-buckle design. In other words, DROCON DC08 is screwdriver-free! But that’s not the only thing this little fella has going for it. It’s pretty well-versed in terms of its feature set, and won’t disappoint you with its overall flight performance either. So, enough with the intro, let’s see what’s DROCON DC08 all about!
Camera and Features
Let’s start off with the camera. Just like Holy Stone HS120D, DROCON DC08 features a 1080p camera that’s a bit on the shaky end. From my perspective, DROCON’s DC08’s camera is a bit more saturated, which is what some people prefer to see in their aerial footage.
The best thing about this drone, features-wise, is the onboard GPS and the in-flight safety it provides. If your DC08 approaches the end of its operating range, it will resist going any further and come back to you. A neat little trick that’ll prevent you from losing it.
As stated earlier, DC08’s overall performance won’t leave you disappointed. This sucker can reach up to 420 meters (everyone in Colorado and California will love this) and fly for around 13ish minutes. Not bad for a drone that costs just under $200, right?
2. Holy Stone HS720 – cheap long range drone with camera
Here we have another Holy Stone drone. This time around, we’re talking about their HS720 model, boasting impressive flight range and operating time. HS720 sports a handful of additional virtues so let’s go through them one by one to see if it’s worth the money!
Camera and Features
First things first, Holy Stone HS720 is a highly affordable drone, coming in just shy of the $300 mark. For that price, you’re getting a foldable aerial camera with onboard GPS and a solid 2K camera. Yep, the word of the day is solid because there’s no stabilization and the footage suffers from jello.
On the bright side, HS720 features a downward sensor for altitude hold, two bottom-facing night lights, potent brushless motors, and a handful of intelligent flying options. The camera is pretty much the only downside to this bugger.
If the only thing you want from your next drone purchase is long-range, and you really don’t to overspend on a DJI model, then HS720 really is the best thing you can get! You can fly this thing up to 800 meters, although you could get a bit less than that depending on where you live. Still, for under $300, this range is more than enough. Battery-wise, you’re looking at up to 25 minutes of flight time, which is awesome. However, the spec sheet notes it takes roughly 5 hours to fully charge it.
1. DJI Mavic Air
DJI Mavic Air is the finest drone on this medium-range list. I know what you’re thinking right now – geez, DJI Mavic Air can go a couple of kilometers. Yes, that’s right. However, that’s only if you buy the Fly More Combo. If you don’t, you’ll be limited to WiFi connection which isn’t that good. Realistically speaking, Mavic Air’s WiFi range doesn’t fit into this category… but for the sake of having one drone with a proper camera here, it will suffice!
Camera and Features
Features galore – DJI Mavic Air sports virtually anything you can think of, and then some. Obstacle sensors, check! 3-axis motorized gimbal packing a 4K camera, check! Brushless motors and intuitive foldable design, check! So many smart flight options that’ll make your head spin, check! DI Mavic Air is by far the most feature-packed drone thus far. I rest my case…
As stated earlier, Mavic Air Fly More combo will give you up to 4 kilometers in clear and unobstructed areas. With the base model, you’ll only get around 100ish meters, and that’s if your phone features a heftier WiFi module. Battery life won’t sweep you off your feet though – DJI Mavic Air offers around 20 minutes of flight time. It’s not good, not terrible… I love them HBO memes!
Table: 8 Professional Long range drones
|7. Potensic D88||2K||18min||1.5km||See best offer|
|6. DJI Mavic Mini||2.7K 12MP||30min||4km||See best offer|
|5. Parrot Anafi||4K||25min||4km||See best offer|
|4. Autel EVO 2||8K||40min||8km||See best offer|
|3.DJI Mavic 2 Pro||4K||30min||8km||See best offer|
|2. DJI Air 2S||5.4K||32min||12km||See best offer|
|1. DJI Mavic 3||4K||45min||15km||See best offer|
7. Potensic D88
Here’s a drone from a company you’ve probably never heard about until now. It goes by the name Potensic D88 and actually brings forth impressive all-around performance. It’s pretty affordable too, but more on that later on. For now, let’s focus on the camera and features of this little flying bugger!
Camera and Features
For still aerial images, Potensic’s 2K camera works wonders. The extra field of view looks great and the overall sharpness is on point for a drone in this price range. However, when it comes to videos, they are not that ideal. And it’s not even because of the shakiness, it’s more due to the 110-degree field of view that renders jaw movement with too much fish-eye effect.
Features-wise, Potensic D88 has onboard GPS and supporting safety features such as RTH (return to home). Camera-based features are present too, such as waypoints, POI (point of interest), and similar. Oh, I almost forgot – Potensic D88 is a foldable drone that comes bundled with a controller, and a hard-shell carrying case. A pretty good deal for under $300, in my books.
Cheap long range drone with camera
Potensic D88 features a 7.6V 3400mAh battery that can endure around 17ish minutes of flight time. Combine that with approximately 1200 to 1500 meters and you got yourself a drone for just a fraction of the price you’d have to pay for a model from DJI’s lineup. Keep in mind though, FPV distance only goes to around 200 to 300 meters, meaning everything further than that will have to be LoS-only.
6. DJI Mavic Mini
DJI Mavic Mini is the smallest smart drone DJI has ever created. It’s pretty affordable too! So, if you’re looking to buy an affordable drone with good battery life, DJI Mavic Mini ought to be at the top of your bucket list… and there are plenty of reasons as to why!
Camera and Features
Let’s start off with the camera! DJI Mavic Mini definitely has the best camera at this price point. Hands down the best camera, and I’m not even exaggerating here. It can’t record 4K, but does 2.7K which is more than enough for both personal and business use. Only a small portion of people can actually tell the difference between the.
DJI Mavic Mini’s camera is mounted on a motorized gimbal meaning smooth aerial footage no matter the windiness. The drone’s splendid set of features further up its quality as an aerial photography marvel. We won’t be going into too much detail here, so let’s just say this little bugger will sweep you off your feet with the number of smart flight modes it has.
Probably the cheapest long range drone
Just like its big brother, DJI Mavic Air, the Mini can also reach around 4 kilometers in clear and unobstructed areas like open fields or above a lake. However, there’s one thing that it does better than Mavic Air, and that’s battery duration. As seen above, the Air can fly for as long as 20ish minutes. DJI Mavic Mini takes things up a notch with up to half an hour of flight time. Plus, it weighs in less than 250 grams meaning you don’t have to register it with FAA. Awesome!
5. Parrot Anafi
Parrot has had lots of ups and downs over the years. However, their newest drone model called Anafi might just improve their image and establish them as one of the go-to brands for high-end aerial photography. Let’s see why…
Camera and Features
Parrot Anafi is a sleek, foldable drone, with a unique prop arms design. However, that’s not the only unique thing about it. As you can see from the image above, Anafi’s camera takes up the front portion of the drone instead of being slightly underneath the shell. This camera placement, coupled with a 180-degree vertical rotation, enables Anafi to take unique aerial shots that can’t be made with any other drone out there.
The camera is not to be taken for granted either. Parrot Anafi features an impressive 4K camera capable of shooting HDR footage and supporting up to 2.8X lossless zoom. Take that Mavic 2! It’s feature packed too, sporting numerous safety features but also a fair share of smart ones that’ll allow you to take that perfect aerial selfie!
Thanks to the new and improved Skycontroller 3, Parrot Anafi can reach up to 4 kilometers with FPV feed working for the most part. It’s not exactly the range of DJI Mavic Pro or the second generation, but it’s still an improvement over Parrot’s previous models. Lastly, the battery can endure around 25 minutes of flight time, just enough for you to get a taste of Parrot’s highly affordable aerial medicine!
4. Autel Robotics EVO 2
Let’s not forget about the second-gen EVO 2! This orange bugger works like a charm even though it’s not made by DJI. It’s a rare occurrence these days, to see a premium drone that isn’t manufactured by DJI. But, is it worth the price and can it really bring forth DJI-like performances? Let’s take a closer look!
Support for 8K video recordings, 10-bit A-LOG, 120FPS slow-mo at 2K, HDR at 4K, 4x lossless zoom – all of these characteristics are present with Autel Robotics EVO 2, and all of them make it worth every penny. Especially when you combine with the fact it has a ton of autonomous flight modes, omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, roughly 5 miles of video transmission range, and approximately half an hour of flight time. Yep, this thing is mad!
On top of all of the above, Autel Robotics EVO 2 also comes with an 3.3-inch OLED display on its remote. While this is slowly becoming a standard with next-gen flagships, EVO was the first to bring this feature to the mainstream. You might think 3.3 inches is too small, but the quality and clarity of this bugger are off the charts!
That about sums up this orange bugger! It’s pricey, that’s for sure, but it sure does pack a punch. If you’re not in love with DJI’s ecosystem, investing in the second-gen EVO will give you a dash of fresh air and a generally pleasing flying experience.
3. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The number one spot on this list goes to the one and only – DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Yep, the original Mavic Pro that reaches 7 kilometers has a brand-new successor… and it’s a good one! That said, in the next couple of paragraphs we’ll be going through the key factors that make DJI Mavic 2 Pro one of the best long range drones you can buy at the moment.
Camera and Features
DJI has always been known for providing their drones with the very best cameras. The same narrative goes for their newest foldable masterpiece, the Mavic 2 Pro. Whether you’re looking at the Pro or Zoom version, you’re looking at a state-of-the-art sensor that’s able to capture mesmerizing, Hollywood-like aerial shots.
Smart autonomous features are yet another reason why DJI has been regarded as the go-to brand for all high-end drone requirements. When it comes to DJI Mavic 2 Pro, it basically features everything the original had, with massive improvements across the board. Omnidirectional sensors are here too, ensuring you don’t crash your expensive purchase on the first flight…
The all-new DJI Mavic 2 Pro boasts with improved long range flights, supposedly going around 8 kilometers, a kilometer more than the original. Combine that with battery duration, approximately 30 minutes of life, and you’ll understand why DJI Mavic 2 Pro belongs at the top of this list!
2. DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S is coming right up! It’s a gorgeous-looking drone with specs and feature-set that will leave you breathless. It’s not that expensive either – if value for money is what you’re looking for, this thing wins across all departments. Here’s what this little bugger can do!
What a Camera
Does this thing have an amazing camera or what? We’re looking at a 1-inch sensor here which, right off the bat, tells you this thing is no joke. Despite the fact it’s small and lightweight, Air 2S shoots 5.4K video at 30fps. It’s not the smoothest video capture at this resolution, that’s for sure, but it gives you enough flexibility to do awesome things in post.
Furthermore, this bugger shoots slow-mo 120fps at full HD (1080p) and, thanks to a wide variety of DJI smart capture modes, effortlessly delivers works of art time and time again. Long story short, this mid-level device has an imaging solution well worthy of premium models! It even has 2x zoom that’s actually usable – you can’t get that
Last but not least, the thing you’ve all been waiting for – the range! This little bugger gets around 8 to 12 kilometers, which is roughly 5 to 7 miles. Bigger numbers refer to wide open areas whereas the smaller ones refer to urban areas and forests. Still, considering the weight and size of this little bugger, its range is no joke!
As for the battery duration, Air 2S is marketed for around half an hour. Realistically, though, it’s more like 25ish… if you’re going to be recording for the whole duration, that is. It’s still good, especially considering the sheer number of smart autonomous feature this bugger comes with.
1. DJI Mavic 3
Lastly – DJI Mavic 3! It’s the ultimate prosumer drone, capable of delivering everything and anything you want from it. You want a long range machine of a drone that can travel up to 15 kilometers or 9 miles? Check! You want something that can record pro-grade footage with buttery smooth flying, check! You want a drone that costs a ton of money but is still considered as great bang for your bucks option for commercial purposes? Check!
Perfection Comes at a Price
This here is a flagship and, as such, it will create a pretty big dent in your budget. But, as a flagship, this thing is not meant for casual users – it’s primarily meant for commercial, business use scenarios, which is why it has such a massive price tag.
Remember when flagships used to cost $1,000? Well, those times are long gone – they now costs twice or triple as much. They are, however, much better at what they do too. Whether we’re talking about camera quality, smoothness, flight characteristics, or autonomy – the differences between let’s say the Phantom 3 and this thing are absolutely huge.
This thing is marketed for up to 45 minutes of flight time, but in realistic circumstances, it can get just slightly more than its predecessor, the Mavic 3. Still, everything beyond half an hour mark is praiseworthy. It should be good enough for most use scenarios. If it’s not good enough for yours, there’s nothing stopping you from getting the Fly More Combo and practically tripling your flight time! All in all – if you’re looking for a no-compromise-drone without worrying too much about the price tag, DJI Mavic 3 is among the best money can buy right now!
Long Range Drones – Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about long-range drones in 2021:
How far can a drone fly?
This depends on a number of factors, both internal and external. Internal factors include the onboard receiver’s strength, the antenna quality, and stuff you wouldn’t guess at first sights, like power efficiency and batter duration. Typically, though, drones are much more likely to run out of signal than battery life… which means they can fly as far as their vtx/rx combo allows.
What is the longest range drone?
At the moment, DJI Mavic Air 2 has the longest range among all mainstream drones available on Amazon. The Autel Robotics EVO lineup isn’t too far away either, but from the looks of things, DJI Mavic Air 2 is the current long-range champion. And it will probably remain there until next year when a brand-new next-gen model takes the throne.
What is the cheapest long range drone?
This depends on what you’re referring to as long range. If a kilometer is enough for your taste, then you won’t have to spend more than $300 for something like a Potensic D88. With its 1.5 km of range, it’s more than enough for most of your long-range needs.
What is the drone maximum range?
This question isn’t really grammatically correct, but it’s among the most frequently asked ones so we have to answer it. At the moment, when talking about mainstream long-range drones, the maximum distance you can expect is close to the 10km-mark.
How far can you fly a drone?
That all depends on your drone model. If you own one of the aforementioned long-range drones, you might fly it pretty far. However, it’s always best to check the operating range of your model prior to your long-range tests… especially if you have a lower-end model that doesn’t come with stuff like out-of-range failsafe RTH.
If you’re asking how far can you fly a drone legally, the answer can be found on the official FAA rules for recreational flyers. If you’re based outside of the US, it’s best to check with our local authorities before going on any dangerous long-range missions.
How far away can a drone fly from its controller?
The distance a drone can fly away from its controller depends on several factors. Primarily, it depends on the type of connection that’s set up and the strength of the transmitter/receiver combo. Typically, drones these days are using 2.4Ghz for controls and 5.8Ghz for the live video feed. The strength varies greatly from model to model, with the latest and greatest achieving close to 10 kilometers (around 6 miles).
How many kilometers can a drone fly?
If we’re talking about long range drones, one cannot be called that without at least 4 kilometers of operating range. However, some of the newly announced/released models are advertised for roughly 10 kilometers. Yep, you’ve read that right – TEN KILOMETERS.
For instance, the all-new DJI Mavic Air 2 supposedly has 6.2 miles (which translates to just shy of 10 kilometers) operating range. That’s quite the increase over the original Mavic Air (4 kilometers) and even more than the current Mavic flagship – the 2 Pro. I honestly don’t think a drone will reach beyond 10 kilometers this year. In 2021, though, I reckon the boundaries will be pushed beyond the 8-mile mark. Eminem will be proud…
How far can a drone camera see?
This is a tricky question to answer so we won’t even try. What we will do is redirect you to this awesome article by Slate. It explains the complexity behind drones carrying sophisticated cameras and potentially malicious intent and puts into perspective just how much a drone can see from a certain distance.
What is the average range of a drone?
When speaking of drones in general, it’s impossible to give an even remotely accurate number. The best way to approach this question is to divide the drone market into several price tiers. Here’s what we ended up with:
Drones under $100
The most affordable drones out there can generally reach somewhere around 100m.
Drones under $200
You can expect around 500 meters of range from drones between $100 and $200.
Drones under $500
Now we’re talking about potent fellas. Drones under $500 can fly as far as 1km at the very least.
Drones under $1000
If you’re going to pay close to $1000 for a drone, make sure it can reach at least 4km.
3 Tips for Long Range Drone Flights
Always check the wind direction
Always fly against the wind so your drone will have an easier time coming back from long-range aerial missions.
Start returning back on time
We at DronesGlobe recommend you start flying back when your battery level drops below 60%. That is, if you’re flying straight forward right from the kickoff and make no stops along the way.
Set your Return-To-Home altitude high enough
It’s always best to set a high altitude for RTH (return to home). In case RTH failsafe kicks in, your drone will keep a safe altitude and avoid crashing into objects.
How to Increase Drone Range?
There are two ways you can effectively increase a drone’s operating range. Here’s what you need to know about them:
If you’re living in Europe, your drone will have the CE limits. In that case, you might want to change your drone’s firmware setting to FCC limits, which will greatly improve the range.
You can add an antenna extender, a different (read stronger/better) antenna or a new, more powerful receiver.
Or you could invest in a range extender. We’re talking about simple gadgets that cost only a few bucks but can get you 10 to 30% more range.
Can a Drone Fly Out of Range?
Yessir! A drone can fly out of range pretty easily, especially cheaper models that don’t have adequate sensors and features that would prevent them from flying off into the sunset. If that’s something you’re concerned about, saving up a bit of extra money for a more reliable drone (drones with GPS) is a no-brainer!
What Happens When a Drone Goes Out of Range?
That depends on which range you’re referring to, operating range or FPV range. If it’s the latter, there’s no room for panic – it might come back shortly after. Even if it doesn’t, you should still be able to press that RTH button or fly the drone manually to where it took off.
If talking about the operating range, here’s what can happen:
- The drone keeps flying away
- It crashes into something
- It returns to home
This all depends on your drone. If it’s a smart drone with GPS, return to home and supporting failsafe protocols, it should return to home without any issues. If it’s a cheaper model with no GPS, it might still try to come back home, but chances are it will either get stuck on the last command (keep flying away into the distance), or crash into a nearby object.
What are the Factors Affecting Drone Range?
Here are some of the main factors that affect how far a drone can fly:
- Channel interference
- Controller & drone antennas
- Transmitter & receiver power
- Nearby RF signals
- Nearby objects/buildings/nature
Drone Terms You Should Know About if You’re into Long Range Flying
Let’s check out the crucial terminology regarding long-range drone missions:
Stands for flying within the visible line of sight and is the only legal form of flying these days.
Stands for flying beyond visible line of sight and is strictly prohibited in most western countries.
Stands for milliampere-hours – it’s the standard measuring unit for battery capacity in the drone industry.
Stands for first-person view – it’s basically a live video feed coming from the drone’s eyes that allows you to effectively control it on lengthier flight sessions.
Stands for return to home and will lead the drone back to the location from where it took off.
Failsafe triggered in case of signal loss or critically low battery voltage. In terms of premium (read expensive) models, failsafe usually kicks RTH into action.
Geofence is an artificial wall the drone’s software sets up as a safety precaution for beginners. You need to turn Geofencing off for long-range sessions.
What are typical usage scenarios for long range drones?
Drones with extremely long ranges are viable for a wide array of usages. These range from filmmaking, recreational exploration and a plethora of commercial uses as well. The latter provides the most value for people willing to invest in high-end drones capable of reaching more than 5 kilometers away from their controller.
They are fast, agile, and can fly high above the ground making it almost impossible for people to spot them. Additionally, there are also specialized drones that are primarily targeted at certain industries (f.e. agricultural drones, delivery drones, surveillance drones), making them even better for that particular branch of industry. So, with all that in mind, let’s take a peek at the most typical usages for such drones! Let’s see what are the most useful for!
Package delivery using long range drones
With both UPS and Amazon racing to fully develop their drone delivery systems, the future in which drones will act as primary means of delivering goods seems certain! Come to think of it, this is not surprising at all.
Drones are already fully autonomous and will a little software trickery they can be made into the fully-fledged delivery fleet. Even though drone delivery is not yet a real thing anywhere in the world, after a couple of successful tests (f.e. Amazon test in the UK and UPS test in Florida) it seems as though it is only a matter of time before they start delivering our toys to us… quicker than ever.
Surveillance is a big part of our society and it is safe to say that modern-day drones pushed it one step further. Long distance drones are often used for surveillance and it’s becoming more and more clear that they excel at it. Whether they are guarding a particular area of interest against intruders, private properties, or The White House; monitoring protests, groups and certain activities, the key of drone surveillance are in their stealthy approach.
Since today’s flagship, drones are fast and can fly high above people, they are pretty difficult to notice, allowing people to think they are not being monitored. Equipped with night vision and infrared cameras, they are the ideal surveillance tools that can effectively monitor huge areas, making sure there is no breach of security while they’re in charge.
Long distance drones used being used in Agriculture
I am sure most of you know about the highly specialized drones that are used for agricultural purposes from fertilizing to regularly inspecting crops. With a wide array of visual feedback such as infrared data, farmers can learn more about their crops and investigate potential weak sports and distressed plants.
Undoubtedly, this is extremely useful for everyone making a living with agriculture and is a magnificent modern-day tool that more and more farmers are investing in. Other than that, farmers can also use schedule automatic crop inspections and fertilizing/watering which will result in maximized yields and better, healthier crops.
With the introduction of long-range drones for sale, mapping has experienced a proper rebirth. Nowadays, there are whole fleets of drones being used for mapping particular areas. Modern-day drones are able to effectively map entire forests, rivers, hills and mountain chains, making them extremely useful for that matter.
Mapping is most often used for understanding certain hard-to-reach areas that tend to rapidly change, such as fast-moving rivers, forests and so on. In addition to that, mapping is also used in highly urban areas where other means of mapping (f.e. via helicopters) is not that viable due to the huge size of the vehicle.
How far am I allowed to fly a drone?
FAA has a whole set of new drone regulations that are already being enforced. For casual users, the law states that the maximum height you can fly at is 400 feet. Fly above that and you might get arrested and pay up to $250,000 fine and perhaps even spend up to 3 years in prison (this sounds rather harsh, to be honest). Another reason that could potentially get you in jail (or a hefty fine) is flying a drone beyond your visible line of sight (BVLOS). With that being said, you must keep the drones in your sight at all times. Even if you are heavily relying on your drone’s FPV capabilities, it still must be in your LOS otherwise you’d be breaking the federal laws.
Commercial users are now bounded by a different set of regulations. First off, they will have to pass the 107-knowledge test which incorporates 60 questions and requires at least 42 correct answers. After passing the test and getting their diploma, commercial users are finally allowed to fly their drones for, you’ve guessed it – commercial purposes. But, that still does not mean they can legally fly above 400 feet or beyond their visible line of sight. For that, commercial users will need to get special permits directly from the FAA.
Luckily, the FAA has already granted a couple hundred exemptions to commercial users who need to fly their drones BVLOS. Most of these commercial users work for agricultural companies allowing them to inspect their fields without breaking the law. There are also surveillance companies that only fly BVLOS during the night to improve their security.
What to consider when buying a long range drone?
In addition to long-range, there are several other key aspects of a drone that you need to look into before making your purchase:
The camera is always the number one priority, not just when buying long range drones but any other kind of drones too. A good camera mounted on a proper mechanical (preferably 3-axis gimbal) is worth gold!
Next up – the batteries! If you’re opting for a mainstream drone, you’re going to be stuck with a proprietary plus. Just make sure they have overcharge/over-discharge protection and provide enough juice for a decent session.
Stuff like GPS, altitude hold, and return to home are absolutely crucial. If you’re in the market for long-reaching drones, make sure the one you pick has all three of them!
Now more than ever, drones need to be reliable! Manufacturers like DJI go out of their way to produce only the most reliable drones out there, which is why we warmly recommend going for one of their long-range models.
Upgradeability might not be as important as previously mentioned factors anymore, with the rise of mainstream drones that have absolutely no upgradeable parts. Still, if you’re looking for DIY solutions, make sure you keep tabs on upgradeability.
Long Range drones in 2020 are breaking records all across the board. With new models almost capable of breaking the 10km barrier, it’s safe to say we have a whole new meaning on long-range drones now! 7-8km is no longer the furthest distance mainstream models can reach… However, you should note that it’s still illegal to fly drones this far. If you’re living in the US, that is. But, if it’s the extra communication strength for mid-range distances you’re looking for, these long-range models ought to be ideal!
4. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
DJI has continued with their recent success, releasing 3 high-end models that have definitely created quite the stir on the market. Phantom 4 Pro is one of the 3 (second two can be seen down below) and looks to be a great upgrade nevertheless. DJI Phantom 4 Pro comes with an abundance of sensors, including the all-new obstacle avoidance (this is the first DJI’s drone with such technology implemented) system.
Camera and features
As far as imaging solution is concerned, DJI Phantom 4 Pro comes with a marvelous 20MPX camera with 1-inch sensor and mechanical shutter. Needless to say, the image quality is smooth and clear as you all expect. Now let’s go back to the above-mentioned obstacle avoidance system. It allows the drone to fly seamlessly wherever you want it to, without any issues with collisions or crashing since its advanced sensor mechanisms will detect and avoid anything dangerous that might come in its way. The design has stayed roughly the same, with exceptional build quality just like we are already used to seeing from DJI’s drones.
Specifications have been slightly booster as well, giving an overall much better performance. If you ask me how far can a drone fly, the answer is: 7 kilometers of operating range (same technology was implemented in all 3 of their new models) and roughly 27 minutes of flight time make this a proper premium model. There isn’t that much more to be said about DJI Phantom 4 Pro that you already don’t know about. Perhaps the only thing worth mentioning is its maximum speed of approximately 44mph (roughly 72 km/h) which is incredibly fast for a casual/aerial photography drone.
With that being said, let’s move straight to the second one of DJI’s awesome new drones that looks to set its throne as the new best drone for aerial photography!
3. Autel Robotics EVO
Autel Robotics EVO is a proper beast. Not only is it one of the most unique looking drones out there (because ORANGE), but it’s also comes bundled in one of the best and most affordable bundles available on Amazon.
Camera and Features
Of course, EVO sports a 4K camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal. That’s the industry standard for high-end models. Heck, it has become the standard for mid-tier drones too. However, the picture quality is something else. I’ll always stand by my words that DJI makes the best aerial cameras, but darn it, Autel Robotics EVO is right up there with DJI’s lineup in terms of image quality, for sure!
Features are abundant too. Whether we’re talking about safety, ease of use, or autonomous bells and whistles – Autel Robotics EVO has them all. Plus, you don’t need a phone to fly this thing. The controller comes with an integrated 3.3-inch OLED display that transmits live FPV feed. Pretty neat, huh?
Specifications are of utmost importance in the world of high-end drones, and it’s safe to say Autel Robotics EVO doesn’t fail to deliver. This orange badass sports 30ish minutes of flight time thanks to its 11.4V 4300mAh smart battery. Since this is a guide for buying drones with long range, it’s only logical I give you the numbers – 7 kilometers is what you can expect from AR EVO. A pretty solid distance, almost reaching that of DJI Mavic 2 Pro which boasts with 8km.
1. DJI Inspire 2
DJI Inspire 2 is a well-anticipated long distance drone that definitely looks to exceed everyone’s expectations. With even better specifications and more hi-tech features than its predecessor, Inspire 2 looks to be set for the stars. All things considered, Inspire 2 seems like it’s going to make a heck of a name for itself out there! Still, keep in mind that this is not a beginner’s drone which its price tag strongly suggests as well…
Camera and Features
You see, everything design-wise has remained the same. There’s still the breathtaking rotor-raising feature that clears the view for the 4K camera that’s better than ever. Of course, it is mounted on the Zenmuse X5S gimbal stabilization which is, I’ll dare to say, currently the best one on the market. In addition to that, it is important to mention that it also features obstacle avoidance in addition to dual GPS+GLONASS navigation systems.
Moreover, the specifications of this longest range drone are absolutely breathtaking – close to half an hour of battery life and 7 kilometers of operating range make this drone a great choice for people who don’t mind spending a ton of money for it. With that in mind, Inspire 2 is still going to be mainly purchased by professional photographers since it is, at least at the moment, the best mainstream aerial photography platform on the market. The stabilization this beast features is just unearthly and is able to deliver silk smooth footage no matter the fight conditions.
- 18 Long Range Drones | How Far Can A Drone Fly [Comparison Table] - October 20, 2022