Table of Contents
- Best 2018 Long Flight Time Toy Drone
- Best Professional Drone 2018
- Best Long-Range Hobby Drone 2018
- Best Small Drone 2018
- Best Mini Drone 2018
- Best Micro Drone 2018
- Best 2018 Folding Drone
- Best Camera Drone 2018
- Best Drone for GoPro 2018
- Best Heavy Lifting Drone 2018
- Best FPV Drones 2018
- New Drones Coming Out in 2018
If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in purchasing a drone. With so many options out there, it can be tough to decide what the best value is. Well, the best drones for 2018 are all right here.
Seriously consider the five top drones for each category mentioned in this article if you’re shopping for the best drone you can get! The top 2018 drones all combine great prices, expert craftmanship, durability and excellent features to offer a drone you can enjoy flying for a very long time.
- Camera:720p HD
- Range:150 Meters
- Time:15 Minutes
- Camera:1080p HD
- Range:300 – 500 Meters
- Time:12 – 15 Minutes
- Camera:720p HD
- Range:100 Meters
- Time:10 Minutes
- Camera: 4K 20 MP
- Range: 3.5 – 5 Kilometers
- Time: 28 Minutes
- Camera:4K 12 MP
- Range:10 Kilometers
- Time:21 Minutes
Best 2018 Long Flight Time Toy Drone Altair Hornet 818 Plus
The Altair 818 Plus quadcopter is a market newcomer, but it’s already set itself apart as one of the best. With a 15-minute flight time and an extra battery it you wonder why people buy other drones in its $180 price range that only fly for 5 to 10 minutes.
It has a range of 150 meters and 15 minutes is plenty of time to fly within that distance. It also includes a TF card that means that it can record video right out of the box, as opposed to similarly-priced camera drones (like the AA108.)
The Altair 818 Plus drone has all the features that make a drone flyable for beginners and an absolute breeze for experienced flyers.
There’s headless mode, which will prevent many a crash for new flyers, and low-signal and low-battery alarms to warn you before your drone becomes unresponsive to your remote control, or plummets out of the sky, which is one of the worst ways to crash.
It has a low, medium, and high-speed flying setting which allows for more options to suit different flying styles and goals and accommodates varying levels of flying experience.
It also has altitude hold, which is not only convenient for flying but makes for better footage. It comes with a 720P 120-degree wide angle camera and is first-person view enabled. Its rubber-damping camera decreases vibration for even more stable imagery. Combine that with its altitude hold feature and you get amazing footage and photos. Looking through its high-quality camera in FPV might just make you feel like you’re the one flying, and not just the drone.
MJX Bugs 3
MJX is perhaps not the best know drone company but they are rapidly becoming a popular well-loved brand and the Bugs 3 is a definite contender for the Best 2018 Long Flight Time Toy Drone.
It is extremely well priced and can fly for over 20 minutes with no load. For a quality drone in this price range, that is exceptional. It also has some amazing features and apart from having 2 speed setting, it does an effortless flip.
It can take on an action camera comfortably and you can safely use your GoPro with the Bugs 3. It has a decent range of 300 to 500 meters and the brushless motors make it quiet, strong and steady.
Best Professional Drone 2018
My favorite professional drone for 2018 is the highly advanced DJI Phantom 4 Pro. It has superior flying ability, with obstacle sensing in five directions that make it nearly impossible to crash. It’s remote comes with a mobile device holder to assist with its FPV capabilities.
It has a range of about 3 miles (people have flown it even farther), it can fly at up to 45 MPH while still being easy to control, and has a flight time of up to 30 minutes. It weighs just over 3 pounds, a testament to the power of its motors, and an indication of durability. It also has a return home feature that uses GPS, so if you lose track of it, it can find its own way back. And it comes with 8 extra propellers.
The best part of this drone by far is the camera which comes with a 16GB micro SD card. It has 20 megapixels and a massive 1-inch sensor. It has a mechanical shutter to eliminate the rolling shutter distortion that can happen when capturing images of fast moving objects. It has a 4k 60 FPS video camera for high video quality and the ability to capture magnificent slow-motion footage.
And last, but not least, it has a professional-caliber gimbal for guaranteed stable footage. This camera drone is the best drone for 2018 because it can produce beautiful footage and pictures that any professional would be proud of.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Yuneec Typhoon H
If ever there was a serious contender for Best Professional Drone 2018 it is the brilliant YUNEEC TYPHOON H. For a bit less money than the legendary Phantom 4, you get quite a few extras.
The Typhoon H is 6 rotor drone so if you happen to lose one midflight you can safely fly it back on the remaining 5. Unlike the Phantom that pans up and down, the Typhoon can rotate the camera a full 360-degrees. The landing gear is also easily retractable so you can get it out of the way when necessary.
Another great feature is the controls. The main control is a dedicated, full feature controller with a 7-inch touchscreen. You can also connect an additional controller if you wish.
The Typhoon uses sonar for obstacle avoidance meaning this will work equally well at night. It also has a range of flight modes so you can let the drone do most of the thinking while you focus on shooting.
Best Long-Range Hobby Drone 2018
For only $109 you’re getting an amazing drone at an amazing price! Get super fast and free shipping when you order the Blackhawk from AltairAerial.com, or you can also see Best Price at Amazon. The Blackhawk is a more advanced level quad with 15-17 Minutes of Flight time and 300-500 Meter Range!
The best 2018 drone for those hobbyists who want to enjoy long range flight is BlackHawk Drone. It has a range of 300 meters. Unbelievably, this is a $109 drone, which means its range blows away the competition in that price range and many that cost more! It also has a 15-minute flight time and comes with two extra batteries, allowing you to fully exploit its range, and enjoy it with friends and family who will all be able to take a turn flying it.
It will fly about as far as it can be seen clearly. It comes with LED lights which are beautiful at when you fly around sunset.
The controls are easy to learn and feature a high speed and low speed mode to accommodate flyers of all experience levels.
The Altair Aerial Blackhawk automatically levels in wind to maintain stability. This drone won’t crash often, but it has a sturdy build and consumers report that it holds up incredibly well in crashes, should you make a mistake. It comes with extra propellers too, a must-have because propellers are the most easily damaged part.
Ultimately, the BlackHawk has exquisite handling and highly responsive controls which makes for easy flying and allows you to do tricks like full 360-degree flips with ease. It really is a great value and one of the best drones for 2018.
The drone’s weight is well balanced for stable footage. It also flies extremely quietly for less vibration and better audio recording.
There is some assembly required for this drone but it’s easy and straightforward even for unexperienced people. It weighs 3.7 pounds and can carry up to 7 extra ounces of weight, which means you can attach a GoPro camera if you’d like to fly this drone with first-person view.
Autel X-Star Premium
With a range of 1.2 miles, the Autel X-Star Premium is a serious contender for the best long-range drones 2018. It is a tough, rugged beast that is remarkably smooth in the air. This makes for great aerial footage from the 4k Ultra HD camera or 12mp stills. The 3-axis gimbal keeps it stable and it has a FOV of 108-degrees.
Despite the power and size, the X-Star is super easy to fly and very rewarding. It will give you about 25 plus minutes flying time and has a maximum speed of 35mph. Dual GPS and GLONASS satellite systems complete the excellent package.
Best Small Drone 2018
Altair Aerial AA108
I recommend the Altair AA108, my favorite small drone. It can be purchased for only $109 and has a lot of cool features. It’s durable and can withstand repeated minor crashes. It comes with a 120-degree wide angle, 720P HD camera that offers real time first-person viewing during flight.
The Altair AA108 is easy to fly and features headless mode, altitude hold, and a custom route mode, where you can draw a flight path on your smart phone and the drone will follow it!
It also offers three skill levels for flight, from 1 to 3, or beginner to advanced. The first level is very kid friendly, giving the opportunity to pass the passion for flight on to the next generation. It’s small enough to be flown indoors, allowing for fun on windy days or just when you want to conveniently fly in the comfort of your own home.
What makes the Altair AA108 one of the best 2018 drones is its long range and flight time. It can fly for up to 10 minutes and has a range of 100 meters. It also comes with a bonus battery so you can fly for even longer! Many drones in this price range offer only half the range and flight time. The Altair AA108 comes with an out of range alarm, an out of battery alarm, and an emergency landing function to prevent simple mistakes from becoming major crashes.
Hubsan H107C+ HD
The biggest thing about this drone is the name and the smallest thing is the price. While we love the AA1108, the Hubsan is a close runner-up in the best small drones 2018 category. To give you an idea of the palm-sized drone, it is a mere 3-inches wide by 1-inch tall. This dynamite little drone has plenty to offer. It has a host of features rarely found in drones in this price range.
Like most small drones, it does not have the greatest flight time at only 7 minutes but you can pack a lot of excitement into that time. On the plus side, it only takes 40 minutes to charge so you will soon be up and running again.
Altitude hold will free you up to focus on your camera or video shooting. Video is 720p at 25 fps and the camera is 2MP. Again, these are specs normally found on more expensive models.
This is a great option for beginners or those on a tight budget. It has two flight modes, normal and expert. Once you have mastered the basics, switch to the expert mode and you will have access to a range of advanced tricks and options. It is a sturdy, durable drone and will handle many a bang or knock when you are flying.
If you are in the market for a budget compact drone, the Hubsan is a top choice.
Best Mini Drone 2018
Rabling Mini FPV RC Drone
This well-priced feature rich drone is our pick for Best mini drones 2018. The already small design can be made even more compact as it is a foldable drone.
Flight time is a fair 7 to 10 minutes and it takes only 230 minutes to charge. It supports FPV from your smartphone or tablet which is a great feature for a drone in this price range. It is also compatible with VR Goggles. The Rabling Mini also boasts a 6-axis gyroscope.
Flight modes and features include headless mode, 3D roiling and 360-degree rolls so there is plenty to keep you entertained. It sports a competent HD 720P Camera.
This is a popular and highly rated drone that is well loved by many happy customers. It is a worthy winner of our top mini drone for 2018.
Syma X20 Mini Pocket Drone
The Syma X20 is a worthy runner-up in our mini-drone section. This highly affordable drone will provide hours of entertainment. Being an ultra-small drone, the flight time is only about 5 minutes but while you are up there, you can enjoy headless mode, altitude hold, rolling 360s and a range of other moves.
It also has one-touch takeoff and landing so is ideal for beginners. Another excellent feature is the LEDs for nighttime fun. To top it off, it is a great looking drone.
Best Micro Drone 2018
Voomall JJRC DHD D1 Quadcopter
Our pick for the best Micro Drone of 2018 has to be the JJRC DHD D1 QUADCOPTER. It is highly affordable, ultra-small and light and will give you plenty of entertainment.
Despite the diminutive size, it flies remarkably well and responds perfectly to controls. With headless mode and 3D rollover, you can have a lot of fun with this nifty drone.
The 6-Axis gyro gives you exceptional stability and it will hover like a Hummingbird.
Charge your JJRC DHD D1 QUADCOPTER via USB in around 20 minutes for about 6 to 8 minutes in the air. It has two adjustable speeds according to your needs. The range is around 30 meters which is not too shabby for a micro drone.
It is remarkably durable for a drone of this size which is an added bonus and it features LED lights for evening entertainment.
Hubsan Q4 Micro Drone
Possibly the world smallest drone, the Hubsan Q4 is a fast, agile and fun drone. Hubsan is known for quality products so, despite the amazingly small size and low price, this drone is remarkably tough.
It is suitable for beginners but will not bore the more experienced pilot with 3 modes from beginner to advanced. You can charge it via USB for 5 to 20 minutes flying time. It has a 6-axis gyro so is stable indoors and out. It is ultra-responsive and really nimble in the air.
Best 2018 Folding Drone
DJI Mavic Air
Our pick for Best DJI drone 2018 is the brilliant Mavic Air. Folding drones have become all the rage and with good reason. It makes transporting your drones safer, easier and more convenient. You can now take it with you anywhere without fear of damage. An easy choice for best pocket / foldable drone 2018 is the DJI Mavic Air. Ok, it was not such an easy choice, the excellent DJI Mavic Pro is equally good.
Either way, you know DJI make top-quality drones and now you can fold them down into a compact carry case. You would expect a compromise in features on an ultra-compact model such as the Air but this is not the case. You get a 4k camera on a recessed 3-axis gimbal for excellent cinematography. This is made even better thanks to brilliant obstacle avoidance technology and a range of automated flying features.
The Mavic Air has 8GB onboard memory and a sleek, sexy design. If you are wanting the best pocket / foldable drone 2018, you will find it in the DJI Mavic Air.
Not far behind for best pocket / foldable drone 2018 is the fun and unique Parrot Mambo. While the camera is not in the same league as the Mavic Air, this is still a very entertaining and versatile foldable drone with features galore.
Some of the unique things you will find on this drone are a grab arm and a 6-shot cannon, both lots of fun. It has great sensors and a range of tricks. Both beginners and more experienced done enthusiasts will find pleasure in the Mambo. The best part is it a great value for money.
Best Camera Drone 2018
DJI Inspire 2
While there might be sportier, more compact options available, if you are serious about aerial cinematography, the Inspire 2 is a great choice and our pick for the best camera drones 2018.
It is a sturdy yet agile flying machine that allows you to attach your own camera to your specifications. The Zenmuse is an exceptional camera and you can upgrade it as necessary.
The Inspire 2 is safe and smart, allowing you to focus on flying, aerial photography or both. Apart from the actual camera, it also has an FPV camera so you can see what is going on as you shoot. The obstacle avoidance and features such as active track make it one of the easier drones for a one person pilot to get really good footage only. It is remarkably nimble for such a large, hardworking drone. It will give you professional quality straight out of the box. The 2 batteries will give you additional fly time and help you power all the smart options and equipment.
Runner-up for best camera drones 2018 is the popular Yuneec H520. With 6 rotors, a 360-degree gimbal mounted camera and a retractable landing gear, the H520 gives DJI a serious run for their money. The H520 has just over half an hour of fly time and has a great controller. The excellent obstacle avoidance and Waypoint technology make it safe and easy to fly, allowing you to concentrate on photography.
This tough drone gives you a range of quality cameras to choose from. It is versatile and a pleasure to fly and operate.
Best Drone for GoPro 2018
If you are looking for the Best Drone for GoPro 2018, the Karma Quadcopter from GoPro themselves is not a bad choice. They had some initial teething problems when they first launched but these have all been ironed out and it is now a well-priced option for GoPro fans.
The software has caught up with the rest of the market so the Karma now has follow me technology, a range of tricks and a host of other features. It is also incredibly compact, tidy and remarkably tough. It folds up to fit into a neat little protective casing.
It is really easy to setup and start flying. Once in the air, it is sturdy and stable. It might take a bit more input from the pilot than some of the other drones on the market but the Karma is a worthy contender in its price range.
Once again, the well-priced powerful Blackhawk makes an appearance. It has a great fly time, excellent range and the brushless motors keep it silent and steady overhead.
It is an ideal option for action cameras such as the GoPro range. It is a safe an inexpensive way to get your GoPro in the air. Built for power and speed, the Blackhawk connects perfectly and easily to your action camera and you will have full remote control of both the Blackhawk as well as your GoPro.
Best Heavy Lifting Drone 2018
Freefly Systems ALTA 8
Sometimes you don’t want fancy tricks and features but a professional workhorse. Arguably the Best Heavy Lifting Drone 2018 is the Freefly Systems ALTA 8 UAV. Whether it is heavy camera equipment or a payload, this rugged powerful beast will get the job done. It can carry up to 20 lbs and will fly for around 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the load.
This super-strong carbon fiber drone has SYNAPS Flight Controller for the ultimate in safety, precision and control. It is also fast and easy to setup this octocopter. It has a top and bottom camera mounting for flexibility of view.
DJI Spreading Wings S900 Professional Hexacopter
Second prize for Best Heavy Lifting Drone 2018 goes to none other than DJI. Constructed from carbon fiber, the Spreading Wings is strong and light. The 6 powerful motors give it incredible power and keep it agile.
Despite the size and strength, it is still portable and easy to put together. It is a great combination of strength and speed. This reliable drone with good power distribution can carry up to 18 lbs comfortably.
Best FPV Drones 2018
Parrot Disco FPV
This is a widely contested segment and there were a number of options for Best FPV drones 2018. We went for a rather unusual but extremely entertaining first choice. The Parrot Disco FPV is a fixed-wing drone so gives you a totally unique flying experience. The wings also allow it to get great speed and flying time and the Disco has a pretty good range. You need a fair amount of open space but apart from that, it is easy to fly, fits together quickly and easily and is really fun to fly, especially in FPV mode.
Despite the design, it can still hover. The Disco has a 14mp camera and 32GB of onboard memory. The design makes it handle better than most drones in windy conditions.
Hubsan H501S X4
Our runner-up for Best FPV drones 2018 goes to the Hubsan H501S X4. This feature-rich drone is well-priced and looks great. It is made from ABS plastic making it light and durable. This drone has 120-degree FOV and dual GPS.
Other outstanding features include follow me, altitude hold, headless mode, one-touch return, auto land and plenty more. You get amazing value for money with this excellent FPV drone.
The Altair 818 Hornet
The 818 is our choice for Best drone for the money 2018. It also gets an Honorable Mention for Best FPV drones 2018 due to the features you get for the price. It is the ideal FPV drone having all the necessary features and then some. This durable drone with brushless motors has headless mode and lets you preset a flight path for a divine FPV spin. It is popular, easy to use and fun no matter what your level of flying is.
New Drones Coming Out In 2018
2018 Promises to be another exciting year in the drone world with many tantalizing new models coming out. CES has come and gone and there was lots of exciting drone news for new drones 2018 in all categories.
DJI Phantom 5 X Upcoming Drones in 2018
Always innovating, always leading from the front, DJI has just released some fantastic drones but they show no sign of slowing down. One of the most talked about New Drones Coming Out 2018 from them is there faster, more intelligent Phantom 5X.
Leading from the front as always, the innovative DJI are constantly improving. The 5X promises 360-degree obstacle detection at high speed and greater distance as well as a retractable landing gear. Battery performance has also been enhanced. It is faster, safer, better.
Yuneec HD Racer
Another much anticipated Upcoming Drones in 2018 is the HD Racer from Yuneec. For less than $200, this fast and nimble drone sports 4 protected blades and shoots 1080 video at 60 fps, perfect for FPV. It is compact and has a beginner mode if you are still learning.
One soon to be released drone that impressed many at the recent CES is the Oori by Uvify. This tiny micro drone is capable of speeds of 60 mph. There will be preorder specials thereafter the price will settle at a little under $400.
Drones are evolving and improving rapidly and show no sign of slowing down in 2018. As the technology improves, drones become more intelligent. They are getting smaller, faster, safer and stronger.
One area that is improving significantly is obstacle avoidance technology. This has huge implications for the hobby flyer as well as commercial drone applications. It creates new opportunities for the pilot to focus on other activity without having to worry too much about flying the UAV. Drones are becoming more specialized and more intelligent. Connectivity is also improving.
Regulation is not going away but it is getting faster. Systems are in place to get approvals in seconds that used to take months. We will see more commercial applications and humanitarian drone use. There are drone taxis being successfully tested. Artificial Intelligence or AI will be used with drones opening up even more opportunity. 2018 Promises to be an exciting year in the drone business.
Best Drones FAQ section
Are drone batteries allowed on airplanes in 2018?
In terms of domestic flights within the U.S., you are generally allowed to take up to 3 batteries in your carry-on luggage provided they are below 100-watt-hours each. You should always advise them you are carrying drone batteries to avoid complications. For international flights, the rules can vary. It would be best to check the airline’s website for specifics.
Are there drone delivery services in 2018?
Drone deliveries have been tested and successful commercial deliveries have been completed. The technology is in place but there are still a few teething problems. Although many companies, including Amazon, Google, UPS, DHL and many others have programs in place, they are not yet running regular drone delivery services yet.
Has there been any changes to drone registration in 2018?
Drone regulation was reinstated at the end of 2017. The good news is that the process is fairly fast, can be done online and costs $5.
Are there new 2018 drone flight regulations that have been added?
Apart from registration, there are a number of regulations. The main points are that the pilot must be more than 16years of age and the drone must be less than 55lbs. You may not fly over people or highways, you must always have line of site with the drone, not faster than 100 mph or more than 400 feet above sea level. There are also regional restrictions which vary from state to state.
What is the future of drones in 2018?
Drones will continue to evolve and develop and become more intelligent. New features will continue to be added. They will become smaller, faster and safer. Obstacle avoidance technology is improving. The greatest growth will be seen in commercial applications including security and agriculture.