If you’re looking for a long-range drone, you need to be selective. Most drones, particularly the more affordable ones, are limited to flying distances that most people wouldn’t consider to be “long range”.
However, there’s no need for you to spend hours searching the market and comparing drone ranges against one another, because that’s exactly what we’ve done for you in this guide. We’ll review and compare the best long-range drones on the market, so you can choose the perfect model for your needs and budget.
Before we jump into looking at the longest range drones, however, let’s take a look at how far exactly a drone can fly and the kind of things long-distance drones are used for.
How Far Can a Drone Fly?
There’s no exact way to define a “long range” drone, as each drone’s range is relative to its price and intended use. Most drones under $200 can only fly within 100-200m — far less than you’re probably hoping for.
However, when you get to around the $500 budget, there are certain models, such as the DJI Mini 2 (more detail below), which have ranges of 10km and certainly do qualify as long-range drones.
Read more: the best drones with longest flight times
In fact, DJI – the leading manufacturer of consumer drones – is well known for offering the longest range drones in different price ranges. For example, their various mini drones are relatively affordable and yet offer considerably further flying distances than most other drones in the same price range.
More expensive drones typically offer further ranges. However, it doesn’t rise by too much, and the 10km offered by DJI’s cheaper models is already so impressive. The longest-range consumer drone, which we’ll review below, maxes out at 12km.
DJI really is the king of long-range flying drones, as you’ll see when you read our reviews. There are a few other models which come close and can be used for different applications, and we profile them below, but to summarize: most “long-range” drones fly up to 10km, with the longest reaching 12km.
How High Can a Drone Fly?
A long-range FPV drone doesn’t just mean that one can fly far distances horizontally, but it can also refer to how high a drone can fly. Again, it’s always relative to a drone’s price, but the maximum altitude that most drones can reach is 4,000m.
Benefits of Long Range Drones
It may seem obvious why a long-range drone may be useful, but there are some advantages that you may not be so aware of.
Of course, the most common use of drones with long distance range is for aerial photography and videography. They allow filmmakers to capture stunning videos of landscapes quickly and easily, while with a high-altitude drone you can also scale cliffs and large buildings to take photos and videos which would otherwise be impossible.
However, that’s not the only use of longer range drones. As drone technology improves and becomes more accessible, they are being used for more and more applications, from agricultural and construction management to surveillance. In many of these jobs, the longer the range, the better.
For example, anti-poaching workers in African wildlife reserves often use drones for surveillance and require long-distance drones to scan the considerable ranges the animals they’re protecting can cover.
Drones are also used for search and rescue missions and to provide relief during manmade and natural disasters, and with a long-range drone, rescuers can reach more people and provide more supplies. So, far from being used for merely practical purposes, certain long-range drones can serve as life-saving machines, though these aren’t the consumer ones we review in this guide.
The Best Long Range Drones
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DJI Mavic Mini 2 – Cheapest Long Range Drone with Camera
- Range: 10km
If you’re looking for a small, lightweight drone that offers excellent camera quality and long-range transmission, you can’t go wrong with the DJI Mavic Mini 2.
This drone has a range of 10km and can transmit real-time HD video from within that distance, so it’s a fantastic choice for photographers and videographers. It has built-in interference capabilities which help maintain steady streaming even at long distances.
The 12MP camera with 4x zoom allows you to take stunning photos, while the 4k/30fps video means you can capture professional-grade footage. There’s also the 3 axis gimbal for optimal recording stability.
The Mini 2’s range is made even more impressive when you consider it can fit in the palm of your hand and weighs just 249g. Not only does this make it very nimble and easy to control while in the air, but as it weighs under 250g, you can also fly it without an FAA license.
This isn’t just a long drone in terms of horizontal distance, though. The DJI Mini 2 has a max altitude of 4,000 meters, which along with the level 5 wind resistance means you can use it to fly high above different environments like forests and shorelines.
The 10km range this drone offers is simply unmatched by other drones under $500. The closest most other long-range models in this price range come to is 8km, and even that’s only a few, such as the Fimi X8SE 2020. So if you’re looking for the best long-range drones under $500, the Mini 2 is the one for you. The battery life of 31 minutes is also very impressive.
DJI Air 2S – Overall Best Long Range Drone with Camera
- Range: 12km
The DJI Air 2S is one of the finest consumer drones on the market and takes things to the next level with an incredible 12km flying range, which is the best of all the long-range drones we recommend here.
This incredible flying range, along with the Air 2S’ 1 inch CMOS sensor with 2.4μm pixels, makes this ideal for professional photographers and videographers. You can stream 5.4k video at 30fps and 4k at 60fps with the high-resolution drone camera. The 10-bit Dlog-M color profile can record up to 1 billion colors at once while retaining intricate detail, and the result is simply stunning.
While models like the Mini 2 use DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 transmission system, the Air 2S uses the more advanced OcySync 3.0 for smoother, clearer, and more reliable image feeds.
The Air 2S is also a really versatile camera drone that’s capable of capturing extremely clear footage in low light conditions thanks to the accurate color reproduction feature. It uses DJI’s famous 3 axis gimbal to ensure you capture steady footage while in the air.
Another great thing about this long-range camera drone is that it boasts the intelligent flying and recording features that are characteristic of DJI drones. One example is MasterShots, the upgraded version of DJI’s popular QuickShots feature, which sees the drone fly numerous routes while filming your subject for a cinematic result.
This is a very powerful drone capable of reaching speeds of up to 54.50mph, so you can fly to the maximum 12km range, record your footage and return well within the 31 minute flight time. The four-direction object sensing helps you fly safely even when traveling at high speed and at long ranges.
While this isn’t a mini drone, it still weighs less than 600g and is very lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to carry around.
Parrot Anafi Work – Best Long Range Drone for Construction & Architecture
- Range: 4km
The Parrot Anafi Work can’t quite match DJI models when it comes to drone range – very few consumer drones can. However, with a max range of 4km (2.5 miles), it’s certainly still considered a long-range drone.
The reason the Anafi Work makes our list, though, is due to the specialized features that make it suitable for a range of professional applications. Whereas DJI drones are generally reserved for photography and videography, the Anafi Work is ideal for people working in real estate, architecture, construction, and other industries.
Firstly, there’s the 12MP camera with a 3 axis gimbal and lossless zoom, capable of capturing incredibly clear images and 4K HDR, while the 180° orientation makes it easier to inspect every aspect of buildings and worksites.
What really sets this long-distance drone apart, however, is that it’s compatible with Pix4Dmodel, the professional photogrammetry, modeling, and mapping software.
You get a one-year subscription included when you purchase the Anafi Work and you can then use it to create 3D models from your drone footage, such as interactive 360° real estate images. You can also calculate precise measurements of the buildings and landscapes you’re surveying. You can then easily export your models or simply share them over the internet.
This drone is specifically designed for optimum practically while out in the field, being extremely compact and having a USB charging system so that you can easily charge it with a power bank.
It also has some fantastic intelligent flying features to help you navigate complex situations. For example, the FlightPlan mode allows you to perform reconnaissance missions, while the GPS return home feature helps you avoid potential issues.
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom – Best Long Range FPV Drone for Zoom
- Range: 10km
The Mavic 2 Zoom actually has a slightly shorter range than the Air S2, coming in at 10km, but it stands out for being one of the very few consumer drones that fly long distances and boast optical zoom.
It offers 2x optical zoom to be specific, along with 4x regular zoom. The 48mm optical telephoto lens compresses perspectives to provide an enhanced parallax effect in comparison to a standard 24mm wide-angle lens. This really takes your photography to the next level, achieving an enhanced cinematic look that you simply can’t get with a 24mm lens.
This zoom capability, along with the 1.23”, 12MP sensor, makes it by some way the best drone for zoom on the market. You can stream real-time 1080P video within 10km.
Alongside the powerful camera and long-range flying, the Mavic 2 Zoom offers many of the qualities that make other DJI drones so popular, such as the 3 axis gimbal, enhanced obstacle sensing, low noise, 44mph max speed, and 31 minutes of flight time.
There are also a range of intelligent flight modes you can use to make flying and capturing footage even easier, either via the included remote controller or via the DJI GO 4 smartphone app.
This long-distance drone with a camera is actually the cheapest in the Mavic 2 line, the other being the Mavic 2 Pro at $2,000+. The Mavic 2 Pro is an exceptional professional camera drone with the same 10km range, but it probably only provides decent value for money if you can easily afford to spend so much on it.
Autel Evo 2 Pro – Best Long Range Drone with 6K Video
- Range: 9km
The Autel Evo 2 Pro is the upgrade of Autel Robotic’s famous Evo 1 and comes closest to DJI models in terms of range, capable of flying a distance of 9km. It may be one of the most expensive consumer drones out there, but there’s no doubt it’s one of the best.
For starters, the 1-inch sensor camera is capable of capturing incredible 6k video — even more than the likes of the DJI Air S2 — as well as 20MP stills. It’s exceptional even in low light conditions thanks to the 12,800 ISO, and has time-lapse capabilities as well as built-in HDR bracketing for maximum flexibility.
This isn’t just a powerful long-range drone with a camera, but also an extremely intelligent drone. It has AI-enhanced omnidirectional obstacle avoidance that detects hazards up to 30m away, helping you stay safe even at long range.
The Evo 2 Pro also has a variety of smart flight modes as well as an intuitive mission planning feature that allows you to create routes around custom waypoints. Another interesting point is that Autel has announced it will soon be releasing an SDK (software development kit), meaning you’ll be able to program it yourself.
This long-distance drone also comes with one of the most impressive smart controllers on the market. It’s extremely intuitive and has a built-in 3.3 OLED display, so there’s no need to attach your smartphone to it like there is with many other remote drone controllers.
To top it all off, the 40-minute flight time is about as good as you get with consumer drones.