Best Long Range Drone To Buy – Guide & Reviews 2019

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drone with camera long flight time, How far can a drone fly max? 
Drone with camera. Long flight time of more than 20 min a recommended criteria in your search for a long range drone.

Need a long range drone for aerial shots of far away or out of reach places? This type of drone can take footage from a sizable height or distance whether you are an enthusiast or a professional.

The following looks at what to consider when choosing a long range drone. As well, it compares and reviews some of the best long range drones on the domestic market.

In a hurry? Check out our pick at Amazon — See details!

Got a tight budget? Looking for the best cheap long range drones? Skip to the bottom and you find a list of several cheap drones.


Compare Best Long Distance Drones

DroneFlight TimeRange$$$Suited To
#1. DJI Mavic Air21 min2.50 mi (4 km)
Check PriceTravellers
#2. DJI Mavic Pro27 min4.35 mi (7 km) Check PriceValue For $$
#3. DJI Mavic 2 Pro31 min5 mi (8 km)
Check PriceEnthusiasts
#4. DJI Phantom 4 Pro30 min4.35 mi (7 km)
Check PriceProfessionals
#5. GoPro Karma
w/Hero5 Black
20 min1.86 mi (3 km) Check PriceGoPro Fans
#6. Autel Robotics
X-Star Premium
25 min1.24 mi (2 km) Check PriceUS based support

Compare popular drones in the 1-5 mile range by way of video quality, flight distance, performance in terms of speed and flight time, price range, and rating in our reviews further down.

Navigate This Buying Guide


This guide is about helping you find the best drone to buy for long distance flying.

>> Skip to the reviews of long range drones.

Looking for budget buys in long range drones? >> Skip to our list of the Best Cheap Drones for long distance flight.

Why Buy A Long Distance Flying Drone

If you are a professional looking to identify or monitor built or environmental features, using a long range drone will save you time and money in producing results.

For enthusiasts, a long range drone with camera will give you impressive scenes of places you won’t normal reach with a short distance flight drone.

How to Find The Best Long Range Drone

When looking for the best drone to buy for long distance flights, at least consider these main factors.

  • Transmission range (or drone distance max)
  • Video Transmission
  • Flight time
  • Imaging system
  • Navigation/Mapping

What’s The Best Long Distance Drone?

The following expands on the factors you should consider when choosing a long distance drone.

the Longest Drone Flight Distance

The ‘drone distance max’, also known as ‘transmission range’ or flight range of a drone, is the fartherest the drone will go under ideal conditions.

A long flight distance matters if you want to use the latest aerial technology for surveying, mapping, data collection, or simply for remote aerial photography.

There are a few factors that will affect the maximum distance stated by the manufacturer.

Here’s the practicalities If you were to ask: How far can a drone go from the pilot? The distance a drone can fly from the pilot will depend on the signal strength of the drone’s transmitter, the design of the drone, its battery life, and the atmospheric conditions at the time.

The signal strength is how far the signal will work from the pilot’s location.

For the consumer, the best long range drones for sale can go up to several kilometers away from the pilot with the right conditions.

Examples are:

  • The DJI Mavic Pro, which has a drone maximum range of 7 kilometers (drone range miles: 4.35) and
  • The DJI Mavic Pro 2 with a max 5-mile (8km) control range.
  • The DJI Phantom 4 Pro, also with a 7-km drone distance max.

Get The Best Drone Flight Time

Drone flying time will depend on the battery quality.

In a remote control drone with camera, batteries are usually lithium.

Drones with long battery life will give you longer flight times. So, look for a battery that can endure at least a 20 minute flight time if you are wanting a decent long distance range.

Tip: For less downtime, look for drones with fast charging technology or consider buying extra batteries.

Find A Drone With Best Video Transmission

You’ll want a reliable transmission straight to your display in real time — otherwise it will be difficult to maneuvre your drone.

To avoid interference and gain longer transmitting distance, you might want to look for an advanced transmission system that will support dual 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency bands.

Get A Drone With Best Imaging System

People wanting good drone photography will want at least a 4K video resolution or even 5.2K and RAW, and a 3-axis gimbal stabilization system in their long range drone.

Sensor size, ISO range, shutter speed, and photography modes are relevant. If you are wanting to use your drone camera for professional reasons, look for 1-inch sensors and no less than a 12-megapixel capture ability.

The gimbal is important for smooth footage capture of aerial photography as it provides a stable system to limit the shake that can happen when the drone is in motion. Here, look for at least a 3-axis type.

Drone With Best Navigation system

For mapping and recording locations, you will need a drone with GPS and camera. Drones with obstacle avoidance systems help in navigating around objects and avoiding crashing the drone.

Look for systems with a return to base or return to home that are useful as a safety feature for when the battery is running low or the signal fails for a duration.

How Much Does a Drone Cost?

Apart from the above factors, budget is always something people consider.

Looking for the best long range drone under 1000? We’ve included drones under 1000 dollars as well as those that cost a few hundred more. We’ve also a list of good cheap drones for long range flying, to help you find the best affordable drone.

Other Features

Type of controller. You might want control the drone using hand gestures, your smart phone, or a controller/transmitter.

Portability. Will you be traveling with your long-range drone? This might mean you want something light and portable. There’s at least two that are foldable.

Top Drones: Long Range Drone Reviews

In choosing a good quality drone for long range use, product reviews help discern the features that serve your purpose the best. The following reviews popular long range drones on the domestic market.

1. The DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter Drone Review

Compact long range drone, fits into your hand

DJI is one of the best drone brands for high quality drones currently on the market.

The Mavic Air stands out from other DJI models for a number of reasons. It’s more compact for one. This Mavic Air model is so compact it can fold into a size that fits into your hand. Great for travelling.

It’s also cheaper. Lighter. Faster. And, It is the first to come with 8GB of onboard storage. Although light (430 g), it can withstand winds of up to 10 meters per second (22 miles per hour).

It comes in Onyx Black, Flame Red, and Arctic White and

A novel feature is the hand gesture control option. Not only can you launch and land the drone with a hand gesture, but you can take selfies, record videos, and more with a simple swipe of the hand.

Apart from hand gesture, you can control the drone via your mobile device (to 80 meters) or by remote controller.

DJI Mavic Air Camera Specs

It has a camera that has a stabilization system of 3-Axis Gimbal.

It can shoot videos with 4K resolution at 30 frames per second (fps), recording at 100 Mbps to capture UHD quality video (can obtain high speed capture recording 1080p 120 fps slow motion video), as well as stills of 12 MP.

It features intelligent stitching of 360 32-MP Sphere panoramas. In just an 8-second timeframe it can stitch together 25 photos.

DJI Mavic Air Navigation

It features a 3-directional system of environment sensing. It has vision sensors including GPS and GLONASS.

The obstacle sensors work very well, thanks to its advanced system consisting of forward, back, and downward dual-vision sensors and downward infrared sensing system, and computer cores. The result: precise hovering and enhanced flight performance.

What is the range of the DJI Mavic Air?

Maximum transmission range is 4 km with a new improved WiFi video transmission for better signal and connection. It supports frequency bands of 2.4/5.8GHz and a 720p live view.

DJI Mavic Air Flight Time

Drone flight time is 21 minutes. It has dual GPS and GLONASS and a reliable return to home feature.

In the box

1 Mavic Air Quadcopter with Remote Controller; 1 Intelligent Flight Battery, 1 Power Adapter (Without AC Power Cable); 1 Gimbal Protector + spare control sticks; 4 pairs of propellers, Propeller Guards; 1 Communication Cable-USB 3.0 type-C, + 1 USB Adapter, Two RC cable slider (large) and two RC cable slider (small), Carrying case

Cons

Drone is not waterproof.

Price

Users say it’s worth the price.

Compare with DJI Store.


2. The DJI Mavic Pro Quadcopter Drone Review

Mavic Pro 4K camera drone

This 4K camera drone performs somewhat like the Phantom 4 but in a much smaller package (734 g). This one is also foldable. The Mavic Pro can fold into a size as small as a water bottle so it is great for moving around much like it’s cousin, the Mavic Air.

Flight Time

It has a longer flight time than its cousin (by 6 mins) and can travel much further (up to 7 km compared to 4 km for the Mavic Air), being a drone with the farthest range listed here.

It can travel at a speed of 65 km/h (40 mph) in sport mode (S-mode) when using the remote controller. Camera resolution is 12 MP and video 4K. Stabilization system: 3-axis.

Navigation

This drone has both GPS and GLONASS for precise positioning in- and outdoors. You can control the drone with either a mobile device (to 80 meters) or a remote controller. It even has some of the new gesture features featured in the Mavic Air.

It can follow behind, in front, or circle a subject via the ActiveTrack intelligent flight modes that allow it to also fly alongside a subject or keep the camera trained on an object while flying anywhere.

It also has a return-to-home feature for when the battery is low or signal is lost for a duration or when the user wants it to return to base.

You can program the drone to travel at the same height above ground while moving along.

It has 2-directional sensing, forward obstacle (0.7 to 15 m) and downward (0.3 to 13 m range).

Camera Specs

It features seven onboard cameras that are part of the “FlightAutonomy 2.0” sensor system for this obstacle avoidance and this system also allows it to hover perfectly still.

In the box

1 Dji Mavic Pro Drone + Remote Controller; 1 Battery, charger + USB cables for Lightning, Micro USB, Type C; 1 16 Gigabyte SD Card; 3 Pairs of propellers (6pcs)

Cons

Only comes with an SD card of 16 GB. Could do with a neutral density (ND) filter for the lens. Shoulder bag could be roomier.

Price

The price point has reduced since entering the market.

Compare with DJI Store


3. The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Review

Features Swedish Hasselblad cameras

The DJI Mavic Pro 2 drones feature Hasselblad cameras, which are crafted in Sweden and known for their ergonomic design and quality of image and craftmanship.

The camera in this drone has the unique Hasselblad Natural Color Solution (HNCS) from which you can capture 20MP aerial shots in awesome color detail. It has a 1” CMOS Sensor.

What’s different between this is the original Mavic Pro is that this newer model has a sensor that is 4x more effective, allowing it to capture more information in every pixel.

It supports a 4K 10-bit HDR meaning it can be used with a 4K TV with HLG giving instant high-quality image.

It has an adjustable aperture with focal ratio (f/) 2.8 to 11, which is useful for managing different light conditions.

Price

Compare with DJI Store


4. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro Professional Drone

Drone with best battery life…

A professional drone at a great price

This is one of the top rated drones and possibly one of the best professional drones.

It is the second longest flying drone on the list and is more advanced, though not as light (1388 g), as the above DJI models.

It comes with an abundance of sensors and can sense obstacles in five directions to the range of 30 m. In positioning mode (P-mode) the stabilization is amazing.

Sports mode (S-mode) is fun, with the drone flying quite fast (you’ll want to stay low). The Phantom drone range is impressive at 7 km (or just over 4 miles).

Download a DJI Go App to record your videos on your device where you can edit and share straight from the app.

This drone can fly at a maximum speed of 72 kmh in P-mode. The  5-directional sensing of obstacles means seamless flying without issues of collisions as the sensors will detect and avoid any obstacles in its flight path.

It has a vision system that includes forward, backward, and downward. Its forward and backward obstacle sensing ranges 0.7 to 15 meters.

The infrared time of flight (TOF) senses on both sides range 0.2  to 7 meters and allow for accurate distance mapping and 3D imaging.

These features possibly place it as a high end drone on the list of the best drone for photography in terms of professional pursuits.

ActiveTrack is also a feature of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and includes New Circle, Parallel, and Spotlight intelligent flight modes.

This drone has a return to home feature that includes route planning, environment mapping and a 300-m long-range obstacle sensing, which makes it useful for research and mapping projects.

These are the things that make it viable as the best professional drone for long distance.

Flight time is a good 30 minutes. Camera quality of 4K at 60 fps means it provides smooth cinematic shots and effective pixels with 20 MP max image size.

Other features include a mechanical shutter, dual coding (H.264 and H.265).

Video transmission system of lightbridge that uses time division multiplexing to transmit signals allows it to send controller signals while receiving video transmission at the same frequency.

Navigation

It has dual GPS and GLONASS for navigation. The drone is controlled by a 2.4 to 2.483 GHz remote controller only. It also has the gesture mode to take a selfie.

Supports Sandisk Extreme, Samsung PRO, and Panasonic 32/64 GB microSD cards. Patriot EPPRO not recommended.

In the box (standard):

1 drone, Factory foam case, 1 remote controller; 1 high capacity battery, 1 100W battery charger; 8 propellers (2 sets); 1 gimbal holder; Cables; 1 16 GB SD cards

Cons

Gimbal calibration can be tricky.  Must be in clear line of sight for good video feed with increasing distance from remote.

Price

Offered at a great price for all the features included.

Check Price At DJI Store


5. The GoPro Karma Quadcopter Drone Review

The drone made for for GoPro

If you are a GoPro fan, this one may interest you. While, GoPro stopped marketing their brand of drone, there are still a few on the market.

The Karma displayed here comes with the Hero5 Black GoPro camera.

You can find out more about the Hero Models in our article comparing the different GoPros. While the newer models feature a more advanced camera, the Hero5 Black will still provide good quality videos.

The Karma is foldable and folds neatly into its case for travel.

Flight Time

Flight time is up to 20 minutes and the battery takes one hour to charge. Controller battery life: 4 hrs.

Flight Max Distance

According to specs put out by GoPro at the time…Transmission range: up to 3 km. Speed: 54 kmh (35 mph). Max flight altitude: 3.2 km (10 500 ft).

Navigation

This drone uses the GPS of Hero5 Black. The GoPro Karma has a ‘follow me’ mode.

Other

The detachable handle is an advantage and works extremely well.

The harness in the Karma package fits a Hero5 Black. You can still buy accessories for the Karma online.

Cons 

Drone in return-to-home flys in a straight line, so fly carefully to avoid obstacles as the construct is somewhat delicate. You will need to use the controller joysticks to maneuver around obstacles, as there is no automatic obstacle sensing.

Price

Competitive price.


6. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Quadcopter Drone Review

US based customer support

The Autel Robotics X-Star Premium (1420 g) weighs heaviest of the drones listed above and flys the least max distance, but it is built tough!

Comes in orange and white and has a free to download Starlink app as a portal to support.

What’s good about this drone? The company provides US-based 7-day customer support via phone, email or live chat and there is extensive knowledge on the company website to help you out.

Camera Specs

Video resolution is 4K with Ultra HD quality and with 12 MP max image size. The outfit includes a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer that is easily removed – a bonus when it comes time to upgrade.

Navigation

This drone has a dual GPS/Glonass outdoor navigation and with the free Starlink app (iOS and Android) you get autonomous flight modes.

It has SecureFlyTM magnetic interference protection and you can attached your mobile device to the remote control for first person view (FPV) flight.

The remote controller LCD display shows altitude, range, battery life, gimbal tilt, orientation, and more — useful for knowing when and how to maneuvre your long range drone back home safely.

In the box

1 X-Star Premium drone, 1 Hard case, 1 Intuitive remote controller with LCD display; 1 64 GB MicroSD card; 1 Intelligent battery + 1 1-hour fast charger; Spare propellers and small parts

Cons: There is no automatic obstacle sensing with this one but the construct is sturdy if it crashes. Can be unsteady in take off.

Price


Best Cheap Long Range Drone List

If you are looking for a cheap long range drone this list may help. The flight range for these long distance drones for sale will be around 1 mile or less.

They are at a lower drone price range and so some lack navigation equipment. However, the list does include a remote control drone with camera and GPS. One of the Parrot drones for sale makes this category and is our Editor’s Pick.

 

 DroneImageKey DetailsPrice>>Rating<<
#1. Holy Stone HS700Camera: HD 1080p 
Fly Range: 0.6 miles (1 km)
Fly Time:  16-20 min
Speed:  forward thrust
Nav: GPS
Check Price★★★★☆ 4.0
#3. MJX Bugs 3 RCCamera:  not included
Fly Range:  0.3 miles (0.5 km)
Fly Time:  18 min
Speed:  high/low mode
Nav: no GPS
Gopro 3 3+ 4, SJCAMS SJ4000 SJ7000 compatible

 Check Price

★★★★☆ 3.8
#4. Altair Aerial Blackhawk Long RangeCamera:  not included
Fly Range:  0.3 miles (0.5 km)
Fly Time:  17 min
Speed:  Fast
Nav: no GPS
GoPro Hero3/4 suited

Check Price

★★★★☆ 3.8
#5. Parrot Bebop-2

 

 

Editor’s Pick: Best Affordable Drone

HD Camera:  1080P 14MP
Fly Range:  1.25 miles (2 km)
Fly Time:  25 min
Speed:  35 mph (57 kph)
Nav: GPS & visual tracking

Check Price

★★★★☆ 4.0

Tips and FAQs

Make sure your return home is set correctly on models with this feature.

Best to have a spare battery or two and swap them out for more flight time.

Buy spare propellers.

Get 2 × 64GB SD cards. No smaller. Two is better than one 256GB card, just in case the card fails or gets lost. Make sure you have an SD card reader.

Recommended to have a landing pad and possibly a sun hood for the controller.

About Flying Responsible

The US Federal Aviation Administration requires registration of certain drones flown in the US, for hobby or commercial purposes. We’ve put together tips on what to do before you fly that drone in the US.

Check your local rules on where and when you can fly a long range drone. You will want to know: How far can a drone fly from controller or pilot? In Australia? We have a page on what to do before you fly.

How far can you fly a drone?

This will depend on where you intend flying the drone. The drone might need to be in view of the pilot at all times. Drone regulations can vary between countries and counties.

How do drones fly?

The drones I write about are quadcopters. Find out how a quadcopter works.

How fast do drones fly?

The drones listed here fly at speeds up to 45 mph (72 kph) depending on conditions and the flight mode.

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Jeff Madden

Hi, Jeff Madden here. I'm an enthusiast of the wide open spaces with over 15 years experience in spatial data. I like to research and compare the latest technology available. My writings are about helping others explore and capture visuals of the outdoors.

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