10 most popular drones with the longest control range

If you are looking for a good quality long range quadcopter that is able to maintain quite a distance without receiving any control lag, then you have come to the right place because this list is just about to cover that. I am sure most of you are well aware of the fact that control range is one of the most important specifications of modern day drones. It represents the area around you (while holding the controller of course) inside of which the drone will have no lag issues. This control distance is a very important aspect of every drone and as such, it should not be taken lightly. That’s exactly why we are going to be showing you some of the best drones with the longest range that are currently available on the market. All of them are sorted by their price, starting from the cheapest and aiming towards the most expensive ones. Without further adue, let us start with our list of drones with the longest range:

Benefits of long range drones

Obviously, the key benefit of long range drones is the fact they can cover a massive amount of ground around you. In theory, this is just a numbers’ advantage. In practice, however, things are much bigger than that. Take extreme sports as an example – usually, they’re covering great distances (f.e. snowboarding, skydiving) which means you need a long range drone if you want to capture the whole performance. On the other hand, various industries are taking advantage of long range drones too. The perfect example would be surveillance. Drones are sorted into patrolling groups. Each of them covers a certain area and are being a part of autonomous systems that charge themselves automatically once they run out of juice.

Long range drones for commercial purposes

As previously stated, long range drones are frequently used for various commercial purposes. I took surveillance as an example and explained how the process generally works. Now, let’s take a more in depth approach to the subject and thoroughly examine most popular commercial purposes for long range drones.

Surveillance
Drone powered surveillance is becoming more and more popular these days. There are even specialized drone surveillance companies which offer their services at moderate prices. These services involve public area surveillance, property surveillance, and monitoring of larger groups of people. The latter reflects protests, riots, demonstrations and so on.
Agriculture
Agriculture also greatly benefits from long range drones. Of course, this was to be expected since, at the moment, most drones in agriculture are based on huge farms with tons of ground to cover. That’s why long range is of crucial importance for these scenarios as it allows farmers to cover more ground with a single device. Agricultural long range drones are usually equipped with HD and/or thermal imaging solutions which allow superior crop inspection. Drones can effectively inspect current health situation of crops, determine critical spots and differentiate healthy from unhealthy ones. All in all, long range drones have a bright future in agriculture. Many farmers are noticing the opportunity so it’s no wonder agricultural drones are a hot topic nowadays.
Mapping
Geographical mapping, obviously, requires a lot of range to work with. That’s why this industry mostly uses drones with extremely long range and equipped with state of the art cameras and GPS for pinpoint mapping accuracy. Of course, specialized mapping drones come at impressive price tags, but you can still use some of the below-listed ones as solid alternatives.
Real estate
Some of you would argue that long range drones are important for the real estate industry. After all, all drones do is take a few pictures of the property and perhaps create a compelling tour of the interior. Nope – you’re wrong! Real estate drones are also used for showing the surrounding area around the property. This includes nearby landmarks, ATMs, fast foods and pretty much anything that’s in a close proximity to the property.
Perimeter security
Similar to surveillance, perimeter security industry is also starting to use drones in order to improve its performance. Even though there are other practices at the moment, the crucial one is border patrol. Drones are being heavily used to guard borders, not just in USA and Canada but on other places in the world as well. In fact, Canada is trying to manufacture face-reading drones which would further improve their border security.

Delivery with drones

Believe it or not, fully automated drone delivery systems exist. True, they aren’t technically being used at the moment, but that’s more due to laws and regulations than due to the technology behind it. As a matter of fact, Amazon just held a small test of their drone delivery service in UK and the results are better than initial expectations. Unfortunately, it seems as though we will have to wait at least couple more years for these automated drone delivery systems to become fully usable in our society.

Frequently asked questions :

What do you need for a commercial drone piloting license?

If you need a long range drone for various types of commercial purposes (some of which have been described above), then you must be looking into the whole license-obtaining process. Believe it or not, it’s quite complicated but luckily, you have me as your personal guide. First of all, you will need to get in touch with your local FAA testing center. They are spread out across all of USA so chances are high that you’ll have one relatively near to your location. Once you’ve agreed to the terms, you’ll end up registering for a standardized knowledge test. Part 107 is the name, and it is well-known for giving lots of people headaches. Why? Well, it can be quite difficult. You will need to dedicate a lot of time and effort into properly preparing yourself for the test. It consists of everything related to UAVs and our national airspace (including sophisticated regulations) thus being extremely comprehensive.

Keep in mind that you’re going to get your own Drone Piloting Licence once you pass the Part 107 test. With that certificate, you are able to fly your drone for commercial purposes and apply to various job posts that look for drone operators. Believe it or not, there’s an abundance of those. Matter of fact, it’s not even that surprising considering how much drone industry is growing at the moment.

What about casual users?

Casual users are able to take advantage of long range drones just as much as commercial users can. For casual users, long range drones provide a hassle-free experience for recording huge pieces of aerial footage. We’re talking about capturing the skylines of entire cities from the sky, making up for amazing shots and videos that are sure to awe the crowd. Additionally, long range drones can also be used for taking shots of hard to reach places which you would otherwise be unable to inspect closer. Plus, let’s not forget the fact that you’d finally be able to see your hot neighbor Casey’s bedroom with one of these long range birdies… But beware though, flying your drone too far away from you might lead you to all sorts of trouble… Which brings us to the final topic before our list of best long range drones!

How far am I allowed to fly my drone?

If you’re living in the USA, this is probably one of the first things that swing to mind when you think of long range drones. And that’s for a good reason! You see, FAA holds the sUAV (small UAV) section under strict regulation. So, if you’re flying your drones in the USA, the law obliges you to stay below 400 feet in height. There are several reasons for this, the key one being the safety of populated aircrafts such as airplanes and helicopters.

Additionally, there is also a chance you’ll get a fine for flying your drone beyond the visible line of sight (BVLOS from now on). So, in other words, you are only allowed to fly your drone in your visible horizon – if you can’t see it in the distance, it means it’s already BVLOS and you should get it back ASAP. Honestly speaking (and I’m not suggesting you go ahead and start breaking the law on a daily basis), cases of BVLOS are extremely rare and are obviously very hard to properly monitor. That’s why, if you plan on flying BVLOS, make sure you’re far away from any airports and any other types of no-fly zones. With all that said, I believe it’s time to dig into the Best Long Range Drones list!

Table : Long Range Drones

NameImageRangeFlight TimePrice
NameImageRangeFlight TimePrice
10. Traxxas Aton300m15minSee price now
9. Hubsan H501S300m20minSee price now
8. 3DR Solo800m22minSee price now
7. Hubsan H109S1500m25minSee price now
6. DJI Phantom 3 Pro5000m23minSee price now
5. Autel X-Star2000m25minSee price now
4. Yuneec Typhoon H1500m25minSee price now
3. DJI Inspire 27000m27minSee price now
2. DJI Phantom 4 Pro7000m27minSee price now
1. DJI Mavic Pro7000m¸27minSee price now

 

10. Traxxas Aton

traxxas-atonWithout this long range quadcopter, our list of long range drones simply wouldn’t be complete. With great battery life and solid range, Aton is worthy of the 10th spot on this list. As you can see, It is made by Traxxas, a familiar name in the drones industry (and even more so in RC industry). It stands for a top quality drone that is available for a quite a competitive price tag of approximately $300. But, what’s so special about it? Well, let’s see…

With a great set of specifications and features to behold upon, it comes as no surprise that this is one of the best selling drones within its price range. If we are to be more preicse here, Traxxas Aton can go as far as 300 meters and fly for around 20 minutes. Not bad for a drone that costs slightly over $300, right? Moving forward, with its 50 miles per hour top speed and amazing altitude holding capabilities accompanied by a top-of-the-class image stabilization system (purchased separately or within Aton Traxxas Plus bundle), this bad boy is the best of both worlds – speed and photography.

Let me elaborate on that real fast. You see, Traxxas Aton comes with 2 flight modes – photography and sports. The former gives you a decent kick in terms of stability and general flight smoothness and works great when you want to shoot aerial videos with your Aton. On the other hand, sports mode gets rid of all that stabilization gimmick and focuses solely on providing the best speed. Like I said, we’re talking more than 50mph with stock hardware… So, if you want a drone that can do both racing and aerial photography equally good then the Traxxas Aton is the right choice for you!

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9. Hubsan H501S

hubsan_h501s_web-1I already told you about one of Hubsan’s models above. It was their premium H109S which packs quite a punch in terms of both specifications and features. But, when it comes to value for money, I have to admit Hubsan’s middle tier H501S simply excels in that department. Want to know more about this beauty? Well, continue reading and you’ll find plenty of useful information about it!

First of all, you need to understand that, for this price, you will have tough luck finding a GPS-powered drone… Hubsan H501S, not only has GPS but also flies with pinpoint accuracy and possesses a 4.3-inch LCD display incorporated in its dedicated controller. But, that’s not where the fun ends. You see, Hubsan H501S comes with a surprisingly good camera that shoots videos in 1080p at 30fps. It does not feature hardware image stabilization, but it’s still able to present you with smooth aerial footage… unless it’s extremely windy. In that case, you can expect a bit of shakiness, but nothing too drastic, don’t worry.

Specifications are always a big plus when it comes to drones made by Hubsan. If those of H109S amazed you, wait till you see what you will get for under $300 from Hubsan H501S. Starting off with the battery, this birdie sports a 2S 2700mAh LiPo capable of enduring up to 20 minutes in the air. In terms of range, the situation is a bit lower but still good considering the price you’re paying. In clear, unobstructed areas with no WiFi interference, you will be getting slightly over 300 meters. When you take into account fluent FPV working over 5.8Ghz, it goes without question that Hubsan H501S is a wonderful piece of tech gadgetry!

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8. 3DR Solo

3dr-solo3DR Solo perhaps is not the most popular drone out there, but it surely has traits that are making it interesting for both casual and commercial users. First of all, it needs to be said that 3DR Solo is on a massive sale at the moment. From its initial price which went around $600 to even $700, 3DR Solo has now dropped to under $300 which is outright amazing. But, is such a huge discount a bad sign?

Good news – no it’s not! Even though it can be bought for a ridiculous sum of money, 3DR Solo is still an exceptional model – there were no drawbacks from the version that used to cost a lot more. So, in terms of features, you can expect the usual smart flying modes (orbit, cable cam, follow me and more) as well as altitude hold and GPS. It does not come with a camera which could be an instant turn-off for some of you. But, keep in mind that you can purchase an optional gimbal which supports GoPro Hero 3 and 4. Undoubtedly, this will turn your 3DR Solo into an outstanding aerial photography platform.

Moving onto the specifications, 3DR Solo looks sharp. Even with the gimbal and camera mounted, it can achieve 15 to 20 minutes of airtime. For those who are more interested in its range, you will get roughly 800 meters. While it’s not that much, considering all those advanced features and potency of being a great photo platform, 3DR Solo is deservedly placed on the 8th spot of this list.

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7. Hubsan H109S

Hubsan H109S9th spot goes Hubsan’s flagship model. For those of you who are not familiar with this brand, I am referring to Hubsan H109S – a mighty drone that does not cost a lot but incorporates premium-grade features. Truth be told, there are 3 versions of this beauty, but in this next few paragraphs, we will be focusing on the high end one. It sports just a few improvements such as an awesome 3-axis gimbal and a greatly improved controller which packs more than a fair share of features.

Speaking of the controller, it needs to be said that it comes with a built-in LCD display for FPV monitoring. Don’t worry – FPV works over 5.8Ghz which means you’ll get a proper experience. In fact, that LCD display is more than a mere display – it’s actually sporting Android 4.2 operating system for ensuring intuitive controls and responsive commands. In terms of photography solution, Hubsan H109S comes with an FHD camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal for optimal stabilization. It delivers solid aerial footage, but don’t expect it to be crystal clear like premium models such as Phantom 4 Pro and the rest…

Some of the key features Hubsan H109S comes with are GPS, headless mode, altitude hold and automatic return. In addition to those, you will also have low power protection at your disposal which often comes in handy. In terms of range, Hubsan H109S goes up to 1.5 kilometers which are excellent for its aggressive price tag. Even better, it has juice for roughly 25 to 30 minutes, making it among the longest flying (time-wise) drones on this list.

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6. DJI Phantom 3 Professional

dji-phantom-3-professionalThere is one drone that must be included on all lists about drones with extremely long ranges. Of course, I’m talking about DJI phantom 3 Pro. With the release of P4, P4 Pro and Mavic Pro, people are starting to forget about this little fella. Luckily, DJI Phantom 3 Pro has a ton of amazing features that will give you a whole heap of bragging rights in front of your friends, even though it’s a last gen model we’re talking about here. So… has it aged well? Why don’t we take a closer look and see!

DJI Phantom 3 Pro has always been one heck of a drone. It was awfully famous for its exceptional aerial stability as well as the 4K-capable camera. We should not forget about its awesome features either. Return to home, GPS-powered altitude hold (with the help of additional sensors on the bottom), follow me, point of interest and much more. Needless to say, such an abundance of smart features will relieve the pressure on you as the pilot, giving you a worry-free flying experience each session.

In terms of specifications, one thing is certain – DJI Phantom 3 Pro is not a toy and as such, it should not be taken for a joke. In other words, this fully-fledged sUAV (in every meaning of that word) is capable of flying up to 5 kilometers away from its control point which is just absurd. Please note that, according to FAA’s regulations that were mentioned earlier, you should always have your drone in your sight which means you should never allow it to go anywhere close to its max range… But then again, should, would, could… Secondly, DJI Phantom 3 Pro has up to 25 minutes of flight time that should satisfy both casual and commercial users. In the end, even though DJI Phantom 3 Pro is already a few years old, it’s aged well and definitely still deserves people’s attention.

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5. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

autel-robotics-x-star-premiumThe golden middle of this list goes to none other than Autel Robotic’s awesome drone called X-Star Premium… not to be mistaken with X-Star. The Premium version comes with double the range of the original, which was roughly 0.6 miles; but more on that later. For now, we are going to take a closer look at its camera and features.

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium’s camera is able to produce high-quality 4K videos which were expected from a drone of this caliber. Furthermore, it also provides you with a crystal-clear HD FPV feed that brings a whole different level of immersion. It’s also noteworthy to say a thing or two about its controller. It’s big, bulky and feels that it’s made out of top quality material. Likewise, it also sports a small LCD display which provides telemetry data.

Finally, we have reached specifications. Just like I stated earlier, Autel Robotics X-star Premium has double the range of its standard counterpart. That means it can reach up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) away from its controller without any issues. The battery is great too – it can power it up for around 25 minutes and doesn’t take too long to charge. All things considered, Autel Robotics X-Star Premium is a great drone with dual GPS and GLONASS outdoor navigation system as well as a handful of other features including return to home and SecureFly.

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4. Yuneec Typhoon H

yuneec-typhoon-hIf you are looking for a top notch drones with the best range and with a whole bunch of additional equipment and accessories then you cannot go wrong if you opt for Yuneec Typhoon H. This drone represents the first try of Yuneec with building a premium quality industrial drone, and oh boy haven’t they done an amazing job. With supreme looks, excellent safety measures and a whole bunch of raw power hiding inside, Yuneec Typhoon H is a real treat for all of you who want an industrial/commercial drone.

This hexacopter has everything you need and a little bit of extra stuff on top of it. With its 3 axis gimbal stabilization system (capable of panning for full 360 degrees), ST16 transmitter, and a 7-inch touchscreen display that serves as an FPV monitor… this should be your drone of choice for all commercial uses. It flies smoothly thanks to responsive controls of ST16. This gigantic transmitter offers plenty of features which are available at the tips of your fingers.

If you’re wondering how good this baby is for aerial photography, then read on. Yuneec Typhoon H incorporates a 12MPX sensor with a dedicated 3-axis gimbal. It records in 4K and provides incredibly smooth aerial footage. Specifications-wise, you’re looking at cca 1 kilometer of operating range. Battery life – up to 25 minutes per charge which is astonishing considering how much this hexacopter weighs. With everything stated above in mind, there is no doubt Yuneec Typhoon H is an outright awesome drone. It has a great set of features combined with powerful hardware that synergically adds up to an incredible package.

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3. DJI Inspire 2

dji_inspire_2_webIf what you are looking for is a top flight aerial photography platform, then you cannot get anything better than DJI Inspire 2. This beauty of a drone is huge as it is good. With luxurious cosmetic appearance, flashy raising effect of propeller arms upon takeoff and second to none performance, many would agree that DJI Inspire 2 is an outright champion in commercial grade drone market. Is that really the case? Let’s find out!

First things first, considering DJI Inspire 2 is targeted mainly at professional photographers, it’s only logical to start off with its camera. We’re looking at Zenmuse X5S or X4S camera and gimbal combinations, both of which are capable of bringing shivers down your spine with image and video quality. Furthermore, it needs to be stated that DJI Inspire 2 captures not only in 4K but 5.2K too… and supports RAW format for advanced users.

In terms of features, DJI Inspire 2 brings roughly the same deal as DJI Phantom 4 Pro. There are plenty of autonomous flight options, precise hovering and advanced settings for photographers. As a matter of fact, you can even use 2 controllers to operate DJI Inspire 2. 1st for flying and 2nd for controlling the camera+gimbal system. All in all, my words from the start are now surely ringing in your ears – in terms of professional grade aerial photography platforms, you cannot get anything better than DJI Inspire 2!

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2. DJI Phantom 4 Pro

phantom-4Silver medal goes to DJI Phantom 4 Pro, the current flagship in DJI’s Phantom series of drones. This gorgeous, all-white drone incorporates cutting edge drone technology and intuitive interface, well worthy of the 2nd place. It does cost a lot too, but considering what this birdie is capable of offering, you can rest assured your money is well spent!

Specifications are nothing short of brilliant, but we are already used to that from DJI drones. Thanks to OcuSync technology, DJI Phantom 4 Pro can effectively reach up to 7 kilometers without any issues. Moreover, with its powerful LiPo battery, this stylish birdie has approximately 25 to 27 minutes of airtime. Awesome, right… So is the camera! DJI Phantom 4 Pro sports a 1-inch CMOS sensor capable of recording silk smooth 4K footage.

Feature-wise, rest assured that Phantom 4 Pro is in good hands. DJI, obviously, implemented full support for DJI GO app. As you all know, it brings a lot of extra functionalities to the drone, including several advanced flying features. Autonomous flight is always a big thing for premium drones and it’s safe to say DJI Phantom 4 Pro passes that test with straight A’s. Last but not least, this little fella also features collision avoidance sensors as well as outdoor navigation systems which further increase its flight stability.

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1. DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro FeaturedLike it was ever in question which drone would take off as the best long range model currently available on the market. It’s, of course, none other than DJI Mavic Pro, a ridiculously small drone with impressive power. One thing is certain – Mavic Pro took the drone world by storm with what is, by far, the best performance/size ratio we have ever witnessed in a drone. So, without much further adue, let’s take a closer look at it and see what’s it all about!

With full support for DJI GO app, DJI Mavic Pro has access to a wide array of useful features. For those of you who already own a DJI model, some of the following will be familiar: ActiveTrack, TapFly, Precision Hover, Return to Take Off Location and more. Of course, DJI Mavic Pro also includes a state of the art 4K camera with a 3-axis gimbal. After all, what good would it be without one? Furthermore, this foldable birdie is equipped with 2 sets of sensors for safe flight and collision avoidance.

As I stated above, DJI Mavic Pro is an absolute champion in terms of performance/size. That’s why it is not surprising to see whopping 7 kilometers of range and up to 27 minutes of airtime. Impressive, to say the least… In the sea of excellent features and specifications paired together with a ridiculous size, it’s safe to say DJI Mavic Pro is deservedly the best long range drone at the moment.

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Conclusion

I am sorry to inform you that our Top 10 list is finished with the awesome DJI Mavic Pro. As you had the chance to see for yourselves, there are lots of high quality long range drones on the market. True, you will have to splash out decent amounts of cash to get the premium ones… but it is also noteworthy to add a couple of solid contenders in mid range market. Those drones might not come with all those bells and whistels, but can definitely work as solid alternatives to big guns out there.

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