Best Drones 2018
Drone technology has advanced so much over the last few years, which is why we are bringing you our best drones of 2018 review. Now of course, the best drone for one person is going to be completely different to the best drone for someone else – so we have broken down our list in to 6 easy to follow categories.
- Best Drone For Beginners in 2018
- Best Camera Drones of 2018
- Best Mid Range Drones 2018
- Best Drone for Portability in 2018
- Best FPV Drone 2018
- Best Professional Photographer/Videographer Drone 2018
The emergence of top quality camera drones has been a huge thing over the last 12 months or so and this is a trend that is set to continue with the reliance on HD and more so 4K and 5K HD being the norm. Budget is of course going to come in to play when it comes to selecting the best drone for you but one thing is for sure, that your budget in 2018 will go further than every before when it comes to the features you can expect to have on your drone.
We have 8 drones reviewed on this page for you and we will be updating them over the course of the year as new technology is made available and as prices fluctuate on existing models as a result.
Most of the drones reviewed on this page will have further in-depth reviews on our site, so look for the links to the full reviews – although we will be looking to give you enough information here on whether to make a purchase or not.
The prices do tend to fluctuate quite a lot, especially around holiday periods – we are regularly monitoring for the best price on these drones so you can bag yourself a bargain at the same time.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Best Camera Drones of 2018
When it comes to drones, there is little the DJI doesn’t know or do. There is also very little they get wrong and they have very much so become the Apple of the drone world with the quality of their builds and the marketing of their products.
You only have to go to the DJI site to see a whole array of cleverly put together marketing videos that are just perfect to show off the capabilities of products like the Phantom 4 Pro – not least because they will have been created using one.
If you need a drone with 4K capability then the Phantom 4 is certainly going to be a solid choice. It might not be on the cheap side at around £1400-£1500 but at the same time it is not aimed at the budget consumer and you get a whole lot of tech for that amount of cash.
We have not quite entered the Phantom 4 Pro in to the best professional drone 2018 category but it is not really aiming at this market. That being said, if you are looking in that category and find yourself on a budget then the DJI P4P will most likely live up to the demands of most professional jobs.
The Specs and Techs:
You can expect around 30 minutes of flight time typically with the P4P which makes it one of the longest single flight drones on our list and with a top speed of up to 72KM/H and a control range of up to 7KM you will start to get an idea of the limitations of this drone – very few that is!
It has omni-directional obstacle sensors as well as a 4K 20MP camera with 1 inch CMOS image sensor.
We found the Phantom 4 Pro a dream to fly with a range of flying modes that DJI now provide as standard across most of their top end models – TapFly and Gesture control are a dream to use as well as the active tracking modes that will track you allowing you to get great aerial shots without worrying about the flightpath of the drone.
This drone is almost impossible to crash thanks to its high resolution visions sensors and infrared sensors that help it to detect obstacles all around. If you are low on battery then the drone will automatically fly back to you ensuring it has enough juice for the trip.
You can of course purchase extra intelligent flight batteries from DJI to extend your flying time if that is a concern for you.
The DJI P4P may not be the most portable drone but thanks to its brilliant camera, easy to use nature and a controller that is just sublime, we have to put this at the top of our list of 2018 drones.
Best Camera Drones of 2018
This one may seem like a bit of an imposter in to the best camera drones of 2018 category because it doesn’t actually come with a camera built in. Instead it has the ability to attach a GoPro 4, 5 or 6 to it and that is exactly why this drone is in this category.
The big question that you have to ask yourself is how important it is to be able to upgrade your camera to the latest technological standard – if that is important to you then this could well be the drone for you.
The Karma itself is going to set you back around £800 for a package that gives you the harness for the GoPro, the carry case, controller and the super impressive Karma Grip. The Karma Grip allows you to detach the camera from the Karma drone and gives you super stable content that you can control from the grip itself – meaning if you are shooting alone you can go from drone to ground and still get amazing footage.
The Karma stacks up well against the P4P in almost every way, retaining many of the features of the DJI drone when it comes to the camera – so you can expect follow me and other similar functions to allow you to take amazing videography and photography.
The only let down when directly comparing is the battery. The Karma typically gives you around 20 minutes of recording time, however once your drone does run out of juice you will be able to carry on recording on the ground with your GoPro – so there is a silver lining.
For a more detailed review and to see some of our other GoPro drones head to our GoPro drone review page.
UDI U818A FPV Drone
Best Drone For Beginners in 2018
Something very different now and this one comes from our Drones Under £100 page and provides you with a budget option that is so cheap it makes us want to cry when we think what we pay for some of our tech.
The truth is, if you are looking for a first foray into drone ownership or you want something for the teenagers to mess around with then you can get an awful lot for your money now in 2018 and this drone comes in at around the £80 to £85 mark!
Of course you won’t get all the mod cons that you get with the likes of a DJI drone, but this one tops our top ten drones under £100 for a reason – and put simply, that is because it is a lot of fun to fly and gives you a pretty decent FPV experience to boot.
You won’t be winning any photography awards with the U818A but what you will get is the ability to record and take stills directly on to a micro SD card and a mobile app that allows you to view and control the drone form around 100 metres away.
Flight time comes in at just under 10 minutes which for drones in this price band is pretty impressive. You can check out the 5 star reviews and best price here.
Best Drone for Portability in 2018
This drone was released mid way through 2017 and we may well see an update to it later this year as it has been a huge success for DJI. The Spark (sometimes dubbed the ‘selfie drone’) is aimed at consumers who might otherwise not buy a drone.
It is almost using a similar strategy that Apple used when launching the iPhone, showing you why you need it and how amazing it is with some pretty impressive advertising. The thing is, this drone actually does that job pretty well thanks to its incredible camera and extremely portable design. In fact, it is almost the same size as a smart phone and can even be carried in a (pretty large) pocket.
You will not get a controller with the spark, instead you can use the DJI app to control your drone with ease. It is also pretty heavy on the gesture control, meaning you don’t need to be holding your phone to take video and images.
An impressive flight time of 15-16 minutes along with a high speed of 50KM/H and a range of up to 2KM, there is more than just taking selfies when it comes to the Spark.
Unfortunately, the camera is not 4K, but it does still perform pretty admirably with its 12MP full HD camera and has quite a wide lens so you take some pretty awesome photography and video.
They are also compatible with the DJI Goggles which is a real game changer as you can use the Spark as (pretty expensive) racing drone if you so wish.
If you want something that is easy to use, has a very decent camera but you don’t need it for professional work then the Spark is going to be right up your street – assuming you have around £500 to fork out for it that is.
Best Mid Range Drones 2018
It hurt us a little to put the Mavic Pro in the category of best mid range drones in 2018 as it is not really a mid range drone. It would more than hold it’s own against the more expensive Phantom 4 Pro and it does have the capability of 4K video resolution.
Whilst it has all of that it just doesn’t quite stack up when it comes to photo and video in the same was as the P4P and much of this comes down to the camera. Everything else is bang on, 27 minutes of flying time – check, 7KM range – check, flying speed – 65KM/H – check(ish), 12MP 4K video – erm… check but not check mate.
You can read our full review of the Mavic Pro if you want to see us gushing about it and it does deserve that, it really does. For the £1,000 price band there is quite simply nothing else that gets close to it, even a GoPro with a Karma is going to cost more. That being said, if you were to compare the two packages like for like with the same equipment, once you start adding things on to the Mavic Pro it soon gets pretty pricey.
For all of these reasons, the Mavic Pro will sit happily as one of the best mid range drones of 2018.
DJI Inspire 2
Best Professional Photographer/Videographer Drone 2018
The fact that there are three DJI drones on our list of top drones in 2018 should show you something about where the market is right now and how good this company are when it comes to UAVs. That being said, this is a drone that is in a different league to the rest, this is a super drone, a drone for the professionals and it create simply stunning videography that can sit easily alongside Hollywood’s finest.
The DJI Inspire 2 is the drone of choice for many professional aerial photographers and videographers and it has been used in feature films not just for those impressive aerial shots but for close ups too – such is the quality of the Zenmuse camera’s that can be attached.
There is no way we could cover all of the features and give a full review of the Inspire 2 in this list of 2018 drones, so be sure to check out our full review using the link above.
Instead, we will give you a brief overview of the costs, its features and why it is the dogs danglies of drones.
First up, the drone alone will cost you in the region of £3000 and the figures we are about to throw out are not for the faint hearted. However, if you are looking to replace a multi-person crew with the Inspire 2 then you may think the price is a bargain – so it all depends on perspective.
The Inspire 2 comes in a range of packages, that vary from £4300 to around £21,500 and the package price will largely revolve around the type of camera and type of film editing licences you require.
All cameras that work with the Inspire 2 are Zenmuse, with the Zenmuse X4S being the most basic model (and basic really isn’t the right word here), the X5S being the next model up and the Zenmuse X7 being the top of the range model that includes a variety of different lenses with the Cinema Premium Combo package.
Aside from the difference in camera, the various packages come with different levels of equipment and all of the combo packages include extra batteries. With standard flight time of 25-27 minutes from two batteries (that are both on board at the same time), you will be glad of the extras when out for a day of filming. This really is a pro piece of kit though and you will see this in every detail from the controllers to the drone to the post production when editing.
The live view from the FPV camera is broadcast at 1080p HD and the video resolution of the main camera is 5.2K/4K depending on the camera you purchase. Similar to the Phantom 4 Pro you can expect a range of around 7KM with the Inspire 2 but the top speed is closer to 94KM/H and it really holds its own at high speed and allows for some phenomenal (and very stable) footage.
The Gimbal for the Inspire 2 produces video like we have never seen before and it is no wonder that this is our best professional drone of 2018. Will there be an Inspire 3 released at some time during 2018? If so, we can’t even begin to imagine how it would improve on this!
Best Drone For Beginners in 2018
It seems a little bit fraudulent to put the Syma X5SC-1 in the best drones for beginners 2018 as it has been around now for a couple of years. But when it comes to buying and flying a drone as a true beginner you really don’t want to break the bank and this is about as budget a drone as you are going to get whilst still getting some nifty features to boot.
The Syma X5SC-1 has seen a few upgrades and face lifts since it came to market and you can now pick one up for the price of a couple of bottles of wine down the pub. What we love about this drone is the retro feeling remote controller and the familiarity it will bring to a new pilot. Whilst it is not the easiest drone in the world to control it provides the perfect pilot training as you won’t get away with too much, but at the same time you won’t find it too easy to damage beyond repair.
It even includes a 2MP camera and a 4GB SD card to store your pics and vids on – although don’t expect too much in this regard. Battery life is impressive for the price of this drone and we managed to squeeze 10 minutes out of a single flight whilst testing!
Still, if you want something to hone your skills before splashing out on a more expensive drone or you simply want something that is going to be a nice little addition to your fleet then the Syma X5SC-1 is the perfect choice – oh and did we mention it looks great too!
Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
Best FPV Drone 2018
This is one of our favourite packages when it comes to drones and if FPV is your thing you are going to love the Parrot Bebop 2. It is one of those drones that you either love or absolutely love and you know that you are getting quality as it built by Parrot – one of the pioneers of bringing commercial drones to market in the UK and US.
For a similar price to the Spark you get the drone, the Sky Controller and the FPV glasses. Even if you were to opt for a Tiny Whoop set up you would be spending close the same amount if you were buying all this gear separately and that is what we adore about this package from Parrot.
You can expect around 25 minutes flight time from the Parrot Bebop 2 which is astonishing really and you can even shoot full HD videos and take photographs in RAW format for super high resolution editing.
The fun of this thing though is in the FPV. You enter a whole new world when you put the goggles on and considering this whole package costs the same as just the DJI Goggles, it is hard to get past the Bebop 2 in terms of value for money.
That completes our list of top drones for 2018, we will add to it throughout the year but for now grab yourself a drone and let us know how you get on.
Our top drones of 2018 provide you with a range of great options no matter what your requirements. From beginner drones to FPV and from mid range to drones for the pros, we have everything you need to find the best of the best in this in depth review.
- Ease of use
- Value for money