BEST FOLDABLE DRONES
Folding drones are as much for portability as practicality. We take a look at the best foldable drones on the market.
Best Foldable Drones
You might be forgiven for thinking that all drones are foldable, however that is simply not the case. Although there are a lot more foldable drones now than there every used to be, it is still not a feature that we see all of the time.
The key reason for a drone to foldable is to make it easier to transport around – therefor improving its portability considerably. For smaller drones, it is not so important for it to be foldable, however for larger models – having folding or sliding arms certainly helps to shrink the size down considerably.
If having a portable drone is important to you then you are in luck – we have compiled our best foldable drones here for you in our handy roundup. There will quite a difference in the price of some of these drones so we have tried to label them as best we can as to who they should appeal to – but be rest assured – all of these are drones that fold.
DJI Mavic Pro 2
Best Overall – 10/10
When it comes to the creme de la creme of consumer drones, DJI is usually the go to name that people mention. Their latest drone – the Mavic Pro 2 – is no exception to that and is quite simply just about the best foldable (or non-foldable for that matter) drone on the market today.
At the top end in terms of price as well as specs there is still plenty of value for money to be had and we simply adore this drone. Featuring a 20MP 10 bit HDR camera that records perfect 4K video that is super smooth thanks to the 3 axis gimbal, this is a drone for those that are serious about capturing sensational video and imagery.
Battery life that lasts for up to 31 minutes is just the tip of the iceberg with this drone, but in terms of ease of use, portability and video there is simply not a better consumer drone on the market. The fact that this drone folds is really neither here nor there but as that is the focus of this roundup we should perhaps mention that when folded this UAV measures up at 91mm x 214mm x 84mm – seriously impressively portable for a drone that has so much tech under the hood.
If we could give the Mavic Pro 2 a rating of more than 10 out 10 then we would – it is simply stunning.
JJRC H37 Elfie
Best Budget Foldable Drone – 8/10
The JJRC H37 couldn’t be any more different to the premium Mavic Pro 2 if it tried, but in honesty it is not trying to compete on any level. The H37 Elfie is more about selfies than high end photography but those casual users out there will still be impressed with what this budget foldable drone can offer.
The H37 is our top pick if budget is an issue as these quadcopters can be snapped up at under £30. Not only is the price exceptional, but you also get great value in the package itself with a carry bag included along with the charging cable, spare propellers and one of the most novel and well designed controllers we have seen.
The H37 will provide you with 6-7 minutes of flight time and sports a 720p HD camera. The drone will follow you based on your position when synced with your phone and you can even stream footage direct to your phone when using it as a controller. The usual features such as flips, headless mode and altitude hold are all to be found on the H37 and all in all it is a great low budget drone. The dimensions when folded are 11.3cm by 5.7cm which make it a dream to carry around.
Hover Passport Camera
Best Self Flying Foldable Drone – 9/10
Yes you read our subheading for this drone correctly – this is a self flying drone that requires little to no user input. Crucially, to be included in this particular foldable drones buying guide it does of course fold up – but thanks to a unique design – even just the manner of the folding of the Hover Passport drone is quite exceptional and means it is extremely portable.
The drone (as you can see pictured) has a kind of grill over the propellers and the entire body. This not only makes the Hover Passport extremely safe and durable in flight, it also makes it very flat and easy to transport when not in flight. It also eliminates the need for a carry case as it pretty much has its own shell. That being said, you will get a carry bag with the drone when you purchase it.
The design may be rather eye catching but this is not just an expensive gimmick. In fact, the Hover Passport sports a 13MP camera for still photography that can also capture video in 4K! It weighs just under 250g which is good news for those trying to avoid regulations that come in to force later in 2019 and it even ships with two batteries.
You still have some control using the mobile app but there is no controller to speak of. The drone will take images and videos that you direct it to and stores them to the onboard 32GB of flash storage – this means that you get lossless video that is super high quality processed and stored whilst the drone is still recording. This drone uses facial recognition and follow me tracking to allow it to stay with you and you can select from an array of shot types to get some truly stunning imagery and video.
This is one of the most unique drones on the market and when it comes to foldable drones, this is one of our favourites. A foldable 4K drone that can fly itself all for under £300 – yes please!
HolyStone HS160 Shadow
Best Foldable Drone For Beginners – 8/10
Holy Stone have proved themselves in the low to mid range drone market time and time again and whilst this is by no means the best drone they have produced, it stands shoulder to shoulder with other drones at this price point and has the added advantage of having foldable arms that tuck in to the body of the UAV.
Not only is this a very portable drone, it is also a very easy one to fly and with 4 speed modes it is perfect for beginners. Most drones that have speed settings only have two or three speed options – but with 4 on the HS160 there is plenty of room to move from novice to expert over time which makes this a great drone to start off with.
The HS160 Shadow weighs a paltry 86g so taking it out and about with you is a cinch. The lack of weight does cause less balance in outdoor windy conditions but if you are happy to keep your outdoor flying to relatively still days or you are content to fly your drone indoors then the Shadow doesn’t leave you asking for more.
Despite a price tag that is under £80 you benefit from a 720p HD camera that streams over Wi-Fi to your smartphone that can be mounted on the included controller. There is also the option of connecting your phone to a virtual reality headset (the cheap ones are fine too) which allows for a fully immersive drone FPV experience. With the higher speed settings you may choose to use the Shadow for racing too.
This package comes with the controller and also with two batteries – meaning you can enjoy flight times of up to 9 minutes x2. All the usual budget drone features are found on the HS160 including altitude hold, one key take off and landing, flips and rolls and headless mode.
If you are looking for a low cost foldable drone that will keep you entertained for months on end then the Holy Stone HS160 Shadow could be the perfect option for you.
Great Cheap(ish) 4K Folding Drone – 9/10
If you are looking for a real top end drone that is capable of rivalling the DJI big boys such as the Mavic Pro or Mavic Air models but you don’t want to pay the absolute premium price then you have two options – you can either buy a second hand Mavic or you can buy a Parrot Anafi.
Launched midway through 2018, the latest offering from Parrot certainly got people talking and with a sub £500 price tag (at the time of writing) those tongues haven’t quite stopped wagging yet.
The first thing to point out is that the Anafi is a stunning looking drone. More slimline than it’s DJI counterparts but with similar foldable arms, this ergonomically designed carbon frame quadcopter is arguably easier to transport than the market leaders. It comes with its own stylish case which it of course nestles in to perfectly for taking it on the move with you. The only downside to this is that the case cannot accomodate the SkyController although you can control the Anafi just from your smartphone if you really need to travel light. At just 320g, the drone itself is easy to pop in your bag.
The exciting aspect of the Anafi though lies in the tech specs rather than the beautifully designed portable chassis. 4K video and 21MP stills are delivered from the 180 degree tilting camera that is gimbal mounted. The camera also offers 2.8x digital zoom without any degradation to the image quality – this is a game changer for us and we applaud Parrot for this.
When it comes to battery life the Anafi more than holds its own against its big hitting rivals. 25 minutes of flight time can be achieved although there is no option of buying extra batteries as it is an internal power source. USB type C charging does mean that you can charge on the go if you need to.
Overall, if you have a £500-ish budget and you want a top quality folding drone – then the Anafi is probably the best you can get!
Hotbird Foldable Mini Drone
Best For 1080p HD On A Budget – 8/10
When it comes to foldable drones that record video at 720p HD there are plenty of options, however it you want a budget foldable quadcopter that can record at 1080p HD then your choices are far more limited. We present to you the Hotbird Foldable drone – and what we love about this is that there are three versions available – all offering something slightly different so you can pretty much get exactly what you want.
We are going to focus on the most expensive of the trio – which still comes in at a relatively modest £140 – and offers 1080p HD, follow me modes and a wide angles tilting camera.
Flying time of up to 18 minutes is enough reason alone to pull this drone out of the real budget category and it is hard to imagine getting better value for money when it comes to folding drones. The Hotbird also comes with a carry case to make transporting it even easier. The controller that comes with the drone allows you to mount your phone within it so you can stream your video and see your photography shots live.
We have to say that the Hotbird was a favourite of ours and the video quality was pleasing to say the least. The fact that it has GPS and you can set waypoint is gains a big tick from us and we found the follow me feature to work flawlessly. Well done Hotbird!
Good Budget Option – 7/10
Tozo have established themselves as a decent budget quadcopter manufacturer over the last 12 months and we have certainly sat up and took notice. The Q1012 is a pretty standard offering but one that nevertheless offers a good foldable drone option with 720p HD video capabilities. The main reason we decided to include this drone in this buying guide is thanks to a battery life of up to 10 minutes – which is slightly better than the Holy Stone HS160 – although you do only get one with this package. However, at a price of around £60 this still offers exceptional value for money and the design of the TOZO may appeal more to some people.
You can choose to control the TOZO either from your phone or your phone mounted on the included controller. Either way, you will get live FPV streaming from the camera on the drone to your phone’s screen with the photos and videos being recorded directly to your phone.
Beginners might want to take advantage of the headless flying mode which does make life a little easier as well as the one touch take off and landings. Return to home is also a feature which will make this a popular drone amongst beginners.
Exceptional Value Foldable Drone – 7/10
The GoolRC T47 is another really cheap foldable drone option that is available for well under £50. Not only is this a cheap folding drone, it also comes with plenty to provide amazing value for money. In addition to the drone itself (that has 720p HD video incidentally) you also get a carry case, a controller and two batteries!
Flight times of around 7 minutes can be achieved which means with the two batteries you are getting 14 minutes of flying time – incredible for this price! The controller is a little different to what we are used to as it is a one handed controller – however this does allow you to keep your other hand free and the concept does actually work. You can also pair the drone to your phone using the free GoolRC app which allows you to stream your video in real time of a Wi-Fi connection between your phone and the T47.
The T47 weighs in at around 86g and when folded is 14.6cm x 6.7cm x 3.2cm which allows it to fit neatly in to the bundled carry case.
If you really need to go low budget but want a foldable drone with camera then the T47 is a wise choice.
The Mavic 2 Pro tops our roundup of best foldable drones but whether or not this is the right drone for you will depend very much on what you need, what you want and how much you have to spend. Hopefully our guide has been able to provide you with something that fits your criteria.
- Ease of use
- Value for money