There are many sizes and styles of drones on the market, some are toys for flying in the back yard, some are a little more advanced, and some are targeted toward the commercial community. These commercial machines are designed for tasks such as to deliver goods, or carry infrared cameras for inspections.

As with near any drone segment, there are also a great bunch of drones here for search and rescue teams to save lives. These are the best commercial drones.

Most of the drones on this list are off-the-shelf commercial drones, however, the majority of significant commercial rigs out there are custom built, and most cost a little bit more than this list offers.

Related reading: Drones deliveries are not easy!

Jonathan Feist, Drone PilotJonathan Feist

Why trust Drone Rush?

I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.


The scope of commercial drones is very wide. Small drones with infrared cameras can perform inspection tasks, a basic consumer drone can scan a farmer’s fence line, all the way up to the helicopter sized passenger drones. We will discuss larger drones as we go, but we will try to stick to machines that weigh less than 55 lbs for this list.

You can fly these drones at home for fun, but please remember that if you are being paid to fly, you need to have your Part 107 license in the United States. Also, please be aware of the drone flight laws in your area.

Best commercial drones

DJI Matrice 300: Versatile commercial drone

Drone Rush Recommends

The DJI Matrice 300 is a tough drone to beat if you have inspection tasks to perform. Multiple payloads are available, and can connect in multiple configurations to maximize your efficiency. Hang infrared and RGB camera, mount a spotlight up top, or whatever will suite your needs. Best of all, there is a dedicated FPV camera for the pilot, so the second attached controller is just for the camera operator.

Why we fly the DJI Matrice 300

The Matrice 300 is as impressive as it is functional. The default package comes with RTK GPS precision, making the full flight package a little steep compared to many less-capable aircraft. 

What we like

  • Very capable drone
  • Versatile payload configurations
  • Multiple useful payloads

What we don’t like

  • Best operated by two people
  • A significant investment

DJI Matrice 300 RTK
DJI Matrice 300 RTK
  • Versatile commercial platform
  • Precise and reliable
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK packs multi-direction obstacle avoidance, advanced airspace awareness and mu

The DJI Matrice 300 RTK packs multi-direction obstacle avoidance, advanced airspace awareness and multiple payloads for commercial drone operations.

DJI Matrice 200 series: Last generation, still versatile

The DJI Matrice 200 series was our top pick for a commercial inspection drone, that is, until the M300 launched. The 200 series comes in a few versions, each with slightly different capabilities. This allowed users to keep costs down if they did not need the top mounted camera, or RTK precision.

Why we fly the DJI Matrice 200 series

The M300 is a fantastic drone, but if you do not need all of the bells and whistles, the M200 series is nearly as capable in the sky, but can be had for a little less money.

What we like

  • Capable modular drone
  • Powerful payload options
  • Good payload configurations
  • Different models offer different features

What we don’t like

  • Specific models for specific features
  • Older drone

DJI Matrice 200 series: 200/210/RTK
DJI Matrice 200 series: 200/210/RTK
  • Versatile commercial platform
  • Capable payloads
DJI designed the Matrice 200 series to offer a versatile set of inspection capabilities. Choose from

DJI designed the Matrice 200 series to offer a versatile set of inspection capabilities. Choose from various payloads and mounting points to look up, down and all around.

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise: Search & Rescue drone

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise kit

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise is a conveniently upgraded consumer drone. The Airframe is that of the Mavic 2 series you can find at a retail store, but there are security and hardware updates that enable you to secure your data and attach accessories. The single accessory port on top accepts a speaker, spotlight, and a beacon. Bottom line, DJI took the reliable and capable Mavic 2 drone and spruced it up for search & rescue tasks.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise

If you opt for the Dual version that has the zoom camera and an infrared shooter, you’ll have a light-weight drone capable of tackling some serious tasks. Of course, the small consumer airframe is not common in the industrial space, the smaller drone may not be robust enough for your operations, shop carefully.

What we like

  • Small and portable
  • Easy to fly
  • Secure and safe
  • Familiar airframe
  • Interchangeable accessories

What we don’t like

  • Smaller drone
  • Consumer airframe

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise
  • Versatile rescue drone
  • Capable folding drone
Building off of the Mavic 2 platform, the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise offers new cameras and new accessor

Building off of the Mavic 2 platform, the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise offers new cameras and new accessories such as lights, speakers and beacons.

Yuneec H520: Inspection Hexacopter

The Yuneec H520 is getting to be fairly old, but was good enough to begin with that it’s still viable today. Launching with six propellers provides more stability, better safety, and enhanced wind resistance. Based on that premise, entities like the Nevada State Patrol put the H520 to work on accident reconstruction tasks. Saving tons of time by flying a drone around a scene as opposed to setting up tripods for ground-based cameras.

Why we fly the Yuneec H520

The H520 offers a great flight experience, with powerful software and waypoint navigation, and the 4K camera is more than enough for most operations, but there’s no mistaking that newer drones offer better payloads.

What we like

  • Resilient hexacopter design
  • Good flight time
  • Excellent controller

What we don’t like

  • Limited payloads
  • Older drone

Yuneec H520
Yuneec H520
  • Stable commercial drone
  • High wind resistance
Yuneec's reliable hexacopter hardened for the commercial market, the Yuneec H520 is ready for your i

Yuneec's reliable hexacopter hardened for the commercial market, the Yuneec H520 is ready for your inspection tasks and more.

Yuneec H920 Plus: Camera hauler

Yuneec Tornado H920 Plus flying

When you need a beast to haul a larger camera, the Yuneec H920 Plus is a powerful option. It is a much older drone, made to handle DSLR type cameras, but the hexacopter design keeps your camera gear safe while in flight, and helps keep things stable for those epic aerial shots.

Why we fly the Yuneec H920 Pro

As far as professional camera drones are concerned, the H920 Pro is one of the more accessible options, particularly suited to DSLR sized cameras. If you have a larger camera there may be a bigger professional drone to consider.

What we like

  • Hexacopter safety and stability
  • Hauls a DSLR camera

What we don’t like

  • Older drone
  • DSLR are not the ideal drone camera

Yuneec Tornado H920 Plus
Yuneec Tornado H920 Plus
  • Powerful airframe
  • Carry your DSLR+
The Yuneec H920 Plus is a large, powerful hexacopter, made to haul larger cameras. A reliable machin

The Yuneec H920 Plus is a large, powerful hexacopter, made to haul larger cameras. A reliable machine that masters the basics for your commercial drone needs.

UVify IFO-S: Swarm drone

UVify IFO S drone top

The UVify IFO-S is equipped with all sorts of powerful accessories, but it derives its true power in numbers. One IFO-S can handle intricate self-piloted tasks, but a swarm of hundreds of IFO-S can handle a task at large. For example, if I ever get lost in the woods, I would love for a drone to fly over head and rescue me, but I’d bet a fleet of drones performing large grid searches will find me faster.

Why we fly the UVify IFO-S

This is a hard sell. On one hand, the IFO-S is not a well equipped drone for larger payloads, it’s plenty powerful, but might not be able to haul a big camera or infrared inspection sensor. If you’re looking to put on a drone light show, the smaller IFO drone is the ticket. For a smart fleet, or as an educational drone for AI research, the IFO-S is a fantastic option. 

What we like

  • Powerful internal computer
  • Optional highly capable accessories
  • Configurable as needed
  • Swarm fleet

What we don’t like

  • Smarter than it is capable

  • Swarm technology
  • Commercial applications
Building on the original IFO, the newer UVify IFO-S puts powerful computing and robust payloads on t

Building on the original IFO, the newer UVify IFO-S puts powerful computing and robust payloads on the same platform. Swarm drones for search & rescue and more.

FreeFly Alta 8 Pro

The FreeFly Alta 8 Pro takes all the best parts from the Alta 8 and includes them in this update, more efficient massive drone with a huge payload. Measuring almost 4 feet across, the Alta 8 can pack up to 26 lbs of gear, including the batteries and such – so only about 20 lbs of camera. While FreeFly promotes themselves as film enthusiasts, the Alta packs an optional top mount for your camera.

We introduced this idea with the DJI M200 series recently, but FreeFly has had it for a time already. Commercial drone pilots will be able to inspect the underbelly of bridges with either of these options.

If you are looking for a little less payload and a smaller drone, the FreeFly Alta 6 is a hexacopter take on the same air frame.

There is a lighter Alta 6 as well, if this is too much, but drones of this caliber come at a price, look to spend about $17,495.00 on the FreeFly Alta 8 on Amazon today. The FreeFly Alta 6 is $11,995 on Amazon.

FreeFly Alta X


Growing on their past octa and hexacopter designs, the Alta X is a simplified quadcopter layout. That being said, it’s one of the most powerful and agile machines in their fleet. Able to haul up to 35 lbs of camera gear, fold to half its size, and accept many different payloads, the Alta X focuses on efficiency for your video shoot.

If you’re seeking a small drone, look elsewhere, the Alta X measures over 6ft in diameter when fully opened for flight. The batteries alone weigh more than almost any of the popular consumer drones on the market. This is a serious machine for serious pilots performing serious video work in the sky. Seriously.

The FreeFly Alta X starts at $15,995 for the frame, but you should budget upwards of $25,000 to get a full flight kit.


Not a friendly name for a drone, but this friend to farmers wasn’t really made to be flashy. The DJI AGRAS MG-1S hauls around a 10L tank, the attached precision spray system puts the drone to work flying a pattern over crops to deliver the necessary fluids to grow our food. Aside from minimizing trauma to the plants from foot traffic or tractors running over top, the farmer can get a new perspective of the health of their field while the drone does all the hard work.

The benefit to the DJI AGRAS MG-1S for any user is the advanced RTK GPS. Most of us are comfortable with GPS tracking our mobile phones or camera drones to within a foot or two, the AGRAS MG-1S is accurate to within a few centimeters. DJI also provides ground station software to best create routes and programs for your flight. If autonomous flight is your goal, this is a difficult drone to beat for ease and precision.

The AGRAS MG-1S will not fit in your backpack, however, as it measures nearly 5 feet across when fully deployed. The DJI AGRAS MG-1S is a custom order type of machine, you’ll need to contact them for specific pricing, but expect a starting point of around $15,000.

Parrot Disco-Pro AG


Built with crop inspection needs in mind, the Parrot Disco-Pro AG is an updated Disco for longer flights, greater range and higher end cameras. Able to put multiple cameras over 200 acres on a charge with the same 1.2 mile operational range, the Disco-Pro AG also uses Pix4D or Airinov First+ for mapping solutions of your crops.

Higher and faster flying, grab the Parrot Disco-Pro AG for $4,800

Atlas Pro

Atlas Pro InterDrone DR front Nest

The folks at Atlas Dynamics have a take on your commercial drone needs, they want you to buy their mostly autonomous tricopter, the Atlas Pro. Combined with a fully powered and self-managed dock, Atlas Pro can be set to fly itself, land itself and dock in out of the weather until it’s time to fly again. This hands-off autonomous approach is a little early for most markets, but at least we know that they’re ready to rock once the FAA releases them.

Related: Best drones of InterDrone

High-speed flight, great battery life and a planned selection of camera options to satisfy your agriculture or infrastructure inspection, security and other needs. This well-built machine is one to watch out for.

Intel Falcon 8+

Intel Falcon 8 plus AUVSI Xponential payloads

Intel’s Falcon 8 and Falcon 8+ have been flying the skies for some fun inspection projects around the globe. These are not the sort of drones you pick up cheap and fly in your backyard, but if you are serious about inspection services, or other high flying, high-end camera needs, the Falcon 8+ could be the drone for you. More than just a drone, Intel Insight is a powerful software package that takes your images from the sky and performs magic on them. Well, maybe not magic, but creating a full 3D map out of stills is fairly slick.

3D mapping is only the start, Intel Insight is designed to assist in the inspection process. The software is able to identify and highlight any changes of an object after you collect subsequent scans. At InterDrone 2017 we watched as the drone scanned the facade of a building, changes were then made, removing screws and lights, etc. The second scan was able to identify these changes. The idea is to automate much of the menial work, place that info in front of a human who can then decide to repair or ignore the real world object.

We do not have a price tag for the Intel Falcon 8+ drone, but we’ve heard the number $42,000.00 floating around. A small price to pay if you need these sorts of tools.

We love to see price drops, you can order the Intel Falcon 8+ base drone for $16,359 from B&H Photo.

Commercial drones Wrap-up

That’s all we have for today, I hope you can see the value in the various drone options presented. If nothing else, I hope we’ve given you a sense of the types of industries and workloads that drones are supporting today. We did not discuss passenger drones, nor did we get into law enforcement and military equipment – we tried to stick to drones that you can actually go to a store and purchase, even the ones that the average pilot can’t afford.

Is there a commercial or professional drone that you think should have been on this list? Which of these pro drones would you like to play with for a non-pro flight?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can commercial drones fly without GPS?

Yes, most drones are capable of flight without GPS, however, only very few are designed to operate in GPS-denied environments. Without extra sensors to ensure stable flight, you’ll find that your drone drifts around a lot. Don’t worry, it should remain upright and should not take off on you, it just has no guidance systems, so you will have to control it carefully.

Why are commercial drones so expensive?

Your typical consumer drone offers some great flight features and decent reliability, but has not been stress tested for many safety certifications. Just like passenger aircraft, the manufacturing standards, parts, and redundant safety systems for most commercial drones are treated as though lives depend on it.

These components and systems, as well as the upgrade to thermal cameras, RTK GPS modules, and extra accessories like parachutes, simply cost a lot of money to begin with. You’ll also find many commercial drones are made of carbon fiber frames, which is an additional cost.

Do I need a drone license to fly a commercial drone?

Yes. The FAA does not classify drones by their build or intended use, instead they classify the drone operations. As long as the drone meets the other requirements for legal flight, you can fly for fun or fly for pay. That is the differentiation:

– If you will be compensated for your flight, you need the Part 107 drone license.
– If you are flying for fun, you need the TRUST certificate.

Where are all the drone deliveries?

You may have seen multiple announcements for companies getting the green light to try drone deliveries to residences across the United States, and if you are like us, you’re excited to see them in action. Truth is, in order to operate safely, the economics of drone deliveries are holding things back.

Flight is surprisingly easy, but there is a reason only the very best pilots deal with cargo drops and pickups from moving aircraft, it’s not safe.

Drones cannot just drop packages from the sky, and landing in people’s backyards comes with a lot of risks… There are a lot of cool tricks and great ideas out there to enable safe drone deliveries, but again, the cost to produce and operate these fleets is still too high for widespread rollout. It’s mid-2020, hopefully you’ll be reading this in 2021, eager to tell me things have changed.

Can I use photos from my hobby drone for my website?

As we’ve mentioned, the FAA considers any flight for which you will be directly compensated, or in which you capture media that you will be compensated, to be a commercial operation.

Even if you are flying a DJI Mini 2, which does not need to be registered with the FAA before you fly, if you will make money from the photos or video, that flight was, retroactively, a commercial flight, requiring you to have your Part 107 certification.

We chat off the record with an FAA representative about this scenario, where you fly a completely legal hobby flight, but then decide later that you’d like to sell the photos. The FAA rep made it very clear that his advice is for folks to always fly under the Part 107 guidance. You can’t sell ‘hobby’ photos from your drone, but you can easily enjoy a casual flight under the Part 107 regulations, then you have the freedom to do what you want with the media you capture.

How does FAA Remote ID change things?

When the Remote ID rule is fully enacted, and all of the tech is certified to accomplish the given tasks, we’ll be able to better answer this question. For now, know that each and every drone will need to either self broadcast, or you’ll need to attach a third-party module that does it for the drone.

While many small toy-class drones will not be able to justify the weight or cost to install an ID transmission tool, your commercial drone should have no problems hauling a little module.

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