There are a number of benefits to buying a folding drone. For many of us, there is more to the flying experience of drones than just the actual flying experience. Getting a drone to and from your launch site can be difficult with larger machines, keeping things small or folding them down for portability can help.

DJI Air 2S

You may think of small drones when you think folding, and we wouldn’t blame you, but many large drones fold down as well. We’ll split the list into backpack-sized and smaller drones, and then the larger machines. With that, this is our list of the best folding drones.

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.

 

Best folding drones

DJI Mavic 3 Cine: Best consumer drone

The DJI Mavic 3 is one of the most powerful consumer drones on the market. The key features are a Micro Four Thirds camera, upwards of 46 minutes of flight time, and a huge connectivity range.

The Mavic 3 Cine is the higher-end model in the series. You get the same camera, but the higher data speeds of the 1TB internal SSD allow for better video profiles. The Cine model also comes with the new DJI RC Pro remote control, which is a powerful all-in-one controller.

Read our full DJI Mavic 3 review

Why we fly the DJI Mavic 3

It is hard to beat this drone. Not only is it the best consumer-grade flying camera we’ve ever used, the unwritten list of subtle refinements and improvements also make it one of the safest and smoothest flights we’ve enjoyed.

We have no hesitation in recommending the DJI Mavic 3 to any pilot, however, we absolutely understand that most pilots will not get the pleasure. The Mavic 3 series has a huge price tag vs other consumer drones.

What we like


  • Powerful drone
  • Superb 5.1K camera
  • Up to 28x zoom
  • 15KM range with O3+ connection
  • APAS 5.0 & ActiveTrack 5.0
  • Optional RC Pro remote has a great display
  • Optional 1TB internal SSD
  • All-direction obstacle avoidance

What we don’t like


  • Price

DJI Mavic 3
DJI Mavic 3
  • Fantastic camera
  • 5.1K video
  • Huge flight time
  • Safe and capable drone
  • Class-leading flight range
Imaging Above Everything

A 20MP Micro Four Thirds camera that shoots 5.1K video, and 46 minutes of flight time make the DJI Mavic 3 one of the best camera drones you can purchase today.

DJI Mavic 3 Cine
DJI Mavic 3 Cine
  • Fantastic camera
  • Huge flight time
  • Safe and capable drone
Imaging Above Everything

A Micro Four Thirds camera, 1TB of storage, 5.1K video capture, the RC Pro remote, and 46 minutes of flight time make the DJI Mavic 3 Cine perhaps the best camera drone you can purchase today.


DJI Air 2S: 5.4K video for under $1,000

DJI Air 2S
Drone Rush Recommends

The DJI Air 2S successfully picks up the mantle of the Mavic line from DJI, offering a convenient flight package with a great camera. The 5.4K camera launches video resolution to new heights, all without compromising image quality. the Air 2S is also a valuable successor to the Air line of drones, each of which did a great job of introducing new flight features that we’ll see in future DJI drones.

Why we fly the DJI Air 2S

The DJI Air 2S is our current top recommendation for newer drone pilots. It has an excellent camera, but not as good as the higher-end machines. It’s small and easy to fly, just not as small as some more budget offerings out there.

Bottom line, the Air 2S is not the best drone on the market for specific technical tasks, but it is an overall flight package that we think is fantastic. Oh, it does have the furthest flight range of hobby drones today, 7.5miles is huge!

What we like


  • 5.4K camera
  • Amazing flight range
  • Very balanced flight package
  • Safe and easy to fly
  • Very portable

What we don’t like


  • No display in the remote

DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S
  • Great camera
  • 5.4K video
  • 8X zoom
  • Compact and easy to use
  • Fantastic range
Affordable 5.4K flying camera

The DJI Air 2S is easily the best camera drone for most uses. The 1-inch sensor produces fantastic images from the sky, and the compact, folding design of the quadcopter is familiar and reliable – it may not be in the name, but this is still a Mavic drone.

$ 1279 at Amazon
Save $20.00

DJI Mini 2: Best 4K camera under $500

DJI Mini 2 flying bottom sky

The DJI Mini 2 is, simply put, the best drone under $500. We know of no other drone with a viable 4K camera in this price range, not to mention reliable GPS-enabled flight features. The other main selling point for the Mini 2 is its weight, at just 249g, you do not need to register with the FAA before you fly.

Why we fly the DJI Mini 2

We think every pilot can enjoy the DJI Mini 2, and we plan to keep one in our fleet as well. Beginners can learn to fly on this drone, and experienced pilots can just enjoy the easy-to-fly experience. In particular, the small size makes this drone extremely portable, ready to toss in a bag when you hit the trail. 

What we like


  • Very portable
  • Best drone under $500
  • Best camera under $500
  • Easy to fly

What we don’t like


  • Limited safety features
  • Limited flight features

DJI Mini 2
DJI Mini 2
  • 4K camera
  • Very portable
  • Easy to fly
  • 249 grams
Best drone under $500

The DJI Mini 2 is a superb update from the Mavic Mini, now offering a 4K camera, Ocusync 2.0 and more power.


DJI Mavic Air 2: Great value 4K camera

DJI Mavic Air 2 back folded

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a reliable and capable Mavic drone. At launch, it offered one of the best cameras in the sky, and rocked class-leading flight time. The 4K 48MP camera remains a top performer, though is overtaken by the more expensive updated Air 2S. The Mavic Air 2 is an underrated drone, even on this list. It is fast and fun to fly, reliable, resilient and well supported, a solid addition to any fleet of drones, but, it’s not as accessible as the Mini 2, and not quite as good as the Air 2S.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic Air 2

This is tough, we know you’ll be pleased with the Mavic Air 2 if you buy it, but the Air 2S is better if you want a camera drone, and the Mini 2 is far more affordable if you just want a hobby drone. Good thing the prices are accurately distributed across these three drones, so, go for it, if the price is right for you, the Mavic Air 2 is a good purchase.

What we like


  • 48MP camera
  • Class-leading battery life
  • easy and fun to fly

What we don’t like


  • Overshadowed by newer machines

DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic Air 2
  • Great battery life
  • Large camera
  • AirSense transponder
A technological leap in small flying cameras.

Mavic Air 2 takes power and portability to the next level, offering advanced features in a compact form factor. Intelligent shooting functions and excellent image quality put aerial masterpieces within reach. Safer, smarter flight enables you to up your game while fully enjoying the creative process.


DJI Mavic 2 Zoom: Keep you distance

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom front angle

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is another powerful Mavic 2 series drone. The primary focus of this version is the zooming lens on the camera. The Mavic 2 Zoom provided perhaps the very best experience with a 1/2.3-inch camera sensor. More recent drones are moving to larger sensors which we appreciate, but were never displeased with the Zoom.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

If you can find the Mavic 2 Zoom on sale, go for it! That said, the requirement for a zooming camera is bit of a unique use-case, not unusable, but the digital zoom on more recent camera drones is proving good enough for most users. The DJI Air 2S, in particular, produces almost as good of aerial imagery, and is a few hundred dollars less. We still regularly fly our Mavic 2 Zoom, and we enjoy it; You will too, if you give it a go.

What we like


  • Excellent zooming camera
  • Very safe drone
  • Reliable and easy to fly

What we don’t like


  • Older drone
  • Hard sell over more recent drones

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
  • Reliable drone
  • Solid build
  • Powerful zoom on the camera
Great zooming camera

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is near identical to the Mavic 2 Pro, the main difference being the camera. The zoom capabilities of the Mavic 2 Zoom are impressive, with a hybrid 4x zoom in total. As great as that is, we wish they would have used the same 1-inch sensor as the Mavic 2 Pro, instead of the 1/2.3-inch sensor that is common in drones these days.


Yuneec Typhoon H3: Pro hexacopter

Yuneec Typhoon H3

The Yuneec Typhoon H3 is an impressive camera drone. Not only does it rock one of the very best 4K cameras around, it hangs it under a hexacopter airframe, which adds stability and reliability. We’re jumping up in price from most of the other drones on our list today, and Yuneec drones have been a bit harder to find on store shelves in recent years, but this is a fantastic machine if you can find it.

Why we fly the Yuneec Typhoon H3

We want to tell everyone to check out this drone, but it’s a larger drone that’s tough to transport, even when folded, and the price tag is as big as the camera is good.

What we like


  • Excellent camera
  • Powerful and reliable drone
  • Hexacopter stability and safety

What we don’t like


  • Larger drone
  • Limited availability

Yuneec Typhoon H3
Yuneec Typhoon H3
  • Professional camera drone
  • Great Leica camera
Leica camera on a hexacopter

Designed with government use in mind, the Yuneec Typhoon H3 is an update to the Typhoon H Plus, packing a powerful Leica camera onto the familiar hexacopter airframe.


Parrot Anafi: Very capable gimbal

Parrot Anafi folding drone package

The parrot Anafi is a very portable drone that has a unique camera trick, it can look straight up. not to downplay how cool that is, but the rest of the drone is fairly average for the market, with stable flight, decent flight time, and a solid 4K camera experience.

Why we fly the Parrot Anafi

The base consumer-grade Anafi is a reliable and fun drone to fly, but it’s also older and not as capable as newer craft on the market.

What we like


  • Camera points upwards
  • Folding design changes how you transport it

What we don’t like


  • Older drone

Parrot Anafi
Parrot Anafi
  • Camera can point straight up
  • Versatile platform
Diverse platform

The Parrot Anafi is one of few drones that looks up as well as it looks down. The 4K front mounted camera is on a long-travel articulating Gimbal, so you can look straight up all the way to straight down.

$ 449 at Amazon
Save $250.99

DJI Matrice

DJI Matrice 600 Pro camera drone

The Matrice line differs in size and capability, focusing on different payloads. Drones like the M100 series were more basic platforms, great for custom builds or educational teardowns. The M600 series is a beast of a camera hauler, ready for Hollywood. In between, the M200 and M300 series drones are ideal for inspection tasks, to haul infrared cameras and other inspection tools.

Check out the DJI M600 for $3,999 on Amazon today.


Honorable mention

FreeFly Alta

FreeFly Alta 6

FreeFly FreeFly is more focused on professional camera gear than they are on drones, but that makes them ideal for those looking to put a camera into the sky. Available in 6 or 8 propeller setups, the FreeFly Alta is a massive and very powerful drone. Folding it down for transport is the only reasonable portability option.

You’ll be needing $11,995 to for the smaller Alta 6$17,500 to get started with the FreeFly Alta 8 today.


Why do drones fold?

I suspect you’ll skip over this paragraph, but for those that are not sure, there is only one major reason for drones to fold, for portability. We imagine folding could be a self-preservation technique for a drone that drops from the sky, but as it sits, reducing the overall size for transportation purposes appears the only commonly designed reason to fold.

Before you begin: Know the drone laws in your area

As always, it is important to understand safety and know a little about flying before you take to the sky. For the beginner or the seasoned pilot, here is our quick list of important things to know before you fly your favorite drone. Yes, before anything else, you’ll probably have to register your drone with the FAA before you fly.

As you can imagine, there are plenty of drones out there that offer some sort of folding ability. If nothing else, we appreciate drones that have folding propellers. Machines like the DJI Spark prove that even bringing in the props greatly improves portability.

The larger machines, on the other hand, simply are not portable without folding. Unless you have a large truck to transport your machine, a compact size is key.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to fold a folding drone for transport?

Mostly, no. Some drones offer extra protection to the camera gimbal or other parts when they fold in on themselves, but there is no other specific reason to fold most drones. Folding drones are almost entirely for convenience when transporting them, making them much smaller packages to handle.

What happens if I power my drone on when it’s folded?

If you mean ‘power up’ your drone, don’t worry, the self test will try to chirp the motors, this will turn the propellers a little bit, but usually causes no harm if they are prevented from spinning. Hopefully your drone will prevent you from arming the motors, or trying to take off without your propeller arms in place properly, but if not, please be careful to make sure things are unfolded before arming the drone, serious damage can occur to the motors if they are restricted, and to the drone if it flips around.

Do the propeller arms lock in place?

Some propeller arms will lock in place, but many are simply spring loaded. If the drone is designed properly, gravity and the angle of attack of the propeller assembly will apply force that also holds the arms in place during flight. The biggest benefit to not locking the arms in place is the buffer they provide if there is an impact.

If your propeller arm can easily fold in, then it is less likely to snap, and less likely to transfer that force into the body of the drone. If it makes you feel better, we have never seen a spring loaded propeller arm fold in on itself during normal flight.

Are folding drones safe?

As mentioned in other questions, yes, most folding drones are safe. There are always exceptions, but most folding drones are designed so that the force of flight holds the propeller arms in place. In the event of a crash, folding arms can help dissipate impact forces, making them even safer than rigid drones.


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