We have reached a point where new drones are easily categorized in several ways, by size, weight, capability and more. In this list, we’re going to explore some of the best mini drones – compact flying machines that may not be as budget friendly as our nano drones list.
With many small drones to choose from, we’re trying to find that sweet spot between nano and machines large enough to require FAA registration. It’s a difficult target, as you’ll see more than a few are still above that 0.55 lb mark, but not by much.
We respect that many of you may have landed on this mini drones list looking for nano drones. You were not wrong to do so, we just mostly keep them somewhere else. Simple enough, you are but a click away from viewing our best nano drones list.
DJI Mavic Air
Announced on January 23rd, shipping starting January 28th, 2018, the new DJI Mavic Air is the culmination of everything learned from the Mavic Pro and Spark. The new machine combines the best of both existing drones and makes it better. It folds down even smaller than the Spark, but is still larger in the air. You’re looking at 4K video recording and 12 MP stills, those videos are at 100 Mbps, which will translate to the best camera experience of the three.
The new drone is light, compact, folds down and can fly by hand gestures. Check it out at the links below:
It may come as no surprise that DJI’s little Spark quadcopter is on this list. The small drone offers up easy hand-held carrying and use, it’s small enough to squeeze in a small bag or large pocket and you can even leave your mobile device behind, the DJI Spark can be flown by hand gestures alone.
To get the most out of the DJI Spark you’ll want more than just the drone on your travels, but at least the option exists. Recharge by micro USB cable, utilize new automated flight modes and enjoy a handful of selfie camera modes and more.
Coming soon: Uvify OOri
We met up with Uvify at CES 2018, we went to see the Draco racing drone and ended up placing a pre-order on the new mini drone, the OOri. What starts out as a safe to fly indoors little drone with a stable hover quickly turns into a high-speed racer through the different flight modes. We’re talking about over 50mph top speeds here, not just a toy that pretends to go fast. It also uses standard connectivity for racing drones, so you can sync in with your other controllers and FPV goggles. Might need a module added on, but the case technology is in there.
Hubsan X4 H502S Desire
The Hubsan X4 Desire, H502S, is a highly capable little machine equipped with GPS, FPV camera, an FPV display built into the remote and more. As one of the higher-end machines in the Hubsan stables, the H502S Desire is a capable flier with a reasonable price tag. We again stretch the concept of ‘mini’ in this recommendation, but it is fairly small and well worth your consideration.
Check out the Hubsan H502S X4 Desire for $165 on Amazon today. (Often found as low as $119)
Yuneec generally builds larger drones, the kind that take professional cameras into the sky, but their hobby-class little Breeze is a the sort of machine that fits nicely in the palm of your hand. We feel it offers nothing spectacular in any specific aspect, but the overall package is a huge bang for the buck.
The drone alone can be controlled by mobile device, or add on the very affordable remote control and FPV headset to get the most of the experience.
Check out the Yuneec Breeze for $200 on Amazon today. (A great sale price, regularly $449. Watch for refurb units for $160.)
Parrot has many small drones in the toy-class segment, including the Mambo. Mambo is the size of machine that carries around sticky notes or cubes of sugar. It is larger than the nano drones we’ve looked at before, but not by much. This is a fun toy with optional clamp and toy ball launcher.
Check out the Parrot Mambo for $100 on Amazon today.
Hubsan Q4 H111D
Candidate for Best nano drones list
The plain Hubsan H111 is one of our top picks in the nano drone space, but the updated Q4 H111D with FPV camera is a little larger and a whole lot more capable. Specifically, they’ve added headless mode and the camera is just a little 280p shooter, but for FPV flying on the 4.3-inch display in the remote control, that’s good enough.
Check out the Hubsan Q4 H111D FPV for $100 on Amazon today.
High Great Mark
The folks at High Great have a selection of compact drones that could live on this list, I’ll call your attention to the Mark. This folding quadcopter has a trick worth your consideration, it has a route memory feature. Fly or walk the drone along a route, then tap the go button to watch Mark repeat the route all on its own. This fun feature is about all that sets the drone apart from the competition, please keep that in mind when you shop, but if you can appreciate what you’re getting, the High Great Mark is pretty fun.
Check out the High Great Mark for $299 today.
Hubsan makes the list again with the H107 series. As one of the best toy class drones on the market, the H107C-HD is one of the more capable in the line, including a 720p camera and more. If your budget is below $50, this may be the one for you.
Check out the Hubsan H107C-HD for $29 on Amazon today.
Walkera Rodeo 110
Racers, start your engines! There is much that is not relevant to drone racing in that statement, but that did not stop Walkera from building this mini speeding machine. The Walkera Rodeo 110 is less than half the size of most racing drones, including all the pros and cons that that entails. Basically, you’re getting all the fun with half the carry weight.
Check out the Walkera Rodeo 110 for $150 on Amazon today.
Special consideration: GDU O2
As you can sort of see, the new GDU O2 is a fairly small machine when folded down and attached to its remote. The propeller arms slide out to make for a drone right on the cusp of being too big for a mini drones list, but the compact size for transport is worth mentioning.
We went hands-on with the GDU O2 at InterDrone 2017, we were impressed.
Check out the GDU O2 for $732, still on pre-order, but shipping very soon.
That’s all we have for today folks, thank you for joining us on this exploration of mini drones. Larger than the nano drones out there, and certainly not lacking in features, we think you can find great value in many of these flying options.
What is your favorite mini drone?