Best Long Range Drones

Exactly what is it about drones that make us want to spend ridiculous amounts of money to fly them?

I’ve asked that question to myself many times, and have always ended up confused. To me, flying a drone is not only a hobby; it is an outlet for my dreams and imagination.

There’s no feeling that can quite match the joy of soaring above the clouds and going far beyond what eyes can see.

Over the years, I’ve tried out some of the best long-range drones on the market, and most of them exceeded my expectations. And the best part? You don’t even have to spend a fortune to experience them unless you want to.

So, in this guide, I’m going to bring you reviews of 6 top long-range drones that range from $1600 to $100 approximately.

Hi, I’m Dhia, and without any further ado, let’s get started!


TL;DR: For those who are too excited to buy and don’t want to read, know that a long-range drone like DJI Mavic 2 Pro can fly up to 12874 meters or 8 miles. But you might not want or need to fly that far.

If you’re willing to spend over $1000, then the M2P (discounted by 13% now) would be a great choice due to its 31 mins flight time, 4k recording, and automatic flying features.

If you’re looking to buy a drone under $500, then DJI Mavic Mini (review) should be the choice because of features such as 17-20 mins (up to 30 minutes) of flying time, low weight (249g), and 2.7K recording.

And if you want something really cheap, then Holy Stone HS100 would be perfect due to its low price, decent flight time, and 2K camera.

Buyers Guide for Long Range Drones

Okay, before I go ahead and review the drones, let me give you some tips on how you can buy the ideal one. Here are a few essential features that you should bear in mind:

  1. Flight time

This one is obvious as longer flight time almost always equates to extended flying range. If you’re going to fly far and away from view, the drone must have enough runtime to come back home safely. And for that, I recommend buying drones with at least 15-20 minutes of battery life. However, efficiency also matters, and a more powerful battery doesn’t always last the longest.

  1. Maximum distance

Every drone mentioned in this guide comes with a pre-determined flight range, with the Mavic 2 Pro going as far as 8 miles! Do I recommend flying that far? No, but the max range is a good enough indicator of the model’s capabilities.

  1. Radio transmission

You need a strong radio signal if you’re going to attempt to fly long-range as the last thing you’d want is for the drone to lose signal and crash. Most cheaper drones operate on the 2.4GHz spectrum, which is good enough to repel most signal interferences.

  1. Navigation

We cannot possibly think about flying long-range in the absence of a reliable Navigation system. So, most drones come with GPS/GLONASS support that makes navigating over distances a little easier. You should take every precaution possible when flying long range, and its best done with a powerful drone.

Best Premium Drones

Although the next two drones have plenty of features and can fly as far as 12874 meters, they are priced above $1000. If that’s not within your budget, you can just skip to the next 2: They are under $500, offer a good bang for the buck, and can fly up to 3800 Meters as in the case of  Mavic Mini.

You can check my list of recommendations of premium drones here.

1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

The Mavic 2 Pro by DJI is the most expensive product in my list and also the best for long-range flying. It claims to fly as far as 12874 meters or 8 miles! I got to try out this model extensively while backpacking through Southeast Asia and can say with confidence that its handling and camera quality is stunning! While it’s true that the M2P costs a lot, I can say it’s worth it.

My Experience

I’ve used the DJI Mavic Pro (original), and as great as the product was back in the days, it doesn’t match up to the M2P for many different reasons. The biggest reason being that the M2P boasts of giving you 31 minutes of total flight time, compared to 20-21 mins of the Mavic Pro. This means you can fly this drone farther and not have to worry about battery life excessively.

I put its claims to test on my Bali trip and captured sights and scenes of many pristine beaches like the Jimbaran, Legian, Mushroom Bay, etc. And given how windy it was most of the time, the M2P managed to stay up close to 20-25 minutes. I’m sure it’ll fly longer in the absence of wind. The shots I took, however, were stunning thanks to the 20MP camera with CMOS Sensor.

Some additional features that make this model worth the moolah are 8GB internal memory and up to 128GB SD card support, 4K video recording, and 3-axis gimbal for ultra-steady camera movement. Features like ActiveTrack, Obstacle sensing, Hyperlapse are present in this product as well. And with all of these features included, the unit only weighs 907g. Impressive!

To read our full review of the Mavic 2 Pro, click on the link!

What could’ve been better?

Honestly, drones can rarely get better than the Mavic 2 Pro. DJI has done an exceptional job in creating a beginner-friendly drone, and it will take a while for its competitors to catch up. However, some people reported receiving defective and damaged units, which DJI refused to replace or repair. This is a major red flag in my book.

Pros

  • Incredible stability
  • Longer flight time than the Mavic Pro
  • 8GB internal memory
  • Omni-directional obstacle sensing

Cons

  • After-sales support could be better

2. Autel Evo

My next best choice would be the Autel Evo, which is often referred to as a more affordable version of DJI Mavic Pro 2. Even though the brand has quite a long way to go before it catches up to the recognition DJI has, the Evo is a stellar product by itself in quite a few ways. And for long-range flying (6920 meter or 4.3 miles), I believe this can be more than another “safe bet.”

My Experience

The thing I like about Autel the most is their no-nonsense approach that doesn’t overburden you with continuous updates, fly zone restrictions, and buggy app behavior. As far as the quality of flight and battery life goes, it is at par with the M2P if not better. The camera gimbal remains stable throughout, and I got close to 30 minutes of flight time in non-windy situations.

Coming to its long-range capability, you would be glad to know that it can travel up to 4.3 miles or 7km and come back on a full battery charge. I am an experienced drone flier, but even I’ll admit I’ve never dared to fly that far. And I suggest you don’t either to comply with safety flying norms. It’s not that I’m afraid it’ll crash; I just feel safer when the drone is within eyesight.

I had a fantastic time cruising through the Vinicunca Rainbow Mountains in Peru and kept wondering if I could go more! This drone has many features justifying its price, starting with 4K 60FPS video recording, 12MP camera, 3-axis stabilized gimbal, obstacle sensors, easy one-touch takeoff, and return home, among others. And its weight? Just 863g!

Interested? Read my complete review of the Autel Evo by clicking on the link!

What could’ve been better?

Again, not my personal experience, but there are reports of the customer support being lackluster. When people complained about problems with their drone or when they wanted to return a defective unit, the customer care refused to provide viable solutions. While the people eventually got the help they needed, it came after a lot of effort.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money product
  • Long flying time
  • 4K 60FPS video recording
  • Super light and portable

Cons

  • Customer care could be better

Best Mid-level Drones

Okay, so now that you know about my long-range favorites, let’s take a look at some mid-range drones that are under $500 and have enough long-range capabilities. But if you want to skip these (or cannot afford), skip to the next 2 under $200 drones that can fly as far as 599 meters.

You can check my list of recommendations of drones under $500 here.

1. DJI Mavic Mini

If you want a professional drone without having to pay for one, the Mavic Mini should be your #1 choice. Seriously, this product surpassed all my expectations and created a new definition of how pro drones should be like. Now, you might be thinking that I’m overselling it, but wait till you read about what it has to offer.

My Experience

I tried out the Mavic Mini extensively while exploring the tiny islands of Thailand– Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, and Koh Tao. And in my experience, this unit’s ease of use and functionality is priceless. The Mavic Mini practically flies itself, like other DJI models, and you’ll be set to go even if you haven’t flown a drone before in your life.

This model offers up to 30 minutes of flying time and claims to go as far as 3854 meters, but in my experience, 17-20 minutes is what you can expect. As far as long-range flying abilities go, I’d say it’s admirable. I put the drone’s tiny size to get some daring “in-between” object shots like Sam Kolder. And thanks to the 12MP camera and 2.7K HD recording capacity, the videos turned out to be cool.

Well, I am no Sam Kolder, but you get the gist. The best feature of this drone doesn’t involve traveling long distances; it is actually the weight, which has been deliberately kept at 249g. What this does is that it allows anyone to fly the drone legally in the USA and Canada without having to register with the government. Don’t know about you, but I like to keep the Big G out!

To read the full review of Mavic Mini, click on the link!

 What could’ve been better?

The only risky aspect of the Mavic Mini is the absence of obstacle avoidance sensors, which makes it susceptible to crashes. If you end up buying this model instead of the first two, I highly suggest you get some practice in a safe space beforehand and also be vigilant while flying. Damaging or losing a drone is always a heartbreak, something I wish to avoid by all means.

Pros

  • Weighs only 249g
  • Doesn’t require to be registered in the US and Canada
  • Up to 20-22 minutes of actual flight time

Cons

  • No obstacle avoidance sensors

2. Potensic D85

Unless you’ve been playing around (or researching) with drones for a while, I’m sure you haven’t heard of the brand, Potensic. As obscure as the name might sound, I dare say that the D85 is a stellar product and can even be an alternative of the Mavic Mini, for beginners.

This drone is cheaper, has a few pretty cool features, boasts of up to 40 minutes of flight time, and can travel a distance of 1500 meters!

My Experience

Right out of the box, this unit resembles a cyborg spider of sorts. It’s interesting how the company went with this unique and robust design choice that prioritizes stability above all. I flew this baby around my house and in local parks a lot of times and found that it is quite easy to handle. And if you have a “need for speed,” you can go as much as 50 km/hr.

As far as the image quality is concerned, I’d say you’re in safe hands with the 2K HD camera that also allows you to capture 130degree panoramic images. Since we’re talking about long-range drones, I honestly believe you can afford to take a greater chance with this unit. With a full battery, I flew it for around 25-30 minutes on different days.

Even though the 40 minute flight time is not exactly correct, you still don’t have to worry about running out of juice mid-flight. The D85 also comes with standard automatic flight modes like orbit, follow, and route design. And with every purchase, you get a carrying case for free. Some might say it isn’t that great of a deal, but it is still something.

Want to learn more about Potensic 85? Click here to read our complete review!

What could’ve been better?

The only problem I have with this unit is its battery charging time, which takes close to 7 hours. That is insane! Where DJI batteries take only an hour to recharge, waiting for 7 is definitely going to be a deal-breaker for many. If you decide to buy this drone, be sure to pick up a few spare batteries as well to avoid frustration.

Pros

  • Quality 2K HD camera with panorama
  • Flight time is decent enough
  • Goes as fast at 50 km/hr

Cons

  • The battery takes a long time to recharge

Best Budget/Cheap Drones

Hey! you made it to this point. That’s amazing! Here are the last 2 drones under $200 and can fly up to 599 meters.

1. Holy Stone HS100

I’m pretty sure that by now, no drone enthusiast is unfamiliar with the brand name, Holy Stone. Once touted to be the “future DJI killer,” this company has done very well in bringing this hobby to the masses. Although the Holy Stone HS100 is an entry-level drone without the bells and whistles of more expensive DJI models, I think it does pretty well for itself.

My Experience

When it comes to cheaper drones, I prefer flying them long-range within the vicinity. In other words, not take them on my trips. But as far as extended range capabilities go, this baby claims to go up to 1968ft (599m) with total battery runtime being up to 18 minutes. How accurate is this claim? Well, it’s a hit or a miss, as in the case of most drones.

In moderately windy situations, I’ve found the battery lasting approx 15-16 minutes, which is also pretty good if you ask me. However, the battery takes a long time to charge, and it’s always better if you have a few spares as backup. Like other beginner-friendly drone models reviewed here, the HS100’s Take Off and Return To Home function as expected.

Portability shouldn’t be an issue in any way as the drone weighs only 750g, and has foldable propellers that can be detached and carried separately. How about the quality? Well, I think the 2K Optimized camera with 120degrees FOV gets the job done. Don’t expect DJI levels of quality, though, because this model costs far less than the Mavic Pro or Mini.

Learn more about the HolyStone HS100 by clicking on the link here!

What could’ve been better?

Well, the syncing process is time-consuming, to say the least, and can really make you frustrated if you’re planning to have a quick flying session. Also, as I mentioned before, the battery takes a long time to charge. But if you’re planning to overlook these flaws, this drone is definitely worth the money.

Pros

  • Can go far away as much as 1968ft (599m)
  • Battery life is good enough
  • Automatic flight modes are reliable

Cons

  • Syncing with remote and smartphone takes time
  • The battery takes a long time to recharge

2. Altair Aerial Blackhawk

Last but not least, I bring you the Altair Aerial Blackhawk, a genuine competitor of the DJI Tello. As they’re in the same price range, you can consider this drone for some of its unique advantages over the Tello. And if you’re a beginner, I’d definitely recommend you to choose this over any other model. Read about the reasons below.

My Experience

I love my toy drones! They let me take a breather from serious flying from time to time and experiment with moves I would be afraid to try with more expensive models. However, the Blackhawk is NOT a toy drone, despite its appearance as it weighs heavier than some other models in this price range. The benefit? More stability, among other things.

And due to greater stability, I can always fly this drone farther and faster (up to 300 meters), and with confidence, if I may add. What makes this unit reliable over the DJI Tello is the fact that it stays up in the air for 15-17 minutes, which lets me go quite far. I’ll reiterate once again that I’m an experienced drone pilot, and I don’t recommend novices trying to fly a drone out of their sight.

Oh, and I must mention that there’s an action camera mount as well. I don’t know who uses a GoPro Hero 3 or 4 anymore, but if you’ve got one lying around, go crazy! I managed to get hold of my friend’s GoPro Hero 4 and found that the mount holds it perfectly in place. If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend you to start slow and let yourself get familiar.

To get a complete picture of the Altair Aerial Blackhawk’s pros and cons, check out our complete review.

What could’ve been better?

I didn’t face any problem myself, but people have reported online that the build quality (especially of the controller) feels cheap. And the settings are not always easiest to calibrate, which can make flying harder for someone who’s just getting into drones. Come to think of it; the controller material does feel like it could’ve been better.

Pros

  • Excellent stability
  • Good flight time on a full battery
  • Action camera mount

Cons

  • The controller feels a little flimsy

Final words

So, there you have it! My choice of the top long-range drones that are worth your money, regardless of budget. Flying drones is one of the most exciting hobbies ever and definitely worth the time and monetary investment. That’s why you must pick a product that’s suitable for your needs.

That’s all for today, folks. Cya next time!

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