What is the best quadcopter?
I hear from a lot of people who just found out about quadcopters, want to get started, and they ask what is the best quadcopter?
It really all depends on what type and size you are looking for. As of now, there are few manufacturers of quadcopters who offer a quality products at a range of price points. So, if you’re looking for a small, indoor quadcopter the best brand would be very different than if you wanted to do outdoor photography work.
With that said, there are a few manufacturers that stand out as offering high quality and reliable products, a solid value for your money, and new and innovative features. This chart of best quadcopters gives you a brief introduction to some of the most popular and highly rated models. The manufacturers that I would recommend (and this is by no means exclusive) are: Syma, Walkera, Blade, Parrot, and DJI Innovations. For more info on these, check out our Manufacturers page on the main menu.
If this is your first quadcopter ever, or first RC device, and you really don’t have any special requirements then the best quadcopter for you is probably the Syma X1 as it is durable and capable yet very inexpensive. At $40, it doesn’t matter if you crash it repeatedly and it breaks after a month of use! And it will teach you the basics of flying a quadcopter both indoors and outdoors.
For those looking to get into taking aerial pictures, videos, or professional filming, I honestly recommend that you buy a very cheap model (such as the Syma X1 or the Hubsan X4 H107C) just to practice on. Since the video capable quadcopters are about $500+, it makes sense to master a smaller and less expensive one first, then move up to a more expensive and dangerous asset.
The best quadcopter for video right now is the DJI Phantom line of quadcopters. DJI has rapidly become the market leader in consumer ready-to-fly aerial flying devices (primarily quadcopters) and they offer a range of different models now to suit your needs and price points. Which model is best for you largely depends on what equipment you already have:
Have a GoPro or professional camera equipment:
- DJI Phantom 2 – This quadcopter offers a long flight time (25 minutes), GoPro or other HD camera support, and excellent GPS-enabled flying experience. For the best results, I recommend adding a gimbal to help stabilize the video, and for First Person View (FPV) flying you’ll need extra equipment to relay the signal and goggles to view it. The Phantom 2 can get you out and flying and filming video for under $700 with great results – or you can add a few extras and produce extremely high quality professional video for a bit over $1,000, though it may take some customization to make it all work.
Don’t have own camera equipment:
- DJI Phantom 2 Vision+: The Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter is the latest model by DJI, released in April 2014. It is very similar to the Phantom 2, but includes an integrated 1080p 14MP HD video camera mounted to a 3-axis gimbal. This means that your videos are buttery smooth even in rough winds and erratic flying. I highly recommend the Phantom 2 Vision+ for anyone getting into aerial videography that simply wants to buy something and fly it right away, and not mess with setting up a camera, mounting a gimbal, etc. The Phantom 2 Vision+ is set up for FPV flying – you can see what you are filming through the screen on your iPhone or other mobile device, which is mounted on top of the controller.
For more information on taking pictures and filming with quadcopters, check out our regularly updated quadcopter video guide. If you are filming videos professionally, or simply have gotten bored with the DJI Phantom line, then you may want to look at DJI’s other professional level models: the DJI Spreading Wings platform (S1000 and S800) or the DJI Flame Wheel Arf platform kit (F350, F450, F550). These models offer significantly more payload capacity, control, and customization than the Phantom. However, they are pricier and require advanced technical knowledge and skills, so I typically do not recommend them for your average consumer.
We hope that this has helped you determine what the best quadcopter is for your needs. Whatever quadcopter you buy, you really can’t go wrong though! Enjoy flying your new craft and if there are any models you’d like to see more information on, please do not hesitate to contact us.