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: DJI, Syma, UDI, and Blade. 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 , the Hubsan X4 H107C, or the UDI U818A) 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. While the Phantoms used to use GoPros, they now have built in optics so which model you buy depends on what your needs are, but we highly recommend getting the Phantom 3 rather than an older generation.
- DJI Phantom 3 Professional/Advanced or Standard: The Phantom 3 quadcopter is the latest update to the Phantom and is our top recommendation for video-capable quadcopters. It looks physically similar to a DJI Phantom 2 (or Phantom 1), but it has a lot of technical upgrades. First, the Professional version has a full 4K HD video setup with 3-axis stabilized gimbal, resulting in very smooth and high quality video. The Advanced and Standard versions have slightly spec’d video, but they are both still great quality. The Professional/Advanced version have significantly upgraded technology inside the craft, including DJI Lightbridge (enables long distance FPV flying and control) and a vision positioning system that enables easy indoor flying. In the Standard version, you don’t get either of those features so at this point we don’t recommend the Standard – the extra money is worth it for the Advanced or Professional. All of the models have DJI’s advanced battery, which gives you a ~20 minute flight time and provide information about charge levels, capacity, and more. The Phantom is easy to fly and is starting to offer some automated features as well.
For more information on taking pictures and filming with quadcopters, check out our regularly updated quadcopter video guide. If you are filming videos professionally, then you also may want to check out the $3,000 DJI Inspire 1. If you want to use your own cameras, then check out DJI’s customizable 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 and Inspire. 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.