The best drone 2018: DJI, Parrot and more for beginners and pros

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There’s no better time to find one of the best drones than right now. 

That’s because drones are housing top-notch 4K cameras and sporting portable form factors. That is, many of the best drones these days fold up for easy transport, so you can take them wherever you’re next adventure is headed. 

Super-steady video stabilization is also a hallmark of a great drone, and you’ll find this available in just about every drone model out there. 

You don’t have to be an expert drone operator to get started with a high-quality drone. Most drones are easy to pick up and start flying, though selecting the best drone is still a difficult task.

Update: It’s not on our best drones list yet, but the Parrot Anafi has swooped in with an impressive foldable form factor and a 4K HDR camera to put it on our radar. We’ll have to wait until our full review to see if the Anafi deserves a spot on this list, but at $699 / £649 and with all its bells and whistles, we have a feeling it won’t be a hard decision to make.

We’ve recommended the following top drones after countless hours of rigorous testing high above our heads. Drones by DJI and Parrot continue to rule the skies, whether you’re a first-time flier or a drone pilot expert looking for the ultimate hovering camera.  

The best part of picking from the best drones in 2018 is that affordable or even cheap drones now shoot 4K resolution video with steady image stabilization. It’s true; you don’t need a Hollywood blockbuster budget to capture amazing aerial footage. 

Even if our No. 1 drone recommendation, the DJI Mavic Air, isn’t exactly inexpensive, it’s still the best drone for your money.

Finding a quality drone at a reasonable price isn’t hard anymore. Being able to fly your drone legally is sometimes more tricky, especially in cities. The good news is that the best drones available give you fair warning – usually through accompanying apps – that map out where it’s legal to fly without incurring the wrath of local authorities.

Here are our picks of the best drones for everyone, from beginners to experts.

1. DJI Mavic Air

This is the foldable drone you want in 2018

Weight: 430g | Dimensions (folded): 168×83×49mm | Dimensions (unfolded): 168×184×64 mm | Controller: Yes | Video resolution: 4K 60fps | Camera resolution: 12MP | Battery life: 21 minutes (2375mAh) | Max Range: 10 km / 6.2 miles) | Max Speed: 68 kph / 43 mph