Imagine buying a costly drone, but it can’t fly far enough to capture the crucial footage you need! Disappointing, to say the least!
Features like speed, flight time, and camera quality are crucial in a quality drone. However, there’s another important feature that most buyers overlook – drone range.
If you want a commercial-purpose drone, it would be best to consider how far you can fly it from its controller when making your buying decision. Commercial models can fly to ranges of over 5 miles. When a drone flies out of range, it either hovers, lands on the spot, or returns home.
Fortunately, the market now has quite a few good long-range drones for you to choose from. So, which are the best long-range drones?
The DJI Air 2S, DJI Mini 2, Mavic Air 2, Autel Robotics EVO II, and DJI Phantom 4 are some of the best choices when it comes to drones with a significant range.
Keep reading for the updated list.
A roundup of the best long-range drones
|Drone||Range||Flight time||Top speed|
|DJI Air 2S||7.5 miles||31 minutes||42.5 mph|
|DJI Mini 2||6.2 miles||31 minutes||35.7 mph|
|DJI Mavic Air 2||6.2 miles||34 minutes||42.5 mph|
|Autel Robotics EVO 2||5.6 miles||40 minutes||45 mph|
|DJI Phantom 4||4.3 miles||28 minutes||45 mph|
|Parrot ANAFI||4.3 miles||25 minutes||33 mph|
DJI Air 2S (7.5 miles)
- Unbeatable 7.5-mile connectivity
- Updated latest DJI features
- Easy and fast to fly
- Compact and portable
- High resolution 5.4K videos and photos
- Environment obstacle sensing
- Sometimes obstacles make it lose its connection.
The DJI Air 2S isn’t your ordinary long-range drone. It can fly to a staggering range of 7.5 miles while maintaining stable connectivity. On top of that, it has a 20MP camera that can capture 5.4K high-resolution videos and photos.
Notwithstanding military special long-range drones for their operations, the Air 2S has made its name in the consumer drone industry as the longest-range drone available.
It’s also the first drone to offer the unique installation of DJI’s Ocusync 3.0.
Aside from being effortless to fly, reliable, and stable, the Air 2S is also very swift. The Air 2S is also foldable and compact, making it portable and convenient to carry in a backpack and hit the road.
Of course, the 7.5-mile long-range connectivity allows you to enjoy the natural view of the trail without moving a step. Better still, it can sense its environment, avoiding obstacles from all directions.
DJI Mini 2 (6.2 miles)
- Small and very portable
- Decent 4K camera
- Good 6.2-mile range
- Powerful performance
- You can’t charge the battery and controller at the same time
The Mini 2 is a drone that pretty much every drone pilot can enjoy and appreciate. Though it isn’t quite at the top of the charts when it comes to the longest range, it’s highly convenient for ease of use and travel. Still, it offers an impressive 6.2 miles of long-range travel.
This tiny drone features a quality 4K camera to capture good aerial photos and video.
Aside from its tiny nature, it also weighs 250g making it effortless to carry wherever, whenever. The low weight also carries an advantage since you don’t have to register it with the FAA before flying.
Additionally, it comes with some safety features and flight assistance. The battery life lasts up to 31 minutes allowing enough time to capture the perfect shot. The 4x zoom makes it easy and smooth to snap images of different distances.
Please beware of the geo zone restrictions in place in most DJI drones before buying one. You don’t want to find out too late that it is useless for your area if you happen to be in a no-fly region.
DJI Mavic Air 2 (6.2 miles)
- Easy and safe to fly
- Good 6.2-mile flight range
- Steady and reliable
- Excellent 4k zooming camera
- Warning and obstacle avoiding system
- Activation problems at first
The DJI Mavic Air 2 long-range drone also provides good value for your money. It features an upgraded DJI transmission system of Ocusync 2.0, enabling it to reach 6.2 miles away. Better still, it allows a steady connection for a safer flight.
The battery life is another of the perks of this drone. It lasts an average of 34 minutes, providing an adequate time in the air for capturing videos and photos before it’s time to return the drone to land.
Another feature is the impressive obstacle avoidance ability. The obstacle avoidance system consists of obstacle sensors in all four directions. Plus, it creates a safer path automatically using the APAS 3.0 when there are obstacles.
The Mavic Air 2 also has a foldable design similar to most of DJI’s models, making it easy to transport.
It can also shoot 4k videos and photos, ensuring quality footage. Remarkably, it has a sports mode that can offer speeds of up to 42.5 mph (68.4 kph).
Autel Robotics EVO 2 (5.6 miles)
- Foldable design
- Long and stable flight time
- Lasting 4 hours battery life
- An easy inbuilt locking mechanism
- Versatile versions of operations
- Blurry zoom feature
- Relatively heavy
The Autel EVO II can fly 5.6 miles away from the controller, making it a decently long-range drone. Impressively, it can stay in the air for 40 minutes at 44 mph, proving the longest flight time of any of the drones on this list.
This model features sensors for avoiding obstacles on the front, back, up, down, and sideways.
The Autel EVO II also features three versions depending on the camera quality. The Standard version features 8k high-resolution videos and images of 48MP. The Pro version provides 5.5k quality videos and 20MP images, while the DUAL version comes with 8K and infrared sensors.
Undoubtedly, the Autel EVO 2 is a powerful drone, though not as portable as some of the others on this list. Its large size and heavy weight make it challenging to transport or fit in a travel bag.
DJI Phantom 4 (4.3 miles)
- Easy, fully automatic operation
- Quality resolution for video and photos
- Long-lasting battery life
- Strong and lightweight construction
- Safety return measure
- Collision avoidance ability
- Problems with charging the remote controller
The DJI Phantom 4 is fully automatic, making it easy for anyone to pilot it. As a smart drone, features and specs pack upgraded innovations.
Fortunately, you won’t need to worry about crashing during flight, thanks to the Collision Avoidance feature. With this feature, it can detect and avoid objects that appear as obstacles in its flight path.
The Phantom 4 has a safety measure that returns the drone to home in case of a lost connection to the controller. It is also lightweight and is crash-resistant, thanks to its magnesium construction.
Magnesium is among the strongest but lightest materials ideal for drone construction. Plus, the motors have a carbon-fiber structure for extra durability.
Furthermore, it has a powerful battery that lasts up to 25 minutes of flight time. The inbuilt 12 MP and 4K resolution of the Phantom 4 camera can shoot high-quality photos and videos. Better still, it displays actual-time video transmission directly on the remote controller’s inbuilt screen.
Lastly, Phantom 4 comes with a unique Swipe and Fly feature. This allows the pilot to use their finger and swipe on the screen to make the drone automatically fly in that direction.
Parrot ANAFI (4.3 miles)
- Lasting Battery life and saver on-off switch
- Easy to operate
- Quality and fantastic videos and photos
- Safety SRH feature
- Geofence virtual and safe border
- Traceable Find My Drone feature
- A fragile structure that crashes easily
The Anafi’s camera features 21 MP / 4K quality for capturing fantastic aerial videos and photos. In addition, the 3-axis pivot provides stable and smooth support for video capture.
It has a durable and rechargeable battery providing 25 minutes of flight time. Also, an increase of 60% charging speed allows the pilot more time for a more extended range for better performance.
Also, it enables smooth and HD lag-free direct video transmission to your smartphone through its FreeFlight 6 software. Parrot’s straightforward Skycontroler 3 controller mounting allows total control for long-distance flights.
You can install Geofence as a safe and virtual border for Anafi to enter a particular location. If you lose your drone, the Find My Drone feature helps you trace it using the map in your smartphone application.
Also, Smart Return to Home is a significant safety feature available on the Anafi. Anytime the Anafi drops its connection to the Skycontroller, it’ll automatically return to its takeoff position. This way, there’s less chance for the drone to wander or crash irretrievably.
How to choose the right long-range drone
How far can you fly a long-range drone? First, consider buying the right one for a particular purpose.
Long-range drones aren’t your run-of-the-mill consumer drone. Therefore, there are several factors that you should focus on to help you choose the right one for your needs. Let’s look at a few things that qualify a long-range drone.
The best long-range drones have a reliable transmission system. This system must be stable to allow your drone to fly miles away. If a drone goes even a few hundred meters away, you won’t be able to see it with your eyes, so we’re talking serious distances with these transmission systems.
The transmission system also produces a signal that provides an HD live view. Combining the live view and a high-resolution camera lets you control the drone better.
The reliable long-range drones have frequency levels of 2.4GHz and 5.8 GHz, switching automatically. This way, the drone handles interference with more flexibility, unlike the unsteady ones that quickly crash.
Without a doubt, it’s more efficient to send a faster drone to a faraway destination. Also, a long-range drone with better flight performance offers a longer flight time.
Consequently, longer flight time allows you more time to handle your work without the need for frequent back and forth sending of the drone.
Preferably, it would be best to look for a drone that can fly for more than 20 minutes per battery.
It becomes almost impossible to tell which direction your drone is heading when it is flying out of sight. It is helpful to look for a long-range drone with an obstacle sensing feature that improves the chance of survival if you lose your bearings.
Note: FAA regulations require that you maintain visual line of sight of your drone during flight. In order to perform flights beyond visual line of sight, you must obtain a waiver (commercial operations only).
This feature sounds a warning and makes the drone keep still when extremely near trees or buildings. Better still, some drones can fly around the obstacles and keep going.
Wind resistance is also critical in helping the drone remain under control. This way, you won’t be afraid of the drone blowing away.
If your drone job requires you to travel a lot, size and portability need a lot of consideration.
Small long-range drones are ideal for carrying around packed in your bag. Better still, small ones tend to weigh less than big ones.
However, look for foldable ones. The foldable option allows you to store them properly and reduce the size to something you can carry effortlessly.
Common uses for the best long-range drones
People buy drones for specific reasons. For the best long-range drones, here are some of the most common uses.
Agriculture experts are finding drones very helpful in agricultural management and sustainability.
With drones, farmers can now get reliable data on valuable insights about their crops and streamline farming operations.
Crop monitoring enables effortless planning and improvements like better fertilizer applications and ditches, thanks to drones.
Additionally, it’s easy to trace products from the farm to the market using the GPS location of the drone every step of the way.
Long-range drones allow you to find new places and different perspectives. You get to see fresh experiences that can tickle your excitement or even disappoint you.
If you’re planning to explore a new area that you’re unsure of, you can use your long range drone. This way, the drone helps you learn about the presence of water bodies, forests, type of neighborhood, and even the approximate size of the area.
Exploring with your drone feels like growing a set of wings.
Aside from the usual neighborhood surveillance, drones can also perform advanced surveillance. Law enforcers use drones for a particular type of surveillance, and such drones can carry various kinds of equipment.
Most of these drones for law enforcement feature heat sensors, infrared cameras, radar, and live-feed cameras. Still others can carry non-lethal weapons like rubber bullets or tasers.
However, spying with a drone is nearly impossible because of the noise it produces. It is hard to go unnoticed in most scenarios.
Drone 3D mapping is the aerial capturing of imagery by drones using photogrammetry laser scanning to provide a realistic model of a site.
Drone maps from quality long-range drones are usually accurate because of the commercial-grade GPS ground control, proper flight planning, and quality processing software.
Apart from the advantage of seeing a better view of the site, drone mapping also saves time. Whether you’re surveying a small or large area, drone mapping captures data in a fraction of the time.
Package delivery is the most costly element in supply and logistics. The daily use of many vehicles requires a maximum amount of gas and maintenance in many areas, not to mention the high level of congestion, pollutant emissions, and noise.
Fortunately, drones are becoming a popular and effective alternative. Giant companies like DHL and Amazon support drones to deliver packages to their consumers.
Drones offer a good alternative to traditional package delivery because they don’t negatively impact the environment. However, drone use for package delivery also has limitations like no-fly zone areas, flight endurance, and capacity.
What affects a drone’s flight range?
How far can you fly a drone? Several factors affect the range a drone can fly, for instance;
- Quality and power of the drone’s signal receiver
- Quality of construction material
- Type of battery your drone uses
- Flying terrain available
- Weather conditions like clouds and direction and speed of the wind
Moreover, the load it’s carrying can affect how far the drone goes. Heavier loads tend to slow it down and drain the battery faster, preventing it from going as far.
Can you extend a drone’s flight range?
You can extend the drone flight range by flying in clear areas without obstacles. Even the most minor barriers can affect the controller and distort the video feed.
These obstacles can also negatively affect data from drones during mapping, causing blurry and unreliable transfers.
You should maintain good battery life and monitor the usage and speed carefully. Still, if you require a more extended range than what your drone can provide, you can update the drone’s battery. Preferably, get a better battery with better capacity to hold and prolong the charge.
Moreover, the market has range extenders that allow you to fly the drone beyond its standard range, especially for a short-range drone.
There’s also the option of an antenna extender for a drone without the inbuilt range extender. These antennas consist of a lasting battery that maintains a steady video feed for a prolonged period depending on the antenna quality you choose.
What can you do when your drone goes too far?
You’re likely to get a warning from your controller once the drone flies out of range. You can’t ignore the warning, as it gets louder and lights begin to flash, indicating the out-of-range problem.
Fortunately, most drones automatically land or hover on the spot when you lose control. Another option is to hit the return to home button. It would be best to return the drone home when you notice it flying far away before the battery runs out.
Modern drones have a “Return home” feature, which quickly activates by pressing the button on the controller. Remarkably, this feature automatically brings the drone back to the takeoff point.
Alternatively, if there’s an interruption with your drone’s connection, try changing its position. Sometimes, moving the controller allows a better link to your drone since obstacles can block the transmission signals.
With this detailed knowledge on the top selection of the best long-range drones, reasons to buy one, and choosing the ideal one, rest assured of an effortless choice.
Take your time to check on the drone’s flight range and time, as well as the transmission range, before making a choice.
From our review, the DJI Air 2S is a cut above the rest because it flies steadily up to a distance of 7.5 miles.
What’s your pick from the above selection and why?
DJI Air 2S Photo by Zac Gudakov