We lab test and review a selection of drones to help you find the best model for you. Our drone buying guide will help you decide which type you need, and how we test explains our testing rigour. Plus, our article on drones and Australian law will help you make sure you and your new toy aren't breaking any aviation rules.
Our expert testers give every drone a thorough workout to help find the models that are best for:
Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which brands are fastest and have the longest control range. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.
List of brands we tested in this review.
This is the manufacturer's recommended retail price at the time of purchase (June 2017)
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 85 and 2299
We recommend products with an overall score of 70% or higher.
Unlock this by becoming a member.
Already a member? Log in now
This test score is for members only. Join now to unlock our expert results.
Already a member? Log in now
Advanced drones: require practice to fly, and will typically have greater speed and range. Recreational drones: designed for quick set-up and simple flight, with less power than higher end models. Toy drones: enjoyment comes from flying the drone rather than capturing good quality photos/video. As such, camera is generally low-quality or not included. Tend to be aimed at beginners and casual users, with cheaper components, slower speeds and short battery life.
Performance assesses: initial lift-off, hover (stability), landing (stability/easiness), ability to cope with wind, slow figures of eight and return to base (operator ordering return manually).
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0
Assesses the static still and video capability of the camera without the effects of flight in standard and reduced lighting conditions (earlier than darkness as drones are not suitable for flying at night). Also assesses the ability of the camera to take stills while filming video. Footage/images captured in flight are assessed as well. Image quality is compared to a colour-correct monitor. Note that the 3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter does not ship with a camera (it's designed to support a GoPro which is sold separately). As such, camera performance was not assessed on this model.
Considers set-up, connecting to the app and flight control. Drones with higher scores are easier to set up and fly.
Assesses ease in transporting the drone to different locations (including size and weight), and whether or not assembly/disassembly is required before and after flight. Some of the drones come with good quality carrying cases but most do not. The transportability of the drones varies with some being able to be folded up with the propellers attached and others requiring disassembly, sometimes involving removing the camera, to aid portability. A potential user should ensure that whichever drone they select meets their portability needs
Manufacturers maximum stated horizontal flight speed in kilometres. Note that you do not have to fly your drone at the maximum allowable speed.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 18 and 88
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0.3 and 14
Device used to view live feed from camera attached to drone. Note that it is illegal to wear a first-person VR style headset while piloting a drone in Australia. A direct line of sight must be maintained at all times.
Included flight tutorials and safety guides are very important features for beginners.
Many drones can send a live video feed from the camera to your smartphone, controller or first-person VR style headset.
Program the drone to face the pilot, hover and take a selfie at optimal height.
Is there a one-touch/tap emergency override control that can be activated if you lose control of the drone? Typically instructs the drone to immediately return to base (launch point).