best dji alternative

Top 10 Drones NOT made by DJI | Best alternative to DJI

DJI makes some fantastic drones, but some people prefer to avoid them for various reasons. Some dislike DJI because of their NFZ (no-fly zones) and geofencing. Some people don’t trust large companies. Maybe you want to steer clear of DJI because they landed on the Dept. of Commerce entity list. Or maybe you just want to know what other options are out there. Here are our 10 favorite non-DJI drones. If you prefer to watch rather than read check out the video below.

Best Drones NOT Made by DJI

This list was created by Jack and Chris, the founders of Half Chrome Drones. There are a ton of excellent drones and we have flown our fair share. While ranking them we considered a lot of factors. Features, camera, customer support, availability, and price. These are ten of our favorite drones. If you think we missed something shoot us an email or drop a comment on our YouTube video (above). If you are looking for inside info or want a free drone please consider supporting us on Patreon.

#10 Syma X8

The Syma X8 is the least expensive drone on our list. It is a blast to fly and it is incredibly durable.  There are a few different versions and they all are pretty solid drones. Starting around $60 this makes a really good beginner drone. Plus you can upgrade the camera if you decide later on. The range on these drones isn’t far (Keep it in your sight), and the flight time isn’t anything to write home about at 8 minutes. But it’s a good beginner drone and an excellent place to start.  Order one here.

#9 The Original Autel Evo

The original Autel Evo is an excellent drone and probably the best option you can get if you want really nice 4K video and don’t want to spend more than $1000. This orange drone was built to compete with the Mavic 2 series of drones and it certainly does that. We really like the camera on this drone. It has all the GPS flight modes you’d expect it to have on a premium drone. The included remote even has a built-in LCD screen. With a flight time of 30 minutes and a range of 7000 meters, this is one impressive drone. Order one here.

#8 Xiaomi Fimi X8 2020

The Xiaomi Fimi X8 2020 edition is the best drone you can buy if your budget is $400. It is a folding drone with GPS and a 4K camera. It has all the typical flight modes. While its 4K camera is good, it isn’t great. This drone is superior to similarly priced drones like the Hubsan Zino 2 and the Upair 2. It is bigger and better than the original Mavic Mini in most ways, except we’d still give the edge to the camera on the Mini. The Fimi X8 has a flight time of up to 35 minutes and a range of up to 8000 meters. Order one here.

#7 MJX Bugs 12 and Bugs 20

The MJX Bugs 20 and Bugs 12 drones are very similar. The biggest difference is the form factor. The Bugs 12 is foldable like a Mavic but the Bugs 20 has fixed arms like a Phantom. Both of them are excellent options for less than $200. While they do not have a gimbal they rely on electronic image stabilization to smooth out video footage. You can shoot video at 4K or 1080p. They don’t have all the flight modes some of the more expensive options do, but they do have a follow me, orbit, and return to home option. You’ll get a range of up to 500 meters and a flight time of up to 22 minutes. Order the Bugs 12 here. Order the Bugs 20 here. 

#6 iFlight Nazgul V2

The iFlight Nazgul V2 is a 5″ FPV quad. This isn’t for taking leisurely pictures, but for fast, agile FPV flying. It is a beast of a drone with its 2207 2750KV motors. Starting under $200 this is the best prebuilt FPV quad you can buy. You’ll still need the other FPV equipment, like FPV goggles and a remote, but if you have those already this is a great quad. Order one here.

#5 Xiaomi Fimi A3

Xiaomi Fimi A3
Take a look at the Xiaomi Fimi A3 in flight.

The Xiaomi Fimi A3 is a great beginner drone. You can purchase one for around $230 and it is an excellent deal. It may not have the best specs on this list but it is a heck of a value. This is a really good option for any beginner. The Fimi A3 has a 1080p camera on a two-axis gimbal. One of the nicest things about this drone and something that sets it apart from similarly priced drones is that you don’t have to connect to WiFi or use an app to fly the drone. All of the flight modes are built-into the software and are directly accessible through the controller. The controller even has a built-in screen so you don’t have to use your phone. You’ll be able to execute dronies, orbits, follow me and of course return to home. The video feed is analog, so you can even connect and fly with your favorite FPV goggles. The Fimi A3 has a range of up to 1000 meters and a maximum flight time of 25 minutes. Order one here.

#4 Autel Evo 2 Pro 6K

Some people may give us flack for putting this drone at #4 and not #1. It is absolutely the best photography and videography drone that you can buy that isn’t made by DJI. The reason it isn’t #1 is because of the price. The Evo 2 Pro 6K starts around $1800 and you’ll be spending north of $2000 after adding an extra battery and some accessories. However, if you want THE BEST, this is THE BEST. Its one-inch sensor and variable aperture make this camera spectacular. While the 8K version of the Evo 2 might sound like a better deal at $1400, we’d avoid it as it uses the same Quad-Bayer filter that the Mavic Air 2 uses, and that drone is only $699. The Evo 2 has an impressive maximum flight time of 40 minutes and a range of up to 9000 meters. Order one here.

#3 BetaFPV Meteor65 FPV Kit

This next drone makes our list because it isn’t just a drone. The BetaFPV Meteor65 FPV kit is an all-in-one package that will get you into flying FPV quickly and easily. You’ll get a tiny brushless drone, remote, goggles, batteries, charger, and even a nice carrying case for it all. I believe that learning how to fly FPV on a small drone like this is the best way to do it as it is smaller, less expensive, and a lot less dangerous. I love flying the Meteor65 around my house, especially in the wintertime. BetaFPV made this easy for beginners to get into the hobby and this kit might be some of the most fun you can have flying a drone. Order one here.

#2 Skydio 2

Skydio 2 in flight
Skydio 2 in flight

The Skydio 2 is an awesome drone and it is completely different than anything we’ve seen before. Skydio is a software company that happens to make drones. It uses six 4K camera to capture a picture of the world around it and uses that to avoid and evade obstacles in flight. It is hands down the best drone for obstacle avoidance and if you want something that you can have follow you this is the drone you want.  The 4K camera is very nice and the footage is excellent. It does have a handful of intelligent flight modes, but they are mostly tied to tracking a moving subject. This drone does have some limitations when you try to use it in ways other than tracking subjects. Ironically its best asset is its software and it does the hardest thing best, but also its greatest weakness is also its software and it can’t do some of the things most other drones can. I’d love to see it have more flight modes not tied to moving objects. Why can’t it orbit a stationary object like a house? I’m sure Skydio is working on this and I fully expect this drone to get better with future firmware updates. If you order one at the base price of $999 it doesn’t come with the tracking beacon or the remote control. Both of which will cost you an additional $180. You’ll definitely want a remote if you plan on doing more than just subject tracking but be prepared to do it all manually. Order one here.

#1 Parrot Anafi

Our favorite non-DJI drone is the Parrot Anafi. It doesn’t have the best specs, the best camera, or the longest flight time. The Anafi however does almost everything really well and is a great value at around $500. It has a very unique 4K camera that has a 180-degree two-axis gimbal. You can look directly above and below the drone in flight.  It’s flight modes work well and are very intuitive. The Anafi was the first consumer drone to incorporate zoom, a feature that is incredibly useful on a drone. If you are considering purchasing a Mavic Mini, we’d encourage you to take a look at the Parrot Anafi. Parrot has even partnered with Pix4D and has a work edition that comes with a year subscription to the 3D mapping software. The Parrot Anafi is a really good drone, while it may not be the best at any one thing, it is really good at everything it does. You’ll get a maximum flight time of 21 minutes and a range of 4000 meters with the Parrot Anafi. Order one here.

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This is just a small sampling of the whoops I’ve been flying

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