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. So if you want to know what is the best drone that isn’t made by DJI then keep reading. 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 to ask us questions please consider supporting us on Patreon.
Best drone under $200 MJX Bugs 16 Pro
The MJX Bugs 16 Pro is an excellent beginner drone. It has a range of 600 meters and a 4K camera on a three-axis gimbal. The Bugs 16 Pro has a respectable flight time of 28 minutes. It is a GPS drone with a few intelligent flight modes including Return to Home, Orbit, and Follow me. This is a great drone to start with for a beginner and with its price tag of around $200 is one of the best bargains out there.
|Check the price of the MJX Bugs 16 Pro|
Best small drones under $1000 EXO Blackhawk 2 Pro and Mini Pro
EXO has taken over Hubsan’s North American operations and that is good news for drone consumers. Hubsan has always made a decent product but they had terrible support and buggy software. EXO has helped cover Hubsan’s weaknesses by offering excellent support and helping to make owning a drone a much more pleasant experience. The EXO Blackhawk 2 Pro is a full-featured drone and their top-of-the-line model. It has all the flight modes you might want. Both the Blackhawk and Mini have the same 4K camera on a full three-axis gimbal. They also share a 10,000 meter range (6.2 miles). The smaller sub-250 gram mini has a flight time of up to 40 minutes while the larger Blackhawk can fly for up to 34 minutes. EXO even will provide you with custom LUTs and access to a part 107 test prep course. While the EXO drones are a little pricey they are good drones and come with some really nice extras.a
|Check the price of Blackhawk 2 Pro||Check the price of Mini Pro|
Best drone under $500 Xiaomi Fimi X8
The Xiaomi Fimi X8 2022 edition is the best drone you can buy if your budget is between $400-500. 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 10,000 meters.
Best drone for photography and videography Autel Evo 2 Pro 6K
The Evo 2 Pro isn’t a new drone but it is a good one. It is absolutely the best photography and videography drone that you can buy that isn’t made by DJI. It’s an excellent drone but a bit expensive. 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.
Best drone to get into FPV Emax EZ Pilot Pro
This next drone makes our list because it isn’t just a drone. Emax EZ Pilot Pro 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 and charger. 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 small tiny drones like this around my house, especially in the wintertime. EMax 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. The Tinyhawk 3 FPV combo is also a great option. It is a bit faster and also come with a nice carrying case but it is also about $50 more expensive.
The most versatile drone: Skydio 2+
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.
Best Specialized option: Parrot Anafi
Our favorite non-DJI drone used to be 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. Its 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.
The Parrot Anafi Thermal is also the best and least expensive option if you want a drone with thermal capabilities. 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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