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Best DJI drone 2020: the best flying cameras from the world's top drone maker

DJI Mavic 2 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Which is the best DJI drone for you? It's a simple question that's slightly harder answer than it used to be, thanks to the arrival of several new models that seemingly overlap with each other. But thanks to our hours of flying and testing, we've picked apart the differences between all of DJI's latest models to bring you this guide to the best ones in its fleet.

Despite the arrival of contenders like Poweregg and Skydio, DJI remains the world's biggest drone maker by far, and it's looked to cement that position recently with a few new models that are mainly aimed at hobbyists fliers.

Our current pick for the title of the best DJI drone overall is the DJI Mavic Air 2, a travel-friendly model that builds on the groundwork of the earlier Mavic Pro series. Like a flying premium compact camera, it hits the sweet spot with its combination of excellent image quality and beginner-friendly flying modes that mean you need very little experience to get pro-looking footage.

But the Mavic Air 2 isn't necessarily the best drone for everyone. Pros who prioritize image quality over portability will likely be better off with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, while the Mavic 2 Zoom offers unique optical zoom that's particularly useful for shooting subjects that you don't want to get too close to.

And for absolute beginners? Despite its comparative limitations, we still rate the DJI Mavic Mini as a great first drone for novices, particularly as it's small enough to not require registration with your local aviation authority. We're still in the process of testing the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, a larger drone that sits in between the Mavic series and the high-end Inspire 2. But until we reach a final verdict on that model, these are the best DJI drones you can buy right now from its current fleet...

The best DJI drones in 2020:

DJI Mavic Air 2

(Image credit: Future)

1. DJI Mavic Air 2

A foldable drone that hits the sweet spot for most people

Weight: 570g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 12MP | Battery size: 3,950 mAh | Range: 10km

Simple to fly
Shoots impressive 4K/60p video
Decent 34-minute battery life
Camera feed sometimes stutters
Controller lacks a screen

Whether you're a hobbyist looking for your first proper drone, or a pro who fancies something lightweight and travel-friendly, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is the best all-rounder you can buy right now. Effectively a mini version of the Mavic 2 Pro, it shoots impressive 4K/60p video and packs in a huge range of shooting features that make it more versatile than any other drone at this price point. The new 1/2-inch sensor ensures better high ISO performance than its predecessor and supports slo-mo 1080p video up to 240fps. 

There's a new controller, too, which crucially brings Ocusync 2.0 connectivity. This takes its range up to 10km and improves the stability of its signal to the DJI Fly app, making it far more reliable than its predecessor. You also get a full stack of those beginner-friendly modes that DJI has fine-tuned over the past few years, including the 'Quickshot' automated flying modes and subject-tracking. The Mavic 2 series give you better quality still (plus Zoom with the Mavic 2 Zoom), while the DJI Mavic Mini is half the weight and doesn't need to be registered with your local aviation authority. But the Mavic Air 2 is the perfect middle ground and great value for those looking to shoot high quality aerial photos and video.  

Read our in-depth DJI Mavic Air 2 review

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

The best premium consumer drone for image quality

Weight: 907g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 20MP | Flight time: 3,950 mAh | Range: 8km

Handy foldable design
One-inch 20MP sensor
Advanced, but easy to fly
No portrait shooting option
Some noise above ISO 100

If your main priority is image quality rather than portability, then the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the best consumer drone you can buy. Its large 1-inch 20MP sensor shoots superb 4K/30p video and Raw stills. And unlike the DJI Mavic Air 2 (above), its aperture is adjustable between f/2.8 and f/11, which means there's less need for ND filters.

Despite its name, the Mavic 2 Pro remains very easy to fly, making it a great option for hobbyist fliers, too. A range of intelligent shooting and flight modes make capturing cinematic shots a breeze, while omnidirectional obstacle sensing helps you avoid crashing. It's a slight shame that video is limited to 4K/30p, but its quality is better than the Mavic Air 2 overall, while pros get the option of shooting in the likes of 10-bit D-Log M and 10-bit HDR. Naturally, the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic Air 2 remain better options for zoom and portability respectively, but the Mavic 2 Pro is the best consumer drone you can buy for sheer image quality.

Read our in-depth DJI Mavic 2 Pro review

DJI Mavic Mini

(Image credit: Future)

3. DJI Mavic Mini

The smallest, lightest, and cheapest DJI drone

Weight: 249g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 12MP | Battery size: 2,600 mAh | Range: 5.8 GHz: 4000 m (FCC); 2500 m (SRRC)

Superb folding design
Impressively stable video
No object tracking
No 4K or 60fps 2.7K video

Looking for the smallest, cheapest and most hassle-free DJI drone you can buy? The Mavic Mini is it. It cleverly pre-empted drone laws that stated that models weighing over 250g would need to be registered with aviation authorities. How much does it weigh? 249g, of course. But it's far from a hashed together model for beginners – the Mavic Mini pairs a compact, light body with a fun flying experience and decent video capture.

Naturally, there are a few limitations compared to higher-end models like the DJI Mavic Air 2. The Mavic Mini can't shoot 4K video or 2.6K/60p footage, while its range is limited to (still very respectable) 2.5 miles. But the footage it does shoot is punchy and detailed, with decent dynamic range, and no other drone at this size and price can do what the Mavic Mini does. It delivers an 30-minute battery life, with most sub-250g drones dying after 10-15 minutes, while the DJI Fly serves up all of those lovely Quickshot modes that are perfect for drone novices.

Read our in-depth DJI Mavic Mini review

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

(Image credit: Future)

4. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

A travel-friendly drone with truly useful optical zoom

Weight: 905g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 12MP | Battery size: 3,950 mAh | Range: 8km

Easy to fly and intuitive to control
24-48mm optical zoom lens
Small 12MP sensor
Noise is a problem above ISO 100

The almost identical twin of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic 2 Zoom has one key difference – its camera has optical zoom. Rather than the 1-inch 20MP sensor seen on its 'Pro' sibling, this drone pairs a smaller 12MP sensor with an 24-48mm optical zoom lens. This extremely handy, as it means you can capture close-up shots of subjects like people at events, without needing to fly as close as other drones. And with the same lightweight, foldable design as the Mavic 2 Pro, the Zoom is ideal for taking to photogenic locations. 

Because it has a smaller sensor, image quality naturally falls short of the Mavic 2 Pro, but its videos and photos are more than good enough for pro use in the right light. That zoom is particularly useful because distortion is minimal and control is intuitive via the partner app. And it packs in all of the usual intelligent flight modes that you'd expect from a DJI drone, including Active Track and Hyperlapses. With a decent 30-minute flight time too, it's well worth considering if you need a super-versatile drone that can open up new creative possibilities.

Read our in-depth DJI Mavic 2 Zoom review

DJI Inspire 2

(Image credit: Future)

5. DJI Inspire 2

A pro-level drone with the build quality, performance and price tag to match

Weight: 3440g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 20MP | Battery size: 6,000 mAh | Range: 3.5km

Incredible build quality
Good battery life
Lots of pro-friendly features
Expensive
Demands a powerful computer

While most of the drones in the list are smaller consumer models that are the aerial equivalents of compact mirrorless cameras or premium compacts, the Inspire 2 is a full-blown pro DSLR in the sky. This extends right to its modular design, which allows you to pick the right Zenmuse camera to attach to it. We tested the Inspire 2 with the Zenmuse Z5S, which is a 4K Micro Four Thirds camera, though you can also add a Zenmuse X7 if you need a Super 35 camera with interchangeable lenses. 

It might look like something that Skynet has sent back in time to hunt for John Connor, but the Inspire 2 is a little more friendly than that, particularly if you're a pro filmmaker looking to shoot 5.2K video, albeit at 30 frames per second. Shooting in 4K is also possible at 60 frames per second, while the Inspire 2 also comes with some excellent automated flying modes and solid subject-tracking. If you can afford it, and don't mind its size, this remains one of the finest flying cameras you can buy. 

Read our in-depth DJI Inspire 2 review

Ryze Tello

(Image credit: Future)

6. Ryze Tello

The best camera-equipped toy drone you can buy

Weight: 3440g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 20MP | Battery size: 6,000 mAh | Range: 3.5km

Affordable and fun
Shoots 720p video
Programmable moves
Doesn't fly well in a breeze
Best flown indoors

It might not carry the DJI name, but this little 80g flier does contain the company's flight tech and was made in collaboration with both DJI and Intel. A palm-sized drone that's been designed for fly either indoors or outside on very still days, the Tello can shoot 720p video and perform impressive stunts like '8D' flips.

While it's a lot of fun to fly, particularly with your phone acting as the controller, the Ryze Tello is really an educational toy in disguise. That's because it works with the MIT-developed coding tool Scratch, which lets you drag-and-drop blocks to create flight paths and build other tricks. Naturally, the drone's tiny 1/5in sensor and low 4Mbps bitrate mean video quality is strictly for social media, but the Ryze Tello is a fantastic toy drone that can teach you a thing or two about coding in the process.

Read our hands-on Ryze Tello review