The best drones on the market for aerial photography and flying fun – according to a professional drone pilot.

Piloting drones and capturing incredible aerial images and footage is immensely fulfilling, and I’m so pleased that the market has opened up to allow more people to experience the thrill of flying a drone.

When you’re deciding which drone is for you, it’s worth considering that the flying of drones is becoming increasingly monitored in the UK, and if you want to go pro you’ll need to complete certain training and certifications. But that shouldn’t deter you from getting an exciting new hobby off the ground, or from investing in a quality piece of kit that suits your exact purpose.

I’ve flown almost all the models I’ve listed here myself during my time as a professional drone pilot (you’ll soon notice that I’ve got a soft spot for DJI). Consider these my industry insider recommendations, especially since I don’t get paid a penny for encouraging you to check them out!

The best drone for enthusiastic hobbyists

New to flying drones? No problem! Enjoy a quality flying experience without breaking the bank

If you’re just getting into drone flying, I have to recommend the DJI Mavic Mini.

It’s a brilliant piece of palm-sized equipment that massively delivers on flight quality – if not quite as Mega Pixel rich as some of the bigger models when it comes to its photography.

As the name suggests, it’s very small and folds up even smaller. It also weighs in under 250g so it’s not governed by mandatory legislation, meaning you’d otherwise have to register your drone with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). (It even has 249g Written on it)

Although it comes in at around £350, I have to recommend spending this kind of money for a smooth flying experience. Anything less and you’ll be battling the wind just to stay stationary and your piloting experience will be ruined. If you purchase a drone without GPS to locate and hold its position it becomes more about trying to keep it in the position you want rather than capturing the images you want.

Although it’s now been succeeded by the DJI Mini 2, which has some additional features like the ‘Follow Me’ function, I can heartily recommend the Mavic Mini.

Best ‘all-rounder’ drone

Ideal for experienced hobby pilots and first-time flyers alike

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a perfect drone for those wanting a wonderful flying experience, great photo quality, and decent air time to battery-charge.

Although I’ve only flown the original Mini 2, it looks the newer model comes with some powerful upgrades. With excellent 4K/60p video, plenty of shooting features, and an improved 34-minute flight time, it fully earns its heftier price tag compared with the Mavic Mini.

While its weight means it will need to be registered with the CAA, it’s a pretty painless process – certainly worth it for the brilliant Mavic Air 2 flying experience.

Best premium drone for professionals

The tip-top of professional, premium drones that does it all and then some The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the market leader for a reason. What it lacks in zoom capabilities it makes up for in photographic quality. Its 20MP sensor is capable of capturing 4K video footage at 30 frames per second (FPS), and the aperture is adjustable between f/2.8 and f/11. This means less need for additional neutral density (ND) filters. And if you are in need of zeroing in on those key shots, the Mavic 2 Zoom has an incredible 24-48 mm optical zoom camera with dolly zoom and Hyperlapse functionality. The Mavic 2 Pro is an absolute joy to fly, as most premium DJI models are, with flight modes designed to make the experience easier and more exciting (with less worry that your drone will go AWOL!).

Best drone for capturing professional-grade footage

The heavyweight champ of professional drones, guaranteeing the very best video footage (but with a price tag to match!)

When it comes to pro film footage it has to be the DJI Inspire 2 for me. Apart from being incredibly durable and lovely to look at, the Inspire 2 is compatible with the impressive DJI Zenmuse X7 camera. And with the X7 comes jaw-dropping 6K cinematic footage capabilities – nothing else compares. It’s possible to purchase the Inspire 2 without the X7, but it doesn’t have a camera of it’s own so bear this in mind.

Unsurprisingly, the Inspire 2 tends to sell around the £7,000 mark but it’s a fabulous piece of technology for any pro pilot.

Any of these drones catch your eye? If you’re looking for professional-level photography for any type of project, feel free to drop me a line maybe I could help you get the shots you need without the need to invest tens of hours and hundreds of pounds.

Otherwise, have a great flight!