Best Drones of 2022


We’re excited to see what comes next for drones. 2023 holds few promises for the consumer drone market, though the expected advanced in the commercial market should open new doors for all pilots. We started the year with some power new commercial craft, that happen to offer powerful sensors for the camera drone enthusiast.

Remote ID is still a factor, as each aircraft requires approval from the FAA. To our count, there are merely thirteen consumer drones that have the authorization to sell to consumers with FAA approval.

DJI Mavic 3 Cine flying indoors

There are some amazing drones out there, everything from nano machines for the living room pilot, carbon-fiber beasts for the commercial market and Hollywood, plus some amazing consumer rigs designed to put a camera into the sky. Here is our short list of the best of the best drones in 2023.

Note: We will update this list every month, or when new drones make the list. The DJI Air 2S continues to be one of our favorite drones. The camera in the Mavic 3 is far superior, but in terms of bang-for-the-buck in the higher-end consumer camera drone segment, the Air 2S is an easy recommendation. Meanwhile, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is still an impressive beast for battery life.

Important: The FAA has mandated the need for a drone license for all flights. Hobby pilots now need a TRUST certificate before they fly!

Jonathan Feist, Drone PilotJonathan Feist

Why trust Drone Rush?

I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.


Best drones

Let’s explore the best drones on the market today!

DJI Air 2S: Best value camera drone

Drone Rush Recommends

The DJI Air 2S is the culmination of every lesson DJI has learned with their Mavic series to date. This flying 5.4K camera has efficient flight, solid speeds, superb stability, reliable safety features, and the entirely familiar folding design and flight features many of us have come to know from other DJI drones. Considering that the Air 2S packs a camera and features that compete with drones twice the price, this is a winner for most pilots.

This is the first viable drone we’ve seen that packs a 1-inch, 20MP camera for under $1,000, and the new flight range is a class-leader at any price. 12KM of HD connectivity is more than most pilots can fly, but ensures an excellent connection at close range. Battery life is on par with the best consumer drones out there, offering up to 31 minutes of flight time.

See the full DJI Air 2S review

Why we fly the DJI Air 2S

FAA Remote ID Compliant badge

Considering the available drones on the market today, we are happy to recommend the DJI Air 2S to any hobby pilot whose goal is to put a camera into the sky. Make no mistake, there are better camera drones available for higher prices, and there are more affordable drones for those that do not care about the camera as much, but the value for the price is hard to beat with this little drone; We’re packing the Air 2S in our backpack the next time we go hiking.

What we like

  • 5.4K camera
  • 31 minute flight time
  • Upgraded flight features
  • Huge 7.5 mile connectivity

What we don’t like

  • No display on remote
  • Fewer safety features than larger drones

DJI Mavic 3: Best flying camera

DJI Mavic 3 Cine flying down angle

Equipped with a powerful 20MP Micro Four Thirds camera, the DJI Mavic 3 instantly became one of the best camera drones on the market. 46 minutes of flight time and a whopping 15km (9.3 miles) of connectivity mean a stronger connection than ever before.

The Mavic 3 comes in two versions, the standard model has 8GB of internal storage, while the Mavic 3 Cine bumps up to a 1TB internal SSD. The SSD is fast enough to enable Apple ProRes 422 HQ format video, but both machines can record up to 5.1K at 50fps. There is a second camera as well, a 1/2-inch shooter that has up to 28x hybrid zoom. All-direction obstacle avoidance keeps you safe as you soar through the sky for up to 46 minutes per battery.

The optional new RC Pro remote has a built-in display, and is a solid new remote control for some Mavic drones.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic 3

FAA Remote ID Compliant badge

The Micro Four Thirds camera on the Mavic 3 is a reason to get excited. Few drones have a camera this large and capable. The latest flight features make this drone one of the safest and easiest to fly, as well. However, a fantastic camera package comes with a cost, the DJI Mavic 3 starts at $2,199, with the Fly More combo running $2,999, and the full DJI Mavic 3 Cine with RC Pro for $4,999.

Bottom line, the DJI Mavic 3 is a serious camera drone, designed for the professional pilot.

See our full DJI Mavic 3 review

What we like

  • Powerful drone
  • Superb 5.1K camera
  • Up to 28x zoom
  • 15KM range with O3+ connection
  • APAS 5.0 & ActiveTrack 5.0
  • Optional RC Pro remote has a great display
  • Optional 1TB internal SSD
  • All-direction obstacle avoidance

Autel Robotics Evo Lite+: A welcome camera drone contender

Autel Robotics Evo Lite folded

The Autel Robotics Evo Lite+ is a solid camera drone. The 6K shooter is a 1-inch sensor that captures 20MP stills, the big battery supplies up to 40 minutes of flight time, and the new range capabilities make for a reliable connection. There are two versions of the Evo Lite, the standard model comes with a smaller camera that is limited to 4K, while the Evo Lite+ model is the version we would recommend.

Why we fly the Autel Robotics Evo Lite+

FAA Remote ID Compliant badge

One of the selling features of the Evo Lite+ is its low-light capabilities. We can vouch for that, as that big 1-inch camera captures extremely clean low-light shots. Very few are allowed to fly at night, so this is a tough selling point, but tough shadows benefit as well.

See our full Evo Lite review

What we like

  • Relaxed flight characteristics
  • Great 6K camera
  • Super low-light capture
  • Great flight time

What we don’t like

  • No display in remote
  • Not great indoors

DJI Inspire 2: Best professional drone

DJI Cendence Tracktenna Ronin 2 launch DJI Inspire 2

The DJI Inspire 2 is the kind of drone that was made with Hollywood action shots in mind. This high-speed drone is powerful, stable, and can carry multiple payloads. The Zenmuse series of cameras can go up to 6K video recording, the dual hot-swappable batteries mean minimal down-time during shooting, and the dual-operator controls make it possible for the pilot and a camera operator to work together to get the best shots possible. Further, the retractable landing gear with 360-swivel  camera gimbal better allow for shots from any angle.

Why we fly the DJI Inspire 2

Let’s be honest, this is still the best camera drone you can get for around $5,000. It is really old, as far as drones go, but it was so well built that newer machines are still trying to catch up. It is a larger drone, making it tough to transport, but if convenience is not of concern, and you need a great camera drone, the Inspire 2 is still leaps and bounds better than the smaller hobby drones on the market today. 

What we like

  • Best pro camera around!
  • Great camera options
  • Fast and reliable
  • Easy to operate

What we don’t like

  • Full flight kit is expensive
  • Large drone

DJI Mini 2: Most affordable 4K drone

DJI Mini 2 flying front

For a long time after it launched, the DJI Mini 2 was the only 4K camera drone under $500 that we would consider for our personal fleet. The Mini 2 remains one of our favorite drones, capturing the allure of the Mavic series, delivering a solid camera experience, and clocking in at under 250 grams, all with an attractive price tag for what we’ve come to expect of a machine of this caliber.

Why we fly the DJI Mini 2

While we really like the output of the 4K camera on the Mini 2, we fully recognize that it does not keep up with the more expensive camera drones out there. However, that’s not the point, the point is that we think the Mini 2 is the absolute best drone you can get for under $500. It can do everything that the more expensive drone can do, just not quite as well, and we think that’s a worthy trade-off.

Regardless your budget and needs, the Mini 2 is one of the most portable drones around, making it a smart choice for those that travel.

See our full DJI Mini 2 review

What we like

  • Under 250g
  • Super compact for portability
  • Reasonably fast, and fun
  • Easy to operate
  • 4K camera for a great price

What we don’t like

  • Very small, not very powerful
  • Not as tough as larger Mavic drones
  • No object avoidance sensors

DJI Mini 3 Pro: Best camera drone under 250g

DJI Mini 3 Pro battery out back

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a fantastic update to the Mini line. Not only is it the best performing mini drone, but it’s one of the better machines in the entire Mavic line. It also introduces some of the biggest changes to the airframe in a long time.

No longer does the gimbal hang from the nose of the craft, it’s still at the front, but mounts from the sides, so that the nose can be cut back, allowing the camera to point further upwards.

The landing gear is on the fuselage, and the propeller arms are swapped, meaning you can deploy the arms in any order you want, as they no longer contact each other if done out of order.

The 4K camera shoots 60fps, and HDR, the optional Battery Plus power supply bumps flight time to a record-breaking 47 minutes, and the base drone weighs under 250g, so you can skip some pesky drone laws across the globe.

Why we fly the DJI Mini 3 Pro

FAA Remote ID Compliant badge

The compact size and extreme portability are on-par with the previous DJI Mini drones, but the new camera capabilities, extended range, and huge flight time make it the best option of all drones under 250g.

However, if you do not care about portability, we can’t deny that the DJI Air 2S is similarly priced to the most expensive Mini 3 Pro option. There are pros and cons to each, but we feel the Air 2S is the better camera output for the price of these two drones.

What we like

  • Huge 47 minutes of flight time
  • 4K camera at 60fps
  • Optional DJI RC controller with display
  • Weighs 249g with standard battery
  • Very portable
  • Multi-direction obstacle avoidance
  • Improved camera gimbal rotation

What we don’t like

  • A little pricey
  • Less flexible if you crash

DJI Matrice 300 series: Best commercial drone

DJI Matrice 300 RTK commercial drone flight

If you have an inspection task to perform, the DJI Matrice 3oo series may be the best machine for the job. This powerful, weather resistant, monster of a drone can carry multiple payloads, including RTK GPS, infrared cameras, and more. This isn’t the sort of drone you’re likely to fly in your backyard, but don’t be surprised to see one flying around a construction site or in use by local law enforcement in place of a full helicopter.

Why we fly the DJI Matrice 300

FAA Remote ID Compliant badge

Make no mistake, the M300 is a big and powerful commercial drone. RTK precision is overkill for anything but the most strenuous of inspection task, and the multi-payload configurations would rarely be fully utilized by a hobby pilot, but, the drone is super fun to work with, there are so many great things you could make it do, if you can justify the premium.

What we like

  • Powerful and capable inspection drone
  • Multiple payloads
  • Dual-operator capable
  • Weather resistant

What we don’t like

  • Large drone, tough to transport
  • Quite expensive

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise: Best search & rescue drone

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise kit

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise takes everything great about the consumer-class Mavic 2 series drones, and makes it better! Flight and safety features are about the same, and the RGB camera is the same as on the Mavic 2 Zoom, but the added accessories port converts the drone into a superb search & rescue tool Lights, speakers, GPS beacons and more help you find and communicate with those that are in need.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise

For a hobby pilot, the Mavic 2 Enterprise is a reasonably affordable option to get an infrared camera into the sky, and the attachments can be used for more than just search & rescue efforts, but, to be honest, if you are not sure you need the extras, consider the hobby-focused Mavic 2 Pro or Mavic 2 Zoom instead.

What we like

  • Data encryption
  • Best of the Mavic 2 series
  • Accessories enable many uses
  • Different camera options

What we don’t like

  • Large drone, tough to transport
  • Pricey, for an upgraded Mavic 2 drone
  • Good flight time, but would like more

Hubsan H111: Best indoor drone – learn to fly

Hubsan H111 nano drone in hand

There’s not much to say about the Hubsan H111. This tiny drone should be your first drone, it’s fun, safe, and affordable, perfect for learning to fly. It’s best flown indoors, and has few flight-assist features, so this really is just for bouncing around the living room before you invest in another machine from our list here today.

Why we fly the Hubsan H111

The H111 is a no-brainer purchase for near any pilot. I fly this little thing in my office all the time, it’s just good fun and a good way to keep up my skills. I often give this drone as a gift to the beginners in my life as well.

What we like

  • Small
  • Affordable
  • Easy to operate
  • Great for practicing

What we don’t like

  • Limited flight time
  • No flight features, no GPS
  • No camera

DJI FPV: Starter racing drone, most fun to fly!

DJI FPV camera

The DJI FPV is a unique machine that is best described as a hybrid camera-racing drone. In one mode, it operates very similarly to most Mavic drones, but when you crank it up, you get the feel and flight features of a racing drone, which includes a monstrous 87MPH top speed! In addition, the optional Motion Controller introduces a new way to fly. If you are looking for a high-speed camera drone, this might be what you want.

Why we fly the DJI FPV

We absolutely love flying the DJI FPV. It is the most fun we’ve had in a long time. However, it is a tough drone to recommend. It’s the best of both worlds, but, it’s expensive compared to drones with similar camera capabilities, and the best racing drones cost a lot less as well. If you are not in it for the hybrid benefits, maybe consider a dedicated drone for your aerial goals.

See the full DJI FPV review

What we like

  • Very fast and fun
  • Learn how to fly a racing drone

What we don’t like

  • Two-axis camera gimbal
  • Limited safety features

Yuneec Typhoon H3: Best Hexacopter

Yuneec Typhoon H3

The Yuneec Typhoon H3 is easily the best hexacopter that Yuneec has put out for consumers. This is a larger drone that is powerful and versatile. The Leica camera shoots great 4K video while the hexacopter design adds to stability and safety. If you are looking for something more than a Phantom, but not as much as an Inspire, the Typhoon H3 could be perfect for you.

Why we fly the Yuneec Typhoon H3

Like a few other large drones on this list, we’re in a tough spot recommending this drone. If you are willing to do anything to get one of the best drone cameras into the sky, the stability of six propellers is a compelling airframe, but if portability is key, or you have a smaller budget, you might consider the simpler consumer drones.

What we like

  • Reliable hexacopter design
  • One of the best cameras around
  • Retracting landing gear
  • 360 degree gimbal

What we don’t like

  • Large and heavy drone
  • Well priced, but pricey
  • Limited range

Have a specific need in mind?

DJI Mavic Pro Spark

Your drone needs may be more personal than we’ve explored today, we have a number of drone lists that are tailored to your specific needs – if you are looking for the best nano drone, mini drone, camera drone, racing drone, and more, we have a list for you.

Before you fly

Industry update:

Drone Remote ID is live in the United States. Drone manufacturers have a few months before all drones for sale must have built-in ID broadcast. Pilots have until October 21, 2023 to upgrade or replace their existing fleet with Remote ID transmitters.

Since then, the FAA has announced that all pilots require a drone license before they fly. That’s the TRUST certificate for hobby pilots and the Part 107 certificate for those that are compensated for their flights.

All you need to know before you fly!

Thank you for trusting us on your drone journey. Check back often, we’ll update this list, and many others on the site, whenever a new drone makes an impact on the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best drone?

To be completely honest, the needs of the mission dictate the best drone for each pilot. We’ve said before that camera drones do very poorly on race tracks, and there is no way a toy drone can perform commercial inspection services. If you’ll allow me the bold assumption that you are a tech enthusiast, just looking to put your first camera drone into the sky, we recommend the DJI Air 2S. It has great value for the price, can shoot great images from the sky, and won’t break the bank.

If you have a larger budget, the Inspire 2 remains a fantastic offering. If you work in Hollywood, DJI has some serious gear, and maybe something from FreeFly would serve you well.

It’s hard to ignore the DJI Mavic 3 Cine. It rocks a Micro Four Thirds camera, shoots fantastic imagery from the sky, and has an optional internal 1TB SSD.

Do I need a license to fly a drone?

Yes, in the United States you need a license to fly any drone! Hobby flights require the TRUST certificate, while commercial flights require the Part 107 certificate. These are the two main FAA drone registration options.

Should I buy a used drone?

We urge you to treat a drone purchase a little like a car purchase. What we mean is that you should do a thorough inspection of the craft and accessories, ask for documentation for any repairs or services performed, and look into the available warranty for the craft. This is obviously overkill for small toy drones, but the more expensive the drone, the more it matters. Also look into the viability of a drone.

Someone once showed me a batch of $1,700 drones that were on sale for about $250 each, sounded like a great deal, but the drones were discontinued models, and they were designed to carry early-model GoPro cameras.

Those are not, necessarily, deal breakers, but you couldn’t buy the gimbal and mount anymore, and there were no further software updates to handle different payloads. Soon after that, the company stepped out of the business. Just because it’s a cheap price, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.

What happens to my old drone when Remote ID is required?

Luckily, the FAA has not yet specified the exact tech requirements for Remote ID — did you know that your DJI drone has been broadcasting some ID info for years now? We’re not certain yet that DJI’s Aeroscope system meets all of the FAA’s needs, but if it does, it may be that your DJI drones will be FAA Remote ID compliant with a simple software update.

If your current drone does not directly meet the FAA’s Remote ID requirements, you may attach an external module that broadcasts the info. If that also does not work for you or your drone, you will have to find a local flight club that has an approved flight area for non-compliant drones. Finally, if all that fails, sorry, it’s game over for your aircraft.

Can I use a drone for drone deliveries?

As we mentioned above, the drones on this list are the best consumer-class machines that are mostly made to put a camera into the sky. What we didn’t mention is that there are major legal restrictions on commercial usage with a drone as it pertains to delivering goods. To answer your question, though, some of the drones on this list are large and strong enough to haul some cargo, so you could, technically, use them for deliveries.

Are these the best quad air drones?

They certainly are the best drones around. Some are quads, others have different propeller orientations, but if you are looking for a superb consumer-grade small UAV, these are the best drones.

Do I need drone insurance?

Drone insurance is not required to fly any drone, though it is a good idea to have. Insurance can cover the cost of repairs if you crash your drone, but it is more important to have drone liability insurance in case your drone causes any personal or property damage to others.

Can we use these drones as military drones?

While it is possible to use nearly any camera drone for reconnaissance work, most of the consumer-grade aircraft on our list are not capable of advanced military drone security and operations.

In particular, all consumer and commercial drones will soon be required to report their real-time location through the FAA and other flight systems, such as ADS-B. This means that anyone with a basic tracking app will be able to see the location of your drone, and the location of your controller. I can only imagine that you do not want to transmit your location on the battlefield.


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