The 8 Best Mini Drones to Buy in 2018

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The best drones tend to be large, powerful machines, but there’s something to be said for units that don’t turn the needle so far in the weight department — especially when their reduced sizes make them that much more portable. Just because a drone is small doesn’t mean it can’t be a powerful flier. Some even pack features similar to what you’d find on larger, more expensive drones: high-resolution cameras, obstacle sensors, GPS tracking, long-lasting batteries, and plenty more.

Here, we’re taking a look at the best mini drones on the market. These devices include extra small models that can fit in your palm, drones with collapsible propeller arms that make them extra easy to transport, and some slightly larger models that are still quite handheld. Whether you want a drone that’s going to be a capable video and photo companion or just want something to fly around your backyard for some after-work fun, you’ll find a fit here.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: DJI Mavic Air

DJI Mavic Air

Courtesy of Amazon

The DJI Mavic Air is not only an astoundingly capable drone, but it’s also brilliantly portable. The Mavic Air features a compact design with collapsible propellor arms, so when you’re not flying, you can fold them into the body of the drone and easily store it away in a bag or backpack.

Inside that small, portable design is plenty of power. The Mavic Air is capable of hitting top speeds of 42.5mph and can resist winds between 19mph and 24mph, so you’ll be able to fly confidently outdoors. With its large battery, you can fly the Mavic Air for up to 21 minutes on a full charge.

On top of being an impressive flier, the Mavic Air has a great camera platform. It features a front-mounted 12MP camera capable of recording 4K video at 30 frames per second and Full HD at 120 frames per second. That video can be recorded at a high 100Mbps bitrate as well, and thanks to a three-axis mechanical gimbal, you’ll get stable video and easy control. The Mavic Air supports control via a smartphone or a controller. If you want a portable drone that doesn’t sacrifice much, this is the one.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Ryze Tello

The Ryze Tello is a wonderful little drone for a lot of reasons. First, it offers a compelling package at a price well below what you’d expect. It has a small, simple design that’s neither garish nor cheap looking. And, best of all, it packs plenty of features that make it capable in a variety of use cases.

The Ryze Tello is loaded with some of DJI’s smarts, including sensors on the bottom that can help it maintain its altitude and perform palm landings and takeoffs. The front-facing camera is a simple 720p one with electronic image stabilization, but it’s still a nice option to have. The camera comes in handy especially if you’re into flying with a first-person perspective, as the video can transmit directly to your phone for this purpose.

If you like simplicity, the Tello also has a number of flying features you’ll love. It can automatically perform a number of tricks (like flips) or follow a few different flight paths to easily record videos. At its price and size, the Tello offers a lot.

Best Non-Collapsible: DJI Spark

The DJI Spark is admittedly on the larger side for this list, but it’s still of a size that’s easy to hold in your hand — even if the propellor arms extend slightly wider without the option to fold them up. That said, what it lacks in portability (and make no mistake, it’s still highly portable) it makes up for with features and performance.

After the DJI Mavic Air, the DJI Spark is the next most capable performer in both flight and video. It boasts a top speed of 31mph in its Sport Mode, and it can fly for up to 16 minutes on a full charge. With the controller, it can even fly up to 1.2 miles away. Thanks to GPS and a number of vision-based sensors, the Spark is also capable of intelligent flying, reducing the risk of an accident or loss.

While you’re flying it, you’ll also be able to enjoy excellent video from a 12MP camera that’s capable of 1080p video at 30fps. The video will be fairly smooth, too, thanks to its two-axis gimbal. Plus, you have the ability to adjust the camera angle while you’re flying, which can be especially helpful for getting just the right shot.

Runner-Up, Best Non-Collapsible: Parrot Mambo

The Parrot Mambo is a fun little drone geared towards kids but equally ready to fulfill the needs of anyone on the market for a small drone with decent features. It comes in a number of different packages, and while the base model includes just the drone with smartphone controlling flight, the Mambo FPV pack includes a controller, a camera that attaches to the drone, and Parrot’s Cockpit Glasses for an immersive first-person flying perspective. There’s also the Mambo Mission package, which includes a miniature ball shooter and grabber that attaches to the drone.

Our preferred pick is the Mambo FPV pack, as it gives you more options for how you fly and the included controller offers better ease of use than the touchscreen controls on a smartphone. This version also offers up to 10 minutes of flying time on a single charge. As affordable as this drone is, it also has some smart features; it can automatically cut the rotors if it crashes, and it can easily perform flips and barrel rolls.

Best Budget Collapsible: Eachine E56

The Eachine E56 is an inexpensive drone, but it's a great pick for anyone searching for a budget-friendly, portable model. It doesn’t have the smallest body of the drones on our list, but the propellers and propeller arms fold away completely into the frame for easy transport, and it even comes with a carrying case.

The Eachine E56 features a 2MP camera on the front that's capable of recording 720p video and the automatic altitude hold feature can help you capture steady video or snap quick photos. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to get a selfie — as posing for the shot and flying the drone at the same time can be tricky.

You have multiple options when it comes to piloting the Eachine E56. It comes with a controller that steers the drone using a joystick and tilt sensor, but you can also use on-screen controls on your smartphone. FYI — if you go with the controller, you can activate headless mode, so you won't have to think about which direction the drone is facing while you pilot it.

Runner-Up, Best Budget Collapsible: Eachine E58

Eachine has another great collapsible drone in the E58. It’s a bit more expensive and a bit larger than the E56, but it comes with a design that’s more striking while still capable of folding up for maximum portability. It also includes a dual-thumbstick controller that's a lot more familiar for most pilots. The controller also has a holder for your phone for a real-time view from the drone.

The Eachine E58 includes a 2MP camera on the front with a wide 120-degree field of view and video recording up to 720p. The camera can transmit back to a connected smartphone for flying with a first-person perspective, or you can directly control flight using a smartphone. Controlling the E58 is simple, as it features one-key takeoff and landing, one-key return, altitude hold, automatic flips, and has a headless mode for simplified directional control.

The Eachine E58 offers 7 to 9 minutes of flying time on a single charge. But, it uses a replaceable battery, so you can buy extras to extend the length of your flying sessions.

Best for Racing: Goolsky GEPRC Sparrow

Just because something is little doesn’t mean it can’t be premium. The Goolsky GEPRC Sparrow is a specially built racing drone that uses quality GEPRC parts. All put together, it’s an incredibly light, palm-sized drone ready for racing with a first-person perspective. Just know that this is a serious racing drone, and it’s not going to be as simple to buy and fly as other drones on our list. That said, if you’re already versed in drones and piloting, and you want to pick up a crazy little flier, then this is a great option.

What you get in this package is all the parts you need from an FPV racing drone: the chassis, the circuity, the antennas (for both camera transmission and control transmission), and brushless motors. In this case, the frame is made with aluminum alloy for a lightweight but strong build. The camera is HD, but there’s a special mount for a GoPro if you want to upgrade the visual capabilities of the Sparrow.

This package doesn’t include a controller, so you’ll need to find a compatible one. It also doesn’t include batteries, as you’ll be choosing your own. While the Sparrow supports a range of batteries, the 4S Lipo is the highest supported and offers the highest speeds — we're talking up to a whiplash-inducing 105mph.

Best Budget Micro: Hubsan H111 Nano Q4

If you’re just starting out with drones and don’t want to get something expensive or bulky, or you have experience with drones and want to have a bite-sized backup to play with, then the Hubsan H111 Nano Q4 is an awesome pick. It’s by far the smallest drone on this list, but it’s no slouch, with a modest 5 to 6 minute flight time and zippy speeds.

The Hubsan H111 Nano Q4 includes the drone itself, a charging cable, spare propeller blades, and a small controller. It’s a simple little drone, but it still has some fun features, like automatic flip and roll controls. It also has different control settings for beginner pilots and more experienced pilots. Just keep in mind that there’s no headless mode, so true rookie pilots will need to take things slow.

This drone comes in several different colors, and it includes colored LEDs on the bottom so you can fly safely at night. When it comes to having a tiny drone that’s easy to transport, it’s hard to beat one that can fit in the palm of your hand and weigh just 130 grams.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular mini drones on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 70 different drones overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 24 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.