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TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Top Professional Drones for Serious Commercial UAV Pilots

Updated With New Drone Models for 2019

Note: Fly safely and responsibly, folks. Never flown before? Learn to fly for free over here or sign up for an in-person drone flight training over here. Need to get your FAA commercial drone certificate? Start studying over here.

If you're in a hurry, check out our top pick:
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The latest and greatest camera drone from DJI, with a professional-grade camera from Swedish camera manufacturer, Hasselblad

A commercial UAV pilot is only as good as the equipment they use.

No amount of skill can overcome poor camera quality or an unstable drone.

So today, I’m going to show you the top professional drones that serious commercial pilots should consider.

The Best Professional Drones: Our Top Picks

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DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Camera | 20 MP, 4K 10-bit Dlog-M
Flight Time | 31 minutes
Camera | 20 MP, 4K 10-bit Dlog-M
Flight Time | 31 minutes
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DJI Phantom 4 RTK
Camera | 20MP, 4K 30/60 fps
Flight Time | 30 minutes
Camera | 20MP, 4K 30/60 fps
Flight Time | 30 minutes
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DJI Inspire 2
Camera | Compatible with various Zenmuse cameras
Flight Time | 23-27 minutes
Camera | Compatible with various Zenmuse cameras
Flight Time | 23-27 minutes
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Freefly Alta 8
Camera | Compatible with various cinema cameras
Flight Time | Varies with payload
Camera | Compatible with various cinema cameras
Flight Time | Varies with payload
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Flyabilty Elios 2
Camera | 12 MP
Flight Time | 10 minutes
Camera | 12 MP
Flight Time | 10 minutes
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DJI Agras MG-1
Flight Time | 24 minutes
Flight Time | 24 minutes
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senseFly eBee Classic
Camera | 20 MP
Flight Time | 50 minutes
Camera | 20 MP
Flight Time | 50 minutes
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DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual
Camera | 12 MP, 4K Ultra HD 24/25/30 fps
Flight Time | 31 minutes
Camera | 12 MP, 4K Ultra HD 24/25/30 fps
Flight Time | 31 minutes
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DJI Matrice 200 V2
Camera | Compatible with various Zenmuse cameras
Flight Time | 24 minutes
Camera | Compatible with various Zenmuse cameras
Flight Time | 24 minutes
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DJI P4 Multispectral
Camera | 2.12 MP per sensor
Flight Time | 27 minutes
Camera | 2.12 MP per sensor
Flight Time | 27 minutes

There are many options out there, so it can be easy to get bogged down. The multirotors I’ve chosen were manufactured by some of the best, most reliable drone brands, they have excellent online support (forums, blogs), and they provide the quality you need to do your best work.

Here’s the full list in case you don’t feel like scrolling down and want to open some tabs to compare:

Let’s get started!

Note: Trying to get your Part 107 certificate? Click here to see our Drone Pilot Ground School coupon codes.

01

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Camera

20 MP, 4K 10-bit Dlog-M

Battery Life

31 Minutes

Good For

Marketing Filmmaking Construction

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the latest and greatest camera drone from DJI, with a professional-grade camera from Swedish camera manufacturer, Hasselblad. The 1-inch CMOS sensor Hasselblad camera offers 20-megapixel photography with enhanced HDR and color sensitivity.

A new feature debut to come along with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is omnidirectional obstacle sensing—it can sense obstacles from five directions (forward, backward, downward, left, right). Plus, it’s equipped with upgraded versions of Active Track, Waypoint, and Point of Interest modes, so professional photographers and videographers never have to place a cap on their creativity.

The Mavic 2 Pro is great for professional photographers, videographers, and content creators. It’s portable design makes it an essential companion for travel bloggers, documentary compilers, and commercial drone pilots in any industry.

Key Specs/Features

  • Still Image Resolution: 20 megapixels
  • Video Resolution: 4K 10-bit HDR Video
  • Max Flight Time: 31-minutes
  • Max Speed: 45 mph (72 kph) in sport mode
  • Notable Attributes: foldable/portable, intelligent flight modes, obstacle sensing

Three Buying Options

Base Model

Fly More Kit and DJI Care Refresh Bundle

DJI Goggles RE Bundle

Accessories

Use these links to purchase select Mavic 2 Pro accessories separately.

DJI Goggles RE

Shoulder Bag

Backpack

DJI Mavic 2 Battery to Power Bank Adapter

See our review of the Mavic 2 Pro here.

02

DJI Phantom 4 RTK

Camera

20MP, 4K 30/60 fps

Battery Life

30 minutes

Good For

Construction Inspections Surveying & GIS

The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is another visionary drone from DJI, with an RTK module that is designed for real-time aerial mapping. It may look familiar and it should because it utilizes the iconic Phantom platform. It features a 1-inch, 20-megapixel CMOS sensor with a mechanical shutter which is an essential component to capture high-quality image data.

A unique feature with the DJI Phantom 4 RTK is the remote controller with a built-in screen that is loaded with the new DJI GS RTK app. This allows the drone to be controlled through intelligent flight planning modes which include 2D and 3D Photogrammetry, Waypoint Flight, Terrain Awareness, Block Segmentation and various other flight modes that are ideal for aerial mapping.

Key Specs/Features

  • Still Image Resolution: 20 megapixels
  • Video Resolution: H.264 4K at 60 fps or H.265 4K at 30 fps, both record in a 100 Mbps bitrate
  • Max Flight Time: 30-minutes
  • Max Speed: 31 mph (50 kph) in P-Mode or 36 mph (58 kph) in A-Mode
  • Notable Attributes: RTK module, obstacle sensing, intelligent flight modes, mechanical shutter

See our review of the DJI Phantom 4 RTK here.

DJI PHANTOM 4 RTK – A Game Changer for Construction Surveying
03

DJI Inspire 2

camera

Compatible with various Zenmuse cameras

battery life

23-27 Min

good for

Filmmaking

The DJI Inspire 2 is a top-of-the-line drone that has become a favorite among aerial cinematographers who are looking for Hollywood camera quality in a relatively small package. Its sleek design, intelligent sensors, and premium materials make this a great platform for cinematography. Its solid construction features a magnesium-aluminum composite shell and carbon fiber arms that lift to provide an unparalleled 360° view.

The Inspire 2 was built with filmmakers in mind, but it’s advanced camera sensors and Cinecore 2.0 image processing system makes it ideal for anyone who wants that perfect cinematic shot. The 2-axis FPV camera allows drone pilots to see what’s ahead while simultaneously recording with the main camera in the opposite direction. Not only is it capable of running two cameras, but it also has a dual IMU’s, Barometers, and a dual self-heating battery system. There are simply too many features to list them all, but this drone will handle anything thrown its way.

Key Specs/Features

  • Still Image Resolution: 20 – 24 megapixels*
  • Video Resolution: H.264/H.265 100 Mbps bitrate, 4K/60 FPS, 5.2K/30 FPS, 6K/30 FPS**
  • Max Flight Time: 23-27 minutes***
  • Max Speed: 58 mph (94 kph)
  • Notable Attributes: Interchangeable camera gimbals, live streaming, intelligent flight modes, FPV camera, heated dual battery system, Apple ProRes, Cinema DNG

* Still image resolution varies based on what camera gimbal is equipped.
** Video resolution varies based on what camera gimbal/image processing system is equipped.
*** Max flight time varies based on what camera gimbal is equipped.

Accessories

These extra parts are available and many more are available from DJI.

Four Buying Options

Inspire 2 Standard

Inspire 2 Profesional

Inspire 2 Premium

Inspire 2 Cinema Premium

DJI – Introducing the Inspire 2
04

Freefly Alta 8

good for

Filmmaking

The FreeFly Alta 8 drone is an octo-rotor configuration designed for aerial cinematography. It is truly an engineering marvel with the ability to carry up to a 20-pound payload on either the top or bottom of the drone. Foldable carbon fiber propeller arms, propellers, and Freefly’s quick-release gimbal system ensure simple set-up and increased portability. Its weather-resistant plastic enclosure will be appreciated by aerial cinematographers who film in a multitude of climates.

Flying a large drone does not need to be complicated, fly with ease with Freefly’s industry-leading SYNAPSE Flight Controller. Readings from accelerometers, barometer, and an advanced GPS are blended to hold altitude which allows the operator to focus on getting a stunning shot. Velocity clamps have a similar effect in that the speed of the drone can be adjusted in real-time to get a precision shot every time.

Key Specs/Features

  • Dual camera mounting options allow for a different perspective
  • Two fully enclosed weather resistant receiver compartments
  • Weather-resistant plastic enclosure to protect sensitive components
  • Carbon fiber airframe and propellers
  • Built-in support for First-Person-View (FPV) and Radio Tx/Rx systems.
  • Alta 8 mobile application provides critical information such as satellite count, flight mode, vibration levels, etc.
  • Wireless connectivity via installed WiFi transceiver
  • Notable Attributes: Vertical and ground velocity limits, precise positioning, height hold, Return-to-Home, MoVi camera mount (sold separately).

Accessories

Two Buying Options

Alta 8 No Additions

Alta 8 Futaba Controller Included

Introducing Freefly ALTA 8
05

Flyabilty Elios 2

camera

12 MP

battery life

10 Min

good for

Indoor Inspections

Flyability changed the way drones can be used with the original Elios that was designed for indoor inspections. With the Flyabilty Elios 2, the company has built upon that success and created their most advanced drone to date. Its unique configuration features a spherical cage that encases the entire payload. Its overall dimensions are just under 40 cm (15.7 inches), it will fit into just about any space. The robust transmission system works beyond line of sight, which means concrete walls, steel structures, and other obstacles will not interfere with the inspection.

During certain inspections, such as those that take place in tight spaces like boiler rooms or nuclear reactors, collisions are unavoidable. These are also spaces where in-person inspections can be extremely dangerous. The Elios 2 was created to make these types of inspections safer for people, by removing the need for a person to physically review a tight, dangerous space. A dual-sensor consisting of a thermal and 4K camera can identify even the smallest cracks. The dustproof 10K lumen lighting system is the most powerful lighting system ever used on a commercial drone. Using the oblique lighting technique allows inspectors to identify textures and find even the smallest discrepancies.

Key Specs/Features

  • Camera Resolution: 12 megapixels
  • Dual thermal and 4K camera system
  • Collision tolerant—the Elios can withstand collisions and continue flying (this is what it’s known for!)
  • Cutting edge wireless communication with live video feedback
  • 10k Lumen dustproof lighting system with oblique lighting
  • GPS-Free stabilization with Distance-Lock for precision inspection
  • Full HD live streaming
  • Max Flight Time: Up to 10 minutes
  • Max speed: Up to 6.5 m/s (14.5 mph)
  • Notable Attributes: Beyond line of sight, capabilities can be extended via range extender

Accessories

Elios 2 - Intuitive indoor inspection drone for confined spaces
06

DJI Agras MG-1

Battery Life

24 Min

Good For

Agriculture

The DJI Agras MG-1 drone is an octocopter configuration that is designed for precision agriculture spraying of pesticides and fertilizers. Its powerful propulsion system makes the Agras 40-60 times faster than manual spraying and it has a liquid holding tank capacity of 10 kg (2.6 gallons). Spraying is controlled through the intelligent spraying system that adjusts the amount of liquid dispensed based on the speed of the aircraft to ensure an even application every time.

With a dedicated remote controller with a display panel and the Lightbridge 2 transmission system; critical information such as spraying speed, altitude, flying speed, battery level, and tank status are easily accessible. The remote controller and the aircraft are both water and dust resistant and are ready to tackle any job. The carbon-fiber airframe and retractable control arms make it easy to transport. Intelligent memory software records coordinates and mission data throughout the mission. Battery running low or out of spray? Not a problem for the Agras, the aircraft will resume right where it left off.

Key Specs/Features

  • 10 kg (2.6 gallons) payload
  • Sprays 7-10 acres per hour
  • Integrated centrifugal cooling system increase reliability and longevity
  • Interchangeable spray nozzles
  • Terrain Follow: Microwave radar scans the terrain below to maintain stable height above plants regardless of elevation changes
  • Max Flight Time: Up to 24 min*
  • Max Speed: 22 m/s (49 mph)
  • Notable Attributes: Interchangeable spray nozzles; Terrain Follow: Microwave radar scans the terrain below to maintain stable height above plants regardless of elevation changes

*Flight times vary on the payload weight.

DJI – Introducing the Agras MG-1
07

senseFly eBee Classic

camera

20 MP

battery life

50 Min

good for

Surveying & GIS

The senseFly eBee Classic is a fixed-wing drone that is fully autonomous and is designed to capture high-resolution aerial images for mapping and 3D modeling. No piloting skills are needed for this drone, simply throw the drone and it will follow a pre-planned flight plan. Fixed-wing aircraft are ideal for large mapping jobs due to the efficient aerodynamic properties of this configuration. The eBee can cover 4.6 mi ² within one planned flight, making it a very efficient option for aerial mapping.

It only weighs 1.5 lbs and includes the RGB camera, batteries, radio modem, and the senseFly eMotion software. Various optional accessories make the drone configurable for just about any mapping mission. The eMotion software is loaded with advanced flight control features and mapping parameters but is designed with a user-friendly interface that is great for beginners.

Key Specs/Features

  • Max Still Image Resolution: 20 megapixels
  • Also works with Pix4Dmapper and Pix4Dbim
  • Multiple file outputs
  • Max Flight Speed: 56 mph (90 kph)
  • Max Flight Time: 50-minutes
  • Includes everything needed to start mapping today
  • Notable Attributes: Transform aerial photos into accurate orthomosaics (maps) and 3D models

Accessories

See a comparison of other senseFly eBee drones here.

eBee RTK - The Survey-Grade Mapping Drone
08

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual

camera

12 MP, 4K Ultra HD 24/25/30 fps

battery life

31 Min

good for

Search & Rescue Public Safety Inspections

DJI has taken its popular Mavic series and transformed it into an industrial powerhouse. The DJI 2 Enterprise Dual combines the best of both worlds with a dual thermal and 4K camera sensor. The live split-screen functionality allows the operator to see both the thermal and 4K video feeds at the same time. Temperatures are displayed on the screen with one single tap anywhere on the screen. Hot spots are automatically detected so firefighters can determine where to focus or a search & rescue team to locate a missing person.

The Mavics small size not only makes it easier to operate but also a more practical option for organizations of all sizes. The platform is easily configurable to fit various applications with the available M2E Spotlight, M2E Speaker, and the M2E Beacon. Whether you are flying in low light conditions, need to communicate to a ground team, or simply need to see your aircraft at night from a distance; these add-ons will get the job done. DJI is always at the forefront of innovation and has included their newest technology called AirSense into their enterprise platforms. AirSense acts as a receiver to receive ADS-B Out signals from manned aircraft to alert the drone operator of any aircraft within the immediate area.

Key Specs/Features

  • Still Image Resolution: 12 megapixels
  • Video Resolution: 4K Ultra HD 24/25/30 fps
  • Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing
  • Integrated Radiometric FLIR Thermal Sensor
  • Max Flight Time: 31-minutes
  • Max Flight Speed: 44 mph (72 kph)
  • Notable Attributes: Adjustable emissive and reflective parameters, modular accessories, OcuSync 2.0, DJI AirSense, 24 GB of onboard data storage with password protection

Accessories

Mavic Enterprise Dual modular accessories are included with the drone.

09

DJI Matrice 200 V2

battery life

24 Min

good for

Public Safety Inspections Construction

The DJI Matrice 200 V2 is a versatile platform that has multiple configurations for different applications. Like the DJI Inspire 2, the Matrice features a 2-axis FPV camera allowing the operator to see what’s ahead while simultaneously controlling the other sensors. The installed anti-collision beacon improves safety by complying with FAA regulations for anti-collision standards by making the aircraft visible to other aircraft. A multitude of DJI gimbal sensors can be interchanged and even select third-party sensors can be installed greatly increasing the functionality of the platform.

The FlightAutonomy system includes obstacle avoidance sensors on the front, bottom, and top of the drone. Like the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, the Matrice also is equipped with AirSense so when a manned aircraft is in the immediate area, the operator will be the first to know. The self-heating battery system and the airframes IP43 rating make this drone ideal for any weather conditions. Ideal applications for the Matrice include public safety, energy, infrastructure, and construction.

Key Specs/Features

  • Compatible with various Zenmuse sensors and third-party sensors
  • IP43 weather rating
  • Anti-Collision Beacon
  • Ocusync 2.0 / TimeSync
  • Discreet Mode: Turn off all aircraft lights for more discreet missions
  • Max Flight Speed: 50.3 mph (81kph) in Sport Mode
  • Max Flight Time: Up to 38 min with a payload, 24 min with a payload
  • Notable Attributes: Mobile SKD Compatibility: Develop custom mobile apps for flight planning and data collection.

Checkout other Matrice Models from DJI here.

Accessories

DJI – Introducing the Matrice 200 Series V2
10

DJI P4 Multispectral

camera

2.12 MP per sensor

battery life

27 Min

good for

Agriculture

The DJI P4 Multispectral packs advanced agricultural sensing technology into the iconic Phantom series platform. Its relatively small footprint makes it one of the most robust agriculture drones for its size currently on the market. The P4 simplifies the process of collecting data and provides a comprehensive view of crop health. The accuracy of the data is greatly improved with the integrated Spectral Sunlight Sensor that captures solar irradiance to maximize data accuracies throughout different times of the day. With TimeSync, all six cameras will provide accurate measurements down to the centimeter-level.

Crop health and areas of concern can quickly be targeted with the ability to view the crops through RGB camera feed and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) feed simultaneously. The RTK modules’ accuracy can be enhanced with the available DJI D-RTK 2 Mobile Station. Plan flights, capture data, analyze data and act on that data with this innovative all-in-one system.

Key Specs/Features

  • Multispectral Imaging System
  • Integrated RTK Module
  • Side-by-Side RGB/NDVI view
  • Image Resolution: 2.12 megapixels per sensor
  • Global shutter with 3-axis gimbal stabilization
  • Max Flight Time: 27-minutes
  • Max Flight Speed: 36 mph (58 kph) in (A-mode)
  • Notable Features: Spectral Sunlight Sensor, 1 visible camera with 5 cameras covering Blue, Green, Red, Red Edge, and Near-Infrared bands

Accessories

DJI - Introducing the P4 Multispectral

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