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The Top Professional Drones for Serious Commercial UAV Pilots

BY Alan Perlman
24 June 2016

top professional drones for serious pilots

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 10 professional drones that serious commercial pilots should consider.

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 brands, they have excellent online support (forums, blogs), and they provide the quality you need to do your best work.

Let’s get started!

Note: Trying to get your Part 107 certificate? Sign up for our ground school course here.

1. DJI Phantom 4

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DJI Phantom 4

The DJI Phantom 4 is one of the top drones on the market right now.

It’s the fastest Phantom so far, capable of reaching top speeds of 45 miles per hour. It also gets an excellent flight time of 28 minutes — great for pro pilots to get the shots they need and minimize downtime.

The Phantom 4 also has a built-in camera that can record video at 4K, 2.7K, 1080p and 720p. But one of it’s most notable features is the obstacle avoidance system. The drone can intelligently position and maneuver itself around obstacles mid-flight.

Couple all of this with a Tap to Fly system, DJI’s reliability, and robust software, and you’ve got a tough drone to beat.


These extra parts are available for the DJI Phantom 4:

DJI Phantom 4 Carrying Case

PolarPro DJI Phantom 4 Camera Filters

DJI Phantom 4 Accessory Bundle

→ Extra DJI Phantom 4 Battery

DJI Phantom 4 Propeller Package


  • 3-Axis Gimbal
  • GPS positioning
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • 4k video
  • Live FPV streaming to your controller[/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Size: 15 x 8.7 x 12.8 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds
  • Flight time: about 28 minutes[/color-box]
DJI - Introducing the Phantom 4

2. DJI Inspire 1 Pro

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DJI Inspire 1 PRO

The DJI Inspire 1 PRO is a top-of-the-line drone for aerial videography, photography, and cinematography.

Its carbon fiber arms move up and out of the camera’s view when flying, giving you a 360-degree view of the world surrounding your drone.

Its Zenmuse X5 camera shoots 4K video, captures 16 megapixel stills, and lets the videographer change lenses. It also shoots raw video footage — perfect for professional filmmaking

You can get a real-time feed of the Inspire 1 PRO’s camera sent to your mobile device. And the app gives you manual camera control, flight telemetry data, and auto takeoff and landing.

The Inspire 1 PRO is also capable of dual-operator control, allowing you to control the quadcopter with two transmitters and two people. You can have one person focused on flight control and the other controlling the camera.

Finally, the DJI Inspire 1 PRO offers 5 intelligent flight modes — Follow Me, Point of Interest, Waypoints, Course Lock, and Home Lock.

The DJI Inspire 1 PRO is a powerful drone for doing professional aerial work.


These extra parts are available for the DJI Inspire 1 PRO:

Extra Propellers

→ Extra Inspire 1 Battery

→ Extra DJI Inspire 1 Remote Controller (for dual-operator control)

→ DJI Inspire Carrying Case

→ DJI Inspire Protective Camera Lens

→ DJI Transmitter Sunshade

→ DJI Inspire 1 Lipo Battery Carrying Bag


  • Intelligent flight modes: Follow Me, Point of Interest, Waypoints, Course Lock, Home Lock
  • One-button landing and takeoff
  • Built in 4K HD Zenume X5 video capability
  • 16-megapixel camera
  • FPV camera capability using your mobile device
  • 94-degree wide angle lense
  • Flight time of up to 25 minutes
  • Arms move up and out of the camera’s view in flight
  • Gimbal rotates 360 degrees to view the world around your drone[/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4GHz
  • Gimbal: 3-axis 360-degree rotating gimbal
  • Size: 20 x 15 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • Flight time: 18 minutes
  • Control distance: 2000m[/color-box]
DJI - Introducing the DJI Zenmuse X5 Series

3. YUNEEC Q500 4K Typhoon

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Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon

Yuneec has been flushing the market with a variety of high quality drones with cameras. They’re one of the only companies able to effectively compete with DJI’s standards.

The Q500 4K Typhoon comes with a built-in 3-axis gimbal camera that can shoot 4K video and take 12 megapixel still photos.

The 4K Typhoon also offers Watch Me and Follow Me flight modes to get footage of your actions on the go.

If you’re looking for a great all-around camera drone, check out the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon.


These extra parts are available for the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon:

→ Extra Battery

→ Extra Propellers

Yuneec Landing Gear Skid Set

Yuneec Typhoon Propeller Guards


  • 3-Axis Gimbal
  • GPS positioning
  • No Fly Zone feature to stay FAA compliant
  • 4k video
  • 12MP still photos
  • Autonomous flight modes
  • Live FPV streaming to your controller[/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Charging time: Approx. 1-1.5 hrs
  • Flight time: up to 25 minutes[/color-box]

4. Walkera GPS QR X800

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Walkera QR X800

The Walkera GPS QR X800 is a professional quadcopter that’s great for carrying action cameras, DSLRs, and heavier payloads in general.

The frame is foldable for portability, and it’s made out of carbon and glass fiber for durability.

You can connect the QR X800 to Mission Planner, which gives you access to flight modes, GPS waypoints, and other advanced flight options.

The quad also gets a whopping 40+ minutes of flight time.


These extra parts are available for the Walkera GPS QR X800:

Walkera LiPo Battery Charger

→ Walkera QR X800 Controller


  • Great for carrying action cams and DLSR cameras
  • Portable frame
  • Compatible with Mission Planner[/color-box]


  • Weight: 8.6 pounds
  • Size: 24 x 24 x 18 inches
  • Flight time: 40+ minutes[/color-box]
Walkera QR X800 DSLR Flight

5. DJI Phantom 3 Professional

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DJI Phantom 3 Professional

DJI‘s Phantom 3 line is a popular choice for professional pilots. There are now four models in this line: Standard, Advanced, 4K, and Professional.

The DJI Phantom 3 Professional is the second most-advanced model in the range, and it is designed specifically for professional pilots.

The quadcopter features 4K video, 23 minutes of flight time, and a 5km control distance.

The Phantom 3 Professional also comes with five advanced flight modes:

  1. Follow Me
  2. Course Lock
  3. Waypoints
  4. Home Lock
  5. Point of Interest

If you’re looking for a drone that will get you quality shots but isn’t too expensive (compared to other commercial drones), check out the Phantom 3 Professional.


These extra parts are available for the DJI Phantom 3 Professional:

→ Extra Battery

→ Extra Propellers (2 Pairs)

→ 64 GB MicroSD Memory Card

→ DJI Phantom 3 Propeller Guard

→ DJI Phantom 3 Camera Lens Protector + Cover

→ Remote Controller Strap

→ DJI Phantom 3 Carrying Backpack


  • 3-Axis Gimbal
  • GPS positioning
  • Vision Positioning technology for GPS-free areas
  • 4k video
  • Live FPV streaming to your controller[/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Size: 18 x 13 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 9.2 pounds
  • Charging time: Approx. 1-1.5 hrs
  • Flight time: about 23 minutes
  • Control distance: 5 km[/color-box]
DJI - Introducing the Phantom 3 Advanced & Professional

6. DJI Spreading Wings S900

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DJI Spreading Wings

The DJI Spreading Wings S900 is one of two hexacopters on this list.

This multirotor is capable of carrying a much heavier payload than most drones, so if you’re working with some serious equipment (like dual RED‘s) this is one of the best options for handling it.

The frame is lightweight and the arms are foldable, making it easy to transport. But it also packs enough power to get your equipment in the air safely and effortlessly.


These extra parts are available for the DJI Spreading Wings S900:

Radio Telemetry Kit

→ Spreading Wings S900 Propellers


  • Heavy payload capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Foldable arms[/color-box]


  • Size: 18.1 x 14.2 x 17.7 inches
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Flight time: about 18 minutes[/color-box]
DJI Spreading Wings S900: Create Anywhere

7. Yuneec Typhoon H

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Yuneec Typhoon H

The Yuneec Typhoon H is one of the most advanced drones on the market.

This hexacopter offers obstacle avoidance and a 4K UHD camera that gives you a full 360-degree view.

You can also bind one controller to the Typhoon H and one to the camera for dual operator control (using Team Mode).

To fly in FPV, use the 7-inch screen built into the controller or simply connect your goggle’s HDMI cord to the controller’s HDMI port.


These extra parts are available for the Yuneec Typhoon H:

Yuneec Typhoon H Battery

Yuneec Typhoon H Portable Bag

Yuneec Typhoon H Propellers


  • CGO3+ 4K UHD camera (360-degree view)
  • Team mode
  • Easy FPV capability
  • Capture 4K ultra HD video at 30 fps and 12MP stills [/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4G
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 520 x 457 x 294 mm
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Flying time: about 25 minutes[/color-box]
Meet the Yuneec Typhoon H 4K Camera Drone

8. Blade Chroma (with 4K Camera)

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Blade Chroma

The Blade Chroma offers 30 minutes of flight time (ten to twelve minutes longer than most drones in its price range).

Its built-in camera shoots 4K video at 1080p and takes 12 megapixel stills.

What I love most about this quadcopter is the built-in touchscreen display on the controller. For most drones, you need an extra device to display telemetry data, adjust flight/camera settings, etc.

With the Chroma, it’s built into the transmitter.

With 30 minutes of flight time and a powerful camera, the Blade Chroma is a worthy option for commercial pilots.


These extra parts are available for the Blade Chroma:

→ Extra Blade Chroma LiPo Battery

→ Blade Propeller Guards

→ Blade Chroma Carrying Case

→ Extra Blade Propellers


  • Smart mode for newer pilots. AP mode for advanced
  • Autonomous Follow Me and Tracking modes
  • Return Home function
  • Live video and telemetry info on the controller[/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Gyro: 6-Axis
  • Size: 13.1 x 13.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Control distance: 600m[/color-box]

9. Parrot BeBop 2.0

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Parrot Bebop 2.0

The Parrot BeBop 2.0 is an upgraded version of the popular original Bebop drone.

This 2.0 version is one of the top all around camera drones for sale. It offers 14 megapixel HD 1080p image and video capture, and the camera gives you a 186-degree field of view.

The camera’s lens is splash and dust proof, and full-digital image stabilization technology lets you take stable and clear aerial footage regardless of the drone’s movements.

You can also control the quadcopter, adjust settings, and take pictures and videos straight from your mobile device using Parrot’s Freeflight 3 mobile app.


These extra parts are available for the Parrot BeBop 2.0:

→ Extra Battery Pack

→ Extra Propellers

→ Bebop 2.0 Carrying Case


  • Can fly at up to 38 mph
  • 14 megapixel full HD 1080p camera
  • Rear flash LED for better visibility
  • Equipped with powerful motors for flight in greater altitudes
  • Compatible with the Freeflight 3 mobile app[/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Gyro: 3-Axis
  • Size: 15 x 12.9 x 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Charging time:
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Control distance[/color-box]
Parrot BEBOP 2 Drone - Official Video (Launch)

10. 3D Robotics Solo

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3DR Solo

Solo is an excellent quadcopter for action sport photographers and videographers. It is the only drone that can stream wireless HD video from your GoPro direct to iOS and Android devices.

The Solo is equipped with Smart Shot technology, making it easy to capture fantastic footage without expert pilot skills.

It’s also the first drone that allows in-flight access to your GoPro, allowing you to start recording, stop recording, and adjust camera settings from the ground.

The 3DR Solo is a robust drone for capturing many types of aerial imagery.


These extra parts are available for the 3DR Solo:

→ Extra Propellers

→ 3DR Solo Gimbal

→ Extra 3DR Solo Smart Battery

→ 3DR Solo Carrying Backpack

→ 64GB MicroSD memory Card (SanDisk)

→ GoPro Hero4


  • Stream live HD video from GoPro® direct to iOS/Android devices
  • Pushbutton flight
  • Smart Shot technology
  • Unique safety features like pause and “safety net”
  • Full-featured app for iOS and Android[/color-box]


  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Gyro: 6-Axis
  • Size: 16.4 x 16.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Weight: 11.7 pounds
  • Control distance[/color-box]

As a commercial pilot, it’s important to take your equipment seriously.

Not only will it help you do better work, but having better equipment could mean the difference between a client choosing you over someone else.

Hopefully you found the right drone for you in this list. If not, feel free to comment below and I’ll help you out.

And to advance your skills further, check out some of our premium online courses:

(P.S. Don’t forget to check out Drone Pilot Ground School and this guide if you want to prepare for your Part 107 exam.)

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