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Which DJI drone should you buy? The best flying machines for every budget

How to pick your perfect DJI drone

With its steady succession of affordable yet advanced quadcopters, nobody has done more to put drones in the hands of amateurs than DJI. But if you’re shopping for one of its flying machines, which is the best option?

Every model in DJI’s flying line-up promises idiot-proof controls and preset flying modes that make aerobatics a cinch. But there’s also a lot to choose between the best DJI drones. You could opt for the budget-friendly Tello, for example. Or you could blow your bank balance on a top-spec option designed for pro pilots. The struggle, as they say, is real.

Head spinning like a rotor? Calm your props, because we’ve tested all of DJI’s top ‘copters and recommended our favourite picks in the buying guide below.

DJI Air 2S

Ditching the Mavic name, the Air 2S is, in our opinion, the best DJI drone released to date. It’s a delicious cocktail of perfect balance, portability, power and stunning performance that belies its compact size.

While it’s ideal for beginners thanks to its plethora of safety features, it’s still able to produce pro-like results for both videos and photos, while remaining small enough (under 600g) to casually carry without any bother. With a max range of 12km, a 31-minute battery life and a 20MP camera with a 1in sensor, this is without a doubt the best drone for most people.

Stuff says: ★★★★★

Its price tag might be too much to swallow for more casual users, but for anyone else looking for a serious drone that comes in at comfortably under a grand, you can’t go wrong here.

Ryze Tello

Best DJI drone: Ryze Tello

The Tello isn’t actually emblazoned with DJI’s moniker, but it makes our list because it was forged in collaboration with DJI and Intel. More importantly, it’s tiny, weighing in at just 80g – and it has a delightfully compact price tag to boot. Setting you back less than £100, this is an ideal choice for first-time flyers looking to put some affordable air time under their belt.

At this size and price point, you can’t expect the kind of crisp, cinematic footage shot by premium DJI drones. That said, the Tello’s 720p/30fps camera is fine for casual use. A live feed is available to view on your smartphone, which also doubles up as the controller. 

Using a clever bit of software called Scratch, users can also learn how to code by dragging and dropping components to create pre-determined flight paths or automated tricks. We’re big fans of the 8D Flips mode too, which lets you flip the drone in – you guessed it – eight different directions by simply sliding your finger over the screen, Starfox-style.

Stuff says: ★★★★☆

With a 100m range and around 13 minutes of battery life, this is the best DJI drone for buyers on a tight budget – especially first-timers cutting their teeth in the drone world

DJI Mavic 3

Best DJI drone: Mavic 3

With a hefty asking price and 895g takeoff weight to match, the Mavic 3 flies clear of casual interest territory. Aimed at content creators looking to put their drones to work, it ships with a serious 20MP Micro Four Thirds Hassleblad camera setup, along with a second telephoto lens for capturing subjects from a distance.

The results are as impressive as the kit suggests: it can record 5.1K video at 50fps, with support for Apple ProRes and 120fps frame rates. Battery life is substantial by drone standards too, with the Mavic 3 able to fly for up to 46 minutes on a single charge. Clever anti-collision tech also means you’ll have less to worry about while you’re piloting your expensive aircraft around far above the unforgiving ground.

Stuff says: ★★★★★

With ActiveTrack 5.0 subject tracking, automated MasterShots and speedy Wi-Fi 6 transfers, the Mavic 3 is one of the most capable drones ever made, making it a tempting tool for serious photographers and videographers alike


Best DJI drone: FPV

Want to experience the thrill of soaring through the air without the faff of cobbling together your own first-person drone setup? Meet the DJI FPV — a handy package that delivers everything you need to take to the skies, including a nippy drone and Sci-Fi-style headset that beams a live camera feed directly to your eager peepers. 

Given its focus on first-person flying, the FPV doesn’t offer the most powerful set of aerial photography features around – but it still reliably transmits lag-free 4K footage to its companion headset. Safety features like anti-collision sensors make it ideal for FPV noobs, while a manual mode means seasoned pros can carry out all sorts of flips, dives and gnarly tricks. 

Depending on conditions, you can manage 20 minutes of flight time per charge. You legally need to have a visual line of sight on any drone you fly, so you’ll need a second person with you to keep tabs on it while the headset is strapped to your face. 

Stuff says: ★★★★☆

The best DJI drone for first-person flying, the FPV isn’t idiot-proof – but it is the most accessible way to put yourself in the cockpit

DJI Mavic Mini

Best DJI drone: Mavic Mini

Since succeeded by a second-gen model, the original Mavic Mini remains an appealingly accessible DJI drone for novice pilots – especially at its new lower price. A truly dinky thing, the folding Mini evades registration requirements by landing gently on the scales at 249g.

Despite its featherweight build, it’s also feature-packed flying machine that offers a fantastic balance of skills, convenience and quality. A 12MP 1/2.3in sensor on the nose shoots video at a maximum resolution of 2.7K. In well-lit conditions, results are fine for casual users – although you’ll need to drop to 1080p for 60fps shooting.

There’s no object tracking, but pre-programmed QuickShots make it easy to perform cinematic flight paths, while a 30-minute flight time is no mean feat for such a compact craft.

Stuff says: ★★★★★

It might not be the latest DJI drone, but with a featherweight build, neat folding design and nifty video skills, the original Mavic Mini represents great value at its new lower price