Welcome to the drone age – the mini pilotless quadcopters are becoming more common day by day. Drones have already proven to be of great help in search and rescue operations, advanced agriculture, real-estate so on and so forth. But today, people consider drone as a recreational toy or as a flying camera.
According to the report by the Federal Aviation Administration, sales of recreational drones have raised from 2.5 million in 2016 to 7 million in 2020.
From desktop to laptop, tablet to Smartphone, ‘portable compact devices without compromising on the features’ – is what people are demanding constantly from the technology.
Passion for drone can be compared to the love for Smartphone that had bought a revolution in the industry a few years back. The result is lightweight compactly designed quadcopters most often with foldable design.
Now you can explore the sky anywhere anytime!! To most of the people, the sky is the limit, for a drone enthusiast, the sky is home!!! You can easily carry these portable drones on your backpack and some of them even fit inside your pocket and fly them. You can enjoy the drones in racing as well.
If your next thought is that portable drones mean inevitably inferior hardware and camera quality, then sorry to say that you are wrong!
These foldable drones need not be of toy grade anymore. Most of the quads that are easy to fold to offer super portability also boast an excellent quality camera, GPS functionalities, App control, First person View and a lot more. Mavic Pro from DJI is worth to quote here. It is because Mavic Pro is the first high-end portable drone and comes in not so expensive price range as well.
Here in this post, we have listed the top 5 best portable drones available in the market. Some are expensive high-end drones yet portable whereas some are of the mini-drone category with some basic flight features.
Please go through our comprehensive review of them and make a wise decision.
Best Portable Drones – Our Top Picks for 2021
|DJI Mavic Pro Collapsible Quadcopter Drone||9.5||Check Price|
|Holy Stone HS160 Shadow FPV RC Drone||9||Check Price|
|EACHINE E58 WIFI FPV Quadcopter||9||Check Price|
|DJI Spark Portable Mini Drone Quadcopter||9||Check Price|
|DWI Dowellin FPV Drone with Camera Live Video Foldable RC Quadcopter||9||Check Price|
DJI Mavic Pro Collapsible Quadcopter Drone
DJI is like true Ferrari of UAVs. Be it a high-end camera drone, FPV drones or those with longest battery life, you can find at least one DJI drones in the list of best in class products.
Gone are the days when portable drones meant only toy type mini-drones and all the advanced drones used to be overly bulky. In fact, DJI’s Mavic pro is the first high-end drone that is foldable and highly portable. DJI understands their customers well after all!!!
The main problem with most of the mini and nano drones is their size itself. Though the small size makes it easy for you to carry them easily, these miniature drones tend to be less stable on air. DJI Mavic pro has battled this issue. It measures nearly 7.7 pounds with the dimension of 18.2 x 14.2 x 7.3 inches.
Despite its low weight, Mavic pro is equipped with powerful motors that make it capable enough to achieve the exceptional hovering abilities and to have more stable flights.
The quadcopter is foldable and comes with a backpack. You can easily carry the quad along with the other necessary gear for a great day of droning outdoor.
One of the most talked about feature that Mavic proudly boasts is DJI’s OccuSync technology. It has got the range of 4.3 mi that is roughly 7 km!! Not just that, Mavic Pro also features its unique sky autonomy technology which makes Mavic Pro sense any obstacles 49 feet away. It can easily bypass those obstacles or brake hover to avoid the unfortunate crashing.
Camera unit of the Mavic is also very much satisfactory. It is capable of capturing 12 MP images that are crystal clear. The 4k videos can be captured at 30 frames per second. All in all, camera wise, Mavic pro can bring out the real photographer in you!
The DJI Mavic simply features everything which was once thought totally not possible to be included in a compact quadcopter. It is foldable and yet agile, snappy and can capture high-resolution images and films. Being hardly 1/6th size of Phantom 4, the little speed demon can fly for 27 minutes on a single charge. Credit totally goes to the powerful batteries.
The remote control is a simple joystick style control. The quad is compatible with Smartphone devices as well. You just need to have the DJI’s GO mobile app. You can set to view the telemetry data on the screen like battery level and other important flight stats which comes very handy often. For those who are not comfortable with the joystick style, controls can fly with the tap based commands. Mavic responds very promptly to the gestures as well.
- Quick release folding propellers and lightweight compact design for easy portability.
- The advanced flight control system.
- Can sense and avoid obstacles much in advance.
- OcuSynch transmission technology with 1080P video streaming and 4.3mi range.
- Can capture stunning 4k videos and 12MO stills.
- The App needs some further tweaking to make it more reliable.
Holy Stone HS160 Shadow FPV RC Drone
Founded in the year 2014, Holystone is one among the top manufacturers of quality UAVs. They have introduced some of the best made, highly sought after quadcopters to the market.
Here is one such reliable drone – HolyStone HS160 shadow, the foldable and flexible FPV drone from the HolyStone.
The portable RC drone is made of ABS plastic. You can easily fold it and put in your pocket to carry wherever you go. Quadcopter weighs less than a kilogram and after folding dimension is 5.51*2.64*1.18 inches. The lightweight design offers great portability and the super compact folding saves a lot of space for storing.
Now that gives full justification for being on our top 5 portable drone list, is it not?!
Let us see what other features the Holystone HS160 offers.
The interesting part is that in spite of being a lightweight foldable drone, the HS160 boasts a decent quality camera unit. It is capable of shooting aerial footages and clear images with its 720P HD camera. Using the app control with the real-time image transmission, you can also enjoy the First Person View and have the total immersion effect.
Yes, the HS160 can be controlled using the App (iOS or Android) as well. The Wi-FI operation range is 30 meters. The app is easy to use and provides the great fun of capturing and sharing amazing photos from a totally different angle. Also, while using the App control, you can set the drone to fly in the direction you move your Smartphone using the Gravity Sensor Mode.
Keeping the safety as the top priority, Holystone has included one key start and landing in the HS160. There four different speed levels available. So, whether you are a pilot with novice, intermediate or expert skill level, HS160 can please anyone.
Since the drone is equipped with LED lights and RC indicator lights, you can comfortably use it for night time flying also.
Easy to Use
- Modular batteries ensure safety while charging as well storing.
- Extremely lightweight design.
- Altitude hold mode, one key takeoff and landing and gravity sensor mode.
- Easy to use App control and FPV functionalities.
- 720P HD camera for aerial photography.
- The HS160 is not so stable even during a light breeze condition.
The Holystone HS160 is easily foldable, lightweight and hence super portable. On top of that, the RC quad offers descent camera quality both for aerial photography and FPV functionalities. It provides 4 different speed levels and outstanding App control features.
All in all, it is a nice drone to own in $100 price range, especially for those looking for camera drone that they wish to carry around in their pockets.
The DJI’s series drones are a way to serious types and require a backpack to carry around where is this Holystone foldable drone is a going to be your tiny best friend anywhere anytime.
Considering the portability, features and affordability factors, Holystone HS160 is surely going to be your best buy.
EACHINE E58 WIFI FPV Quadcopter
Here is another portable drone in our carefully chosen top 5 list and this one is from Eachine.
This drone is foldable and hence super portable yet boasts a camera, FPV, App control and a lot more.
Let us see them all in detail.
The drone weighs nearly 96 grams and once folded it measures 12.5×7.5x5cm. So upon folding the arms, the drone can easily fit inside your denim’s pocket.
Now that you are convinced that why Eachine E58 is in our top 5 best portable drone list, let us see what useful features it can offer to please every drone enthusiasts out there.
Eachine E58 is equipped with a 720P HD camera. Not just that, the 6 axis gyro stabilization not just helps in having a stable flight but also contributes greatly to taking distortion-free images. The 120-degree wide angle camera ensures clear bright colorful and clear high definition pictures each time.
Eachine comes with a 2.4GHz ground station that has adopted the anti-interference technology. Controls are easy to use and give a good control range of 80 to 100 meters. The drone itself put out a Wi-Fi signal to which your Smartphone can be connected and the drone can be controlled using the Eachine’s dedicated App called JY UFO.
With the Eachine’s Wi-Fi FPV real-time transmission along with the 720P camera, you can also enjoy the bird-eye view of the world from the horizon. It offers Wi-Fi FPV range of 30m.
The E58 offers three different speed levels so that anyone can enjoy the flight irrespective of their piloting skill.
Other important drone features include one key takeoff and landing and altitude hold mode for easy hovering. You can even set the Eachine E58 to flip full 360 degrees with just a push of a button.
An interesting feature that is so well thought and implemented by Eachine is its detachable motor design. The Eachine E58’s coreless motor can be easily replaced without any welding requirements.
The Lithium polymer batteries give a comfortable flying time of 7 to 9 minutes and take nearly an hour to get charged fully.
Different Speed Levels
- Camera with a wide field of view and good light sensitivity.
- 6 axis gyro system offers stable flight.
- One key return home feature makes sure that the drone never gets lost.
- Intuitive App control.
- Different speed levels to chose from.
- Ground station with anti-interference technology.
- Tuning the lens orientation with a positive angle is little tricky
All in all, the Eachine E58 can be your first choice if you are looking for a toy grade portable Wi-Fi drone for the basic 720p recording.
DJI Spark Portable Mini Drone Quadcopter
Yet another DJI drone in our list of top five portable drone list. Well, that shows DJI’s commitment to satisfy their customers. You want best in class camera drone or one of the top drones with longest battery life or looking for one of the best portable drones, you name it and DJI has it!!!
Being the leading manufacturers of UAVs, DJI has something to offer for kids to serious drone hobbyists and everyone in between.
Based in Shenzhen, China, DJI today has its office in the major countries like America, Japan, and Germany.
If you are not a professional videographer and not planning to spend $1000 on a high-end portable drone, then ignore the #1 in our list and go for DJI Spark. The spark is reliable, stable midair and backs some of the interesting advanced flight features, yet come in an affordable price range.
Let us eat the frog first. Oops, not literally. Being a camera drone, let us see the camera specification of the drone first!
The camera is capable enough to capture 12 MP still aerial images. The 2 axis gimbal stabilization helps greatly in capturing distortion-free images. You can even take 1080p aerial footages at 30 frames per second.
The affordable quad from DJI includes some of the interesting flight features as well. Using the DJI Go app you can fly the drone using tap based commands. Gesture control is another useful feature that can be used to take aerial selfies as well. If you want to try your luck with the FPV racing, you can very well try it with DJI Spark’s FPV feature using the DJI GO app.
These entire camera, speed, and flight features are not at the cost of battery life. DJI has taken care of that aspect too! Equipped with the intelligent batteries, the Spark can fly for 16 minutes on a single charge.
I am sure, true professional quad fliers may not be interested in how the quad looks. But for those for whom it matters, DJI spark is aesthetically pleasing as well. The speed demon comes in three different color options – alpine white, meadow green, sky blue. All look equally pretty.
Multi-angle subject tracking
- Integrated camera with motor stabilization.
- 3D obstacle detection and avoidance.
- GPS and vision-based navigation for outdoor and indoor use.
- Gesture and tapfly commands.
- Multi-angle subject tracking.
- Great control range of 1.2 miles.
- Can reach up to 31 mph of top speed in sport mode.
- No major design flaws. However, the package comes in different variations like a starter, essential and ultimate. Please go through the specification carefully before purchasing.
Dwi Dowellin FPV Drone with Camera Live Video Foldable RC Quadcopter
The number 1 and 2 in our best portable drone list were the advanced drones suitable for the true drone enthusiasts and professional photographers to try their luck in midair. If you are not looking for any such serious drones but in search of a mini-drone that is easy to fold and carry around then here is a mini-drone from DWI – D7 RC.
This mini-drone with foldable arms is nothing but a big surprise in a small package.
The mini-drone is super lightweight and totally unique in its appearance. The mini-drone is designed to make it best suitable for kids. Even if you touch the drone in the middle of the flight, it won’t hurt you a bit, not even a scratch on your fingers!!. Credit goes to the DWI’s unique protective design.
This design structure also reduces any possible damages to the propellers and the motors upon falling or crashing.
The mini-drone is sure to be the true crowd pleaser. The automatic 360-degree flip function adds up more fun to the flight. The D7 RC comes with built-in air pressure sensor that lets the quad to keep hovering at the current height. This easy hovering helps novice greatly to maneuver the controls.
Designed to make beginner friendly, the quad offers the basic features like headless mode where the pilots need not keep track of the drone’s orientation and one key takeoff and landing. The one key takeoff/landing along with the return home features make sure that you never lose your quad even if it goes out of range or the batteries drain out completely.
The DWI D7 RTF RC quad takes 70 minutes to charge fully and can fly for 6 minutes on a single charge. Though it is nowhere comparable to the first two products in our list, remember, this is a mini drone with an highly inexpensive price tag.
The ground station is the typical video game-type remote control with the necessary buttons and levers. It provides a good control range of 50 meters.
- Made of ABS material and Unique protective design make the quad highly durable.
- Highly affordable.
- Gravity sensing and low voltage alarm.
- Altitude hold mode keeps the drone at a constant altitude.
- One button 360-degree flip makes the drone more attractive to the kids.
- One key takeoff/landing and return home button for added safety.
- Different speed levels offer an excellent learning curve.
- Comes with a portable case.
- No built-in camera. However, it is not the drone’s limitation after all. It is a mini RTF RC designed for kids and beginners.
The DWI D7 RC is a pocket-sized foldable drone suitable for kids and perfect for indoor use. If you are not planning to carry the drone on your next vacation mainly to capture the most memorable moments from a completely different angle then sorry, this mini-drone is not for you. The #1 and #2 in our list DJI’s Mavic Pro or DJI Spark may serve the purpose.
Otherwise, if you are looking for a portable drone that is extremely lightweight and compact and want it as a mere toy for yourself during rough weather outside or for your kids then DWI D7 is just the perfect choice.
Most importantly, this DWI mini is less expensive. So grab one without any second thoughts.
Portable Drones – FAQ
Are foldable drones durable?
Well, the durability of foldable drones is what most of us doubt on. Though it is obvious to have this doubt, there is no reason to be afraid of.
Foldable drones are designed using a mechanism where their arms can be folded inwards towards the centerpiece. It is a simple yet effective way of making the drone portable. Hence the micromechanical parts on which the folding design relies will not make the drone less durable in anyways.
Which foldable drone has the longest flight time?
The main reason for making the drone portable is to have the luxury of carrying them anywhere to fly anytime. It may be to the park down the lane or on an international vacation.
In that case, battery draining out fast could be very annoying. After all who wants to carry a drone all the way to the beach just to fly it for five minutes? To address this very issue there are some awesome drones on the market that can offer a battery life of 20 to 30 minutes.
Drones from DJI are most famous for offering long battery life. The DJI Mavic Pro is one such foldable drone with the longest battery life of 27 minutes.