Years ago, having your own flying drone would have been extremely costly. However, there have recently been many manufacturers creating affordable and easy to use mini drones. Now, there are many available drones in the market; all with a wide array of features and specifications. This can make purchasing your own mini drone quite difficult, which is why we’ve reviewed multiple drones and came up with this list of the top 6 best mini drones with a camera.
If you still aren’t interested in any of the drones we have on the list, we’ve also prepared a great buyer’s guide at the end of this article to help you out. Based on our analysis, we recommend the SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone because of it's great features and camera capabilities.
Our professional editors pick and rate these products specifically for each category and recommend the best product we can. We may receive a commission from affiliated links.
Best for Beginners: SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone
"Fly with the simplicity of pressing a single button for take-off, land and return"
Best Recording: Potensic A30W WiFi FPV Drone
"Get an excellent deal for this HD drone with great build quality"
Best Built: Potensic D88 Foldable Drone
"Catch every moment with 2K high resolution and 110 degree view "
Best For Beginners
The Snaptain S5C Drone carries a built-in mini camera which captures 720p resolution media. It can take either still photos or record videos.
For beginners, the S5C Drone is easy to fly, with the joystick like remote control operable by kids. The one key takeoff and one key return features make it easy to get the device into the air and back to the ground. In the air, the drone is also able to stay stable, owing to the built-in gyroscope that helps the device hold its altitude. However, it does tend to veer off-direction a bit.
On a fully charged battery, this drone can get 10-16 minutes of flying time, which is the usual time you would get from most mini drones. Unfortunately, recharging the batteries to full capacity can take up to an hour. One way to get more time is to carry spare batteries on hand, and swapping them out. But this can take a while since the battery cover is securely attached and requires a bit of manoeuvring to get open.
This mini drone also has a good build; with the anti-collision barriers protecting the propellers, the small drone can withstand a few bumps without being completely destroyed. Weighing only 1.65lbs, it is also lightweight and easy to carry. Aside from the mini drone, the remote also has a good feel. You can use the remote alone, or pair the drone camera with a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, a smartphone, or a tablet; connecting the camera with these viewing devices can be done with the Snaptain Era App, which is compatible with both Android or iOS devices.
“It is easy to control, and the second battery included gives you a longer flying time. It is also durable.”
Best For Travellers
The main features that this mini drone camera from Holy Stone has to offer is the great camera and the portability of the device.
The built-in camera is capable of capturing videos and recording images at 720P, while capturing high-def quality shots. The brightness and contrast settings of the device are also great. The drone also features a pair of LED lights that are placed at both sides of the camera.
The remote control that comes with the drone allows for a headless mode control, where the user can directly control the drone without seeing the camera view. Another alternative, when using the device, would be to connect it to a smartphone, tablet, or VR headset, where the user will be able to see the camera feed. Unfortunately, this wireless connection provides a slight delay so it is still best to keep an eye on the actual device when flying it.
Controlling the drone is also quite easy - even for beginners. A one-key start or landing feature gets the drone flying with ease. Other features that help stabilise the drone are the altitude hold and gravity sensor functions. The drone runs on two 500mAH modular batteries. Holy Stone also provides an additional bonus battery.
Weighing at 1.75lbs, its lightweight and foldable propeller blades make this drone very portable and easy to carry. The controller also has a foldable phone stand where you can place your smartphone when you use it to view the camera feed on the device.
“The drone folds up so it's super convenient to carry around to the park or wherever and it comes with lots of extra stuff.”
Fly and record with ease as this compact drone allows even beginners to have a professional drone experience.
The device is very small, fitting well into the palm of your hand or into your pocket. Despite it's somewhat low resolution 720p camera, the drone is still able to provide you a decent flying experience, which is very suitable for beginners. If you don't mind the video quality, by all means this is an excellent pick!
The one part that excels this drone from the rest of the bunch is it's features. You get a live feed video which allows you yo to view live video from the drone transferred directly to your mobile phone. What about the flight? Well the drone has a hover feature, where with just one press of a button the drone stays in position and hovers in the air allowing you to have control of it even with your hands off. Even if you'd like to get fancy this drone gives you the opportunity to show off with one-key 360 degree flips and rolls.
The drone comes with a new integrated smartphone app that makes everything more easy and fun. You get the privilege of drawing your own flight plan or even try the gravity controlling mode.
You get about 7 minutes of flight time that come from the 500mAh Li-ion battery that gets a full charge in 130 minutes. With size of just 32 X 32 X 7 cm, this makes an excellent compact drone.
“This is an amazing gift for kids. I got this for my son and truly it is amazing. he loves it. The drone is very tiny and flies great.“
This compact mini drone has a sleek look that is available in 4 different colors. The classic mini drone is set in a clean white, while other options include a red, yellow, and blue head cover.
Aside from the look, this mini drone also offers a durable build, portable size, and foldable propellers that come with detachable protection rings. The Simrex mini drone weighs only 11.2oz, but is able to fly well in a few windy conditions. However, it is still best to stick to indoor flights when it gets too windy outside.
During flight, the Simrex Mini drone is stable. It features a reliable altitude hold and gravity sensor function. Controlling the device is also one of the outstanding aspects about this item, since it offers Dual-Assense control, wherein the drone can be controlled with either the provided remote control or via a connected mobile phone. When using the remote control, headless control is done. This means that the user is unable to see the camera view. However, when connected to and controlled with a smartphone or tablet, a live video feed from the camera is displayed through an app. From the app, videos can be recorded and images can also be taken.
The drone camera is able to take good quality 720P videos and images. The wide angle lens on the camera allows users to get a good view set in a 1920 x 1080 frame. Videos can also be seen live on the app or through a VR headset, giving users a full viewing experience. Aside from taking videos, this drone is also a fun toy that does tricks. It can do a full 360-degree flip and roll. One of the downsides to this drone is the complex remote controller, which makes it a bit difficult to fly the device.
”Good starter for learning how to fly a drone. Picture quality was not that great and fly time is very short but good for learning”
Best Against Wind
This mini drone camera from Potensic captures 720P HD video and allows real-time viewing via the WiFi-connected mobile app.
It's one of the easier to control drones, set with one button take off and landing features that favour beginners. The 3 speed controls also adjusts flight speed, allowing newbies to opt for lower speeds to improve the ease of control. Medium and High speeds are quite aggressive, without increasing the motor sound too much to affect video recordings. However, it does not fly as fast as other drones. But it does offer a better and more stable altitude hold, even in high winds.
A common problem with most mini drones is their resistance to the wind. This unit is more weighted and can withstand strong winds than most. But, when flying, you will still feel a bit of resistance and a need to adjust the controls to compensate. The drone offers up to 8 mins of flight time on a fully charged battery. Charging can take around 2 hours, which is quick compared to most drones.
Flight safety features include an Out of Range Alarm and Low Battery Alert, which are great must-haves. A downside to this drone, however, is that it does not have a microSD card slot and only relies on direct storage to the connected phone. This means that it is not able to record any videos when it gets out of range. Also, the video quality can get compromised due to the wireless transfer.
“Super cute mini drone, very easy to calibrate and fly. Great for beginners.”
Best Against Wind
This is one of the high quality drone units from Potensic. The D88 is a higher tiered drone that offers many high tech features and a very strong and solid build.
It's quite easy to fly and goes very fast as well, clocking at a maximum 50 kilometers per hour speed. The drone can get up to its maximum altitude of 490 ft in about 3 minutes. This is well within the long flight time the single battery drone offers. On a full charge, the unit can last around 16 to 20 minutes, depending on how far you fly it. It does have an auto return safety feature that is enabled whenever the battery gets too low or the unit flies out of transmission range.
The drone can be controlled with either the included remote controller or through the Potensic-2 Mobile app. The remote control, however, offers up to 4 times more distance in control range than the 900ft limit if you use the WiFi-connected app. But, the WiFi range is still very impressive, especially since the unit offers 5G transmission. This is clear in the quality of videos and images shown on the app, which were clearer and more detailed than other drone cameras.
The camera captures high-def images and videos, offers real time viewing, and also records or captures both images and videos. All controllable via the remote or app. With the phone opportunity, you can also readily program the drone to capture videos along a custom flight path by using either way-point flight functions or setting a specific point of interest from where the drone will fly a full 360 degrees around. The single axis camera positioning is adjustable in flight to get better viewing angles during recording. The drone also has an easy auto pilot control and follow me feature.
“It has all the features you could possibly want and a long flight time. Potensic is very customer service oriented and will answer any questions you may have regarding their products.”
This mini drone camera from Eachine is great for indoor flight use. It is a durable unit, with a set of protection rings that guard the propellers.
The drone has a simple design and is very small, compact, and lightweight. A few of its features make it a great drone for beginners: one key takeoff and return, and the headless control mode. The first feature allows flyers to easily start up and bring back the drone with a single button. The latter feature presets the axis of control to follow the original orientation set when the drone starts flight. In this case, the orientation does not change when the drone rotates. This makes it easier to control.
The drone is also able to do a 360 degree flip; users only need to press the flip button and push the joystick or drag the app controls to one direction. Aside from these controls, trajectory flight patterns can also be preset on the drone using programmed points of flight. To do this, however, you would need to connect the unit to the app (Eachine FPV).
The mobile app offers easy control functions and can be downloaded from both the Apple store and Google Playstore. Videos can be viewed in real time via the app or can also be recorded. These recorded files are stored directly to the connected phone but the drone also saves it inside an inserted TF card. (1)
A fully charged unit can offer around 6-8 minutes of flight time. Fully charging the drone can take less than an hour - one of the perks of the drone’s small size. While it is able to fly quite high, its small size makes it susceptible to wind carry; thus, making it a drone better fit for indoor flight or for areas with subtle winds.
“This was an amazing purchase and the camera is actually pretty good and the battery life sounds short but when you’re actually using it it feels longer than it is.”
It has been just over a decade since the first commercial drone was released; within that span of time, the drone market has become more and more competitive, with a diverse array of available drones and mini drones that have been adapted for use by professional videographers and photography newbies - even kids can get their hands on a relatively cheap and functional drone.
Drones are aerial gadgets that are controlled by a remote device. These flying gadgets can be used for different purposes. Initially (and like many pieces of technology), drones were developed for use in the military. However, these fun tools were commercialised and have since risen greatly in popularity. Most often, drones are used by photographers and videographers, with the flying vehicles carrying miniature cameras that can take great aerial shots of events, occasions, and even just pictures of a day out with the kids.
There are several kinds of drones being marketed at different tiers. Some drones are really expensive, costing hundreds of dollars, while the other ones are at a much friendlier price point. While most professional photographers go for the high-end and expensive drones, the affordable versions still offer great functionality and other decent features. While you can’t expect the quality of some of these drones to match what you would get from a drone that costs 10 times as much, the list of items above are some of the hidden gems that we dug up which give you great value for your money.
While the list presents a variety of different options fit for a range of purposes and skill levels, you might still be looking for a drone that is better fit to your needs. You may know what specific features you need in a drone but ensuring that these other functionalities are reliable is also necessary to find the right drone. These are a few specifications you’ll need to check out when eyeing a mini drone with a camera.
On average, mini drones rely on 1 or 2 batteries, and give users anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes of flight time - with smaller drones flying at the lower end of that range. That amount of time may not seem long but there are some ways to get around this. Some drones have removable batteries which you can easily swap out with a recharged spare every time the battery drains out.
Another thing you’ll probably want to check is how long the battery takes to charge. There are some drones that give longer flight times but need hours to fully charge the batteries. When the battery gets low, having an alert system is extremely useful for you to know when you need to start getting the drone back to the ground. A safety feature in most higher end models is the automatic landing function set in drones which makes it start descent when battery levels get too low.
One of the main reasons you're getting a drone with a camera is to capture good aerial shots. A decent camera is necessary if you want to capture good shots. There are some drones that have a built-in camera, while others have a bracket where a mini camera can be attached to. With the former option, you are stuck with the built-in video quality of the device, whereas the latter option might allow you to swap out the mini camera with a better model. However, this also means purchasing another camera.
Drones are controlled with either a remote control or a WiFi-connected app. In either case, there is a maximum limit to the control distance. A higher transmission range would mean that the device can travel further from the controller, without breaking the connection. However, smaller drones tend to have shorter ranges - which means you have to keep them close by. Aside from looking at the transmission ranges of a drone camera, the default functions that dictate what happens when the device gets out of range is also important. When out of range, some drones automatically fly back to the previous location, hover in the same area, or apply an automatic landing feature. (2)
Unfortunately, there are other drones that might continue to fly in the same direction until the connection is reestablished. This can become problematic since many drones get lost in this manner.
Flying a drone might seem easy, and while most people are able to get the hang of it over time, some drones are much easier to control than others. One of the first things that you’ll need to look at is the controller. Simple controllers look like game controllers, with the joysticks and set of buttons that relay different functions. However, there are a few controllers that provide a more complex set of controls, which can be beneficial for experienced drone flyers but also confusing for beginners. Depending on your skill level, the type of controls available should also be taken into consideration.
Picking the best drone involves a lot of comparison. However, identifying the main purpose of the drone, your skill level as a drone flyer, and your budget, you ‘ll be able to pick out a drone that should fit all the necessary criteria. The current drone market is highly competitive; with more and more high-functioning and affordable drones being released each year.
(1) - TF Card - https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmanager/tf-card.html
(2) - Transmission on drones - https://time.com/3769831/this-is-how-drones-work/
Angela Otera is a spy camera professional that has been in the industry as a advisor for security and camera installations all around the Los Angeles Area. Over the years she has developed a unique technical expertise in the sector that allows he to write and give suggestions on services and security related issues. She enjoys hiking and spends her free time with her 2 children.