It's a fact that no one likes their drones to have short battery times. As an important factor to consider when buying a new drone, the flight time of your drone affects all aspects of your drone's performance, including route planning, mission type, and other factors. If you are working in a large area, having a drone with extended flight time is essential.
Imagine you've just started shooting a video documentary and suddenly return to flight because of reduced battery life. Even if you brought extra batteries, the hassle of replacing them could cause you to miss an important part of the shoot and mess up the entire record.
You are looking for the top drones with the longest flight time because you know the above scenario well, right? In this article, we present to you the longest flying drones you can buy in 2022.
The table below provides a quick summary of our top 10 choices for drones with the best battery life:
Professional drones with long flight time
Fuselage: 90.6 inch; wingspan: 181.1 inch
Max takeoff weight: 10kg
Fuselage: 82.7 inch; wingspan: 173.2 inch
Max takeoff weight: 31kg
DJI Matrice 300 RTK
26.4 x 16.9 x 31.9 inch
Customer drones with long flight time
Autel Evo 2
4.5 x 4.3 x 9.0 inch
Max takeoff weight: 1999 g
DJI Mini 2
9.6 x 11.3 x 7.8 inch
DJI Mavic Pro
12.7 x 9.5 x 3.3 inch
Toy drones with long flight time
UFO 3000 LED
8.3 x 7 x 4.2 inch
Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
12.9 x 12.9 x 3.5 inch
Ruko F11 Pro FHD
17.5 x 15.9 x 3.2 inches
Military drone with longest flight time
MQ-C Gray Eagle
Length: 335.8 inch; wingspan: 669.3 inch; Height: 82.3 inch
Gross takeoff weight: 1632.9kg
Top professional drones with long flight time
If you are looking for professional or commercial drones with the longest flight time, and machines for tasks like mapping, surveying, and surveillance, we will help you find the best one.
JOUAV CW-30E: Best drone with longest flight time and range (600min)
As the best drone with long flight drone and range, the JOUAV CW-30E has 600 minutes of flight time and 200km of control range, which is specially designed for large-scale surveillance and surveying missions. With a maximum payload of up to 10kg, this heavy lift drone is compatible with multiple payloads like mapping cameras, thermal cameras, and LiDAR sensors for law enforcement, surveillance, firefighting, and power line inspection.
Integrated advanced flight control and navigation system, the CW-30E can fly autonomously without any pilot training. Its MMW radar avoids other aircraft, detect obstacles, map terrain, identify landing zones, and provide maps for alternate navigation if GPS navigation fails. In addition, this furthest flying drone includes super environmental adaptability, which has been tested in high altitude, high humidity, low temperature, and light rain condition.
JOUAV CW-25H: Camera drone with longest flight time (330min)
Jointly developed by JOUAV and Doosan, the CW-25H is the world's first hydrogen-powered VTOL drone for professional use, which won CES 2022 Innovation Award. This long range drone has an integrated design of fuel cell power, hydrogen tank, and power management system to enable long flight time, large payload, and high stability. This drone has extended flight time up to 330 minutes, which is more than twice the lithium battery version. With an average speed of 80km/h, the CW-25H is suitable for long-distance inspection and large-area surveying and mapping.
Compared with conventional fuel-powered models, the CW-25H has low noise and no vibration during power generation. This long-lasting battery drone is stable and efficient in loading various mission equipment and saves cost and time by reducing the disadvantage of shortened service life due to engine vibration. As the longest flight time drone with live feed, the CW-25H is equipped with an advanced 50x optical zoom gimbal camera and infrared camera for all-weather reconnaissance and surveillance of the target area.
DJI Matrice 300 RTK: Quadcopter drone with longest flight time (55min)
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone is a compact quadcopter designed for industrial and commercial applications. This farthest-flying drone comes with advanced AI capability, a 55-minute flight time, and a 15km range that helps you conduct surveillance missions and smart inspection more than any other commercial drone on the market.
- Read more: Everything you need to know about drone inspection
This long-lasting drone can mount up to 3 payloads simultaneously with multiple payloads including the new Zenmuse H20 and H20T cameras. Thanks to the IP45 ingress protection, this drone is dust and water resistance, which can work even in harsh and difficult conditions. With dual-vision and ToF sensors on all six sides of the aircraft, the DJI Matrice 300 RTK can detect obstacles from up to 40m away, ensuring a more efficient and stable flight.
Top customer drones with long flight time
Drones have become an essential tool in the professional photographer's toolbox, but which is the best customer drone for the longest flight time? Keep reading! You can find the answer below.
Autel EVO 2: Beginner drone with longest flight time (40min)
The Autel EVO 2 is a quadcopter that is offered in three models to meet the needs of different users from customers to professionals. Its most notable feature is a modular camera system, allowing users to switch between cameras on one drone when needed. As the first thermal drone to offer 8K video, the standard version of EVO 2 uses a 1/2" 48 megapixel Quad Bayer sensor and high-resolution 640 thermal sensors, making it the best choice for industrial/public safety applications.
With a 7100 MHz battery, the EVO 2 has a battery life of 40 minutes in flight and 35 minutes when hovering without wind. It is equipped with a full range of obstacle detection, including 12 visual sensors and 2 ultrasonic sensors on the bottom of the drone.
DJI Mini 2: Mini drone with the longest flight time (30min)
The DJI Mini 2 is a micro drone with the longest flight time you can slip it out of a jacket pocket and launch it within seconds. This drone can fly for 30 minutes at a distance of up to 9.6km from the pilot. Its weight is less than 250g, allowing newbies in the US, UK, and Australia to fly without FAA registration.
The Mini 2 has an advanced remote controller with many shortcuts that allow you to easily control the speed of the drone, adjust the gimbal, and switch between shooting modes. This drone features 12MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensors with a maximum resolution of 4000 x 3000. Built with 4K video resolution and Ocusync function, the Mini 2 can transmit 1080p or 720p video previews to your phone and provides an amazing range under ideal conditions. With a powerful motor, this miniature drone can withstand high winds just as well as the larger DJI drones.
DJI Mavic Pro: Cheapest drone with the longest flight time (27min)
Although the DJI Mavic Pro has an affordable price, it doesn't skimp on specs. It features 27 minutes of flight time, 4.2 miles of flight range (with video feed), 40MPH maximum flight speed, 4K video and 12MP camera, 3-axis gimbal, and a folded size of 3.3 x 3.3 x 2.2 inch, which are just simply mouth-watering. The drone's choice of folding arms and propellers and its tiny controller make it easy to stuff into any backpack for convenient transport.
4K cameras and tiny but effective gimbals mean you can achieve not only more detailed footage and clear images, but also super stability. It also includes an automatic obstacle avoidance feature that stops the drone from flying at a distance of a few meters from any walls, trees, or other possible things. So your expensive new aircraft won't end up smashed to pieces because you're too busy taking drone selfies.
Top Toy drones with long flight time
Looking for a toy drone with the longest flight time? Below we've listed some longest flight time drones to help you find the best one for you and your family.
Ruko F11 Pro FHD: Longest flight time drone under $200 (60min)
As the longest flight time drone under $200, the Ruko F11 Pro FHD is packed with awesome flight performance, features, and reliability. This drone offers drone enthusiasts 60 minutes of playtime on a full charge, which is more than another similar drone on the market. The Ruko F11 Pro's camera lets you shoot 2.7K video in Ultra HD and stills up to 8.3MP, and capture everything through the 120° field of view provided by its wide-angle lens.
With GPS function, the Ruko F11 can maintain its position and altitude, making it easier for you to take videos and pictures with the stability it provides. The drone with the best flight time also has an auto-return function, a feature that keeps the drone safe by preventing signal loss, low battery, and other unavoidable flight errors. Its one-button takeoff and landing feature allows pilots to forgo the tedious operations required for initialization or recycling, making flying a simple and easy task.
Parrot Bebop 2 FPV: Indoor FPV drone with longest time (25min)
The Parrot Bebop 2 FPV is the first drone in its weight class with a 25-minute battery life. An ideal choice for indoor and outdoor flights, it also boasts a 14-megapixel camera that can capture 1080p video, and is rated for a maximum range of 300 meters.
This racing drone with longest flight time comes with a number of automated flight modes for more cinematic shots and easy piloting. Whether you choose to use the FreeFlight app or the controller in this package, you'll find this Parrot drone very easy and fun to operate. Not only is it easy to take off and land, but it also handles some pretty testing winds automatically, making it perfect for beginners.
UFO 3000 LED: Best drone under $100 with longest flight time (18min)
The UFO 3000 LED is the longest flying toy drone with a flight time of 18 minutes and a control range of 30 meters. Its light weight allows the user to fly fast and it is loved by those who like toys that are too fast. It has 3-speed modes for you to choose from: mode 3 is the fastest and is mainly recommended for outdoor use, mode 2 adds slightly more pitch, while mode 1 is slow and suitable for indoor play.
The configuration of this RC drone is also simple, you just need to press the power button placed on the drone body (you will see the light will turn on), then turn on the remote control, press and hold the right throttle for a few seconds and wait for the LED light to flash and have a continuous glow.
The bright LEDs on the drone emit bright green and blue lights that are easy to see even at night. It's small, portable, fast, and fun to fill your time. Best of all, it's very affordable and one of the fastest drones you can buy for under $100.
Military drone with longest flight time: MQ-C Gray Eagle (25h)
Built as the replacement for the RQ-5 Hunter, the MQ-C Gray Eagle is the best military drone with longest flight time and can fly for 25 hours. The long flight time drone is powered by a 165 hp Thielert Centurion 1.7 heavy-duty fuel engine, allowing it to fly fast and reach speeds of up to 309 km/h.
This drone can carry an internal payload of 261kg and an external payload of 227kg. Capable of carrying multiple payloads, this multipurpose drone performs reconnaissance, drone surveillance, target acquisition, command and control, communications relay, etc.
Factors that affect drone flight time
Many different factors can affect your drone's flight time, including the experience of the pilot, atmospheric temperature, and the configuration of the drone. Let's take a look to see what some of the specific reasons are.
Mission payload weight: The heavier the mission load, the more energy the UAV needs to lift it, which increases its engine or battery power consumption and reduces the aircraft's endurance.
Battery capacity: For electric drones, the larger battery capacity can be expected to have a longer flight time, and users will not need to charge the drone as often when using it.
Drone size and weight: In general, larger and heavier drones require more power to fly, and you have to take that into account. In addition, you need to balance battery use and device weight to get the longest possible flight time.
Flight altitude and speed: Flight altitude and speed have a significant impact on the engine performance and lift resistance characteristics of the UAV, which in turn affects the flight time of the UAV. However, this factor has a large impact on fuel-equipped engines and a smaller impact on electric ones.
Motor types: A powerful motor flies faster and can cover more area in less time, but this also uses more power, which shortens the drone's endurance. A less powerful motor is slower and less efficient but has a longer flight time. If you are just looking for a drone with long flight time without considering operational efficiency, you might consider getting a drone with less power.
Atmospheric temperature and humidity: The higher the atmospheric temperature and humidity, the lower the air density, and the drone need to increase the propeller speed to compensate for the loss of thrust, so the power consumption of the engine increases, resulting in a short flight time of the UAV.
Wind effect: If a drone flies against the wind, its drag increases, leading to the increased energy consumption of the drone's engine and a decrease in the drone's endurance.
How do you extend the flight time on a drone?
Now, I think you have understood the many factors that affect flight time. Next, we are going to guide you on what you should do to keep your equipment in the air longer.
Lithium batteries have their best performance at temperatures close to 35ºC. If the weather is cold, the battery will have less glue, the voltage will drop faster, and therefore the flight time will be shorter.
The solution is to keep the battery in your pocket. This is a 100% effective and essential solution if we are going to fly where it snows this winter.
Change the way you fly
To increase your flight time without changing the hardware of your device at all, it is obvious that what you have to change is the way you fly.
Every movement you make by touching the radio controller changes the rotation speed of the motor, which leads to more heat generation, more energy use, therefore, more battery consumption.
If you want to enjoy more time in the air, it is better to fly smoothly to avoid unnecessary turns and also avoid wasting energy by going up and down. Maintaining a steady throttle speed also helps.
Essentially, the closer you are to floating in the air, the longer the battery will last.
Reduce the overall weight of your drone
Every gram you save will add extra seconds to your flight time.
By reducing the overall weight of your drone, not only does the battery last longer, but the drone accelerates faster and is more responsive to controls.
Here are some ideas on how to reduce the weight of your drone as much as possible
- Avoid unnecessarily long cables, especially on batteries, motors, and ESCs.
- Avoid connectors. Always prefer soldered connectors
- Avoid lugging your HD camera (GoPro, RunCam, etc.) around when you're not shooting
- When assembling your device, choose lightweight components (chassis, motors, etc.)
- Avoid loading your drone with unnecessary hardware that you won't actually use (GPS, sonar, etc.)
Choose the battery
You may mistakenly believe that a larger battery will give you more flight time. Bigger batteries are also heavier, forcing the drone to consume more energy to stay in the air and therefore wear out faster. That said, when it comes to flight time, a compromise needs to be made between the size of the battery and its weight.
Arguably, increasing the size of the battery increases flight time, and this continues until a point is reached where the battery is simply too heavy and the quadcopter begins to lose flight time.
The extra weight of a large battery can also affect the flight characteristics of the drone, something you should also consider depending on the type of flying you want to do.
Avoid overcharging and over-discharging your battery
More than one article could be written on this topic, but simply put, we would say that batteries' life, such that their charge capacity and extractable strength decreases. In order to keep your battery in top condition, remember that it is important to avoid overcharging and over-discharging.
Depending on your needs, such as power and efficiency, it is important to choose the best combination of motor and propeller.
The efficiency of a motor/propeller tandem can be calculated by dividing the thrust by the power, usually expressed in grams per watt [g/W].
The higher the g/W ratio, the more thrust is produced for a given power, which means that the propeller and motor work more efficiently and therefore have a longer flight time.
In general, it can be said that the fewer blades on the propeller, the more efficient it is because the less energy-consuming vortices are created in the air stream.
Having a well-balanced propeller also has benefits for flight time. An unbalanced propeller creates vibrations that cause energy consumption because the motor has to work hard to overcome these vibrations.
Choose a drone with good stability
Vibrations cause the motor to change speed to counteract the vibrations, which, as mentioned earlier, leads to heat and energy consumption. A well-tuned, smooth drone is more efficient and will fly longer than it would otherwise.
Avoid flying in windy weather
Flying in wind requires applying more throttle to maintain the same speed, so the battery consumption will be higher. Wind will also cause instability in the quadcopter and the motors will have to work harder to keep the drone in the air. It all boils down to the fact that flying on a windy day will drain the battery faster than flying on a calm day.
How long can drones stay flying?
The average flight time of toy drones is about 10 minutes. The average flight time for mid-level drones is about 22 minutes. The average flight time of high-end consumer drones is about 28 minutes. The exceptions to this are some high-end drones and fixed-wing aircraft, which can even fly for several hours.
Is there a drone with unlimited flight time?
Tethered drones achieve unlimited flight time. A tethered drone uses a flexible wire or cable that supports power and communication to the drone, so it has unlimited flight time.
How long can an FPV drone fly?
A typical FPV racing drone can typically last 4 to 10 minutes in the air.
How long can a professional drone fly?
You can expect to see the flight time of a professional drone around 30 minutes.
How long can a military drone fly?
It depends on the purpose of the military drones. The military has several different types of drones, each capable of doing different things and designed differently. Typically, military drones have a flight time of 6-8 hours.
Why is drone flight time so short?
The main reason for the short flight time is that flying a drone requires a lot of energy just to take off, not to mention the features used, such as cameras, stabilizers, GPS, etc.
How long does a LiPO battery last?
On average, the life of a LiPO battery varies between 2 and 3 years. Recharging your batteries correctly will allow you to both increase their lifespan and increase the autonomy of your drone.
How long can a drone fly without refueling?
A gas-powered drone can longer than 30 minutes on a single tank of fuel, which always lasts much longer than a battery-powered drone because gasoline weighs less than batteries. But a gasoline-powered drone cost more.
How long do drone batteries last?
The average battery life for consumer and commercial drones ranges from 100-200 charge cycles.
How long does a drone take to charge?
There are battery-powered drones and gas-powered drones. Typically, consumer-grade drone batteries take 60 to 90 minutes to recharge. It depends on whether you are using a USB charging cable or a charging hub to charge. A USB charging cable will take longer than a charging hub. However, refueling a gasoline drone is just a matter of seconds.
How far can a drone fly?
A high-end commercial drone can have a range of about 2.5 to 4.5 miles (4 to 8 km), a mid-range consumer drone has a common range of 400 meters to 3 km, and a toy drone may have a range of only 20 to 100 yards.