When you want to buy a drone, features like speed, flight time, and camera quality are crucial. However, there is another essential feature that is overlooked by most buyers - the drone range, which is how far a drone can fly, and how many miles can it cover before the battery runs out.
Today long distance drones are becoming a craze among professionals and drone hobbyists. These drones offer a considerable flight range that is suitable for different applications.
In this article, we've prepared a detailed review of the best long-range commercial drones and FPV drones in the market, covering everything you need to know before you buy one.
If you are in a hurry, here is the list.
A roundup of the best long range drones - comparison table:
Video Transmission Distance
Max Flight Time
Best long range commercial drones
200km (124.3 miles)
200km (124.3 miles)
50km (31 miles)
50km (31 miles)
DJI Mavic 3
30km (18.6 miles)
15km (9.3 miles)
15km (9.3 miles)
15km (9.3 miles)
DJI Mini 2
10km (6.2 miles)
10km (6.2 miles)
Best long range FPV drone
DJI FPV Combo
10km (6.2 miles)
10km (6.2 miles)
Flywoo Explorer LR
10km (6.2 miles)
10km (6.2 miles)
6km (3.7 miles)
3km (1.9 miles)
iFlight ProTek25 Pusher CineWhoop
4km (2.5 miles)
2km (1.2 miles)
Parrot Disco FPV
2km (1.2 miles)
2km (1.2 miles)
What you should consider before buying the best long range drone?
When it comes to long-distance flying, the type of drone that is best depends on the specific needs of the operator. However, there are several factors to consider when choosing the best one:
Stable and low-latency transmission: It's essential to choose a transmission system that offers a clear and uninterrupted live feed. Those that support both 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequencies are more reliable, especially with automatic switching in real-time, ensuring a stable transmission in areas with high levels of interference.
Transmission live feed quality: High-resolution transmission feeds provide precise adjustments for the drone's flight, capturing footage with exceptional detail. For long-range drone flights, a 1080p live stream feed is a good choice as it offers a high-quality live view.
Anti-jamming technology: Anti-jamming technology is used to prevent interference from other electronic signals that can disrupt the drone's communication systems. Both anti-jamming GPS technology, frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) and direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) can help prevent interference
Secure video transmission: It's important to secure the transmission of data between the drone and the receiver, especially if the drone is being used for sensitive applications such as military or surveillance applications. AES 256-bit is an example of a strong encryption algorithm.
Excellent flight performance: A drone's speed and flight time are important factors in its performance. Faster drones can quickly reach their destination, while longer flight times allow for more efficient and productive work. It is recommended to choose a drone that can fly for at least 20 minutes per battery to ensure maximum flight time.
Camera quality: If you plan to use the drone for aerial photography or videography, you'll want to select a drone with a high-quality camera and imaging capabilities. Consider sensor size, resolution, lens quality, stabilization, field of view, low-light capabilities, and dynamic range. Also, think about brand reputation, compatibility, ease of use, and cost.
Obstacle avoidance: Obstacle avoidance technology can help prevent collisions and ensure safe flights, especially when flying in challenging environments. Consider whether the drone has advanced obstacle avoidance features such as sensors and intelligent flight modes.
Portability: If you plan on traveling with your drone or need to transport it to different locations, consider the portability of the drone. Look for features such as foldable arms and lightweight design.
5 Best long range commercial drones with camera
A long range commercial drone is designed to meet the needs of professionals such as photographers, videographers, surveyors, and inspection teams. These drones are used to capture stunning aerial photos and videos for a wide range of industries, from construction, agriculture, and energy, to emergency service.
When it comes to best long range commercial drones, there are several options available on the market:
JOUAV CW-30E VTOL: 200km range drone for surveillance
Made for professional use, the JOUAV CW-30E VTOL fixed-wing drone is the longest-range UAV on this list, beating out many of the high-end drones on the market. With an integrated 200km control and video transmission range, the CW-30E allows you to operate the drone and stream HD live video from remote locations.
Unlike most muti-rotor drones that use lithium batteries, the CW-30E is an electric and gas-powered drone with a four-stroke EFI engine and low fuel consumption. It can stay afloat in the air for 8-10 hours carrying a 6kg payload, which can meet the requirements of large-scale surveying and surveillance, such as large mine sites, powerline inspection, road survey, border patrol, etc.
Weighting up to 10kg, this farthest-flying drone can be equipped with 100MP medium-frame cameras, 210MP oblique imagery cameras, and long-range LiDAR sensors. The CW-30E can also carry a dual night version of the gimbal camera, which can be used as a police drone for search and rescue, law enforcement, etc.
JOUAV CW-15: 50km range drone with night vision camera
As one of the small VTOL fixed-wing drones of the JOUAV CW series, the CW-15 is the most prominent long range drone out of all. It has a range of close to 50km that really punches above its weight. This drone has a long battery life of up to 3 hours and a cruising speed of 61km/h which means you can cover a large area in a shorter time.
The CW-15 comes with a built-in 61MP full-frame camera, which can mean you will have more time to capture jaw-dropping and high-contrast images even in low-light conditions. This thermal drone can be also equipped with a dual gimbal camera which offers a 1080p live stream up to 50km away. With a payload capacity of up to 3kg, the CW-15 is capable of completing a wide range of drone applications like aerial mapping, emergency response, power line inspection, and traffic control.
Another feature is the strong environmental adaptability with a temperature resistance range of -20 to 50°C. Additionally, the drone is designed to resist strong wind speeds with a maximum wind speed resistance range of 10.8-13.8m/s. This feature ensures that the drone remains stable and steady even when flying in challenging weather conditions, such as strong gusts of wind.
DJI Mavic 3: 30km range drone for photogrammetry
The DJI Mavic 3 is the most long range DJI drone designed for professional photographers and videographers who require a high-performance, long-range flying camera system. As a compact, foldable quadcopter, it is convenient to carry around and set up quickly for your next shoot.
With a maximum flight time of 46 minutes and a range of up to 30km (in ideal weather conditions), the Mavic 3 provides ample time and space to capture the perfect shot. Additionally, it boasts a 4K camera with a large 1-inch CMOS sensor, which allows for high-quality stills and video.
But the Mavic 3 is not just about capturing stunning visuals. It also features advanced safety features that keep your equipment secure and your shots stable. The drone comes equipped with two independent sensors and lenses, an adjustable aperture, and improved anti-collision features to ensure that you can get the shot you need without any accidents.
PH-7E: 15km range drone with thermal camera
The PH-7E long range quadcopter is a powerful and versatile quadcopter that is designed for professional use. With a range of advanced features and capabilities, this drone is ideal for utility inspection, search and rescue, and surveying.
The PH-7E is equipped with a dual-sensor camera that combines a 1280×1024 infrared camera with a 4K (3840×2160) high-resolution visible light camera with a frame rate of up to 30fps. This allows you to capture high-quality footage and images, even in low-light conditions. The camera is also mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, which ensures stable and smooth footage during flight.
With a control range of up to 15km, this drone can cover a wide area and capture stunning aerial footage from a distance. It also features millimeter-wave radar and binocular vision obstacle avoidance technology, which enhances safety during flight and allows you to focus on capturing the perfect shot.
|Limited payload types, unable to carry multispectral, oblique cameras, etc.|
DJI Mini 2: 10km range drone under 250g
The DJI Mini 2 is a cheap long range drone that packs a punch with its powerful features. Weighing in at just 249 grams, it can easily fit in your backpack and be taken with you wherever you go. Despite its small size, the Mini 2 has an impressive flight time of up to 31 minutes, and its long-range transmission allows it to fly up to 10 kilometers away.
Equipped with a 4K camera and a 3-axis motorized gimbal, the Mini 2 can capture stunning aerial footage and stabilized images with ease. Its camera also boasts an impressive 12MP resolution, which allows for clear and detailed photos.
The Mini 2 comes with a range of intelligent features, including QuickShots, which allows you to capture cinematic footage with just a tap, and ActiveTrack, which uses advanced algorithms to keep your subject in the frame. It also has a built-in GPS, which makes it easy to fly and ensures precise hovering.
5 Best long range FPV drones
FPV (First-Person View) is designed for immersive and real-time piloting experiences. Long range FPV drones are commonly used in racing, freestyle flying, aerial photography, videography, and other recreational purposes. Here are five of the best long-range FPV drones:
DJI FPV Combo (10km)
The DJI FPV Combo is the farthest-flying FPV drone designed for the ultimate immersive flight experience. With its powerful motors and aerodynamic design, this mini long range drone can reach top speeds of up to 140 km/h (87 mph) and fly up to 10 km (6.2 miles) away, all while transmitting a crystal-clear HD video feed to the included DJI FPV Goggles V2.
Equipped with a 4K/60fps camera and a 150° super-wide FOV, the DJI FPV Combo lets you capture stunning aerial footage and photos with ease. Its 3-axis gimbal stabilization ensures smooth and steady footage, even during high-speed maneuvers and sharp turns.
The DJI FPV Combo also features advanced safety features, including obstacle sensing and avoidance, emergency brake, and return-to-home functions, making it a reliable and safe drone for pilots of all levels.
Flywoo Explorer LR (10km)
The Flywoo Explorer LR is an exceptional long-flying FPV drone that provides high-quality video transmission and an immersive flight experience. This drone is designed to be lightweight, durable, and agile, making it perfect for capturing breathtaking aerial footage.
One of the standout features of the Flywoo Explorer LR is its high-quality camera. The drone is equipped with a Caddx Polar Vista camera that delivers crystal-clear 1080p video at 60fps. This camera provides excellent dynamic range and low-light performance, ensuring that your footage looks stunning in all conditions.
Equipped with a powerful F7 flight controller and 50A ESCs, the Flywoo Explorer LR delivers reliable and smooth flight performance. It features a long-range video transmission system that allows you to fly up to 10km away from the controller without losing the signal. This means you can explore the skies and capture stunning footage of landscapes, cityscapes, and natural wonders from a unique perspective.
Skydio 2+ (6km)
The Skydio 2+ is designed to deliver high-performance flight capabilities and capture stunning aerial footage. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, this drone is perfect for photographers, videographers, and drone enthusiasts looking for a high-quality drone that can handle demanding flight conditions.
The camera on the Skydio 2+ is one of its standout features. It is equipped with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that can capture stunning 4K video at 60fps and 1080p video at up to 120fps. The camera also has a 3-axis gimbal that provides smooth and stable footage, even during high-speed flights.
This drone is powered by a powerful NVIDIA Tegra processor, enabling it to process complex algorithms and deliver high-quality video at high speeds. Equipped with GPS modules, the Skydio 2+ has a long-range video transmission system that allows you to fly up to 6km away from the controller without losing signal, providing unparalleled control and flexibility for capturing stunning aerial footage.
iFlight ProTek25 Pusher CineWhoop FPV (4km)
The iFlight ProTek25 Pusher CineWhoop is a high-performance long-range RC drone designed for aerial cinematography and photography. This drone features long range flights, with a maximum flight time of up to 20 minutes and a control range of up to 4km. This is thanks to its high-capacity 4S 18650 battery, which provides reliable power throughout your flight.
The ProTek25 comes equipped with a high-quality Caddx Tarsier V2 camera, capable of capturing 4K ultra-HD footage with 60fps, as well as a RunCam TX200U video transmitter, providing crystal-clear video transmission up to 400mW. The drone's camera mount is also adjustable, allowing for various filming angles and perspectives.
This long distance drone also features a sturdy and durable frame, made from high-quality carbon fiber, ensuring that it can withstand the rigors of intense flying and landings. Additionally, the drone is easy to maintain and repair, with a modular design that allows for quick and simple part replacements.
Parrot Disco FPV (2km)
Parrot Disco FPV is a long range fixed-wing drone that offers a unique and thrilling flying experience. With its compact and lightweight design, the Disco is easy to transport and store, making it perfect for pilots who are always on the go.
The Parrot Disco is powered by a high-capacity battery that provides the drone with longest flight time up to 45 minutes of flight time, making it ideal for long-range flights and aerial exploration. Its fixed-wing design allows it to reach impressive speeds of up to 50 mph, making it one of the fastest FPV drones on the market.
The camera on the Parrot Disco is mounted on the front of the drone, providing a clear and unobstructed view of the surroundings. It is capable of capturing stunning 1080p video at 30fps and 14-megapixel still photos, with electronic image stabilization to keep footage smooth and steady.
What are the uses for long range drones?
Long-range drones have a variety of uses in different industries and fields. Some of the most common uses for long-range drones include:
Aerial photography and videography
Long-range drones are used for aerial photography and videography to capture unique and stunning footage from high altitudes. They can be equipped with high-quality cameras and flown to cover large distances, making them useful in industries such as media and entertainment, real estate, surveying, and construction.
Surveying and mapping
Drone surveying can cover more ground in less time compared to traditional surveying methods and provide highly detailed data for creating accurate maps and models. These long range drones can be equipped with specialized sensors, such as LiDAR, to collect 3D data that can be used for topographic mapping, land-use planning, infrastructure inspection, and more.
Search and rescue
Thermal imaging sensors and other advanced technologies make long-range drones highly effective tools for search and rescue operations. They can access difficult-to-reach areas and provide critical information to rescue teams in real time, enabling them to make faster, more informed decisions.
Border and coastal surveillance
Long-range drones are commonly used for border and coastal surveillance. They can cover vast areas that are difficult to monitor on foot and can quickly detect potential threats such as illegal border crossings, smuggling activities, and maritime piracy. With high-resolution cameras and real-time video capabilities, these drones provide valuable situational awareness to law enforcement and border control agencies.
Long-range drones are used to inspect infrastructure such as pipelines, power lines, and bridges. They capture high-resolution images and videos of the structure, allowing inspectors to assess its condition safely and efficiently. Thermal imaging cameras can also be used to detect anomalies or temperature changes. Drone inspections help ensure the integrity and safety of critical infrastructure.
Military and defense
Long-range drones have become an essential tool for military and defense operations. They are used in military and defense for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting and strike capabilities, search and rescue operations, border surveillance and security, electronic warfare, and communications and relays.
Long-range drones are used for wildlife monitoring by flying over areas where animals live and collecting data through aerial photography or video footage. This data can then be used to track animal populations, study their behavior, and monitor changes in their habitat. The long-range capability of these drones allows researchers to cover a larger area and collect more data in less time, which can lead to more accurate and comprehensive findings.
How far can a drone fly?
Most high-end drones have the ability to fly about 5 kilometers or more. And with improved technology and battery life, it is not uncommon for some drones to be able to fly 10 km or more. For example, the JOUAV CW-40 VTOL drone combines a graphical link with a video transmission link that can still fly normally and transmit video in real-time to a command center up to 200 kilometers from the controller. Common ranges for mid-level drones are 400 meters to 3 kilometers or 0.25 to 1.5 kilometers. While toy drones can fly between 50-100 meters, FPV drones can fly between 8-10km.
How high can a drone fly?
The maximum height a drone can fly depends on the regulations in the country where it is being operated and the capabilities of the drone itself. In general, most consumer drones have a maximum altitude limit of 120 meters (400 feet) above ground level, which is the limit set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and other regulatory bodies around the world.
However, some professional-grade drones can fly higher than 120 meters, depending on the capabilities of the drone and the permits required by the regulatory bodies. For example, some drones used for aerial photography, surveying, or mapping may be allowed to fly up to 400 feet or higher with the appropriate permissions and permits.
How much does a long range drone cost?
The cost of a long-range drone plane can vary depending on various factors such as its capabilities, range, payload capacity, and other features. Generally, long-range drones can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
The most basic long-range drones, such as those used for hobby or personal use, typically cost between $500 to $2,000. However, if you're looking for a more advanced long-range drone with specialized features, you can expect to pay upwards of $10,000 to $50,000 or more.
It's important to note that the cost of a long-range drone is not the only expense you'll incur. You'll also need to consider additional costs such as licensing fees, training, maintenance, and insurance.
What is the range of military drones?
The range of military drones varies widely depending on the type of drone and its intended mission. They can range from small reconnaissance drones with a range of a few kilometers to large, high-altitude, long-endurance drones with ranges of thousands of kilometers.
What factors affect a drone's range and signal strength?
The drone range is mainly determined by the used frequencies and the surrounding environment. The latter refers to the amount of interference caused by other obstacles and sources. Other factors are related to the technical characteristics of the drone itself.
- The location of the controller and the drone, including obstacles in the space between them
- The type of antenna on the controller and the type of antenna on the drone
The power of the transmitter on the controller and the power of the transmitter on the drone
- Reflective obstructions behind and around the control unit and the UAV
- Interference from other RF sources
- The relative orientation of the control unit and the drone
- The position of the antenna within the drone
How to increase drone range?
Increasing the range of your drone can be beneficial for various reasons, such as increasing the area you can cover, improving video transmission quality, or flying in challenging environments. Here are some ways to increase the range of your drone:
- Use a high-gain antenna: Upgrading to a high-gain antenna can help increase the range of your drone by improving the signal strength and reducing interference. Consider upgrading the antenna on both your drone and controller.
- Increase transmission power: Some drones and controllers allow you to increase the transmission power to improve range. However, it's essential to check your local drone laws to ensure you are operating within the legal limits.
- Choose a clear frequency: Selecting a clear frequency for your drone's transmission system can help reduce interference and improve signal quality. Consider using a frequency scanner to find the best available frequency.
- Adjust the orientation of your antenna: The orientation of your antenna can affect the signal strength and range. Make sure the antennas on your drone and controller are pointing in the same direction and angle toward each other.
- Avoid obstacles: Flying in open areas with minimal obstacles can help improve the range of your drone. Obstacles such as trees, buildings, or hills can interfere with the signal and reduce the range.
- Upgrade to a better drone: If you require longer range capabilities, consider upgrading to a more powerful drone with a better transmission system, such as JOUAV's CW-30E or CW-15.
How to prevent the drone from flying out of range?
Preventing a drone from flying out of range is crucial to ensure a safe and successful flight. Here are some ways to prevent your drone from flying out of range:
- Know your drone's range: Make sure you know your drone's maximum range before flying. Check the manufacturer's specifications and ensure that your drone is within range of your controller at all times.
- Keep your drone in line of sight: Keeping your drone in line of sight is critical to prevent it from flying out of range. Avoid flying behind obstacles, trees, or buildings that can obstruct your view of the drone.
- Monitor the battery level: Keep an eye on your drone's battery level and ensure that it has enough power to return to the controller. Most drones have a low battery warning feature that alerts you when the battery is getting low.
- Use a GPS-enabled drone: A GPS-enabled drone can help prevent it from flying out of range by allowing you to track its position and location. Some drones have a return-to-home feature that automatically brings the drone back to the controller when it reaches a certain distance.
- Set a safe distance: Set a safe distance between your drone and the controller to prevent it from flying out of range. It's recommended to keep a buffer of at least 500 meters between your drone and controller.
- Observe weather conditions: Flying in adverse weather conditions can affect the range of your drone. Avoid flying in high winds, extreme temperatures, or rain, as these conditions can cause your drone to fly out of range.
By following these tips, you can help prevent your drone from flying out of range and ensure a safe and successful flight.
Will the drone return home on a low battery?
High-end drones can decide to land or return to flight automatically (common with drones such as the JOUAV CW-40). Some poor-quality customer drones may simply fall out of the air because it does not have enough battery power to keep the motor running.
What to do if my drone loses connection?
In the event you lose connection to the drone, you need to check the camera feed and the responsiveness of the joystick. If there is a button to return to the home, press it. You can also use the controller to move in the general direction of its last flight to try to find it. Sometimes you may be able to reconnect the controller to the drone while it is still in the air. Try adjusting the antenna or moving yourself to a better vantage point to make sure there are no obstructions between you and the drone.
How far can you fly a drone legally?
The maximum legal flying range for a drone depends on various factors, such as the country or region, the type of drone, and the purpose of the flight. Here are some general guidelines for flying a drone legally in different regions:
- United States: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States requires that recreational drone pilots keep their drones within visual line of sight (VLOS), which is approximately 400 feet (122 meters) in most cases. Commercial drone pilots must operate under the FAA's Part 107 rules, which allow drones to fly up to 400 feet (122 meters) above ground level and within the pilot's visual line of sight.
- European Union: The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations require drones to fly below 400 feet (122 meters) and within the visual line of sight of the pilot. Drones must also have a maximum takeoff weight of 25 kilograms.
- Canada: Transport Canada requires that drones fly below 400 feet (122 meters) and within the pilot's visual line of sight. Drones weighing between 250 grams and 25 kilograms must be registered with Transport Canada and display their registration number on the drone.
- Australia: In Australia, recreational drone pilots can fly up to 400 feet (122 meters) above ground level and must keep their drones within their visual line of sight. Commercial drone pilots must operate under the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations, which have specific requirements for different types of operations.
It's essential to check your local regulations before flying a drone to ensure that you are operating within the legal limits. Additionally, some regions may have specific no-fly zones, such as airports or other restricted areas, which must be avoided when flying a drone.