Technology tends to get smaller and more portable over time, and drones are no exception. Back in the 80s, computers were massive; have you seen those? Nobody back then could have predicted computers that fit in the palm of your hand—or drones that fold up so that you can take them wherever you go! Although foldable drones come in various sizes, it’s pretty neat to be able to carry a powerful aerial camera wherever you go. Foldable drones are the future the past never saw coming, so here are the best foldable drones on the market!
But if you want the long and short of my thoughts on foldable drones, my favorite is the DJI Mini 3 Pro. It has an excellent camera, obstacle navigation, and a few extra goodies that make it the best in its class. Everything I liked about the DJI Mini 2 got a major upgrade, including the camera. The DJI Mini 3 Pro is perfect for It also weighs under 250 grams/.55 lb., so it fits in your bags and does not require registration! One size rarely fits all, so let’s see what other foldable drones are roaming the skies!
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best overall foldable drone in my book. This drone does it all: 4K camera, multiple photography features, multiple obstacle sensing, the works. It’s even under 249 grams (~.55 lb.), which means you don’t need to register it!
But the DJI Mini 3 Pro would be among the best foldable drones even if it weighed more. This drone improves on everything the DJI Mini 2 had. 4K HDR video and 48MP photos come standard. Just saying “upgrade from DJI Mini 2” would make the Mini 3 one of the best foldable drones.
As I said, everything the DJI Mini 2 did, the DJI Mini 3 does better. The DJI Mini 3 features True Vertical Shooting, which means its 90-degree gimbal stays stable as it flies. This can lead to absolutely breathtaking photos!
Some sites tout the DJI Mini 3 Pro as finally breaking the limits on lightweight drones. It’s that good.
In light of some of the other drones in this article, however, the DJI Mini 3 Pro’s battery life is minimal. 34 minutes is not a lot compared to drones that can fly for 45 minutes to an hour. Other DJI models have had battery issues, especially after flying in harsh weather, so watch the battery on this one for sure. Some reviews have also called the folded design clunky, but the benefits are certainly there.
The words “wholesome beginner drone” sum up the HS720G nicely. Its 4K camera with a 2-axis gimbal allows for some excellent aerial footage.
If you want to have fun flying your drone, Holy Stones are acrobatic drones, so don’t be afraid to play around in the sky!
It can return home on its own via GPS if it detects a bad signal or low battery, but does not have crash sensors.
The Holy Stone HS720G is the best budget option when it comes to foldable drones. It also has a 4K camera for awesome videos and can fly for up to 52 minutes as long as you use the right brand of batteries. If you’re left-handed, the HS720’s remote comes with an option so that you can fly it with ease. The Holy Stone HS720G is also beginner-friendly, and since it’s a Holy Stone, you know it’ll be a ton of fun to fly! The main drawback? No crash sensors.
But one of the coolest things about Holy Stone drones is that they can phone home—say that 5 times fast. If your Holy Stone HS720 detects a bad signal or low battery, it can fly home on its own (in legal airspace, of course) via GPS. You can also press a button to tell it to return. If you’re paranoid about losing your drones, try a Holy Stone. They make some of the best foldable drones on the market.
Designed with a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera, delivers 5.1K HD video quality and features like 4K/60fps imaging through oversampling.
With a substantial 46-minute flight time, it assures creators extended sessions in the air.
The drone's Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, paired with APAS 5.0, ensures all-round safety during flights.
Pilots benefit from a 15km HD video transmission range and features like Advanced RTH for a streamlined return to a set home point.
I couldn’t leave the DJI drones alone, could I? Not when the DJI Mavic 3 is the best for image quality! Seen soaring over mountains that poke through the clouds, the DJI Mavic 3 is an aerial photographer’s dream. Its 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera can suppress noise in your photos, leading to crisper, cleaner images. It has up to 46 minutes of battery life with a feature that lets you plan your shots on a preset course. And with a range of around 9 miles, you’ll always find great subjects for your photos!
The biggest downside is the price, but the damage to your bank account also depends on how far you’re willing to go. The extra accessories add up quickly; if you want absolutely everything that the DJI Mavic 3 has to offer, you will probably spend more on upgrades than you did on the drone. It’s also pretty heavy at 895 grams (almost 2 pounds), so only invest in this drone if you plan your shots well in advance. Even without the super-advanced accessories, the DJI Mavic 3 remains one of the best foldable drones for professional aerial photography!
The Falcon by ZeroZero Robotics will impress you with its quiet flight. Its battery life is just as remarkable as its unique design. It can sustain flights up to 50 minutes which should give you plenty of time to enjoy flying this bi-copter.
As many other drones in its category this drone offers a 3-axis gimbal which will stabilise the 4K video for some of the best shots of your activities.
But what if you want something that looks and flies differently from the norm? The V-Coptr Falcon might be your drone. It has the best long-range flights with a battery that lasts 50 minutes and a maximum transmission distance of a little over 4 miles. Its 4K camera has become standard, but it can take this standard and fly with it!
As the name “V-Coptr” might suggest, this drone’s propellers are positioned above its body in a V-shape. This shape also allows it to make less noise than most cars on the road. Not only is it one of the best foldable drones, but it’s also one of the quietest drones. According to this review, it’s also awesome for beginners—if they can afford it.
However, at 760 grams, this drone weighs almost 2 pounds. This is not light by drone standards, nor is it easy to take on the train. But the good outweighs the bad; this drone is currently sold out on Amazon! If this drone has piqued your interest, watch it on Amazon to see when it comes back in stock.
The Autel Nano+ drone has great privacy features, obstacle avoidance, and many flight modes. It features a 50-megapixel camera that takes great photos and captures 4k video at 30fps.
The drone has a well-designed remote that fits a smartphone in its cradle, but it has a high price tag compared to some other models.
It offers excellent value for money, with features that rival more significant, premium drones beyond its class, and a solid flight time.
I’ve talked about the Autel EVO Nano+ before, and my sentiments still stand: this drone is best for camera quality, no contest. It’s capable of beautiful 50MP photos and 4K HDR videos, has 16x digital zoom, and boasts several advanced photography options. It also has level 5 wind resistance and an advanced obstacle avoidance system—the first, but not last, drone to do so.
The Autel EVO Nano+ also weighs 249 grams, so you do not have to register it. And, as a cherry on top, it comes in 4 different colors. A bright paint job might save your drone! The only real drawback is its battery life of 28 mins, so make every minute count.
Keep in mind that the Autel EVO Nano+ comes with a steep price tag. But if you believe a picture is worth a thousand words, this may be the drone for you!
Are you ready to fly anytime, anywhere? Before you press “buy” on Amazon, here are a few things you should look for when buying the best foldable drones for your buck.
1. What Are the Benefits of Foldable Drones?
The best part of having a foldable drone is being able to take it wherever you go! Many foldable drones are lightweight and can charge almost anywhere. The FAA has rules on where you can or cannot fly your drone. No matter how awesome your drone is, it’s not worth jail time!
There are many reasons a drone should be light. Things like baggage weight or taking your drone with you to use after work come to mind immediately. However, you should also bear in mind that 250 grams/.55 pounds is the weight at which the FAA requires you to register your drone. Some of the drones on this list, like the Autel EVO Nano+, also count as drones under that 250-gram mark!
2. Wind Resistance
Nothing sucks harder than watching a thousand-dollar drone get blown away to some inaccessible place by the wind. Getting a drone with good wind resistance will help decrease the chance that it’ll be blown off-course!
3. Battery Life
Second only to an errant gust of wind is your drone running out of power right above, say, an awesome aerial shot of mountains or water. Once you get a drone, learn to send it back to you before its battery runs out!
Of course, one of the best things about having a drone is taking awesome aerial photos! If cool pics are a priority, you have to get a drone with an awesome camera. Consider looking for a stabilized gimbal for better-focused images.
5. Warranties and Repairs
Remember Murphy’s Law when you have a drone: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. We’ve covered things like wind resistance already, but other types of damage can happen as well (especially on foldable drones, which have a lot of moving parts).
It also helps to note if your warranty expires under certain conditions. Do you want to modify your drone? Be careful—you might void your warranty! Get a drone with a warranty and repair coverage, just in case. Read all the fine print if you want to make any customizations (or use a different brand of battery).
Durability is another factor to consider when buying drones. It is especially important if you’re a beginner—you will crash!
7. Other Features
Were there any other features that caught your eye while reading about the best foldable drones? Maybe you lost a drone in the past, so the Holy Stone’s ability to find its way home would benefit you. Or maybe you want to be a pro photographer and salivate at the Autel EVO Nano+’s awesome camera. Think about how often you’ll want to use some of the features I’ve talked about!
Do I Need to Register My Foldable Drone?
You only need to register your foldable drone if it weighs over 250 grams/0.55 lb. If your drone is lighter than that, you don’t need to do anything!
How Heavy Are Foldable Drones?
Even the best foldable drones can vary in size and weight. Check the specifics of your drone. If it weighs over 250 grams/.55 pounds, not only is it heavier than some, but you will need to register it with the FAA.
Are Foldable Drones Safe?
Foldable drones are as safe as any other drone, yes. Follow all regulations and instructions that came with your drone and you should be okay.
Can Foldable Drones Fold Mid-Air?
Most foldable drones cannot fold in mid-air. However, this model from Zurich managed to pull it off! That drone can fit into all sorts of tight spaces for rescue missions and more. It can even carry items—maybe Amazon should look into this one!
Can You Fly Foldable Drones in a Folded State?
No, foldable drones cannot usually fly in a folded state. Again, see the model from Zurich in the question above.
Overall, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best foldable drone for most pilots. It has some great features like obstacle avoidance and wind resistance. It’s also nice and small at under 249 grams. The camera is stunning for a drone of its size. I love the DJI Minis, and the DJI Mini 3 Pro is no exception!
But there is no perfect drone for everybody. For people who want professional aerial photos, the Autel EVO Nano is simply the best. The DJI Mavic 3 has all the accessories a pro photographer could want! The Holy Stone HS720 is the best budget drone, and if you want a drone that flies differently, the V-Coptr Falcon is your choice. If you want the best foldable drones under that magical 250 grams, your options are more limited, but they are still there.