Best vs. Budget: Which Drone Should You Buy?
Affordable drones are flooding the market. Our current favorites: The capable DJI Spreading Wings S1000 and the budget-minded Blade 180 QX HD.
DJI Spreading Wings S1000Price: $3600
Diagonal width: 41.1"
Flaunting eight powerful blades on retractable carbon-fiber arms, the S1000 octocopter is as steady as it is daunting. The remote-controlled workhorse lugs up to 15 pounds of camera equipment—enough to shoot next summer's blockbuster. What's more, the UAV stays aloft for 15 minutes and can maintain stability even in the event of a midair rotor loss. Watching the attachable lower gimbal fluidly move to keep a camera steady as its rotors maneuver above is almost creepy.
Blade 180 QX HDPrice: $150
Diagonal width: 11.5"
The 180 QX is compact enough to land on the palm of your hand, but this 3.3-ounce bot packs a lot of tech under its shell. With the drone's adjustable flight-stability software, built-in 720-pixel camera, and intuitive remote control, it flies smoothly for 10 minutes per charge and delivers quality video that easily competes with its larger rivals'—at a fraction of the cost. Ready to go right out of the box, it's an ideal starter for the uninitiated.