Digital Photography Review

Best Foldable Drones | Portable Drones With Camera [Updated June 2021]

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With the announcement of DJI Mavic Pro, DJI’s first folding drone, the drone market has just gotten itself a brand-new niche. Foldable quadcopters are on the rise, led by the almighty Mavic Pro who set the standards for premium foldable drones with camera. Despite that, there are many others that are now available, but just a few can be worthy of Mavic’s performance.

So with that being said, we would like to take you through the best foldable drone that you can buy at the moment. For the sake of keeping this article short and understandable, we decided only to feature the best of the best portable drones, meaning that you won’t find any cheap Chinese models on this list. So, without further adue, let’s jump straight to business!

FOLDABLE DRONES: Scroll down to

  • top 5 for enthusiasts

  • top 5 for professionals

  • FAQ

Foldable Drones for Enthusiasts

Let’s be realistic here – foldable drones take up a massive portion of the market. Ever since DJI Mavic Pro came onto the scene, foldable drones have been all the craze. They’re small, portable, and usually pack quite the punch in the performance department. They are available at all price tiers these days, so let’s start off with budget-friendly models primarily meant for enthusiasts.

Table: 5 Best Foldable Drones for Enthusiasts

ImageNameCameraRangeFlight TimeBest Offer Snaptain-A15_table5. Snaptain A15720p50m10minSee best offer potensic-d88-table4. Potensic D881080p1.5km18minSee best offer 3. HStone HS7201080p0.8km23minSee best offer ruko-f11_table2. Ruko F114K0.6km25minSee best offer DJI-Mavic-Mini-table1. DJI Mavic Mini2.7K4km30minSee best offer

5. Snaptain A15

Snaptain-A15_web

Snaptain A15 is the first of the foldable drones we’re going to talk about today. It’s pretty cheap, coming in at just around $100, yet possesses a fair dose of entertainment for the entire family. It doesn’t have any extraordinary features, but it still a well-configured drone that’ll sweep your children off their feet!

Camera and Features

At this price point, it’s not really about the camera quality, it’s about whether or not a particular drone has a camera in the first place. Luckily, Snaptain A15 does have one, but it’s the lowly 720p HD camera that can’t really shoot decent aerial footage. On the bright side, it’s good for FPV, which is always a huge plus in this price tier.

As far as the features are concerned, you can’t expect this fella to have GPS, precise altitude hold, reliable failsafe and all that sort of stuff. If you want a drone packing such features, you’ll have to spend a lot more. Gravity sensor, 3D flips, headless mode and somewhat precise one key return and altitude hold are the main talking points in the features department.

Specifications

Specs-wise, we’re looking at a capable little bugger. Snaptain A15 won’t win any speed races, but is definitely a very nimble flyer. Plus, it can fly around for up to ten minutes, which is quite the feat for such a small and affordable model. Unfortunately, the range isn’t the greatest. We’re talking around 50ish meters, making Snaptain A15 nothing more but a backyard flyer.

4. Potensic D88

potensic-d88-with-transmitter

No worries, guys – Snaptain A15 is by far the cheapest (read worst) model on this list. The next entry, Potensic D88, is bringing forth a ton of advanced features and hardware, but costs significantly more than the Snaptain’s affordable champion. That said, let’s see if Potensic D88 is worth the price tag!

Camera and Features

The trend of drone manufacturers labeling extended 1080p cameras as 2K is moving on. I don’t need to be the one to remind you it’s still the same old 1080p resolution just with a bit of extra space on the sides. As far as D88’s camera goes, it’s nothing to write home about. The stabilization is solid at best, but you can’t really expect professional-grade stabilization at such an affordable price point.

Bonus points for Potensic D88 due to its FPV support and range which extends to 200 to 300 meters. Talking about the features, this little bugger will amaze you with its stability, courtesy of its optical flow positioning and ultrasonic altitude sensors.

Specifications

The specs of this bad boy sure will surprise you. Even though we’re not talking about massive specs, like those on premium models, Potensic D88’s numbers ought to surprise you. For instance, it can fly for as long as 17 minutes. Better yet, it can reach almost 1.5 kilometers, which is absolutely spectacular considering the price tag.

3. Holy Stone HS720

We’re upping the price tag yet again, this time to roughly $300. The name is HS720 and it’s yet another entry in Holy Stone’s highly diverse lineup of drones. HS720 is compact, foldable, features powerful brushless motors and a DJi-like controller and case. It’s a great overall package, one that’ll amaze both beginners and drone enthusiasts!

Camera and Features

For starters, Holy Stone HS720 features a solid 2K camera. Once again, it’s just a wider 1080p resolution, nothing more and nothing less. The stabilization isn’t the greatest and that’s definitely the biggest downside of this little bugger. If it had a proper 3-axis gimbal in there, HS720 would actually go into the “foldable drones for professionals” category, that’s for sure!

Features-wise, it’s packed with GPS, auto return to home, long-range FPV, downward positioning sensor and two night lights. The accuracy of its auto return to home and failsafe systems is remarkable, just as much as the actual flight precision and stability. HS720 is a breeze to fly and you should definitely look into it if you’re looking for capable foldable drones on the cheap!

Specifications

Holy Stone is not one of those high-end drone manufacturers that’s able to incorporate state of the art hardware into their models. Despite that, they’ve made a solid job with HS720, one of their best-performing models. We’re talking roughly 800 meters of range and 25ish minutes of flight time, which is absolutely splendid for $300.

2. Ruko F11

ruko-f11_with-transmitter

Ruko F11 is the next in line of our magnificent foldable drones list. It sports a unique, boxy central body, looking all rugged and industrial, paired together with a decent camera, great battery, and potent brushless motors. On paper, everything seems great, right? Let’s see can Ruko F11 hold up to the standards in practice too!

Camera and Features

Ruko F11 does a fine job in the features department too. It boasts with strong GPS signal which is of crucial importance for the rest of F11’s feature set. That includes auto return to home, TapFly, headless mode, one key takeoff/landing, and long-range FPV transmission.

The camera will surprise you too. It’s labeled as a 4K sensor but can’t record videos in full resolution, only in 2.7K. Still images are 4K and they look absolutely great. The footage, despite the fact 2.7K is an okay resolution for today’s standards, doesn’t look too good with all the shakiness and vibration coming in from the flight.

Specifications

As stated above, Ruko F11’s FPV transmission can reach as far as 500 meters, and that’s on a good day with a clear line of sight. Operating range, however, extends over 1 kilometer, which makes Ruko F11 much more than your typical backyard flyer. Combine that with more than 25 minutes of flight time and you got yourself a great all-around package, with the only problem being somewhat lackluster image stabilization.

1. DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini with Transmitter

Let’s be realistic here for a moment – DJI Mavic Mini is the best budget-friendly foldable drone out there. That said, it’s definitely the best foldable drone for beginners and enthusiasts too. Heck, the provided platform can even do certain commercial tasks too. This little bugger is small, fast, versatile, and on the cheap side. Let’s take a closer look!

Camera and Features

DJI Mavic Mini excels when it comes to the features. Basically, this thing has everything you could wish for except obstacle avoidance. I mean, realistically, that’s not really an issue at this price point since none of the competitors come even close to DJI Mavic Mini’s feature set, let alone do they have obstacle avoidance.

The camera is another thing DJI Mavic Mini excels at. This miniature foldable drone packs quite the punch with a hefty 2.7K camera. That, on its own, wouldn’t mean a lot since this is a mini drone having to deal with stabilization. Luckily, the folk over at DJI implemented a fully-fledged motorized gimbal here, ensuring the footage stability no matter your driving habits nor the weather conditions.

Specifications

Specifications of DJI Mavic Mini are outright supreme. We’re talking about one of the longest-flying drones out there, capable of enduring close to half an hour per full battery. Come to think of it, only a handful of mainstream drones can boast with such numbers… and a special plus of the Mavic Mini is the fact it weighs below the FAA registration limit. Last but not least, this little fella has quite the reach too, spreading out to roughly 4 kilometers.

Foldable Drones for Professionals

Now that we’re all done with foldable quadcopters for enthusiasts, it’s time to say a few words about the big boys too. Foldable drones for professionals are coming right up, featuring five top-tier models that offer excellent performance but go for hefty price tags.

Table: 5 Best Foldable Drones For Professionals

ImageNameCameraRangeFlight TimeBest Offer hubsan-zino-table5. Hubsan Zino4K4km22minSee best offer 4. DJI Mavic Air4K4km20minSee best offer Parrot Anafi Table3. Parrot Anafi4K4km25minSee best offer autel-robotics-evo-table2. Autel EVO4K7km30minSee best offer dji-mavic-2-pro-table1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro4K8km26minSee best offer

5. Hubsan Zino

Hubsan Zino with Transmitter

I’m sure some of you will say Hubsan Zino doesn’t belong to this list. It’s much cheaper than others below it and would be a much better fit above in the enthusiasts models. However, even though its specifications aren’t on the level of DJI Mavic Mini, it does have a few caveats that make it more viable for professional purposes.

Camera and Features

The reason why Hubsan Zino is viable for both commercial and casual purposes is its brilliant 4K camera. Yep, you’ve read that correctly – this $400 foldable drone sports a 4K camera. Plus, it’s mounted on a 3-axis gimbal for increased stability, allowing Zino the versatility it needs to conquer the market.

Features are pretty impressive too, featuring a mess of the most important ones with a few extra ones added in the mix. We’re talking panoramic camera shots, line flight, image tracking, two failsafes, and auto return to home. Of course, some of the more advanced features are powered by GPS, ensuring the utmost in-flight stability. Zino is pretty much all you need for your professional work.

Specifications

As mentioned earlier, Hubsan Zino’s specifications can’t go toe to toe with models like DJI Mavic Mini, at least when it comes to the battery duration which is arguably the most important factor. You see, Hubsan Zino can only fly as long as 20ish minutes. Perhaps slightly more than that, if you’re lucky. To finish on a brighter note – it can reach just as much as DJI Mavic Mini, 4 kilometers.

4. DJI Mavic Air

DJI Mavic Air With Transmitter

DJI Mavic Air was the second foldable drone by DJI, following the massive success of the original DJI Mavic Pro. It came to the market with a much cheaper price tag, even sporting a version without the dedicated controller. Obviously, the budget-friendly aspect did a world of good for the Mavic Air, establishing it as one of the most purchased middle-of-the-pack foldable drones out there.

Camera and Features

Of course, the affordable price tag isn’t the only thing drawing customers in. DJI Mavic Air has many awesome things going for it. For instance, it sports a 4K camera with HDR capabilities, backward and forward obstacle sensors, as well as pinpoint accurate GPS module.

Other features include several failsafe layers, altitude hold, follow me, and a bunch of autonomous flight modes focusing on camera-based gimmicks. QuickShots are leading the charge, bringing forth several outstanding ways to capture aerial footage, some of which ought to improve your social media stats!

Specifications

When we take a look at DJI Mavic Air’s specs, it becomes clear it’s a relatively old model. With just 20ish minutes of flight time, there are much cheaper drones out there that can fly longer. However, they can’t do the stuff DJI Mavic Air can, that’s for sure! Lastly – the range of this beauty is capped at around 4 kilometers, which has become the industry standard, really.

3. Parrot Anafi

parrot-anafi-with-transmitter

Parrot doesn’t make a ton of drones like DJI. All they have are a few solid models, with the newest one, Anafi, leading the charge in terms of pricing and performance. It’s a special little bugger, there’s no doubt about that, characterized by a unique camera concept that you’ll either hate or love.

Camera and Features

What’s there to hate and love about this bugger, you ask. Well, let’s start with the aforementioned unique concept – Anafi’s camera. Typically, drones that posses 3-axis gimbal allow the camera to rotate to a certain degree. In terms of verticality, they usually point all the way down and straight forward. Anafi’s 4K HDR camera, however, has full 180 degrees of freedom, meaning it can move all the way up and all the way down.

Combine that with a whole bunch of safety and reliability features, including GPS, failsafe systems, and auto return to home, and Parrot Anafi already seems like a great package. Add to that lossless zoom, a set of automatic camera shots, the infamous Dolly Zoom, and the aforementioned camera freedom, and you’ll realize why many professionals choose Parrot Anafi as their go-to foldable aerial platform.

Specifications

If you though Anafi’s camera and features are awesome, wait till you hear about its hardware and performance. Obviously, Parrot Anafi is a foldable drone; otherwise, it would not be a part of this list. On top of that, it sports brushless motors for extra power efficiency, allowing it to reach roughly 25 minutes of flight per charge. The range won’t disappoint you either, maxing out at around 4 kilometers, just like DJI’s Mavic Air and Mavic Mini.

2. Autel Robotics EVO

Autel Robotics EVO with Transmitter

Autel Robotics EVO is the second-best foldable drone that’s currently available on the market. It’s gorgeous, fast, has a great camera, and isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with the likes of DJI in the features department. It’s one well-polished package, that’s for sure… and its popularity ensured AR make an upgraded version dubbed as EVO 2. Heck, they made three upgraded versions, but more on that in our AR EVO 2 Preview!

Camera and Features

There are no bad remarks about EVO’s camera. It’s brilliant, packing the usual 4K resolution with a massive sensor and great processing power running everything in the background. Of course, the stabilization is near-perfect too, courtesy of a sophisticated 3-axis gimbal ensuring buttery smoothness of EVO’s footage.

Last but not least, this orange beast is great in the features department too. Autel Robotics EVO has GNSS support, both GPS and GLONASS, multidirectional obstacle avoidance, and the usual stuff like failsafe, auto return to home, altitude hold and supporting photography flight modes.

Specifications

Specifications-wise, there’s really no separating this bad boy from the likes of DJI Mavic 2 Pro and other premium foldable drones out there. With 7 kilometers of transmission and 30 minutes of flight time, this orange beauty is second to none. It’s powerful, accurate, and reliable… plus, it’s cheaper than DJI’s products; what more could you want from it?

1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

And now the real powerhouse among all other best foldable drones – DJI’s Mavic 2 Pro. The original Mavic Pro was the first extremely popular premium foldable 4K drone on the market, and as such, it has already found its way into thousands of homes worldwide. The second-generation Mavic Pro will try to do to the same thing, that’s for sure! In contrast to all other best portable drones (except AR EVO and Parrot Anafi), DJI Mavic 2 Pro retains all characteristics we would expect from full-sized flagships… and that’s pretty much the main reason behind its enormous popularity.

Camera and Features

Without a doubt, Mavic Pro is the best travel drone with a whole set of interesting smart features among which are ActiveTrack and TapFly. In addition to them, the Mavic 2 Pro is also equipped with dual positioning systems, both GPS and GLONASS. They ensure the optimal stability of your drone no matter the scenarios under which it’s operating.

Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system is also very important, especially for a drone of such a small size factor which is going to be used both indoor and outdoor. It helps it maneuver around objects in your home, which means you will not have to worry about it crashing against your chandelier or anything like that. Lastly, this thing packs a professional-grade 4K HDR camera that’ll do an amazing job with everything you throw at it!

Specifications

DJI always takes great care of their drone’s specification and that’s exactly the case with Mavic 2 Pro. It can fly for more than 30 minutes which makes it an absolute champion in the foldable drones’ market. Its top speed is surprisingly fast. This little fella can reach up to 40mph, making it by far the fastest drone on this list. Combine all of that with close to 8km of range and you will understand why it has such a huge price tag to its name.

Best Foldable drones: FAQ

Even though there are several drones that came out before DJI Mavic Pro, it’s still a safe statement that it was the first popular folding drone to hit the shelves. Before Mavic Pro, foldable drones were nowhere near their current popularity. Why was that so?

Well, the most likely culprit is the fact DJI took a completely different approach to folding drones with Mavic Pro… just like they always do when entering a brand new niche. Instead of opting for a medium-tier model with mediocre (read slightly above average) performance, the went on and released an outright beast. I will go out on a limb here and say that there are only a few full-sized quadcopters capable of delivering better performance DJI Mavic Pro.

Obviously, customers loved the idea of having an extremely portable drone with such monstrous performance and imaging capability. So, DJI Mavic Pro became an instant hit and is still a highly appreciated upper bracket model.

What are the benefits of having a foldable drone?

Well, the obvious benefit is clearly their compact form. This is what makes them incredibly mobile and travel-friendly. Let’s take DJI Mavic Pro as an example: its exact proportions in the folded form are as follows 83mm x 83mm x 198mm. Combine this with the fact that it weighs only 1.64 pounds (0.74 kg) and you’ll begin to understand why they’re becoming more and more popular.

Now that we have discussed the main benefit, let’s take a second to talk about the main drawback. Without any doubt, the main drawback of such miniature drones is their inability to hover steadily in the air. With that being said, their low weight is a double-edged sword: it’s making them easier to carry around but also makes the task of keeping a steady hover in midair much more difficult to withstand. DJI Mavic Pro has battled this issue with extremely powerful motors that are able to achieve exceptional hovering ability despite the low weight. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most other models as they fail to do a good job during stronger winds.

Which foldable drone has the longest flight time?

There is one thing we need to make clear before heading into the next couple of frequently asked questions – Yes, DJI Mavic Pro is a monstrous foldable drone just like we already mentioned above. In terms of raw performance, there are only a dozen other commercially available drones that can be put into the same basket with it.

That’s why it comes as absolutely no surprise to see DJI Mavic Pro as the foldable drone with the longest flight time. It’s true – DJI Mavic Pro can fly as long as 27 minutes, even 30 if you opt for the all-new DJI Mavic Pro Platinum version. These numbers are pointing a bit to the extreme since other competitors are nowhere near that… Luckily for Mavic Pro, the same goes for flight range too…

FOLDABLE DRONES WITH CAMERA ARE IDEAL FOR THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE

If you would like to get a foldable drone but you are not sure whether you’ll be satisfied with it… here’s a quick overview of which types of people will find folding drones as ideal options.

JOCKS

Nowadays, jocks are known for being detail-oriented and tech-savvy. That’s why it comes as no surprise that jocks are investing more and more into foldable quadcopters. They can capture awesome moments from their training sessions completely autonomously.

Warmups before the game, half-time preparations, and even post-game celebrations – those are just some of the reasons why foldable drones would be great for jocks. But, professional jocks aren’t the only type of people who can greatly benefit from collapsible drones.

Take AirDog ADII as the perfect example. Thanks to its foldable design it makes for a good travel buddy… thanks to its great camera it serves as a great aerial photo platform… and thanks to its waterproof controller it allows its users the benefits of handsfree commands in the water.

TRAVELERS

I am pretty sure that this paragraph does not need much explaining – travelers are the primary target audience for most foldable drones out there. As I’ve already mentioned above, collapsible drones are the best travel companions and, combined with extra batteries, can capture amazing moments from all of your favorite destinations.

Just think about it – having your own personal aerial photography platform that you can take with you on your travels…. and plus, it’s foldable which makes it the best travel buddy in the world.

Additionally, if you opt for one of those high-end models, you will also have hardware stabilization onboard which will make up for professional-grade footage of all adventures you set out on. It’s a magical little tech gadget, I tell ya…

STUDENTS

Lastly, we have students… the poorest suns of guns among us all. Students are not known for spending too much money on tech gadgets. Let’s be realistic here, with student loans, college expenses, ridiculously high booze prices for this time of the year, it’s safe to say that students don’t really have anything left in their budgets.

Let’s put that aside – theoretically speaking, if college students could afford top-flight folding drones, I reckon they’d be the obvious choice. Want to take an awesome aerial video of that outdoor party you’re going on Friday? No problems! Want to take a sneak peek into the ladies’ dorm at 2 AM after an alcohol-heavy night out? No problems! Whatever might be the occasion, folding drones are there for all you students out there!

ARE FOLDABLE DRONES THE FUTURE OF COMMERCIAL DRONES?

This is a damn fine question and a rather interesting one as well. With that taken into play, it’s not surprising to find out that foldable drones could, in fact, be the future of commercial drone usage. I’m sure many of you already know there are huge plans for completely autonomous delivery systems powered by drones. There’s a huge issue that comes into play – storage.

If we are talking about an autonomous delivery system that covers the entire USA, we’re talking miles and miles of storage facilities. This, of course, could be tackled with a simple solution – collapsible drones. If they’d use drones that could fold to form at least 30% of their current size and become stackable with each other, there’s no doubt they could really become the future of commercial drones.

CONCLUSION

With the end of our best foldable drone list, we would just like to thank you for taking the time to read it. It was a pleasure bringing you these awesome 7 drones and we hope you will visit our website again soon if you happen to have any more drone-related inquiries. Until then, happy piloting!

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