Best Commercial Drones for Professional and Industrial Use

Do you want to fly longer and further than any recreational drone on the market? Do you require top professional photography and great video stability? Well then the commercial drones we reviewed below can accomplish all of that. Drones have become more than just a form of recreational activity, today they can be used as a business tool that can assist with structural inspections, drone mapping, professional cinematography, aerial surveillance etc. Below we reviewed some to the top commercial drones available on the market today.


In a hurry? Our best Commercial drone is...

Our best industrial drone after 24hrs of research is the DJI Matrice 600. It is one of the most sophisticated drones around and uses the latest DJI technology to provide professional photography and top-notch performance. You get 35 minutes of flight over a 5Km range from a sturdy quadcopter that boasts a 13.2-pound maximum payload.

The Matrice 600 is agile and highly customizable; it is compatible with all the Zenmuse range cameras. 

Product
Details
Rating
Our #1 Rated
DJI Matrice 600 Pro Hexacopter with Remote...
DJI
Matrice 600
.
5 out of 5
"Best Industrial Drone"
  • Camera Resolution: No Camera - You have to purchase one of the DJI Zenmuse Camera's

  • Flight Time: 35 minutes. A great flight time that should be more than enough to satisfy drone enthusiasts.

  • Maximum Flight Distance: 5km - This drone can reach a flight range of 5km.
Our #1 Rated
.
5 out of 5
"Best Industrial Drone"
Our #2 Rated
DJI Inspire 2 Drone
DJI
Inspire 2
.
4.5 out of 5
"Best for Professional Video"
  • Camera Resolution: 4K UHD - The Inspire 2's Camera is capable of shooting videos at 5.2K HD at 30 fps, or 4K HD at 60fps.

  • Maximum Flight Time - 27minutes. If you're using the Zenmuse X7 drops it down to 23 minutes

  • Maximum Flight Distance - 7km! The drone is capable of transmitting 1080p videos at this distance.
Our #2 Rated
.
4.5 out of 5
"Best for Professional Video"
Our #3 Rated
DJI Mavic 2 PRO Drone Quadcopter with Fly More Kit...
DJI
Mavic 2 Pro
.
4 out of 5
"Value for Money Commercial Drone"
  • Camera Resolution: 4K HDR - The camera is also capable of shooting 1080p videos at 60 fps or 2.7k videos at 60 fps.

  • Maximum Flight Time: 31 minutes - Depending on the conditions, a minute or two will be shaved off.

  • The Maximum Flight Distance: 8km!- The maximum distance goes up to an stonishing 8km!
Our #3 Rated
.
4 out of 5
"Value for Money Commercial Drone"

1. DJI Matrice 600- Best Industrial Drone

The DJI Matrice 600 is just the kind of drone you need for superior aerial photography and commercial film making. Having regard to the fact that it has only been released recently, this hexacopter uses DJI’s latest technologies to deliver cinematic masterpieces.

The Matrice 600 comes with a bulky frame and despite its 22-pound weight, it’s been designed to make flying easy and is also easy to set up. It is equipped with six motors for stability and extra redundancy, as well as six batteries for prolonged flight time and additional safety in the air. 

This industrial workhorse has an incredible payload capacity of up to 13.2 pounds and is compatible with all DJI Zenmuse cameras. It uses an up-gradable A3 flight control system and a fully customizable design, making for one of the best drones on the market for professional surveying, mapping, and capturing big screen-worthy footage.


Key Specs

Camera Resolution:  

Doesn't come with Camera

Flight Time: 

35 Minutes

Max Range: 

5Km

Rating:

88/100

Camera:

Unfortunately, the Matrice 600 is not supplied with its own camera and gimbal. Nonetheless, it is compatible with all DJI’s Zenmuse range of cameras, as well as other camera brands. This leaves you with a wide range of options, including the Zenmuse XT thermal camera and Zenmuse X7.

Most cameras and sensors can also connect to the quadcopter's GPS for geotagging of photos and other information. For expert photographers and filmmakers, one of the most sought-after accessories you can use with this drone is the Ronin-MX gimbal. Its powerful rotors can resist high gravity forces to provide you with the ideal tool for high-speed film making. 

It is an extremely reliable gimbal that can maintain horizontal and stable video recording even in the most dynamic and challenging conditions. You also get a full 360-degree rotational motion, as well as a very wide tilting angle. 

Furthermore, it can support cameras that weigh as much as 10 pounds, helping to complement the powerful payload of the Matrice 600. Together, the Ronin-MX and Matrice 600 can partner greatly to enhance video stability, with the gimbal using the drone’s flight control for better positional awareness.

Performance 

The Matrice 600 uses six intelligent 4500mAh TB47 batteries that help to deliver 35 minutes of flight time when the drone is lifting regular payloads like the Zenmuse cameras. However, this reduces to 16 minutes when you lift heavier payloads, which can handle a maximum of 13.2 pounds. 

The drone also features a long-range customizable controller that offers a control distance of up to 5km. You can pair it with the Lightbridge 2 system to stream live 1080p HD videos from this distance. 

Although the Matrice 600 is a heavy drone that can support spectacular payloads, it remains impressively agile in the air. The drone comes with advanced E2000 Tuned Propulsion system that combines six 6010 brushless motors with the larger-than-life 2170 propellers.

The 6-motor design makes for improved built-in redundancy and will keep the drone hovering even when as many as 3 motors fail. This also allows the propellers to generate more lift to carry the heavy frame of the drone more effortlessly. 

Apart from the heavy lifting that the Matrice 600 is capable of, the large motors help to give it excellent mid-air manoeuvrability and overall flight performance. It is amazingly stable and simple to fly, even for novice pilots who has no experience flying a huge commercial drone.  

For those with a need for speed, the Matrice 600 is no slouch! The drone can move at a maximum speed of 40mph while resisting winds of up to 18mph. It can rise to a maximum altitude of 2500m at an ascent speed of 5mph while at descent speeds of up to 3mph. 

The drone is also highly customizable; the operators can use API SDK to customize any particular application. You’ll be able to accumulate real-time data from the system, determine the flight route of the quad using GPS and onboard visual sensors, as well as execute custom flight commands for camera adjustments, return home paths, acrobatic stunts, etc. 

Features:

  • Powerful DJI 6010 brushless motors
  • 2.4GHz Lightbridge video transmission
  • DJI 2170 propellers
  • 5km control range, in-depth customization
  • Compatibility with all Zenmuse cameras and gimbals
  • 13.2 maximum payload, 2500m flight ceiling
  • Over 40mph maximum speed
  • A3 pro flight controller kit pre-installed

PROS

  • Great control range and wonderful carrying capacity
  • Decent flight time for a heavy-duty drone
  • Extra customizable design
  • Long-range live HD video streaming

CONS

  • Pretty expensive
  • No camera
  • Additional costs

2. DJI Inspire 2- Best for Professional Video

The DJI Inspire 2 is an outstanding upgrade of the Inspire One that comes with all the advanced features for high-level recording functionality. DJI Inspire 2 used some of the best features from its forerunner, Inspire 1, to further enhance the drone . One can only compliment them with this newly improved features that created a remarkable drone that can dominate the skies. 

The DJI Inspire 2 boasts refined aerial performance, unrivaled reliability, top of the range video transmission, as well as a more defined look to cap it all off. If you are a commercial cinematographer looking for a Hollywood-worthy video capturing performance, look no further than this drone.

The DJI Inspire 2 is arguably the finest flagship-level drone available out there; it offers industry-leading safety functions, great app functionality, incredible build quality, and stunning optics.


Key Specs

Camera Resolution:  

2.7K HD 

Flight Time: 

27 Minutes 

Max Range: 

7Km

Rating:

85/100

Camera:

DJI’s cameras, using the Zenmuse range, have been growing alongside the range of drones it produces. The X5S was designed to perfectly complement the Inspire 2. It features a Micro Four Thirds snapper and a bigger sensor than previous offerings, which enhances the details in your shots and vibrancy of the colors.

It is no different from snapping with a high-end professional still camera and ensures that you shoot some breathtaking static images. For the video quality, the X5S, when paired with the Inspire 2, is like a match made in heaven. 

While other drones boast of being able to shoot 4K videos, the X5S is a step-up to let you capture footage in 5.2K at 30 frames per second and 4K at 60 frames per second. You also have the choice to scale it further down to 720p, but why would you even want that?

A 16GB microSD card has been included for all your storage needs, but if you feel that’s not enough, you can buy up to a 480GB memory card to ensure that you never have to worry about storage space again.

Performance

The DJI Inspire 2 delivers premium performance that is befitting of its premium status. With its 7.58 lbs weight, it can cruise at 40mph in normal speed mode and clock 69mph in the Sport configuration. However, you’ll need a clear sky to fly in this mode as it tends to disable the obstacle avoidance feature. 

The drone employs the latest DJI Lightbridge technology to manage a maximum transmission range of 7Km (4.3 miles). At this distance, it can deliver both 1080p and 720p videos to the pilot and camera operator.

You will get around 27 minutes of flight time when using a Zenmuse X4S, which drops down to 23 minutes when you pair the drone with the Zenmuse X7 camera. Note that these times were recorded with the drone hovering at sea level in relatively calm conditions. 

The Inspire 2 comes with an obstacle avoidance system that can detect obstacles up to 30m ahead using its vision system, but it has to be flying below a 34mph speed. Upward facing infrared sensors assist to protect the drone when hovering in enclosed spaces or even under bridges. 

There is also a Return Home feature, as well as a range of intelligent flight configurations that ensure you get a spectacular aerial performance from the DJI Inspire 2. The Spotlight Pro is a tracking mode that allows solo pilots to capture dramatic and complex images, and this can be done in two shooting modes, i.e. Quick Mode or composition Mode.

TapFly flight mode allows you to tap a point on the screen in the FPV view to determine a flight route that the drone will automatically follow so that the pilot focuses on the camera and gimbal movement during filming. Furthermore, the ActiveTrack mode enables the drone to focus on a selected object, person, car, etc. 

You’ll also appreciate the Return Home safety mode that ensures you won’t lose your valued investment. In case you lose transmission to your control, GPS signal, or run low on battery, the Inspire will return to its takeoff point and land safely to prevent possible crashes and smashes. 

Features:

  • Magnesium alloy body
  • 5.2K videos and spotlight Pro
  • Provides SSD storage up to 480GB
  • Supports full camera rotation
  • Obstacle detection system
  • Retractable gear for landing
  • ActiveTrack and tapFly
  • Dual battery configuration

PROS

  • Durable yet light alloy body
  • High-speed Sport mode and multiple intelligent flight modes
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Interchangeable cameras and upgraded video transmission system
  • 360-degree camera rotation and high-resolution footage
  • Self-heating technology for flying in cold temperatures

CONS

  • Very pricy
  • Needs a high-performance computer to edit videos

3. DJI Mavic 2 Pro- Value for Money Commercial Drone

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is a photographer’s dream come true! It is the perfect flying camera and comes with a compact and foldable design that you can comfortably carry around while traveling. It is the first DJI drone to feature a Hasselblad camera, enabling you to capture high-quality images and record pristine 4K video.

DJI improved on their Mavic 1 by sticking a giant 20MP Hasselblad camera with a 1-inch sensor on the compact Mavic 2 Pro. The drone features high-sensors to prevent mid-air collisions and boasts a longer, further, and faster flight compared to its predecessor. 

In a nutshell, the DJI Mavic Pro has improved every aspect of the Mavic 1 to include a larger battery and motor, as well as enhanced stability in strong winds. It offers a great bang for the buck!


Key Specs

Camera Resolution:  

4K HDR  

Flight Time: 

31 Minutes

Max Range: 

8Km

Rating:

84/100

Camera:

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro delivers one of the best drone footage you can get from a compact form factor. The video quality is crisper compared to other 4K drones and this can be credited to the size of the sensor. While most drones on the market are fitted with a 1/2.3 sensor, the 2 Pro uses a 1-inch CMOS sensor, which is four times bigger than what’s on the DJI Mavic Air.  

You can shoot 20MP stills and record videos at different frame rates available. For 4K footage, you get 24, 25, as well as 30 frames per second. You can also do this at a lower resolution of 2.7K at 48, 50, and 60 frames per second while a 1080p will give you 120 frames per second. 

Both videos and stills reveal a remarkable color depth and dynamic range, resulting in more realistic and impactful images that you rarely see in other drone footage. You get 8GB of internal memory, which is a tad inadequate for such a high-grade drone.

However, there is a micro SD card slot that can support memory cards of up to 128GB. The footage can be sent to your computer through a USB-C port, which can also connect the drone to your PC for firmware updates. 

Performance

DJI claims that Mavic 2 Pro will give you 31 minutes of flight time, although testing it in real-world conditions reduces it to around 28 minutes. You also get an unprecedented 8Km (5 miles) control range, which I doubt would be possible to test without contravening the law.

The transmission system is more reliable compared to the original DJI Mavic Pro and seems vastly superior to rival drones such as the Parrot Anafi. The drone is quite agile in the air, offering maximum speeds of 44mph despite its 2-pound takeoff weight. 

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro comes with standard intelligent flight modes like Quickshots, Point of Interest and Cinematic. With Quickshots, you can fly the drone in complicated patterns that would be hard to pull off if you’re not an experienced pilot. 

A new and improved Active Track System on the drone can identify multiple subjects to focus on, thanks to 10 sensors that make for better maneuvering in tight spots, above and below obstacles, as well as in front and behind them. 

The Advanced Pilot Assistance Mode uses camera sensors to fly the drone automatically around obstacles instead of stopping in front of them while Hyperlapse enables you to capture interesting time-lapse videos with little effort. 

Features:

  • High-quality Hasselblad camera
  • 20MP stills and 4K HDR videos
  • Adjustable aperture
  • 1-inch CMOS sensor, obstacle avoidance
  • QuickShots and Sphere Panorama Mode
  • Hyperlapse
  • Active Track 2
  • Boomerang, Asteroid, Circle, Dronie

PROS

  • Great value for money
    and fun to fly
  • High-resolution footage
  • Multiple intelligent flight modes
  • Foldable and portable design, many safety features
  • Fast yet stable in the air and long flight time 

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Occasional app issues

4. DJI Mavic Air- Cheapest Budget Commercial Drone

At this point, we can’t dispute the monopoly that DJI drone has on high-performance commercial drones. The DJI Mavic Air is yet another great quadcopter, although unlike its siblings above, it will be much kinder to your budget. 

The drone is packed with features that not only make it fun to fly but also offers improved filming. What will impress you on the Mavic Air is the many camera options that allow you to shoot panoramic helicopter-style shots, as well as multiple intelligent flight functions.

Features such as 4K footage, gesture control, and a quality gimbal just give you a taste of what you stand to get. The most exciting news is that you’re paying less than $1000 for it. 


Key Specs

Camera Resolution:  

4K and 1080p

Flight Time: 

21 Minutes

Max Range: 

4Km

Rating:

82/100

Camera:

The DJI Mavic Air uses a quality camera that shoots 12MP stills while recording 4K videos at 30 fps or you can slow things down at 1080p at 120 fps. The camera features a 1 /2.3” CMOS sensor enhanced footage resolution.

An 8GB internal memory allows you to film and store footage without an SD card. It also makes swapping or adding an SD card a smoother process. You’ll probably need more storage space given that recording a two-minute 4K video at 30fps will take 1.5GB of data.

A 3-axis gimbal stabilizer ensures that you take clear stills and videos even in windy conditions. You get much more steadier shots with this camera drone thanks to a range of smart camera modes. 

For panoramas, you can choose between horizontal, vertical, and 180-degree images that the drone puts together for you. You simply need to find and select the mode and the drone will go about taking the shots and stitch together for the final product.

The extreme version called Sphere Panorama puts together 25 images for a 32MP panorama in just a minute. Cool video modes like Boomerang and Asteroid make it more interesting for users to capture footage. 

Performance

On a full charge cycle, the DJI Mavic Air hovers in the air for about 21 minutes. In real-world conditions, you’ll get around 18 minutes of flight time. The controller range is about 4km (2,4 miles), which the drone can achieve at a normal speed of 22mph.

On sport mode, the DJI Mavic Air can clock awe-inspiring speeds of 42mph. You can imagine how intense the experience can be when wearing a pair of DJI Goggles. Multiple sensors and the camera on the drone make for an effective obstacle avoidance system that can spot hazards as far as 20m ahead. 

You’d like to note that the DJI Mavic Air is a little noisy; you’re more likely to hear it before you see it when it’s approaching. It will probably be a nuisance to the public when flown at lower altitudes. 

The drone is equipped with GPS and GLONASS satellite positioning to make for a range of functions that allow you to enjoy an amazing flying experience. A good example is SmartCapture, an intelligent flight mode that lets you control the drone’s flight with basic hand gestures. 

Meanwhile, there are a total of six QuickShot flight modes that enable you to preset flight routes and record video clips while tracking an object. These include the Asteroid and Boomerang. To use them, just find and tap on the mode and the DJI Mavic Air starts tracking the subject. 

Features:

  • Gesture control
  • 8GB internal memory, micro SD card slot
  • Quickshot and SmartCapture
  • 3-axis gimbal stabilizer
  • Cinematic
  • Multiple speed modes, obstacle avoidance
  • GPS/GLONASS positioning
  • Active track system

PROS

  • Safety features
  • Cheap price for the overall performance
  • High-quality footage and amazing flight modes
  • Gesture control  and compact size
  • Fun to fly, quality design and construction

CONS

  • A little bit noisy
  • Small internal memory

FAQ

What is the best professional drone?

Commercial drones are more specific in their applications and come with features that are tailor-made for their intended purpose. Whether you’re buying them for drone mapping, professional cinematography, or aerial surveillance, the following are some of the best drones on the market, apart from those we’ve discussed in our review:

How much does a commercial drone cost?

Professional drones will cost you significantly more than the average consumer drone. The prices may range anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000, although the most commonly used commercial drone, DJI Mavic Pro, will cost you less than $1000.

Typically, the number of advanced features and the application will determine the cost of the drone. But even within these applications, there is noteworthy variation depending on where you operate. Some drone users specializing in videography will get the results they want from a consumer drone costing between $2000 and $3000.

Dealing with professional film sets may require a specialty drone that can cost more than $25,000 while industrial applications may necessitate different sensors like thermographic tools attached to the drones, which will increase the total cost. 

What the difference between a professional drone and a normal drone?

Professional drone pilots generally have different needs from their consumer quad pilots. As such, commercial drones differ from normal drones in the following aspects:

Durability

Commercial drones are more durable than consumer drones, and this is not only in terms of the flight time offered but also in the way they perform in hazardous conditions. The construction of the drone is sturdier to enable them to work day in and day out. 

Flexibility

Commercial drone applications tend to vary dramatically, which means the drones require a wide range of controllers, sensors and communication devices incorporated into them. This makes for a great level of flexibility and customization, unlike consumer drones which tend to have a fixed design. 

Precision of Data

Commercial drones need to be more accurate than what is required on amateur drones. This makes for enhanced survey-grade accuracy and precise positioning of images and measurements. Because of this, the majority of commercial drones integrate precision sensors like Thermal Imaging, LIDAR, Optical Gas Imaging. 

Reliability

These drones are usually flown over people or in hazard zones, which dictates that they have much more reliable specs than their consumer counterparts. The obstacle avoidance system is more effective and the batteries rarely fail when the drone is airborne. 

Cost

Commercial drones are generally more expensive! They come with a range of advanced features and are more durable as they are constructed with high-quality materials. This also means that they weigh more than 250g which will require the drones to be registered. 

Given the above facts, we recommend the DJI Inspire for the best industrial drone use. It is packed with useful features that any professional quadcopter operator would want, including:

  • Powerful DJI 6010 brushless motors
  • 2.4GHz Lightbridge video transmission
  • DJI 2170 propellers
  • 35 minutes of flight time
  • 5km control range
  • Compatibility with all Zenmuse cameras and gimbals
  • 13.2 maximum payload
  • 2500m flight ceiling
  • Over 40mph maximum speed
  • A3 pro flight controller kit pre-installed

Conclusion

Professional drones can cost you an arm and a leg! As such, you can’t compromise when it comes to the level of performance you get. The best commercial drones must come with top of the range features and offer the greatest value for the money.

Above, we reviewed and highlighted what you can expect from the best commercial drones currently available. 


About the Author: Ruan Nelio

When I'm not geeking out over the newest drones, I'm busy flying my DJI Mavic 2 Pro all over Oslo. The coolest part about this job is I get to keep some of the drones I review, which happens to be how I got my Mavic 2!

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Last update on 2020-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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