MEET THE DRONES

Looking for a drone? You have options. Whether you're interested in a high-tech drone that's designed for outstanding photography, or you just want some remote-controlled fun, our selection has what you're looking for. Find everything from small toys to advanced aircraft capable of capturing Hollywood-worthy, 4K video. But there's one thing all drones have in common — they're fun. To help you choose the right one, here's an illustrated introduction to some of the key players.

PHANTOM 3

When people think of drones, The Phantom is often the first to come to mind. First released in 2013, this quadcopter's ability to capture jaw-dropping video is legendary. And now, the legend continues with the Phantom 3. It includes beautiful 4K video, and an intelligent system that helps you fly with great stability.

Watch the DJI Phantom 3 drone explore an active volcano ›
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Graphic of Phantom 3 drone. Cinema-quality aerial photography. Weight: 2.82 pounds. Camera: Up to 4K video. Top speed: 35.79 miles per hour. Size: 23.2 inches diagonal. Stand-out feature: 3-axis gimbal and camera team up to deliver stable, immersive images. Surprising spec: Control it from up to 1.2 miles away. Must-have extra: Spare battery for increased flight time.

YUNEEC TYPHOON 4K

The Yuneec Typhoon series of quadcopters are ready to fly, right out of the box. They're perfect for beginners looking for a way to start flying quickly, or experts who want to capture striking 4K imagery from new perspectives. The Typhoon 4K (illustrated below) comes with an onboard 4K camera with a 3-axis gimbal, while the Typhoon G has a 3-axis gimbal that's ready to house your GoPro. Both feature an array of programmable flight modes for a safe and fun flying experience.

Watch the Typhoon in action ›
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Typhoon 4K drone. Burn rubber. Amazing images by air or by land.
Weight 3.8 lbs., about the weight of a motorcycle helmet. Top speed 22 mph. 4K Ultra HD video camera. 12 megapixel photos. Size: 22.2 inches x 8.3 inches; about the size of a car tire. Stand-out feature: ground station controller has a touch screen for easy in-flight adjustments. Surprising spec: SteadyGrip device for smooth ground shots. Must-have extra: spare battery for double the flight time.

3DR SOLO

The 3DR Solo is made for beginners and pros alike. While it's designed specifically for aerial photography, it does not have a built-in camera. Instead, you attach your own action camera to it. Best of all, the Solo offers easy flying with one-touch takeoff, flying and landing options.

Watch the 3DR Solo in action at the beach ›
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Graphic of Solo drone. Take your GoPro to new heights. Size: 13 inches x 15 inches x 1.4 inches. Camera: Sold separately. Weight: 3.3 pounds. Top speed: 4.5 miles per hour. Stand-out feature: Easily set a flight path, orbit around an object or follow a subject. Surprising spec: Twin computers (one in Solo, one in the controller). Must-have extra: Compatible GoPro and Solo gimbal.

PARROT BEBOP

Drones are often divided into two camps: toy and photography. Bebop bridges these two worlds. It captures stunning 1080p video like many photography drones, but it also performs one-touch flips and other flight functions with the FreeFlight app. It's designed to fly both inside and out, and just might be the perfect mix of photography and fun.

Watch the Parrot Bebop join some jet skiers ›
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Graphic of Bebop drone. Great aerials at a great price. Camera: 1080p HD video. 14.0-megapixel photos. Size: 13 inches x 15 inches x 1.4 inches. Top speed: 24.9 miles per hour. Weight: 14.1 ounces. Stand-out feature: Safety focus (light propellers stop on impact, protective indoor hull). Surprising spec: Connects to mobile device by creating own Wi-Fi hotspot. Must-have extra: For advanced piloting, consider the Skycontroller.

PARROT AR.DRONE 2.0

Parrot's AR.Drone was one of the most buzzed-about technologies at CES 2010. It lived up to the hype, becoming one of the best-selling drones of all time. Version 2.0 is easier to fly and has a better camera than the original.

Watch the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 turn a tablet into a flight deck ›
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Graphic of AR.Drone 2.0 drone. Easy for beginners, but advanced. Camera: 720p HD video, takes JPEG photos. Size: 23 inches x 23 inches x 5 inches. Top speed: 24.9 miles per hour. Weight: 14.8 ounces. Stand-out feature: Simple to fly (takeoff, hover, flip, land, all with a single touch. Surprising spec: Live stream HD video to your smartphone or tablet. Must-have extra: Spare battery for more flight time.

PARROT AIRBORNE CARGO MARS

The Parrot Airborne Cargo drone is all about letting your imagination fly. The plate at the top of the structure lets you attach an action figure to act as the pilot of your drone as it soars through the air. This mini drone features an automatic switch-off function when it contacts other objects, making it great for indoor fun. To get started just download the free controller app to your smartphone or tablet. Then, control from your device — no need for an extra controller. The Cargo also features in-flight stabilization, a built-in camera, and an autopilot system for fun and easy flying.

Shop for the Parrot Airborne Cargo Mars drone ›

Airborne Cargo drone. App-controlled flight with autopilot. Weight 2.2 oz.; about the weight of a tennis ball. Top speed 11 mph. Camera 640 x 480 photos. Size: 7.1 inches x 7.3 inches x 3.2 inches; about the size of a cookie tin. Stand-out feature: customizable, add toy bricks or action figures (not included).  Surprising spec: performs 90-degree and 180-degree acrobatics. Must-have extra: FreeFlight 3 app (it's a free download).

PARROT JUMPING RACE

When you're driving the Parrot Jumping Race by yourself you can program a course and watch as your vehicle peels out, jumps more than 2 feet in the air, rolls and turns on a dime. But with friends, the fun really heats up. Make a course just about anywhere in the house or yard, fire up your Race drones and compete for victory. The wide-angle camera captures all the action on video and in photos for entertaining playback.

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Jumping Race drone. Burn rubber. Leap into the victory lane. 
Weight: 7.2 oz.; about the weight of a softball. Camera 640 x 480 wide-angle photos and video. Size: 7.4 inches x 6.1 inches x 4.6 inches; about the size of a half-gallon of ice cream. Top speed: 8 mph. Stand-out feature: jumps up to 2.4 feet in the air, turns on a dime. Surprising spec: program your route, show off to your friends. Must-have extra: smartphone or tablet for control.

PARROT AIRBORNE NIGHT SWAT

Much like the Parrot Airborne Cargo, the Night Swat is an easy-to-use mini drone that you can control with your smartphone or tablet. However, the two wide-angle LED headlights let you explore the night skies like an expert. Activate the powerful lights from the FreeFlight 3 app and even adjust their brightness on the fly. Then, enter the shadows for a whole new flying experience.

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Airborne Night drone. Fly outside by day, inside by night. Top speed 11 mph. Weight: 2.2 oz., about the weight of an uncooked egg. Camera 640 x 480 photos. Size: 7.1 inches x 7.3 inches x 1.6 inches; about the size of an omelet pan, minus the handle. Stand-out feature: pilot in the dark; it has two wide-angle blinking LED headlights. Surprising spec: toss it in the air and it starts automatically. Must-have extra: FreeFlight 3 app for control.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DRONES

Drones Buying Guide ›

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The use of drones (also known as small unmanned aerial systems) may be regulated. The following websites may help you make informed decisions about how regulations impact you: www.knowbeforeyoufly.org, www.faa.gov/uas and www.modelaircraft.org.