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While there is no doubt that DJI is the most popular drone manufacturer in the world, that doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for each pilot’s needs.
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to avoid purchasing a DJI drone – from geofencing and the no-fly zone feature to the fact that they are simply too expensive.
So what other option do you have?
In this article, we are going to go over some of the best DJI alternatives, review their biggest competitors, and ultimately help you make the right buying decision.
What drones are better than DJI? (5 Best DJI Alternatives)
In case you’re in a hurry and don’t have enough time to go over our detailed DJI alternative review, don’t worry, we prepared a quick outline you can check out.
Here are the 5 best DJI alternatives:
- Autel Evo 2 – Best Overall DJI Alternative
- Ruko F11 Pro – Best Cheap DJI Alternative
- Hubsan Zino Mini Pro – Best DJI Mini 2 Alternative
- Skydio 2 – Best DJI Alternative with Follow Me Mode
- FIMI X8 – Best Alternative Drone for Beginners
My Top 5 DJI Alternatives – Individual Drone Model
Let’s check out the top 5 DJI alternatives we picked out for you.
Keep in mind, not all of these models are necessarily better than DJI, but they can be a suitable replacement in terms of features and come at a much lower price.
Autel Evo 2 – Best Overall DJI Alternative
First of all, this drone has a much better battery life (40 minutes) compared to the Mavic 2 Pro (30 minutes).
Next, it’s built a bit differently, and it offers users more stability and sturdiness, alongside a zoom camera option that works a lot better since pilots won’t have to get closer to subjects in order to photograph them.
While this model is a bit bigger, it’s still extremely compact and has a slim foldable design. Due to this, users have an easy time controlling it and can even use the multiple-direction sensors to avoid hitting any obstacles along the way.
The camera can shoot 10-bit HDR, which is very high-quality even for filmmaking standards. In fact, Autel is one of the rare companies that can compete with DJI when it comes to image quality.
Ruko F11 Pro – Best Cheap DJI Alternative
In case you are looking for the cheapest DJI alternative but still want advanced features and a solid camera, then you should definitely consider the Ruko F11 Pro.
The battery life is approximately 30 minutes, but since Ruko models come with extra battery sets, you will be able to fly it for up to 60 minutes. This allows pilots to travel even further with their drones and explore interesting areas without worrying about the battery draining out.
Catching spectacular images is also made easy through the ‘Target’ button – pilots can click it and set a specific radius, meaning that the drone will stay stable during the shooting.
In situations where the Ruko F11 Pro is running low on battery or getting a bad signal, it will automatically return to the starting location (take-off), so you won’t have to worry about losing it somewhere.
Other notable features are the Tap Fly, POI (Point of Interest), Follow-Me Mode, and the Hand Gesture Shots option.
The camera can catch 4k Ultra HD photos and 2.9K videos. While this isn’t exactly top-notch, it’s definitely worth considering due to the great price/quality ratio.
Hubsan Zino Mini Pro – Best DJI Mini 2 Alternative
There is no doubt that the DJI Mini 2 is one of the best drones in the market, so finding something even remotely similar might be a bit daunting, especially since it weighs less than 250g.
Out of the drones that we reviewed, the Hubsan Zino Mini Pro stands out as the best DJI Mini 2 Alternative.
This model also weighs less than 250g, it features a three-axis gimbal, and it has a ‘Follow Me’ option included. Plus, it has a better battery life compared to the Mini 2, and it includes forward sensors as well.
Additionally, Hubsan also has larger sensors which result in better shot-making and images. In terms of other specs, these two models are pretty equal.
FIMI X8 – Best Alternative Drone for Beginners
The next drone on our list is the FIMI X8 – one of the best drones for traveling due to its compactness and small size.
One of the main benefits of choosing FIMI X8 over DJI models is that it’s very suitable for beginners that don’t have any drone-flying experience.
This model has a battery that can withstand around 35 minutes of flying, but with the two sets featured, you can increase this to 70 minutes per charge.
The camera is also pretty decent, and it can capture 4K 30 fps video and 12MP images. Also, there is a 3-axis gimbal and a 3x digital zoom included.
Additionally, there are four cine shot functions (circle, dronie, rocket, and spiral) and panorama, night shots, and time-lapse options that pilots can take advantage of.
When it comes to intelligent safety features, it includes some like low-battery alarm return, excessive power warning, and automatic hover in no-fly areas.
Although DJI models do outperform FIMI X8 in certain aspects, this model is the best alternative for beginners, and it offers plenty of options for a drone that costs less than $500.
Skydio 2 – Best DJI Alternative with Follow Me Mode
For the longest time, DJI drones have been outperforming other models when it came to the robust ‘Follow Me’ mode. That is until Skydio 2 came around.
The Skydio 2 arguably has a more advanced Follow Me mode, and it even does a better job at tracking than DJI models.
Due to the 360-degree camera and 45 MP of visual data, this drone was specially manufactured for sports events and tracking in tough conditions.
The obstacle avoidance feature is also very well-designed, and the drone can easily slide through even the tightest places, which is something that even DJI models struggle with.
When it comes to the camera quality, the Skydio 2 can capture shots in 4K 60 fps. Although there are DJI models with better cameras, this one can do the job just fine.
One of the main reasons why pilots opt for the Skydio 2 is due to the advanced features it offers and because they work a lot better compared to most DJI models.
Which Brand is DJI’s Biggest Competitor?
DJI is the world’s most popular drone manufacturer, but it’s not necessarily the best in all aspects. Let’s check out some of its biggest competitors.
Autel Robotics was established in 2014, and since then, it has become one of the world’s leading drone manufacturers and DJI’s biggest competitor.
While Autel doesn’t offer nearly as many drones as DJI, the ones that are available come with some great advanced features that appeal to many pilots across the world.
Some of their most notable drones include the Autel Evo Nano Plus and Autel Evo 2.
The leader of the European market, Parrot is a French company that focuses solely on manufacturing drone technology.
In recent years, Parrot has made contracts with both the United States Department of Defense and the French Army to create drones for military purposes, but it also has plenty of consumer drones to offer.
Nowadays, the most popular Parrot model is Anafi. These drones include robust features, automated flight systems, and great specifications, and they come at a very decent price.
Parrot models have been used for different purposes, from rescue missions and law enforcement to building inspections and military.
Hubsan is a Chinese drone manufacturer that creates models suitable for beginners and hobbyists who are looking to find more budget-friendly options.
For example, one of the best-sellers is the Hubsan X4, which comes at only $29. Other models can go up to $200.
One of the main trademarks of Hubsan is that they sell high-quality drones at a minimum price. This appeals to beginner pilots that want to get a taste of the action but don’t have a huge budget to work with.
Holy Stone ✍️
With a large range of drones that come with premium features, Holy Stone is also one of the most notable drone manufacturers in the community.
Most Holy Stone drones cost around $25 – $450, with the most popular model being the HS120D FPV drone. This model includes 1080p HD live videos, a GPS return home button, 20 minutes of flight time, and a lot of different advanced features.
Similar to Hubsan, Holy Stone drones are great for newbie drone enthusiasts that want to test out a drone without paying too much money for it. This way, even if they don’t use it anymore in the future, it won’t be a problem since they got a great bargain for it.
Yuneec started out as a remote-control aircraft manufacturer in 1999, but it expanded to drone technology over the course of the following years.
Interestingly, Yuneec’s first model was the Typhoon Q 500, and when it was released in 2014, it was considered one of the best models on the market. It had a 1080p camera, a three-axis gimbal, and some very decent features.
While the company first focused on creating mostly budget-friendly drones, it is now known for its higher-end models that cost from $2500 – $4000.
One of the main strong points of Yuneec is its incredible hardware. That, and the various intelligent flight modes such as the Follow Me option, Journey mode, and Orbit.
Why Go For an Alternative Brand?
Now that you know some of DJI’s biggest competitors in the drone community let’s check out the exact reasons why pilots opt for alternative brands.
⚡️ DJI is Expensive
One of the main reasons why buyers choose different models is due to the fact that DJI drones are far too expensive sometimes.
Even if you want to buy some of their lower-end models, you will have to spend at least $500. Beginners that are looking for simpler drones with a nice camera find this way too pricey.
⚡️ Industry-Specific Needs
Some industries have very specific drone needs. For instance, if your job is to frequently map out some extensive areas, DJI’s rotor-drone design probably won’t be a very suitable choice.
You will be better off choosing a drone manufacturer that creates fixed-wing drones.
⚡️ Anti-Monopoly and Anti-Large Company Sentiments
This can also be a huge factor considering that lots of people nowadays have a very negative attitude towards larger companies such as DJI.
Whether it is disliking the capitalistic mindset of big companies or having some other sort of underlying issue, many pilots choose alternative brands due to trust issues with companies as big as DJI.
The fact that DJI is a Chinese company might not sit very well with a number of drone enthusiasts. Many pilots choose to support their local manufacturers (USA, France, the UK, etc.) by buying exclusively their products for patriotic reasons.
⚡️ Everyone Loves an Underdog
It’s in people’s brain psychology to give support to the underdogs. After all, who doesn’t love a great underdog story?
While smaller drone companies don’t really have as much to offer as DJI, buying their products contributes to their overall technology revolution, and who knows, one day, they might even precede them.
Finding an affordable alternative for a DJI drone isn’t difficult, but you should also consider the features of the drone and not only the price.
After going through a hefty amount of research, we have concluded that the Hubsan X4 stands out as one of the best and most affordable DJI alternatives. Not only does it come at a much lower price, but it also offers a wide range of great features and characteristics.
If you have searched Google for ‘the best drones in the world’, chances are that you have come across multiple lists that feature exclusively DJI drones.
While they are undoubtedly the most popular, they aren’t necessarily the best. There are plenty of other manufacturers out there that create quality drones that can compare with DJI models in terms of features.
In our list, we mentioned some of the biggest DJI competitors, such as Autel, Parrot, Hubsan, Holy Stone, and Yuneec. These are the manufacturers that have a large customer base, a bit smaller than DJI but definitely enough to be solid competitors.
Some other big competitors are PowerVision Technology Group, Skydio, DroneDeploy, Skycatch, Xiamoi, and 3D Robotics.
Each drone brand has unique models with different features. Depending on the pilot’s preference and the purpose behind the purchase, they will opt for the one most suitable.
Because DJI is a Chinese company, some people think that their drones are banned in the USA.
At the time of writing, there is still no ban on drones manufactured in China, but there have been some rumors that a five-year ban will take effect.
The main reason for this is that there is a lot of concern that DJI drones might be sending data and information to the Chinese government.
While the Skydio 2 isn’t better than all DJI models, it does fair very well with most of them in terms of computing power and obstacle avoidance.
As we mentioned in our list, the Skydio 2 drone has an extremely robust Follow Me feature, one of the best on the market in fact.
Additionally, not only is this model considered better when it comes to advanced features, but it also comes at a much lower price.
The short answer is – No, Apple doesn’t own DJI.
A lot of rumors have been spreading about Apple buying DJI, however, Apple doesn’t have any direct involvement with this drone manufacturer.
While DJI does use Apple’s ecosystem, it’s simply a collaboration between the two companies, nothing more.