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Here are the top 5 drones of 2020: consumer, commercial, and research

It’s the last day of 2020, so we thought we’d share the drones we think stood out from the rest, putting them at the top of the list. These drones might not be the best in every way, but we think they each have aspects that make them shine in the market. Here they are in no specific order.

DJI Mini 2

The DJI Mini 2 is the drone giant’s second attempt at a sub-250 gram drone. The whole purpose of such a drone is that it allows anyone to fly without having to register the drone with authorities, making it cheaper to fly. The Mini 2 improves over the original Mavic Mini with a new 4k 30 fps sensor and captures RAW photos. DJI has also increased the flight time by one minute from 30 to 31 minutes.

The new Mini 2 has also gained new and improved motors that allow it to fly in stronger winds and fly faster. Most impressively, though, the DJI Mini 2 can now fly up to 10 kilometers away, thanks to the inclusion of DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology. That makes it the perfect budget drone for everyone.

Tiffen DJI Mavic Mini 2 Japan regulations 100-gram drones

Parrot Anafi USA

The Parrot ANAFI USA is the latest drone from Parrot with a heavy focus on security. While the drone has been designed with features that might appeal to the military, it’s been designed for the first responder and enterprise market. The ANAFI USA has 32x zoom and is capable of detecting people from up to 1.2 miles away. The drone is easy to use and can be fully operational in just 55 seconds. It can also fly in the rain and winds of up to 15 meters per second.

Parrot Anafi USA

NASA Ingenuity

The NASA Ingenuity helicopter drone was launched by NASA earlier in the year with the Perseverance Mars rover. The drone will allow NASA to get a new look at the planet from above. Much like a drone on Earth, the helicopter will allow scientists to capture high-definition images to better prepare for future missions where a rover or human could land.

Around a month after the duo was sent into space, the drone powered on for the first time after the batteries charged 35% over an eight-hour period. NASA has set out to fulfill the key objects with the Ingenuity helicopter to demonstrate powered flight in the thin Mars atmosphere, demonstrate miniaturized flying technology on another planet, and finally get the helicopter to operate autonomously.

NASA helicopter planet

DJI Mavic Air 2

The DJI Mavic Air 2 has launched with some impressive specs that match and even surpass its bigger brother, the Mavic 2 Pro. Those include 48MP photos, 4k 60 fps video, HDR, 34-minute flight time, 10km transmission range, and ActiveTrack 3.0.

The drone shocked everyone when it came out due to the small compact size, with almost zero compromises. The Mavic Air 2 is the drone I bought, and I have been flying it since launch. To me, it’s the perfect combination between size and specs for the flying I do.

DJI Mavic Air 2 update

Skydio X2

The Skydio X2 family of drones builds upon Skydio 2, making it perfect for enterprise and military operations. The Skydio X2D is built for short-range reconnaissance missions for the US Army and will be used in search and rescue and security patrol missions. The Skdyio X2E is built for the enterprise world, first responders, and civilian agencies. The X2E is built to obtain situational awareness, inspect infrastructure, run search & rescue operations (including at night), and for other first responder use.

Both drones come packed with a FLIR thermal camera, a 360-degree camera, a flight time of 35 minutes, a folding design, a 3D Scanner, and a 100X zoom. An interesting feature launched with the drone is 360 Superzoom, which allows you to get a 360-degree view from the obstacle avoidance cameras and then zoom in 100x using the main camera.

Skydio X2 commercial drone

Photo: Josh Spires, Parrot, NASA, & Skydio



Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.