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The 4 Best Mini Drones of 2021

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The RundownBest Overall:DJI Mavic Air at Amazon"The Mavic Air features a compact design with collapsible propeller arms."Runner-Up, Best Overall:Ryze Tello at Amazon"The Ryze Tello is loaded with some of DJI's smarts, including sensors on the bottom that can help it maintain its altitude and perform palm landings and takeoffs."Best Non-Collapsible:DJI Spark at Amazon"It boasts a top speed of 31mph in its Sport Mode, and it can fly for up to 16 minutes on a full charge."Best Camera:Parrot Anafi Drone at Amazon"The Parrot Anafi shoots beautiful 4K HDR video and has a 180 degree vertical swivel."

The best mini drones are smaller, more portable versions of full-sized drones. Their more compact dimensions make them easy to tuck into your bag and take to the park without needing to haul a lot of extra equipment. A lighter body also usually means a longer-lasting battery and flight time, allowing you to record more high-resolution video. Our top choice for most people is the Mavic Air from DJI at Amazon. It's a sleek and lightweight drone with a 32MP camera, 180-degree panorama capability, and smooth 4K video recording. It's also packed with features to make flying easier and can last for 21 minutes in the air.

If you're looking for a drone option for your kids, take a look at our list of the best drones for kids. Many of the options on that list are easy to fly and more affordable. Otherwise, read on to see the best mini drones to get.

Best Overall:DJI Mavic Air

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The DJI Mavic Air is not only an astoundingly capable drone, but it's also brilliantly portable. The Mavic Air features a compact design with collapsible propellor arms, so when you're not flying, you can fold them into the body of the drone and easily store it away in a bag or backpack.

Inside that small, portable design is plenty of power. The Mavic Air is capable of hitting top speeds of 42.5mph and can resist winds between 19mph and 24mph, so you'll be able to fly confidently outdoors. With its large battery, you can fly the Mavic Air for up to 21 minutes on a full charge.

On top of being an impressive flier, the Mavic Air has a great camera platform. It features a front-mounted 12MP camera capable of recording 4K video at 30 frames per second and Full HD at 120 frames per second. That video can be recorded at a high 100Mbps bitrate as well, and thanks to a three-axis mechanical gimbal, you'll get stable video and easy control. The Mavic Air supports control via a smartphone or a controller. If you want a portable drone that doesn't sacrifice much, this is the one.

Runner-Up, Best Overall:Ryze Tello

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The Ryze Tello is a wonderful little drone for a lot of reasons. First, it offers a compelling package at a price well below what you'd expect. It has a small, simple design that's neither garish nor cheap looking. And, best of all, it packs plenty of features that make it capable in a variety of use cases.

The Ryze Tello is loaded with some of DJI's smarts, including sensors on the bottom that can help it maintain its altitude and perform palm landings and takeoffs. The front-facing camera is a simple 720p one with electronic image stabilization, but it's still a nice option to have. The camera comes in handy especially if you're into flying with a first-person perspective, as the video can transmit directly to your phone for this purpose.

If you like simplicity, the Tello also has a number of flying features you'll love. It can automatically perform a number of tricks (like flips) or follow a few different flight paths to easily record videos. At its price and size, the Tello offers a lot.

Best Non-Collapsible:DJI Spark

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The DJI Spark is admittedly on the larger side for this list, but it's still of a size that's easy to hold in your hand — even if the propellor arms extend slightly wider without the option to fold them up. That said, what it lacks in portability (and make no mistake, it's still highly portable) it makes up for with features and performance.

After the DJI Mavic Air, the DJI Spark is the next most capable performer in both flight and video. It boasts a top speed of 31mph in its Sport Mode, and it can fly for up to 16 minutes on a full charge. With the controller, it can even fly up to 1.2 miles away. Thanks to GPS and a number of vision-based sensors, the Spark is also capable of intelligent flying, reducing the risk of an accident or loss.

While you're flying it, you'll also be able to enjoy excellent video from a 12MP camera that's capable of 1080p video at 30fps. The video will be fairly smooth, too, thanks to its two-axis gimbal. Plus, you have the ability to adjust the camera angle while you're flying, which can be especially helpful for getting just the right shot.

Best Camera:Parrot Anafi Drone

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The Parrot Anafi is a a compact drone with a strong set of features and a 4K HDR camera. It's extremely light and compact at 320 grames, folding up into such a small form-factor that you can fit it inside an included carrying bag. Flying the drone is easy with the FreeFlight 6 and Parrot Skycontroller 3. They're both easy-to-use piloting apps that can be used with an ergonomic remote controlleer. It's easy for beginners to grasp and there's automatic take-off with a single button. If you lose signal, the drone will return to its starting point.

Battery life lasts for 25 minutes with the included battery, and if you get the Anafi Extended pack it'll come with two additional batteries, three USB-C cables, a 16GB microSD card, spare remote control, and propellers. While the Anafi does cost more than some other mini drones, the highly portable size, great features, and numerous included accessories make it worthwhile.

Final Verdict

The best mini drone to get is the DJI Mavic Air (view at Amazon). It's a compact drone from a well-known company with a highly portable design and a top speed of 42.5mph. It can fly 21 minutes on a full charge and comes with a 12MO camera that can record a smooth 4K video. We also like the Ryze Tello (view at Amazon) as an affordable 720p option that doesn't skimp on the sensors, allowing for palm landing, takeoff, and altitude maintenance.