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Which? reveals best and worst drones for 2017

13 drones from brands including DJI, GoPro and Parrot go head-to-head in our lab tests, plus find out about drone safety

Drones are becoming more and more popular with people of all ages. After piloting two new Best Buy models, both of which are wonderfully intuitive and simple to fly, we can see why. 

Our top scorers also take excellent photos and videos, are a piece of cake to set up for first use, and last a decent amount of time before running out of battery.

Unfortunately, we’ve also uncovered three drones that disappointed us so much that we’ve made them Which? Don’t Buys. We found them erratic and tricky to manoeuvre, plus they take poor photos and videos and run out of charge quickly. We think you’re best off avoiding them.

Drones are expensive pieces of kit – the cheapest we’ve tested is around £200, while the priciest will set you back by around £1,100. It’s well worth doing your homework before parting with your hard-earned cash, to make sure you don’t splash out on a dud drone that doesn’t inspire confidence when you fly it.

Drone reviews – get the best for your budget

All-new drone reviews

Click on the links below to head to individual reviews of drones. Models are listed in alphabetical order, and prices are correct as of 19 July 2017.

How we uncover the best drones

We put drones through an assault of tests to make sure we only recommend the very best of the bunch.

The main element of our tests is, unsurprisingly, flight. We test drones on every aspect of flight – from how well it takes off and lands, to whether you’ll feel confident while piloting it during flight.

The best drones are a dream to manoeuvre, and respond quickly and accurately to commands. The worst, on the other hand, are overly tricky to navigate – and might inspire more caution than confidence.

Our raft of tests also includes photo and video quality, and battery life – and we’ve found that some drones last for more than twice as long as others before running out of battery.

Want to know the best drones that money can buy? Here’s a quick solution: head straight to our Best Buy drone reviews.

How to fly your drone safely

While you don’t currently need a licence to fly a drone recreationally in the UK, there are rules and regulations you need to abide by to fly your drone safely. It’s worth noting that the legal responsibility for flying a drone lies with you, the user – and failure to fly responsibly could lead to a criminal prosecution.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has a ‘drone code’ that helpfully lays out the key principles of safe flying. These include:

  • Don’t fly near airports or airfields.
  • Stay below 400 feet (or 120 metres).
  • Observe your drone at all times.
  • Stay 150 feet (or 50 metres) away from people and property – and 500 feet (or 150 metres) away from crowds of people and built-up areas.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Remember that legal responsibility lies with you.

For more information, check out our guide on how to fly a drone safely.

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