5 Best Drones for Real Estate: Your Guide (2018)

best drones for real estate

Drones are a real estate game changer. There is no better, cheaper way to get stunning footage of properties. Showing potential buyers the size of an estate, home, and area of land from a bird’s eye perspective isn’t just attractive, it stresses the scale and feeling of empowerment that buying property engenders. Beyond just giving an accurate and interesting perspective, their smooth movement gives the viewer a thematic sense of grandiosity, wonder, and a sense that the property you are trying to sell is bigger-than-life.

The crazy part is that drones, also known as quadcopters, offer amazing images in a price range similar to DSLRs. Not only do they offer incomparable value for literally heavenly views, but they’re also very fun, easy, and useful for a variety of purposes.

Here are the top five best drones for real estate in order of highest to lowest price, followed by a sixth drone, the Yuneec Typhoon H. It is not in the top five drones, however, it is worth taking a look at for those who are curious why DJI dominates the market, and what some consider to be a great alternative. Also, keep a close eye out for the Editor’s Choice drone, number three on our list; this drone offers the best value to the most users, and will likely serve as the best drone for real estate in most use cases.

What Are the Best Drones for Real Estate Available Right Now?

dji inspire 2, best drones for sale Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 5.2K at 30fps
  • 60MPH+
  • Shoots Raw Cinema DNG
Price: $5,694.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Phantom 4 pro plus +, best drones for real estate Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Object Sensors to Avoid Crashing
  • 4K at 60FPS
  • Controller Has Built-In Screen
Price: $1,422.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
dji mavic pro, real estate drones, Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Small Size
  • Excellent Flight Time
  • Quieter Than Most Other Drones
Price: No price available Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
dji phantom 3 advanced, real estate drones, Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Best Value for Outdoor Shooting
  • 2.7K Camera
  • Lower Price Than Others
Price: $680.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
dji phantom 3 standard, real estate drones, Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 2.7K and 12MP Photos
  • 25-Minute Flight Time
  • Lower Price
Price: $579.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. DJI Inspire 2

    Pros:
    • Top of the line drone with stabilized cinema-quality camera
    • Shoots RAW cinema DNG for maximum post latitude and best quality images
    • Rock solid stability, speed (60mph+), and reliability
    • Footage compared to the top of the line cinema cameras
    • Dual operator control means one person can fly the drone, another can move the camera
    • Shoots 5.2K at 30fps, and 4k at 60fps
    Cons:
    • Post processing requires a beastly computer
    • Vastly overkill for anything but cinematic usage
    • Extras are pricey and necessary to maximize features

    Who is it for?

    Real estate agents or groups who don’t want to outsource their drone videography whose budget is under $10,000 and need a world class tool. Note that post-processing and deployment will cost additional time and resources, but ultimately, this drone records Hollywood quality footage.

    Review

    The DJI Inspire 2 lives up to any expectation almost anyone could possibly have (perhaps not Jerry Bruckheimer). As a drone, it goes 67 mph, boasts redundant batteries and control system (it’s almost un-crashable). It has a bevy of features for the cinematically-inclined including dual-operator compatibility, a fully rotating gimbal, and it’s protected by a one year warranty.

    That said, all of this is just mechanics, what really makes this drone a downright movie-making machine is its amazing camera. It has an array of capture options (CinemaDNG, ProRes) and in insane resolutions including 5.2K 30fps and 4k at 60fps. If any of that is Greek to you, then know only this: using the Inspire 2 is a bit cumbersome; it’s a professional tool at a professional price. Not only is the price high, one will have to purchase a slew of extras to use the very features that make it such a valuable tool to begin with including SSIDs and special hard drive bays. Realistically, the six grand price tag is just the beginning; all in this drone used to its max capability will be just under $10k. That seems thoroughly obscene until you realize that before DJI put this into the world, a comparable solution, a mounted Arri Alexa, would run upwards of $50k. Is it as good as an Arri? Some people say they’re indistinguishable. Certainly, it’s worth investigation if you’d like to lop a Toyota Camry off your drone budget.

  2. Phantom 4 Pro+

    Pros:
    • 20-megapixel sensor shoots great images and 4k at 60fps
    • Senses obstacles making crashing difficult
    • Widely considered to have the best photo and video quality for drones of this price
    • Remote controller has a built-in screen
    Cons:
    • Some users had issues with DJI customer support
    • Software requires updating, can be buggy
    • Overkill for some users
    • Mavic has a shorter setup time, better radio
    • Mavic is much smaller and more portable

    Who is it for?

    Real estate professionals looking for the best drone for real estate in terms of outdoor footage. If one doesn’t have anxiety about crashing a drone or is experienced, one can step down to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro ($1391, inferior radio, no collision detection) or DJI Phantom 4 ($833, inferior radio, no collision detection, and no device display). That said, if one doesn’t need the Pro+, I’d go with the Mavic.

    Review

    The Phantom 4 Pro offers prosumer drone users the top of the line experience. It shoots stunning 4k at 60 fps and boasts a hodgepodge of features that make using the Phantom series easier than ever before. The footage looks great and capturing it is easier than ever with features like auto-tracking, obstacle sensing (meaning one can’t crash), and a robust app that lets one do things like set waypoints and follow people. This is as good as it gets for under $2,000– Users love everything about it. Some downsides include a large size compared to the Mavic Pro. It also has a longer setup time than the Mavic as connecting the controller can be time-consuming.

    DJI has really upgraded one pernicious aspect of their previous drones: the low light quality. Low light on the Phantom 4 Pro looks great, however.

    The Phantom 4 Pro+ is the best version of this drone, and one can almost half the price by stepping down to the basic model. That said, this will mean losing a few key aspects for real estate: solid reliability from its advanced radio system, and collision detection. Both of these features many will agree our key for a drone that’s used to take video or photos of buildings where interference of signals and crashing into objects are extremely undesirable.

  3. DJI Mavic Pro Bundle

    Pros:
    • Small Size
    • Excellent Flight Time
    • Quieter Than Most Other Drones
    Cons:
    • Blue Color Interference With Low Light
    • Complex
    • Lackluster Camera

    Who is it for?

    Most real estate professionals who want the best drone for real estate for a variety of uses, including outdoors and even indoors. If 4k at 60fps isn’t a must and one doesn’t need the utmost in footage quality, the Mavic Pro offers a very robust solution, small size, and quick setup time. It has a better radio than the Phantom 4 Pro+ and is much easier to transport.

    Review

    For most, the Mavic Pro offers an amazing, all-in-one solution. There are a few sacrifices and such huge benefits. This small, portable drone offers the best radio of any DJI drone besides the Inspire. Ocusync, its unique technology, is considered to be better than Lightbridge, the tech used in the Phantom 4 models. Ocusync allows for live transmission of 1080p footage (over Lightbridge’s 720p) and allows for a farther total distance of 4 miles.

    The Mavic Pro is smaller, more portable, and can be used inside.

    The Mavic is so small, it’s even practical to dismount its camera and gimbal for a handheld stabilizer.

    Indoor flight of a Mavic in a small home

    Another advantage that the Mavic Pro boasts over the Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro, it has built-in collision sensors, meaning it’s difficult to crash. This feature is available to number two on our list, the Phantom 4 Pro+, but at a much higher price tag.

    There are some minor trade-offs with the Phantom 4 models, but the fact that these are such minor downgrades shows how great of a deal the Mavic Pro is. The Phantom 4 models (Pro & Pro+) can shoot 4k at 60 fps; the Mavic Pro maxes out at 30fps. Another slight difference, the Mavic Pro has a slightly narrower field of view than the Phantom series, meaning it makes things seem slightly less larger than life, but this is hardly even noticeable (see footage comparison below).

    The Mavic Pro is the editor’s choice because it does it all at a great price. It offers unique benefits with very few trade-offs and none that will impact a real estate agent’s goal in any significant way.

  4. DJI Phantom 3 Advanced

    Pros:
    • For strictly outdoor shooting, best value
    • 2.7K camera is more than adequate for most users
    • Light-bridge technology ensures a smooth connection
    • Easy as new drones to fly
    • Can be flown great distances from operator due to Lightbridge (note: flying out of line-of-sight is illegal in some states)
    • Almost half the price of a Mavic, but certainly not half of the value
    Cons:
    • Basically paying $300 extra dollars for controller functions and reliable connection compared to Phantom 3 standard
    • Can’t be flown inside very easily (though people have done it)
    • Complex sensors mean slightly less battery life than Phantom 3 standard

    Who is it for?

    Real estate professionals who want a reliable drone for outdoor shooting. Some minor tradeoffs- less portable than a Mavic and pricier than the Phantom 3, but Lightbridge guarantees reliable connections and some advanced controller feature make this an overall better experience than the Phantom 3 below.

    Review

    The Phantom 3 Advanced is a great budget pick for strictly outdoor shooting because it has great reliability, a more-than-good-enough 2.7k camera, and a robust control system. Sure, it’s not quite as portable or small as a Mavic, but if you’re hesitant to fly a drone inside (or have a Glidecam setup, like the Osmo Mobile), the Phantom 3 advanced offers a great deal.

    The footage speaks for itself.

    It’s more than good enough. Is it bleeding edge 4k? No, but it doesn’t need to be for the vast majority of users, even with a high-end purchase like a house. The fact remains that most people don’t have 4k screens. Most people will likely be watching you footage on a smart phone that isn’t even 1080p. The Phantom 3 Advanced has Lightbridge technology, meaning the connection is stable and one will almost always get the shots they wanted. Plus, it boasts a great, robust control system that you won’t see on the Phantom 3 Standard.

  5. Phantom 3 Standard

    Pros:
    • Shoots 2.7k footage and 12 megapixel photos
    • Flies up to 25 minutes, includes accessories (SD card and extra set of propellors)
    • Crashing means losing $500 instead of much more
    • Battery lasts longer than other Phantom 3 models due to less sensors and complexity
    • Most affordable option that takes well over 1080p footage
    Cons:
    • Reception can be spotty; lacks Lightbridge or Ocusync technology for even medium distance flights
    • Users have had issues with bugs leading to erratic flight control
    • Won’t necessarily impress clients as it’s the basic model of an old drone

    Who is it for?

    Real estate professionals who want a decent drone for outdoor shooting. The camera is as good as the Phantom 3 Advanced, but some users report issues with dropouts and connection problems. These can ruin key shots and lead to collisions or crashes. The controller has fewer options which means that getting the exact shot you need can be more challenging. Still, it’s a great drone and the 2.7k camera will be more than good enough for most users.

    Review

    The Phantom 3 is a solid budget option, but there are some trade-offs that keep it from being the best value proposition. Sure, one does get to hold onto the more than adequate 2.7k footage resolution, but losing Lightbridge means shakier connections (which can lead to poor quality footage or drone destruction). On top of that, many of the refined aspects of the controller are lost on this model; the Phantom 3 advanced lets one control a broad swath of things like exposure, tilt, and in general, has a much simpler, more powerful controller design.

    Needless to say, if you’re not worried about having an occasionally spotty connection (for instance, having to do a second video of a client’s home is doable), then the Phantom 3 can be a mighty fine choice.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

4 Comments

4 Comments

Felicia

Great info dear author. Thanks. Philip Bloom did make a grate video. I thought the Phantom could not operate with a Go Pro using FPV. It seems he had to use it to fly through the trees and docks. That’s what I want to use a drone for. Video. Will FPV work on a Phantom with a Go Pro. Also I hear a lot of stories about the Phantom users loosing control.