The Best Commercial Drones for Sale [September 2016]

Drones have become much more than hobby gadgets and they’ve already entered multiple industries. The commercial applications of UAVs are numerous, as long as local regulations enable businesses to utilize them. From agriculture to surveillance and package deliveries – the options are limitless.

When it comes to commercial use, which drones can be considered top performers? Keep on reading to find out.

The Top Commercial Drone Models

All drones aren’t created equal and many gadgets created for amateur use aren’t going to be particularly suitable for commercial applications. We have put together a list of some of the best drones for commercial use.

DJI Phantom 3 Professional

DJI Phantom 3 Pro with 4K cam

Specs
Camera: UHD 4K video and 12MP photos
Gimbal: Includes a stabilized 3-axis gimbal
FPV: live video feed in HD
Flight time: around 23 min.
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DJI Phantom 3 is one of the most preferred drones for commercial uses and aerial photography because of the excellent price to quality ratio. The video quality in 4K is excellent and the drone is very easy to control and fly. The UHD Video Camera combined with a 3-axis gimbal gives you super smooth videos, crystal clear photos and great features. The battery life is particularly good for the respective class.

The design of Phantom 3 is similar to the one of its predecessors. Four pylons with rotors and a bottom-mounted camera. There are LED lights that make it easy to see the position of the quadcopter in the air.

This drone records 4K footage in both the 16:9 and the 1.9:1 aspect ratios. Both 1080 and 720p footage is supported. There’s a three-axis gimbal that ensures the stability of the camera and prevents the footage from getting shaky.

You can stream live FPV video via iOS and Android devices. It also has automatic flight logs for future review, an automatic return home in the case of low battery or lost control, the ability to create customized commands, flight time of approximately 23 minutes, maximum ascent speed of five meters per second and maximum speed in the air of 16 meters per second (in calm weather, no wind).

DJI Inspire 1 Pro

Inspire Pro
Specs
Camera: 4K video. 360 degree rotation. 16 MP photos.
Gimbal: A 3-axis gimbal w brushless motors
FPV: live HD video view
Flight time: Approx 15 minutes
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The DJI Inspire Pro is targeted at professional photographers and cinematographers.

A micro four thirds camera system is the main innovation of this model. The ZENMUSE X5 series of micro four thirds camera has interchangeable lens compatibility, an optimized dynamic range, easy remote focus control and aperture control.

The design is somewhat bigger than the dimensions of the previous two drones. The weight of DJI Inspire 1 Pro is 6.5 pounds and its width is 1.5 feet. It is also more expensive than some other commercial drones in this list, but it is very reliable and capable of capturing crystal clear 360 degree shots without having the arms of it getting in the way. If you’re serious about aerial photography or cinematography, this could be a winner.

The final characteristic worth mentioning before moving on to the technical specs is the intelligent flight modes available.

Point of Interest mode makes the drone face a particular landmark or object throughout its flight.

Waypoints is a mode allows for autonomous flying following a pre-set routine.

Course Lock enables the drone to follow a set direction (for example, when moving alongside another flying object).

The final mode is Homelock and it fixes all of the controls in relationship to the home point.

Some of the most important technical specifications include a 1.2-mile range, an optical flow sensor that enables indoor flying, retractable carbon fiber arms, 360-degree shooting, flight time of around 15 minutes, maximum ascent speed of five meters per second, maximum speed in the air of 18 meters per second and maximum altitude of 4,500 meters.

3DR Solo Drone

3 DR Solo
Specs
Camera: For use with a GoPro camera. Camera not included.
Gimbal: Gimbal for GoPro Hero available to buy.
Mount: Camera mount for GoPro included.
Flight time: Approx 20-25 minutes
Payload: Can carry low weight actions cameras
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3DR is a popular company in the world of drones. Solo has a very clean, functional design and using the drone and controlling its functionalities is also a relatively easy task.

The video-game style controller can be easier to use and more intuitive than the DJI controllers for some first-time quadcopter pilots. The push of a single button will be sufficient to make the drone take off, pause flight mid-air or begin capturing footage and shooting photographs.

Solo is powered by twin computers and it’s advertised by the manufacturer as the world’s first “smart” drone. The drone comes with flight time of around 20 minutes per battery, a range of 0.5 miles and an HD camera with a gimbal for added stabilization.

One of the drone’s coolest features is the Smart Shots photo technology. You can choose among four options – Orbit, Cable Cam, Selfie and Follow. Orbit refers to getting a wrap-around shot. The drone flies around an object or a landmark in a complete circle, keeping the camera steady on the target. In the case of Cable Cam photography, the drone gets locked along a virtual cable in the air. The Selfie mode allows for a beautiful combination between portrait and landscape photography. Finally, the Follow Me mode enables you to track your own route. The camera will be following your journey at all times.

3DR Solo is made with GoPro in mind, and you can control the camera via the gimbal. You can also stream the flight video live to your Android and iOS devices.

DJI Spreading Wings S1000

DJI spreading wings

Specs
Camera: Not included. Compatible with cameras like Canon 5D Mark II and III
Flight time: Approx 15 minutes
Built to carry heavy equipment
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The final piece of equipment that we’re going to take a look at is the DJI Spreading Wings S1000. You may have noticed that it looks quite different from the other drones. The Spreading Wings S1000 is an octocopter. Because of the eight rotors available instead of the typical four, the drone features exceptional stability.

The special thing about this drone is also its capability to carrying heavier cameras, and it is predominantly built for professional aerial photography and cinematography. The gimbal available for purchase is compatible with cameras like Canon 5D Mark II and III.

DJI Spreading Wings S1000 has a relatively big design but the arms can be folded, making transportation easier.
Made of carbon fiber, the propellers are very durable and lightweight at the same time.

Some other interesting characteristics worth mentioning include LED mounted lights on the propeller for night-time flights, retractable landing gear and camera mount, an electronic speed controller for each of the arms, indoor hovering enabled by default, compatibility with a range of batteries, maximum tilt angle of 35 degrees per second, maximum ascent speed of five meters per second, maximum speed in the air of 18 meters per second, maximum altitude of 4,500 meters and maximum flight time of 15 minutes.

The Most Popular Commercial Uses of Drones

Unmanned aircraft like drones and quadcopters can simplify and optimize a vast range of commercial processes. Most people have already heard about the attempts of various companies to begin drone deliveries. This is just one of the possible uses of UAVs in the world of business. Here are several other commercial uses that have already become quite popular:

  • Surveillance: surveillance becomes an easier and safer process with the use of drones. Not to mention the fact that unlike surveillance cameras, drones can be taken where they need to be. These are perfect for examining the activities in larger facilities and industrial venues. Aerial surveillance with a drone paints a complete picture and thermal imaging can also be utilized to get more information.
  • Agriculture: drones can be used in agriculture to do crop surveillance and get more efficient crop health imaging. Addressing problems in a timely manner can potentially maximize yield, quickly justifying the investment in the purchase of an agriculture drone.
  • Real estate: real estate agents are trying to be creative when it comes to making presentations. Customers are getting to be pickier than ever and they’re looking for much more than property photographs. Aerial pictures and videos give potential customers a very good idea about the most important assets of the property. If you invest in drone technology right now, you will quickly establish a real estate agency as a market leader and an innovator.
  • Photography: professional photography and footage creation have been taken to the next level with commercial drones. Many of these UAVs have high quality, HD cameras. They’re ideal for tourism presentations, the creation of creative video clips, ads and even movies. Skilled individuals that know how to pilot a drone and take quality photographs will find more and more employment opportunities in the future.

Some other commercial uses for drones that are just starting to get established include:

  • Marketing and commercial footage creation
  • Environment and climate control
  • Meteorology
  • Disaster response
  • Mapping
  • Construction and pre-construction planning
  • Geo referencing
  • Maintenance surveying
  • Progress monitoring and reporting

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