Best non-DJI drones [toy, camera and professional]

There is no doubt that DJI dominates the current consumer drone market. However, there are plenty of other drones from other reputable manufacturers that you could consider when looking for a drone. In recent years manufacturers besides DJI have helped innovate in the drone area, and there are plenty of great options from manufacturers such as holystone, Autel and Yuneec.

The non-DJI drones are the holystone HS420 (toy drone), the Evo nano (mini drone), EVO2 (Camera Drone), Skydio 2 (follow me drone), and Typhoon H Plus (professional drone).

This article will look at all of the different categories of drones, and I have researched the best alternative to the DJI drone currently on the market.

Best non-DJI toy drones

Toy drones are best suited for children and indoor use. They tend to have a very short flight time and are light and small.

They tend to have various easy-to-fly modes so that the pilot can fly as soon as possible after receiving the drone and being taken out of the box.

DJI doesn’t have many toy drones suitable for children. The closest is the DJI Tello.

Here is the best toy drone for people who want to stay away from the DJI brand.

Holystone drones

The Holystone HS420 tiny fly cam is perfect for indoor entertainment and is ideal for children.

Find this drone for a very reasonable price here.

Because of its modest size and permanent protection over the propellers, there is no risk of the drone crashing if it collides with walls or ceilings.

This toy is a little drone with a 720p camera that can be tilted at 90 degrees. For such a small drone, it’s amazing to have a camera that moves. In the past, they have been fixed cameras.

It can fly up to 100 metres and has a flight height of 30 metres. It allows children to shoot a selfie with simple hand motion and requires no special training or coaching.

You may also use advanced features like waypoints, which allow the drone to fly in a path you designate on the app autonomously, and circle flying, allowing the drone to circle a destination.

The ability to perform a 3D flip at the touch of a button is a great feature of this drone.

It comes with three rechargeable batteries, so you can always charge one while the drone is flying. Never be caught flying without a battery.

Best non-DJI mini drones

DJI is well known for its mini-series of drones.

These drones are affordable and tend to pack the same powerful software features as other more expensive drones in their lineup.

Mini drones are perfect for people who want to travel with a drone but still want high definition cameras and some more advanced artificial intelligence and automatic shot capture capability.

They fold up into small form factors, making them perfect for taking with you on your next adventure.

Luckily, Autel is also producing some incredible drones in this area.  

EVO nano

Autel has produced the Nano series, an ultralight companion for a photography enthusiast, building on their previous success with other drones.

This drone is available in two versions: nano+ and regular nano.

Find out more about this awesome drone here.

The nano + sports a 0.8-inch CMOS sensor that can take 50-megapixel photographs. The nano has a 48-megapixel camera with a 12-inch CMOS sensor. The three-axis gimbal on both variants of this drone ensures ultra-smooth shots and movies.

This drone will allow you to travel comfortably due to its small form factor while still being able to record some fantastic footage.

Best non-DJI camera drones

Some people buy drones to capture photos and videos of their surroundings.

DJI has innovated in the drone camera space effectively and quickly. However, there are some more powerful and better-equipped drone cameras.

Take a look at Autel’s EVO 2 series of drones with various camera options to suit nearly every budget and use case. They even have a drone camera with up to 8K resolution.

Autel EVO 2

Autel’s flagship drone is the EVO 2. You’ll be attempting to stretch your budget to afford one once you realise how powerful this drone is.

This drone series has pioneered unique payloads for professional photographers and provides outstanding image quality.

They have drones that can fly for up to 40 minutes and shoot footage in 8K resolution.

The Evo 2 Pro has a spectacular 6K video resolution with a Sony generation CMOS sensor for excellent low-light performance. Stunning photos can be taken during the golden and blue hours.

This drone also has a 360° obstacle avoidance system, which keeps your drone safe while allowing it to track targets in a complex 3D environment.

It can recognise up to 64 items and model the location and speed of subjects, allowing it to predict and monitor the trajectory in complex environments.

Best non-DJI Follow-me mode drone

DJI has innovated in the follow me space and has developed a series of artificial intelligence algorithms that can safely navigate tough terrain and environments.

A company called Skydio has taken the follow me mode to a whole new level with their Skydio 2 drone. It has incredible follow me mode capabilities, making it perfect for people who are doing extreme sports and want to focus on the activity rather than piloting a drone.

Skydio 2

This drone was created to fly as independently as possible. This drone may be booked for US$100 at a low starting price of US$999. There are three ways to fly the drone:

  • the Skydio Beacon –follows you like a tracker
  • from an app
  • or with a controller

It features sophisticated flying artificial intelligence and can avoid obstacles from all sides. Six 4K cameras are used for navigation, allowing it to observe everything in every direction with remarkable detail. This AI is what builds the groundwork for the amazing automatic flying capabilities.

This drone is ideal for action sports over trees and other obstacles. It has increased artificial intelligence and obstacle avoidance, allowing it to track and follow you in even difficult environments.

This obstacle avoidance makes it ideal for concentrating on something other than operating the drone. The company’s slogan is

it does the flying, you do the doing.

The drone shoots 4K video at 60 frames per second and pictures at 12 megapixels. It boasts an excellent camera that is based on Sony’s IMX577 sensor.

Best non-DJI professional drones

DJI offers a whole range of professional drones with incredible ability and capability. However, some other companies are innovating in this space.

The ability to interchange the payloads of the drones is an important part of a professional level drone.

Hot swapping cameras and sensor payloads allow you to get many more features and capabilities for your drone without purchasing an entirely different drone for a particular job.

Yuneec has doubled down on the professional level drones, and you should look at the Typhoon H Plus.

Typhoon H Plus

The drone has a 1-inch sensor and 4K camera, and various intelligent flight modes, including follow me, point of interest, and cable cam.

Because the drone is intended for commercial usage in locations with significant electromagnetic radiation noise, it has been safeguarded against electrical interference. It is extremely steady and trustworthy thanks to its six-rotor architecture.

The top features of this drone include:

  • unlimited 360° gimble360 Gimbal rotation
  • five rotors fail-safe mode – you can lose a motor and still fly back to your takeoff spot
  • 4K video capture
  • 20-megapixel photos
  • ready to fly out of the box
  • remote control with a 7-inch touchscreen
  • a 1-inch sensor

The drone comes with a dedicated remote control with a built-in screen for safe flying. You can no longer view the drone’s heads-up or first-person view on your smartphone. The things on the on-screen display are perfectly sized for the screen.

The drone is also able to swap out the payloads for many more advanced and professional features:

  • 30 times zoom camera (E30Z/X)
  • 20-megapixel camera with 1 inch Sony sensor (E90/X)
  • Dual thermal and RGB camera (E10T and CGOET/X)

With the Typhoon H Plus, Yuneec has produced a powerful drone.

This drone may be one of the most economical and excellent drones for monitoring and surveying now on the market if you are looking for a trustworthy, stable, and precise drone. Some individuals dislike DJI because of privacy concerns, which this drone addresses.

Yuneec has increased its focus on professional and enterprise drones while abandoning hobby-level drones.

Non-DJI drone buying guide

If you are considering buying a non-DJI drone, here are some aspects that you should consider before launching into your purchase. It includes how reputable the company is, the hardware and software included with the drone, and any support and after purchase care that comes with the drone.

Reputable

It is important to choose a drone from a reputable company with a good history of customer service and drone innovation.

The drones in this list are from manufacturers who have a demonstrated ability to deliver quality drone products and aftercare services.

Hardware

Many drone companies fabricate their drones from cheaper materials such as plastic to save money. A drone contains a frame and shell. The frame should be metal and have good quality parts that stand up to heavy landings.

If it is a foldable drone, you need to ensure that the movement points are well made and stand up to many uses. Ensuring the drone’s frame is metal and the drone’s shell is made from durable plastic will ensure that your drone is up to the same quality as a DJI drone.

Software

When you purchase a drone, the main interaction you will have with it is through the software. Ensuring that the software is easy to use and has regular updates is important for security and usability.

Have a look at the app reviews on the store for your operating system. People tend to be very picky when it comes to drone software, so compare the reviews to DJI’s apps for a true comparison of quality.

Support and after purchase care

Purchase support and care are very important for any drone that you buy. There are many ways in which a drone can cause technological issues. Having a community of customer service agents to help you will put your mind at ease and troubleshoot any difficult issues you face.

I also like to look for a busy forum for troubleshooting issues.

Many drone manufacturers have a dedicated forum for keeping the community connected and allowing people to troubleshoot problems with the help of someone who may have faced the issue before.

Why people may not want a DJI drone

There are plenty of reasons why people do not want a DJI drone. In recent years there has been much information about data security and the rules and regulations currently in place in Chinese operated companies.

Made in China

According to a survey performed in the United States, 40% of adults (out of 1000 people polled) claimed they would not buy products created in China. We frequently associate Chinese-made products with low-cost stuff. In the same poll, 78 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay more for products if the manufacturers relocated their manufacturing plants outside of China.

The big issues include:

  • Security issues
  • Human rights abuses

Check out my Youtube video for more information about drones not made in china.

Advanced features

DJI focuses on drones for consumers and hobbyists. They are starting to get into agricultural and more niche drones. Still, you may wish to consider buying a drone that can perform a particular task better than a DJI drone for many advanced features and specific use cases.

For example, other manufacturers’ drones can perform lidar and another 3D cloud mapping better.

Preference

Some people prefer other manufacturers, and that is perfectly okay.

Even though DJI has innovated in the drone space for many years and offers a range of really comprehensively equipped drones, some people will always prefer going for a company that they feel more closely related and aligned with.

Going against the crowd

there is certainly something in us that wants to go against the crowd. I certainly want to make sure that I have investigated all options before settling on a product. Knowing that DJI is the prevalent drone manufacturer for consumer-level and hobby drones means I am often quite interested in looking at their competitors.

Going against the crowd has allowed me to find some drones and capabilities that I didn’t realise existed and helped broaden my knowledge.

Summary

this article has been through everything you need to know about the best non-DJI drones currently on the market. Even though DJI owns a large market share of the current consumer drone market, some very good and experienced manufacturers are releasing drones better related to some use cases.

Checking out all of the different varieties of drones available on the market will ensure that you are not left with buyer’s remorse and have a better idea of the capabilities available in certain price ranges of drones.

Whether or not it is hobby, mini, consumer, or professional level drones, there is a DJI alternative to satisfy nearly every news case.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!