The best holiday shopping deals may be long gone, but you can still find good drone deals for last-minute gifts. Whether you're shopping for someone looking to take to the skies with a new camera drone or simply cruise around your living room with a toy quadcopter, there are options out there at good prices.
And these aren't old drones with old technology either. Advanced features have trickled down to even small inexpensive models, so drones available today are much more advanced than they were a few years ago.
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DJI Mavic 2 Pro for $1,399, Mavic 2 Zoom for $1,149 ($100 off each)Joshua Goldman/CNET
This is the best deal you'll find on these two drones at the moment. Wellbots will knock $100 off on both the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom models, DJI's top travel-friendly camera drones for enthusiasts and professionals. You'll need to enter coupon code DJI100 at checkout to get the price reduction.
Parrot Mambo FPV Kit for $100
One of my favorite kits for beginners who want simple indoor and outdoor flying. You can record video and photos with the add-on 720p-resolution camera, but it's also a great way to learn how to fly by first-person view using the included FPV headset. Just slide in an iPhone or Android phone with Parrot's flying app and use the bundled Bluetooth controller to pilot the drone.
Air Hogs Supernova Orb for $30Sarah Tew/CNET
More of a flying toy than what's typically considered a drone, the Supernova is surrounded with IR sensors, letting you use your hands to control it. It definitely takes some practice, but once you've got the hand gestures down, it's a blast to play with alone or a partner.
PowerUp Dart app-controlled paper airplane for $50Joshua Goldman/CNET
Rather fly an RC plane than a quadcopter? The PowerUp Dart lets you do just that with very little investment. It's a powered paper airplane that does flips and rolls that you control with an app on your phone. An onscreen slider controls the throttle, while tilting your phone left or right handles steering. It takes some practice, but it's a blast once you get the hang of it. Prices start at $50 for the basic kit.
Ryze Tello bundle for $99Joshua Goldman/CNET
Built in collaboration with drone market leader DJI and Intel, the Tello is way smarter than your average phone-controlled camera drone. The app has several preprogrammed flight patterns designed to get cool-looking selfie shots or you can just fly it with onscreen controls. A Bluetooth controller is available for it, too, if you'd rather have physical controls.
Sky Viper Fury Stunt Drone for $35, Journey GPS Video Drone for $60Sarah Tew/CNET
It's amazing that you can get a camera drone with GPS for $60, let alone a good one. While the Journey won't be putting DJI out of business, it's a good entry-level quadcopter that can hold its position and hover using GPS and has return to home, a Follow Me mode and waypoint navigation. The Fury (on sale for $35 at Amazon) is a simple drone that's quick and can do a variety of flips with buttons on the controller.
DJI Mavic Air for $690 ($110 off)Sarah Tew/CNET
The Air might not have the camera or performance of the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom models, but it's still my go-to camera drone recommendation for most people.
Parrot Anafi for $600 ($100 off)Joshua Goldman/CNET
You get a lot for your money with the Anafi. The 4K-resolution camera drone folds up to the size of a compact umbrella and weighs next to nothing. That's at least part of the reason it gets up to 25 minutes of flight time. While it lacks obstacle avoidance like the Mavic Air, it has a whole bag of shooting tricks for photos and video.
More holiday gift picks
- Best gifts under $25
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- Best deals since Black Friday
The best tech gifts of the year: CNET's top picks.
CNET's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Gift recommendations at all price points.