Drones add a new dimension to your video editing and photography besides being fun to try out. Now, if you’re wondering about the best drones to buy in New Zealand, we’ll provide a guide to those right here!
Before we get into the list of the best drones in New Zealand, though, we should look at how to pick a good drone. That way, you know how to select the best drone for your needs from among our lineup.
Specs at a Glance
So, what do you look for in a drone?
Generally, you have to look at a drone’s specs. You can look at things like weight, size, battery, camera, and sensors, for example.
Another important thing to note is that you get what you pay for. The pricier models tend to be more resilient and have better features than cheaper ones in most cases, for example.
That being said, you should consider the whole package instead of just one aspect of the item. Here, let’s take a look at how particular specs affect a drone’s quality or operation.
Weight is one of the most important considerations when buying a drone. You might think the idea is just to buy the lightest drone you can find, but that actually depends on your needs.
Of course, when your drone is light, it flies up and moves with less resistance. Therefore, it’s easier to manoeuvre, not to mention land back in the starting position or settle over your hand.
But lighter drones also tend to have lower flight times because they’re generally smaller. They also usually have smaller batteries than heavier ones, whose flight times often outdo theirs.
When you’re buying a drone, size is an important factor to consider too. The smaller it is, the easier it is to travel with — although there are larger models that are foldable for easy transport.
If you just want to do small-scale drone flying (like in your home), you would do better with a hand-sized model. It will be easier to store and carry too.
However, if you’re taking it out in the open, a bigger one would be a better option as you can clearly see it and can take pictures in sharper detail.
Another factor to look into is the drone’s battery power.
In conventional models, when the battery runs out, your drone loses power. If it does that in flight, it can drop from a height or even into water!
Some drone manufacturers have introduced ingenious features to help combat such outcomes. For example, some drones fly back to your home location once they detect low battery charge.
Different drones have different flight times due to their batteries. But if you need more, you can always bring an extra battery with you.
This is what it’s all about for your newly bought drone—cameras. If you’re okay with smartphone-grade pictures or video, then you can choose a mid-range model that is cheaper in price.
But if you want 4K resolution or Ultra HD or other fantastic shots, you should look for the higher-end options. An example is the DJI Mavic we listed below.
Many drones now have state-of-the-art sensors that help them avoid obstacles. We certainly recommend looking for ones with them if you don’t want to babysit your drone the entire flight!
This is a useful feature in order to keep safe around or for others, avoid any bumps or punctures that may damage the drone, and just help with navigation overall.
Anyway, those are the most important specs to consider when buying a drone. Now that we’ve gone through them, let’s take a look at the best drones in New Zealand this year!
1. DJI Mavic Air
Best for Travelling
Take pictures on your expeditions like never before with the Mavic Air. Its greatest asset is its camera that captures your image and videos in a beautiful and detail-rich 4K resolution.
It has 3 gimbals that support it so that the pictures you take will come out sharp and clear. You can even get 360° panoramic snapshots, and get access to special modes like boomerang and asteroid.
The Mavic Air is also made of a magnesium alloy that makes it light and rugged. It flies really fast too — even achieving a blistering 43mph!
Foldable arms means it is easier to travel with as well. Your smartphone is designed to fit into its state-of-the-art controller and the drone can be operated from a max distance of 42km.
All of that tells you why it deserves a place in our list of the best drones in New Zealand. It’s also worth noting that it’s a very good deal for its price.
- 4K video resolution
- Takes 12 MP photos
- 3 axial gimbals for stability in taking photos
- Flies at a 43mph maximum speed
- Captivating controller design
Many owners assert that the pictures that the Mavic Air takes are amazing. One thing it needs to improve on, however, is their customer service — buyers say they would prefer prompt responses to queries they send the manufacturer’s way.
One Amazon reviewer, Thomas, states:
“This is written after one week of ownership. I love it. I compared the Mavic Air to the Spark and the Mavic Pro. By most accounts, this was the best of both worlds. As an inexperienced flyer, I can say that this is incredibly easy to fly, the pictures and video are amazing. I have flown in winds up to 20mph and the video looks like it’s a still day. The case that comes with this is excellent. it is small and compact and has plenty of space for your accessories. I purchased a hard case though, because it’s what i wanted. I’ve flown approximately 15 times. Each time brings more joy. The controller is comfortable and easy to get used to.
For anyone getting this drone, as a first timer, I would recommend watching some tutorials to prepare. I would also recommend getting an SD card to put in. Make sure you get one that is capable of writing at the speed necessary to write 4k video. (i purchased the SANDISK Extreme).”
Let’s see another review by Neil K:
“I’ve owned the Phantom 1-4, the Inspire, and the Mavic Pro. That being said, the Mavic Air is probably the best drone I’ve owned so far. Although I’m not going to get the same quality that I would on the Inspire, the size factor is a big plus. It’s so damn small and portable! And the 100mbps and slow motion features are a plus as well. Overall I’m very pleased with the Mavic Air and will be using this exclusively on all of my travel trips due to its increase in sensors, smaller size for portability, and decent battery length. DJI did good with this one! Oh, and the Flame Red is beautiful :-)”
2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Best for Filmmaking
This is the perfect drone for photography lovers as it has a high-end, versatile camera. It’s actually a hasselblad camera that takes images with 20MP of clear and vibrant detail.
You can set the aperture level to take pictures with the lighting and brightness desired. Coupled with 10-Bit Dlog, the means you can record all the colours the scenic view may have with stunning accuracy.
Then there are the omnidirectional sensors that help the drone keep clear of the obstacles along its path. The Mavic 2 Pro also has an average flight time of 30 minutes.
Then it has a unique lapse feature that fast forwards everything that it records like cars whizzing by endlessly. It’s a pretty cool addition to your cinematography in your videos or movies.
It keeps up with moving objects with a top speed of 44.7mph as well. And portability-wise, it’s also foldable and fits neatly in your bag.
- 20MP Hasselblad camera
- 2x zoom function
- Max speed of 44.7mph
- Running time of 31 min
- Has hyperlapse mode
From the looks of it, pretty much all owners of this drone have been impressed by its camera quality both for video and picture. Amazon reviewer AbeK explains:
“I’ve owned all the Phantoms and Mavics, and even a couple of Inspires. This Mavic 2 Pro is the best combination of size, image and video quality, and responsiveness in flight that DJI has produced to date. It’s really great. If you’re considering a state of the art flying camera, it doesn’t get better than this. My only complaint is that DJI has so many firmware updates. It seems every time you power up there’s another 20 minute firmware update.”
Another reviewer, CKE, says:
“Enter the Mavic 2 Pro. While the footage shot from the Mavic 2 Pro is still inferior to a GH4/GH5 type of set-up, it does start to bridge the gap. The larger 1″ sensor can handle lower levels of light while providing a much sharper lens. The resulting footage (and photos) are sharper and more saturated – this alone made the Mavic 2 a no-brainer for me.
So should you buy the Mavic 2 Pro or the Zoom? For me… I would much rather have the larger sensor and higher resolution and just digitally crop the image for a zoom effect. I think it gives me a lot more flexibility.”
3. DJI Inspire 2 With X5S
Best in Swiftness
Looking for a new way to show a cool angle or aerial view of a scene in your movie? You should try out the DJI Inspire 2. It gets right in the middle of the action—cars drifting on the dirt or that knife melee on a rooftop.
You can attach a Zenmuse X7 or X5S lens to it for ultra-HD quality with ProRes, CinemaDNG, H.264 and 265 formats. You can also edit your photos with DJI’s CineCore 2.0.
Spotlight Pro and Profile modes enable your aircraft to pursue the subject for that perfect shot. Speed flying at 58mph with smart sensors takes care of obstacles in its flight path.
You can also have a longer air time than average with its dual battery. And a useful return-to-home feature leads it back to you safely at the location you set for it.
- Ultra-HD photos and videos
- Attachable micro four thirds lenses (X4S, X5S, X7)
- CineCore 2.0 image processor
- Max speed of 58mph
- Return-to-home mode
- Dual battery for longer flights
As with the other DJI product, owner reviews for this drone were great when it came to the drone’s performance itself. However, customer service was still a little less than ideal.
But let’s see what one owner, Stewie, has to say:
“I’ve had this Inspire 2 for a month now and love it. The only issue I’ve had is with the propeller mounts which have a little play. I was able to fix it myself with some foam and paper shims inside the propeller but I hope dji has addressed the issue soon. The performance is incredible and the flight time is greatly improved over the Inspire 1. Get this with an X5S camera or don’t bother. The X4S is good, but might as well get a Phantom 4 pro if you do that.”
4. Ryze Tello
Best for Kids and Teens
Not all drones have to be expensive if you only want one for your kids. In that case, your best choice is the Ryze Tello drone, the little drone that’s smart and loyal.
Because this drone’s components are supplied in part by DJI, you can expect quality from it. It also comes with a nice camera that captures your special moments in 5 megapixels or HD quality.
You can do a lot with the Ryze Tello flight-wise too, such as barrel rolls or flips. Try to throw it into the air for a quick launch, plus you can even play with it by bouncing it in your hand.
With it, your kids will learn something about programming codes to alter its movement, options, and more. It has a 13-minute flight time — long enough for casual or younger users.
If you like, you could also get a game controller or VR goggles for more precise control and a more immersive experience.
- Fun for kids or teens
- 5MP picture quality
- Programmable for new moves or features
- 13min flight time
- Controller/VR goggles are sold separately
In the Noel Leeming store, this mini drone has a rating of 4.3 over 5 stars. Owners loved the ease of use and presets.
What they didn’t like were the low battery life or being too wind-prone. However, those are more or less typical for drones of this size and weight, so we wouldn’t really count them against the drone.
Stacey gave it a perfect 5 stars and said:
“Was skeptical at first having bought a drone 2 days prior from a different retailer. Was immediately put at ease with purchase. Got home and got stuck in. Very well made sturdy for its size. Definately a step up from my mini drone . Connects easily via the app and super easy to fly. Great preset features such as up and away and bounce mode.
Highly recommend and couldnt be happier with my purchase (they also price matched which was brilliant)”
Another user shared this:
“Let’s be honest, a lot of people want a drone to play with, if that is the reason then this is 99% of the way there. Only downfalls are battery life and weight. Spare batteries are not cheap and the weight makes it vulnerable to wind.”
5. Parrot Anafi
Best in Design
Sleek, intelligent, and wind-resistant, this portable drone is a great companion to travel with. With it, you can take pictures of the magnificent scenery around you in clear 21MP and zoom it closer by 2.8x.
A unique feature of the Parrot Anafi that we really like is its 180° gimbal camera, which is great for angled pictures. It also uses an HDR camera, so you know your photos will be of high quality.
Another laudable feature is the Dolly zoom a.k.a. “vertigo effect”. Hitchcock fans will love it, as well as a lot of artistic users.
Slow motion and hyperlapse lets you break down or fast forward your videos too. That only adds to the mix of styles you can achieve with this drone’s camera.
Flight-wise, it keeps up with most things given its top speed of 33mph and flight time of 25 minutes. It also has a return-to-home feature to keep it safe even when battery power is low.
If it gets lost, Find My Drone also informs you its location. We especially like that you can also make it beep — so you can hear if it’s nearby.
- Gimbal camera for high/low angle shots
- 33mph max speed
- 25 min battery life
- Captures 21MP of still photos
- Resists 31mph winds
- Dolly zoom
- Return-to-home safety feature
It racked up 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon from 201 customers. They cited the video dropping out and bad customer service that had a big influence on the grade… yet the positive reviews indicate a lot of owners love the drone too.
So how is this one of our best drones to buy in New Zealand? FAA-licenced drone pilot Bob T. writes:
“This is a fantastic little drone. It is light and extremely portable. It has a great camera with an outstanding 3x zoom. It has a true 25 minute flight time. It has a half-dozen special flight modes as well as the essential GPS position hold and smart RTH. This is the first drone on the market that can honestly compete with the DJI Mavic. Today I flew both the Anafi and the Mavic for several hours. The Mavic has twice the flight range, but the Anafi is competitive or better in just about every other aspect. Overall, I prefer the Anafi as my “travel drone” now.”
6. DJI Mavic Mini
Best in Portability
Like DJI’s Mavics but unable to justify the price or high power on them? Well then, you can enjoy the smaller, lighter form factor of the Mavic Mini.
This is the smaller sibling to the other Mavics in DJI’s line. It shrinks down further when it’s folded, fitting inside the pocket of your backpack or your duffel bag.
With it, you can take pictures with a 12MP camera. You can also record videos you can edit into your travel vlog with 2.7K resolution.
But don’t underestimate it, as hovers at a speed that reaches up to 29mph with and a flight time of half an hour. 3 axial gimbals also ensure your photos don’t get any blurs or lousy angles.
You have a variety of modes to activate as well, including Helix, Circle, Dronie, and Rocket. What’s more, if it’s your first time to pilot a drone, you’ll find the flight tutorial useful (via the DJI Fly App).
- Smaller, lighter, more portable Mavic
- 7K video res and 12MP for still photos
- 3 axis gimbals for balance and stability
- Speed clocks at 29mph
- 30min max flight time
- Has a helpful DJI Fly App
Most owners of this drone love it, saying it’s easy to use and is especially convenient because of the Fly App. Unfortunately, some complained that they could not sync their mobile phones with the app.
As far as we can see, most older phones tend to be the ones that are incompatible. A fair number of buyers stated that they were able to sync after switching to new mobile phones.
For instance, once Tony Muckleroy found a compatible phone, he appreciated it:
“I built a quad several years ago. It was very difficult to fly and had no camera, gimbal, etc… I’ve heard a lot about DJI over the years, so I decided to try the Mavic Mini with the $400 price (this was double what the parts cost me for my first drone!) My phone didn’t support the DJI Play app, so after BUYING A NEWER PHONE I was able to fly the Mavic Mini. I am blown away! Stable, smooth, I am VERY happy with my purchase. Video is clear, sharp, and excellent frame rate. More than enough for personal use, or even YouTube videos.”
7. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
Best for Cinematography
The Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom are carbon copies of each other with the same speed, 4K pictures and videos, flight time, and features. But their similarities diverge in their camera specs.
The Zoom offers a 28-48mm or 2x zoom that takes outstandingly beautiful pictures even at range. That also allows you to vary your shots more, and that results in more creative or dramatic pictures.
Next, you have the Dolly zoom that the Pro does not have either. This offers a fantastically artistic, striking image.
Last but not the least, you have a Super Resolution image exclusive to the Zoom. This puts together several pictures at once and results in a stunning image that shows unparalleled depth and clarity.
- 2x optical zoom
- Captures aerial photos with 12MP camera
- 4K image and video
- Ocusync 2.0 transmission
- Super Resolution capable
- Dolly zoom
- 31 minutes flight time
The Mavic 2 Zoom has been praised by many verified customers from Amazon. They pointed in particular to the Dolly zoom and 4K resolution as features they enjoyed.
For instance, Russell shares his experience:
“Been flying this several weeks now and am really like it. The additional sensors make it easier to fly safely. It flies a bit faster and stays in the air longer that the Mavic Pro as well.
And the zoom! I didn’t think a 2x zoom would be that noticeable but it has made a world of difference. I can bring in distant objects to ‘pack them in’ with foreground elements much better. Now, you can actually see the mountains behind buildings in town.
I can also get better photos from further away, so I don’t disturb anyone (or any animals).
It is incredibly simple to fly, just pay attention and give yourself time to learn. The different perspectives you can get make photography new again!”
8. Autel EVO
The Ultimate Prosumer Drone
That’s it for now for our best drones in New Zealand. This should have helped you find the exact drone you need, whether for filmmaking or just to use in your travels, or both.
Autel EVO is truly every photographer’s dream drone. It is a compact folding unit that offers a powerful camera on a 3-axis stabilized gimbal that records video at 4k resolution up to 60 frames per second and a recording speed up to 100mbps in an H.264 or H.265 codec.
It also captures stunning photos at 12 megapixels using real-glass optics, highlighting more details and color. It is also equipped with a remote control that has a a 3.3-inch OLED screen showing live 720p HD video feed so you can easily monitor what it captures up there without the need for other mobile viewing devices.
Moreover, EVO offers failsafe features letting you know when the battery is low and so you need not to worry about it suddenly losing its power in the middle of your session. It is also a lightweight device weighing only 1.9 lbs so it comes very handy.
- Flight times up to 30 minutes with a range of 4.3 miles (7KM)
- Recording speed up to 100mbps in an H.264 or H.265 codec.
- 12 megapixels with a wide dynamic range
Autel Evo is well reviewed by drone enthusiasts, claiming that it is packed full of features from its design and quality to mechanism and navigations. Here is one of the solid proof.
“I’ve been in the business of testing and using drones for a fair while now, and it’s been a long time since I came across a drone as good as the Autel Evo.
It is packed full of features. The navigational suite is the best there is and works well. So well, in fact, that I believe the Evo would have no problem competing in a slalom competition! Read buyers’ reviews and decide your self.
The video and image quality are also top-class, and I was positively stunned at the clarity of the photos I took. And from a drone! Moreover, the ability to record [email protected] is just the icing on the cake, even if you’ll need to invest in a 4K display to reap the benefit.
Lastly, the Evo’s design and build quality are incredible, and I have no doubt believing that Autel designed this drone with the end-user in mind.
Having said all that, my verdict is that it’s a great product and you won’t regret buying it.”
9. EMAX EZ Pilot
Best for Beginners
Unlike other drones where you are required to have a separate mobile device to have a view of what the drone has been capturing, the EZ Pilot has a built-in FPV camera that allows the user to fly first-person through the FPV goggles so you can feel like you are flying in the air as if you are an actual pilot!
More importantly, it is best for beginners of all ages who are yet to navigate drones both indoors and outdoors. It even comes with everything you need to get started, the drone with battery, the FPV goggles, radio transmitter, and even extra props.
Part of it being beginner-friendly, it allows to have a custom flight mode where the pilot may be able to navigate the device in any direction they want without having to worry about two separate inputs, thanks to EZ One Stick Control.
- First-Person-View (FPV) Compatible
- Gyroscopic Self-leveling
- Ergonomic Radio Controller
- EZ One Stick Control
Are there any questions that you think we haven’t addressed on the matter? Let us know what you think about it or if we missed anything here so we can fix that!
Oh, and if you enjoyed this article, you might like to read too about the best electric scooters in New Zealand. While a drone can show you a lot of the island’s wonders, there’s still nothing like seeing them up close and personal for yourself — and a good scooter can let you get around for that.
If you’d prefer a bike for your travels around New Zealand, though, that’s doable too! Just take a look at our list of the best electric bikes in New Zealand then!