Who Are Best Drone Companies?

As the role of drones continues to expand, the best drone companies that produce UAVs have been featured in the spotlight more frequently. That includes large drone brands as well as a bevy of smaller ones, all of which are doing important work for commercial and recreational drone use. Which drone companies are making a splash in the early 2020s?

Here are The Best Drone Companies to pay attention to (if you’re not already!):

DJI
Yuneec
Parrot
Holy Stone
Altair
Potensic
Snaptain
Eachine
Autel Robotics
Delair
Skydio
Kesprey
Insitu

In case some of these drone brands are new to you, ahead, we’ll provide detailed backgrounds on each of the 8 companies on this list. You’ll learn the history of the brand and its most popular drones. Make sure you keep reading!

13 of the Most Popular Drone Companies and Their Interesting Histories

DJI

You might think that DJI needs no introduction, but are you privy to all the cool facts about this great drone brand? For example, the full name of DJI is Shenzhen DJI Sciences and Technologies Ltd. or SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd.

Where does the DJI part of the name come from, you ask? It’s short for Da-Jiang Innovations, a Chinese word that translates to “Great Frontier.” Based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, DJI was only founded in 2006, yet it’s made huge strides in the 15+ years since it started.

Its founder is Frank Wang, also known as Wang Tao. Born in 1980, Wang is an engineer and entrepreneur who’s worth about $4.8 billion. At the time of creating DJI, Wang was in college. He himself made the earliest DJI drone prototypes.

The current roster of DJI drones includes the Phantom 4 Pro, the Mavic Mini and Mini 2, the Mavic Mini and Mavic Mini 2, the Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic 2 Zoom, and the Air 2S. Although DJI’s drones are some of the most expensive on the market, between their long flight times and their high-quality cameras, the high costs are worth it to many drone enthusiasts.

Yuneec

Although the slot for the most popular drone company is one that’s long since been occupied by DJI, Yuneec is a close second. What’s interesting is that the company has a longer history than DJI, having been founded in 1999.

It too is a Chinese drone manufacturer with headquarters in Jiangsu, China. The reason Yuneec isn’t more popular than DJI is probably that the company didn’t retail drones right off the bat. Instead, they began with radio-driven model aircraft, including their own electric paraglider series known as the EPac.

Tian Yu, who owned Yuneec at the time, decided to make lightweight trikes, which are a style of hang glider. Yuneec’s hang glider was called the Yuneec International ETrike. Yu also produced motor gliders at the time.

It wasn’t until 2014 that Yuneec shifted to drones. That was the same year the company joined Dronecode, a Linux Foundation nonprofit that sought to put Linux software in drones of the time. The next year, Intel Corporation invested in Yuneec to the tune of $60 million. It was around this time that Yuneec began producing drones.

Yuneec’s collection of drones includes the Typhoon H3, the Typhoon H Plus, and the H520E/520.

Parrot

Parrot is another brand that’s trying to overtake DJI’s much-coveted spot as the most beloved drone manufacturer. This company also has a long history that began in 1994 when Henri Seydoux, Jean-Pierre Talvard, and Christine M/De Tourvel founded the company in France. 

Known in full at Parrot SA, Parrot also didn’t start out in drone manufacturing, but rather, wireless products. The production of these wireless goods continues to this day. In the world of drones, Parrot introduced miniature drones in 2014 and also make them at current. 

Its list of drones includes the Analfi USA, the Analfi Thermal, the Analfi FPV, the Bebop and Bebop 2, and the AR Drone and AR Drone 2.0.

Holy Stone

We’d be remiss not to mention Holy Stone, a drone manufacturer founded in 2014. Their recreational drones are intended for all skill levels, from beginners to more experienced drone operators. 

Holy Stone’s drones include features like high-quality cameras, optical flow positioning, folding technology, and anti-shake tech.

Their mini drones are the HS340, the HS330, the HS450, the HS210, the HS170, the HS190, and the HS177. Holy Stone’s beginner drones include the HS350, the HS240, the HS140, the HS110D, the HS161, the F181W, and the HS650.

The Holy Stone collection of advanced drones boasts the HS175, the HS270, the HS165, the HS110G, the HS120D, the HS100, and the HS130D. If you want the best of the best that Holy Stone has to offer, that’s in their premium series, with drones such as the HS175D, the HS700E, the HS720, the HS720E, the HS510, and the HS700D.  

Altair

Hailing from Nebraska, Altair–which is called Altair Aerial in full–was founded by two men, John D. and Matthew C. John was enamored with RC technology from a young age, which has inspired Altair’s RC offerings today. Matthew is equally as tech-savvy, so the two are a great pair.

Outside of drones, Altair also produces RC boats and RC trucks. The RC element does not apply to their drones though. Theirs are UAVs for enthusiasts who want high-quality cameras, positioning and hovering features, and more. Beginner-friendly yet fun for seasoned drone users, Altair has a lot to offer.

Their drones include the Falcon, the 818 Green Hornet, the AA818, the Aerial Dagger, the AA108, and the Aerial AA300. 

Potensic

If you’re looking for a credible brand that produces toy drones, that would be Potensic. Their GPS drones were founded by an enterprise that wants drone users to be able to fly more and have a blast while doing it. The Potensic team includes marketers, researchers, developers, engineers, and creators.

Potensic’s entry-level drones are the Elfin and the Mini RC, which is intended for kids to get into the fascinating hobby that is flying a drone. The brand’s most popular drone is the DREAMER Pro, which features a three-axis gimbal camera, GPS, and 4K-quality recording.

Snaptain

As Snaptain says on their website, “we are not able to fly, but some of us are still looking at the sky.” It’s that philosophy that inspired Snaptain’s creation. The brand believes in producing high-quality drones that anyone can use, including beginners and children.

Kids can get started with the child-friendly SP300, the SP350, the H823H (which is an indoor drone!), or the SP330. For beginners, the drone options are the A15H, the SP660, the S5C, and the A10.

For more seasoned drone users, the advanced drone collection from Snaptain includes the SP700, the SP7100, the SP600N, the SP510, and the SP650.

Eachine

For years, Eachine has been known as a popular manufacturer of RC drones. For those on a budget who are looking for a fun drone, Eachine is a reliable brand. Maybe your first drone was an Eachine or perhaps it will be!

The collection of drones from Eachine are the E58, the E32HW, the E014, the H101, the E52, the E012 Mini, the E010 Mini, and the E010S Pro.

Autel Robotics

Here is another new name in the world of drones, and that’s Autel Robotics. Established in 2014, the company started with one goal, to make drones that would “enable users across recreational and commercial platforms to meet or exceed their needs and expectations.”

According to its website, Autel’s team includes talented engineers who love to combine their passion for drones with science and tech. Their first drone was 2015’s X-Star from the EVO Series. In 2020, Autel excitedly announced the EVO II Series.

Autel’s complete list of drones is the EVO II, the EVO II Pro, the EVO II Dual, the EVO II DUAL 640T, and the EVO II RTK.

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Delair

Since 2011, Delair, once called Delair-Tech, has produced its own series of drones out of Toulouse, France. The company has expanded with locations in Ghent, Los Angeles, Beijing, and Singapore.

The founders are Bastien Mancini, Benjamin Michel, Benjamin Benharrosh, and Michael de Lagarde. Within one year of working together as Delair, the company had released its first drone known as the DT18. Its purpose was to provide “beyond visual line of sight” or BVLOS communications.

For years, Delair competed with a company called Airware. Airware was another UAV manufacturer that produced drones not for consumers, but for enterprise-level usage. Delair too makes drones that utilize software analytics and are favored for emergency services, agriculture, mining, gas and oil, transportation, and utility purposes.

Airware was a United States company created by Jonathan Downey in Newport Beach, California back in 2011. By 2018, Delair had risen to such prominence that the company could buy out Airware, so that’s exactly what they did.

Delair also gained ownership of French company Redbird, which specializes in data mining. They didn’t stop there, though. In 2016, Delair bought out another competitor called Gatewing.

Like Yuneec, Delair has worked with Intel Corporation. The partnership happened in 2018 to further the Insights program that Intel had started.

Delair’s series of professional drones include the UX11, the UX11Ag, the DT26E LiDAR, the DT26E Surveillance, the DT26E Tactical, and the DT26 Open Payload.

Skydio

Few of the drone companies we’ve discussed so far have come from the US, but Skydio is one exception. Calling themselves “America’s leading drone manufacturer,” Skydio produces drones and software for UAVs within their native country.

The company’s founders are Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT students who, in 2009, had produced autonomous UAVs for a college project. The founders also worked to make the Wing with Google, a drone delivery company.

Skydio was the culmination of this experience and talent. Their drones include the Skydio 2, the Skydio X2, and the Skydio Dock.

Kesprey

An aerial intelligence platform, Kesprey uses drones to provide insights into how companies work.

This is another drone manufacturer then that’s more for commercial than recreational use. According to their website, Kesprey works with industrial companies to paint a clearer picture of mine and stockpile locations as well as earthworks projects planning.

Their company has expanded to worldwide acclaim. Kesprey says their drones are easy to use and require only three steps.

First, you plan the route you want the drone to fly. Then, once it’s in flight, a Kesprey drone will perform an automated analysis of the land. When the drone comes back, you can review the wealth of insights available to you. With an iPad app for route-planning and drone flight, you can even access Kesprey on the go.

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Insitu

The last drone company we want to discuss is Insitu, which is also based in the US. Founded in 1994, Insitu brings nearly three decades of excellence to the design and manufacturing of drones and other unmanned aerial systems.

A Boeing Defense, Space & Security subsidiary, the Insitu team was founded to make a reconnaissance device for long-range weather. The result was called the Aerosonde. Then, a few years later, Insitu started doing deep-sea reconnaissance with the SeaScan.

SeaScan became the ScanEagle by 2003 when the Iraq War was taking place. Insitu mostly produced military aides at that time. By 2008, Boeing acquired Insitu.

Insitu has three drones, the ScanEagle, the Integrator, and the RQ-21A Blackjack. Between the Blackjack and the ScanEagle, Insitu UAVs have a combined number of flight hours that’s nearly a million per 2018 data.

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Conclusion about The Best Drone Companies

You already knew how cool drones were, but this article proves just how intriguing they can be as well. Whether producing drones for fun or even military and mine surveillance, these 8 major drone companies show how far drones have come and how much further they’ll go with the right technology!

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