Return to home technology has become an indispensable safety feature in modern drones. Having your drone automatically fly back to the takeoff point with the press of a button gives peace of mind in case you lose orientation or control. As consumer drones continue to advance in capabilities, the precision and reliability of return to home functions has significantly improved. When purchasing your next drone, be sure to consider models with this autonomous flight capability. In this article, we will count down our picks for the top return to home drones to buy in 2024.
In this article I will recommend this drones for you:
2、Mavic Air 2s
4、Autel Evo 2
7、SG906 Pro 2
Let’s started now！
What is Return Home Drone？
Return home drones are drones that have an automatic feature to return safely back to their takeoff point if the connection with the controller is lost. This safety feature uses GPS technology to record the takeoff location. If the drone loses connection with the remote controller, either due to distance or interference, the return home function will activate. The drone will then elevate to a certain altitude, turn around, and autonomously fly back to the takeoff point to land safely. This prevents the drone from flying away out of range and being lost. Return home is an important failsafe function for recreational and commercial drones, ensuring the drone returns home instead of crashing or becoming lost if it loses connection with the pilot.
What are the main features of Return Home Drone？
- GPS Module – Return home function relies on GPS to record home point location.
- Home Point Recording – Drones store takeoff location as the return point before flying.
- Auto Return Navigation – If connection is lost, the drone can autonomously fly back to home point.
- Altitude Gain – Drones will first gain altitude before returning, to avoid obstacles.
- Low Battery Return – Many drones will also return home if battery gets too low.
- Precision Landing – Advanced drones can precisely land back at the takeoff point.
What should you pay attention to when buying a Return Home Drone?
- GPS Accuracy – More accurate GPS improves precision of return home function.
- Transmission Range – A longer range transmitter allows drone to fly farther while maintaining connection.
- Obstacle Avoidance – Sensors like optical flow and ultrasonic can help drone avoid collisions when returning.
- Battery Life – Longer flight time allows drone to fly farther while still having juice to return home.
- Auto Landing Accuracy – Precise automatic landing ability will improve safety.
- Redundant Systems – Having backup compasses, GPS units, etc improves reliability.
- Visual Tracking – Computer vision technology allows drones to visually track and return to takeoff point.
8 Best Return to Home Drones
|Max Flight Time
|DJI Mini 2
|Mavic Air 2S
|Autel Evo 2
|SG906 Pro 2
1、DJI mini 2
The DJI Mini 2 is a compact and lightweight drone focused on portability and ease of use. This tiny quadcopter folds down to fit in the palm of your hand and weighs less than 249 grams, so it does not require FAA registration in many countries. The Mini 2 captures stabilized 4K video and 12MP photos thanks to its integrated 3-axis gimbal and 1/2.3” CMOS sensor. It also features enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity and OcuSync 2.0 for reliable video transmission to your phone or controller up to 6.2 miles away.
- Extremely portable and foldable design
- No drone license required due to low weight
- Captures smooth 4K video and crisp photos
- Long flight time up to 31 minutes
- Enhanced Wi-Fi speeds for better image transfer
- Intelligent flight modes and subject tracking
- Still on the pricier side for a mini drone
- Wind can impact stability due to light weight
- No advanced obstacle avoidance sensors
- Controller not included by default
- Low-light and night image quality is just decent
2、Mavic Air 2s
The DJI Air 2S is a compact, foldable drone designed for aerial photographers and videographers. This drone features an impressive 1-inch 20MP camera sensor capable of capturing high-quality 20MP stills and 5.4K video. Powered by DJI’s robust flight technology, the Air 2S offers a max transmission range of 12km and 31 minutes of flight time. Some of the standout pros of this drone are its excellent camera performance with a large sensor and high megapixel count, versatile shooting modes like Hyperlapse and HDR video, and automated flight modes like MasterShots.
- 1-inch 20MP camera sensor
- 5.4K video resolution
- 12km transmission range
- Automated flight and camera modes
- Obstacle avoidance sensors
- Lower resolution than EVO II
- 31 minute battery life
- $999 price tag is expensive for casual users
The Air 2S also boasts DJI’s robust obstacle avoidance system using multiple vision sensors. However, the Air 2S does come with some downsides to consider. It lacks the 8K resolution and 48MP camera available on the more premium Autel EVO II. The 31 minute battery life is also shorter than some competitors. While packed with features, the $999 price tag stretches the budget for more casual users. But for aerial photographers seeking professional camera results without the size of DJI’s Mavic series, the Air 2S is a compact powerhouse.
The Swellpro Spry+ is a compact folding drone made by the company Swellpro. It has a lightweight and portable design that makes it easy to transport and travel with. The Spry+ is equipped with a 4K camera and 3-axis gimbal for capturing stabilized video footage and photos. It has a maximum transmission range of 2000 meters and flight time of 25 minutes.
- Compact and foldable design for portability
- Good 4K camera and 3-axis gimbal for great shots
- Decent flight time of 25 minutes
- Reasonably long transmission range of 2km
- Simple to use for beginners
- Waterproof design floats on water
- Limited 2km range compared to other drones
- No obstacle avoidance sensors
- Not capable of advanced intelligent flight modes
- Short 12 month warranty period
- Company support based in China can be difficult
- No redundancy features for improved safety
In summary, the Swellpro Spry+ is a reasonably priced folding drone good for travel and capturing 4K footage, but has shorter range and lacks some advanced features found in higher end drones. The waterproof design makes it fun for water sports.
4、Autel Evo 2
The Autel EVO II is a folding drone built for professional aerial photography and cinematography. This high-end drone features a 48MP 1/2-inch camera capable of shooting 8K video at 30fps. With a max video bitrate of 120Mbps and HDR capabilities, the EVO II produces incredibly detailed, vibrant footage. Some of the biggest pros of this drone are its industry-leading 8K video resolution, 40 minutes of flight time on a single charge, and omni-directional obstacle avoidance sensors.
- Industry-leading 8K video resolution
- 48MP 1/2-inch camera
- 40 minute flight time per battery
- Advanced stabilization and low noise
- Omni-directional obstacle avoidance
- Very high $1395 base price
- Large size makes it less portable
- Advanced app could be complex for beginners
The EVO II also boasts excellent stabilization and low-noise performance even in windy conditions. However, there are some downsides to consider with this premium drone. It carries a very high $1395 base price that caters more to professional creatives. The large form factor also makes it less portable than some competitors. While more advanced fliers will benefit from Autel’s robust app control, it may prove overly complex for beginner hobbyists.
The Hubsan Zino is an affordable mid-range drone that captures stable 4K video and has decent flight capabilities. It features a three-axis gimbal stabilized camera capable of 4K 30fps video and 12MP photos. The Zino has an intelligent flight mode that allows for orbiting and tracking shots. It has a maximum transmission range of 3km and can fly for up to 23 minutes per battery charge.
- Good 4K camera and 3-axis gimbal for smooth video
- Intelligent flight modes for creative shots
- Generous 3km transmission range
- Decent 23 minute flight time
- Foldable design for easy transport
- Beginner friendly and easy to fly
- Lacks obstacle avoidance sensors
- No redundancy for improved safety
- 4K camera could be better in low light
- APP control interface is basic
- No advanced autonomous flight modes
- Customer support can be hit or miss
In summary, the Hubsan Zino offers an affordable way to get into aerial 4K video and photography. Though it lacks some more advanced features, it provides good value for the price point. Its intuitive controls make it easy to fly for beginners.
The Bugs B12 is a budget-friendly folding drone designed for beginners getting into aerial photography. It has a 4K camera on a 3-axis gimbal for stable video and photo capture. The B12 has a maximum transmission range of 500 meters and can fly for around 16 minutes per charge.
- Low price point makes it accessible
- Lightweight folding design for portability
- 4K camera and 3-axis gimbal for good image quality
- Altitude hold and one key return home functions
- Easy to fly for beginners
- Very short 500 meter transmission range
- Short 16 minute flight time
- Lack of advanced flight modes and features
- No obstacle avoidance or redundancy features
- 4K camera limited in low light conditions
- Customer support can be difficult
In summary, the Bugs B12 is an ultra budget-friendly way to experiment with drones and 4K aerial photography. However, its very short range and basic feature set limit its versatility. Lack of brand reputation also makes support concerns. But for the price, it offers just enough to get started.
7、SG906 Pro 2
The SG906 Pro 2 is an affordable drone designed primarily for flying fun and casual aerial videos and photos. It features a 2K camera on a 2-axis gimbal for decent stability. With brushless motors, it’s capable of speeds up to 45 mph.
- Very low price makes this drone highly accessible
- 2K camera provides decent video and photo quality
- Fun to fly with 45 mph top speed
- Altitude hold and trajectory flight modes
- Foldable and portable design
- 25 minutes of flight time
- 2K camera limited compared to 4K models
- Short 800 meter transmission range
- Lack of obstacle avoidance sensors
- No advanced autonomous flight modes
- Basic APP interface and features
- Customer service and support is limited
In summary, the SG906 Pro 2 is an ultra-affordable drone for having casual flying fun and capturing adequate aerial shots and video. However, light on features beyond its basics. Best suited for beginner pilots looking to learn on an inexpensive drone. Support can be lacking.
The Eachine EX5 is a folding drone equipped with a 4K camera and designed for recreational aerial photography. The 3-axis gimbal helps stabilize footage and photos. It has a transmission range up to 500 meters and max flight time of 30 minutes.
- Foldable design makes it portable
- Long 30 minute flight time
- 4K camera captures high resolution footage
- GPS-based functions like return-to-home
- Altitude hold and follow me modes
- Reasonably priced for a 4K drone
- Short 500m transmission range limit usability
- Lack of obstacle avoidance sensors
- No redundancy or safety features
- Basic flight modes and capabilities
- 4K camera limited in low-light conditions
- Eachine has lesser known brand reputation
In summary, the Eachine EX5 offers an affordably priced folding drone with 4K camera and decent flight time. However, the short range and lack of more advanced features limit its versatility. Best for casual users wanting to experiment with a budget 4K drone. Brand support may also be a concern.
Final words about Return to Home Drones
Having a robust and reliable return to home system is a key factor for recreational and professional pilots alike. When this autonomous navigation technology works well, it provides security knowing your drone will come back rather than ending up lost for good. The drones featured in our lineup demonstrate the most precise and advanced RTL capabilities available today. Just be sure to test the failsafe features thoroughly before full reliance in the field. When buying your next drone, keep an eye out for models that integrate cutting-edge GPS, visual positioning, and redundant hardware for peace of mind. Safe flying!
Know more about the Return to Home Drones, please check the following video out:
FAQs about Return to Home Drones
What is return to home technology in drones?
Return to home is an automatic safety feature where the drone flies back to its takeoff point if connection is lost. It uses GPS to record home position.
Why is return to home an important drone feature?
It prevents drones from being lost by flying back instead of crashing if it loses signal. Critical for safety and avoiding flyaways.
How accurately can a drone return to its launch point?
Accuracy depends on GPS precision and sensors. Advanced drones can land within just a few feet of takeoff point. Lower end models may be within 10-20 feet.
What sensors help a drone return home more precisely?
Obstacle avoidance sensors like ultrasonic and optical flow help drone avoid hazards when returning home. Visual positioning helps drone identify takeoff spot.
Do all consumer drones have return to home capability?
Most mid-level to higher end consumer drones will have return to home, but lower end toy drones often lack this feature. Check specifications before buying.
What happens if a drone has low battery when return to home activates?
If battery is critically low, the drone may not make it all the way back. Some will try landing immediately if juice remaining is inadequate.
How far can a drone fly while maintaining connection for return home?
Max range varies, but often over 1 mile with high end models. Longer range transmitters allow further connection.
Can wind or weather impact a drone’s ability to return accurately?
Yes, high winds or heavy rain can push the drone off course on its way back home, reducing precision.
What is the main purpose of return to home function?
Primary purpose is as a safety failsafe to bring the drone back rather than losing it completely if connection is lost with the remote.
Wikipedia：8 Best Return to Home Drones in 2024