What is the Top 8 Best Return to Home Drones in 2024？
2、Mavic Air 2s
4、Autel Evo 2
7、SG906 Pro 2
Best return to home drones utilize cutting-edge GPS and vision positioning technology to provide an invaluable safety net for recreational and professional pilots. With automated RTH functionality, these UAVs can autonomously fly back to their launch point if the battery runs low or the connection is lost. This gives both hobbyists and commercial operators much-needed peace of mind when operating beyond line of sight. While early RTH systems had issues, the reliability and intelligence of modern home return has vastly improved. For any drone user prioritizing reliability over risky fly-aways, today’s best return to home drones are a must. To better understand key factors like triggering methods, obstacle avoidance integration, and the pros and cons of this safety feature, keep reading.
What is auto Return to home(RTH)?
Auto return to home (RTH) is an important drone safety feature that enables the UAV to autonomously fly back to its takeoff point if certain conditions are met. Some key things to know about auto RTH:
- Uses GPS coordinates recorded at takeoff to navigate back
- Can be triggered if remote control signal is lost
- Often activates if battery level becomes too low
- May also initiate if pilot presses dedicated RTH button
- Advanced drones avoid obstacles when returning home
Having RTH prevents drones from becoming lost if connection is disrupted. It provides peace of mind to pilots, especially when flying beyond visual line of sight. If regulators detect a drone entering unauthorized areas like airports, they may remotely activate RTH.
RTH brings the drone back to within a few meters of takeoff point and lands or hovers. This safety feature has improved enormously thanks to more advanced positioning tech and better sensors to avoid hazards. It is now a staple feature expected on many consumer, commercial and professional drones.
Types of Return to Home
- GPS return to home
- Non GPS return to home
How does GPS return to home on a drone work exactly?
GPS return to home is what we’re mainly gonna focus on, since that’s the legit tech you can actually use in real life situations.
This means the drone’s gotta have a GPS module installed and connect to at least a couple satellites.
Drone GPS autopilots usually let you do other stuff too like setting waypoints and circling around a point. But those more advanced flight modes are mostly on pricier drones, like the DJI models.
Having GPS return can be super handy if you’re out fishing and wanna send your drone back to shore.
So in summary, GPS return to home is the real deal that gives you useful capabilities. The drone needs GPS hardware and a satellite lock. And while cheaper drones may lack the advanced functions, GPS return itself lets you recall your drone from far away, like when you’re done fishing offshore. Let me know if you need any clarification on this!
How does GPS RTH work?
So how’s GPS return to home actually work? The drone saves the coordinates when you first take off from a spot. Then when you activate the return home feature, it’ll fly straight back to those original takeoff coordinates.
Usually it does this at a preset height or whatever height you’re at when you activate it. But some drones let you change settings and customize how it returns.
The further out your quadcopter goes, the more crucial having the return home gets. So if you want both distance and the peace of mind of GPS return, I suggest checking out my article on the best long range drones. That way you can fly far safely!
But basically the GPS records where you took off, so it can retrace a direct path back there if you activate the feature. The return altitude can vary based on the drone and settings. And the farther you are, the more key it is for avoiding flyaways. Let me know if any part of how GPS return to home works needs clarifying!
How Does No GPS return to home？ (one key return)
Now for drones without GPS, they got that one key return home button. But on those real cheap models, it’s basically just making the drone hit reverse. Some try to keep the original orientation and go into headless mode to get back to you.
It can kinda help in the right situation, but honestly I think it’s mostly just a gimmick to trick folks. You could just pull back on the stick yourself and get the same sketchy results if it’s not facing the right way.
Underwater drones have a whole different return method – they got a tether so you can reel them in from the water. But a normal waterproof drone can still have GPS capabilities.
So in summary, the non-GPS return home is limited. Just pressing a reverse button, not true automatic return. So it’s handy only if the orientation is perfect. Underwater drones use a physical tether to get pulled back, but other waterproof drones play by the same GPS return rules. Let me know if that makes sense or if any part needs clarification!
How to Choose the top 8 best drone with RTH?
Alright, let’s dive deeper into those drones I mentioned in the table before. They’re all super solid options, ranging from budget-friendly to pro-level, so there’s something for everyone.
I’ve picked out my top 7 return to home drones to highlight, going from the priciest down to the most affordable picks, even some under 200 bucks.
So whether you’re a beginner looking for that reliability safety net or a pro needing dependable tech for serious projects, there’s a great return to home drone here for you. Now let’s get into the details on each one so you can find the perfect fit for your needs and experience level.
1. DJI mini 2 – Best 4k RTH drone under 250g
The DJI Mini 2 is a compact and lightweight drone from DJI, weighing less than 249g. It has a 3-axis gimbal stabilized camera capable of 4K video and 12MP photos. The Mini 2 boasts a maximum flight time of 31 minutes and has a range of 10km. It also features auto return-to-home functionality.
- Lightweight and highly portable
- Long 31 minute flight time
- 4K camera and gimbal for great footage
- Advanced safety features like auto return home
- OcuSync transmission for 10km range
- More limited 2.7K resolution on lower bitrate
- No obstacle avoidance sensors
- Struggles with wind resistance
- Less resolution and zoom than Mavic drones
- No hyperlapse or panorama modes
In summary, the DJI Mini 2 is an excellent portable drone for beginners and casual hobbyists looking for solid 4K footage and reliability in a small package. But it lacks some of the more advanced creative and safety features of higher-end models.
2.Mavic Air 2s – Best PRO RTH drone (on a budget)
The DJI Mavic Air 2S is DJI’s latest compact folding drone that builds upon the successful Mavic Air 2 model. It features a 1-inch CMOS sensor camera capable of 20MP photos and 5.4K video, while maintaining a lightweight and portable design. With a max flight time of 31 minutes and 10km transmission range, the Mavic Air 2S is a high-end consumer drone packing impressive specs.
- Large 1-inch camera sensor delivers stunning image quality
- 5.4K/30fps and 4K/60fps video options
- Intelligent shooting modes like FocusTrack and QuickShots
- Long 10km HD video transmission range
- 31 minutes of flight time on a single charge
- Advanced safety features like obstacle avoidance
- High price tag, considerably more expensive than Mavic Air 2
- Sensor size still smaller than Mavic 2 Pro
- Somewhat susceptible to strong winds
- No thermal/infrared camera capabilities
Overall, the Mavic Air 2S provides excellent performance and imaging in a portable package, albeit at a premium price. It excels at aerial photography and videography for both hobbyists and professionals.
3. Swellpro Spry+(best waterproof return to home drone
The Swellpro Spry+ is a waterproof and foldable drone capable of 4K 30fps video and 20MP photos. It has electronic image stabilization, 31 minutes of flight time, and a 2km transmission range. The Spry+ is designed for use near water or rain with an IPX7 water resistance rating.
- Waterproof and buoyant construction
- Stable 4K 30fps video with electronic stabilization
- Long 31 minute maximum flight time
- Automatic return to home functionality
- Foldable design for easy transport
- No mechanical gimbal for the best stabilization
- 4K limited to 30fps frame rate
- Transmission range shorter than other drones
- Struggles in high winds over 30mph
- On the heavier side at over 800g takeoff weight
In summary, the Swellpro Spry+ is uniquely designed for water environments with its waterproofing. But the lack of a gimbal and high winds performance don’t match more premium drones. Still it offers good value for a water-friendly option.
4. Autel Evo 2 – Pro RTH that’s not DJI
The Autel EVO 2 is a folding drone that competes directly with DJI’s offerings for high-end consumer aerial photography. With a 1-inch camera sensor capable of 8K video and 40-minute flight times, it packs cutting-edge specs in a portable package. Autel touts advanced computer vision and photography features for easy professional shots.
- Large 1-inch image sensor enables stunning photo and 8K video quality
- 40-minutes of maximum flight time on a single charge
- Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance with computer vision
- Intelligent flight modes like orbit, waypoint flying, and subject trackingSmooth onboard camera stabilization even in windy conditions
- Dual GPS and GLONASS positioning for stability
- Very expensive, similar pricing as DJI’s premium drones
- Bulkier and heavier than DJI’s folding designs
- Autel app and user experience not as refined as DJI’s
- Some reported issues with reliability and defects
- Fewer third party accessories and customization options
Overall, the EVO 2 provides an impressive spec sheet on paper that competes with top-tier drones from DJI, but has room for refinement when it comes to real-world performance and polish.
5. Hubsan Zino – Best Camera RTH drone under $300
The Hubsan Zino is a compact consumer drone featuring a 4K camera, foldable design, and suite of intelligent flight modes. With a maximum flight time of 23 minutes and range up to 5km, it delivers robust performance in an affordable package under $500.
- Foldable portable design with lightweight build
- 4K camera on 3-axis gimbal captures stable video
- Advanced features like orbit and waypoint flying
- Top speed of 44 mph in Sport mode
- Up to 23 minutes of flight time per battery
- Under $500 price provides great value
- No front-facing obstacle avoidance sensors
- Controller feel and build quality mediocre
- Camera limited to 100Mbps bitrate
- Lacks GPS for precise hovering
- Struggles in high winds over 30mph
- Short 1-year warranty period
In summary, the Hubsan Zino punches above its weight class for the price, offering an impressive roster of features. But build quality and flying refinements still lag behind top consumer drone brands. It works best as an affordable stepping stone.
6. Bugs B12 – Best GPS EIS Camera Drone under $200
The Bugs B12 is a foldable drone capable of shooting 4K video and 16MP photos with a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor. It has 40 minutes of flight time and 8 km of transmission range. The Bugs B12 features obstacle avoidance sensors and has intelligent flight modes like Follow Me.
- Large 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor for great image quality
- 4K 30fps video with EIS stabilization
- Very long max flight time of 40 minutes
- Obstacle avoidance and auto return home
- Foldable design for portability
- Still photography limited to 16MP
- Advanced intelligent flight modes cost extra
- Propellers can be exposed in folds
- Struggles with wind resistance
- Priced high compared to competitors
In summary, the Bugs B12 boasts excellent flight endurance and good 4K footage for its sensor size. But the lack of more safety sensors and high cost make it less competitive than rivals like DJI.
7. SG906 Pro 2 – Best 3 axis stabilized drone under $150
The SG906 Pro 2 is an affordable GPS drone with a 2K camera, brushless motors, and features like auto return to home. It has a flight time of around 18-20 minutes and control range up to 800 meters.
- 2K camera stabilized by 2-axis gimbal
- Brushless motors for power and efficiency
- Auto return home and altitude hold
- Foldable arms for easy transport
- Affordable pricing under $200
- 2K video limited to 30 fps frame rate
- Shorter flight time than premium models
- Exposed propellers when folded
- Lacks obstacle avoidance sensors
- Struggles in moderate wind speeds
In summary, the SG906 Pro 2 packs very solid performance and imaging for its low price point. However, the limitations in flight time, wind resistance, and safety features reflect its budget cost.
8. Eachine Ex5 – Best Cheap RTH drone under 250g
The Eachine EX5 is an ultra-budget friendly GPS drone equipped with a 4K camera, optical flow positioning, and auto return home functionality. It offers features like follow me and orbit modes as well. The EX5 has around 20 minutes of flight time.
- 4K camera and stable footage from GPS
- Optical flow positioning for indoor stability
- Auto return home and altitude hold
- Different intelligent flight modes
- Extremely affordable under $150
- 4K limited to 30fps frame rate
- No gimbal so footage not perfectly smooth
- Maximum 800m range is shorter than rivals
- Does not handle wind very well
- Cheap build quality and battery life
In summary, the Eachine EX5 packs an impressive amount of imaging and flight features given its unbelievably low price tag. However, build quality, video frame rates, and wind resistance reflect its budget cost.
Final words about Best Return to Home Drones
In 2024, return to home technology in consumer drones will continue advancing to provide an invaluable safeguard against flyaways. GPS and visual positioning modules will become smaller and more accurate, enabling precise automatic homing within centimeters. Sensor coverage will improve with omnidirectional obstacle detection to avoid collisions enroute. We’ll also see smarter systems that analyze weather, geography, and remaining battery to optimize return paths home. However, this safety comes at a cost – beginner drones likely won’t adopt complex auto return due to tight margins. But mid-tier models will strike an affordable balance of range, flight time, and failsafe automation. For aerial photographers going deep out of visual line of sight, high-end drones in 2024 will integrate satellite communication and redundancy across critical components to ensure successful return home from extreme distances. While not foolproof, these innovations will provide peace of mind to match the expanding capabilities of aerial robotic platforms.
Know more about the best return home drone，please check the video out：
FAQs about Best Return to Home Drones
Which drones in 2024 will have the most reliable return to home?
High-end drones from DJI, Skydio are expected to have hybrid navigation combining visual positioning and satellite positioning for greatly improved reliability.
What hardware is needed to support return to home?
GPS modules, optical flow sensors, obstacle detection sensors etc. Some high-end models may also incorporate satellite communication capabilities.
What are the common triggers for activating return to home?
Common triggers include remote controller signal loss, low battery level, and manual activation by the user.
How will collisions be avoided on the return path?
High-end return to home drones will leverage computer vision for omnidirectional obstacle avoidance and replanning the optimal route back.
Does using return to home reduce flight time?
Activating return to home increases speed and alters altitude, so flight time is slightly reduced.
What is the price range for return to home drones?
Drones with reliable return to home typically cost $500 to $2000.
Is visual return to home without GPS feasible?
Theoretically yes, but current visual positioning stability and reliability is not on par with GPS. There is still room for improvement.
How should I choose the right return to home drone for me?
Consider your use case and budget, pick products with suitable range, flight time, camera performance.