Our Guide to Black Friday Drone Deals

Whether you’re looking for a camera drone or first-person view racer, the discounts are coming thick and fast.

DJI drone deal

The DJI Avata is one of the top drone models on sale for Black Friday. [Courtesy: DJI]

Looking to give the gift of drones this holiday season? Well, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us, and it’s time to snap up that drone for a friend, family member, or colleague while the getting is good.

Welcome to FLYING’s Black Friday drone discount guide, your source for the best uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) technology available at cut price. We rounded up the biggest and best deals from manufacturers such as DJI, Autel, and Holy Stone to help match you with the perfect drone for your price point and preferred activity, as well as a few drone pilot training courses available at a discount.

Without further ado, let’s dig into the deals. But before you make your purchase: Make sure the drone is ready for the FAA’s Remote ID rule, which takes effect in March, by visiting the agency’s Declaration of Compliance website.

Deals on DJI Drones

No company produces more consumer drones than China’s DJI. Unsurprisingly, the manufacturer is getting in on the Black Friday action with several major discounts on flagship products. We’ll start with deals on the company’s website, which run through Monday.

Best Value: DJI Avata Pro-View Combo ($999)

The Avata is a relatively new arrival to DJI’s catalog, and at a 30 percent discount off its usual $1,428 price tag, now is as good a time as any to try it out.

Considered one of the top camera drones on the market, the first-person view (FPV) UAV comes with intuitive motion control and video stabilization for shooting 4K super-wide footage. Weighing just less than 1 pound, the model is lightweight and portable for filming on the go.

Users can watch the flight live from the drone’s perspective—allowing them to get a better vantage point for video or photography—through a pair of goggles with dual 1080p micro-OLED screens, which are included in the Pro-View Combo. Video is transmitted to the pilot in 100 frames per second (fps) quality.

The bundle comes with the drone, pair of goggles, joystick controller, batteries, power adapter, and more. DJI is also offering the Avata Explorer Combo, which comes with an upgraded version of the Pro-View bundle’s goggles, for 30 percent off ($889).

Best for New Flyers: DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo ($699)

Now available at an 18 percent discount for $699, the Mini 3 Fly More Combo is perfect for beginners. 

The Mini 3 is one of DJI’s most popular and user-friendly models, ideal for hobbyists still getting used to flying. As its name implies, the drone is small—it weighs just more than half a pound, making it one of the most portable models out there.

But it packs a punch: The Mini 3 is DJI’s longest lasting camera drone, with a flight time of 51 minutes. It also transmits video over distances as far as 6 miles and can fly in winds up to 20 knots.

The Fly More Combo includes the drone, remote controller, batteries, chargers, and other accessories and spare parts. Customers can use the UAV to shoot 4K high dynamic range (HDR) video, which appears live on the remote controller’s 5.5-inch high-definition display.

For a slightly cheaper alternative, shoppers can instead opt for DJI’s regular Mini 3 bundle for $609, normally $699. It comes with the drone and controller but fewer accessories. The Fly More Combo is also being offered for the Mini 2 SE, on sale for $449 at a 12 percent discount. That model has a shorter flight time and lower video quality but otherwise returns many of the same features as the Mini 3.

Best for Sport: DJI FPV Combo ($899)

Like the Avata, DJI’s FPV drone gives users an immersive experience, providing them with goggles to wear while they fly. But this model is geared more toward recreational flyers than photographers and cinematographers. At $899, it’s on sale for 10 percent off its usual price.

Experienced pilots are the target market for the FPV Combo—skilled flyers can race the drone or take it out for a joyride. While the UAV is in the sky, they view the action through a 150-degree field of vision, transmitted to the goggles in 4K video from as far as 6 miles away.

Recently, DJI introduced a hybrid flight mode for the FPV drone called S Mode. Switching to this configuration allows the user to combine manual flight with simplified controls from previous DJI models. The model also comes with an emergency brake and hover system, which allows it to stop it in its tracks with the push of a button. Other safety features include return-to-home capability and auxiliary bottom light.

Similar to the Avata and Mini 3, the FPV Combo comes with an assortment of accessories and parts, including goggles and a remote controller.

Other DJI Deals

Beyond drones and drone bundles, DJI is offering deals on accessories and other products. 

The company’s second-generation goggles, for example, are 20 percent off, while the Osmo Action 3 camera standard combo is available at a 15 percent discount. The manufacturer’s Air 2S Fly More Combo is also 20 percent off, though the bundle is listed as out of stock on its website.

In addition, savvy shoppers can find a plethora of DJI deals on other retailers’ sites. Bundles and individual drones can be bought at a discount from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and other familiar big box brands.

Non-DJI Deals

DJI dominates the consumer UAV market. But it’s not the only manufacturer producing acclaimed drone technology—or offering it at a discount. Here are a few more companies getting in the Black Friday spirit.

Best Value: Autel Robotics Evo Lite Premium Bundle ($949)

DJI’s largest Chinese rival, Autel Robotics, is hosting its own Black Friday sale, slashing some prices by as much as 40 percent through November 30. The best deal of the bunch might be on the Evo Lite Premium Bundle, which normally sells for $1,499 but is available for just $949, around a one-third reduction in price.

The Evo Lite is a four-axis gimbal design built for vertical video shooting, with a 50-megapixel camera, 0.8-inch image sensor, and the ability to capture 4K HDR or 60 fps footage, even at night. It can fly for as long as 40 minutes and transmit clear video up to 7.4 miles away.

For photographers on the go, the Evo Lite is a solid choice. The drone’s arms and propellers fold into a tight package for easy travel. And in rugged or challenging environments, the model uses three-way obstacle avoidance to dodge obstructions in front of, behind, and below it.

If that doesn’t suit your fancy, Autel is also offering deals on several Evo II, Evo Nano, and Evo Max models.

Best for Beginners: Holy Stone HS720E GPS Drone ($180)

Holy Stone is best known for designing drones for novice flyers, and the company has several models available at a discount on Amazon Prime

The best deal, though, is arguably on its HS720E GPS Drone—shoppers can save $220 using an on-page coupon. The user-friendly design comes with an electronic image stabilization camera that shoots in 4K, with a 130-degree field of view. 

The HS720E can fly for up to 46 minutes, and pilots have a range of simple commands at their disposal, such as Follow Me, Point of Interest, and Smart Return to Home. In addition, features such as Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, and Optical Flow simplify the flying experience.

Other Holy Stone models on sale for the holidays include the HS280, HS430, and HS710, as well as the H260, which is designed to be simple enough for a child to fly.

Best Value Per Pound: HoverAir X1 ($329)

Manufacturer Zero Zero’s HoverAir X1 is lighter than most smartphones and even tinier than the DJI Mini series—and it’s on sale for $329 through Nov. 28.

The pocket-sized drone takes off from the palm of the user’s hand with the push of a button, flying entirely on its own. There is no controller—instead, the user can select from an array of intelligent flight commands, including hover, follow, orbit, zoom out, and bird’s eye.

In addition to being incredibly portable, the fully enclosed design is durable and elastic. That helps it avoid damage to the frame or injuries to onlookers below in the case of a crash.

The X1 shoots 2.7K video at 30 fps, as well as 1080p HDR video. Three layers of stabilizing technology and an onboard positioning system prevent shaky footage and allow the drone to fly indoors.

While customers can receive the X1 at a 15 percent discount on the official HoverAir store, Amazon Prime members can get $100 off the normal list price.

Here are a few other deals that caught our eye:

  • Exo Drones Blackhawk 3 Pro: $100 off at Best Buy
  • Potensic Atom 4K 3-Axis Gimbal Drone: $80 off on Amazon
  • Sanrock U52 with 1080p HD camera: 31 percent off on Amazon

Drone Pilot Courses and Workshops

This season’s Black Friday deals cover more than just drone hardware.

Pilots don’t need FAA approval to fly recreationally, so long as they follow the agency’s guidelines for recreational flyers and community-based organizations. But to fly commercially, for business or otherwise, a Part 107 remote pilot certificate is required.

The process is relatively straightforward: According to the FAA, less than 1 percent of the 4,500 applicants seeking Part 107 remote pilot permissions every month are rejected. 

But for those who want to ensure they pass with flying colors the first time around—or stay knowledgeable about the rules years later—there are several training courses available at a discount.

Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA), for example, is offering several remote pilot guidebooks at a discount for the holidays, including the second edition of The Complete Remote Pilot. Here are a few Black Friday-specific offers:

Pilot Institute Drone Courses

The Pilot Institute has rolled out its annual Black Friday discounts, and there are a few courses being offered for less than half the typical price.

The big ones are its Part 107 commercial license training and Drone Business Made Easy course, available at discounts of 57 percent and more than 80 percent, respectively. Shoppers can save even more by bundling the two for $139 rather than the usual $449—that’s close to 70 percent off.

And for those still learning the ropes of drone piloting, the institute’s Drone Flying 101 guide is on sale for just $19—it typically costs $100.

Interested in getting the most out of one of the camera drones above? The Pilot Institute has you covered there too with its drone photo and video master class and real estate photo and video course, each 60 percent off. And for those looking to make a career out of flying drones, a guide to Part 107 waivers is available for $50, one-third the usual price.

Drone Launch Academy Courses

Looking for an alternative Part 107 course at a discount? Through Cyber Monday (November 27), Drone Launch Academy is offering its test prep program for $99.50. The course was already a great value at $199, but now it’s half off—and comes with four free months of a Drone Launch Connect Membership.

For an even lower price point, the academy is also offering 50 percent off Part 107 test prep gifts. These include flashcards or a study guide ebook for $19.50 each, and a study guide audiobook for $24.50.

Beyond those deals, all of the academy’s non-Part 107 courses and workshops are also available at half price. These cover topics such as mapping and modeling, aerial videography, real estate, and building a drone business from scratch.

Drone Pilot Ground School Part 107 Test Prep

Time is running out for this one—the Drone Pilot Ground School’s “Fly-Day” sale ends Friday, so now is the time to take advantage of the school’s discounted Part 107 test prep courses, which are considered some of the best out there.

The academy is offering three different levels, each $107 off in a nod to the FAA regulation. Its self-study program is now available for $192, while a guided study costs $232. A guided study with flight training runs for $418.

And the best part about all this? Drone Pilot Ground School has a “pass-or-don’t-pay” policy, so customers don’t need to break the bank on a program that doesn’t work for them—even if it’s at a discount.

That just about covers the biggest Black Friday deals and discounts on drone technology and resources, but if you’ve read this far, you’re probably new to flying drones. So, we’ll leave you with a few models aimed at new flyers and children:

  • Potensic A20 Mini Drone: 29 percent off on Amazon
  • Contixo F19 with 1080p camera: 42 percent off at Walmart
  • DEERC D20 Mini Drone: 50 percent off on Amazon

With that, happy shopping—and don’t forget to check on that pesky Remote ID compliance!

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Jack is a staff writer covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel—and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.

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