Many people bristle at the mention of the word "drone", thinking immediately of the controversial unmanned aerial vehicles used by militaries .

But drones have come a long way over the past few years. Companies continue to come out with resourceful consumer versions that you can own without being a member of the armed forces.

We take a look at the 10 coolest drones you can buy.

1. Parrot AR drone 2.0 - $340

The Parrot AR is the most popular drone on the consumer market. It has a built-in camera capable of capturing 720HD video, and WiFi capabilities. Now carrying a 1500mAh high-density battery it can soar through the sky for around 20 minutes.


Visit: ardrone for a list of retailers

2. DJI Phantom GPS Drone - $800

This handheld machine has great flight coverage - it can cover 300 metres with the help of radio frequency. The built-in camera can capture high powered shots from a great distance. This drone uses GPS technology to return to last flown site if autopilot is turned on.

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3. UAV Micro Helicopter $5,700

This UAV is also known as Skybotix coax autonomous. It is very modern and can deliver up to 37 Mbps with the help of WiFi. It's one of the pricier consumer drones.

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4. H-King Darkwing $190

This is designed specifically for first-person viewing (FPV). It is lightweight and offers massive payload capability for mounting accessories (radios, cameras, etc.) thanks to its lengthy 1,727mm wingspan.

Visit Hobby King for more information

5. Turbo Ace X830-D Drone RTF $1,300

This machine comes fully assembled and programmed. It is great for photographers and videographers as it can support heavier video cameras and lenses. It also boasts the industry's longest flight time: between 23-30 minutes.


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6. Channel Predator/Reaper-Style UAV Plane $400

This drone is styled after the US military's Predator drone, except with a 1.5 metre wingspan.

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7. Aibotix Aibot X6 UAV $34,000

This drone comes with many features, including a powerful camera to capture scenes from a great distance. It has automatic take-off and landing, crash safety, cameras and microphones. But it comes at a cost, and is usually reserved for professional filmmakers.

Visit Aibotix for more information

8. Walkera QR Infra X Smart Drone $150

Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, this is the world's first drone with CAS (Crash Avoidance System) and comes equipped with 10 collision sensors to prevent the machine from crashing into people, objects, and walls. Placing a hand near it while in the air will send the Walkera Infra X flying in the opposite direction. The Ultrasonic Altitude Sensors allow it to climb up stairs and adjust height for each step.

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9. Trimble Gateway $45,500

It's expensive but can fly for up to 45 minutes. It has the anti-collision tools, a crash safety system, automatic cameras, microphones and land surveying options.

Visit Trimble for more information

10. STORM Drone FF Flying Platform $400

The STORM has four rotors and a mount in the middle. It is built for a GoPro camera to record aerial footage for up to seven minutes, without compromising stability and video quality. When the wind's not blowing, the STORM can stay put for up to 10 seconds, while red and white LED lights help users spot it when the sun goes down.

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*Prices are a guide only, correct at time of writing