In the technological world of today, drones have become a very popular type of device. Not only are they great for recreational use, but they can also be used for professional photography and film-making.
Drones have various features; some are more suitable than others for a specific purpose.
They also come in different prices; they can cost anything from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Thus, with so many different models and brands on the market, it can be difficult to know which is best for you.
But fear not! We’ve compiled a list of the ten best drones under 500 dollars that will meet your needs no matter what you’re looking for.
Here are my top 4 picks of the best drones under 500.
DJI Mini 2:
✔ Best Camera drone under $500
✔ It is fun and easy to fly
Hubsan Zino Mini Pro:
✔ Has a flight time of 40 minutes
✔ It can go on a flight range of 10km
DJI Mavic Mini:
✔ Best value GPS drone
✔ Has a 30-minute flight time
✔ It boasts a triple battery
EXO X7 Ranger Plus:
✔ Great for drone pilots that want to prevent multiple crashes when flying
✔ Has a flight time of 25 minutes
Before You Buy A Drone…
Given the prevalence of expensive drones that over-saturate the market, I know how challenging it might be to get a high-quality drone that meets your requirements and budget.
But before we go into the best drones under 500, there are a few things to think about.
First, what do you want to do with the drone?
Do you intend to capture airborne images or videos?
Do you want to use it for competitions?
Or are you merely looking for something to fly around on?
There are different types of drones suitable for different needs. So, it would be best if you were clear on your drone needs before buying one.
Whatever your drone needs, I am confident that you’ll find the best drone for you in this list. These drones are excellent for amateur, expert, or hobby pilots who want to fly a high-quality drone for leisure or business.
But before we go into all the features and full details of the best drones under 500 dollars, let us quickly look at some key points to consider when buying drones.
Key Points to Consider Before Buying Drones
Nowadays, it’s becoming commonplace to witness drones soaring in the skies, as they are easily accessible to anyone with the means to purchase them.
Nevertheless, before you decide to buy a drone, there are several vital points that you must take into consideration, including:
While speed may be the primary consideration for some individuals when purchasing a drone, it’s essential to remember that flying a drone isn’t the same as racing a car.
While some beginner drones have a maximum speed of around 20 miles per hour (MPH), the average drone speed ranges from 40-60 MPH, with some drones reaching up to 70 MPH. There are even customized racing drones that can exceed speeds of 100+ MPH.
However, smooth and precise controls are crucial when piloting a high-speed drone, along with rapid acceleration when required.
Most drones come equipped with a built-in battery that offers a flight time ranging from 15 to 30 minutes. While some drones boast longer flight times, they are generally more expensive.
The duration of charge times depends on the charger type you’re using. Typically, it takes 30 to 60 minutes to recharge drone batteries, but some may take longer. If your drone comes with a lithium-ion battery, you can expect a charging time of roughly 30 minutes.
Also, some drones have a fast-charging option that provides an additional flight time of around 10 minutes after the initial flight.
Remote Control Range
When buying a drone, it is crucial to consider its remote control range.
Remote control range refers to the maximum distance you can operate the drone using its remote control. Typically, most consumer-grade drones have a remote control range between 50 to 100 meters.
It’s important to note that the remote control range indicates the distance you can control the drone and not the distance you can fly.
Battery Life and Charging Time
The battery life of drones has significantly improved over the years, but it’s crucial to consider the battery life of the model you intend to buy.
Longer battery life will give you more time to fly and explore, which is especially useful for beginners. Additionally, you should check how long the battery takes to charge, as some batteries may take up to six hours to recharge, which is not ideal.
Waiting for hours for your drone to charge before the next flight can be frustrating, so it’s best to choose a model with a shorter charging time
Size of the Drone
When buying a drone, the device’s size is a crucial factor to consider. The size of a drone can affect various factors.
For instance, mini drones are typically easier to operate than larger ones. This is because mini drones are less complex and don’t require as much pilot skill. Moreover, smaller, lightweight drones are better suited for indoor flying, while larger drones are ideal for outdoor or open areas.
That said, both sizes have advantages and disadvantages. You should ensure that you know your requirements and the drone’s features to make an informed decision.
When buying a drone, the camera quality is a crucial factor to consider. Typically situated on the nose of the drone, the camera comes in two primary types: a wide-angle lens and a zoom lens.
Wide-angle lenses are ideal for general photography, while zoom lenses are perfect for capturing close-up shots of a specific subject or object.
The camera quality of a drone is critical because it dictates the quality of images and videos that the drone can capture. The higher the drone camera in quality, the better the resulting pictures and videos.
So, if you want a camera drone, you know what to look out for.
Props and Rotors
The rotors of a drone are the essential components that enable the device to remain airborne. The number of rotors on a drone is another crucial consideration when buying one.
Typically, drones come equipped with two to four rotors, and the number of rotors determines their stability and balance in the air.
Therefore, larger drones usually have four rotors, while smaller ones have two.
More rotors translate to a more stable flight.
Durability and Build Quality
Look for a drone made from lightweight materials, as they are easier to fly and less prone to breaking. Also, inspect the drone for any loose pieces or untidy internal wiring.
A well-assembled drone is more likely to last longer.
Consider the device’s reputation and quality to ensure that you get a durable and well-built drone. You do not want to spend money on a drone that will break down quickly after a single crash.
To evaluate a drone’s durability and construction, you can read reviews from other users or seek independent reviews online.
Ensure Your Activities Require the Use of Drones
Drones are increasingly used in various fields, making them highly sought after today. It’s essential to know that drone technology use is becoming prevalent in these three areas:
Industries like the military, agriculture, and powerline inspections utilize drones to streamline their processes.
In commercial settings, warehouses use drones for inventory and stock-taking purposes.
Some individuals also use drones for recreational purposes, such as professional videography and aerial photography.
Consider the Drone Use Restrictions
When purchasing a drone, it’s important to be aware of any restrictions or regulations in your area regarding its use. While drones are commonly used for commercial photography and videography, you must obtain permission from individuals before capturing their photos or videos.
Additionally, it’s crucial to understand the rules and regulations that govern drone usage in your city or town.
Not following these regulations may lead to severe consequences. Hence, it’s essential to research and understands any restrictions that may apply to the intended use of your drone. This is especially important for drones’ industrial, commercial, or recreational use. By doing so, you can avoid any legal complications or fines and enjoy your drone safely and responsibly.
Registration of Drone
Is it necessary to register a drone? Yes, in many cities, it is essential to register your drone to comply with regulatory and legal requirements. Failing to register your drone can result in potential consequences, so it is crucial to check your local regulations and consider registering your drone before purchasing it.
Take into account the Accessibility of Replacement Components
When buying a drone, it’s crucial to consider the availability of spare parts, as drones can break or get damaged over time. Replacement parts like propellers, landing gear, and batteries may need to be purchased.
It’s essential to check if the manufacturer sells replacement parts for your drone to ensure you can easily get the necessary spare parts. Additionally, you can search online on e-commerce sites like Amazon to see if spare parts are available for your drone.
It’s worth noting that not all replacement parts are universal and may only be compatible with specific models of drones. Take the time to research and find out how easy it is to obtain spare parts from the manufacturer or online to ensure that you can keep your drone in working order.
Now, let’s talk about the 10 best drones for under 500 dollars.
10 Best Drones Under $500
DJI Mini 2 (Top pick)
Lightweight and easy to carry
High-quality camera with excellent performance
Long battery life for extended flights
A good operating range for better control
The video quality is not the best. So if you need a camera drone, this may not be the best drone for you.
Slower speed compared to some other models
The current price on Amazon is $449.00
The DJI Mini 2 tops our desired drone list in our collection. Not only is it the finest drone under $500 with a 4K camera, but it’s also one of the cheapest drones and most portable machines to take with you while on the move.
With the DJI Mini 2, you get a flight time of up to 30 minutes, thanks to its impressive battery range. It has a great range and can reach reasonably fast speeds. The 4K camera mounted on a three-axis gimbal produces stunning footage. The 4X Zoom function allows you to capture high-quality images from a distance, eliminating the need to get too close to your subject. This is particularly useful when photographing your loved ones or clients.
Although the video quality may not be the best compared to higher-end models, it is still a great drone because it exceeds expectations and will satisfy most users. The DJI Mini 2 is also incredibly portable, compact, and easy to fly, making it the perfect choice for anyone looking for a top-quality drone.
Moreover, the DJI Mini is exempt from FAA registration as it weighs less than 250 grams, allowing you to purchase and fly the tiny drone on the same day without the hassle of registration.
Video Capture Resolution: 4K HD
Effective Still Resolution: 12 MP
Connectivity Technology: USB
Included Components: DJI Mini 2 – Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter
Item Weight: 8.78 Ounces
Control Type: Remote Control
Maximum Range: 4000 Meters
Wireless Communication Technology: Ocusync 2.0
Battery Type: Lithium Polymer
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 3.1 x 2.2 inches
Hubsan Zino Mini Pro (Top-rated camera drone for under $500)
Extended flight time
Intermittent USB disconnections in RC (Remote Control)
The price is around $479.99.
The Hubsan Zino Mini Pro stands out best camera drone around as a top-performing drone under $500, delivering impressive flight time, extensive range, and a robust camera.
Hubsan, known for creating entertaining gadgets, has entered the GPS-enabled camera drone market as a strong competitor.
Despite its compact size, this drone is a force to be reckoned with. It can rival some of the larger drones on the market. Its lightweight construction enables swift acceleration, making it ideal for racing and other high-speed endeavors.
Video Recording Quality: 4K UHD 2160p
Battery Size: 3000 MAh
Type of Control: Remote Control
Variety of Media: SD
Wireless Connectivity Technology: Wi-Fi
Includes Batteries: Yes
Video Output Quality: 1920×1080 pixels
Includes Remote Control: Yes
DJI Mavic Mini (Best value GPS drone)
Simple to operate.
Weighs less than 250 grams.
2.7K camera resolution.
The connectivity range is limited
The current price on Amazon is $389.95
The DJI Mavic Mini is a compact drone that weighs less than 250 grams but still boasts a high-quality camera. It falls below the FAA’s registration requirement, making it easy to take off and fly.
With its affordable price, it stands out as the best drone available for under $500. Although its 2.7K camera provides the shortest connectivity range of any DJI drone, at 1 mile, it is still sufficient to capture impressive pictures.
The Mini features the same popular foldable design as the Mavic series, making it a top-of-the-line portable drone.
Equipped with a 30-minute flight time, a 12-megapixel camera, and a three-axis gimbal, it is difficult to find a comparable drone in this size and price range.
Furthermore, it includes a flight tutorial to guide beginners through launching, flying, and landing their drones safely.
The Mavic Mini is ideal for novice drone pilots or those seeking a user-friendly device.
Still image resolution: 12 megapixels
Video resolution: 2.7K
Maximum flight time: 30 minutes
Maximum speed: 29 mph (13 m/s in sport mode)
Key attributes: Weighs 249 grams, DJI Geofencing, Visual Positioning System, Return-to-Home, and Aeroscope remote identification.
EXO X7 Ranger Plus
A lengthy flight time of 25 minutes.
Steady live video streaming.
GPS positioning, return-to-home, follow-me, and altitude hold features.
A 2K HD camera that includes a 1/3.2″ CMOS sensor and a 9MP camera.
A compact size and lightweight design.
Does not include a propeller guard.
Must be registered with the FAA due to its weight exceeding 250 grams.
The current price on Amazon is $292.96
The EXO X7 Ranger PLUS is an intelligent and affordable drone. It earned a spot on our list of the 10 best drones under $500 due to its extended flight time, steady live video streaming, intelligent flight modes, and advanced features, including GPS positioning, return-to-home, follow-me, and altitude hold.
This drone is equipped with a 2K HD camera that can capture stunning pictures and record crystal-clear footage.
Range: 0.5 Miles
Speed: 27 MPH
Camera: 2K Video @30fps, 1/3.2″ CMOS Sensor, 9MP Camera, 4096 x 3072px Still Image
Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 3 inches
Weight: 3 Pounds
Beginner-friendly, easy to fly
Equipped with educational tools
Offers multiple flight options
Safe for indoor flight
The remote control is optional and must be purchased separately
The current price on Amazon is $159
The Ryze Tello is an excellent choice as the first drone for most people, offering a straightforward design with surprising features.
The Ryze Tello is a well-crafted drone with more features than its price tag suggests. You can fly it via your phone or code your own navigation; remote control is available if you choose to use one.
This drone is an excellent choice for educational purposes due to its coding capabilities and ability to fly safely indoors. It also comes with tools that teach you about flight and flight control.
Ryze Tello is not a camera drone and may not be the fastest option on our list. Still, it is a great beginner drone that prioritizes safety, ease of use, and education.
Weight: Approximately 2.8 ounces (including battery and propellers)
Dimensions: 3.6×3.6×1.6 inches
Battery: Detachable Battery- 1.1Ah/3.8V
Charger: Micro USB Charging Port
Video transmission range: 100m
Video resolution: HD 720p
Frame rate: 30FPS
Modes: Bounce mode, 8D flips, Throw & Go, Up & Away, and EZ Shots.
EXO Cinemaster 2
Extended flight duration
High maximum speed
Quality camera suitable for capturing aerial photos and videos
The weight may be considered heavy by some users.
The price is around $475.99
The EXO Cinemaster 2 is a well-known drone in the market. Its popularity is attributed to its excellent flight time, range, and speed; the lightweight drone’s camera captures decent aerial photos and videos.
It is a cost-effective option, making it suitable for beginners and individuals on a tight budget. However, it may not match the capabilities of some of the more expensive camera drones already on this list.
Flight Time: 28 minutes/battery
Stabilization: 3 Axis Gimbal + EXOSmooth
Sensor: 1/2.3in CMOS
Frame Rates: 4K 30FPS // 1080p 60FPS
Video Resolution: 3840 x 2160p UHD
Photo Resolution: 4096 x 3072p
Control Range: ~1/2 Mile
Image Transmission: ~2,000ft
Potensic 4K Dreamer
Long flight time
4K UHD 16MP Camera
Since it connects to your phone via a wifi signal, you can’t fly it very far before losing connection to your phone.
The Potensic 4K Dreamer features quick charging technology that can completely recharge the drone from 0% to 100% in 2 hours.
With a full battery, this drone can fly for up to 28 minutes without needing to be recharged.
It cost around $399.99
Camera: 4K UHD 16MP Camera
Stabilization: 3-axis Gimbal
Flight time: 28MIN Max
PowerAC Dynamic System
Smart Flight Mode
Night Lions Tech 193 Max 2
Its 3-axis gimbal prevents blurry footage when filming
The carrying bag is functional and fashionable
Doesn’t come with a low clearance sensor at the bottom.
The connection to the phone app can be unstable for some Android devices.
With its night vision camera flight mode, the Night Lions Tech drone provides a clear, unobstructed view even in low light conditions. Boasting an impressive shooting range of 9800 feet, this camera allows you to adjust the lens image with a simple finger swipe, allowing you to capture your subjects in exquisite detail from virtually any distance.
The built-in searchlight at the drone’s bottom helps illuminate the surroundings, enabling precise flight maneuvers for you to navigate and avoid potential obstacles easily.
The price is around $499.99
Maximum flight time: 30 minutes (charging time: about 6.5 hours)
Camera: 4K three-axis gimbal (adjustment angle -90°+0°)
Photo resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160) stored in SD card
Video: 4K (3840 x 2160) at 30fps stored on SD card
Maximum control range: 13000 feet
Maximum FPV transmission range: 13000 feet (depending on the mobile device and environment)
Foldable design that makes it compact and great for travel
Although it can pass for a more expensive drone, it is quite affordable
It has a long battery life
Slow mode is too slow outdoors.
Battery charging takes 5 hours.
The Holystone HS720E offers a professional-grade 4K camera and impressive drone at an affordable price, making it the best choice for those looking for a high-quality drone under $500.
Packed with advanced features, the HS720E outperforms other, better-camera drones in this price range, making it a great value.
The price is around $319.99.
Camera: 4k Video
Battery Life: 26 Minutes
Max flight speed: 36 mph (57 kph)
Notable attributes: Image stabilization, 5G FPV transmission, 90°adjustable lens, GPS Assisted Intelligent Flight, 2.4GHz transmitter
Interchangeable lens filters
Easy to fly
Lack of persistent settings.
The Hubsan H501S may be an older model, but it remains one of the most impressive GPS drones produced by Hubsan.
It boasts strong and dependable performance, making it a breeze to navigate through the skies. While its camera may not be top-notch, it offers a decent aerial view. This lightweight drone is a fantastic choice for novice pilots flying around open spaces like parks.
This is one of the cheapest drones under $500. It costs $219.00.
Max Flight Time- 20 minutes
Flying Weight- 450g
Battery- 7.4V 2700mAh Li-Po
Charging Time- 210 minutes
Distance- 300 meters
Having listed the 10 best drones under $500, it’s evident that numerous remarkable drones are available at reasonable prices.
All the drones mentioned above provide excellent value for their price and come with features that will keep you engaged for extended periods. Therefore, if you’re searching for a cost-effective drone that does not sacrifice quality or features, any of the drones listed above would be an excellent option.
We trust that this guide is useful to beginner pilots and will help with the search for the best, most affordable drone.