10 Best Drones Under $500

Drones are quite sophisticated devices for the price, and being used everywhere these days.  Many consider them a hobby or even a toy.  Others use them as a tool in their profession.  Heck, if you play your cards right, you could even start a side-hustle to pay for your hobby!  No matter the reason, finding the best drone with the features you need can be difficult with all the available options.  

Here’s a list of our top 10 favorites under $500…

DJI Mavic Mini Drone
Best Drone Under $500 in 2020…

DJI Mavic Mini

✔ Up to 30 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Top Speed – 29 MPH
✔ Range – 2.5 Miles
✔ 12MP Camera / 2.7K Video 
✔ Includes 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal
✔ Weights Just 0.55 LBS
Ultra-Smooth Video Footage

DJI Spark Drone

DJI Spark

✔ Up to 16 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Top Speed – 31 MPH
✔ Range – 1.2 Miles
✔ 12MP Camera / 1080P Video 
✔ Includes 2-Axis Motorized Gimbal
✔ Weight: 10.58 Ounces
✔ Supports FPV Flight Immersion

DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone
Have a bit more than $500 to spend?  Upgrade to our favorite drone…

DJI Mavic Air 2

✔ Up to 34 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Max. Speed – 42.5 MPH
✔ Range – 11.5 Miles
✔ 48MP Camera / 4K Video @ 60 FPS
✔ Includes 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal
✔ Weight: 20.1 Ounces
✔ Safer Flight, Intelligent Battery, Advanced Features

Potensic D88 Foldable Drone

Potensic D88 

✔ 16-20 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Max. Speed – 31 MPH
✔ Range – 0.93 Miles
✔ 2K HD Video Camera
✔ Weight:  Just Under 25 Ounces
✔ Real-Time 5G WIFI Supports FPV Experience
✔ Easy to Fold and Carry

Holy Stone HS720 Drone
Want to save a few bucks?  This drone is a great budget-friendly choice…

Holy Stone HS720

✔ Up to 26 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Range – 0.62 Miles 
✔ 4K UHD Video Camera 
5G FPV Transmission
✔ Camera Includes Shock Absorbtion 
✔ Weight: 16.2 Ounces
✔ Has Basic “Return Home” and “Follow Me” Modes

RUKO F11 Pro 4K Drone

RUKO F11 Pro

✔ Up to 30 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Max. Speed – 26.8 MPH
✔ Range – 0.75 Miles
✔ 2K HD Video Camera
✔ Weight:  18.3 Ounces
✔ Carry Case Included
✔ No Gimbal Included

Parrot Bebop 2 Drone

Parrot Bebop 2

✔ Up to 25 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Max. Speed – 37.3 MPH
✔ Range – 1.24 Miles
✔ 14 MP Camera / 1080P Video
✔ Weight:  17.6 Ounces
✔ SkyController & FPV Glasses 

Holy Stone HS700D FPV Drone

Holy Stone HS700D

✔ Up to 22 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Max. Speed – 15.5 MPH
✔ Range – 0.62 Miles
✔ 4K UHD Camera / 2.9K Video 
✔ Weight:  21.4 Ounces
✔ No Gimbal Included 

3DR Solo Quadcopter

3DR Solo Quadcopter

✔ Up to 25 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Max. Speed – 55 MPH
✔ Range – 0.50 Miles
✔ No Camera Included 
✔ Weight:  52.8 Ounces
✔ Onboard 1-GHz PC
✔ Can Buy Optional Gimbal for GoPro

Potensic D86 GPS Drone

Potensic D85

✔ 18 – 20 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Max. Speed – 31 MPH
✔ Range – 0.93 Miles
✔ 2K HD Video Camera
✔ Weight:  21.2 Ounces
✔ Carry Case Included

Our Proprietary Ranking System Takes The Following Factors Into Consideration

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Flight Time

Range & Speed

Camera Specs

Advanced Features

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Top Brands

Feedback/ Reviews

Drone Buying Guide

Drones appeal to people of all ages from kids to adults.  They’re fun and exciting to fly, but can also be very helpful to many in their jobs and other hobbies.  If you’ve never researched drones before, you’re in for a treat.  There are TONS of advanced features on many of these devices that make it so easy to fly them, even for the beginner!  

Unfortunately, it’s all the features and different specifications that make it so hard for a novice to decide which drone to buy though.  They all look relatively the same, and all the listing pages say how great each one is.  However, like in most things, they aren’t all the same and you really do get what you pay for much of the time when it comes to drones.  

We’ve put this guide together to help you identify the best drone under $500.  It will guide you through exactly what criteria to look for and assist you in determining what you need and what you don’t.  In other words, what features are worth spending a little extra money for, and which aren’t.

What to Look For When Buying a Drone

Drones have become so cool so fast!  You can get drones that do all kinds of things you didn’t even know existed.  But, all of this technology comes at a cost.  Below, we’ll cover the thinks you MUST consider when buying a drone.  Once you identify drones that meet your needs, the rest of the bells and whistles are just icing on the cake as they say. 

The “critical few” criteria for selecting the best drone under $500 include:  flight time, range & speed, camera specs, and what advanced features are included.  We’ll also talk a bit about the different drone brands and what differentiates them.  And, of course as always, keeping in mind what info can be found in product reviews from those who’ve gone before us and purchased a particular product.

Flying a $500 Drone

Flight Time

One quick scan of the drones on our top 10 list above give you a pretty good idea that there’s a wide range of flight times across them.  Keep in mind, that they’re all relatively in the same pricing category too!  This is a topic I don’t think gets talked about enough.  No one wants their drone sitting on the ground!  They’re only fun (or useful if used for your job) when they’re flying in the air.  Our recommendation is to make this a top priority when shopping for a drone and to always consider paying a bit more for more flight time.  You’ll thank us later.  The best flight times in the $300 – $500 price range are between 25-30 minutes.

Advanced Drone Features

Advanced/Intelligent Features

Most of the drones on the list above have some advanced features, but the ones towards the top of the list have more, and better automation than the others.  Some of the coolest include auto trackers, intelligent batteries, flight tutorials, hand gesture controls, and tap to fly features. 

Each of these either makes flying the drone easier, more convenient, and/or safer.  It’s these software and hardware items that make it easy for beginners to fly such a sophisticated piece of equipment with out crashing it.  Some of the top drones like the DJI Mavic Air 2 even have object avoidance built-in!  

Maximum Range & Top Speed

This topic is usually less critical, but still something you should think about, especially if you have a specific task to perform such as farmers checking fields, law enforcement watching an area, or a photographer that can’t physically get to their target scenery.  

Top speed specs are similar, they usually aren’t that important for the masses.  But, keep in mind that the faster the drone travels, the more ground it can cover in the mere 30 minutes or less time you have in the air before it must return.  For that reason, these two things go hand in hand.  For the majority of us, this will only come into play from time to time.  You may find that it’s not worth paying extra for drones getting top marks in this area.  Also, don’t forget to check your local regulations on drones before taking flight.

Camera Specs

Not only are drones a blast to fly, but they really are flying cameras.  In fact, the cameras on some of these drones rival those used to make Hollywood movies.  The best drones have 4K UHD video capabilities and large megapixel cameras for stills.  You can get some really EPIC shots from them. 

Pictures from the best 4k drone under $500

Any “Regular Joe” can now get amazing footage from almost anywhere.  Previously, you would have needed to have a helicopter or airplane to get the images shown below.  Not anymore!  These were all taken by drone and could theoretically be snapped by anyone, anytime.  Don’t overlook having a great camera on your drone so you can show off all the cool places you’ve taken it.  

What’s even better than stills like above is the unbelievable video that can be shot with a drone.  Check out the video below that was shot completely with our #1 best drone under $500, the DJI Mavic Mini.

Brand Awareness 

There are several brands of drones available, and they each of pros and cons just like any other product or market place.  DJI is the big, 800lb gorilla in the hobby drone industry.  They make the best drones with the most advanced features.  In turn, yes, they cost the most.  But, when you consider the relative value you’re getting with all the added features and flight safety, it really is a no-brainer much of the time.  That being said, if you don’t care about the bells and whistles that come along with a DJI-brand drone, you can save a couple hundred bucks by going with a cheaper drone like our budget-pick, the Holy Stone HS720.

Conclusion:  Best Drones Under $500

We hope our drone buyer’s guide has been helpful in your research and assisted you in finding exactly what you need.  Drones are really fun and can actually change your life for the better.  So many have turned their drone into a social media machine or an income-producing tool for work.  But even if you just want a toy to play around with, they’re a blast!

The last thing I want to leave you with is this… even if you need to save a few bucks before you can buy it, you’re better off to buy the drone that fits your lifestyle and has all the features you want.  Buying a cheap drone now only means you’ll have to spend even more when buy a 2nd drone if you know what I mean.  You’ll fall in love, but regret not getting the “right one”.  So just buy that one now!  Once again, here’s our recommendation.

 

DJI Mavic Mini Drone

DJI Mavic Mini

✔ Up to 30 Minutes of Flight Time
✔ Top Speed – 29 MPH
✔ Range – 2.5 Miles
✔ 12MP Camera / 2.7K Video 
✔ Includes 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal
✔ Weights Just 0.55 LBS
✔ Ultra-Smooth Video Footage

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