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For many years, consumers basically had two choices when it came to drones. Some drones cost around $1,000 and up and then there were drones that were quite cheap and flimsy. The more expensive drones did have a lot of features such as a GPS, high-definition cameras, and they were long range, but the cost was simply too much, so people didn't buy them as often. Today, there are many different drones on the market and they are available in different price ranges. Drones come with many great features such as obstacle avoidance systems, 4K cameras, and the ability to track them indoors.
For those that are just new to using drones you really don't have to spend a lot of money because you can get a decent drone that has a lot of features for a lot less than they used to cost you. This article covers drones so you can find one that works for you and available in your price range. So what is the best drone under $500? Let’s have a look at some models.
The Best Drones Under $500 Comparison Table
Holy Stone HS700
DJI Phantom 3
Holy Stone HS100
12 MP 1080P FULL HD
1080P FPV Optimized
8.66 x 8.66 x 6.1 inches
15 x 14 x 8.2 Inches
19.7 x 19.7 x 6.9 inches
19 x 14 x 6 inches
10.2 x 8.5 x 6.6 inches
3.7 x 1.1 x 3.7 inches
*Scroll right on mobile device to see every item
The Best Drone Under $500 Reviews
Holy Stone HS700 Review
This is one recommended to drone because it stands out from the pack. This drone offers excellent performance and it feels like you're controlling a drone that is very high-end. It's very maneuverable, responsive, and it can even fly under difficult conditions such as when there is a lot of wind. If you don't have a high-budget this is one of the better alternatives on the market and you won't be disappointed by its performance.
- It has a range of over one kilometer
- It has an auto return feature so it will come back to you even if you lose track of it
- You get 20 minutes of flight time with this drone
The camera on this drone is a decent one but it's not as good as some other cameras so you might want to install your own camera on the Drone. You have the ability to transmit live video and you get 1080p video as well as 12 megapixels. You will get good photographs out of the camera but the video quality is a little lacking. It needs a better gimbal for stabilization and a better lens.
One of the highlights of this drone is the GPS system it features both a custom flight path and a follow me mode. You can draw a route for the drone on the app screen and then your drone will follow in the direction that you have laid out. You get 5 gigahertz live video transmission and an auto return feature so your drone will come back to you if you lose track of it. The Holy Stone drone does lack some features such as an automatic landing and take-off function. It's best points are path system and the decent GPS system it has. If you’re looking for the best drone under $500, this is a good starting point.
- Features great performance
- Has a custom flight path in GPS system
- You get a solid 20 minutes of flight time
- It’s controllable up to 1 kilometer
- it features an intelligent flight control system
- The drone itself is built quite well
- You don't get a 3-axis gimbal
- There is no speed flight mode with this drone
- You don't get collision avoidance
- The camera lens is a bit weak
- It needs a better stabilization gimbal
DJI Phantom 3 Review
This drone is a regular quadcopter and it's a very good design. DJI Makes exceptional drones that are perfect for photography and they usually come a bit over $500 but they totally worth it! This drone is very easy to control with a simple control system. It's the perfect option for any intermediate drone flyer and ones that are looking forward two taking pictures of the landscape as they use their drone. It features wide landing gear and the battery is easy to install in the device.
- It comes with a 2.7 K camera
- You get full HD 1080p video
- You can capture video at 30 frames per second
- There is a 2.8 F wide angle lens
- You get a 94 degrees field of view
- The recording stream is smooth and free of distortion
- It works with both iPhone and Android devices
- You get smart flight functions with this drone
- it comes with a follow me mode
The drone has some great features and you're able to control it with both a remote and phone control. You get a decent 25 minutes of flight time and the wingspan of this drone is 590 mm. You can operate the done from as far as a thousand meters and you get a good to a 12-megapixel camera and a maximum of 7k video resolution. This is an overall great choice for a drone that is around $500-600.
- You get excellent video streaming quality
- The controls of the Drone are very responsive
- It takes around 60 to 80 minutes to charge your drone
- You get a follow flight path and a follow me function
- You can set up your drone to follow a point of Interest so you can focus your drone on that point
- Extra batteries for the drone can cost a lot of money
- The drone is still quite expensive
Holy Stone HS100 GPS FPV RC Drone Review
This quadcopter has several great features including an advanced GPS which improves the flight performance of this drone. There are many different options with this drone such as a flight return feature as well as the ability to follow an object. It also comes with an emergency stop feature so you can cut off the power to the propeller system which ensures the safety of the Drone and those that are around the drone. It's recommended that individuals 16 years and up use this drone as it's not recommended for smaller children. The aerial photography that the device is capable of is suitable but it's not as good as some other drones on the market. It will still give you decent photographs as well as a nice view of your surroundings.
The drone comes with a smart GPS which is integrated into the system. You get around 500 meters of controllable flight time with this drone. If the device is unobstructed you will get around 1,500 m but when the drone is obstructed the signal gets weak and the range of the drone will drop. You get around 12 to 15 minutes of flight time which is suitable for most flights but the flight time is less than some other drones which give you longer flight time.
- It takes between 3 to 6 hours to charge the batteries fully
- It comes with a 1080P HD camera
- You can store your aerial footage with an 8GB card
- The range of the drone is around 500 m
- It comes with smart flight modes
- The device is very easy to use
- You get a live video feature
- You get Advanced features such as follow me in GPS
- It’s a full-grown package that anyone can use
- If you use this drone in the United States you need to register with the FAA before you can fly it
Walkera F210 Quadcopter Review
This device is made by a very well-respected drone company and it’s considered to be an entry-level drone racer. It's perfect for anyone that wants to get into this sport but doesn't have the funds available to build a high-performance drone. This device is suitable for those that want to get into racing but still have some experience flying drones. It's not recommended to purchase this particular drone if you're brand-new to the drone flying in general because it's more designed to be a racer and not a general-purpose drone. This device is very responsive and highly maneuverable.
- Has a maximum control range of around 400 meters
- Flight time around 8 to 9 minutes
- Will transmit real-time video during the race
- A suitable drone for beginner racers as well as those that are more advanced
- Uses a brushless motor
- An easy drone to fly
- Features live video during races
- Has a decent set of features
- Comes with a powerful brushless motor
- Features a good transmitter
- The flight time of this drone is quite short so you will need extra batteries to keep it in the air longer
DJI Spark Quadcopter Review
This particular drone is quite small but it comes with plenty of features. You can fold propellers down too easily store or the Drone it comes with stubby feet so it doesn't have a typical landing gear. The body of the Drone is quite dense and the build quality is excellent. You can use both a controller for the drone as well as gesture movement. The drone will scan your face and take off from the palm of your hand. By waving your hand in various ways you can make this drone move around and even command it to take selfies. You have the ability to pass the control of the drone over to your friends and this drone can also be flown in indoor environments.
It comes with very intuitive controls and a nice compact design for a lower price. One of the drawbacks is it takes a lot of practice to use the gesture features effectively so you might want to stick with the controller and then use the gesture features after you get used to controlling at this particular a drone. It features electronic image stabilization and a decent 2-axis gimbal so you get high-quality images. You can fly this drone in difficult weather conditions such as excessive wind. If you need the best drone under $500, this is a solid choice.
- It comes with a gesture control
- it has a nice compact design
- It features smart flight modes
- The flight time of the Drone is limited
- The range isn't as good as some other drones
- It could use an updated camera
UVify OOri, The World’s First Smart Racing Drone Review
This drone is mainly used for racing and it features good speed. You'll get around 50 miles per hour out of this room so it flies quite quickly. This is a micro quad drone and a little bit smaller than some racing drones that you will find on the current market. The drone is small enough to fit in your hand but it is still quite good for racing purposes. The package comes with everything that you need to start racing. You get USB chargeable batteries, a controller, and the actual a drone when you purchase.
The drone has a front facing camera so you can take pictures as well as stream video directly from the drone as you're flying it. If you're using video goggles you can stream video directly to your goggles if you prefer. This drone is easy to fly for beginners because it has both downward and altitude sensors. This drone is more stable as it flies and it is also easier to fly for experienced Pilots. There are several lights on the drum so you'll know when you have to change the batteries or what flying mode the Drone is currently in.
On the downside, this drone has a poor flight time of only around 6 minutes. While this is on average for many drones, it could use a little extra flight time. Make sure you bring extra batteries with this drone if you plan it to supply it for longer than 6 minutes.
- This drone is easy to operate
- Perfect drone for beginners
- Short flight time
What Do You Get When You Buy A Drone Under $500?
If you want the best drone under $500, there are several things that you need to look for before you purchase your drone.
The Air Time
In general, you're going to want a drone that has a decent flight time. A good flight time is around 15 to 20 minutes and many drones do provide this amount of flight time. You want a drone with a longer flight time so you don't have to keep recharging the batteries. If you do get a drone with less flight time, ensure that you bring extra batteries so you can keep flying it without the need to recharge.
The range of the drone is going to be a top priority when looking for the best drone under $500. A drone that has a range of just 300 meters, for example, is not going to be a very good drone. You want a drone that has at least 500 to 600 and above operating range. In the ideal situation, you should get a drone that has around a thousand of range as this will give you plenty of room to fly the drone successfully. If you plan on showing aerial footage or photographs you're probably going to want a drone that has a range of around one to two kilometers is this gives you enough room to take successful videos and images. Some of the smaller drones that are just being used for a selfie or other small tasks will usually have a range of around fifty to a hundred and this is fine for that purpose. If you want a drone for more extensive tasks, look for a longer operating range.
The Quality of the Images
In general, you're going to want to buy a drone that has high-quality images. You should look for one that has a motorized gimbal because this helps keep the drone stable so you get better images. Many drones will come with an excellent 180p camera that shoots amazing pictures as well as video. If you want one that has even better video, you might have to spend more dollars to get ones that have a 4k camera and sensors. These are higher grade professional drones and they might cost you more than $500.
It's always nice to have a drone with a brushless motor because it gives you a quieter operation. Brushless motors are also easier to fix in a standard brushed motor. Many drones ship with brushless motors and if your drone doesn't have one, you can usually switch a brushed motor to a brushless motor.
RTH Return to Home and Integrated GPS Features
You will want a drone with a return to home or RTH features. When you push a button. The drone will come back to the location that it took off from. This is a great feature for beginners because it will get the drone back to them and they won't have to worry about losing their new drone. When the drone has an integrated GPS feature the device knows where it is and this feature is often available through a smartphone so you can track it easier.
Many drones are now trackable buy smartphones such as an iPhone, iPad, or your Android phone. The downside to this is that the drone will have a shorter range. You also usually get a remote control with your drone that uses radio waves and this will give you a longer range.
When looking for the best drone under $500 you may want some Advanced features. Not every drone in this price range is going to have these sorts of advanced features. One feature you might want is the follow me mode. This allows a drone to track you no matter where you are. This can allow the drone to videotape you while you are windsurfing, bicycling, and so on. You can have the drone follow you and take video footage. The follow me function will also stop your drone from getting lost so you'll be able to find it again.
If you want your drone to be stable to take excellent video and images you're going to want a stabilization gimbal. This is ideal because it keeps the movement to a minimum and you get excellent video without stuttering and you don't get blurry images. You can also get drones that feature obstacle avoidance which keeps the drone from crashing into objects as it will be able to detect them and then avoid them
Virtual Reality VR or First Person View
Whenever you used first-person view or virtual reality view, the drone is going to broadcast live video to you. You can navigate the drone from the video on your controller fourth root special goggles Rather than using your site. In terms of virtual reality, there's a bit of lag time so this can increase the chances that a crash may occur. When you use these features you will get a longer range of flight. You can also get features such as altitude hold and this allows the drone to stay at a consistent altitude as there is a sensor which will measure the barometric pressure and keep the drone at a certain altitude. You can also get what is called an intelligent flight mode or IFM. This is essentially a self-driving mode for the drone. You can choose a moving object, a point of Interest, or any target and it’s is going to fly to that destination and then move with the object.
What Features Make the Best Drone Under $500?
If you want the best drone under $500 you're going to want to find a drone that has plenty of features. For example, GPS is a must in any drone. You may want to drone that can take some pictures, record video, and so on. You might want features such as waypoints, follow me, or other features. You should buy a drone that has as many features that you want as possible for under $500. You can get great drones in this price range so look for the features that you want before you buy.
You want a drone that has great stabilization features. This keeps your images, as well as video, is stable while the drone is in operation. This stabilization is done by a motorized gimbal system. These gimbals reduce movement so you'll get high-quality video, excellent images, and so on. If you plan on taking plenty of video and images you want a drone that has a good gimbal system. the gimbal also keeps the drone stable while it is flying which further enhances the quality of the video and the images
An Altitude Hold
With an altitude hold, you can put the drone at a certain altitude. This makes it easier to take videos and snapshots. The drone will stay at a static position and this makes it easier for you to take your videos and get high-quality images. You can get many great models under $500 that have the altitude hold feature.
Drone Under $500 FAQ
Does the Drone have to be registered with the FAA?
You will have to check with your individual jurisdiction to find out whether you need to register the drone with the FAA. Please refer to all regulations, rules, and so on before you fly your drone because in some cases, you could be committing a crime unless you let the proper authorities know that you are flying a drone or that you have clearance to fly a drone. For example, you can't fly most drones near airports as this can be a serious crime. Speak to your local authorities, police, and so on to find out the rules in your area before you fly any drone.
Do I need to have my drone license with me when I fly at my drone?
In some jurisdictions, you will need to have your drone registered. You will get a license to fly your drone so you need to have your drone license with you when flying your drone in any area that requires registration of this sort of device. Failure to have your license with you will result in a criminal offense and probably a charge.
Are Drones Able to Do Professional Work?
When looking for the best drone under $500 you need to consider what you're going to be using it for. Many drones are capable of taking very high-quality videos as well as images. If you need a drone for professional work you can certainly get a drone under $500 that will perform these tasks. In some cases, you may need a more high-quality drone. If you're in industries such as music video production, mapping, and real estate, you might not find a suitable drone under $500 to perform these tasks. You will have to research drones more thoroughly to find one that can meet your individual needs. Just bear in mind that drones have different features so you need a drone that is going to have the features that you want
Can I use FPV Goggles with My Drone?
Many drones that are under $500 have support FPV goggles. You will have to check with the individual drone manufacturer to see if they support these sorts of goggles. If you want to do FPV streaming live Transmissions then you will need a drone that has FPV features.
Will Drones Under $500 be Suitable for learning On?
Any drone under $500 can be used to teach you how to fly drones but you will still need a lot of practice before you are able to fly a drone successfully. It might be a good idea to buy a drone that costs less so that you can learn about it before you start spending a lot of money on your drones. Many of these devices have autonomous functions which can assist the drone pilot as they are flying.
The thing to keep in mind is that if you crash your drone you may have an expensive repair bill. If you buy a drone that cost a lot less, you can simply replace it and then buy another drone without the need for an expensive repair Bill. Whenever you buy a drone under $500 you are still spending a lot of money so you might want to get one that cost a little less as you are learning how to fly. Many beginners have used these types of drones to learn on so they are suitable for anyone that wants to learn how to fly.
What About Indoor and Outdoor Flight?
You will have to read the manufacturer's instructions about your drone to see whether it has both indoor and outdoor flight functions. Some drones can only be used outdoors while others can be used both indoors as well as outdoors. Many drones can also be flown indoors you just want to check with the manufacturer to see the recommendations before you start to fly your device.
Can Children Use Them?
It's not a good idea to have children that fly a drone. These are very small devices and are not considered to be toys. There are drones specifically designed for children that you can buy and they usually cost around $100. If you have small children around you while you're flying your drone please be sure they are supervised at all times.
Can I Use Live Action or GoPro Cameras with my Drone?
Most drones can be used with other cameras such as live action cameras or a GoPro camera. Many drones already come with a high-quality camera but if you want to use your own the camera you can usually do this quite successfully. Check with the documentation and the manufacturer to see which cameras are compatible with their model.
The best drone under $500 is all going to depend upon your individual preferences. You can find many great drones in a suitable price range which have a wide range of features that you're going to love. Make sure you buy a drone that has the features you are looking for specifically as this will save you a whole lot of money. There are drones available for photography, videos, selfies, and so on. Drone technology is always expanding and getting better so they were sure to be many more drones under $500 that you can buy in the near future.
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