Best Drone for the Money! [2021]

Drones are now more accessible than ever before and the drone market is booming.

Not only are they fun to fly but they can also take professional aerial videos and photos that are bound to impress.

Drones available today come in various price ranges but knowing where you are in your drone journey can help you with your budget.

If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you purchase a cheap drone to practice and improve your piloting skills so if you crash it won’t result in a great loss of money.

If that’s you, check out the best micro drone review.

Experienced drone pilots can spend more money since they have perfected their flying skills but of course, you want a unit that gives you the best value for your money.

This article seeks to offer help to experienced drone pilots who are looking for the best drone for the money.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Mini 2 – Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter,...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 30-31 minutes
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
DJI Mavic Air 2 - Drone Quadcopter UAV with 48MP Camera 4K...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 34 minutes
  • Weight: 1.25 pounds
Holy Stone HS720E 4K EIS Drone with UHD Camera for Adults,...
  • Flight range: 1600 meters
  • Flight time: 26 minutes
  • Weight: 3.96 pounds
HUBSAN ZINO Pro plus drone great for Adult ,4k drone with...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds
3DR Solo Quadcopter (No Gimbal)
  • Flight range: 1.2 miles
  • Flight time: 20 minutes with a camera
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds without camera and gimbal
Parrot PF728000 ANAFI Drone, Foldable Quadcopter Drone with...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds

The best drones for the money on the market

DJI Mini 2 – Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter,...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 30-31 minutes
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

The DJI Mini 2 is one of the best drones under 500 and comes from the biggest drone manufacturer of top drones on the market today, DJI.

Many people are loving all this nifty little gadget has to offer since it is an upgraded model from the Mavic line and now can capture 4K/30 fps videos and 12MP stills.

To further enhance the video quality, the unit is equipped with a 3-axis gimbal system that provides stabilization for smooth transitions with crisp and clear imagery.

It can also stream high-quality Live Video with no lagging and is possibly the best FPV experience you’ll ever experience with a device at this price range.

Pair it with a pair of FPV goggles and elevate your flight experience.

Other likable features of this unit include its various safety features and its size.

This foldable unit is small, lightweight, and compact to take with you on any trip.

It can last for 30 minutes in the sky and capture stills and videos out to an impressive 6.2 miles.

For such a small and inexpensive unit, the DJI Mini 2 is amazing in every aspect and is number one on our best drone for the money list.

 

DJI Mini 2 – Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter,...
  • 【PACK LIGHT, FLY FREE】: at less than 249 g, it weighs about as much as an apple and fits in the...
  • 【3-AXIS GIMBAL WITH 4K CAMERA】: a 12mp camera in the sky delivers content guaranteed to impress....
  • 【OCUSYNC 2.0 VIDEO TRANSMISSION】: mini 2 supports up to 10km of hd video transmission and has...
  • 【POWERFUL PERFORMANCE】: with a max battery life of 31 minutes, dji mini 2 grants more than...
  • 【4X ZOOM】: there’s no need to get so close for your dream shot. 4x digital zoom makes it safer...
  • 【QUICKSHOTS】: with just a few taps, dji mini 2 automatically records and shoots...
  • 【COMPATIBILITY】: the dji fly app requires ios v10.0, android v6.0, or above. compatible devices...

DJI Mavic Air 2 - Drone Quadcopter UAV with 48MP Camera 4K...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 34 minutes
  • Weight: 1.25 pounds

Next on our list is yet another DJI drone which is no surprise since most of their drones offer the best value for money.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 features a better camera, sensors, and control range than its predecessors.

This unit is great for those who aren’t too confident in their piloting skills and is very forgiving even on windy days.

The camera on this unit can capture 48MP images and shoot 4K videos at 30 fps, 2.7K at 60fps, and HD videos at 120fps to provide some remarkable aerial photographs and films.

As expected on a drone that falls into a higher price range, this device is feature-rich with the likes of ActiveTrack, QuickShots, SmartCapture, Smart Obstacle Avoidance, etc.

These advanced features help to enhance your photography and videography experience by making things a whole lot easier.

This unit also boasts an excellent flight time of 34 minutes and has a max range of 6.2 miles.

Although it falls more on the expensive side, the DJI Mavic Air 2 offers good value for money as well.

DJI Mavic Air 2 - Drone Quadcopter UAV with 48MP Camera 4K...
  • 【UP YOUR GAME】: The Mavic Air 2 camera drone takes power and portability to the next level. It...
  • 【NEXT-LEVEL CONTENT】: Capture impressive 48MP photos with a 1/2-inch CMOS sensor while the...
  • 【IMPROVED FLIGHT】: An impressive flight time of up to 34 minutes allows you to pull off epic,...
  • 【INTELLIGENT TRACKING】: Mavic Air 2 features intuitive shooting functions that make aerial...
  • 【APP COMPATIBILITY】: The DJI Fly app requires iOS v10.0, Android v6.0, or above. Compatible...
  • 【WHAT YOU GET】: Mavic Air 2 Aircraft, Remote Controller, Intelligent Flight Battery, 3x...
  • 【VIDEO CAPTURE RESOLUTION】: 4K Hd

Holy Stone HS720E 4K EIS Drone with UHD Camera for Adults,...
  • Flight range: 1600 meters
  • Flight time: 26 minutes
  • Weight: 3.96 pounds

Holy Stone has been able to make a name for themselves in the drone market with a few models that go head to head with some of DJI’s expensive models.

Their products stand out from the crowd at prices that consumers love.

The Holy Stone HS720E drone is one such product that is creating quite a stir.

It is a very responsive unit with its 5G controller and can fly in windy conditions with a total flight time of 26 minutes.

The maximum range is also impressive at 1600 meters and with the onboard camera, you can capture 12MP images and 4K HD videos.

This device can also transmit Live Video to your smartphone via Wi-fi through the Android or iOS app.

While it lacks some of the features that you may want like automatic takeoff and landing, it does include a few cool features like Follow Me Mode and Custom Flight Path.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly drone that offers high-quality photos and videos, then the Holy Stone HS720E drone is the one for you.

Holy Stone HS720E 4K EIS Drone with UHD Camera for Adults,...
  • 4K EIS Anti-Shake Camera with Sony Sensor: The EIS (Electric Image Stabilization) technology reduces...
  • Easy to Use: With air optical flow & air pressure altitude control system, the drone can hover...
  • Advanced Flight Modes: The intelligent flight modes enable the drone to fly automatically and free...
  • Brushless Motors: Brushless motors run more powerful with much less noise compared to brushed...
  • Fly More Kit (46 Mins of Flight): Each intelligent battery support23 minutes of flight; 2 batteries...

HUBSAN ZINO Pro plus drone great for Adult ,4k drone with...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds

The Hubsan Zino Pro drone is another budget-friendly option that does not compromise on quality.

Despite the affordable price, this unit comes with the build quality and technical specifications of its higher-priced competitors.

The maximum range of this device is 2.5 miles which is pretty much unheard of at this price point.

Flight time comes in around 23 minutes which is another bonus when considering the price of the drone.

This foldable and portable unit is equipped with a 5G camera to capture wide-angle, mid-range shots, full HD Videos at 30 fps, and 4K videos with FPV options.

It also comes with a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer and a wide array of intelligent flight modes and safety modes for the best flying experience.

Intelligent flight modes include Custom Path, Precise Tracking, Surround Mode, and Panoramic shooting.

For safety, if the drone loses connection to the transmitter, it goes into the fail-safe mode.

During this time, this almost indestructible drone will automatically return to its home point and land.

The Hubsan Zino Pro is yet another great option to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Check out other drones like the Hubsan Zino Pro in the best drone under 500 review.

HUBSAN ZINO Pro plus drone great for Adult ,4k drone with...
  • 【Drone with 4K Camera】:4k Sony 1/3 inch CMOS Sensor: capturing more information in every pixel...
  • 【Functions】 GPS+GLONASS, Vision Auxiliary Landing, Orbiting, Headless mode, Image Tracking,...
  • 【Power and Distance】: The intelligent battery with 3s 5000mAh capacity extends the flying time...
  • 【HUBSAN ZINO PRO Plus】: Equip with a bag and two batteries ,Charging: Support intelligent...
  • 【Protection】: The drone will enter into the fail-safe mode when the connection is lost from the...

3DR Solo Quadcopter (No Gimbal)
  • Flight range: 1.2 miles
  • Flight time: 20 minutes with a camera
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds without camera and gimbal

If you’re looking for the best drone for the money to carry your GoPro camera, then the 3DR Solo quadcopter is your best bet.

It may not be the newest model on the market but this device has remained a fan favorite to use with a GoPro camera to capture semi-professional shots.

This unit is equipped with a 1GHz computer with a Pixhawk flight controller to provide a very stable and responsive flight.

It is one of the most accurate units to use with your GoPro and can reach speeds of 88km/h.

The maximum range is somewhere around 1.2 miles and can be extended to more than 2.4 miles with a range extension kit.

Meanwhile, the fight time with a camera is 20 minutes and 25 minutes without.

Being an older unit, this drone is not fixed with the most recent technologies but it does come with some cool features like Selfie, Cable Cam, Orbit, and Follow.

These are all features that will help you immensely when filming and purchasing a gimbal will produce better quality images and videos.

Although old, the 3DR Solo quadcopter is a great choice for anyone who already owns an action camera like the GoPro.

For more on this drone, read our full 3DR Solo drone review.

3DR Solo Quadcopter (No Gimbal)
  • Solo’s video game-style controller will feel familiar the second you pick it up, even if you’ve...
  • In case you missed it in the picture…that’s a high-quality HDMI port directly from the...
  • Full-featured app for iOS and Android puts total craft control at your fingertips.

Parrot PF728000 ANAFI Drone, Foldable Quadcopter Drone with...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds

The Parrot PF728000 ANAFI drone is the best small drone weighing just 1.56 pounds.

However, don’t let its small size fool you as the camera on this gadget is impressive,

The camera is capable of capturing 21 MP photos and spectacular 4K videos, Full HD and 2.7K videos, thanks to the f/2.4 wide-angle ASPH lens, HDR, and 2.8 times digital zoom feature.

The gimbal-mounted camera with its rotating capability can take photos and videos of objects above the drone which is something even expensive DJI drones don’t offer.

Selfie lovers will love this cool little device with its Follow Me Mode and SmartDrones modes such as Orbit, Parabola, Boomerang, and Tornado for awesome aerial shots.

This unit has a total flight time of 25 minutes and a maximum flight range of around 2.5 miles.

It can reach speeds up to 55 km/h in sport mode to zoom through the skies while capturing some incredible shots.

The Parrot PF728000 ANAFI drone is the best drone under 1000 that packs a punch with its incredible photography abilities.

Parrot PF728000 ANAFI Drone, Foldable Quadcopter Drone with...
  • This drone with a camera equipped with f/2.4 wide angle ASPH lens, HDR, and up to 2.8 times digital...
  • The ANAFI Parrot Drone can have up to 25 minutes of filmed flight time thanks to an intelligent...
  • With its ultra-compact and lightweight carbon frame (320 g), this quadcopter drone unfolds in less...
  • Equipped with a Parrot Skycontroller 3 folding remote control, the ANAFI Parrot Drone can be located...
  • Software updates can make changes to existing features, further enhance ANAFI’s reliability and...
  • Egyptian (Publication Language)

How to choose the best drone to buy?

Drones are fun to fly and they can help you capture stunning aerial imagery in high resolution.

They are more affordable now than ever before and you can find some very cheap units to practice with.

However, for professional quality videos and photos, you’ll have to spend more.

So how do you know which one is the best drone to buy?

There are a few key things you need to pay attention to before you purchase the best drone for the money. 

Camera

best small drone with camera

Many people are intrigued and fascinated by these unmanned aerial vehicles that can capture breathtaking videos and still from above.

It is one of the many reasons that caused the drone market to explode.

No longer do you have to hire an airplane or helicopter to take professional shots from above.

At a fraction of the cost, a drone can accomplish the same thing.

Some drones come with an onboard camera while others come with a mount that can accommodate various cameras like the GoPro.

Drones can even capture professional 4K videos and even the cheaper models can now capture 720p videos which aren’t bad for personal use.

These flying gadgets also offer the pilot a first-person view(FPV) from the drone to a smart device so accurately capture stills and videos.

Other models come with Virtual Reality(VR) capabilities for the ultimate piloting experience.

Build Quality

You want to make sure your drone can survive crashes because crashes are somewhat inevitable.

You can be a great and experienced drone pilot but sometimes a good drone will take an unplanned descent and crash.

Another instance is if the drone encounters another object whilst in flight such as trees, birds, etc.

What you want is a drone that can survive the crash without damaging the frame.

Look for units with guards to protect the rotors and electronics from harm.

Also, look for models that have cheap replacement parts that can be swapped out easily if they do receive damages. 

You should also choose units that make use of brushless motors instead of brushed since brushless are far more durable and efficient.

Read here for the best brushless drones on the market and here for the top drone companies to choose your unit from.

Remote Controller

Majority of the drones available today come with a remote controller that closely resembles a video game controller.

The remote controller of drones comes with two joysticks that control the movement of the drone.

One stick is used to control the roll of the drone whether you want it to tilt left or right and the pitch of the unit whether you want it to tilt up or down.

The other controller stick controls the throttle and rotation of the device.

Look for a controller that sits comfortably in your hand with the joysticks resting comfortably under your thumbs.

This will allow you to control the unit better and ensure a smooth, responsive and safe flight.

Some models can be controlled by your smartphone but it doesn’t provide the same precision as a controller.

However, if you rather control the device from your smartphone, you can do so via Wi-Fi through an app.

Most times, the app offers a plethora of additional features including live video, etc.

Batteries

The one drawback of drones is charging time vs flying time.

You’ll find that a battery may take hours to complete a full charge cycle but the flight time offered is less than ideal and quite, frankly, quite disappointing at times.

Most drones will only offer up to 30 minutes of flight time which may not be enough if you’re covering an event.

In instances, where you need more flight time, it is recommended to keep a few spares handy so you can swap when your battery runs out of juice.

However, spare batteries are going to cost you so you’ll need to factor that in your original budget to ensure you are still getting the best value for your money.

Legal Requirements

You need to ensure that you follow all legal requirements that are set out by the local authorities on the drone that you choose.

Some drones due to their size and weight need to be registered with the FAA for a small fee.

Others will have to be registered depending on what you will be using the drone for.

Read the do I need to register my drone guide for more on registering your drone.

Once registered, you will be issued a license which you will need to keep on hand at all times whilst flying your drone.

There are several rules when flying your drone like always keeping the drone in your line of sight and never flying directly above people without consent and a lot more.

Check what the regulations are regarding drones in your city, state, or province to avoid any trouble.

Conclusion: best drone for the money

top drones for the money

We have come to the end of our drone reviews and have chosen some of the best on the market.

Our number one pick for the best drone for the money is the DJI Mini 2 that offers all you could ever want in a camera drone in a compact and affordable unit.

The other options on our list are worth considering as well and the one you choose will depend on personal preference and price.

Just remember to keep the key factors in mind and you should be well on your way to getting the most out of your money.

You can also build your own if you want and can figure out how to in our Arduino drone post.

If you are interested in more drone reviews, read this best drones post and if you need the absolute best filming drone, check out the top drones for filmmaking posts.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Mini 2 – Ultralight and Foldable Drone Quadcopter,...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 30-31 minutes
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
DJI Mavic Air 2 - Drone Quadcopter UAV with 48MP Camera 4K...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 34 minutes
  • Weight: 1.25 pounds
Holy Stone HS720E 4K EIS Drone with UHD Camera for Adults,...
  • Flight range: 1600 meters
  • Flight time: 26 minutes
  • Weight: 3.96 pounds
HUBSAN ZINO Pro plus drone great for Adult ,4k drone with...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds
3DR Solo Quadcopter (No Gimbal)
  • Flight range: 1.2 miles
  • Flight time: 20 minutes with a camera
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds without camera and gimbal
Parrot PF728000 ANAFI Drone, Foldable Quadcopter Drone with...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds

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