Best Drone under 500 Review [2021]

When looking to buy a drone, you either find the very cheap ones that are weak in performance or wildly expensive ones that perform well.

This usually leads to frustration and you either ending up with something you don’t like or spending way over your budget.

However, in recent times, some drone manufacturers recognized this issue and started offering awesome drones in the sub $500 price range.

This way both beginner and expert drone pilots can have a unit that performs well at a competitive price. 

If you’re looking for an awesome drone that falls somewhere in the mid-priced category, then stick around.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the best drone under 500 so let’s jump right in.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo – Ultralight Foldable Drone,...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 31 minutes
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
HUBSAN Zino Pro 4k Drones with Camera and GPS for Adults,4KM...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Weight: 25 oz
Ryze Tech Tello - Mini Drone Quadcopter UAV for Kids...
  • Flight range: 100 meters
  • Flight time: 13 minutes
  • Weight: 3 oz
Ruko F11 Pro Drones with Camera for Adults 4K UHD Camera...
  • Flight range: 1200 meters
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 18.3 oz
Holy Stone HS700D FPV Drone with 4K FHD Camera Live Video...
  • Flight range: 1000 meters
  • Flight time: 22 minutes
  • Weight: 21.4 oz

Best drone under 500

DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo – Ultralight Foldable Drone,...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 31 minutes
  • Weight: 8.8 oz

The DJI Mini 2 is our top choice for the best camera drone under $500.

This drone is an updated version of the Mavic Mini which made quite an impact on the consumer hobby market.

The Mini 2 is a super-compact camera drone that comes with a ton of upgrades.

It is a much better version than the original Mini and hosts a better camera as well as flying capabilities.

DJI managed to make the drone better and still maintain its lightweight nature.

The Mini 2 weighs just 8.8 ounces though it’s more durable than the Mavic mini and comes with a 4K camera, better connectivity options and more power.

It is equipped with a 1 /2.3 sensor that is capable of producing 12 MP photos and decent 4K videos at 30fps and 100Mbps data rate.

One of the most exciting updates was the lossless zoom.

The Mini 2 comes with a 4X zoom that allows you to capture your subject from a safe distance which makes it perfect for capturing stunning shots of moving subjects.

If you are looking for a decent camera drone for under $500, then the DJI Mini 2 is the perfect choice with its 4K, 31 minutes flight time and 6.2 miles control range.

 

DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo – Ultralight Foldable Drone,...
  • 【PACK LIGHT, FLY FREE】: at less than 249 g, it weighs about as much as an apple and fits in the...
  • 【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 Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 8.8 oz

DJI Mavic Mini is the drone for you if you need a drone with reliable GPS.

This drone is the best option and gives you the best value for your money.

It is one of the smallest drones released to date and features a very compact foldable design.

The DJI Mavic Mini weighs just 8,8 ounces so that means that you do not have to register it with the FAA before flying.

The unit comes with an 83 degrees lens, 3-axis mechanical stabilization system,2.7K video, !080p HD video up to 60fps and landing sensors.

It comes with a dedicated controller which works in conjunction with the DJI Fly app and has a control range out to 2.5 miles.

Flight time is said to be around 31 minutes which gives you enough time to capture all you need in one go.

Meanwhile, its automatic Return Home, Dronie, Rocket, Circle and Helix flight modes make it easy to fly and control the drone.

The Mavic Mini may not offer 4K videos like some of its rivals but it provides great value for money and remains a leader in its class.

It is small, lightweight, portable, stable and capable of capturing awesome photos and videos.

 

DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K...
  • The compact yet powerful Mavic Mini camera drone is the perfect creative companion, capturing your...
  • Weighing less than 0.55lbs / 250 grams, Mavic Mini is almost as light as the average smartphone. In...
  • Mavic Mini supports 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K HD videos. A 3-axis motorized gimbal provides...
  • Mavic Mini’s weight allows it to stay in the air longer than similar consumer FlyCams on the...
  • DJI Fly App requires iOS v10.0, Android v6.0 or above. Compatible devices include: iPhone 11 Pro...

HUBSAN Zino Pro 4k Drones with Camera and GPS for Adults,4KM...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Weight: 25 oz

Before the Hubsan Zino Pro, Hubsan was known for making some excellent toy drones.

However, to shake things up, Hubsan came out with the Hubsan Zino Pro.

They did bring out the Hubsan Zino before this but it wasn’t in line to be a strong competitor for other units in its class.

However, The Hubsan Zino Pro changed all that and comes with an impressive spec sheet that ticks quite a few boxes.

First off, the Zino Pro comes with an 80 degrees lens, 3-axis stabilization system, 4K UHD video and 5G connectivity.

It includes FPV support and dual GPS.

The 4K camera is capable of capturing professional-quality photos and videos which makes it an awesome choice against its competitors.

It also gives the user the option to remove the camera lens cover so that you can swap lenses with those that have ND filters.

The unit ships with its dedicated controller that pairs with the X-Hubsan app and has a control range of 2.5 miles which is the same as the Mavic Mini.

Although the flight time is shorter than the Mavic Mini, the Zino Pro still provides a fairly decent flight time of 23 minutes.

The Zino Pro features a futuristic design and comes loaded with a bunch of advanced technologies.

It hosts a suite of smart flight modes including Orbit, WayPoint, Line Fly, Image tracking and a whole lot more.

One of the most appreciated features is the Vision Auxiliary Landing which allows the drone to scan its surroundings to guarantee a safer landing.

 

HUBSAN Zino Pro 4k Drones with Camera and GPS for Adults,4KM...
  • [Functions] 4K UHD Camera,Panorama Shooting,GPS+GLONASS, Vision Auxiliary Landing,...
  • [Camera] 3-axis gimbal(pitch,roll,yaw), 4K UHD 3840*2160 resolution 30fps, panorama...
  • [Stronger & Stable GPS Signal] Advanced Image transmission system Least 1.0 increase Live Video...
  • [Safety] Automatic return home and Search apron, loss control failsafe and lower battery...
  • [Powerful] Brushless motor and 11.4V 3000mAh battery provide the done 23mins flying time and give...

Ryze Tech Tello - Mini Drone Quadcopter UAV for Kids...
  • Flight range: 100 meters
  • Flight time: 13 minutes
  • Weight: 3 oz

Looking for an awesome beginner drone? Make the Ryze Tech Tello your choice.

This drone is quickly becoming one of the favorite drones for beginners.

The Tello drone was a collaboration between Ryze Robotics and DJI.

The drone is built using many DJI parts and is even sold on the DJI site.

However, it should be clear that it is by no way a DJI drone.

The Tello is a fun little drone that meets many needs and is an absolute delight to fly due to its ability to perform complex aerial tricks.

The unit can be controlled by gesture control, mobile devices, remote controller and you can even code your own functionality.

This makes it a great starter drone for anyone curious about the intricate world of drone and drone technologies.

It also captures 5-megapixel pictures and 720p videos which are good enough to share with family and friends.

The Tello comes with low battery protection, a vision positioning system and auto takeoff/land which makes it an excellent beginner drone.

It has a flight time of 13 minutes and a flight range of 100 meters over Wi-Fi.

The control range increases significantly if you use the Tello with a controller.

In the end, the Tello is a great beginner drone that is sturdily built and will teach all the basics you need to conquer the drone world.

 

Ryze Tech Tello - Mini Drone Quadcopter UAV for Kids...
  • Equipped with a high-quality image processor, the Tello drone shoots incredible photos and videos....
  • Camera features 5MP (2592x1936) photos and HD720 videos at a maximum flight time of 13 minutes.
  • Tello has two antennas that make video transmission extra stable and a high-capacity battery that...
  • Thanks to all the tech that Tello’s packing, like a flight controller powered by DJI, you can...
  • What you get: RyzeTech Tello powered by DJI, 4x Propellers (Pair), Propeller Guards (Set), Battery,...

Ruko F11 Pro Drones with Camera for Adults 4K UHD Camera...
  • Flight range: 1200 meters
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 18.3 oz

The Ruko F11 Pro is an updated version of its predecessor, The original F11.

This new model comes with a 120-degree lens,2.7K video and FPV support.

It comes with its dedicated controller and is for use with the Roku app.

The control range of the unit is around 1200 meters while the flight time is an impressive 30 minutes.

It gives drone pilots maximum time before shutting down so you can stay in the air just a little longer to finish your capture.

Moreover, the unit even ships with an extra battery so you can extend flight time giving you a total of a whopping 60 minutes.

This makes it one of the best in its class due to its incredible flight time which is equivalent to that of the more expensive DJI Mavic Mini.

It comes with a full suite of intelligent flight features and a wide-angle 120-degree field of view and a 90-degree tilting camera.

This gives the drone operator an enormous range of motion to capture some of the most difficult subjects and scenarios.

The Ruko F11 Pro is not exactly compact and small but it isn’t bulky or huge.

It falls somewhere in the middle of these two when it comes to size.

The sleek and modern design is sure to capture the attention of both beginners and experienced fliers.

Overall, the Ruko F11 Pro is durable, packed with advanced features, a great camera and performs well.

 

Sale
Ruko F11 Pro Drones with Camera for Adults 4K UHD Camera...
  • 【𝟒𝐊 𝐔𝐇𝐃 𝐂𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐚】Experience splendid 4k Ultra HD picture quality...
  • 【𝟔𝟎 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐅𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞】Equipped with upgraded...
  • 【𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐅𝐮𝐧 𝐭𝐨...
  • 【𝐆𝐏𝐒 𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐨 𝐑𝐞𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐧 𝐇𝐨𝐦𝐞...
  • 【𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐂𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐫...

Holy Stone HS700D FPV Drone with 4K FHD Camera Live Video...
  • Flight range: 1000 meters
  • Flight time: 22 minutes
  • Weight: 21.4 oz

The Holy Stone HS700D is a step up from the HS700 that offered quite a lot but just not enough.

However, the HS700D is a competitive model due to its impressive features that are bound to make it a go-to choice for any drone pilot looking for a budget option.

This unit comes with a 110-degree lens, 2K HD camera, 5G connectivity and FPV support.

Compared to the HS700, the HS700D comes with several improvements including the camera. Intelligent flight modes and 5G connectivity.

The 2K HD camera produces excellent image quality for both photos and videos.

The camera also has a 1-axis gimbal stabilization system that provides stability for distortion-free images.

Meanwhile, intelligent flight modes like Follow Me, Waypoint and Orbit lets the beginner drone pilot learn the basics of drone photography.

The HS700D also comes with better flight time and an increase in speed.

This unit can reach maximum speeds of 40mph and when combined with its 5G abilities, you get fast real-time videos up to 400 meters away.

It ships with a controller as well that is for use with the Ophelia GPS app and has a control range out to 100 meters.

As for flight time, Holy Stone rates it at 22 minutes which is suitable for most flights.

All in all, the HS 700D is a sleek and stylish drone that offers great flight time, speed, functionality and camera quality.

As expected from Holy Stone, the HS 700D is a quality drone that you can get for a reasonable price.

Holy Stone HS700D FPV Drone with 4K FHD Camera Live Video...
  • 4K FHD 90°Adjustable Camera with 5G Transmission: The upgraded camera (3840*2160P stored in TF...
  • GPS Assisted Flight: With GPS location, the drone can hover stably and automatically return to Home...
  • 22 Mins Max Flight Time: The High-capacity 2800mAh intelligent battery yields up to 22mins flight...
  • Brushless Motor: It is so quiet but very powerful when running. Working life is much more longer...
  • Simple Control: Quick launch by pressing one key; quick-Release propellers can be set up with no...

What to expect from the best intermediate drone

best intermediate drone capture

To ensure that you get the best bang for your buck, you need to be aware of the average specifications and features of drones in this price range.

Below is a summary of what you can expect from a drone under $500.

Flight Time

The average flight time for these drones should be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

Some drone manufacturers focus more on flight time while others may focus more on specs. 

Keep in mind that an increase in the payload will decrease flight time.

Control Range

Almost all drone enthusiasts prioritize control range when looking for a drone. 

They usually want a unit they can fly out to impressive distances.

However, drone laws and regulations state that the drone should be in your line of sight at all times,

The average control range of drones under $500 is around 500-1000 meters.

Performance

No matter the price of the drone, we all want a unit that performs well.

For this price, you can expect the drones to perform well since they come with accurate controls and intelligent flight modes to help beginners and experienced flyers.

Features

As time goes and technology advances, drone manufacturers keep adding more and more features to these under $500 drones.

They do this to compete with one another and give those on a budget a chance to end up with a good drone.

You can expect these units to have a fair amount of autonomous fight modes and functions to make flying and capturing imagery easier.

Camera Quality

Most $500 drones or under will come with an HD camera.

In some instances, they may even be equipped with 4K cameras.

They should be able to produce semi-professional quality stills and videos.

Although they may not be as good as the more expensive camera models, these units are great for capturing footage to share with friends and family.

If you’re interested in more units that give you value for your money, check out the best drone for the money and affordable drones posts.

FAQ’s about the best mid-range drones

best mid range drone size

Should I buy a more expensive drone?

In this scenario, your needs will determine how much you spend. 

Drones in the $500 and under $500 are good choices if you’re looking for a solid racing drone. 

These units come with everything you need and can survive a crash or two. 

On the other hand, at this price range, you’ll only be able to get an entry-level camera drone. 

If you want a drone with a powerful camera for professional use then you’ll have to spend a bit more. 

Drones with high-caliber cameras can cost upwards of $1000. 

Check out the best drones under 1000.

So depending on your needs you may not need to buy an extra expensive drone. 

Should I spend $500 on my first drone?

While $500 isn’t exactly too much for a good drone, it may be too much for your first drone.

 If you’ve never flown a drone before, the chances of you crashing the unit are high. 

This is why you want to buy a cheap yet sturdy unit. 

This unit will introduce you to the many tips and tricks of drone piloting. 

They are also built to withstand a few crashes and keep going. 

These units are great for practice as you’ll learn how to control the sticks and drones operate.

After you’ve mastered the art of drone piloting, then you can invest in pricier units. 

However, if your budget allows for a $500 drone or drones under $500, go for it. 

Look for a unit that comes with GPS and intelligent flight features as these make flying easier especially for the beginner. 

Is it possible to get a 4K drone for under $500?

A few years back, you couldn’t but then in 2020 DJI released the DJI Mini 2. 

This is the best 4k drone under 500. 

It is an affordable option that is a fraction of the price of its more expensive counterparts. 

This drone produces video quality that is similar to higher-end smartphones. 

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo – Ultralight Foldable Drone,...
  • Flight range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight time: 31 minutes
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
HUBSAN Zino Pro 4k Drones with Camera and GPS for Adults,4KM...
  • Flight range: 2.5 miles
  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Weight: 25 oz
Ryze Tech Tello - Mini Drone Quadcopter UAV for Kids...
  • Flight range: 100 meters
  • Flight time: 13 minutes
  • Weight: 3 oz
Ruko F11 Pro Drones with Camera for Adults 4K UHD Camera...
  • Flight range: 1200 meters
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 18.3 oz
Holy Stone HS700D FPV Drone with 4K FHD Camera Live Video...
  • Flight range: 1000 meters
  • Flight time: 22 minutes
  • Weight: 21.4 oz

Leave a Comment