These days you can get decent drones for under $500, but if you’re willing to spend up to $1,000, then you can get a really high-quality drone for fun at home or professional use. There are still plenty of drones in this price range to choose from, so how do you decide on the best drone under $1,000 for you?
In this guide, we review the best drones under $1,000 to help you find the perfect model. We’ll take a close look at all the important factors, from camera quality to battery life, so you’ll have everything you need to make a decision. Whether you’re looking for the best video drone under $1,000 or a top waterproof drone, you’ll find it here.
Before we jump into our reviews, let’s take a quick look at what kind of features you can get when spending up to $1,000 on a drone.
What to Expect from a Drone Under $1,000
Spending around $1,000 gets you a powerful drone capable of performing a range of different functions for both serious hobbyists and professionals. Here’s what you can expect from a drone in this price range, broken down into four key categories.
One of the main ways expensive drones differ from cheaper ones is camera quality. That’s not to say you can’t get good quality on a budget – most drones that cost just a few hundred dollars offer 4K HD capabilities.
However, the best camera drones under $1,000 offer features like one-inch sensors that offer 48MP and 5.4K resolution video, which is just on another level.
Another major difference between cheaper and more expensive drones is transmission distance. Most drones under $500 that aren’t DJI models are limited to a transmission range of a few kilometers.
If you’re spending up to $1,000, though, you can expect to get a drone with a much longer range – up to 12km in some cases.
Many drones these days, including budget ones, have smart flight features that are designed to make it easier to fly and record footage.
However, when it gets to spending between $900 and $1,000, you can get much more advanced and intelligent features.
For example, some manufacturers have started producing drones that incorporate AI technology through things like facial recognition, which takes drone flying to the next step.
Power & performance
It’s no secret that cheaper drones are less powerful in terms of flight speed, wind resistance, battery, and maximum altitude.
For around $1,000, not only can you get a durable and fast drone with a long battery life, but you can even get your hands on a waterproof drone that can fly in rain – something you simply won’t find on a smaller budget.
The best drones under $1,000 – Ranked
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1. DJI Mavic Air 2 – Best drone under $1,000 for beginners
- Price: $699 — Available on Amazon here
DJI is the leading manufacturer of consumer camera drones, with the Mavic Air 2 being one of its more affordable yet most popular models.
This drone is just packed with special features that make it well worth the money. For example, the 1/2 inch CMOS sensor camera allows you to capture photos in stunning 48MP photos and 4K/60fps video. This makes it easy to capture professional-looking footage, even if you’re inexperienced. There’s also a 3-axis gimbal that keeps the camera steady during flight.
It has a wide-ranging transmission distance of 10km, meaning you can stream real-time video from the drone directly to your smartphone from afar. 10km really impressive range for a drone at this price. The Mavic Air 2 can fly for 34 minutes at a time and its powerful motors enable it to fly at up to 42.3mph, so it can cover long distances in a short time.
One of the things that really sets DJI drones apart from other brands is their intelligent flight features. For example, the Spotlight 2.0 mode keeps the camera locked on a subject while you fly the drone, while the POI 3.0 feature makes the drone track moving objects like people and vehicles.
These are just a couple of the many flying modes designed to make the aerial photography experience easier and more enjoyable.
While the Mavic Air 2 isn’t the best drone under $1,000, it’s great value for money and is a more beginner-friendly choice than other models.
2. Parrot Anafi FPV – Best drone under $1,000 for FPV flying
- Price: $849 — Available on Amazon here
Parrot is another popular producer of high-quality consumer drones, with the Anafi FPV being one of its finest models.
There are various versions of the Anafi drone, and the highlight of this one is that it comes with a full FPV kit, including the Cockpitglasses 3 goggles. These are directly connected to the drone camera, providing a far more immersive experience through full HD aerial views. The goggles are comfortable and compact and can be used with any smartphone between 4.7 and 5.5 inches.
The camera is also impressive, offering 4K HDR quality with 3x zoom for capturing footage in enhanced detail. We really like the white balance adjustment feature, which lets you customize the color dominance in different lighting conditions.
The Parrot Freeflight app has a user-friendly and intuitive interface, so it doesn’t take long to get the hang of, even for beginners. You can also take advantage of some great intelligent flight features, such as Dolly zoom and 360° panorama, to take your recording to the next level.
The Parrot Anafi FPV is one of the most lightweight drones out there, weighing just 310g. This means you can fly it without having to get an FAA license, which isn’t the case for most drones under $1,000. It even comes with a backpack specifically designed to transport the drone safely. You can fly it within a 4km range and up to 4,500m above sea level.
The only real downside to this drone is the relatively short flight time of 26 minutes. However, it’s definitely the best quadcopter under $1,000 for FPV flying.
3. DJI Air 2S – Best drone camera under $1,000 with 5.4K video
- Price: $929 — Available on Amazon here
Another DJI model, the Air 2S is easily one of the most impressive drones under $1,000. For starters, you’ll be hard pushed to find a drone with a more powerful camera for the same price.
This is because the Air 2S is equipped with a large 1-inch sensor with 2.4μm pixels, capturing every stunning detail within your professional-grade footage. This translates to 5.4K video at 30fps, and 4K at 60fps.
The camera has a high dynamic range, high resolution, and accurate color reproduction, meaning you can take incredibly clear photos and videos even in low-light conditions. The 3-axis gimbal provides added stability, and the drone also comes with an easily detachable gimbal protector.
Like other DJI drones, the Air 2S has some great flying features that make it a pleasure to fly. The highlight is the MasterShots feature which sees the drone fly numerous routes while filming a defined subject, so you can easily produce cinematic footage.
The Air 2S is a very light and compact drone, weighing less than 600g, so it’s easily portable. It also has specially designed low noise propellers and an intelligent flight battery that offers up to 31 minutes of flight time.
You can fly this drone under $1,000 at speeds of up to 42.5mph within a 10km range, and the level 5 wind resistance makes it capable of handling tough conditions. It has also 4-directional obstacle sensing to help you fly safely.
If you’re looking for the best RC drone under $1,000 in terms of camera quality, you can’t go wrong with the DJI Air 2S.
4. PowerVision PowerEgg X – Best Waterproof Drone Under $1,000 with AI Technology
- Price: $999 — Available on Amazon here
The PowerVision PowerEgg X is a waterproof aerial drone that’s specifically designed to withstand challenging elemental conditions.
Most drones — even expensive ones — have long been restricted by their inability to fly in heavy rain, but the PowerEgg X changes that. It has a patented protective shell with 0.008 micron level of surface clearness and an optimized structure that helps prevent water damage without blinding the sensors — something PowerVision claims it is the first to offer.
This drone also has level 5 wind resistance, as well as automatic obstacle avoidance and downward binocular sensors, to help you fly strongly and safely in different conditions. It has a range of 6km.
The PowerEgg X isn’t just notable for its durability, though. The camera quality is decent, capable of recording 4K/60fps UHD video, so you can capture impressive footage. However, the real standout feature is the use of AI technology.
This drone has an AI camera mode that incorporates machine learning technology through facial recognition. The facial recognition improves in accuracy over time via deep learning training, to the point where the drone can automatically recognize familiar faces and focuses on them while during flight.
That’s not the only intelligent feature, though. The PowerEgg X also uses PowerVision’s SyncVoice technology, which can pick up high fidelity sound and automatically synchronize audio with footage captured by the camera.
This drone even has a handheld gimbal camera mode, so you can use it just like you would a regular camera.
The PowerEgg is, without doubt, the most innovative drone under $1,000 and is perfect if you want to experiment with these unique features.
5. Parrot Anafi Work – Best drone under $1,000 for modeling professionals
- Price: $999 — Available on Amazon here
The Anafi Work is the most expensive model in Parrot’s Anafi range and is specifically designed for use by professionals. That doesn’t just mean professional photographers, though, but also people working in fields like construction, real estate, design, and architecture.
The innovative camera capabilities and compatibility with 3D modeling software mean you can use the Anafi Work for things like building inspections, infrastructure preparation, site supervision, photogrammetry, interactive real estate videos, and for creating 3D models of buildings and landscapes.
It has a 4K HDR, 21MP camera that captures extremely clear aerial images with a unique 180° orientation, so it’s perfect for inspecting and monitoring difficult-to-access or dangerous areas. The 3 axis gimbal provides excellent stabilization, while the zoom feature enables you to keep a safe distance without losing quality.
One of the most unique aspects of this drone is that you can use it to create 3D models and take precise measurements of distances and surfaces via the Pix4Dmodel software, with a one-year subscription included. You can then export your models to your preferred software and easily share them in just a few clicks over a web browser.
The Anafi Work is extremely compact and designed for optimum portability. The USB Type-C charger lets you to charge the drone’s smart battery using a powerbank or your computer.
You can control the Parrot Anafi Work using the intuitive and compact Parrot Skycontroller 3, which is foldable and works up to 4km away. Alternatively, you can use the Freeflight which is very user-friendly and simple to use.
The Anafi Work comes with four batteries, each with a 25min flight time, and you can easily switch them out so you can spend longer in the field before having to charge.