Drones come in all shapes and sizes, and they also come in all sorts of different price ranges. From $20 to thousands of dollars, you can get a drone on virtually any budget. For under $500 you can get a good quality mid-range drone – but how do you know which are the best drones under $500?
How to decide which drone is best for you?
If you’re spending as much as $500 on a drone, then you certainly want to get good value for your money. First off, you need to consider what kind of drone you want. Most people are looking for the best drones with cameras under $500, so you want a drone that can shoot high-quality images and video, has good stabilization and has a long enough transmission distance.
Alternatively, you may be looking to get your hands on a racing drone. While camera quality and video transmission are still important here, drone racers also place a lot of emphasis on the speed, agility, and durability of the drone.
Beyond that, you want to make sure you’re choosing a drone with intelligent flight features to make it easier to control in the air. You may want a drone with GPS positioning or that has high wind resistance for flying in challenging weather. You should also make sure you choose a drone with a long battery life.
However, you don’t need to trawl through the man options trying to find out all these specs, as we’ve done that for you. We’ve brought the very best drones under $500 together right here on this page, including both camera and racing drones. All you need to do is read our mini reviews and pick out the drone that best matches what you’re looking for.
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The best drones under $500
DJI Mavic Mini – Best Mini Drone Under $500
DJI is the industry leader when it comes to creating high-end drones, and most of its models cost thousands of dollars. However, with the Mavic Mini, you can get DJI quality for under $500.
As the name suggests, the Mavic Mini is a tiny drone that’s designed for ultimate portability and can fit in the palm of your hand. It weighs just 249g, so you can fly it without FAA registration. However, don’t let its size fool you – this is a fantastic camera drone that packs plenty of power.
The camera captures 12 MP images and 2.7K Quad HD video, so it offers professional-level photography capabilities. You can maintain HD video feeds within a range of 4km. Thanks to the 3-axis motorized gimbal, you can capture incredibly stable and smooth footage from the air.
DJI is well known for the intelligent flight features of its drones, and the Mavic Mini is no exception. Through the remote controller and brilliantly intuitive DJI Fly app, this drone is super easy to control, even for beginners.
For example, the app has a variety of Creator Templates that automatically generate social media-ready videos with just a single tap. There is also a range of QuickShot modes, including Dronie, Rocket, Circle, and Helix Modes that make it easier to capture cinematic footage. The CineSmooth mode slows down the drone’s speed and movements for added precision and stability.
You can fly for 30 minutes at a time with the Mavic Mini, which is really good for a drone of this size and price. It comes with a 360-degree propeller guard for added safety.
The FunSnap DIVA is one of the few drones on Amazon with a perfect five-star rating, with many happy customers saying it’s one of the best drones under $500.
This is a mini drone that when folded is around the size of a regular smartphone and weighs just 280g, which makes it incredibly easy to carry around and use on a daily basis.
It has a high-quality HD 4K camera with advanced photosensitivity and color fidelity to capture stunning images. You can record video in 4K at 60fps, which can be compressed in 60Mbps with a field view at 80 degrees to share on social media. The two-axis gimbal and EIS stabilizing system help to minimize screen jitters during flight.
We really like the intelligent features that the FunSnap Diva boasts. For example, with virtual route mapping, you can draw a route on the FunSnap app and the drone will then follow that trajectory. You can easily switch between a regular map and a satellite map to precisely display the location and direction of the drone in real-time.
The Diva also has gesture control, meaning you can get it to take off, film and land from afar using hand gestures. It has a headless mode for easy flying, as well as loss of communication return and low battery return to help avoid any incidents.
We also like the spherical panorama mode, which allows you to capture photos and videos from a unique perspective. This is certainly one of the top drones under $500.
YKRC YK47 Foldable GPS Drone – Best Drone Under $500 for Zoom
With a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, the YKRC YK47 is one of the top drones under $500 on Amazon.
This 4K camera drone uses a 3-axis gimbal and EIS (electronic image stabilization system) technology to maximize shooting stability. This helps ensure fantastic picture quality, even in more challenging weather conditions. The camera also has a newly upgraded lens which helps to eliminate the fisheye effect, while the 50x digital zoom helps capture stunning detail.
Video is shot in 4K at 30fps with the YKRC YK47. It uses high performance 5G WiFi transmission to enable you to transmit FPV video up to a range of 500m.
The drone also comes with a smart remote control with an LCD display that shows the flight parameters. It allows you to intuitively view flight data, like flight distance, GPS signal, and battery power, and the joystick supports left and right throttle switching.
With GPS positioning and optical flow positioning, the drone intelligently adapts between indoor and outdoor environments. Outside, the GPS functionality enables automatic return home so that you can easily and safely return the drone.
There are also various smart flight features that make the YKRC YK47 a pleasure to fly. For example, the Follow Me mode makes the drone automatically follow your location as you move, while Point of Interest mode sees the drone orbit a preset point as you can focus on recording.
Powered by two smart batteries, the drone can provide up to 28 minutes of flight time each, providing a total of 56 minutes, which is very impressive. It supports PD fast charging, so you can fully charge it in just one hour.
Ruko F11Gim2 – Long Battery Life Drone For Under $500
The Ruko FD11Gim2 is an impressive drone for under $500 that provides good aerial photography capabilities and a long transmission distance of up to 3KM. The drone records videos at 4K at 30fps and has a zoom function to help record better detail.
The 4K camera has 2-axis stabilization, which while isn’t quite as good as the 3-axis stabilization offered by some other drones in this price range, and is reinforced by EIS technology. Plus, the drone has enhanced anti-interference capability which helps you capture consistently smooth and high-quality images even from 3km away.
With level 7 wind resistance, this drone flies smoothly and record stable images and videos even in difficult weather. While it’s very powerful, the brushless motor ensures it’s quiet when in the air.
The Ruko F11Gim2 has some great intelligent flight features which make it easier for you to capture professional-grade footage. For example, with waypoint fly, you can set points on the map via the Ruko app and the drone will then fly the route. It also supports GPS auto return to home and GPS follow me.
Read more: the best follow me drones
This drone features the same two batteries as the YK47, so you can fly it for an impressive 56 minutes at a time. Battery data is displayed in real-time via the LCD screen on the remote controller.
With excellent camera quality, smart flying features, and an incredibly long battery life, the Ruko F11Gim2 is certainly a contender for the best photography drone under $500.
Fimi X8SE 2020 – Best 4K Drone Under $500 for Long Distance Transmission
If you’re looking for long-range drones under $500, then you need to check out the Fimi X8SE 2020. The drone offers HD video transmission up to a distance of 8km, which is seriously impressive. The video records at 4K at 30fps and has a zoom function to help record better detail, while the second-gen optimized TDMA video transmission system ensures uninterrupted recording.
This drone boasts the latest Hisilicon ISP chipset, ensuring support for incredibly detailed 4K UHD 100Mbp video. It offers loads of creative options to aerial photographers and videographers, with an updated F-log mode, a DNG RAW format, and adjustable camera settings. It uses a three-axis gimbal for maximum stability while recording in the air.
There are some really fantastic features that help you take your drone flying to the next level with the Fimi X8SE 2020. For example, the CineShot function makes it easy to capture cinematic photos. The rocket feature makes the drone quickly ascend while the camera is locked downwards on the subject, while the dronie feature makes it fly backward and upwards while focused on the subject.
There’s also a smart tracking mode powered by AI technology, a precise positioning mode, panoramic shooting, and time-lapse photography.
The Fimi X8SE 2020 has a smart remote controller with an ergonomic design for improvement and comfort. The controller is compatible with all smartphone sizes and even small tablets like the iPad Mini, and the joysticks and detachable for maximum portability.
Thanks to the combination of a high density, intelligent Li-Po battery with an aerodynamically efficient design and light body, this drone offers 35 minutes of flight time.
It’s not all just fun and games with this mode – its long-range and uninterrupted transmission means it’s even suitable for search and rescue operations.
Hubsan Zino 2 – Great Under $500 Drone for Low Light Photography
The Zino 2, from popular drone manufacturer Hubsan, is easily one of the best drones under $500 for pro photographers and videographers.
With a 4K Sony 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor, you can capture pictures and videos in truly stunning detail. The camera has a fantastic dynamic range and low light performance, along with an 8km video transmission. It uses a three-axis gimbal to help maintain stable shooting.
There are a variety of different camera settings to flex your creative muscles with. You can choose from wide-angle, 180-degree, and spherical panoramas for dynamic perspectives, as well as time-lapse effects. Comet Mode means that the camera is always aimed at the subject while you fly, and the Night Mode allows more light in to capture great detail in the dark.
We also have a ranking of the best camera drones
The Zino 2 also boasts some nice features that make flying this drone a walk in the park. It has a GPS mode, optical flow position mode, and altitude mode with precise hovering. With the Hubsan app, you can create custom routes and activate functions like orbit flying and line flying.
This drone has a 3800mAh 4s battery that supports 33 minutes of flight time when cruising at slow speeds of around 25km, and 31 minutes of hovering time. You can control the drone from up to 10km away using the SmartFC V2.0 remote control.
In terms of safety, the drone enters into a fail-safe mode if connection is ever lost, making it return to the home point and land. It also has one key low battery return to home.
Walkera F210 – Best Racing Drone Under $500
Not everyone’s interested in camera drones – racing drones are now very popular, with professional leagues to compete in. The Walkera F210 is our recommendation if you’re looking for a racing drone for under $500.
Walkera is a well-known name when it comes to FPV racing drones and the F210 is a great example of the company’s quality manufacturing. For starters, it has a 3mm carbon frame design with an axis equidistant design to provide excellent agility and flexibility while racing.
You can freely set the drone’s speed using the latest F3D flight system. This system is designed specifically for high-speed racing and provides the functionality you need for FPV competitions, aerobatics, and aerial photography.
We also have a ranking of the best racing drones
The Walker F210 has an HD camera with one million pixels and high-performance sensors for capturing stunning footage. The photosensitive sensors adjust automatically depending on brightness, and in low light, there’s an infrared surveillance mode that allows you to record images and video at night. The camera is adjustable up to 120 degrees, providing a wide field of view.
This drone also has a customizable modular design which ensures it is crash-resistant and is easy to repair if it ever does sustain damage.
The mushroom antenna provides a transmission distance of up to 800m, with transmitted video displaying very smoothly. The controller has an LCD screen with low battery indication, horizon line and signal receive alarm functions to help you stay in control as you fly.
The Walker F210 is another drone with a 4.5 Amazon rating, so it’s clearly a hit among racers and our pick for the best HD drone under $500 for racing.