Welcome to my list of the best drones under $500.

Drones are all the rage at the moment, they have grown exponentially over the past few years and there are drones for everyone. From kids to professional photographers, everyone wants a drone to play around with, a few years ago a drone with an HD camera and advanced features would have cost you around a grand, that is no longer the case now.

The drones on this list all come with good cameras and advanced features that will allow you to use them for professional photography.

As there are a number of drone companies that release new models on a regular basis, I try to keep this list updated as often as possible, however, I still advise you to research a little bit more because this is not an exhaustive list.

Something else I want to mention is regarding drone laws, I advise everyone to check what the rules and regulations are wherever you live and abide by them. Drone laws are updated regularly, especially in countries like the USA, UK and Canada and so it is good to be informed on what you can and cannot do with regards to flying drones so that you do not fall into any legal trouble.

In the UK, the rules for flying drones under 250g were recently updated, before it wasn’t required to register a camera drone if it weighed less than 250g.

However, you will now need to register any drone that weighs under 250g that comes with a camera and get something called an operator ID. This ID will need to be displayed on the drone at all times and if it weighs over 250g, you will also need to take an online test and get a Flyer ID. 

To learn more about the drones laws in the UK please visit the CAA website, similar rules apply in the USA, although, currently, you do not need to register any drone that weighs less than 250g, even if it has a camera, as long as you are only flying for recreational purposes. Click here for more information on US drone laws.

As many of these drones are expensive, I would advise you to look at getting drone hull insurance, just in case something should happen and the drone breaks down.

What Is The Best Drone Under $500?

My personal preference is the DJI Mini 2, it looks pretty much identical to the Mavic Mini but does come with some significant upgrades and hence the reason I have put it first on my list. However, one of the criticisms of the DJI Mini 2 is that it does not come with autonomous flight modes and so for people who enjoy using features like where the drone follows you or orbits a point of interest automatically, you may consider one of the other drones on this list.

1. DJI Mini 2 - Best 4K Drone Under $500

 

Best Drones Under 500This is the best drone under $500, the DJI Mini 2 is an upgraded to the Mavic Mini and comes with an amazing HD camera that can record video footage in true 4k resolution. The camera can also capture images in both JPEG and RAW which will be great for professional photographers and you can capture some amazing panorama 180° images. The drone allows you to record cinematic-quality videos hands-free via its Quickshots feature and comes with an app that will allow you to edit your videos and photos and then share them with family and friends. It has a very good flight time of 31 minutes and can stream live video footage in HD 720p quality.

 

Key Features

    • 4k/2.7k at 30fps camera
    • 12MP still images
    • 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor
    • 3-axis gimbal
    • 5 Quick Shots for short cinematic videos
    • Take photos and videos with HDR support
    • 31 minutes of flight time
    • Triple GPS module
    • Automatic return to home feature
    • Advanced video transmission technology
    • 10km transmission range

2. Hubsan Zino Pro

Best Drones Under 500The Hubsan Zino Pro is one of Hubsans flagship drones, you may or may not know but Hubsan are known for their quality low-cost drones.It’s only recently they have ventured into the higher-end drone market with the release of a few 4k drones and the Hubsan Zino Pro is one of their best. Its quite a heavy drone, weighing just over 700g but it does come with a nice looking carry case that makes it easier to travel around with.The 4k camera is the main feature of this drone, its stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal which will make sure that your images and videos are crystal clear with no distortion. It will also let you take stunning panoramic images and videos which is great for nature photography.The camera comes installed with a system on chip processor from Ambarella that allows it to record video footage in clear 4k resolution at 30fps. As well as a stunning camera, the drone also comes with several intelligent flight modes and has a flight time of around 23 minutes.

 

Key Features

  • 1/3-inch Sony sensor
  • Records video footage in 4k@30fps
  • 12MP images
  • Dual GPS
  • 3-Axis Motorised Gimbal
  • Ambarella Video Processor
  • Smart Flight Modes
  • 4 km Range
  • Image Tracking System
  • 23 Minute Flight Time

3. Fimi X8 Mini

Best Drones Under 500This is FIMI’s answer to the DJI Mini drones, the X8 Mini comes with similar features to its larger counterpart but in a smaller and more compact body. This is one of the best mini drones on the market and would make an excellent choice for travel photographers, the drone comes with a 4K HD camera and captures 12MP images in both RAW and JPEG formats. It comes with autonomous flight features and has Quick Shot mode similar to the one on the Mavic Mini and Mini 2. The drone weighs 258g with its standard battery but with a Pro lithium polymer battery, it weighs just 249g. Flight time is around 30 minutes and the transmission range is 8km, this is an excellent drone and a good alternative to the DJI Mini 2

 

Key Features

    • 1/2.6 -inch sensor
    • 4k@30fps video footage
    • 12mp still images
    • Hilisicon ISP Chipset
    • Advanced 3-axis gimbal
    • Intelligent flight modes
    • HDR support
    • 8km transmission range
    • 30 minutes of flight time

4. DJI Mavic Mini

Best Drones Under 500The DJI Mavic Mini, as the name suggests is a very small drone, especially when compared to the others on this list, it is also the lightest high-end drone on the market as it weighs just 249g. The weight is especially important if you live in the USA as it means you will not be required to register the drone with the FAA if all you want to do is fly it for recreational purposes.  The drone comes with an excellent 2.7k camera that is stabilised by a 3-axis motorised gimbal allowing you to take distortion-free images and videos. You can take cinematic slow-motion video with the camera that will wow family and friends. The drone comes with 30 minutes of flight time which is one of the best flight times for any consumer drone. DJI also developed a new app for this drone which comes with many cool features like editing your images and videos and sharing them across your social media channels. For less than $500, this is one of the best drones on the market.

 

Key Features

    • 1/2.3-inch sensor
    • 2.7K@30fps Camera
    • 12MP
    • Dual GNSS receiver
    • 3-Axis Motorised Gimbal
    • QuickShot mode to capture cinematic videos
    • 4 km Range
    • 30Minute Flight Time

5. DJI Mini SE

Best Drones Under 500The DJI Mini SE is DJI’s cheapest drone, it’s a small and lightweight drone that comes equipped with an HD camera. The camera is stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal, which is a pretty impressive engineering feat on such a small drone. The camera can capture amazing images in 12MP and records stunning video footage in 2.7k. The drone comes with a feature called quickshots that will allow anyone to create short cinematic videos from different angles completely hands-free. The drone is perfect for travel photographers as it is lightweight and easy to carry around. It has a flight time of 30 minutes and a 4km transmission range.

 

Key Features

    • 1/2.3-inch sensor
    • 12MP images
    • Records video footage in 2.7k@30fps
    • 3-axis gimbal
    • Quickshot intelligent video recording
    • 30 minutes of flight time
    • 4km range

6. Holy Stone HS700E

Best Drones Under 500One of Holy Stone’s most popular drones, the HS700E is a very good drone that is easy to fly and suitable for beginners. The drone comes equipped with an HD camera that is supported by a damping plate and has EIS technology, both of which will reduce distortion in your videos and photos. The camera lens has a wide-angle view and can be remotely adjusted to get better viewing angles. The camera can capture and record high-definition images and videos as well as stream HD live video footage to your smartphone. It has a good flight time of around 23 minutes and a control range of 1km.

 

Key Features

    • HD camera with 130° FOV
    • Captures 4k images
    • Records videos in 4k@30fps
    • Anti-shake EIS technology
    • GPS assisted intelligent flight modes
    • Automatic return to home
    • 23 minutes of flight time
    • 1km control range

7. Ruko F11 Gim 2

Best Drones Under 500This is one of the latest drones from Ruko, it’s a large foldable drone that weighs less than 600 grams. The drone comes with many exciting features such as its HD camera that is stabilised by a 2-axis gimbal. The camera can capture amazing images in 4k and record 4k video footage. Thanks to its gimbal and electronic image stabilisation feature, videos and images will be free of any sort of distortion. Other features include intelligent flight modes, gesture control and automatic return to home. It has a flight time of 28 minutes and a control range of 3km.

 

Key Features

    • HD camera with 100° FOV
    • Captures HD 4k images
    • Records videos in 4k@30fps
    • Live HD video stream
    • 2-axis gimbal
    • EIS technology
    • Dual GNSS receiver
    • GPS intelligent flight modes
    • 28 minutes of flight time
    • 3km control range

8. Ruko F11 Gim

Best Drones Under 500A powerful foldable drone that comes with many advanced features which makes it one of the best drones in its price range. The Ruko F11 Gim comes with a dual GNSS receiver for better flight stability and positioning accuracy. The main feature is its 4k camera that is stabilised by a 2-axis gimbal and also has electronic image stabilisation for distortion free videos and images. The drone comes GPS assisted autonomous flight modes and an automatic return to home feature. It has a long flight time of 28 minutes and a control range of 1.5km.

 

Key Features

    • HD camera with 100° FOV
    • 4k images
    • Records 4k video footage at 30fps
    • 2-axis gimbal
    • Electronic image stabilisation
    • Intelligent flight modes
    • Automatic return to home
    • 28 minutes of flight time
    • 1.5km control range

9. Holy Stone HS720E

Best Drones Under 500This is one of my personal favourite drones and is also a very popular drone on Amazon. The Holy Stone HS720E is a well-designed drone that has a sleek foldable design which makes it compact and easy to travel with. This drone is suitable for everyone and comes with a lot of impressive features. It’s very easy to operate thanks to features like GPS assisted autonomous flight modes, low battery automatic return to home and one button take-off/landing. It has a very good camera that can capture HD images and videos and comes with electronic image stabilisation for clearer videos and photos. It has a flight time of 23 minutes and a transmission range of 1km.

 

Key Features

    • HD camera with 130° FOV
    • 90° Adjustable lens
    • EIS technology for image and video stabilisation
    • Captures 4k images
    • Records videos in 4k at 30fps
    • Low battery automatic return to home
    • Intelligent flight modes
    • 23 minutes of flight time
    • 1km transmission range

10. Potensic Dreamer Pro

Best Drones Under 500The most advanced drone from Potensic, the Dreamer Pro is equipped with a 4k camera that is stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal. The gimbal along with the damping plate helps reduce distortion and results in sharper images and videos. The camera has a 1/3-inch sensor and can capture 16MP images and records video footage in 4k. It’s a large drone that has good wind resistance and comes with GPS technology and powerful brushless motors which helps it with flight stability. The drone has a good flight time of 28 minutes, comes with an extra battery and has a range of 2km.

 

Key Features

    • 1/3-inch Sony sensor
    • Captures 16MP images
    • Records video footage in 4k@30fps
    • 3-axis gimbal
    • GPS assisted automatic return to home
    • Intelligent flight modes
    • 28 minutes of flight time
    • 2km transmission range