11 Best Drones Under $500 in 2021

By Robin Owens 9 days ago, Drones

Dones under $500 with long autonomous and AI flight modes.

top 3 drones under 500 dollars

There are many good drones under $500 that can easily cope with any flying task. Haven’t you decided yet whether you want to participate in drone racing or record videos? Are you looking for a drone which has numerous useful features and excellent flight performance? Among the drones under $500 with a camera below, you’ll surely find professional and high-quality models.

Top 11 Drones Under $500

  1. UPair One 4K - Our choice
  2. DJI Mavic Mini - Shooting in 2.7K at 30 fps
  3. Drone-Clone Xperts - For beginners
  4. Lohome JJRC X8 RC - 60 FPS recording
  5. Holy Stone HS120D - Automatically follows the pilot
  6. Wingsland M5 - Returns home automatically
  7. Hubsan H 501S Pro - 20-min flight
  8. Parrot PF728000 - UW angle fisheye lens
  9. Walkera F210 - Lasting
  10. Eachine Wizard X 220 FPV - Fast
  11. 3DR Solo - For GoPro cameras

I wrote these drone reviews considering shooting quality, the variety of functions and modes as well as flight characteristics. Any of the top drones under 500 dollars is a good option for investing in aerial photography or FPV basics. For your convenience, I have identified the most rational area for their use.

1. UPair One 4K

FixThePhoto editors’ choice
upair one 4k best drone under 500

Flight time: 19 minutes | Maximum distance: 2800 ft | Shooting quality: 4K 25 FPS | Weight: 1280g

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⊕ Intelligent flight modes
⊕ Wide-angle camera with image stabilization
⊕ FPV flight controller
⊕ Altitude hold/hover
⊖ Not found

The U-shaped design forms the fuselage and the PVC composite construction of the drone. A 120° HD camera with an adjustable gimbal is capable of shooting 4K videos at 25fps with 12MP photos.

It allows you to stream live video to a 7-inch LCD screen with a responsive LED controller. The average transmission distance is 1700 feet; the maximum transmission distance is 2800 feet, which is significantly more than drones under $100. UPair flies up to 19 minutes due to a capacious quick-charge battery.

2. DJI Mavic Mini

Shooting in 4K at 30 fps
dji mavic mini best drone under 500

Flight time: 30 minutes | Maximum distance: 13200 ft | Shooting quality: 7K 25 FPS | Weight: 248g

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⊕ Autonomous/Intelligent Flight modes
⊕ High-quality real-time HD camera
⊕ Remote control
⊕ GPS/GLONASS positioning
⊖ No flight autonomy with obstacle detection

This model features a remote controller with the help of the mobile app and a Return-to-Home button, which is considered standard features, even for drones under 200 dollars.

The transmission range is up to 3280 feet. A removable wide-angle HD camera with a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer supports 4K video at 30fps and 12MP photos. The drone's video flow is streaming in real-time on your smartphone in HD 720P. The intelligent capacious battery provides up to 25 minutes of flight at a maximum speed of 57.6 km/h. There is Built-in GPS and an automatic flight assistant.

3. Drone-Clone Xperts

For beginners
drone-clone xperts best drone under 500

Flight time: 25 minutes | Maximum distance: 4000 ft | Shooting quality: 4K 25 FPS | Weight: 160g

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⊕ Intelligent flight modes
⊕ 4K UHD camera that can be tilted
⊕ Good flight characteristics
⊕ Voice/Gesture Control feature
⊖ Poor quality plastic case

Drone-Clone Xperts is a thin and foldable quadcopter which has a durable case and weighs less than a pound, making it one of the best drones with camera.

This drone provides 33 minutes of flight at speeds over 44 mph (in Sport mode). The transmission range is up to 0.93 miles. The automatic flight modes, such as Journey, Point of Interest and Orbit Me as well as face detection, tracking and auto-return home functions, allow you to get amazing videos and photos during the flight.

4. Lohome JJRC X8 RC

Sony camera with a fisheye lens
lohome jjrc x8 rc best drone under 500

Flight time: 20 minutes | Maximum distance: 3400 ft | Shooting quality: 1080p 60 FPS | Weight: 440g

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⊕ Autonomous Modes
⊕ High-quality ultra-wide angle camera
⊕ Good flight time/speed
⊕ Dual GPS positioning system
⊖ Short range of Wifi FPV transmission

Lohome JJRC X8 RC has a 16-megapixel Sony CMOS camera with a fisheye lens and a 169º field of view. 1080p video is recorded at smooth 60fps, which makes it the best drone for real estate photography.

A quad-core processor with a 3-axis electronic image stabilization system eliminates vibration and defecting. Drone can be transmitted up to 1968 feet. The max speed is 26 mph. The flying time is up to 20 minutes. This quadcopter has many advanced features, for example, Visual, Tracking tracks the object by locking it into the center, freeing up your hands.

5. Holy Stone HS120D

Automatically follows the pilot
holy stone hs120d best drone under 500

Flight time: 18 minutes | Maximum distance: 1000 ft | Shooting quality: 2K UHD 25 FPS | Weight: 250g

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⊕ Autonomous/Intelligent Flight modes
⊕ Adjustable HD camera
⊕ Fast charging
⊕ Powerful and silent brushless motors
⊖ No Speed Switch

The durable case created in a minimalistic portable design is made of high-quality plastic with metal supports. The wide-angle camera takes 12MP photos and records 1080p video at 25fps.

With Follow Me mode and GPS, the drone automatically follows the pilot, making it one of the best beginner drones. Headless mode, one-touch Take-off/Landing, LED lights will help beginners. A user-friendly remote controller connects to a mobile device to transmit live video. Powerful brushless motors provide stable, silent flight even in strong wind.

6. Wingsland M5

Returns home automatically
wingsland m5 best drone under 500

Flight time: 17 minutes | Maximum distance: 1640 ft | Shooting quality: 720p 25 FPS | Weight: 180g

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⊕ Autonomous flight modes
⊕ GPS Assisted Hover
⊕ Shake reducing structure
⊕ Brushless motors
⊖ Short range in the app

Wingsland M5 has an appealing design and provides a complete FPV experience for beginners due to GPS-Assisted Hover. The built-in 720p camera shoots at 25fps and has a slightly narrow 63º lens viewing angle.

Live video is streamed to the LCD screen with a LED controller. If you use a smartphone or tablet, the control range is only 328 feet. When using a remote controller, the maximum range is 1640 feet. The maximum speed is up to 26 mph due to brushless motors with a flying time of up to 17 minutes. Wingsland also has such modes as Point of Interest, Auto Take-off/Landing, Follow Me and Return to Home, which also makes it a good home drone.

7. Hubsan H 501S Pro

20-min flight
hubsan h 501s pro best drone under 500

Flight time: 20 minutes | Maximum distance: 950 ft | Shooting quality: 1080p 25 FPS | Weight: 410g

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⊕ Autonomous flight modes
⊕ 3MP HD camera
⊕ Excellent flying time
⊕ 6-axis gyroscope
⊖ Bad control if the battery is low

Hubsan H501S is a stylish, lightweight, durable and cheap drone. Due to built-in GPS, you can hold altitude and set a route with the help of a mobile app.

The drone records high-quality 1080p video at 30fps due to a first-class CMOS sensor. The one-button Return Home function will automatically work when the battery is low. Follow Me mode makes the drone an excellent tracking device. Long-lasting brushless motors provide up to 0.18 miles of transmission range and up to 20 minutes of flight.

8. Parrot PF728000

UW angle fisheye lens
parrot pf728000 parrot bebop best drone under 500

Flight time: 25 minutes | Maximum distance: 13000 ft | Shooting quality: 4K 25 FPS | Weight: 320g

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⊕ Wide angle ASPH lens
⊕ FPV/VR compatibility
⊕ High range with controller
⊕ Fully customizable
⊖ Slight touch response delay

Parrot PF728000 is a lightly-built, small-scale aerodynamic device with a bright LED. Its halves are connected by shock-absorbing rubber balls to reduce vibration. Being the best video drone under $500, it captures 1080p RAW video and detailed PNG/JPEG pictures through the wide-angle 170° fisheye lens with 14MP and 8GB memory card.

Three-axis digital stabilizer ensures smoothness. Adjusting camera ISO/diaphragm is possible through the remote. A capacious battery will provide almost 25 min. of aerial activity with 38 mph velocity. The device is waterproof, with potent engines opposing the wind.

9. Walkera F210

Lasting
walkera f210 walkera best drone under 500

Flight time: 9 minutes | Maximum distance: 2400 ft | Shooting quality: 1080p 30 FPS | Weight: 380g

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⊕ Robust construction
⊕ Fast charging
⊕ Light weight
⊕ Convenient management
⊖ Short flight time

Walkera F210 is one of the inexpensive new products that offers a robust construction coupled with average flight duration and image quality.

The camera records with a 120° cone of vision and the records 1080p footage at 30fps or takes 12MP pictures. The live image is broadcasted to your preferred gadget. The model is equipped with not the largest battery, 1300 mAh, which provides only 9 minutes of flight for the drone. The maximum flight distance is fixed at 2400 ft.

10. Eachine Wizard X 220 FPV

Racing drone
eachine wizard x 220 fpv best drone under 500

Flight time: 10 minutes | Maximum distance: 1600 ft | Shooting quality: 1080p 25 FPS | Weight: 560g

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⊕ Powerful motors
⊕ HD camera 700TLV
⊕ Good speed/maneuverability
⊕ Advanced settings
⊖ Without GPS navigation

Eachine Wizard X220S has the best racing drone reviews under $500 in the RTF version. Ultra-light carbon fiber frame with front and rear LED backlight protects internal components well.

The bundle has a wide-angled HD camera in a rubberized case. There is an additional fixturing as well if you want to add Runcam 3 or even GoPro, which makes it a decent FPV drone. New powerful motors provide an excellent result of traction to weight ratio of 7.6 times and speed up to 68 mph. The engines are mounted on damping rubber, which reduces overall vibration. It has an acrobatic operation mode and a stabilized one.

11. 3DR Solo

For GoPro cameras
3dr solo best drone under 500

Flight time: 22 minutes | Maximum distance: 6300 ft | Shooting quality: 720p 25 FPS | Weight: 1500g

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⊕ Standalone/smart features
⊕ Ideal for GoPro with its mount
⊕ Good flight performance
⊖ No collision avoidance

The sturdy plastic case is decorated with corner LEDs. Having an on-board computer with a frequency of 1GHz, the model is sensitive to controls and stable. One processor is installed in the controller, being responsible for configuring the camera. Another one is in the quadrocopter, it distributes the computing load, focusing on stability. With the velocity limit at 55 mph, the drone operates for 22 minutes below 1.2 miles.

This is a smart machine with GPS, good hovering, altitude retention, and many support functions: Selfie, Orbit, Follow Me. Cable Cam mode provides flexible connection via HDMI.

Image Name Features  
upair one 4k best drone under 500
UPair One 4K
OUR CHOICE
  • HD camera with 120° viewing angle
  • 19-min flight
  • Can hold at a certain height and hover
CHECK PRICE
dji mavic mini best drone under 500
DJI Mini
PROFESSIONAL
  • Maximum speed is 57.6 km/h.
  • Autonomous/Intelligent Flight modes
  • Remote control
CHECK PRICE
walkera f210 best drone under 500
Walkera F210
LASTING
  • Fast charging
  • Light weight
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose a Good Drone Under $500?

The majority of options for this request will be flight-ready kits with several upscale features, robust assembly, and at least a basic level of flight control via GPS positioning. If you don't know how to choose a drone, here is a quick guide.

Quality of Photo and Video

Most options have an HD camera mounted but allow setting up action cameras like GoPro. The resolution of digital photography is determined by the megapixel count and reaches 12-16MP.

Footage quality can start from 1080p and allow you to get 4K. Opt for purchasing devices with a mounted high-resolution camera plus an electronic or mechanical stabilizer.

There are cameras that broadcast live video or FPV, useful for operating them through a smartphone/controller. Having a live video stream enables the use of a virtual reality headset or FPV glasses that give a first-person view of the flight.

Flight and Design Characteristics

Battery life – you get approximately 15-25 minutes in the air. This scope is conditioned by the existence of drone variations ranging from racing to selfie cameras. Use bundled high capacity batteries, better if they don't have a long charging time.

Control range – when using a local controller, the range decreases compared to Wi-Fi or a mobile device. The best drone with camera under 500 dollars normally reaches slightly above a mile. The larger the range, the better it is for the user. Unless you’re new to it and risk losing control, then the shorter range is preferable.

Speed values depend on your flight and shooting preferences, especially for speed sports. Racing drones develop a 75mph velocity. Choose an option with minimum 2 shift modes and brushless motors for that.

The drone design affects its controls, maneuvering and transportation. The greater the weight and size, the faster its operation will drain the battery. However, bulkier drones can easier withstand the wind without drifting in flight.

Additional Features

Accurate and easy control also provides stable hovering, even when you’re releasing the sticks on the remote. The best drones under $500 with camera can have functions of GPS positioning, detection/prevention of obstacles, internal stabilization of the gyroscope and control of auxiliary flight with autonomous modes.

These are one-button take-off/landing, auto-return to the specified home coordinates. The Follow Me mode forces the machine to get hooked to the controller. Some may cruise between two points along a programmed path.

Intelligent shooting modes. Most often their purpose is clear from the name: Orbit, Follow Me (the machine continues shooting while following, maintaining centering and distance), Landmark, Visual Tracking, Selfies and many others. Video clips filmed using these modes look like pre-staged and more professional.

Gesture/voice control modes can provide an entertaining experience and significant ease in shooting and navigation. Most often, a small list of short predefined commands that need to be mastered is already wired into the drone.

FAQ

  • Can I create a terrain map with these drones under $500?

Yes, all models have video and photo modes, so you can create maps of the area.

  • What drone should I choose?

I highly recommend choosing DJI Mini. This is a robust DJI drone with numerous handy functions available at a very reasonable cost. Newbies are bound to like various features and shooting/flight modes the Holy Stone HS 700D offers. UPair One 4K is praised for the amazing camera quality and flight performance.

  • How long do I need to charge a drone battery?

Depending on the model of a drone under 500 dollars, it usually takes from 1 to 3 hours.

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