The Ultimate Guide to the Best Drones Under $500

Section 1: The Top Picks

The DJI Mavic Mini

The DJI Mavic Mini is a powerful and compact drone that offers an impressive range of features at an affordable price. With a 12-megapixel camera, it captures stunning aerial shots and videos with ease. The drone’s lightweight design and superior stability make it a great choice for both beginners and experienced drone users. The Mavic Mini also offers a flight time of up to 30 minutes, making it ideal for longer aerial adventures. Overall, it combines affordability, portability, and high performance into one impressive package.

The Holy Stone HS720

If you’re looking for a feature-packed drone without breaking the bank, the Holy Stone HS720 is an excellent choice. Equipped with a 4K UHD camera and advanced GPS-assisted flight, this drone ensures smooth and stable flights every time. The HS720 also comes with intelligent flight modes such as Follow Me, Waypoint, and Orbit Mode, which allow you to capture cinematic shots effortlessly. Additionally, its foldable design makes it highly portable, perfect for photographers on the go. With a flight range of up to 2,500 feet and a battery life of around 26 minutes, the HS720 is a top contender in the under $500 category.

The Autel Robotics EVO

The Autel Robotics EVO is a versatile and powerful drone that rivals some of the more expensive options on the market. Boasting a 4K UHD camera with a 3-axis gimbal, it delivers crystal clear images and videos. The EVO’s intelligent flight modes, such as Follow Me and Dynamic Track, offer enhanced tracking capabilities, allowing you to capture stunning footage with precision. With a maximum flight time of 30 minutes and a range of up to 4.3 miles, this drone gives you ample time and distance to explore the skies. Whether you’re an aerial photographer or a hobbyist, the Autel Robotics EVO is sure to exceed your expectations.

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Section 2: Factors to Consider

Camera Quality

When choosing a drone under $500, the camera quality should be one of your top priorities. Look for drones that offer at least 1080p HD resolution or higher, as this will ensure sharp and detailed footage. Additionally, consider drones with built-in stabilization systems, such as gimbals, to minimize shake and vibration for smoother videos and photos. Remember, a high-quality camera is essential for capturing breathtaking aerial shots.

Flight Performance

The flight performance of a drone can greatly impact your overall experience. Look for drones that offer stable flight controls and responsive maneuverability. Drones with GPS or advanced flight sensors tend to offer better stability and more precise flight paths. Additionally, check the maximum flight time and range of the drone. A longer flight time allows you to capture more footage, while a greater range gives you the freedom to explore new areas.

Safety Features

Safety should always be a priority when flying a drone. Look for drones that come with built-in obstacle avoidance systems or collision sensors to help prevent accidents. Some drones also feature return-to-home functions, which automatically bring the drone back to its takeoff point in case of signal loss or low battery. These safety features can provide peace of mind and protect your investment.


Can I fly a drone under $500 without a license?

In most countries, you do not need a license to fly a drone under a certain weight limit, which is usually well within the range of drones under $500. However, it’s important to check and abide by the local regulations and laws regarding drone usage in your specific area. Always prioritize safety and fly responsibly.

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Are drones under $500 suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! Many drones in the under $500 range are designed with beginners in mind. They often come with built-in flight modes that assist with takeoff, landing, and stable flight. Additionally, these drones usually have straightforward controls and intuitive interfaces, making them easy to learn and operate.

How far can drones under $500 fly?

The flight range of drones under $500 varies depending on the model. Some drones can fly as far as several miles, while others may have more limited ranges. It’s important to check the specifications of the drone you are interested in to ensure it meets your desired flight range requirements.

Can I use drones under $500 for professional photography or videography?

While drones under $500 can produce high-quality photos and videos, they may not offer the same level of professional-grade features and image quality as more expensive models. However, with proper skills and editing techniques, you can certainly achieve impressive results. For professional use, you may want to consider higher-end drone models with more advanced features and capabilities.

What are the main differences between drones under $500 and those over $1000?

Drones under $500 generally offer fewer advanced features and may have limitations in terms of camera quality, flight time, and range compared to more expensive models. Higher-end drones often come with enhanced image stabilization, longer flight times, longer range capabilities, and more advanced camera systems. They may also offer additional intelligent flight modes and better overall build quality. It ultimately depends on your budget and specific needs as a drone user.

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Can I upgrade the camera of a drone under $500?

Most drones under $500 have camera systems that are integrated into the drone’s design and cannot be easily upgraded or swapped out. If camera quality is a top priority, it may be worth considering a higher-end drone that offers a better camera system out of the box. However, many drones in the under $500 range already offer impressive camera capabilities suitable for various photography and videography needs.


In conclusion, the best drones under $500 offer an incredible range of features and capabilities at an affordable price point. Whether you’re an aspiring aerial photographer or seeking thrilling flying experiences, these drones provide an excellent balance between performance and value. Remember to consider factors such as camera quality, flight performance, and safety features when choosing the perfect drone for your needs. Before you make a decision, explore other articles and reviews to ensure you find the best fit for your budget and requirements. Happy flying!