Most newbies believe that drones are a luxury, and it would be too difficult to find the best drones under 500. Whether you are budding Youtuber, a Vlogger on any other digital platform, an aspiring filmmaker, a traveler, or just a passionate videographer, having a drone in your shooting equipment can take your work to the level. Owning a good quality drone has become every videographer’s dream. No matter how good your lens knowledge and camerawork is, your regular filming apparatus cannot capture the majestic aerial and moving shots that have those visually appealing motion picture feels.
Drones were indeed a piece of expensive equipment when they were first launched for commercial use. Initially, they were invented as a piece of security equipment for surveillance and spying and were later launched commercially to cater to the same purpose. However, later, the scope of using drones broadened, and it became a rage among filmmakers and videographers because of the bird’s eye view and beautiful details that it allows you to capture. It enables you to use angles and access the heights and depths of an object that you could not have otherwise accessed with your conventional equipment.
Best Drones Under 500 – Comparison
The increased competition in the drone industry has put downward pressure on the prices, and today you can find drones for every price range. While it is true that most professional drones fall under the higher price point, there are cheaper and moderately priced options available for those who have budget constraints. That being said, it is a general perception drone under $500 would be of poor quality and hence not a worthy investment. That perception is entirely baseless, and you can find some of the best drones under $500.
A quick online search for drones will reveal that there are plenty of great quadcopters available for under $500 with a list of great features that you require from a quadcopter. The best place to start is to understand what are your essential requirements in a drone – because it will help you identify the best offerings. If you are looking forward to but a great camera drone on a budget, here are top drones under $500 to help you make your pick.
Best Drones Under $500 [Specs & Reviews]
Here are the specifications and reviews of the best drones under $500:
1. Walkera F210 Quadcopter
If you are into drone racing and looking for a great racer camera drone that does not blow your budget out, the Walkera F210 Quadcopter series is the perfect pick for you. This camera drone has a sturdy and durable fiber carbon body, which is impeccable for a drone priced at this range. The flying time is a decent nine minutes with impressively speedy vertical acceleration.
Walkera is a Ready-to-Fly drone that comes with a Devo 7 transmitter, which makes it exceptionally user-friendly and easy to fly for beginners. The 700 TVL camera gives a decent output quality. On the downside, unlike many of its competitors, the Walkera F210 Quadcopter comes with a single built-in battery and does not have an option of removable or backup batteries. As a result, you will have to wait for your drone to get recharged for the next use, every time it runs out of the batteries. This can be a little frustrating for the users who use drones for longer flying time, or for those who plan to use it at a location where recharging facilities are not available.
The Walkera F210 drone has a sturdy chassis and a robust built with decent stability, which makes it an excellent pick for those who have little or no experience in flying drones. This drone has multiple flight modes so you can start with the basic ones and move your way up to more advanced methods.
- Robust, shock-resistant and robust body
- Brushless Motor
- Devo 7 transmitter
- 700 TVL Camera
- Ready to Fly
- On-Screen Display
- Impressive performance with high-power brushless motors
- Sleek and attractive design for a budget racer drone
- Compact packaging for easier portability
- Wide range of flight modes
- The non-removable built-in battery needs to be recharged every time it runs out.
2. Holy Stone HS720 Foldable GPS Drone
This amazing quadcopter by Holy Stone is one of the most impressive products on the list and an excellent option for videographers who are looking for the best drones under $500. It has a unique and intelligent foldable design that sets this product apart from most other competitors.
The Holy Stone HS720 compact foldable and durable built makes it an ideal choice for travel vloggers and videographers. The material and the chassis has a decent built, and the drone has a great weight balance.
The HS720 drone has four brushless motors that facilitate a quiet flight and less pressure on the battery, thereby giving a decent 26 minutes of flight time. It takes between 5 to 7 hours to recharge the batteries once they are drained. Another intelligent feature is the automated alarm that makes the drone return to you if the battery runs low while the drone is still in flight.
- Intelligent and robust design
- GPS tracking with automated drone return
- Long flight time
- Longer flight time
- Great camera quality with 2K wide-angled camera
- SD card for memory storage
- Foldable design
- User-friendly commands
- Longer recharge time
3. DJI Mavic Mini Drone Fly Cam Quadcopter
DJI is a popular name in the drone market, and this Mavic Mini drone by DJI is one of the top-notch additions to its budget product line. The drone has a lightweight foldable design that carries a flying cam weighing about 249 grams. This allows you to enjoy exemptions from flight regulations in most countries and can use this product as a hobbyist drone.
The drone can fly at a steady speed of 14 km per hour for up to 30 minutes. The GPS connectivity of the drone is quite impressive that allows precision in flying, hovering, aiming the shot, and returning home. It is easy to fly a drone, which makes it an excellent buy for beginners. Although the weight and design dynamics of the DJI Mavic drone classifies it as a toy drone, this feature becomes a huge plus for this product and makes it stand out from other competitors on the list.
The size and weight of this mini drone do not deter it from performing lower than any other regular adult budget drone. This toy drone, with all the features of a regular drone, is ideal for travelers who would like to take along a drone camera to capture great shots without getting into any hassle of legal restrictions either during travel or at the destination. Pack it in its casing, slip it into your luggage and you are good to go.
- Compact foldable design
- Lightweight product and exempted from registrations in most countries.
- Can be used with the DigiFly app
- Great WiFi connectivity
- Internal Storage
- 2.7K HD video camera
- Two-way charging hub that can charge three batteries at a time
- Spare batteries
- Spare propellers
- USB Ports
- Very basic camera features
4. DJI Tello Quadcopter – The Best Deal
Priced at about 109 bucks on Amazon, this is one of the best camera drones under $500 and is a great buy for budget buyers. The features are quite impressive for a low-priced drone. It comes with an HD camera, VR, three batteries, eight propellers, and a whole lot of commendable features, which are great for a product at this price.
DJI Tello Quadcopter is an excellent purchase if you are new to flying drones and do not have much experience working with quadcopters. The drone can be controlled by a smartphone app that gives you real video games feels. It weighs only 2.8 ounces and is great for indoor flying. DJI drones have managed to create their niche as budget drones for beginners, and the DJI Tello Quadcopter stands true to their reputation. It is a lightweight entry-level drone that can be used for both indoor and outdoor shots.
The visual output, especially the aerial shots are beyond stunning, and the controls are super easy to figure out even if you have had no prior experience of using camera drones. Not only its weight makes it a travel-friendly drone cam, but the removable batteries and availability of spare batteries are also a much-needed feature. These features add to the convenience you require. All you need to do is to replace the batteries every time they run out and save yourself from the pain of recharging the batteries.
- HD Camera
- Spare batteries
- Spare propellers
- Easy to use
- Smartphone apps have easy controls
- Great for indoor flying
- Not suitable for outdoor flying
5. Syma GPS FPV RC Drone – Best Quadcopter Under $500
Syma is one of the most renowned names in the drones and quadcopter industry. This drone by Syma is priced relatively higher than its most other drones. That being said, the price remains under 500 bucks, and the advanced features make it a worthy investment.
This Syma drone has a sleek design, and it folds in a compact case, which makes it an excellent travel drone. With a flying time of a decent 15 minutes, the GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity of this drone makes it fantastic for shooting. The flight is exceptionally stable when it comes to vertical hovering. A wi-fi enabled 720p camera gives great quality high-resolution pictures.
Although Syma has marketed this drone as a beginner level drone, this product is designed very professionally with advanced features. That pretty much explains why it is priced on the higher side compared to most beginner level drones. It is easy to set up and has a decent flying time. The 720p optimized camera gives better visual output than most beginner level budget drones in the market. The chassis has a strong and robust built, and there are other emergency and safety features such as the One-Key return system to make it easier to manage for beginners.
- One-key return feature
- Real-time flight feed on your phone
- 720p Wi-fi enabled camera
- Great stability
- Relies on rechargeable battery only
6. RUKO F11Pro Drones With Camera – Best Camera Drone Under 500
Ruko is amongst the most popular drone manufacturers in the world. They are trusted for their exceptional built quality and remarkable technology.
Ruko F11 is an update of their all-time famous original F11. Ruko F11 Pro is designed for professional drone photographers and videographers. It features a 4K Ultra HD for capturing images and a 2.9k camera for capturing video with impressive clarity, rich contrast, and vivid colors. Plus, with a 90º tilting camera and a wide-angle 120º field of view, you can experience broader views of the site.
Ruko F11 Pro features a wide range of intelligent flight modes, including One-key Landing/Take-off, Follow Me, Automatic Return Home, Custom Flight Path, FPV, Tap Fly, and Headless Mode. Its smart foldable design makes Ruko F11 Pro an excellent option for travelers.
The best feature of the Ruko F11 Pro is its battery time! It provides best-in-class 30-min flight time, so fliers have ample time before shutting down to charge. Ruko ships the drone with an additional battery to top it all, making the total flight time up to 60 mins. Ruko F11 Pro also has a fast-charging time as it only takes 3.5 hours to charge its 2500mAh battery fully.
All-in-all, Ruko F11 Pro is the best drone under 500 if you are looking for a drone that offers excellent design, reliable built-quality, and a fantastic range of features with an ultra HD camera.
- 4K Ultra HD image quality
- 9k video quality
- ????????????°FOV lens and ????????°adjustable camera
- 300-500 meters live video transmission
- 5 hours charging time
- Equipped with strong GPS positioning
- Dual-Band WiFi
- A sleek, modern design
- Fast charging
- High-quality images and videos
- Strong brushless motors
- Quiet and stable flight
- Follow Me Mode
- GPS Hold
- One Key Take off / Landing
- It can struggle in strong winds
7. Parrot Bebop 2 Drone – Best 4K Camera Drone
If you want the best FPV drone under 500, then the Bepop 2 will surely impress you. Parrot Bebop 2 Drone is a reliable option for beginners and experts as it is easy and hassle-free to fly due to its responsive and stable controls.
You will also be highly impressed by its image and video quality as it comes with a 14-megapixel fish-eye lens for 1080p images and video recording. You can also film and capture videos at a 90° angle for improved visibility. The fish-eye lens ensures that all the videos and images offer excellent clarity and exposure, even in low-light conditions.
With Parrot Bebop 2 Drone, you can enjoy crystal clarity real-time video streaming on your smartphone or tablet. You can also adjust the angle of the camera with a single swipe.
Bebop 2 is backed by the FreeFlight 3 piloting app that offers a range of smart features including, smart take-off and land with the touch of a button, share your images and videos with the Community, and other smart features for improving your flying experience. The FreeFlight 3 piloting app is available for free download for both Android and iOS.
It also features Automatic Shutdown Function, Automatic “Return Home” Function, rear LED light, Headless Mode, Altitude Hold, Low Battery Alarm, and several other smart functions. If you are looking for an excellent and highly durable aircraft with Live Video Streaming, then Parrot Bebop 2 Drone is a must-have.
- 14 MP camera
- 25-min flying time per battery (2 batteries included)
- Rear LED light
- Equipped with powerful motors
- 2KM operating range
- 3-axis digital stabilization system
- 3-speed modes
- FreeFlight 3 piloting app
- FPV supported
- Excellent battery timing
- Easy to carry and convenient to fly
- Exquisite design
- Stabilization system
- Requires FAA registration
- It can’t do 360º aerial spins and 3D flips.
Drone cams are one of the most revolutionary technologies that came around and took the photography and filmmaking industry by a storm. Although they were indeed a pricey investment when they were first launched, today, drone cams and quadcopters are easily available to fit every price range and requirement. When buying a new drone, make sure you know how well you can handle a drone, your expertise with handling different cameras, and your purpose of buying a drone so that you can make sure you are buying the right product. As long as you are buying a drone that fits your lifestyle, purpose, usage, and budget, you will not regret your purchase. If you want to buy an affordable drone, check our reviews on best drones under $200 & best nano drones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What Kind of a Drone Should I go for if I have no prior experience with flying drones?
Drones are typically available in two variants: Ready To Fly RTF drones and DIY drones. DIY drones are cheaper but require you to assemble and set up the drone while the RTF drones can be used at the touch of the button. If you are inexperienced with drones, it is recommended that you buy an RTF drone with a crash-resistant design.
- How important is it to have a GPS tracking system on your drones?
It is very easy for your drone to get lost if you are flying in a populated city, a forest, or in the mountains. GPS enabled drones, especially those with auto-return systems, allow your drone to return to you from any point.
- How important is it to have a 4K camera on your drone?
Drone prices can vary according to camera quality and features. The camera quality that would be best for you depends on why do you need the drone? If you plan to use your drone as a hobby or as a vlogger, a normal 2K camera with good output will do the job for you. However, if you are an aspiring filmmaker, go for a drone with the best possible camera features.
- What to do if the drone gets out of its range?
If the drone gets out of its range, then there is no need to worry because it automatically switches to RTL(Return to Land) mode. It means with the help of a GPS sensor drone will return to its original position where it began.