Here it is: a list of what I think are the best drones under $1000 dollars. I update this list regularly, to make sure I put in the new drones that are always coming out. In making this list, I take into account these categories: Price, Camera, Flight Time/Range/Speed, Smart Features, and Size. Also, I will never give a drone a 50/50, so keep in mind that this is all my opinion. So, without further ado, here’s your list!
Our #1 Pick: The New DJI Mavic Air
Price (6/10): $799
Camera (9/10): 4k 30 fps, 12 megapixel stills, 3-axis gimbal.
Flight Specs (9/10): 21 minute flight time, 2.4 mile range, 42 mph.
Smart Features (10/10): Hand Control, Quickshots, basically everything you could ask for.
Size (10/10): About the size of a smartphone, when folded up.
Total Score: 44/50
The DJI Mavic Air is the drone for everyone, whether you’re a hobbyist, a beginner, or a professional. It has as many smart features as you could possible want, with just as much power packed into it. Its size is great for everyone, because you can throw it into your pocket and carry it easily. But don’t be fooled by its small size: it can go 42 mph, which is as fast, if not faster, than the Phantom 4, which is a far bigger drone. The 800 dollar price point is high for some, but believe me, it’s worth every penny. It also takes the top spot in our list of Best Drones, period. Since it’s so easy to use, and yet has such good camera and flight quality, it’s easily the best drone under $1000. For more information, read the full review here.
Runner Up: DJI Spark
Price (8.5/10): The Spark comes in at $337 for base package, but $548 for the Fly More Combo, which includes the controller.
Camera (7/10): Max resolution 1080p, 2-axis gimbal.
Flight Specs (7.5/10): 16 minute flight time, 1.2 mile range (with controller), top speed about 35 mph.
Smart Features (10/10): Very Smart drone; designed for beginners.
Size (10/10): Palm-sized, but arms do not fold in like Mavic Air.
Total Score: 43/50
The DJI Spark is a great drone for beginners. It’s not too expensive, although you do have to cough up another 200 dollars to get the Fly More combo with the remote controller. Otherwise you’ll be controlling the drone with your phone and/or your hands. Smart Features and Size are the biggest draws on Spark, but the Camera can’t shoot 4k, and only has a 2-axis gimbal. Also, 16 minutes in the air was pretty good at the time of release, but I hope they upgrade that on the Spark 2. All in all, if you’re a beginner, you’ll love this drone. Click here for the full review.
#3: DJI Mavic Pro
Price (6/10): $769 on Amazon.
Camera (9/10): 4k @ 30fps, 12 megapixel stills, 3-axis gimbal.
Flight Specs (10/10): 27 minute flight time, 4+ mile range, top speed 40 mph
Smart Features (6/10): Has several smart modes, but you can’t control with your hands, and it’s missing quickshot modes.
Size (9/10): The Mavic folds up to be about the size of a small book. Not as compact as the Mavic Air.
The Mavic Pro, released in late 2016, packed a ton of features onto a foldable drone. While the Mavic is still a great drone, the reason it comes in at #3 is because it’s been one-upped by the Spark and Mavic Air. However, it has a ton of great features: 4k camera, 27 mins of flight, 4 mile range, 3-axis gimbal, just to name a few. It’s a steep price at $828, but it has enough great specs to make it worth it. Read my full review here.
Price (8/10): $500-600 (Different retailers price it differently)
Camera (10/10): 4k camera, 3 axis gimbal, mounted beneath the drone for 360 degree view.
Flight Specs (6/10): 25 minute flight time, 400 meter range, top speed 18 mph
Smart Features (6/10): Has a follow-me mode, but that’s pretty much it.
Size (6/10): It’s a big drone, comparable to a DJI Phantom drone.
The Yuneec Typhoon 4k has a terrific camera, which is why it’s number 4 on the list. The price isn’t too bad, especially considering it includes the “steadygrip”, a handheld device which you can attach the gimbal to, for smooth footage out of your hand. The Flight specs are disappointing, with a tiny 400m range and a slow top speed of 18 mph. However, less flight specs are a fair trade-off for an excellent camera. I would say the Typhoon 4k camera tops even the Mavic Pro’s, because of its crisp, no-distortion shots. For the full review, click this link.
#5: Parrot Bebop 2
Price (9/10): $285-450 (different packages available).
Camera (6.5/10): Max resolution 1080p, 3-axis camera is stabilized digitally, which is less consistent than mechanically.
Flight Specs (8/10): 25 minute flight time, 1.6 mile range, 37 mph top speed.
Smart Features (3/10): Has follow-me mode, but you have to buy it for $20 extra.
Size (7.5/10): Can’t fold up like Mavic, but it’s a reasonably small drone.
The Parrot Bebop 2 has been a popular drone for a long time, because it’s very easy to fly and get the hang of. At a price similar to the Spark, it has a better flight time and speed than Spark. The camera is not 4k, which is disappointing, but it does have a 3-axis digital stabilization system, which is nice. However, mechanical stabilization is much more reliable, in my opinion. The other downside is that you have to purchase the follow-me mode in the app, for another 20 dollars. It’s not a ton of money, but I wish they would include it in the price. Overall, Bebop 2 is a good drone for beginners, and it won’t empty your wallet. Full review here.