Here’s a list of what I think are the best drones under 500 dollars (updated regularly). Just like in my other lists, I take a few things into consideration in my rankings: Price, Flight, Camera Quality, Controller, and Size. I don’t care about smart features in this list, because most drones under 500 dollars don’t have many smart features (with the notable exception of the Spark). ‘Nuff said! Here’s the list:
TABLE : WHAT ARE THE BEST DRONES UNDER 500 DOLLARS?
|5. Traxxas Aton||GoPro||20 min||300 meters||SEE BEST PRICE|
|4. Yuneec Breeze||4k||10 min||N/A (Controlled with Phone)||SEE BEST PRICE|
|3. DJI Phantom 3 Standard||2.7k||25min||0.5 mi||SEE BEST PRICE|
|2. Parrot Bebop 2||1080p||25min||2.6 mi||SEE BEST PRICE|
|1. DJI Spark||1080p||15min||1.2 mi (with controller)||SEE BEST PRICE|
Our #1 Pick: DJI Spark
Price (8/10): $350 on Amazon, without controller.
Flight (10/10): For a drone under $500, Spark can be flown with ease.
Camera Quality (9/10): Can shoot 1080p, but not 2.7k or 4k; 2-axis gimbal.
Controller (6/10): The base package does not come with controller; it can be flown with a phone or your hands.
Size (10/10): The Spark is smaller than most people’s hands, which is why you can launch it from your palms.
The DJI Spark is without a doubt the smartest and best drone on this list. It has plenty of smart features, including gesture control, where you control the drone with your hands. However, the base package doesn’t include the controller, which you will have to pay another 150 dollars for.
Also, the Spark’s camera can only shoot 1080p, not 4k like the new Mavic Air ($799). Those are really the only complaints I have with it: it’s a great option for beginners and more advanced hobbyists. Read the full review here.
Runner-Up: Parrot Bebop 2
Price (9/10): $285-450, depending on the package.
Flight (9/10): Very stable drone, but follow me mode costs $20 extra.
Camera Quality (9/10): 1080p max resolution, 3-axis digital stabilization.
Controller (8/10): Good controllers (Skycontroller or Skycontroller 2), but you have to pay $400 for the package with the controller.
Size (7/10): Not a huge drone, but not a tiny drone like the Spark, either.
The Parrot Bebop 2 has been a huge success. Its low-ish price makes it a great option for people who are looking to get their first higher-quality drone. While the camera quality isn’t as good as the Spark’s, it does have a 3-axis stabilization system which works well.
Both controllers are good options, but you have to pay more to get it with a controller (and it’s a lot better with the controller). So if you can pay $400+ to get it with the controller, it’s definitely a good option. Read my full review here.
Price (6/10): $500 [UPDATE: Price is now at $568, but it still deserves to be on this list]
Flight (9/10): Great flight time and range, but outdated smart features.
Camera (10/10): For a drone under $500, this is the best camera you can get (besides a go-pro mount drone); can shoot 2.7k video.
Controller (8/10): Big and bulky, but gets the job done.
Size (7/10): It’s a very large drone, but if you don’t mind transporting it around, it’s a fair trade-off.
The Phantom 3 Standard has long been a, well, a Standard of drones. While it’s an old drone, it still has an excellent camera and packs a big punch. The camera can shoot clear 2.7k video, at 30 frames per second.
However, due to the fact that the drone is 2+ years old, you might be better off buying the new Spark. But, neither the Spark or the Bebop have as good of a camera as the Phantom, which is why if you’re a more advanced hobbyist, the Phantom 3 might be better. Read my full review here.
#4: Yuneec Breeze
Price (9/10): $229 [Update: The breeze is fading out of stock, and you might have to get a refurbished model, but it’s still one of the best drones under 500 dollars]
Flight (9/10): Pretty good flight; has a lot of smart features!
Camera (9/10): Can shoot 4k video, but only has stabilization on 1080p video.
Controller (3/10): Does not come with controller. You can buy a controller separately, but it’s not very good.
Size (9/10): Very small drone. About the size of your hand.
The Breeze is a neat little selfie drone that has a lot of good features. I’ll start with the bad: it doesn’t have a controller! So you’ll be controlling this drone from your phone, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it’s annoying. Plus, you can buy a controller, but from what I’ve heard, that controller is not very reliable or good.
Also, it has an advertised 4k camera, but your videos in 4k will be all shaky: it can only use digital stabilization on 1080p video. However, the Breeze does have some good things about it: it has plenty of smart features and quickshot modes, which is always nice for beginners. Overall, it’s a decent drone, especially considering it’s only half the price of the Spark. Here’s the full review.
#5: Traxxas Aton
Price (7/10): $391 on Amazon
Flight (9/10): Offers several flight modes, from beginner to expert. Can reach speeds up to 50+ mph.
Camera (5/10): Aton comes with a gimbal for a GoPro, which you have to buy separately.
Controller (6/10): Feels like a cheap toy controller; but it works fine.
Size (7/10): Not as big as a Phantom, but Aton is a bulky drone.
I look at the Traxxas Aton as more of a racing/toy drone than a camera drone, but it can do both. It has a 2-axis gimbal mount for a GoPro, which you have to buy separately. If you don’t have a GoPro, I don’t think it’s worth it. But if you have one, the Aton is a great way to get it in the air.
It has an unmatched flight speed of 50+ mph, which is amazing. Overall, like I said, I think the Aton is a toy drone, just because it’s made for flying, not for photography. But it’s a great option for those of you who want to have the exhilarating feeling of flying.
That brings the list of the best drones under 500 bucks to a close! Comment below if there’s any drone we missed, and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list below. If you want to see more of the best drones, check out our Top 10 Drones list!