Top 4 Best Drones Under $500 (Categorized & With Comparison Table)

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In the past, when drones started gaining more recognition, you literally had two sorts of purchasing. They are either aggressively cheap & wobbly flyers that stay in the air for around five minutes or the more impressive UAV coming with every one of the attributes you wish (and at least $1,000 is their price)

Still, nowadays, more choices are accessible, and even less pricey UAVs sport bunches of favorable attributes and highlight. Suppose you are among those who intend to buy one of the best drones under $500 with admirable features such as obstacle avoidance mechanisms and 4K cameras. In that case, you do not need to look for loads of info elsewhere and possibly get confused. We have gone through countless reviews and feedback and do proper tests to bring forth the best-of-the-best models in this price tier.

Please note that in this article, we also refer to the term ‘drones’ as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), crewless aircraft, flying machines, flying robots, or flyers.

Without any further ado, let’s get right to it!

The best drones under $500

The Shortlist

DJI Mavic Mini Drone FlyCamHoly Stone HS120D GPS DroneForce1 F100GP DroneRuko F11 Pro Drone
Flight time25 minutes31 minutes provided by two batteries30 minutes provided by two batteries30 minutes provided by two batteries
Camera2.7K HD2K UHD1080 HD2.9K UHD
Range4023.36 meters (2.5 miles)300 meters (0.186411 miles)500 meters (0.310686)1200 meters (0.7456454)
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Review in details below.

1. The overall best pick: DJI Mavic Mini Drone FlyCam Quadcopter – By DJI

The overall best pick: DJI Mavic Mini Drone FlyCam Quadcopter
The overall best pick: DJI Mavic Mini Drone FlyCam Quadcopter
  • The target audience: First-time UAV purchasers searching for dependable performance & simple controls
  • Reasons to get it: Light weight, portability, and user-friendly control via a functional application

Our verdict

DJI does not need an introduction, indeed. Practically every time they introduce the debut of a drone, it is highly likely to become a smash hit. And when it comes to the DJI Mavic Mini quad, you cannot go wrong with this particular compact flyer, especially if you are a novice. 

The whole machine’s weight is under one pound; it is around an average cell phone’s weight – in layman’s terms. Plus, it is worth noting, this also includes the SD card, propellers, and battery. 

You will like that owing to that weight, you may not need to register the Mavic Mini with your local government. That said, make certain of the matter before you fly the model.

What is more? Thanks to the DJI Fly application (for Android & iOS), sending your DJI to the sky is fast and easy. Simple presets & responsive commands should help you capture aerial footage like an ace. 

Mavic Mini is one of the best drones under $500
Mavic Mini is one of the best drones under $500. Photo by Razvan Cristea on Unsplash.

What if it is your maiden flight? No worries! The application likewise includes a Flight Tutorial mode so that you can pick up the rudiments of commanding your flying robot. 

Speaking of the DJI Mavic Mini’s control range, it is 2.5 miles at max. And when it comes to the battery duration, your crewless aircraft vehicle will have around 25 minutes in the air. 

How about the resolution? If only this product unit could be equipped for 4K. The built-in camera just manages to handle 12MP stills & 2.7K HD video. On the one hand, that might be adequate for occasional hobbyists or some first-time UAV purchasers. But on the other hand, avid flight photography fans may want to land on another option, for example, the next pick.

2. The best choice for novices: Holy Stone HS120D GPS Drone with Camera – by Holy Stone 

The best choice for novices: Holy Stone HS120D GPS Drone with Camera
The best choice for novices: Holy Stone HS120D GPS Drone with Camera
  • The target audience: Those searching for an incredible first UAV whose price is reasonable
  • Reasons to get it: Terrific performance and simple-to-use attributes

Our verdict

If you are beginners, you will appreciate the practical Follow Me mode. As soon as the drone camera locks onto a specific individual, the drone will go after them at a proper distance & height for shooting stunning footage & having good selfies. 

Also, are you considering a beautiful route? The application of these best drones under $500 (available on Android & iOS) will allow you to do only a couple of finger traces over your smartphone display to outline a custom course. 

The robot is additionally responsive to different gestures so that you can capture photos in real-time. One thing to note: for the camera to get you guys’ hand signals, ensure you and your buddies are adequately close.

Talking about the Holy Stone HS120D drone’s camera, its quality is hardly doubtful. There will not be 4K videos brought forth for you to admire, but you get another comparable thing (i.e., live views & stunning 2K footage). Tweaking the camera controls is not difficult, and recordings & snapshots look fantastic. As you can now realize, for the price, you receive a great deal.

That is not all; the model has intelligent flight modes such as one-key departing & landing, implying you will not have to stress over how to begin & end your drone flight appropriately. 

Better yet, the two batteries give as long as 32 minutes of flight time. And if the indicator begins blazing red, there is no need to worry. It is because the automatic RTH (aka Return to Home) mode will lend you a hand in case the batteries run out of juice, or the robot loses the GPS signal. You will not thus stress over crash landing in an inaccessible location.

3. The most popular GoPro compatible drone: Force1 F100GP Drone with Camera – by Force1

The most popular GoPro compatible drone: Force1 F100GP Drone with Camera
The most popular GoPro compatible drone: Force1 F100GP Drone with Camera
  • The target audience: Anyone who leans more toward a classic controller than an application on their smartphone. 
  • Reasons to get it: A flying robot that can do a smidgen of everything for a long while. 

Our verdict

As one of the best drones under $500, this model allows you to enjoy the benefits of two different things simultaneously. These are endurance & durability and remarkable photographic attributes & highlights. How about we address the camera functionalities, to begin with?

First things first, GoPro fans will be fond of the GoPro Heroes 4 & 3 universal mount. The GoPro snaps directly into the chassis, and afterwards, you are good to go. However, that is not all; even in the absence of the GoPro action camera, the product unit’s included 1080 HD cam is decent enough for use. 

You may like the nicely balanced & light adaptive lens, contributing to your photographs and recordings’ stability and clearness. What is more? Dual LED headlamps are available for improved illumination to your shots later in the day. 

By endurance, we mean two batteries that offer as long as half an hour of playtime and brushless motors for more extended & less noisy operation. Even better, the Force1 F100GP flies at either low or high paces. As far as we know, this model is one of the best alternatives to more expensive flyers when it comes to attributes & performance. 

Read: Best drones for GoPro.

4. The best choice for battery life: Ruko F11 Pro Drones with Camera – by Ruko

The best choice for battery life: Ruko F11 Pro Drones with Camera
The best choice for battery life: Ruko F11 Pro Drones with Camera
  • The target audience: People who are into shooting breathtaking imagery and looking for the best drones under $500 with a long flight time
  • Reasons to get it: The best of two worlds offered (i.e., you get the excellent battery life and have no desire to miss out on other incredible drone attributes.

Our verdict

The UAVs on this rundown have batteries that draw nearly half an hour of flight time when fully charged. As for this bad boy, it will allow for a twofold increase in playtime. The product unit features two 11.1V 2500mAh rechargeable batteries, proving to be useful in case you desire to do a touch of worry-free discovery or in case there is a considerable load of scenery you wish to capture.

What is more? This drone’s UHD (Ultra High Definition) camera can capture splendid 4K stills over a 120° field of view. You have the choice to adjust the lens up to 90° as well. Speaking of the drawback, you will see that there are not full 4K videos; however, the camera does figure out how to take 2.9K. 

Last but not least, the unit comes with brushless motors, allowing for less noisy & more nicely stabilized images. There are also various favorable flight choices – for example, custom flight routes, headless mode, and follow me. These are an ultimate combination with the longer battery duration, impressive construction, and responsive & sharp camera functionality – all under a strong & easy-to-use drone.

Read Ruko F11 Pro Detailed Review.

All in all

Hopefully, the above list is helpful in your research. After referring to it, we are pretty confident that you can figure which one out of those best drones under $500 is your best fit. At the end of the day, UAVs are truly fun and possibly change your life more positively. 

Like this post? If you do, do not forget to share it with your UAV enthusiast friends and drop us a comment right below! Have a good time and enjoy your flight!

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