Best Drone Under 500

Drones are becoming more and more popular given their use in photography, videography, and racing. There are so many different types on the market it can be overwhelming to choose one. Here is a list of some of the best drones under $500 that people might want to consider when they’re looking for a new drone.

Best Drone Under 500

What is the Best Drone Under 500?

We have compiled for you the top 9 Best Drone Under 500 in 2024. In this article we go through the products that we have used ourselves, checked what other users thought about them and we ranked them accordingly.

With years of experience with drones for less than $500 and having used several drones under 500 dollars you can trust our review.

Moreover, you can scroll to the end of this review to see our mini buying guide as well as the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about drones under 500 dollars.

1. RUKO U11 Pro Drone

RUKO U11 Pro Drone
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Max Flight Time: 26 Minutes
Control Range: 500 meters
SD Card Slot: Micro SD
Charging Time: 3.5 Hours

YouTube video

Boasting remarkable attributes for a novice, the RUKO U11 Pro Drone elevates the thrill of aerial photography for enthusiasts. Inherent in its design are impressive flight modes, including the efficient ‘return home’, reliable ‘follow-me’, and the predetermined ‘waypoints’. A unique feature that separates the U11 Pro from its competitors is the GPS tracking system that aids retrieval of a misplaced drone, ensuring peace of mind for adventurers.

Setting flight restrictions for distance and altitude using the included app, it effectively accommodates beginner-level pilots, further enhancing its approachability. At the heart of this machine is the powerful 4K UHD camera, straddling dual roles of capturing vivid images and creating high-quality videos. Additionally, the 5GHz FPV transmission offers real-time viewing, which is a notable inclusion. Though under benign air conditions, it can outrun boundaries, pushing to a maximum flight range of 500-meters.

Among its standout features, the U11 Pro Drone upholds a steady altitude upon release of the transmitter controls, thanks to an intuitive auto-hover mode. Although the shaky video projection conversely denotes a need for more robust shock absorbers.

Pros

  • 4K UHD camera offers brilliant imaging,
  • Exhibits Level-V wind resistance,
  • Provides sturdy altitude hold,
  • Features two Li-Pol batteries for extended flight

Cons

  • Sometimes captures unstable videos,
  • May experience frail connection in adverse conditions

2. DJI Mini 2 Quadcopter

DJI Mini 2 Quadcopter
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Max Flight Time: 31 Minutes
Control Range: 10 Km
Gimbal/ Stabilization: 3-axis
SD Card Slot: Micro SD
Charging Time: 4 Hours

YouTube video

Venture into the world of drone photography with the DJI Mini 2 Quadcopter, a masterstroke from the leading manufacturer, DJI. Created specifically for beginners, this drone guarantees excellent coverage and stability, making it an ideal choice for capturing picturesque landscapes and cinematic shots alike.

The DJI Mini 2 is packed with superior technological attributes. It flaunts a 12MP camera with a 4x zoom, a stunning 4K/30fps resolution, and a remarkable maximum altitude of 4000 meters. To make your experience even more immersive, its equipped with OcuSync 2.0 technology that enables a 10-kilometer range. supporting incredible distances. This compact powerhouse also makes use of a motorized 3-axis gimbal to deliver breathtaking panoramic images filled with meticulous details.

Ensuring you miss nothing, the DJI Mini 2 accompanies a Fly App to edit your photographer masterpieces and conveniently share them on your social channels. Its compact design, weighing less than 250g, eliminates the need to register this drone in the US. Astonishingly, such a delicate framework can resist wind up to the level-5 speed of 20mph, ensuring smooth operation even when conditions get tough.

Pros

  • Compact and portable,
  • Exceptional wind resistance,
  • Sustainably long battery life,
  • Transmits up to a 10Km range

Cons

  • Reduced quality of night shots,
  • Lacks obstacle avoidance capabilities

3. DEERC D20 Mini Drone

DEERC D20 Mini Drone
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Max Flight Time: 10 Minutes
Control Range: 40 meters
Charging Time: 1.33 Hours

YouTube video

Meet the DEERC D20 Mini Drone, a compact yet mighty addition to the world of recreational drones. This drone is high on performance but light on the pocket. Its primary feature, an integrated 720p HD Wi-Fi camera, is astoundingly advanced considering its price point. The video feed goes live, ensuring users instant access to views from above. For a beginner in the drone world, this is a perfect place to start.

Regrettably, the drone’s range is only 40 meters, which might restrict the scope of your aerial explorations. Nevertheless, it stores all clicks right in the smartphone gallery, so at the end of each flight, you’ll have a slew of shots to share or admire. The D20 Mini Drone also recognizes voice commands along with two distinct gestures (a ‘V’ and an open palm), granting users another layer of control over the device.

Nevertheless, the battery life of around ten minutes could be a dampener, but the drone impressively comes with a spare 5000mAh battery. Plus, the abundance of safety measures – propeller guards, low-battery alerts, and an emergency stop function – consolidates its position as an admirable option in its category.

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Pros

  • Offers waypoint flight option,
  • Emergency stop feature,
  • Comes with two 5000mAh batteries,
  • Affordable drone with camera functionality

Cons

  • Lacks an SD card slot,
  • Limited transmission distance

4. Holy Stone HS110G FPV Drone

Holy Stone HS110G FPV Drone
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.33 pounds (0.15 kg)
Max Flight Time: 20 Minutes
Control Range: 328 ft (100 m)
Gimbal/ Stabilization: No
SD Card Slot: Yes
Charging Time: 3 Hours

As an adventurer who loves exploring, capturing, and sharing the moment, the drone I use plays a huge role in my travels. In my pursuit to find the best budget-friendly drone, I chanced upon the Holy Stone HS110G. It’s a standout for those who want to take aerial shots without breaking the bank.

What catches the eye about the HS110G is the inclusion of an onboard camera, a dazzling feature rarely found in drones in this price range. Despite the lack of stabilization, the camera still manages to provide quality footage, surpassing some pricey models with built-in stabilization. The HS110G allows for smooth recording to an SD card, avoiding the spotty visuals often seen with onboard storage.

Steering a drone can be daunting for beginners, but worry not with the HS110G. It’s equipped with a user-friendly remote controller and app, designed for novice quadcopter pilots. Distinctive praise should be given to its battery life. Not only do they last as guaranteed, but replacement batteries come at a pocket-friendly price. This means you get to enjoy more time exploring the open skies. Nevertheless, the drone does come with a charging caveat; it needs to be stationary during the process.

Pros

  • Excellent value for the price,
  • Exceptional footage quality for a beginner quadcopter,
  • Reliable and affordable batteries,
  • Intuitive and user-friendly remote-controller and app,
  • Offers direct recording to your phone or SD card

Cons

  • Struggles with outdoor stabilization, particularly in windy conditions,
  • Drone must be stationary during battery charging

5. EMAX Tinyhawk RTF Micro Racing Drone

EMAX Tinyhawk RTF Micro Racing Drone
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.93 pounds (0.42 kg)
Size: 4.3 x 3.7 x 1.5 inches (10.9 x 9.4 x 3.8 cm)
Max Flight Time: 4 Minutes
Charging Time: 1 Hours

YouTube video

Introducing the EMAX Tinyhawk RTF Micro Racing Drone – this nimble beast is hailed as the premium pick on my list. Engineered for enthusiast beginner pilots, this RTF (Ready-To-Fly) drone saves you assembly time and lets you jump straight into the action. This micro drone kit is comprehensive, including FPV goggles, a remote controller, and a handy carry case.

The Tinyhawk may be marginally larger than some of its counterparts, but weighing in at just 42g, its lightweight structure offers impressive agility. This high-flier boasts a robust polypropylene frame, efficiently safeguarding the propellers with built-in impact protection. The in-built FPV camera does more than just capture moments; it livestreams high-resolution videos directly to your goggles or an external monitor, enhancing your flight experience.

Considered a racing prodigy, the Tinyhawk darts through the air, topping the speed chart among its peers at an exhilarating 35 mph. With three flight modes – Level, Horizon, and Full Acrobatic – versatility is at your fingertips. However, this punchy performance does come with a downside – the battery life. Clocking in at a mere four-minute flight time, it’s definitely not built for long-haul.

Pros

  • RTF drone saves assembly time,
  • Weighs only 42g, providing agility,
  • Comes with impact-protected propellers,
  • – Features high-res FPV camera

Cons

  • Limited 4-minute flight time per charge

6. Holy Stone HS720E GPS Drone

Holy Stone HS720E GPS Drone
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Max Flight Time: 23 Minutes
Control Range: 999 meters
Gimbal/ Stabilization: EIS
SD Card Slot: Micro SD
Charging Time: 5 Hours

YouTube video

For those pursuing their passion for aerial photography, the Holy Stone HS720E GPS Drone offers an exciting opportunity. This GPS-enabled drone is part of Holy Stone’s HS series, designed specifically with intermediate users in mind. It incorporates a 4K EIS camera with a Sony sensor, enabling users to capture breath-taking high-resolution images and videos from above. While it may not be the choice for commercial photographers, it has plenty to offer hobbyists and enthusiasts.

The drone’s slow-motion feature enables recording of videos at 1080p resolution at 60fps, enriching your collection of spectacular bird’s-eye shots. Although the drone lacks a gimbal, Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) technology compensates by keeping the lens steady and focused. Impressively equipped with altitude hold through pressure and optical flow sensors, the HS720E mimics an “eye in the sky”, maintaining stability and precision in hover mode.

The HS720E boasts of smart flight modes, where you can set pre-programmed routes for the drone to follow, making flights more predictable and easier to control. The drone’s LED lights provide appeal and enhance visibility, creating an enchanting spectacle in the night sky. Powering through with a 2800mAh Li-Pol battery, this drone promises longevity but might test your patience with its recharging time.

Pros

  • Auto return mode for easy retrieval,
  • Stable imaging with high-quality resolution,
  • Double altitude hold for precise hovering,
  • Supports microSD up to 128GB

Cons

  • Not suitable for professional-grade photography,
  • Time-consuming battery recharge (>5 hours)

7. SANROCK U52 Drone

SANROCK U52 Drone
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Max Flight Time: 13 Minutes
Control Range: 100 meters
SD Card Slot: Micro SD
Charging Time: 3.33 Hours

The SANROCK U52 drone stands out as a solid choice for those new to drones. It features an impressive 1080p HD camera that delivers high-quality images and videos, a notable feature for users interested in aerial photography. An exciting capability is to use the inbuilt FPV (First Person View) technology for a real-time view from the drone’s perspective, within a comfortable 30-meter range. It also sports powerful safety features – the controller beeps as a warning when crossing this range.

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Indoors, it works efficiently, living up to the battery life claim by the manufacturer. It’s worth noting though, outdoor conditions might reduce the drone’s active flying time. Unfortunately, spare batteries aren’t included. Flexibility is another key element in the SANROCK U52 drone. It’s controllable via its dedicated application, remote control, voice commands, and even finger motions. Follow-me technology and the ground-breaking gravity sensor enhance the fun by replicating your smartphone’s movements.

A unique attribute is its all-encompassing multi-control capacity, making it convenient and engaging for the user. Despite its robust design, the SANROCK U52 drone is crafted with durable ABS construction, guaranteeing reliability and longevity.

Pros

  • High-resolution 1080p HD camera,
  • Real-time view FPV transmissions,
  • Variety of control options,
  • Robust and Durable ABS construction

Cons

  • Suboptimal battery performance outdoors,
  • Does not include extra batteries

8. Potensic D58 Drone

Potensic D58 Drone
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Max Flight Time: 18 Minutes
Control Range: 1640 ft (500 m)
Gimbal/ Stabilization: No
SD Card Slot: Yes

Immerse yourself in the wonders of the Potensic D58 Drone, designed for the true adventurer. As an agile flyer, it effortlessly captures every second of your escapade with immaculate 1080P HD videos. Its definitive selling point is its enhanced control range, letting your explorative spirit soar far and wide.

Constructed to weather the gusts, it stands unrivaled among its counterparts. Its above-average weight ensures its stability, making it resistant to wind disruptions. Beneficial for new drone operators, its inherent heft matched with extreme durability reduces risks of mishaps, guaranteeing smoother flights and precious peace of mind.

Its triple speed modes endow it with a capability to navigate through varying conditions—you’re in charge of its cruising speed! An added highlight is its longer flight time, leaving you with ample time to capture amazing moments from new heights.

However, the Potensic D58 is not without its cons, and it is essential to note these. It weighs more compared to similar drones – a likely factor in its solid wind resistance. Furthermore, its battery recharge time is on the longer side, indicating a bit of downtime between flights.

For seekers of quality visuals and flight longevity wrapped in an enduring package, the Potensic D58 Drone is definitely worth considering. So zero in, take the controls, and let your journey of exploration begin!

Pros

  • Exceptional wind resistance due to weight,
  • Excellent control range,
  • High-quality 1080P HD videos,
  • 3 flexible speed modes

Cons

  • Heavier than most drones,
  • Requires longer battery recharge time

9. DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Max Flight Time: 30 Minutes
Control Range: 4 Km
Gimbal/ Stabilization: 3-axis
SD Card Slot: Micro SD
Charging Time: 1.5 Hours

YouTube video

The DJI Mavic Mini marvels with its mighty might encapsulated in a pocket-sized frame, aligning perfectly with the needs of the travel enthusiast or drone hobbyist. With an impressive capacity to capture 12MP JPEG photographs and 2.7K Quad HD videos, this pint-sized drone packs a visual punch. Exceptional stability adds to its noteworthy features, thanks to a motorized 3-axis gimbal that keeps the camera focused, irrespective of drone movement.

Engineered for efficient flight, the Mavic Mini boasts a significant airtime of around 30 minutes. Its guideability isn’t constrained to its controller – losing sight of your drone is never an issue, thanks to the Fly App’s unique navigation features. However, for full access to modes like Sport and CineSmooth, navigation through app settings is necessary, as these features aren’t readily available on transmitters like they are in newer models.

Launched in 2019, this drone was a remarkable advancement within the industry. However, the fast-paced progress of drone technology may make the Mini 2 a more appealing option if your budget allows.

Pros

  • Stellar flight duration,
  • User friendly,
  • Superior 3-axis stabilization,
  • Compact, foldable design

Cons

  • Lacks DNG RAW format support,
  • Not 4k video resolution compatible

Verdict

To summarize, we have gone through dozens of drones under 500 dollars and decided that 9 are worth your consideration. Out of these, the absolute Best Drone Under 500 is RUKO U11 Pro Drone which we highly recommend as our overall best.

If money is not an issue, you can consider DJI Mini 2 Quadcopter as this is our Premium Pick.

Otherwise, there’s no shame in spending prudently, DEERC D20 Mini Drone is the Budget Option.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying drones under 500 dollars

Speed

This largely depends on your needs and whether or not you have a need for long distance drone flying. The faster the drone, the more expensive it is. However, if your only need is to fly for 10 minutes at a time then speed won’t matter.

Camera Accessories

Some drones will come with extra camera add-ons such as a vibration dampening system for capturing smooth videos during flight or you can choose from several different camera lenses that are compatible with your GoPro.

Live video feed

Most drones will give you the option to see what your camera sees via WiFi or a phone app but some allow for live video feeds directly from the drone’s built-in camera. If this matters then make sure your drone has one before making any purchases.

What should you be looking for in a drone?

Speed – This largely depends on your needs and whether or not you have a need for long distance drone flying. The faster the drone, the more expensive it is. However, if your only need is to fly for 10 minutes at a time then speed won’t matter.

Range – Range greatly depends on how much you want to spend. The cheapest drones are usually only able to fly up to 15 meters away but the most expensive drones can fly up to 50 kilometers away. Flight time – This also varies depending on how often you plan to use your drone but typically can range from 8-25 minutes per charge depending on your speed settings, the battery, and weight.

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SD Card Slot – A few drones come with a camera attached and have an SD card slot to record video. However, you can also purchase an SD card separately and use it in your drone for more storage space.

Camera – The camera is one of the main factors to consider when purchasing a drone and its importance cannot be overlooked. Many drones come with various built-in cameras from integrated 4K video cameras to remote mounted DSLR’s or GoPro’s.

Camera accessories – Some drones will come with extra camera add-ons such as a vibration dampening system for capturing smooth videos during flight or you can choose from several different camera lenses that are compatible with your GoPro.

Age limit – This is fairly self-explanatory but check the age requirement on your drone before buying any equipment. Many times there are lower limits based on battery size, flight time, etc.

Connectivity – Most drones will have WiFi connectivity built-in but not all of them do. Some cheaper drones may run off of a controller while others come with their own dedicated app for controlling the drone.

Controller – This is the remote control that you will use to fly your drone and it comes in various shapes, sizes, and designs. Most of them come with adjustable controls so that you can customize it for a better flying experience but they all serve the same purpose of controlling the flight modes as well as taking pictures or videos from the air. Many of them also include optional add-ons such as extra battery packs for added flight time or attached cameras so that you can record everything while up in the air. See through goggles – These goggles take flight to the next level by making what you see in front of you appear as if you were actually hovering over the terrain below. They can also connect wirelessly to your controller allowing you to see what your drone sees. In addition to the goggles, you will also need a special controller and built-in WiFi on your drone in order to use them.

GPS – GPS is an added feature that allows for more advanced piloting options such as auto return home or circle around an object without having to press any buttons on the controller. Most drones come with a basic set of controls that are easy for beginners but adding GPS can greatly increase your flying experience.

Extra batteries – Always consider how many extra batteries you want when purchasing any drone especially if it includes long flight times. Many larger drones require 3 or 4 batteries which can take a significant amount of space in your drone backpack.

Return to home mode – This is a feature that allows you to press a button on the controller and have your drone fly itself back to its takeoff point. This can be very useful if it ever loses connection, runs out of battery, etc..

Live video feed – Most drones will give you the option to see what your camera sees via WiFi or a phone app but some allow for live video feeds directly from the drone’s built-in camera. If this matters then make sure your drone has one before making any purchases. Obstacle avoidance – Some drones have an obstacle avoidance system which allows them to sense anything in front of them and will automatically adjust their flight path to avoid any collisions. However, keep in mind that this system does not work with all drones so be sure to check compatibility before purchasing it. Follow me – This is a feature that allows you to “tag” an object or person with the drone through GPS tracking like a smart phone app. Now when you move the drone will follow that tagged individual and it can also stop, hover, or go back if you double click on the screen. Think of this as having your own personal cameraman but instead of pointing him at whoever is good looking today he follows only you. Gimbal/Camera stabilization – The best drones have a gimbal attached to the camera to keep it steady during flight for smooth aerial shots. They also come with extra features such as digital image stabilization to improve the quality of your footage even more.

Sensors – GPS sensors, range finders, and pressure sensors can all be helpful when flying your drone but keep in mind that they are costly add-ons so consider if you really need them before buying one. Follow path mode – This is a simple feature that allows your drone to automatically follow a preprogrammed set of GPS coordinates guiding it around various obstacles and back again. Alarms – Some drones will have alarms that will notify you if they are running low on battery or signal which can be very helpful in an emergency situation. Size & portability – When it comes to flying any drone at home you should be sure to keep in mind how large it is so that it doesn’t crash into anything when flying around the house (or worse). Many models have foldable designs that allow them to be easily stored away but its best to measure the drone itself and take note of its size before making any purchases.

Age Limit

This is fairly self-explanatory but check the age requirement on your drone before buying any equipment. Many times there are lower limits based on battery size, flight time, etc.

Gimbal/Camera stabilization

The best drones have a gimbal attached to the camera to keep it steady during flight for smooth aerial shots. They also come with extra features such as digital image stabilization to improve the quality of your footage even more.

Alarms

Some drones will have alarms that will notify you if they are running low on battery or signal which can be very helpful in an emergency situation.

Questions and Answers About drones under 500 dollars

What drone should I buy for hiking?

Not all drones make a reliable companion when you’re outdoors. If you have scheduled a backpacking itinerary, look for the following qualities to bring home epic images and videos of those craggy sun-kissed paths.
• Compact and foldable with weather-resistant backpacks
• GPS, obstacle avoidance, and waypoints fly
• Minimum video support of 1080p/30fps
• >20 minutes of flight time with interchangeable batteries
• Miles of height and control range
Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, so compromises are expected! Lucky for you, we’ve already shortlisted the best drones for hiking and travel photography.

Do you need a wi-fi connection to fly an indoor drone?

It might depend on the particular model of your drone but in most cases the answer is no. Without a wi-fi signal outdoors, your drone will be without navigation and may land in your neighbor’s backyard. But indoors, the RF frequencies are more tightly controlled to ensure they stay within the house or building you’re in. If you run out of power inside there is no way for the drone to return home automatically like on a GPS-controlled outdoor flight where it may fail to realize that you entered an indoor space if not connected to wifi with GPS enabled.

Can you hook a GoPro to a drone?

Some drones admit GoPros; others don’t! Swapping in a high-quality camera is more convenient than buying the latest drone model. Thus, take future upgrades into account.
There are fixed drone cameras, which aren’t exchangeable. Then, we have quadcopters with stationary or gimbal mounts. You can hook a GoPro with such types. Gimbals don’t produce blurry images. Make them the priority.

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Picture of Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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