Personal drones were never prevalent as it is now; thanks to Vloggers and photography wannabees.
If you’re one of those who are also looking to get a drone for your next vacay, then there’s good news – just spend $500 or less and get one of the best drones.
We know sometimes finding a better quadcopter that perfectly suits your needs, gets challenging, especially when your budget is under $500.
There are so many things to consider when purchasing a drone – the battery lifespan, the camera, features like blade protectors, sensors, flight capability, and whatnot. Naturally, the level of features varies a lot between drones – cheaper devices may have simpler cameras, less autonomy, and shorter battery lifetimes, while pricier ones offer high-resolution cameras stabilized by gimbals.
You may be surprised, but there are great deals of awesome yet affordable drones that can beat even some higher-end ones.
Here, we’ve gathered a bunch of the best drones under $500; don’t worry! We have shortly including a summary of each drone’s specifications, camera, and other features too.
List of 5 Drones Under $500
1. Rabing RC
Rabing RC is one of the best yet affordable drones for outdoers and sports photographers say skateboarding, cycling, skiing, etc., but not for those who don’t have any experience of flying.
Don’t worry! It’s both beginner-friendly and easily maneuverable.
The maximum speed and the maximum flight time of the Rabing RC is 26 mph and 20 minutes respectively; you should thank for its 2000mAh LiPo battery. The drone has a remote controller with a range of 1,968 feet; you can also use your smart device to control the drone through the app via Wi-Fi, make sure the connection is limited to 984 feet only and in good weather conditions.
The Rabing RC also comes with an amazing 1/2.3″ Sony CMOS fish-eye camera with a 169-degree viewability, so that you can record smooth 1080p video at 60fps and shoot 16MP stills. You can also send live video directly to your smart device. Its built-in three-axis stabilization system will capture a crystal clear, smooth, and stable images.
The advanced features of this quadcopter will enhance your aerial shooting experience; don’t forget its Dual-Positioning GPS System that is best for both indoors and outdoors, other notables are Altitude Hold, One-Key Automatic Return, and One-Key Landing and Takeoff.
Flying with the Rabing RC is fun! You’ll fall in love with it.
2. DJI Phantom 3
There’s a catch! To get this within $500, you have to look for its refurbished models, but don’t worry! All the DJI Phantom 3 models will deliver superb performance with a combination of excellent features.
To start, there’s the camera, which is in both 2.7K and 4K versions and mounted on a three-axis gimbal for stable stills and videos.
The package will be much better with DJI’s remote which has the capability to control the drone from anywhere but within a 0.75-mile range only; you can also view a live feed from the drone’s camera with the DJI Go app on your phone. The Phantom 3 can also keep a track of its location using one of the best drone GPS navigation system and vision positioning systems (in the 4K model), with a number of advanced flight modes including Follow Me, that let the drone fly on its own.
The included battery will live up to 25 minutes of flight time, giving you more time to get up in the air and capture a large number of great images and videos.
Find a refurbished model of the DJI Phantom 3, Phantom 3 with 4K camera or Phantom 3 SE with 4K camera – all are under $500.
3. Yuneec Typhoon 4K
If the DJI Phantom 3 isn’t of your style, then what about Yuneec’s Typhoon Q500? It’s the next best (a killer drone under $500) our experts prefer after DJI.
Once again, getting this high-quality drone at this price requires a refurbished model, that gets you an impressive quadcopter complemented with robust features and a 12MP camera that will capture 4K videos at 30 frames per second or 1080p slow-mo videos at 120 frames/second.
Its 4K camera will be mounted on a three-axis gimbal for all steady recordings. The package also comes with a handheld mount for the camera if you want to use it separately. A controller is also included, and yes, how could I forget its built-in video screen that will let you see your stills from drone’s perspective.
Want to fly for a while? Be in your comfort zone with Yuneec Typhoon 4K; its long 25-minute battery will help you in the air. The Typhoon also offers some autonomous modes, say Watch Me and Follow Me that let you use the 4K camera even if you don’t count yourself a confident drone pilot.
4. Walkera F210 3D
Want an out-of-the-box solution for the racing worlds around, the Walkera F210 3D is one of the best. It packs day and night vision cameras, a sturdy build, simple customizations, and several longevity features. Not saying it won’t break if crashed, but have done something to protect core components and make the rest of the things easy to replace.
Best of all, you can easily tweak the flight characteristics directly by adjusting the flight controller at your convenience; thanks to F210 3D for being lightweight and extremely agile.
We can’t guarantee you’ll win all the races with the Walkera F210 3D, but if any fly drone can get you there, this may be it.
5. Drocon U31W
The Drocon U31W may not be that attractive as some of the others on our list, and yes, some of its features may be dialed down substantially, but it’s an impressive device for the price. It offers plenty of features that make it ideal for first-timers, including rotor guards, a safety feature to practice with.
The Drocon U31W’s 2MP camera can capture 720P video, which may not be much for recording but offers a way to connect to your phone for flying with a first-person perspective.
Want to take group selfies? It will certainly be of help; all courtesy goes to its 120-degree field of view.
As we have mentioned, this drone also has some features for beginner pilots, including one key take-off and landing, an altitude-hold mode, and a headless mode – no need to pay attention at which direction the drone is facing.
Many of the other competing counterparts are offering similar or better features, but not at such a the cheaper price; this makes Drocon U31W a solid option for first-time pilots.
Is there any other thing you need to consider?
One thing that freaks some pilots out is the assembly required before a drone can take-off in the air.
So, if you are wary of assembling a drone, try to buy a drone that is RTF or Ready-To-Fly. Or, if you enjoy assembling stuff, try BNF or Bind-and-Fly drones and if you want more tinkering, how about opting ARF or Almost-Ready to-Fly.
All these drones come with drone kits, and you can modify them according to the given manual. Make sure that standard remote control may or may not come with the ARF ones; so plan accordingly.
Worry not! You’ll find this nomenclature on the packaging of drones.
Lastly, not all drones are easy to fly; quadcopters seem easy, because of their onboard flight controller that stabilizes it.
So, try to opt for them.