10 Best Drones Under $500 – 2020 Edition

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Many people think that drones only come in two categories. First, you’ve got the toy-ish, sub-$100 group designed for quick fixes of fun. But the problem with these drones is that they do not offer much in terms of end product. There’s the $700+ group that wouldn’t look out of place on a Hollywood film set.

These drones come fully stocked with HD cameras, GPS, and long range radio controllers. But there is a good news – there is a middle ground. It’s possible to find a relatively affordable drone that includes some of the best technology combined with the finest hardware.

Drones under $500 have become really popular these days. More than 2.5 million personal drones were sold in 2016, according to the recent statistics and in the coming years the figure is expected to rise exponentially.

You can get yourself a pretty nice deal within a reasonable budget. Before you can get the best deal you need to have some kind of comparison and trade-offs to study and we are here to help you.

Below you’ll find the 10 best drones currently available on the market for $500 or less.

They are 10 of the most powerful drones and all of them are packed with useful features and capable of great performance. Some of these drones were the top-notch drones of last year while the others have been designed to fill the gap between the top-notch drones.

In case $500 is a too much of strain on your budget, check out the cheaper drones you can buy for under $300 or even under $200. And if you have deep pockets and looking to buy some high end bird, check out this article about most expensive drones for sale right now.

Best drones for sale under $500 with camera (some of them with 4k)

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Mavic Mini

It is small, light and can fly up to 30 minutes: DJI Innovations has introduced the new DJI Mavic Mini. With a recommended retail price of only 399,- USD, the DJI Mavic Mini is currently the cheapest Mavic drone by DJI. So the Mavic Mini from DJI could become a perfect drone for everyone and is especially suitable for spontaneous excursions and quick aerial shots for in between.

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DJI Mavic Mini

Lightweight, fast and super fun to fly. Very affordable and great choice for newbie pilots.
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Hubsan Zino H117

With the Hubsan Zino, the Chinese manufacturer Hubsan has added a cheap and yet promising hobby drone to its product range. The Hubsan Zino H117S is equipped with a 4K camera, 3-axis gimbal, GPS, foldable arms and intelligent flight modes.

The Hubsan Zino is the ideal alternative to the DJI Mavic series of the brand manufacturer DJI. We took a closer look at the Hubsan Zino drone and explained the advantages and disadvantages of the 4K camera drone.

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Xiro Xplorer Mini

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 320 x 320 x 55 mm (12.6 x 12.6 x 2.2 inches)
  • Weight: 410 grams (0.9 pounds)
  • Wingspan: 225 mm (8.9 inches)
  • Battery: 1400mAh Li-Po 3S
  • Flight Time: 15 minutes
  • Camera: 13MP 1080p camera
  • Maximum Speed: 8m/s (18 mph)
  • Maximum Flying Altitude: 50 meters (164 feet)
  • Operating Range: 100 meters (328 feet)

The Xiro Xplorer Mini is the newest drone from Xiro. This drone comes after widely successful Xiro Xplorer V, but there are many things that make this drone different from its predecessor. We’ll start off with the size.

With a wingspan of 225mm this drone is significantly smaller than Xplorer V. Also you won’t even feel it in your bag because it weighs only 410 grams. Due to its folding arms, this drone is also very portable and it can fit any bag without problems. However, you’ll also get small bag in package to carry your drone around.

The drone is equipped with a nice 1400mAh Li-Po 3S battery and has a flight time of about 15 minutes. The drone also comes with 13MP 1080p camera that is able to capture very high quality images and it supports FPV and can live stream video to your Smartphone. Your mobile device can communicate with this drone about 100 meters away from you. The Xiro Xplorer Mini has maximum speed of 18 mph and maximum flying altitude of 50 meters.

The drone has all common features, such as Low power protection, Lost connection protection, Auto return home, etc. Xiro application comes with many amazing features, such as the indoor visual positioning that allows safe hovering and flight control without GPS, while GPS/GLONASS dual-satellite system will give you necessary safety for outdoor flights.

The newest feature is “one click sharing on social media”.

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Hubsan Zino 2

  • Maximum take-off altitude: 5000m
  • The longest flight time: 33mins (windless)
  • The longest hover time: 32mins (windless)
  • Max. endurance mileage: 20km (50km/h windless cruising)
  • Wind resistance: 5-level
  • Max. Tiltable angle: 25 degrees (normal mode); 35 degrees (sports mode)
  • Max. rotational speed: 150 degrees/s
  • Working temperature: -10 Deg.C – 40 Deg.C
  • Working frequency: 5.725 – 5.850 GHz
  • Positioning: GPS + GLONASS
  • Check its price on Amazon

The Zino 2 had a lot of teething issues. Some of them are solved in the meanwhile but Hubsan is known for a sloppy service (e.g. they published last month two totally different firmware versions for the Zino Pro with the same version number). Another issue is the heavy weight of the Zino 2. This could be a problem regarding upcoming law changes in Europe. On the other hand the Zino 2 comes with a higher 4K frame rate and better – means lower – compression with lesser compressing artefacts that most of its competitors from this price range.

Feature packed drone for below $500 – this is a real grab! Hubsan is further improving on its reputation of producing great, mid class, low-cost drones. When you see the specs, you would expect at least 2x the price of the one you can get this machine for. So, don’t hesitate too much and go snatch one from Amazon.

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Xiro Xplorer Aerial

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 376 x 353 x 162 mm (14.8 x 13.9 x 6.4 inches)
  • Weight: 1220 grams (2.7 pounds)
  • Battery: 11.1V 5200mAh Li-Po 3S
  • Flight Time: 18 minutes
  • Charging Time: 120 minutes
  • Camera: no inbuilt camera
  • Maximum Speed: 15m/s (34 mph)
  • Operating Range: 1000 meters (3280 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

The Xiro Xplorer Aerial may not be one of the most known drones but it is definitely one of the best looking drones out there in the market.

This amazing drone has a unique design to it and also some awesome features, such as Circle Around Me, meaning the drone will circle around a pre-determined point. Other great features are Follow Me mode (drone follows target) and Return to Base function (drone returns to where began flight). The Xplorer Aerial does not include its own camera.

However, one can be easily attached to its gimbal and the Xplorer Aerial is considered to be one of the best and most affordable drones for photography and videography. The drone is capable of flying as far as 1000 meters at a speed of 34 mph. The 5200mAh Li-Po battery is built-in and not removable and has a flight time of about 18 minutes.

The battery takes about 120 minutes to charge completely. Another amazing feature is vibration alerts on the remote controller to warn you when battery is running low.

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Xiro Xplorer Aerial

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Parrot Bebop 2

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 382 x 328 x 89 mm (15 x 15 x 3.5 inches)
  • Weight: 500 grams (1.1 pounds)
  • Battery: 11.1V 2700mAh Lithium Ion
  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Charging Time: 120 minutes
  • Camera: 14MP 1080p camera
  • Maximum Speed: 16m/s (36 mph)
  • Operating Range: 300 meters (984 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

The Parrot Bebop 2 is the upgraded version of the Parrot Bebop 1 and it excels in simplicity, durability, and a really enjoyable flying experience.

For first time drone buyers looking for an easy and fun to control drone with an amazing camera to capture incredible aerial footage the Bebop is the number one choice. Bebop 2 is a high performance drone that uses four brushless motors.

It is made of ABS plastic that is reinforced with glass fiber to ensure great resistance. At 14MP, the Bebop 2 comes with one of the highest-resolution cameras available. The camera has a fish-eye lens with a 170 degree Field of View and it is capable of shooting in 1080p.

The Parrot Bebop 2 includes a wide set of powerful and important features.

The Bebop 2 takes commands from your Smartphone or tablet instead of using a traditional joystick controller. Control is done via a free app available for both Android and iOS. This can be a bit limiting at first, but also pretty fun and approachable for newbies. The second-gen Bebop also features Follow Me, Automatic Landing, Altitude Hold, Position Hold, Return to Home and Flight Planning (paid application feature).

The drone is also equipped with a flashing LED lights on the rear to increase visibility in darker scenarios. The Bebop comes with a powerful 11.1V 2700mAh Lithium Ion battery that provides about 25 minutes of flight time. It has a maximum control range of 300 meters.

However, if you buy (separately) the Parrot’s Skycontroller this can be increased up to 2000 meters.

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DJI Phantom 2

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 290 x 290 x 180 mm (11.4 x 11.4 x 7.1 inches)
  • Wingspan: 350 mm (13.8 inches)
  • Weight: 1000 grams (2.2 pounds)
  • Battery: 11V 5200mAh Li-Po 3S
  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Charging Time: 120 minutes
  • Camera: no inbuilt camera
  • Payload Capacity: 300 grams (0.66 pounds)
  • Maximum Speed: 15m/s (34 mph)
  • Maximum Flying Altitude: 500 meters (1640 feet)
  • Operating Range: 1000 meters (3281 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

The DJI Phantom 2 was a huge success in the market and it is DJI’s bestseller. For many drone enthusiasts looking for amazing performance and lifting power, the Phantom 2 is the number one choice. This drone does not come with a built-in camera. However, it is compatible with GoPro Hero cameras that can easily attach to the drone’s body via a compatible stabilization gimbal.

When the drone rotates along its three axes, the camera will remain steady and focused because its stabilization gimbal supports 3-axes of rotation. The drone also supports FPV flights.

The DJI Phantom 2 includes amazing features such as Altitude Lock (drone won’t fly above that altitude) and an integrated GPS which supports auto-pilot function.

The drone also features Steady Hovering and Position Holding (drone maintains same height without pilot input). The Phantom 2 has a flight time of up to 25 minutes thanks to the powerful 11V 5200mAh Li-Po 3S battery. The drone can also fly as far as 1000 meters horizontally and has a maximum speed of 35 mph.

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Potensic Dreamer 4k

The Potensic Dreamer 4K Drone is a big step forward for Potensic that usually builds toy drones. With this latest model, it is expanding its catalog of inexpensive machines that offer multiple options for pilots, enthusiasts, or novices.

Dreamer 4K is a mixed bag – you can definitely get a better drone for the money (Hubsan Zino Pro or ZLRC SG906 2 Pro for example) as this one lacks camera stabilization and has overly sensitive controls.

The Potensic Dreamer has a 1/3in Sony sensor capable of shooting 8.3 megapixel stills. But although it is dubbed as a 4K drone, it actually can’t shoot in 4K but it records at 2.7K at frame rate of 30fps. Even so, this resolution matches this of the highly popular DJI Mavic Mini.

Potensic Dreamer does have a 4K sensor that can capture images at 3840 x 2160, but the video footage is at 2688 X 1512. So, you should be aware about this small factor before you purchase the drone.

It has some great features, but beware of any accidents, because it has no obstacle avoidance abilities so if you find a tree or a wall in front of you, it will hit it hard.

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Walkera F210 Professional Racer

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 182 x 182 x 103 mm (7.2 x 7.2 x 4.1 inches)
  • Weight: 370 grams (0.9 pounds)
  • Battery: 14V 1300mAh Li-Po 4S
  • Flight Time: 9 minutes
  • Camera: 700TVL FPV Camera
  • Operating Range: 800 meters (2625 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

Features

  • RTF drone
  • Night vision HD camera
  • LED lights

The package contains Walkera F210 Racing Drone, 700TVL Camera, OSD, DEVO 7 Transmitter, 1300mAh Li-Po Battery, Battery Charger, 4 Clockwise Propellers, 4 Counter-Clockwise Blade Propellers and Instruction Manual.

The Walkera F210 Professional Racer is a furious and super fast mini FPV drone. This drone is a truly innovative design that’s unbelievably fast. It is considered to be one of the best plug and play drones currently available on the market. It is driven by four 28 size 2500kv motors running on a 4S 1300mAh battery.

These motors push the drone to the limits, giving it incredible speed and zip. In order to allow aggressive flying with high throttle punches the drone is powered by a high voltage battery (14.8V). It also features the latest F3 flight system software and it is capable to make cool 3D flips and rolls.

This drone is very durable in a crash thanks to its robust carbon body. The Walkera F210 is definitely one of the strangest, bulkiest-looking racing drones to purchase. However, you shouldn’t let its appearance fool you because this drone can buzz around with the best of them!

The Walkera F210 is equipped with a unique 700TVL night vision camera. The camera has a wide 120 degree viewing range and it allows you to practice at night. The drone also comes with a reliable Devo 7 transmitter that offers offers longer transmission distance, less interference and more stable radio transmission.

As usual, the 5.8G mushroom antenna, which may be an eye soar, is located in the back of the drone. However, the manufacturer placed it there for amazing transmission capabilities, making it less likely that you’ll lose contact with your drone.

Pros

  • Strong motors
  • Amazing camera
  • DEVO 7 transmitter
  • Night vision HD camera

Cons

  • Expensive
  • FPV set doesn’t come in the package
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Summary

We sincerely hope that this article has given you valuable information that you can use to choose the drone which best fits your aerial needs and be ready to take on the sky. It’s time for you to make your choice now that you know the features and specifications of the best drones under $500 currently available on the market.

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