10 Best Drones Under $500 – 2017 Edition

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.

 

Xiro Xplorer Mini

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

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”.

Xiro Xplorer Mini Beginner Selfie Camera Drone First Flight Tips - TheRcSaylors

The Xiro Xplorer Mini is the Newest Selfie Drone to come out, having now only been released for a couple ...

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Xiro Xplorer Aerial

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

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.

XIRO Xplorer Camera Drone Overview

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3DR Solo

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1500 grams (3.3 pounds)
  • Wingspan: 460 mm (18.1 inches)
  • Battery: 15V 5200mAh Li-Po
  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Payload Capacity: 420 grams (0.9 pounds)
  • Camera: no inbuilt camera
  • Maximum Speed: 24.6m/s (55 mph)
  • Maximum Flying Altitude: 122 meters (400 feet)
  • Operating Range: 805 meters (2641 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

The 3DR Solo is one of the most popular drones for pilots who want to shoot aerial photography with their GoPro. This drone is compatible with GoPro’s HERO3+ Black and HERO4 cameras and it can also be used with the Sony R10C. It is a fairly simple drone and due to the fact it runs on 2 processors it is marketed as the smartest drone currently available on the market.

They work via a dedicated Wi-Fi signal. One of them is located inside the dedicated controller while the other one is inside the drone. They allow for greater responsiveness and improved connection range. The 3DR Solo is a powerful, versatile drone that is a great introduction to the world of aerial photograph.

It is powered by a powerful 15V 5200mAh Li-Po battery that provides up to 25 minutes of flight time.

The 3DR Solo comes with the Solo controller that is inspired by video game controls and it is considered to be one of the best thought through controllers on the market. It comes with color LCD display, haptic feedback and precision camera control. The drone also comes with several Smart Shot modes, such as cable cam, selfie mode, follow me and orbit.

They will enable the drone to fly all by itself, allowing you to focus on getting the perfect shot t. For the price you will also get a hard-carrying case, GoPro gimbal and an extra battery and 8 props.

3DR Solo: Past, Present and Future

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Traxxas Aton Plus

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 262 x 472 x 94 mm (10.3 x 18.6 x 3.7 inches)
  • Weight: 860 grams (1.9 pounds)
  • Wingspan: 370 mm (14.6 inches)
  • Battery: 11.1V 5000mAh Li-Po
  • Flight Time: 20 minutes
  • Charging Time: 120 minutes
  • Camera: no inbuilt camera
  • Maximum Speed: 22.4m/s (50 mph)
  • Operating Range: 300 meters (984 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

The Traxxas Aton Plus is a great drone at a reasonable price.

This drone was designed to be compatible with GoPro 3 and 4 series cameras. The Traxxas Aton Plus might also be a good solution if you have an action cam that isn’t a GoPro. The drone comes with a protective mount and 2-axis gimbal on which you can perfectly fit one of these mentioned cameras. The Aton Plus is a very affordable sport drone that has a nice set of features and good specifications.

The drone is packed with a powerful 11.1V 5000mAh Li-Po battery that gives you sufficient battery life to last you about 20 minutes of constant flying. It has a maximum speed of 50 mph and a maximum control distance of 300 meters.

The Traxxas Aton Plus features three flight modes: Film Mode for recording video, Sport Mode that unlocks some of the built-in safety protocols for newbies, and Expert Mode which allows for manual control of the drone’s flying functions. This drone is also equipped with open source software components which are compatible with Mission Planner and some other applications.

They allow flyer to view flights on satellite maps. The Aton Plus also comes with many other useful features, such as Dual Mode GPS, Geofence Safety, Return to Home, a Status Bar and Flight Altitude Safety.

Traxxas Aton Plus Quadcopter Review Worlds First In Depth User Review

Full user review of the Traxxas Aton Plus Quadcopter. Thanks for watching. Please Subscribe ! More info: Check your Local Hobby Shop first or ...

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Parrot Bebop 2

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

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.

Review: Parrot Bebop 2 Drone

Today we flew the Parrot Bebop 2 Drone, compare it to the DJI Phantom and discuss who it's for.

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UPair One Drone with 4K Camera

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 470 x 231 x 340 mm (18.5 x 9.1 x 13.4 inches)
  • Weight: 1350 grams (3 pounds)
  • Battery: 5400mAh Lithium Ion
  • Flight Time: 20 minutes
  • Payload Capacity: 195 grams (0.4 pounds)
  • Camera: 12MP 4K camera
  • Maximum Speed: 14m/s (31 mph)
  • Operating Range: 1000 meters (3281 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

UPair did an amazing job with the Upair One Drone with 4K camera. It is a mid-range drone price-wise that has U-shape design and promises to be a really nice one. The starting model comes a bit cheaper. However, it doesn’t come with a high-quality action camera capable of recording at 4K.

That’s why it is strongly recommended you pay a bit more and go for the $349 model that features quite a bit of accessories. This model is a great deal, especially considering the fact that it comes bundled with over 11 items in the packaging.

Its huge LED screen controller is definitely one of the very noticeable things you will like about the drone.

It feels really good in the hands and it is almost like a portable console. This drone also possesses an amazing GPS system that provides optimal stability. The UPair One 4K comes with the highest video recording quality available on a built-in camera. This resolution is perfect for recording professional-level video. The drone is powered by a 5400mAh Lithium Ion battery and can be up in the air for almost 20 minutes.

For around $350 you will get a beautiful looking drone that has a strange build structure and clean nice finish and can travel for about 1000 meters without any lag problems.

New UPAir One OSD FPV GPS Long Range Explorer Drone Flight Test Review

This GPS FPV explorer has plenty of special features including FPV, on screen display (OSD), high resolution 7" monitor, two axis gimbal, 2K or 4K camera.

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Blade Chroma

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

Product Specs

  • Wingspan: 400 mm (15.7 inches)
  • Weight: 1300 grams (2.9 pounds)
  • Battery: 11.1V 5400mAh Li-Po 3S
  • Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Charging Time: 120 minutes
  • Camera: three different models
  • Maximum Speed: 17.9m/s (40 mph)
  • Operating Range: 400 meters (1312 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

The Blade Chroma is another outstanding drone from Horizon Hobby. This drone could be the affordable answer to newcomers to aerial photography. The Chroma may come with a CGO3 4K camera, a CGO2+ 12MP 1080p, or with a 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Hero 3 and 4 Black cameras.

Thanks to the powerful 11.1V 5400mAh Li-Po 3S battery, this drone has amazing flight time of about 30 minutes. The battery takes about 120 minutes to charge completely.

The Blade Chroma’s ST10+ RC controller comes with a touchable 5.5” LCD screen.

This screen gives you a real time view of whatever the drone is watching so it is perfect for aerial photography and videography. The screen also works as FPV monitor. The drone’s flight control system is GPS-based. This feature allows for amazing features, such as Follow Me, Smart, Tracking Modes and Aerial Photography (AP).

The only downside is a range of about 400 meters.

However, this shouldn’t be much of a problem if you are willing to stay relatively close while you capture footage. The Blade Chroma is perfect for those people who are serious about aerial photos and videos.

Horizon Hobby Blade Chroma 4K Review & Max Range Test

True review of Chroma and Max range test of the 4K camera! No B.S. just true tests and comments. I will be continuing my review of this Chroma as we will be ...

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Yuneec Typhoon G

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

Product Specs

  • Dimensions: 420 x 420 x 240 mm (16.5 x 16.5 x 9.4 inches)
  • Wingspan: 565 mm (22.2 inches)
  • Weight: 1100 grams (2.4 pounds)
  • Battery: 11.1V 5400mAh Li-Po 3S
  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Charging Time: 120 minutes
  • Camera: no inbuilt camera
  • Payload Capacity: 600 grams (1.3 pounds)
  • Maximum Speed: 8m/s (18 mph)
  • Maximum Flying Altitude: 122 meters (400 feet)
  • Operating Range: 1000 meters (3280 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 2.4GHz

The Typhoon G is an amazing drone by Yuneec! We are now able to afford this drone because the price for this high-quality drone dropped dramatically recently. It is a perfect drone for a GoPro 3 or 4 camera because it comes with a 3-axis gimbal that stabilizes the camera.

The drone also features ST10 transmitter, Yuneec’s Personal Ground Station. This transmitter has a built-in touchscreen and FPV video feed. This means that you’re able to see in real time what your GoPro camera is seeing from the air.

The drone is packed with a powerful 11.1V 5400mAh Li-Po 3S battery and the battery lasts about 25 minutes.

The battery takes about 120 minutes to charge completely. The Typhoon G also has a nice range of 1000 meters and payload capacity of 600 grams. The drone features useful modes, such as GPS, Angle Mode, Home Mode, Follow Me and Smart Mode. The Typhoon G is very close to take the best drone under $500 spot. However, people at Yuneec will need to work a little bit harder to achieve that.

This drone is definitely for you if you are into photography and videography.

Yuneec Q500 "G" Review & Max Range Test

Sorry, had to redo this video because there were missing clips. This one should be better. I know Yuneec recommends turning off the wifi on the GoPro while ...

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DJI Phantom 2

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

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.

DJI Phantom 2 Unboxing, Review & Flight Test

DJI Phantom 2 With GoPro 3+ & Zenmuse Gimbal Unboxing & Review & Flight test.

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DJI Phantom 3 Standard

Last update was on: April 23, 2017, 11:16 am

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1216 grams (2.7 pounds)
  • Wingspan: 590 mm (23.2 inches)
  • Battery: 17.4V 4480mAh Li-Po 4S
  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Charging Time: 120 minutes
  • Maximum Speed: 10m/s (36 mph)
  • Maximum Flying Altitude: 6000 meters (19685 feet)
  • Camera: 12MP 2.7K camera
  • Operating Range: 1000 meters (3281 feet)
  • Controller Frequency: 5.8GHz

DJI’s drones sell for a lot more than $500. However, the cheapest Phantom 3 models have fallen into the sub-$500 category with the company now focusing on the Phantom 4.

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is a sky monster. This drone comes with a 2.7K camera with 12MP, capable of capturing video at 30 fps. The camera owes its stability to DJI’s integrated 3-axis gimbal. If you have couple of hundred bucks more on the budget you can upgrade the camera to 4K. The drone comes with a range of autonomous flight modes that DJI has become known for, such as point of interest flight planning, Follow Me and waypoint navigation.

It also has a return to home feature. It is important to note that flying this drone indoors isn’t a great idea because it lacks the Visual Positioning System.

The Phantom 3 Standard is number one choice to almost any videography and photography events professional. It has a great flight time of about 25 minutes and amazing control distance of 1000 meters. The Phantom 3 Standard offers everything that a novice pilot could want and this drone is definitely best drone under $500.

DJI - Introducing the Phantom 3 Standard

Meet the Phantom 3 Standard: the most accessible intelligent flying camera ever built. Easy to fly and engineered to let everyone take to the sky, now you have ...

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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.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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