Shopping for the best drones under 500 USD….
Consumer drones are hugely popular these days. They make for an ideal gift to give a loved on their birthday, or on any special occasion. Flying drones and aerial photography is a major hobby in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. In the US, consumer drones are so widely used that the FAA has come out with specific guidelines on them.
Now, the thing about drones is that there are all types of drones – cheap drones, long range drones, mini drones, drones for beginners, drones for advanced practitioners or professional drone pilots, drone for photography or filming. The best drones cost over $1000, and there are a plenty of affordable cheap drones that cost under $200.
What you want is something in between – which has all the features that you would expect from a top rated advanced drone such as long-range remote control, GPS functionality, HD camera and high-quality aerial photography – but costs much less.
Yes, you can certainly shop for the best drones under 500 USD. We have listed top rated, best value drones under $500 for you, which you will like whether you are a beginner or an advanced drone flyer.
What to Look for in Personal Drones
Personal consumer drones under $500 are the most popular types of quadcopters in the market right now. They offer a good combination of stability, battery life, and power, and are based on a solid technology. Here are some of the things you need to look for in personal drones.
Range and battery life – The best consumer drones have to be of the right range and battery life. In drone terminology, this is referred to as “flying time”. Most drones in this price category give you 20 minutes of flying time. This should be more than enough for you to shoot high-quality videos from a distance. You can expect a range of about 500 meters with these drones.
Ready-to-Fly or Bind-and-Fly – There are two types of drones that you can choose from – ready-to-fly drones that you can use straight out of the box. Bind-and-fly drones, which you will need to assemble yourself, and require a little tinkering. If you are an experienced drone flyer, you can buy a bind-and-fly quadcopter, but if you are a beginner, stick to ready-to-fly.
Life Expectancy – Drones have a limited life expectancy, just like any advanced gadget. You can expect to get about 100 to 200 flying cycles from a drone that costs $500 or less. This means you can fly it 100 to 200 times. This is not bad by any means. Now, the drone won’t be affected at the end of the 200 flying cycles – unless you happen to crash it badly – but the battery will need to be replaced. The battery is quite expensive.
Here’s a look at the Best Drones Under 500 USD…
DJI is one drone manufacturer that has always set a high standard. DJI is referred to the Apple of consumer drones. The DJI Phantom 3 takes over from its predecessor, the iconic DJI Phantom 2. It comes in three different versions – Standard, Advanced and Professional. The DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD Quadcopter Drone is reasonably priced at $439.95.
It comes with many great features such as GPS functionality that allows for auto-pilot mode, real time video transmission – FPV and special modes such as the Follow Me mode, where the drone follows a targeted person, and the Point of Interest mode, where the drone flies around a targeted object.
This has many benefits for long-range aerial photography and high-quality videography. The control distance that you get with these drones is between 3.5 km to 5 km.
The XIRO Xplorer V Aerial is priced at $399.99. It is not as well known as some of the other drones listed here but has many great features. It is very good for aerial photography with options such as “Follow Me” mode and “Circle Around Me” mode – wherein you can have the drone follow a targeted individual or circle an object. There is also a Return to Base functionality, which means no matter where you fly the drone, it always comes back to home base.
If DJI can be called the Apple of consumer drones, then Parrot is the Microsoft of personal drones industry. It is the first company to have made consumer drones popular around the world. Parrot Bebop Quadcopter is a best-selling personal drone ideal for beginners and is priced very well – just $385.99.
This drone has many great features such as powerful motors that allow it to fly at much higher altitudes with absolute ease. This drone is also up to date with the latest FAA requirements, so you don’t have to worry about that.
The remote control has a range of up to 2 km and is very user-friendly, with two joysticks. The drone can also be controlled from an app on your smartphone or tablet. It comes fitted with a 14 megapixel Full HD 1080p “fisheye” Camera with a gimbal that delivers an above average 3-axis image stabilization.
It is great for aerial photography and shoots videos of great quality within a 180° field. The LED lights allow you to fly the drone even in dim light. Finally, this drone gives you a flying time of about 25 minutes, which is very good, indeed.
The 3DR Solo is really cheap and costs only $249.00 without the gimbal. It makes for a perfect budget drone and comes with many great features such as an adjustable camera, an ability to pause flight mid-air and to stream the video on any screen with an HDMI port. This is a simple drone with an average battery life and flying time, and a mediocre range, but you won’t mind that because it costs so less.
(5) Traxxas Aton Quadcopter with Fixed Camera Mount, 3-Cell 3000mAh iD LiPo Battery, and 3-amp AC LiPo Charger
The Traxxas Aton Quadcopter is an advanced personal drone that costs $535 with gimbal and $379.95 without a gimbal. It delivers an outstanding speed of 50+ MPH when in the sports mode. It is very stable in flight and delivers high-quality aerial photography with its fixed mount action camera. This drone is even capable of performing several aerobatics midair and comes with useful features such as air brakes, dual-mode GPS and a Return to Home functionality.
(6) Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter Drone with HD Camera RTF 4 Channel 2.4GHz 6-Gyro Headless System Black (Upgraded with Altitude Hold Function)
The Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter costs $109.99 only. This incredibly cheap quadcopter is ideal for beginners and comes with many advanced features such as an altitude hold function, which allows you to shoot high-quality videos from up in the air.
The Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter has a “Return to a Home” feature which means it comes back to where it started from, no matter where it is at the moment when in flight. This drone has been fitted with two batteries, which give it a flying time of about 9 minutes and a range of about 100 meters.
So, that’s our pick of the “best drones under 500 USD“. Which quadcopter do you like best from this list? Also, if there are any quadcopters you really like which hasn’t been covered here, do tell us about it – we will be sure to update this list soon. Happy flying!