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Best Drone Under $500

There are so many great drones to choose from, yet so little time. So, I broke down the top 5 best drones under $500. After researching over 50 drones, I chose the Yuneec Mantis Q for its ideal battery life, high camera quality, and solid build. Know more about it and the rest on the list right down below. 

Best Drone Under 500: Yuneec Mantis Q

Sale
Yuneec Mantis Q YUNMQUS Foldable Camera Drone with WiFi Remote
  • Small yet powerful, Mantis Q features...
  • Using an integrated camera, the Mantis Q...
  • Vision based tracking and face...
  • "Mantis, take a selfie!" - With the all...
  • Intelligent flight modes -Take your...

While it may be a first-gen release, the Yuneec Mantis Q still holds up as a well-balanced mid-range drone that does not disappoint with its long-lasting battery life of up to 33 minutes, folding formation, and high altitudes. The only thing that pertains as the main issue with this drone is the stabilization of the camera; making it not very ideal for photographers. But hey, it has 4K 30 fps quality so that’s not a bad deal at all. To make matters better, it aged well as a first-gen drone. If you need a drone that is well worth the price for the right size, controls, battery life, and speed, the Yuneec Mantis Q is the most ideal choice.

Best Value Drone Under 500: DJI Mavic Mini

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DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K Camera 3-Axis Gimbal GPS 30min Flight Time,...
  • The compact yet powerful Mavic Mini...
  • Weighing less than 0.55lbs / 250 grams,...
  • Mavic Mini supports 12MP aerial photos...
  • Mavic Mini’s weight allows it to stay...
  • DJI Fly App requires iOS v10.0, Android...

The DJI Mavic Mini is small in size but large in features. First and foremost, it only weighs 0.55 lbs - meaning you are not required to register the drone to the FAA. Of course, you still have to follow the rules. A lot of people are already happy with the DJI Mavic Mini because of how easy it is to use as well as providing enough features to leave you satisfied per flying session. It is also the smallest DJI Mavic drone and the cheapest. For way below $500, you get premium components, a strong reputable build, 2K resolution camera and easy controls.

Best Drone Under 500 for Photography: UPair One

UPair Two Drone with 4K UHD Camera 3-Eye Lens, 5.8G RC WiFi Quadcopter FPV Transmission with 3-Axis...
  • Drone Flying with 3-eye HD Camera: Newly...
  • 5.8G FPV Wi-Fi Transmission: This FPV...
  • GPS Positioning Function: The GPS system...
  • Long Flight Time: Equipped with upgraded...
  • Easy and Fun to Fly: Assisted with...

Only a few camera drones can give you high-quality 4K images that cost under $500 - even under $300 with this UAV. The UPair One may look and feel like a budget drone but it is hands-down one of the best in photography. It is the best alternative to the much more expensive DJI Mavic Air and DJI Phantom 3. It is stable enough to capture very good images, has a decent 19-minute battery life, zero latency on the video feed, and has a full GPS lock so you don’t lose it at all. Don’t underestimate the UPair One for its price since it performs as good as any premium high-end drone.

Best Racing Drone Under 500: Walkera F210

The Walkera F210 is a fast-paced 3D drone that only costs just below $500. It uses both normal and night visions that make it great for any-day racing and lots of customizations that are easy enough for a beginner to tune or an experienced droner who wants to level up the potential of the F210. It also has a tough lightweight build that prevents your drone from damaging too hard when it crashes. Thanks to its flexible design, it can perform good handling on tight corners and do awesome stunts. I can’t guarantee you get to win everytime with the F210, but it definitely is a good contender.

Best Budget Drone Under 500: UVify OOri

UVify is reputable for making awesome racing drones. With the OOri, you can train your drone racing skills as a beginner. Not only is this welcome for noobs, but it also does not cost a lot. This mini drone can run speeds of up to 50 mph during racing. The OOri is also very agile, letting you do 3D stunts to amaze any audience. Okay, so maybe this drone may not be the cheapest but for a price that is way below $500, this is a good deal. If you need a racing or stunt drone to play with already, the OOri is a good option.

What Drone Under $500 Would I Buy? And Why...

Of all the best drones under $500, I would surely buy the Yuneec Mantis Q. You can’t beat a bird that costs only this much while possessing features that would have costed you more. Yet, if you prefer something cheaper yet still high-end, you should buy the DJI Mavic Mini. And if you prefer photography for a drone, you may want to buy the UPair One. However, if you choose racing, for the price range, get the Walkera F210. And if you are on a budget yet still want a drone that is fast for you, select the UVify OOri

Drones Under $500 Buying Guide:

Travel Distance  

Buying any drone that is worth more or less than $500 can be quite a big decision to do (unless you have more than enough money to splurge on many choices). Usually, the most ideal buy is the drone that can travel with a range from at least 500 m and up. Anything lesser than that would feel like the drone is less valuable for its price. Within the $500 range are some of the already well-known drone brands such as DJI and Yuneec, so it’s definitely wise to buy something that can travel very far yet still within your line of sight.

Battery Life  

If you are planning to buy a drone within the $500 price tag, you better make sure it lasts at least 15 minutes or up. 

Brand

Well-known brands such as Walkera and DJI are some of the best-sellers in the industry, however not a lot of people can afford them. Brand wouldn’t matter if it’s around the $500 range as long as you follow the reviews from other people and unbiased critics.

Camera or None

This really depends on what you want. Some camera-based drones are just built for capturing beautiful images while others are meant for navigation. There are also some drones without cameras so they’re easier to use for beginners thanks to its headless mode.

FAQ For Drones Under 500

Are drones under $500 worth it?

Yes, of course. Some may ask you to spend more in order to experience the best drones but there are so many good choices that cost $500 or less - especially if you are okay with mid-ranged UAVs. Take the listed drones in this article for example; they’re all good choices without costing you a fortune.

Do I need to buy VR goggles for FPV drones?

Some FPV drones already include goggles in the package. However, if you happen to have a modern VR headset that can work with a drone, you may choose to buy only the drone without the goggles and controller. Major brands always carry a headset plus controller package for each of their drones.

Are racing drones worth it?

Racing drones are only worth it if you are planning to compete in the world of drone racing. Otherwise, you should just buy 3D stunt drones since they’re cheaper and easier to use mostly because of the headless mode they carry.

Does DJI have cheap drones?

DJI now sells a $100 drone called the Tello. It isn’t the best model in DJI’s lineup but if you want to sate your desire for a decent DJI drone without blowing a huge budget, the DJI Tello makes a great choice. However, I recommend you buy a DJI Mavic Mini instead.

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