7 Best Drones Under $500 in 2019: Buying Guide for Beginners

7 Best Drones Under $500 in 2019: Buying Guide for Beginners

Don’t have thousands of dollars to spend for a drone? Are you looking for the best quadcopter under $500?

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are growing in popularity. More and more love drones, so if you are planning to buy an aircraft, that’s understandable.

If your budget for a drone is only $500, don’t worry, that’s already enough to get a good one. The prices of the drones have since dropped. There are still drones that cost thousands of dollars, but you can now find high-quality and high-performance drones under $500.

I know that you are pretty excited, so let’s get started!

Here are the drones that you should buy if your budget is only $500 or below.

1. DJI Spark

Specs

Flight time/battery life: 16mins
Transmission distance: 1.2mi
Speed: Up to 31mph
VPS Range: 98ft
Gimbal: 2 axis
Camera resolution: 12mp
Video resolution: 1080p 30fps
Weight: .66 pounds (SUPER light)
Camera details: 1/2.3 Sensor Powerful Lens, 1080P resolution
Notable attributes: PalmLaunch, Gesture and TapFly Control, Obstacle Sensing, Subject Tracking from Various Angles, Return to Home

Spark is probably the most affordable drone from DJI. The brand is very popular in the drone market and their items tend to be pricey, but Spark is still within the under $500 price range.

Spark is a mini drone that is equipped with all of DJI’s signature technologies allowing the user to seize the moment. It has intelligent flight control and a mechanical gimbal that enable the drone to capture incredible images and videos.

Also, it’s Intelligent Flight Modes and intuitive controls help you create cinematic aerial videos with just a few taps. It comes with simple controls too that even beginners won’t have a hard time learning.

With Spark, you can take amazing aerial photos by just using hand gestures. So, put away the remote controller or mobile device because this smart drone can recognize different hand gestures in PalmControl mode. You can conveniently take selfies or record videos with just a few movements.

Spark also takes professional shots for you with QuickShots. Its TapFLy mode activates the drone’s vision technology allowing the drone to fly in the direction of your tap or exactly where you tapped while actively sensing the obstacles along the way.

This camera drone has awesome potential. It has powerful propulsion at 50KPH, HD Wi-Fi video transmission up to 2 kilometers and 16-minute flight time. For an all the more unforgettable piloting experience, this drone supports FPV (first-person view).

Also, this is designed with flight safety to ensure a worry-free flight experience. This is equipped with FlightAutonomy, Return to Home, Flight Protection and Intelligent Battery modes.

Overall, I had fun and enjoyable flying experience with DJI Spark because it is very easy to use and the drone is very intelligent. This is highly recommended!

PROS

  • Portable
  • Gestures controls
  • Quickshot modes
  • Control, edit and share via DJI GO app

CONS

  • Short flight time
  • Wi-Fi range is limited
  • No controller

2. Holy Stone HS700 FPV Drone

Specs

Dimensions: 8.66 x 8.66 x 6.10in
Weight: 608g
Flight time: 20min
Flight range: 400m
Camera: 1080p FHD
Battery: 2800mAh LiPo
Notable features: GPS, Follow Me mode

Holy Stone 700 is one of the most impressive drones that you can find in the market without breaking your budget. This is lightweight and compact, which is ideal if you travel frequently.

This also comes with a superb camera. Its 5G 1080p FHD camera is capable of capturing superior-quality still photos and video footage in real-time. It has an advanced lens with a 110-degree panoramic field of view.

This also supports a first-person view (FPV) which is ideal when combined with its real-time video and image transmission capabilities with a smartphone. Its 5G transmission enables the viewing of clean and crisp images and video transmission.

Among the things, I love about this drone is its flight performance. It has a long range and flight time. Also, it has a 1500KV brushless motor that keeps it silent during flights.

It also includes Follow Me flight mode that sets the drone to automatically follow the user. You can also draw the flight path in the screen. It has Headless and Return to Home modes too for more convenient and safer flights.

For its price, Holy Stone HS700 is a steal. You should try this one and I’m sure that you’ll also be impressed.

PROS

  • Quiet
  • Has GPS
  • Durable build
  • Superior camera
  • LCD screen display
  • Long flight time
  • Great control distance
  • Excellent image storage
  • App for video streaming
  • User-friendly controller

CONS

  • Lacks protection guards
  • Long battery-charge time
  • Windy conditions decrease flight time
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3. Potensic D85 RC

Specs

Weight:525g
Flight time: 20min
Wi-Fi Distance:5G 300-500m
Remote distance: 1000-1500m
Camera: Lens 130°
Recording Modes:1080p (SD card)

Potensic D85 RC drone is one of the coolest quadcopters you can purchase under $500. It has dual GPS, which is far better than what you will find in other drones in the market.

Also, it is very easy to use. In fact, you can draw a route for the drone to follow on the app. It has One Key Takeoff and Landing features which are very helpful for beginners.

This drone is also very smart. When it loses signal or the battery runs low, it automatically returns and heads back home. This feature is very helpful especially when the remote control signal is being interrupted because the flight control system will automatically take control of the aircraft to return safely to you. If you want the drone to return to you anytime you want, you can just press the Return Home key.

This also comes with a high-capacity intelligent battery that provides the drone 20 minutes flying time, which is already very impressive for its price. That’s not all; it has 1500KV long-lasting brushless motor that enables it to fly quietly.

I’m very happy with its 1080p camera with a 130-degree field of view. It gives you a panoramic and smooth FPV view when taking photos, selfies or recording videos. Overall, its camera is very good, it won’t disappoint you.

For a more enjoyable experience, this comes with a remote control with an ergonomic design that is very comfortable to hold. It is also very easy to use which makes the flying experience more fun.

I have an awesome experience flying this drone. I loved its camera, features, and performance. I must say, this was so much better than what I expected from it.

If you are looking for a drone under $500 with a great range, flight time, good-quality camera and impressive built, look no further, Potensic D85 RC Drone is the one for you.

PROS

  • Durable and high-quality
  • Has many safety features
  • Nice remote controller
  • Wide-angle camera
  • Impressive flight range
  • Long video transmission range

CONS

  • No built-in obstacle avoidance sensor
  • Quality of action camera is average

4. Holy Stone HS100 GPS FPV RC Drone

Specs

Weight (Including Battery): 700g
Flight time: 12-15mins
Charging Time:3-6hrs
Wi-Fi Distance: 150m
Max transmission distance:500m
Dimensions: 500 x 500 x 175mm
Camera Lens:FOV 120°/2.0
Recording Modes:HD 1280 x 1080p

Holy Stone HS100 is one of the best drones you will ever find in the market that don’t cost thousands of dollars but delivers the same quality and performance. This is a great FPV drone and among the best GPS drones, too.

This quad has a great design and is equipped with impressive features that will make your flight experience easy, enjoyable and fun. It has a 500-meter control distance and a 15-minute flight time which is already very good for a drone in this price point.

Also, it captures amazing photos and records awesome videos because this is equipped with the latest 1080P wide-angle camera for a wider range of shooting angles and high control accuracy. It also includes a 120-degree angle lens that provides a broader scope and a 90-degree adjustable angle to enable you to view your subject in different angles. If you are into aerial photography, this is a great drone for that.

For more convenient piloting, HS100 supports Altitude Hold that enables the drone to stay at a fixed height even when your fingers leave away from the control. Thanks to this feature, taking photos has never been more convenient.

This also supports FPV transmission because it can be connected to mobile devices via WiFi at a distance up to 150 meters. You can also connect this to your 3D VR glasses to maximize your FPV experience.

I am very happy and satisfied with HS100. It is very easy and fun to use and is equipped with advanced features that you won’t find in very cheap models. So, this is highly recommended.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Good looking drone
  • Decent flight time
  • Rechargeable remote
  • Great camera for pictures and videos
  • Integrated GPS/GLONASS system
  • Remote control includes simple and advanced functions
  • Built-in brushless motors for strong propulsion force

CONS

  • No bonus battery
  • Short flight time
  • Battery takes too much time to charge
  • Drone is heavy, must be registered with FAA

5. 3DR Solo

Specs

Dimensions: 9.23 x 16.52 x 16.42in
Flight time: 20-25min
Range: 5mi
Weight: 3.3 lbs
Payload capacity: 420g
Max speed: 55 mph

If you own an action camera like GoPro and want to use that for aerial photography, no problem. 3DR Solo is designed to be the perfect drone partner for your camera, so you can start shooting amazing photos and footage atop.

The good thing with this drone is that it has an easy-to-use control system. Even beginners who have never flown a quadcopter won’t have a hard time learning how to operate this. Also, with a push of a button, you can put both the camera and the copter at your fingertips.

You can control the drone to take off, land or hover midair. You can also click to start and stop recording during flights or adjust the camera angle.

For ease of use, this comes with a video game-style controller. It has high-quality HDMI port from the controller that you can connect to practically any screen.

3DR Solo has a long flight time as it can last up to 22 minutes with a 550 meters control range. It has 3-axis gimbal, too, that enables you to capture perfectly stable shots automatically.

I am very impressed with this drone especially because it helps me utilize my GoPro and it excels my expectations. It has superb performance and impressive quality for its price, so I highly recommend this.

PROS

  • 20-minute flight
  • Smart drone for GoPro
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Lots of pre-installed flight modes
  • Robust and has stable flight dynamics

CONS

  • Takes time to hit GPS on initial start
  • No collision detection

6. Yuneec Breeze

Specs

Dimensions: 7.72 x 7.72 x 2.56in
Weight: 13.58oz
Flight time: 12min
Horizontal speed: 11.19mph
Climbing speed: 2.24mph
Camera resolution: 13mp
Video resolution: 4K at 30fps

Yuneec Breeze is a compact smart drone with ultra HD 4K video making it a great camera drone for beginners. Due to its design and powerful camera, Breeze is a great companion for your trips and adventures.

Also, if you want a selfie drone, this model is highly recommended. It has a 4K-capable camera for stills and videos which is enough if you want to document your short vacation. That’s not all; it has Selfie mode that takes away the traditional stick controls and uses sliders instead to get the camera into the right person.

This is also very easy to use because just like the other expensive models, this is equipped with advanced features that make flying drones easier and more convenient. For instance, this comes with Follow Me, Journey and Orbit modes.

Follow Me uses GPS and your phone to track and follow you around. Meanwhile, the Orbit lets you set up the drone to automatically circle you or another subject. The Journey mode delivers a unique result, it starts with a flyaway shot and comes back zooming in the subject.

This entry-level semi-autonomous quadcopter is a good value for money. It is easy to use, has a foldable design for portability, and a great camera. I am very happy and satisfied with this aircraft because it offers a lot of fun for its price. So would I recommend this? Absolutely!

PROS

  • Foldable and portable
  • Easy and fun to fly
  • Great camera quality
  • Can survive crashes

CONS

  • Short flight time
  • Short range
  • No gimbal

7. Parrot Bebop 2

Specs

Dimensions:12.9 x 12.9 x 3.5in
Weight: 500g
Camera: 14mp with fish-eye lens
Video: 3-axis full HD 1080P
Stabilization: Digital stabilization (Parrot system)
Flight Time: 25min
GPS: Yes
Processor: Dual-core processor with quad-core GPU
Storage: 8 GB flash storage system

Parrot Bebop 2 has a simple and sleek design. It looks quite sophisticated with its black and white paint. This drone is ultra-lightweight which makes it ultra-portable. You can take this with you, wherever you go.

Bebop 2 is equipped with an impressive camera. It records videos in 1080p full HD and 14mp for still shots. It also offers horizontal and vertical 180-degree pictures making it easy for you to take aerial photos without losing quality. You can achieve amazing pictures using this drone camera even in low light. For professional results, you can choose RAW or DNG from the three formats available.

Also, Parrot Bebop 2 reaches up to 37.28mph horizontally and 13.05mph vertically without affecting image quality. But more importantly, this can resist headwinds up to 37.28mph.

It has a record breaking time, halting completely in just over four seconds. Isn’t that impressive, enough?

For beginners, this quadcopter is super easy to use. It is very intuitive and responsive. You can takeoff and land the aircraft with a single press of a button.

You can use FreeFlight Pro, the free mobile app dedicated to Parrot drones to operate the drone. With the app, you can fly, film and share your aerial photos and videos easily.

Parrot Bebop is so much fun to use and you can fly it indoors and outdoors. I’m particularly impressed with its built and performance. It is agile and very easy to control. This drone is highly recommended!

PROS

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Extended range
  • Decent camera for its price
  • Doesn’t need a gimbal
  • Can capture 14MP shots with relatively stable movement
  • Long flight time up to 25 minutes

CONS

  • Image distortions
  • Lack of clear instruction
  • Control sticks are sometimes unresponsive

Conclusion

There are already a lot of drones under $500 that are equipped with advanced features and powerful cameras. So, if you can’t afford the expensive DJI drones that cost thousands of dollars, don’t worry, you can find a drone that is as good even if your budget is tight.

I’m particularly happy with DJI Spark as well as the Holy Stone and Potensic drones in my list. The rest are as good and all of them are a great value for money.

What’s the best drone under $500 for you? Feel free to share it with us to give readers more ideas on what quadcopter to buy.

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