Top 5 Best Drones under $1000 (updated for 2020)

best-drones-under-$1000

Drones under $1000 are already in a price category that leaves room for a lot of quality and more advanced technology.

I'm talking about obstacle avoidance sensors, zoom lenses, better GPS accuracy, better builds, and so on.

The drones on this list are the best I could find between $500 and $1000 mainly. There are also DJI alternatives on this list that are very capable quadcopters and that you shouldn't overlook just because DJI has a monopoly on the market.

My winner: Mavic Air 2

mavic air 2 package fly more combo

In a hurry? Just pick my best recommended drone in this price category and you can't really go wrong!

  1. 9km range
  2. 4k 60p footage
  3. 34 min battery life
  4. 6 sensor cameras
  5. Awesome build quality
  6. My personal camera drone

My top drones under $1000 (table comparison)

drone comparison table and graphic
These are the top drones I would chose as my best professional quadcopters in this price range. You'll be safe choosing any of these as your photography and videography drone, but I would still suggest you read the entire article to find more about each of them.

This table is made for the purpose of quickly choosing in case you don't have the time or energy to go though the rest of the article.

Mavic Air 2Skydio 2Autel Evo Hubsan Zino 2Parrot Anafi
drone-image-iconmavic-air-2-thumbnailskydio-2-drone-reviewAutel Evohubsan zino 2Anafi drone
camera-icon4k 60p4k 60p4k 60p4k 60p4k
battery-drone-icon34min30min30min32min25min
range-wifi-icon9km4km7km8km4km
obstacle-avoidance-white-iconObstacle AvoidanceBest Obstacle AvoidanceObstacle AvodianceNo Obstacle AvoidanceNo Obstacle Avoidance
drone-price-dollar-icon$$$$$$$$$$$$$
drone-price-dollar-icon Check Price Check price Check price Check price Check price

My video with details about these drones

FREE: Perfect pre-flight drone checklist 

Use this checklist to get in the habit of always being prepared with everything you need when going to film with a drone (especially if you're doing it for clients).

Best camera drones under $1000 - in detail

In this section we'll dive more in depth for each of the drones mentioned in the table and cover their advantages and disadvantages, along with my personal experience with each of them

1.Dji Mavic Air 2 ( 9km range drone)

camera-icon-small

4k 60p

small battery-life-icon

34min

drone distance icon

9km

1km

Obstacle Avoidance

No image stabilization

mavic air 2 package fly more combo

The DJI Mavic Air 2 has just made it as the top drone on this list thanks to its low price compared to its specs and amazing specs. It's my personal favorite drone and one of the longest ranges on this list.

The new transmitter is easier to use than with the other mavics from DJI and I feel like it has a better overall grip.

One battery lasts for A LOT (over 30 min) and I haven't even started to talk about the amazing obstacle avoidance system and HDR recording.

If you want to compare it in more detail to the other mavics, I recommend checking this DJI comparison sheet.

Advantages

  1. 4K60p
  2. 34min battery life
  3. HDR video recording
  4. great controller
  5. internal storage
  6. transmitter with screen included

DISAdvantages

  1. Really nothing I can think of

2.Skydio 2 - Best tracking and follow sports drone under $1000

camera-icon-small

4k

small battery-life-icon

30 min

drone distance icon

4km

Awesome Obstacle Avoidance

skydio-2-drone-review

The Skydio 2 is probably the most expected follow me drone for sports.

The footage is absolutely great, don't get me wrong, it's just not as suited for things like weddings and making money out of your drone as the others are.

The range for this drone is about 1km, and you'll also have to pay extra for the type of controller you want if you don't want to stick with just your phone all the time. So that's one of the reasons it didn't make it higher on the list.

The Skydio has 6 sensor cameras all over so it will avoid obstacles like no other drone, if obstacle avoidance and close proximity flying are what you're looking for, then don't look further, there's nothing that gets even close to this.

The camera records in 4k 60p but it's only stabilized with a2 axis gimbal and electronic image stabilization, however, it produces quite smooth results.

MAVIC 2 PRO ADVANTAGES

  1. Amazing obstacle avoidance
  2. 2 controller options
  3. can follow you even if it loses tracking
  4. 4k 60p camera
  5. shoots raw photos
  6. it can follow cars, boats, and more

MAVIC 2 ZOOM ADVANTAGES

  1. not foldable
  2. takes a while to setup

3.Autel Evo (best DJI alternative under $1000)3

camera-icon-small

4k 60p

small battery-life-icon

30 min

drone distance icon

7km

1km

Obstacle Avoidance

No image stabilization

autel evo 2 drone
The Autel Evo was a complete surprise to me, as before knowing what it does, I expected it to be another DJI copycat with the performance of the original Mavic Pro at higher prices.
But I couldn't be more wrong.
 
The drone comes with a 7km range a 4k 60p camera solid stable 3 axis gimbal and 30-minute battery life.
 
It's a really well-made drone by one of the leaders in the industry.
 
It's pretty much an upgrade from the original Mavic Pro, but much cheaper than the Mavic 2. It's definitely not as portable as the Mavic Air, but I would say it has great potential to be on top of this list and the perfect camera drone for the money.

Advantages

  1. 4k 60p camera
  2. great range
  3. long flight time
  4. Transmitter with built in screen
  5. Solid build

DISAdvantages

  1. Nothing really

4. Hubsan Zino 2 (a very cheap yet good camera quad)

camera-icon-small

4k 60p

small battery-life-icon

32min

drone distance icon

8km

No obstacle avoidance

hubsan zino 2
A drone that's the follow-up version from the original Hubsan Zino, which is the absolute winner by far as the best drone under $300. The Hubsan Zino 2 is pretty high on this list and might get even higher because it's really cheap for what it can do.
I also included it in my under $500 drone video category, although currently, it costs about $600, this is an amazing price still for such an amazing drone with these incredible specs.
 
We're talking about 4k 60 fps recording a 3 axis gimbal, great GPS stability, 8km range and 32 minute battery life. It records at 100Mbps and guess what it supports ND filters that are easily detachable, perfect for professionals.
Another interesting feature the Hubsan Zino 2 features is the detachable gimbal. This modular system means you can update it in the future with another camera release maybe.

Advantages

  1. 4k 60p camera
  2. 8km range
  3. 32 min battery
  4. great image quality
  5. modular gimbal+camera
  6. great transmitter

DISAdvantages

  • needs further testing

5. Parrot Anafi - portable travel drone

camera-icon-small

4k

small battery-life-icon

25min

drone distance icon

4km

No obstacle avoidance

The parrot Anafi is in my opinion the best drone you can get for actually under $600 because of it's very high-quality build, awesome zoom features, and overall very capable camera.

Considering Parrot is one of the main competitors for DJI and has a strong history of high product quality and drone manufacturing, it's safe to say the quality level of the product is something that becomes a big advantage.

This quadcopter is nothing short of being a fully-fledged professional drone, able to take 16 or 21 mp photos in RAW format while also capable of shooting 4k super-stable video.
Another reason why this drone is ranked highly is that the camera can turn 90 degrees above to take absolutely original shots that no other drone is currently capable of.
 
It may not have optical sensors in the front to avoid obstacles, but it still comes with the optical stabilization at the bottom that helps it land better and fly more stable close to the ground.
 
The 2 axis gimbal does an amazing job at stabilization, although the drones in the first place slightly better in terms of that.

Advantages

  1. Really Quiet
  2. Cheap price
  3. Can film 90 degrees up
  4. lossless zoom
  5. 21 mp photos
  6. a lot of flight modes

DISAdvantages

  • 2 axis gimbal
  • card slot must be handled carefully

Go Pro karma - Best Gopro Drone under $1000

camera-icon-small

4k

small battery-life-icon

20min

drone distance icon

3km

No obstacle avoidance

gopro karma

The Karma is the best gopro drone under $100 and the only one on this list, as it simply doesn't have split competition on the market. A go pro drone like the Karma makes for a lot of versatility, as you'll be using an action cam that can be stripped down and used for other purposes, maybe with a handheld gimbal or other accessories.

Although bulkier than some of the other drones on this list, thanks to its versatility it can make for a great travel companion
The fact that you don't have to connect your phone and it comes with an included on-screen display is a big plus in my book.
The fact that you can remove the gimbal and use it on a handheld device for super stable footage is probably the biggest plus I can think of.

Advantages

  • easy to use controller
  • gimbal can be removed and used as a handheld
  • camera can be upgraded if new GOpro models appear
  • super stable footage
  • cheaper if you already have an action camera
  • Good color reproduction

DISAdvantages

  • a bit bulkier than other drones in the same price range
  • battery life could be better

What to look for in a camera drone (and FAQ)

faq-what-should-you-look-for-in-a-drone

This is going to be a guide on what to look in a drone that's priced under $1000 and what are the features you should care most about when choosing such a quadcopter.

What features should you look for in a drone under $1000?
  • Battery Life
  • Image Stabilization
  • Size and Portability(foldable)
  • GPS Stability
  • Camera Bitrate
  • Obstacle avoidance sensors
Should you pay more than $1000 for a drone?

If you're still a beginner or intermediate when it comes to drone photography and videography, no, as you can create pretty much anything you'd like within this price range.

How far am i allowed to fly a drone legally?

Drone laws differ between countries, but generally line of sight is good enough.

What battery life does a drone under $1000 have?

The average battery life of a drone under $1000 is around 30 minutes.

What range does a drone under $1000 have?

The average range of drones under $1000 is about 5 km

What battery life does a drone under $1000 have?

Battery life in this price range should definitely be over 20 minutes at least, the more the better. I feel most comfortable with whatever is 25 minutes or more.

From what you can see on the list I picked for you, the average was at a high of 30 minutes, which is really great.

You should not expect this exact amount in real life, as it is estimated by the producers in perfect environments.

Not taking account of wind or such.

drone lipo batteries explained
drone return to home explained

What is the expected drone range for this price category?

First of all, the drones I mention are all GPS ones, with high accuracy and the ability to return to home.

The average range of these drones is somewhere between 4 and 5km and I think that's plenty to do anything you want with it.

Especially considering that most country laws don't allow you to fly further than the line of sight.

The best drones under $1000 prove to be enough to satisfy most people's needs. Even if you're an aspiring photographer or videographer, this is a great price range to be about!